Conroy: OECD report supports NBN

OECD report becomes a political football as both sides use it to prove their case

Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has responded to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) report by focussing on its positives.

The report criticised the National Broadband Network’s monopoly status and said it could harm competition and did not have enough certainty.

“As the cost amounts to 3.25 per cent of the GDP, it also entails substantial financial uncertainties,” it said. “While establishing a monopoly in this way would protect the viability of the government’s investment project, it may not be optimal for cost efficiency and innovation.”

But a spokesperson for Conroy tried to focus on the positive aspects of the report and used a statement to promote its case for the NBN.

“The OECD concludes that the NBN has the potential to yield substantial benefits, especially in terms of productivity, and that it will improve internet services for the entire population and promote a fairer competition between private firms on retail services,” the spokesperson said.

“The most recent OECD statistics show Australia is now ranked 17th out of 31 countries for fixed broadband subscribers. Australians also pay more for broadband than most OECD countries.

“Shutting down the copper and HFC networks for broadband is a commercial decision made by Telstra under the Heads of Agreement with NBN Co.”

Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, used his motion for the 2nd reading of the Coalition’s National Broadband Network Financial Transparency Bill 2010 to used the OECD report as ammunition against the Government.

“Only yesterday the OECD expressed its real concern about the way in which the NBN will close out facilities based competition in fixed-line broadband services,” he said. “The OECD also criticises the government for its failure to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and expressly recommends that the planning and coordination of public infrastructure be improved by independent, rigorous published cost-benefit analyses.”

Click here for the full OECD report summary comments.

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Tags: Organisation for economic co-operation and development, Shadow Communications Minister, OECD, Malcolm Turnbull, Senator Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister, NBN
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