MyBroadband cost up to $223k

The Department of Communications has spent AU$223,225 so far on the set up and running of its MyBroadband speed test and broadband information website.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The cost of setting up the MyBroadband website to provide data on available broadband speeds across Australia has cost the Australian government AU$223,225 so far in the first few months of operation.

As part of the Coalition government's broadband policy, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull tasked the Department of Communications to undertake a study of broadband availability collecting data from telecommunications companies across the country. Secondly, the department was asked to establish MyBroadband, a website hosting information on the availability of broadband across the country.

Despite the availability of many commercial speed test websites, the government opted to add a speet test page to the MyBroadband website shortly after the launch. Turnbull has said the speed test page will be used to improve the data collected by the government for broadband availability.

A spokesperson for the Communications Department told ZDNet that the website has cost the government AU$223,225 as of May 15. A breakdown of the costs associated with the establishment and running of the website was not provided, however information obtained under Freedom of Information have shown money being paid to BMF Advertising, speed test company Ookla, Google, and hosting company Virtual.Offis.

According to one document from November 2013 (PDF) AU$78,039.50 was needed to pay BMF Advertising to build the website, AU$1,000 was for the Ookla speed test licence, with an extra AU$2,000 per year for usage and AU$10,000 per year for the data licence.

Virtual.Offis was to be paid AU$45,000 to July this year to host the website.

In a second document (PDF) from February this year, the department sought AU$33,000 in additional funding to increase the per-second views on the department's Google Maps licence from 10 to 30 so that the MyBroadband website could handle increased user activity on the page.

The Department of Communications confirmed that funding from the project is coming from existing departmental resources.

The accuracy of the MyBroadband website has been criticised by advocates of the original fibre-to-the-premises National Broadband Network (NBN), stating that the outlined speeds on the website do not reflect the reality. Turnbull has said, however, that the new speed test feature of the MyBroadband website will aim to provide more accurate data that will ultimately be used to find areas of priority for the NBN rollout.

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