How to write an NBN cost-benefit analysis


Have you ever wondered why the government hasn’t produced as cost-benefit analysis for the National Broadband Network (NBN)? Is it because, as some argue, they know it won’t stack-up? Or is it because many of the potential benefits are in the future, and can’t be valued because we don’t know what they are?

If it’s the latter, the folks at the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (part of the University of Melbourne) have the answer — measuring benefits based on a willingness to pay. I talk to Richard Hayes from the institute about the approach. Can we really trust individuals to put a value on the benefits that will be derived from the new network?

One thing’s very clear — Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy needs to get the work done quickly. While Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull goes on the assault, talkback radio is rife with people questioning the merits of a $43 billion investment. It could easily be the next resources super-profits tax that, as you’ll remember, successfully brought down a Prime Minister.

In this week’s program we’ll hear some of the public opinion on the issue, followed by a more constructive chat with Hayes about how to get cracking on measuring the benefits.

First published on ZDNet

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