Former Treasurer, Peter Costello, has launched a scathing attack on the National Broadband Network (NBN), branding it “the National boondoggle Network”.
In his latest blog post on the Sydney Morning Herald, Costello picked at an issue that has plagued the Federal Government’s NBN project: The lack of cost-benefit analysis.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said the cost of the NBN needs to be “reverse engineered” to grasp the full benefits of the network.
The former Treasurer criticised the Government’s unjustified spending of $43 billion on the NBN.
He said the Government has yet to prove the fibre network would be viable and has failed to look at other alternative technologies before spending the money.
“[O]ur Government is not as careful about $43 billion as you would with $43,” he said in his blog post.
Costello cast skepticism on rural areas getting first shot at being connected onto the NBN.
He pointed out there were fewer customers regional locations compared to metropolitan areas.
“Guess where the installation is to commence? Would it surprise you to know priority will be given to the electorates held by Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, whose votes are critical to the Government?” he said.
“The Minister for Communications, Senator [Stephen] Conroy, has figured out how to turn the National Broadband Network into the National boondoggle Network.”
NBN Co’s acquiescence over the favouring of rural areas is a surprise since it is the least commercial way of planning the build-out, Costello said.
“The point of having a board is to get independent and commercial oversight of operations,” he said. “If this board is not up to that, then it might as well fold.”