The Government has kicked up its commitment to the National Broadband Network (NBN), promising $300 million in funds from infrastructure bonds and $16m in advertising and marketing to promote fast Internet as part of the new Federal Budget.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will also receive $24m over five years to create access arrangements for the NBN and provide advice on pricing and quality of service.
Mandatory filtering of the Internet was also brought up during the 2010-2011 Budget report, announced last night, with the Government again describing its plan to introduce legislative amendments that force ISPs to stop refused classification (RC) material into Australia.
“The Government will provide additional ongoing funding of $3m per annum to enhance a range of initiatives to help protect children from inappropriate material on the Internet,” according to the Budget statement.
Mandatory filtering also made it onto the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s set of objectives in the next few years.
It listed the “procurement of filtering tool and advice to assist ISPs to implement mandatory filtering and delivery of a grants program on wider filtering services” as a key performance indicator, which is also known as a benchmark for success.
But not all citizen initiatives got a cash injection through the latest Budget. A recent increase in the standards of the Australian Broadband Guarantee, which pays a subsidy to ISPs willing to provide decent Internet to affected users, saw Government funding for the project drop by $16.4m over the next four years.
“The increased availability of metro-comparable broadband services to residential and small business premises has reduced the funds required,” the Government stated in its Budget report.
Revenue raisers for the Government’s NBN push include the heavily criticised Aussie Infrastructure Bonds. The first round is set to be sold to institutional and other wholesale investors.
“In 2010-11, $300 million of [Government investment in NBN Co] will be financed by Aussie Infrastructure Bonds,” it said. “Consideration is currently being given to offerings of Aussie Infrastructure Bonds for household investors.”
The Government will need to find plenty of investors with the $25m McKinsey Implementation study predicting the rollout of an NBN will cost $18.3 billion over the next four years alone.