The Federal Government owned NBN Co yesterday announced that the National Broadband Network (NBN) project will cost an additional $4.6 billion to build and operate.
While the project may be over budget, according to an updated corporate plan, NBN Co is on target with their rollouts. A total of 92,000 premises are expected to be customers by mid-2013 and around 500,000 by mid-2014.
This information differs greatly from NBN Co’s December 2010 corporate plan which forecast 419,000 premises connected by mid-2013. This decrease in total customers would make it easier for an incoming Coalition Government to scale back the project. Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has blamed the new forecast on a nine-month delay in getting access to Telstra’s detailed network information, which held up the volume rollout.
Australia is several years behind the technological world leaders in terms of broadband and wireless services. If a Tony Abbott-led Coalition government gains power at the next Federal Election, we could be pushed even further behind.
If NBN Co had been able to deliver on their expected 419,000 customers by the middle of 2013, it would have been almost impossible for a Coalition government to tinker with the overall strategy of the NBN but, with the revised forecast of 92,000 customers, it is more likely than not that the Coalition will deliver on their promise to scale back the project.
In the past three Federal Elections my vote has gone to the Coalition as I have believed in the policies being put forward. If the Coalition government continue with their policy of scrapping the NBN and implementing their alternative broadband plan expected to cost 15% of the price and provide a scaled down version − most likely I will be changing my vote to a different party.
The NBN is one of the most important pieces of party policy of the past decade in terms of growing the Australian economy. Faster internet services will not only open Australia up to the world, it will provide a better quality of life for Australians throughout the country through essential services (telehealth and ehealth) which may not have been possible to provide.
The mining boom won’t last forever. Australia needs to cement itself as a technology power house and the NBN is one step on the way to achieving this.
Do you think the NBN is a waste of money? Will you reconsider voting for the Coalition at the next election if they forge ahead with their alternative broadband plan policy?
Read about the Coalition’s alternative broadband plan.