Greenfields lobbyist sees nine-figure windfall in Coalition NBN



blog The Coalition’s NBN policy launch may have been variously greeted with both strong derision and cautious support in varying measures, but with Labor’s poll numbers in the basement the telco industry is starting to use the policy to start planning for a post-Labor NBN. And, according to a report in The Australian (read the whole story here), at least one private-sector operator believes the Coalition policy – which includes a 50% subsidy for private operators prepared to roll out open, NBN-compliant fibre – will be a big money-spinner:

GreenFields Operators Australia group spokesman Michael Sparksman said….it represented a great opportunity for greenfield operators. [He] said up to 300,0000 of the 1.5 million homes built in the past 10 years might be suitable candidates for fibre replacement because of lack of service or poor copper service. That means, at a cost of about $1500 a connection in brownfield areas, the Coalition could be facing up to $225 million in co-funding costs.

Sparksman went on to admit that the figure was “highly speculative”, but his back-of-envelope calculations nonetheless offer some food for thought to those interested in considering the likely economic impact of the Coalition’s policy, which unabashedly favours Australia’s private telecommunications sector as the preferred vehicle for NBN rollouts over and above the government-directed FttN rollout. Of special note: Sparksman’s estimated cost of $1500 per fibred brownfields home, which is less than half the $3600 per home figure used throughout the Coalition’s NBN policy.

Image credit: Egrian, Public Domain


  1. The hypocrisy of the Coalition replacing a system paid for by users with one funded by direct taxpayer subsidies staggers me.

    • There already was (pre-NBN) a system paid for by users. What happened was as follows:

      * The NBN offered $0 installs under the so-called “last resort” provisions.

      * The developers said, “Whoopee $0, I’ll take that as first resort, not last”.

      * The developers signed up with the NBN and sold the properties.

      * The new owners waited and waited for NBN to deliver their “last resort” offering.

      * The previous greenfield installers discovered their business model had been screwed by ALP policy.

      * The new owners kept waiting for an install.

      * We no longer had a user paid system.

      * The new owners kept waiting for an install.

      * The LIB/NAT’s came up with their policy.

      * The new owners are still waiting.

      • You’re blaming douchebag property developers? You know the same ones which would have picked Telstra phone only options that might support ADSL2 if the home owner is lucky? Instead of Telstra Velocity or Opticom because they only care about turning a profit instead of delivering a quality product to the customer?

        The only thing that anyone has done wrong here is assume that private companies might have a value proposition better than that of NBNCo to can when it comes to Greenfields.

        It’s apparent that, with products like Google Fibre, they can, they’re just not here in Australia. Imagine getting a cheap 1Gbps service that costs less than the NBN 100Mbps service available when you buy a new property, because that’s the sort shift these providers used to offer compared to ADSL2. If they can profit, which they can, they can adapt to the NBN.

        And you know what happens in capitalism when a company can’t adapt to changes in circumstances that directly affects it’s business model? They die. Now, I’m sorry if you have shares in those companies and you stand to lose money, but you should have foreseen this problem and diversified your shares profile.

        As for the customers still waiting, they should have known better to, and insisted in buying in a development with a Telstra Velocity or Opticom contract, because before the NBN they were only assured to get phone service anyway. And after the NBN they were a last resort.

        I have no sympathy for Opticom for being screwed by the new policy, and I have no sympathy for customers not being aware of the policy changes or what they were buying when they got their property.

        I know that’s callous, but even a change of government won’t change their current predicament. They, like everyone else, have to wait.

  2. Kaaaaaaaaaching! I sense a telco bonanza, though that is “highly speculative” ;o)

  3. If the Coalition estimated cost per fibred brownfields home is $3600 is used then the cost of a Coalition Govt contribution blows out to $540 million. That’s more than 1/2 a billion dollars of taxpayers money being handed over to private enterprise in the form of subsidies. And what will the nation, the taxpayers, own at the end of it?


    Let’s see the Coalitions CBA justify that.

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