news Communications Minister Mitch Fifield this morning said an increasingly “desperate” Opposition was “misrepresenting” the cost of the NBN company deploying Labor’s preferred Fibre to the Premises model, in response to new documents leaked from the NBN company this morning.
This morning the Opposition distributed a set of documents which appear to have been produced by the NBN company in August last year, entitled CTO Briefing: Multi-Technology Local Fibre Network. You can download the documents in PDF format here.
The news of this story was first broken by the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to the documents, the NBN company in mid-2015 came up with a secret plan to dramatically reduce the cost and inconvenience of deploying fibre all the way to customers’ premises.
However, Fifield said in a statement responding to the leaks that Labor had grown “more desperate by the day” as the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN gathered pace. The Minister accused Labor of attempting to divert attention from “having no NBN policy”.
“Labor’s latest claim, that the nbn has been misrepresenting the cost of fibre to the premises, is simply outrageous,” Fifield said.
“The Government has given NBN a mandate to find the fastest and most cost-effective way to complete the network, without prescribing the technology to be used. The NBN is a $49 billion dollar infrastructure project, and Labor still doesn’t have an NBNpolicy, just a flaky promise for ‘more fibre’.”
“It’s no wonder the Australian Financial Review described Labor’s promise as “an expensive joke”. Labor was out of its depth with the NBN in government, and appears not to have done the hard yards of policy development in opposition.”
Delimiter believes that the Government’s view of the leaked documents is that they actually represent an improvement on the Fibre to the Node technology which the Government imposed on the NBN company.
The cost improvements included in the leaked documents appear to be able to be applied to either FTTP or FTTN models, as they relate to the the Local Network and Distribution Network, the aspect of the NBN company’s network responsible for getting fibre into neighbourhoods. It appears this same network could be used for either FTTN or FTTP.
The documents show that the cost of deploying this network could be brought down by $600 (from $1200) on a per-premises basis, using different fibre technology.
Despite this, the NBN company this morning stated that it maintained its projected cost on a per-premise basis for both FTTP and FTTN remained the same — $4,419 for FTTP and $2,300 for FTTN.
Separate documents released earier this week appeared to show that the NBN company was experiencing a range of delays with respect to its FTTN network rollout.
However, Fifield said in response on ABC Radio that it wasn’t his role to validate the legitimacy of the document, but that it was easy to take leaked material out of context.
Fifield said if commentators were to look at the “facts”, they would show that the NBN company itself rejected the claim that it was at risk of not meeting its targets.
“In fact, they’ve met or exceeded every key target for 6 quarters in a row. The company is on track to meet or exceed its full year target on 2.6 million homes read for service which is great. They’re on track to meet their target on 1 million homes, this financial year, using the network. So things are tracking very well,” he said.
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting