The Federal Government has used tonight’s annual budget to provide further detail about how it will inject equity funding into its flagship National Broadband Network project, to meet its capital requirements over the next decade as it rolls out infrastructure around the nation.
In budget papers released tonight, the Government allocated $18.2 billion in equity injections to NBN Co over the proceeding years up until the 2014-15 financial year. To start with, $3.1 billion will be pumped into the NBN over the next year, increasing in between and then peaking at $6.6 billion in the 2013-14 financial year as the NBN rollout hits full steam and then settling down to $4.1 billion in 2014-15.
The payments are instalments towards the Government’s total equity contribution to the NBN, which is expected to be $27.5 billion.
In addition, the Government has allocated further funding towards other government agencies to assist with the rollout of the NBN and associated matters over the next few years.
For example, Stephen Conroy’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy will receive $23.4 million to support consumers during the rollout, assist the Government and establish an entity to take charge of the Universal Service Obligation ensuring services to the bush. The Australian Communications and Media Authoritywill receive $5.6 million to develop and monitor implementation of “appropriate network standards and codes” to assist with the rollout.
Additionally, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will pick up $5.6 million to monitor competition outcomes associated with the telecommunications industry change, while the Department of Finance and Deregulation will receive $1.2 million to help with its role representing the Government as the network’s only shareholder.
The budget papers also note that DBCDE will pick up $34.4 million over five years to support the finalisation of the deal between NBN Co, the Government and Telstra, under which the NBN will gain access to use Telstra’s infrastructure and Telstra fixed broadband customers will be transferred onto the NBN. It appears that some of this funding will also relate to the USO, but it is not clear whether it overlaps with the previous $23.4 million DBCDE injection.
A spokesperson for Minister Conroy was not immediately available to clarify the situation.