The national broadband network could save households $3800 per year through increased productivity by 2020, a new study has found.
The Deloitte Access Economics study evaluates the benefits of high speed broadband, putting dollar figures on the impacts in 2020 if and when the NBN is delivered.
This comes as voters weigh up Labor’s Fibre-to-the-Home NBN plan with the coalition’s cheaper Fibre-to-the-Premise alternative. Labor’s plan offers a faster service.
The report finds the growth of e-commerce will deliver cheaper prices and better quality for a wide range of goods and services.
There will be reductions in travel costs for families and businesses from e-commerce and in accessing health, education and government services. It also predicts broadband will allow more people to work from home leading to reduced travel costs and higher workforce participation.
According to the report a major benefit of the NBN comes from improved business productivity which will be worth some $16 billion across the economy by 2020. This higher productivity benefits families through cheaper prices, higher quality and better wages.
The report assesses the household benefits as being worth an average of $3,800 a year (in today’s dollars) by 2020. A single income couple running a small business with two children could be more than $7,000 a year better off due to benefits such as improved productivity and better educational opportunities for their children.
Older Australians also have the potential to be $7,000 a year better off because improved access to e-health may avoid the need to move into an aged care home and reduce the number of trips to the doctor.
While young unemployed person could more easily access education, improving their prospects of finding work and making them $13,000 better off a year.
Opposition communications spokesperson, Malcolm Turnbull, told ABC radio this morning the Deloitte report referred to were all available under his approach.
“I was in an apartment complex in Sydney yesterday where a private contractor has installed a Fibre-to-the-Node system there where the top product that is offered is 100mbps download and 40 mbps upload which is more than capable of delivering all of the applications referred to in the Deloitte report,” he said.
“The Deloitte report is not an argument in favour of fibre to the premises, it is an argument in favour of having very fast broadband.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Labor’s NBN would deliver services over a superfast network right to the cutomer’s premises.
“When it comes to superfast, affordable and reliable broadband, only Federal Labor will do it once, do it right, and do it with fibre,” he said.
“The Coalition’s plan is to roll out a network which will be obsolete as soon as it is built because it relies on last century’s copper wire.”