news The Labor Opposition has responded to the release of NBN Co’s Corporate Plan 2016, saying that that document confirms that “every assumption [Prime Minister] Turnbull made when he was Minister responsible for the NBN was wrong”.
In the Corporate Plan, NBN Co said that it remains on track to complete the network build with a predicted peak funding of $49bn, a figure down from $52bn last year. Further it revised its top end of peak funding range downwards by $2bn, saying it would be $46-54bn by 2020.
While an NBN Co was positive about the lower figures, Labor said that the cost of the NBN has “nearly doubled”, as has the time it will take to build the network.
“Malcolm Turnbull promised he could build a second-rate copper NBN for $29.5 billion but it is now costing up to $54 billion. This means Turnbull’s NBN has blowout by $24.5 billion,” said Labor MP Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications.
The party also hit out at the multi-technology mix policy for the NBN rollout, saying the choice of technology “will not provide Australians with a future-proof 21st Century broadband network”.
The assumptions Prime Minister Turnbull used to “justify his shift” from a fibre-based network to the current multi-technology mix (which utilises legacy HFC networks and fibre to the node, as well as other technologies) has been “proven wrong”, said Labor.
The nation will need to “reinvest in an upgrade to fibre” once the NBN is completed, the party said.
The speed of the rollout also came in for criticism, with Rowland saying that, while Malcolm Turnbull “promised all Australians” they would have access to minimum speeds on the NBN by 2016, the Corporate Plan states that by June 2017 that only around half of Australians will be able to order a service.
“Under Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate NBN, Australians are not getting the NBN they need or deserve to compete with the rest of the world,” Rowland said. “All Malcolm Turnbull is offering Australians is a slower, second-rate copper NBN.”
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting