TURNBULL UNDERMINING NBN BUSINESS CASE

Reports today that Telstra is considering rolling out its own fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) plan in competition with the NBN reveal the serious consequences of Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate network.

This follows the ACCC’s ruling yesterday to allow TPG’s FTTB rollout – which cherry-picks low-cost, high value apartments – to continue.

This threatens NBN Co’s ability to provide high speed broadband to all Australians, no matter where they live or do business.

This is because NBN Co needs densely-populated, profitable areas to subsidise the rollout of broadband to Australians living in higher-cost regional and remote areas.

The threat posed by cherry-picking should not be underestimated. Unchecked, this has the potential to punch a big enough hole in NBN Co’s business case and bring the project on budget.

This problem has arisen because Malcolm Turnbull failed to properly consider the consequences of his second-rate broadband policy prior to the election.

TPG announced its decision on 17 September 2013, just ten days after the 2013 federal election. It was a direct result of Coalition policy.

A FTTB rollout was no threat to Labor’s world-class fibre-to-the-premises network, but it could compete with Malcolm Turnbull’s cheaper, second-rate network.

This explains why the Minister has been sitting on NBN Co’s 2014-17 Corporate Plan for more than three months and is refusing to release it.

Rather than further dithering and half-measures, Malcolm Turnbull needs to act decisively.

He should release NBN Co’s 2014-17 Corporate Plan immediately and come clean on the effect his policy and indecision have had on the rollout of the NBN to all Australians.

FRIDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2014