If the NBN was to be halted, Australians would miss out on huge productivity, earnings and income gains, according to a comparison undertaken in the 2011/12 State of the Regions report.
The report, which was commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and prepared by National Economics, takes a base case in which telecommunications speeds are fixed at 2010 levels and compares it to an NBN case, where telecommunications capacity constraints are removed to be served by fibre and with speeds reaching a maximum of 12Mbps in satellite and wireless areas.
In the base case, the report said that while ADSL coverage in the inner suburbs would be improved by 2030, productivity improvements in the region would only increase by around 11 to 14 per cent of its potential increase under the NBN. Meanwhile, in rural regions productivity would only rise by 9 per cent.
The increase in productivity caused by the NBN was expected to raise average earnings nationally, but especially in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, as well as much of the NSW coast.
Regional areas would see an increase in output and reduction in hours worked, according to the report. However, CBD areas would see lower benefit in terms of hours worked.
Residents' incomes in Tasmania's north and north-west and Sydney northern beaches were expected to experience the highest growth if the NBN is rolled out, with incomes also increasing up NSW's northern coast.
The resource regions of Western Australia and Northern Territory were expected not to increase in productivity, even with the NBN, because their productivity was already considered to be high, reversing the pattern of a two-speed economy resulting from the mining boom.
The full report can be obtained from ALGA.