Following its Strategic Review of the National Broadband Network (NBN), the NBN Co has informed the government that Australia’s largest national infrastructure project is forecast to miss its completion date by three years, and would cost $73 billion to complete.
However, executive chairman, Ziggy Switkowski, claims it can be rolled out faster and at a lower cost if an alternative approach combining “proven technologies with existing capable networks” were employed.
“By 2019, at least two-thirds of Australians in the fixed-line footprint would have access to download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) from NBN Co compared to only 57 per cent under the re-evaluation of the previous plan,” Switkowski said.
“The proposed model could save taxpayers more than $31bn compared to the current fibre-to-the-premises-only rollout. It would also mean less disruption and less invasiveness to the homes and driveways of millions of Australians.”
Construction of the NBN Co commenced in 2009, and by June 2014 is expected to pass a total of 357,000 brownfields premises with fibre against a target of 1.129m as set out in the August 2012 Corporate Plan. The total number of brownfields premises with an active NBN service is now forecast to be 90,000 versus the August 2012 Corporate Plan target of 412,000.
According to an NBN Co statement, its analysis has found that if the NBN were to continue under its previous model, it would: require $29bn in additional peak funding; require more than $19bn of additional capital expenditure; miss its forecast completion date by three years; forego revenue of more than $12bn between 2011 and 2012; require a cumulative increase in operatives expenditure of more than $5bn until the new network completion date of 2024; generate a lower IRR.
A statement from NBN Co states “the new-look NBN would resemble the architecture of similar broadband rollouts in other advanced economies, embracing a range of technologies including fibre-to-the-node and HFC, alongside fibre-to-the-premises, fixed wireless, satellite as well as future advances in telecommunications technology.”
The statement also claims the approach should be able to deliver access to wholesale speeds of up to 50Mbps to 90 per cent of Australia’s fixed-line footprint and wholesale speeds of up to 100Mbps to 65 to 75 per cent by 2019.