The latest budget papers have revealed that the Turnbull Government’s $29.5 billion public funding cap for the National Broadband Network (NBN) will be depleted by the end of the 2016/17 financial year.
However, in Budget 2016/17, the Turnbull Government suggested that it may increase public funding for the NBN beyond the initial $29.5 billion cap. “In the event that NBN is initially unable to raise the necessary debt on acceptable terms, interim funding support may be required,” the documents read.
The NBN will connect its one-millionth active user later this month and already expects to exceed a full-year revenue target of $300 million due to higher than anticipated data consumption.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will release his party’s NBN plan in the next few weeks. Technology experts expect the plan to be based around a full-fibre network with high-speed cables running directly into as many houses as possible. The Finance Department has warned of a negative impact on the budget if the model proposed under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard were to be adopted.
“We’ll be announcing our NBN policy in the coming weeks, but it’ll be a good NBN plan. The future of this country relies upon strong regions, connected not only to our cities but to the world,” said Mr Shorten.
The removal of Tony Abbott from power saw Malcolm Turnbull become one of our most well-received leaders in recent history. The Prime Minister is still being seen as the Coalition’s ‘champion’ for an NBN plan which will provide the nation with a world-class connection while, compared to Labor’s plan, saving the country billions of dollars.
For better or worse, the Australian public still associate Malcolm Turnbull with the NBN. After all, it was Mr Turnbull who told us to trust the Coalition and its plan to have the NBN in every home around Australia for less money and in less time.
Well where exactly is my connection Mr Turnbull? I don’t know a single person who has an NBN connection. In fact, the NBN website cannot even give me an estimate of when it expects to commence construction in my area. I am not alone in this – many of my friends who live in suburbs all around Melbourne are yet to receive any notification of when work will commence.
The Opposition will release its NBN plan in the coming weeks, with early indications of a policy change entailing a much faster and more stable connection, which will be easier to maintain in the long run but, in the initial stages, will cost more to install.
Make no mistake, this is an election that will be fought largely on policy and the current Government will be held accountable for its tardiness in rolling out the NBN.
What do you think? Is the NBN an important election policy? Would you change your vote based on the two major parties’ NBN policies?