update Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has just released the controversial National Broadband Network Implementation study to the public after several months holding the document behind closed doors.
The report was available temporarily from the website of his Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, before demand appeared to knock the site offline. However, it appears the site is back online now. Conroy’s own media statement on the report is also available online.
“After months of detailed and rigorous analysis, the Implementation Study confirms that the Government’s National Broadband Network is achievable, viable and will transform life and business in Australia,” said Conroy.
“The Implementation Study also confirms that while infrastructure sharing and other commercial arrangements with existing telecommunications companies can benefit the project, the NBN will be financially viable even without the participation of Telstra.”
The Canberra press gallery has had the document since 12:00 as Conroy’s office held a budget-style lock-up lasting from 12 midday to 1:30pm and run by McKinsey partner Angus Dawson, the lead advisor on the report.
However, no cameras, recording devices or mobiles phones were permitted in the briefing — or laptops with wireless cards. The Minister has been promising to release the report for six weeks, but only this week confirmed that the report’s release was imminent.
According to its original brief, the implementation study — which runs to 500 pages — will determine the operating arrangements for the NBN Company, as well as detailing network design and financial details — for example, attracting private sector investment. It was put together by consulting firms KPMG and McKinsey.
However, since NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley came on board last year, the company has already taken action on a number of fronts which the tender documents mentioned would be covered by the implementation study — such as key decisions on network design. The NBN Co has also kickstarted various procurement processes associated with the NBN buildout.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam had threatened to pull the party’s support for the Federal Government’s controversial telecommunications reform legislation due to Stephen Conroy’s decision to not yet release the National Broadband Implementation study during the last Senate sitting.
“Communications Minister Stephen Conroy previously ignored a Senate Order to produce the only quasi-independent analysis of the multibillion dollar project,” said Ludlam in a statement today. “It is hoped that this report will give us some way of assessing how the NBNCo will operate as a business and what the project economics look like.
“We will closely evaluate the full report with the view to continue negotiations with the Government on this long overdue overhaul of Australia’s telecommunications sector.”
Stay tuned for further details from the report as we dig into its details.
Image credit: Office of Stephen Conroy