$94 billion NBN? It’s a nice, unproven, soundbite


blog So far I’ve resisted adding my opinion to the mix about the Coalition’s rival National Broadband Network policy as a whole; at the moment I’m preferring to let more informed industry experts have their say before weighing in myself. However, one particular aspect of the Coalition’s NBN pitch cannot go unchallenged: The constantly repeated claim that Labor’s current NBN policy will cost $94 billion — $60 billion more than Labor is claiming. I’ve put my thoughts about this into a new article for the ABC’s The Drum site. A sample paragraph:

“… even according to the Coalition’s own working, it’s very unlikely that Labor’s NBN policy will cost anywhere near $94 billion. If you read the Coalition’s background briefing paper to its rival NBN policy, what you’ll find is that the Coalition itself has developed a range of potential funding scenarios for Labor’s NBN, starting at around $45.3 billion. The magic $94 billion mark represents the worst possible case.”

The fact that this figure is constantly being thrown around unchallenged by Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and others reveals the shallowness of our national debate around the NBN. The facts are that the Coalition’s own workings (PDF) do not assume the $94 billion mark to be the eventual case for the NBN; and it’s also true that the Coalition has not provided enough references to back up those workings to start with. As with my previous article for The Drum (‘The NBN needs a safe pair of hands’), I’d prefer if you commented on The Drum’s site for this one, so comments on this one on Delimiter itself are closed. Have at it :)