The economics of the NBN


In this edition of Twisted Wire, Senator Nick Minchin, Maha Krishnapillai and Ian Birks discuss with Phil Dobbie the economic viability of the new National Broadband Network.

The government has earmarked $43 billion to build a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to reach 90 per cent of all Australians. The intention is to attract investors from the onset and to ultimately sell the whole entity to the private sector. That raises two big questions — will we see a realistic return on investment for this massive sum and will it be attractive to investors?

Today’s Twisted Wire discussion highlights two further questions. Most people agree on the spin-off benefits to the Aussie gross domestic product. Wouldn’t the government have been wiser to argue the benefits to the economy rather than arguing full payback on the investment?

The other question is, can it proceed at all without use of existing Telstra infrastructure? Once again, the industry waits for Telstra’s next move.

Senator Nick Minchin is the shadow minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy; Maha Krishnapillai is the director of Government and Corporate Affairs for Optus, and Ian Birks is the CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association.

First published on ZDNet

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