The NBN Will Cost $90 Billion Claims Turnbull

On the apparent eve of the Coalition's broadband policy launch, Malcolm Turnbull has come out swinging, saying that his maths indicates that the real cost of the National Broadband Network is closer to $90 billion, rather than the $37.4 billion estimated by NBN Co.

In a piece of the Coalition's broadband strategy he gave to The Telegraph, Turnbull claimed that calculations done by the likes of Macquarie Bank and several telcos and analysts claim that NBN Co is way off with its cost estimates. Not by a small margin, either.

NBN Co estimates that the capital cost of constructing fibre-to-the-home for Australia's 12.1 million premises would be $2400 per home. Macquarie Bank's analysis, however, puts that cost at $4000 per home, while the Coalition's estimate puts it at $3600.

Turnbull also predicts that the cost of access for consumers to the NBN will rise by 12 per cent per year through to 2021.

Turnbull also claims in his analysis that the fibre-to-the-home deployment will be delayed by a further four years, with the final completion date estimated by the Coalition at 2025. That's where some of the extra costs are coming from.

A detailed analysis of the delays is pretty scarce at this stage. Hopefully we'll have more when the policy is released this week.

Meanwhile, Conroy has hit back at the claims, labelling Turnbull and the Coalition a "fact-free zone". The Communications Minister told ABC Radio this morning:

Well, the NBN is being built. We have nearly a million homes under construction at the moment. The corporate plan, audited by the Auditor-General, is produced each year, and what you're seeing in that corporate plan is $37.4 billion is the cost of building the NBN — not, as today the Coalition is claiming, $90 billion.
I mean, the Coalition are a fact-free zone. They don't have any facts to support these claims. They rely on misleading statistics and misleading data to try and make these scare campaigns. And what you've seen today is a classic policy-free zone claim by the Coalition.




    As Julia said over the weekend, Abbott is nothing more than an economic simpleton. Same appears to go for the Coalition as a whole.

      I’ve never understood the concept of putting down politicians in large sweeping statements. He’s an economic simpleton? He has a degree in economics and laws and Master of Arts as a Rhode Scholar. Disagree with his policies, sure, but don’t forget that he’s very likely smarter than you and better educated than you.

        "Labor economics" is the ultimate oxymoron. If Abbot is a "simpleton", then words defy me as to describe Labor.

          Liberals current plan seems to be to just get Abbott to keep his mouth shut so people forget how much of an oaf he is whilst labor tear themselves down from the inside.

            Are you saying that in the same situation you would provide different advice? You might not like what is happening but it is politically astute . . . unlike the way Labor is tearing itself apart, which is asinine!

        "he’s very likely smarter than you and better educated than you"
        Yes, so very likely...

          Is anyone here a Rhodes Scholar? Fewer than 10 Australians a year are selected, it is a pretty fair judge of both intellect and character for anyone to be selected.

            The only thing it's an indication of is that he was a Rhodes Scholar.

              That's like saying Jensen Button is a motorist or that Usain Bolt is a jogger. Go and read up on the selection criteria/process and stop making yourself look like a complete idiot.

                Wasn't he sponsored in some catholic deal? As in he got his spot through his churchy intentions rather than academic merits.

                Don't be such a twat. You're simply impressed by the prestige of the thing, that speaks more about your own naiveté than it does about his character or ability.

                  Again, read the criteria. But yes, I am properly impressed by the achievement. It has nothing to do with prestige - after all, Bob Hawke was also a Rhodes Scholar and as PM he was a national embarrassment - but, like winning a Nobel Prize, it takes considerable effort.

        i studied economics and commerce at uni

        all of my friends studied the same, and some did law and arts too

        ...i can tell you that just having a degree doesnt mean anything because the amount of morons and idiots i saw graduate was astonishing

        you can print a degree off the internet these days

          Yes but neither you or your friends got a Rhodes Scholarship and he clearly he didn't get his degrees off the internet.

          I'm not saying the man is a genius and I'm not trying to get political. But a random internet dude calling him an "economic simpleton" just doesn't sit right. The same can go for people calling Gillard a moron, someone who became a partner at a law firm by the age of 29.

            Those words come from Gillard mate, not my own mouth.

            Ignore the verbal bashing of either party and focus on the facts, neither has any considerable experience in the relevant IT field so as the people putting them in power we have the option to support the right initiative. The NBN is the right way to go, it's a permanent long term fix to a problem we've had for the last decade.

          You assume that the situation today is the same as it was 40 years ago when Abbot got his degree. I doubt that you have the evidence to support that.

        He's an economic genius, yet he's more willing to approve a road tunnel that provided a cost-benefit analysis of 0.5 over a rail tunnel with a cost-benefit result of 1.3?

        Yep. He sure is smarter than I.

          The sooner you get over the whole “everybody who is in politics and disagrees with me is an idiot” and start asking “why is this educated individual who has countless advisers making this decision that I don’t understand?”, you’ll start seeing more rationality politics.

            Not sure how you've dissected that commentary from my initial remark in the first place. I disagree with both sides of the policisl divide, to do otherwise is foolish and naive.

            Advisors provide just as much legitimate advice as they do on what's likely to poll well with voters.

            In the case of physical infrastructure, Abbott has noted a preference for road infrastructure over new public transit projects. There's no economic rationale behind this mentality and it's not supported by Infrastructure Australia or the states.

            But I should probably just lie down and accept the future anyway?

              Abbott has stated that he doesn’t see it as a federal responsibility to provide funding for commuter rail, it should be the responsibility of the state. He continues to support interstate rail and major highways as these lead to interstate commerce – not to mention the huge difference in investment. This isn’t a question of economics, it breaks down to a difference in political philosophies and what should be the role of a federal government.

                It's ignorance of the wider economic implication of providing efficient public transport in order to ensure the wider working population can manoeuvre around the city. These projects are fundamentally important in raising the lagging economic trends of both Victoria and Queensland.

                Furthermore, each states respective Coalition governments are calling for these individual projects to be pushed ahead as matters of importance. Yet the Federal Coalition doesn't share this "political philosophy"?

                  Once again, I’ll reiterate.

                  Tony Abbott has never said that an expanded commuter rail system in Victoria is a bad idea. He has said that the federal government should not pay for it. He's saying it should be up to the state government to pay for this initiative. His objections have absolutely nothing to do with the economic viability of the project. This is a perfect example of someone just assuming that a politician is stupid when the conversation is something else entirely. Thank you for demonstrating this.

        You put @nway down in one large sweeping statement, how are you any different?

          I qualified my statements, that's how I am different.

            Qualified? @nway could also be a Rhodes scholar. He could be a genius. Your qualification is pointless and so is your argument....

              Do I really need to explain what saying "qualified my statements" means?

        I think your wrong for saying politicians are smart in the first place. What qualification does a politician need to get into politics??? None... They just need to be good at spin and signing papers.
        What qualification does Malcom Turnbull have to be the Telecommunication Minister? None, he is just another guy voicing his opinion. He wants to implement Fibre to the Node, which the UK implemented and opening admitted it was the biggest mistake they made, they should have gone Fibre to the Home.

          What on earth? I never said politicians are smart in the first place. I pointed out an individuals qualification.
          Malcolm Turnbull is another Rhodes Scholar who studied Civil Law at Oxford. He is not stupid.

          Oh and *you're.

            Who cares what qualification he has? Richard Branson didn't even finish bl**dy high school.

              Richard Branson is a potential candidate to run our country. If he was , I would be saying the exact same thing about him.

            I quote: " Disagree with his policies, sure, but don’t forget that he’s very likely smarter than you and better educated than you."
            That says to me you think he is very intelligent, as you are comparing him to your average person.

            As far as turnbull is concerned, my main issue with him is that like all ministers, they have f*ck all qualification in the field they are in charge of. He is making decisions purely on an economic basis. Which is wrong but expected for someone with his qualifications.

              I said he was likely smarter and better educated and pointed out his qualifications that justify this reasoning. I didn't say that politicians are just smarter as an intrinsic part of their job.

              It's obvious that this discussion is completely beyond you. I'll point out that I was happy to respond to other people that disagree with me as I can see there is some reasoning as to why they have their opinions but you’re a complete waste of time.

                Point taken, I misread and I'm happy to admit when I'm wrong.

          "What qualification does Malcom Turnbull have to be the Telecommunication Minister? None, he is just another guy voicing his opinion"

          Ever heard of OzEmail? No.. of course not... go back to living under your rock.

          He's far more qualified than Stephen Conroy AKA Mr "Spams and Scams from the Portal"

        In Gillards defence, she was referring to a number of comments he's made, and one recent once specifically, that suggest he has no idea what he's talking about. All the education in the world doesn't change that.

          She was responding to Abbott saying that the changes to taxation of superannuation is like “raiding peoples funds”. Which it is. In the Cyprus financial crisis the government raided peoples funds as well, so this is why he said “shades of Cyprus”. I’m not saying I agree with him, it’s an extreme analogy. Calling him an “economic simpleton” is just as extreme though. But that’s what politicians do, they make quotable statements for the masses to pass around so they think they can have some sort of meaningful political debate.

            I think the cumulative evidence (see Carbon tax comments) supports the view that he is an economic simpleton or a liar (given his job the latter is pretty much a given). I say this as an economic simpleton, that seems to be able to get my head around things he either can't or won't - i.e. the carbon and mining taxes.

              Do you mind doing me a favour and pointing me in the direction of the specific comments you're referring to?

                How about calling it a carbon tax? It's not.

                  "Carbon Pricing" and "Carbon Tax" have been terms that have been used interchangeably across the spectrum of political parties - even the Greens have been calling it a Carbon Tax. I realise there is a difference but even included in the Carbon Pricing Scheme there is actually a Carbon Tax. I wouldn't draw conclusions from semantics.

            Funny, "raiding super funds" was a very good idea from 1996-2003 as a way of reducing "debt". You know, when the Howard Government raided the superannuation funds for the entire federal public service to help fund their surpluses, and yet still they steered the country into deficit. The funds they then had to pay back from the sale of Telstra to establish the "Future Fund", i.e. other people's retirement income which we spent to reduce the debt bill we ran up.

            Of course, I doubt Mr Abbott had much to do with it - as both Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, how much influence would he have had over the salaries and super funds of public servants?

        I used to think that, but I am yet to be bowled over by him. Has he said anything even remotely sophisticated yet? From every indication he really does seem like an economic lightweight.

        Rhodes scholarship isn't really about intellect, it's about people who want to change the world. If you're a hard worker with vision for public service that's a desirable criteria for scholarship. See how I didn't mention anything about economics and Rhode schoalrship? Because there is no relationship.

        Rhodes Scholar or not, he is a politician and therefore a liar. He could be the most intelligent person on earth but his membership of a political party that wants to be in government means that facts have nothing whatsoever to do with his statements.

        Highly recomend reading the essay by David Marr on Tony Abbott. He is highly competitive, quite intelligent (crafty) and essentially a fearless pugilist. He likes fighting and will probably win this next election. He has a killer instinct, would make a good army general bad sadly a bad leader of country little to no vision for the country.

        Turnbull by contrast is a good man, with vision and a creative intelligence that is far superior to Abbott. Sadly he is not manipulative enough for politics and probably why he lost the leadership. I feel when he goes into power he will try his best with the NBN even though there will be allot of compromises. At least it will be better than when Howard was in charge and literally nothing happened with broadband at all.

        This is the most irritating thing. Abbott is most definitely a very intelligent man, but he forgoes this. Andrew Wilkie didn't sign up with the Coalition at the last election because he recognized that Abbott was willing to say or do anything, even go against everything he's said before in public in his personal quest for power.
        Abbott doesn't remotely care about Australia, nor the Australian people; all he wants is power.
        There's no doubt Abbott is supremely intelligent. He plays politics better than anyone else has in the history of Australian politics. That's what makes him so scary.

        He maybe an economic genius, perhaps he got a PhD in economics but he is still a traditional politician. He will say and do anything to get himself voted into office. He lack conviction and integrity. That is the only reason why he is the coalition leader and not Malcolm Turnbull. He will ignore the science, profess half truth as a fact and believe he can fool us all because we are all gullible.

          Enough with the mindless banter. If you've got nothing to say with substance then you've brought nothing to the table.

      Are all the analysts at Macquarie simpletons as well?

        Those Macquarie people were not analysing the NBN. Turnbull simply took some much smaller analyses of different things and extrapolated them into nonsense. Party political nonsense.

        @ Mike W. Definitely! Macquaire Analyst are employed by a company who will benefit largely if Liberal Government is in power. Remember who did the last Coalition Election promises costing?

      @nway, in another one of your erudite responses here on Giz, you could not tell the difference between geography and geology. I'm surprised you can spell Labor, or do you spell it Labour??

      1. The Auditor General has not audited Conroy's roll out plan, only the accounts - that was a very big lie by Conroy.
      2. Conroy says construction is underway past 1 Million homes, so it is reasonable to assume that by September's election about half of those homes ought to be connected! How many are connected now? In December 2012 it was 34,500. As there are around 10 million households per ABS figures and a finish date of 2021, that makes an average of 1.25 million homes to be passed each year or 600,000 passed every 6 months!
      4. What proportion of take up do you think will occur? If an initial 50% is assumed, then 300,000 should therefore have signed up by September's election.

      I do not believe NBN construction will have passed 1m homes, nor will 600,000 homes be potentially connected and nor will there be 300k people signed up for the service by September!!! This is a major line in the sand of proof that the NBN is capable of delivering!

      You read it here first, this is Labor's NBN line in the sand!

      Last edited 09/04/13 8:17 am

        @dougal, yeah I did indeed write geography as opposed to geology. My mistake. Perhaps keep the wise cracks to yourself though, they're necessary for a friendly forum.

        I haven't stated there aren't issues with the NBN at any stage in this discussion either. I'm sure Conroy has bungled more than a few details along the way. I fail to understand the logic behind the Coalition's claims however, as do others within the media (Crikey had a fantastic piece today). We'll wait to see the documentation which backs up these claims. So far we've got a bit of media fluff from the tabloids.

        Last edited 08/04/13 10:49 pm

          Then perhaps you should also keep your political allegiances off the comments too and stick to some facts when you blog.

          Being Pro-Labor, Pro-Liberal or Pro-Katter without any policy or factual detail just creates annoying noise, which is all you have done!

            It's a political post, unless I misread the part where it states this is "a piece of the Coalition’s broadband strategy".

            Perhaps you should keep your passive-agressive stance elsewhere.

    I'd still want it at 100 Billion.

    Turnbull also claims in his analysis that the fibre-to-the-node deployment will be delayed by a further four years, with the final completion date estimated by the Coalition at 2025. That’s where some of the extra costs are coming from.

    Should that be fibre-to-the-home? I thought FTTN was the coalition plan?

      You are right, that is their plan; but becuse the ALP is royally screwed for the election; and we are looking at a garunteed Abbot government, they are just adjusting all the forecasts in prediction that they will win.
      Which is weird, because they are basically saying that "when we take over we will make it way over budget"
      But then again; most of abbots policies are garbage.

        "But then again; most of abbots policies are garbage."

        So which Labor policies have you liked the most - GroceryWatch, FuelWatch, Petrol Commissioner, 2020 Summit, border protection, stopping illegal immigrants, "There will be no carbon tax under a government that I lead", the Citizens Assembly to set a carbon price, insulation debacle, "Cash for clunkers car scheme", the myriad "green schemes" that have cost billions and achieved nothing, SuperClinics (only two of 32 built and those are only clinics), paying a bonus to nurses to return to public hospitals . . . and so on and so on.

          I will still vote Gillard over Abott. Dont care what happens in the next 5 (or however many) months before the election. Abott is just such an unknown dodgy variable and i mostly dont like change :).

            Tony "Titanic" Abbott - #unthinkable

            I don't think calling a former cabinet minister an 'unknown dodgy variable' really stacks up for a vote for Gillard - neither Gillard nor Rudd had any past cabinet experience when they came into government and you've already agreed to their rather long lists of faults, so it's rather irrational to support Labour on this premise

            Unless of course you just genuinely hate change and always vote for the incumbent party

          So which Labor policies have you liked the most

          The NBN.

          I have stated here in the past that the only thing I care about this election is broadband. I stand by that.

            This is true, and a very tough one.. It's a big one to us techies and I think a properly delivered NBN to the rest of Sydney is important. I already enjoy it in my new apartment building in the south-city area of Sydney, and see it as hugely beneficial already. Wouldn't want this steps to go backwards...

              I'm sorry, but as a 'techie' with both IT, Project Management, Telecommunications, Finance and Analysis experience, I have been dead-set against the NBN since I first heard about it. Our country has one of the widest spread populations in the world (on par with Canada), laying optics anywhere outside of the captial cities is a ridiculous concept.

                You probably feel the same about sending power cables outside capital cities too...or copper wiring for phone lines. Face facts we already have multiple networks covering the NBN footprint so it can't be that stupid an idea. The existing copper network is decaying and costs a tonne in maintenance. And it is precisely the tyranny of distance that means we need it more than other countries. You can have all that experience...I and many others I know and work with have similar and I don't know a single one against it.

                It's also a matter of interpretation how widespread we are. The vast majority of our population live in about 30 cities mostly around the coast.

          In fact, apart from the fact that I love the suburb I live in, I primarily moved there because of the NBN. And it was worth all the effort.
          None of the other policies really have any bearing on my life whatsoever. If they do affect you that much, petition your local MP, that's what they're there for no matter which flavor they are.

          Everything you just mentioned, you trot them out like they're a crime against humanity. I very much laud their efforts, even if they have failed and stumbled every now and then. e.g. Pink batts scheme, aka the biggest media beat up in history. You really want a government that just does nothing and cut taxes and cut services? Oh tahts right, that's the definition of a conservative. I guess we can agree to disagree then.

            Media beat-up? They control the board of the ABC, the only media that gets out is what they allow, just look at the Slater & Gordon debarcle!!

              No they don't, ABC is fully independent. If you have any evidence to the contrary feel free to send it to News Limited. They'll rip your arm off to get at it.

              The current MD used to work or Greiner.... Thy must be in the pocket of labor then mustn't they.

          Those things you name as policy were not really policy at all, just trivial things that attempted to provide useful information but perhaps did not work. Why don't you mention real policies that the ALP government has designed and implemented with great competence; like their handling of the GFC, the introduction of the price on carbon, the so called "pink bats" business which in spite of popular garbage to the contrary was proven to be a highly effective and very efficient policy.

          People who support the opposition parties really need to dump the prejudice, theirs and other people's, and look at the facts, not the lies and myths put about by the opposition and their rich mates who own the news media. If you can get the rose-tinted spectacles off you are in for a really big surprise!

            Find a single INDEPENDANT economist that says that they "handled the GFC well", there are none outside of the labour party spin ... our economy was based on minerals, 90% of minerals were exported to China, China went through the GFC maintaining 9% growth annually the whole time (i.e. completely unaffected) ... we were never in danger ... all the labour party did was spend the 90bn $ surplus and rack up another (estimated) 270bn $

              You might have to jog my memory but I kind of remember swan winning some big global award? Surely they were labor voters though right?

              There's also thi little piece from a very right wing newspaper

            Yep, accoridng to smh in the past six months of carbon tax legislation Australia's carbon emissions have dropped by 8.6%. That is something to celebrate is it not? Oh that's right, this goes against conservative confirmation bias. JULIAR herp derp!

          Asylum seekers as I'm sure you are referring to are NOT "illegal" immigrants. How many time does this have to be repeated?

        The only people screwed at the election is the Australian public.

        The only thing we are voting for is how we want the country to get @*%#ed up.

        NBN in its current form and cost is still better than anything Libs have come up with.

      Hey mate,
      You're absolutely right. Fixed that up just now. Apologies.

        No worries, I thought it was a little strange Turnbull would be saying his plan was the more costly.

          I wish he would.. Given the cost to keep copper running every year isn't cheap =/

            and also lost revenue from the slower internet speeds. Coalition should be all for NBN but they have to oppose apparently.

              Yeeeeep. If they want to keep the existing copper network why even bother with FTTN, it seems like a waste to me.

              They are...well they used to late as 2011 you can see Joyce saying Rudd just stole the nationals NBN plan.....then you have a whole heap of state libs asking why they aren't getting it fast enough...but Abbott needs something big to lie the NBN it is (even though polls show the majority want it...guess he's counting on a big chunk of that majority being die hard lib voters who will vote for him anyway rather than simpler telegraph reading western Sydney folk.

      I agree - even at 100 billion, it's still a good idea - although I think it's pretty clear that Turnbull's figures are likely to be exaggerated for the sake of good press coverage. The current NBN costings have been heavily scrutinised, and while delays may force costs upward, they're unlikely to almost triple.

      While some of Turnbull's claims may be based on pessimistic figures, others are just plain wrong. "Turnbull also predicts that the cost of access for consumers to the NBN will rise by 12 per cent per year through to 2021"

      The price for consumer's access is controlled by NBNCo's agreement with the ACCC. The price rises are fixed to a pre-defined rate, indexed to inflation. Unless inflation rises at 10% or more in the next few years, this is pretty much impossible and displays a significant degree of either a) a massive lack of understanding of the NBN plan or b) a willingness to tell outright lies, for the sake of political advantage.

      Considering that the ACCC scrutiny of NBNCo's pricing strategy has been in the news of late, (and that it's his job to know the plan backwards) Turnbull must be well aware of it. So he's knowingly telling lies, the scumbag.

        I'm going with B. turn bulls an astute man...astute enough to spend his own money to give France an NBN :s

      When would you say it isn't worth it? I bet you can't even comprehend a 100 billion dollars...

      Imagine everyone in Australia. Man, Women and Child. Let's say that the average family consists of 4/5 members, that would be $160,000 - $200,000 Is it worth it now? Would you hand over this much money for this one project?

        Imagine everyone in Australia. Man, Women and Child. Let's say that the average family consists of 4/5 members, that would be $160,000 - $200,000 Is it worth it now?

        I think so, but you are welcome to disagree.

        Would you hand over this much money for this one project?

        I don't have to. This is a large infrastructure project that will generate an on-going income. That's like asking if I would personally pay a soldier or buy a tank.

        How much do you think it cost to build the current copper network? That was funded by the government too, with taxpayer dollars. Was it worth it? Should we have NOT built the copper network and stuck with the postal service, because they could have built a few new hospitals instead? What about the road network, and the electricity network ? These were all paid for with taxpayer dollars too. Should we have not built them? Or do we now realise that these were investments in our future - vital infrastructure for tomorrow's economic growth?

        Image, for a moment, if we considered doing what Abbott & Turnbull are proposing (with their wireless/FTTN model) for the road network, back in the days before sealed roads. Building the Coalition's NBN is like replacing the gravel roads with dual-lane bitumen, throughout the country. Yes, in some places it would be a major improvement over the existing facility. But in many places, it would be both vastly inadequate and ridiculously short-sighted. You don't build a highway for the next 5 years, you build it for the projected traffic 20-30 years into the future.

        Projected internet traffic, and the businesses it supports, are projected to increase exponentially in the next few years. If we build the Coalition's NBN, it will be choked to a standstill within a decade. Then we'll have to build the ALP's NBN anyway.....and this will cost a lot more than building it properly the first time.

        It's not that we can't afford the ALP's NBN - in the scheme of things, it's very cheap. It's that we can't afford to NOT build it.

          Given that its gong to return a profit and that we aren't even paying for it (the future fund is) who cares what it costs....future fund invests in shares for Phillip Morris or NBN? Hmmmm tough choice

          I can't believe there is someone that is willing to defend handling of Testra. A company who enjoyed the monopoly of the market due to government and was able to hold a majority of the market even when semi-privatised because of regulations. But it would stand to reason why you would defend the NBN, basically Telstra 2.0.

          NBN isn't the only option to the future. A great start would be to unregulate the telecomm market and assert that the Australian Government would take a strong positive stance towards companies who wish to update the system instead of running red tape everywhere making it virtually impossible.

          You don't solve bad practise of regulation and government monopolies by replacing it with the same thing.

            Trying living outside a capital city. Government has to do this because private business won't...we tried that under Howard. They cherry picked the most profitable and ignored the rest.

            Telstra and a gov monopoly wasn't bad...the way it was might have been...but a gov controlled necessary service is the only safe and logical method for ensuring proper supply and enforcing changes. You don't sell water, power, road, telecommunications etc...these are right rights of the citizens of a society and should remain the property of the society....even the yanks aren't stupid enough to sell their airports...but we do.

        Hey mate, assuming there are 20 million people Australians, a $100 billion project would cost $5,000 per person. That's $20,000 - $25,000 per family. Hardly $200,000.

        Oh did you go to turnbulls accountants too? It's $4500 per person at that cost not $45,000.
        So would I pay $5k to have it at my house, my school, my hospital, my place of work....absolutely. Remember that cost isn't just a household cost but a business and services cost too. So's still stupidly cheap at twice the price.

          I was using mdolley figure of 100 billion dollars. Which is basically saying that at the house hold price of around 175k he would rather the opportunity to pay for continuing NBN services to his house instead of paying half a down payment on a house. Ludicrous.

            100 billion / 20 million = five thousand.

            As Cheshire Cat said - the NBN isn't just going to houses. It's going to schools, businesses and hospitals too.

            I have no idea where you are getting your $175k household figure from, but even if that figure was correct comparing it to a house deposit is utterly stupid. You can't compare a national infrastructure project to a personal expense. They are incompatible concepts.

            Ask me if for $5000 (over a 5 year rollout), I would like to have the NBN available to me no matter where I choose to live... The answer is yes. I'd say yes just for the convenience of not having to decipher the ADSL2 availability map next time I move.

              My mistake...
              But you still would think it's worth 200k a family, if you read what you quoted.

              The government taxes you money, and then uses it for other means. If government taxed you less, who knows how you would have used that money. The concept isn't incompatible.

                Except your taxes aren't paying for's coming from the future they partially got from selling Telstra to invest for future super payments...should they invest in nation building projects that will return a profit (it will be a monopoly and gov can it not make a profit) or in Phillip Morris shares as the future fund used to?

                No idea if its worth it for the ludicrous price you quoted...possibly still could be though with a thorough cost benefit analysis looking at cost of copper maintenance, ($1B a year and growing) potential business improvements and affect of GDP etc. but it's so obviously beneficial at $40-100B that there shouldn't be any discussion.

                There's an article on giz at the moment about a Melbourne tunnel costing $9B 1/4 of the NBN for something that benefits 1/20th, 1/10th of our population? Don't see Abbott going nuts about that.

                The simple fact is that the NBN is still awesome value even at twice the price.

        um excuse me you should check your math:

        100,000,000,000 /
        22,620,600 (Austrailias population 2011, peak, baby bonus dropped off)
        = $4420.75 per person

        but not all of them can pay, children etc ok fine lets round down to 18 million shall we:

        100,000,000,000 /

        A lot of this is coming out of tax we already pay, under liberal you would rather see us still pay the same amount of tax, but also have to pay an additional $2000 per home (if the majority in an area wants fibre) to fix an aging solution we didn't need to invest in in the first place? Coincidentally population growth is in steady increase again so what happens when we reach 40 million and the coalitions 'solution' is still in place... We all live with 1Mbps internet? Perhaps we can all take turns? How about revenue that could be generated by services like ultraviolet, not to mention the 2 large gaming servers that are opening here this year?
        - League of Legends (LoL)
        - Dota 2
        Not to mention the other gaming companies that will take advantage of the recent legislation of R18 rating on games. Doesn't sound like much but when you consider 1.3 billion hours were lost in the last fiscal year playing just LoL... no small number. Without fast internet these services cannot be considered a possibility.

        Everyone's so busy thinking laterally about the economy now, what about the economy 4 years from now or 20 years, will we still be relying on copper cables when the world is using quantum clouds and jetpacks?... because well... jetpacks are awesome. Or will everyone jump ship and move to america or another country?

        Last edited 11/04/13 1:33 pm

    Of course it's going to blow over budget... how much is anyone's guess. Anyone who knows what it's like dealing with government (local state or federal) will know that you charge them twice as much for the same job as the private sector, expect 90-120 days payment after invoicing and aren't accountable for shoddy work. *Yes I have my Monday negative cap on today*

    Macquarie Bank’s analysis is likely the most accurate one of the bunch. I think the 4 year delays are probably a worst case scenario, 2-3 year delays seem more likely (although given the NBN's constant revisions of their forecasts, it's not hard to see this blowing out).
    I want the NBN as much as anyone else, but god-damn it's frustrating watching how badly this project has been managed.

      If you enjoy frustration, then go and talk to some of the contractors. They will tell you all about the frustration from Conroy's political interference and how it is slowing progress . . .

    Let's not get our knickers in a knot, it's an election year, both parties will be making outlandish statements. It's happened before and it will happen in future elections. Of course Turnbull will politicise this, he is a politician. And no one knows what the NBN will cost, they can estimate not Turnbull, Conroy (one of the worst politicians this country has ever seen) anyone, can say what it will cost. You can be sure it will cost more than initial estimates. How much more is impossible to tell, it depends on the model and variables taken into account when making the estimate. The government will low ball it, the opposition will high ball it, that's how two party systems work.

    IMO what is killing the NBN are the crappy plans that offer speeds barely faster than ADSL. Every plan should be 50Mbps or more with 200GB, make it worth it.

    Last edited 08/04/13 10:45 am

      If you want 50Mbps and 200Gb, you can have it. There are several ISP's offering this service for around $75-100/month.

      Of course, there are relatively few people who actually want or need this kind of service. I don't have a need for anywhere near that amount of data, for one - I rarely get to 50Gb at present. In fact, there are an enormous amount of people who would be thrilled to get even a 12Mbps service, since they're currently stuck with heavily congested DSL, 3G or even dial-up internet services. Fixing this ridiculous situation is the main objective of the NBN - not just giving a few nerds a speed thrill.

        The max speed tiers will be good for people who want that kinda of speed, and high data caps will be good for people who like to download.

        Not everyone has these needs and would be quite happy with a 12Mbps connection with little data per month, just as klaw pointed out

        I know a lot of people who can't even get above 5Mbps on adsl (myself included) and would be happy with a 12Mbps with a decent amount of data

        This is the sort of thing that the NBN will fix as klaw also pointed out, the fact that adsl connection speeds drop off massively as you get further from an exchange, and there are plenty of exchanges with no ports left (I have a friend in Perth who cant get adsl with anyone and is stuck using a pocket WiFi device at the moment)

        It all comes down to the fact that this is an important project, regardless of the "cost to the taxpayers" (which it isn't, its more like a loan), And no political bullshit from either side of the fence should stop it from happening.

          So we will build this awesome piece of infrastructure that costs all these billions and tell people "yeah it's capable of 100Mbps, soon it'll do 1000Mbps. But here is an overpriced plan at 25Mbps, with 50GB. That by the way is an artificial cap we invented, we can make you the full speed if we wanted, but we are trying to bleed you dry. Oh by the way regardless if you get the slowest or the fastest, it's still cost you between 2400 and 4000 rods to get your crippled speed. Enjoy your plan John Q Moron."

          Or this, "yeah it's 50Mbps and would you like 200GB, 500GB or unlimited download? we can up it to 100Mbps for an extra five dollars a month. Basically you can download Game of Thrones in a few minutes, it's bloody amazing."

      Similiarly as klaw says, you can have that speed and it'll cost over $85/month. Its not the plans killing the NBN at all, its just time to roll it out.

      I pay 75$ a month for NBN FTTH service with Internode. 25UP/5DOWN and this sees me happy with 1080p streaming and about 8mb/sec fastest download speed when from a reliable server. Peer2Peer gets me my shows in about 15 seconds of starting a download, for a full episode in 720P at the least. Not too bad. Point is - the speed is more than fine. People are putting up with 1.5-5mbps really in a lot of the western sydney suburbs which is realistic ADSL figured around populated suburbs.

        How quickly people forget, plans were over $100 a month for ADSL when they first came out. Prices will drop.

    I couldn't care less what its going to cost, its one of the best public works that Australia has done in the last 20 years, and it should be completed. And anyone that says that we should hand it over to corporations to do are deluding themselves. It didn't work while the government still had a bit of control of Telstra and country areas of australia were just getting shafted, whilst major cities were happily being given ADSL2+ a lot of country areas still couldn't even get ADSL1. The NBN is at least providing for Australia wide not just the cities.

      This is the big thing that people always seem to forget

      The only way that you can get this kinda of infrastructure set up in rural areas is for the government to do it, as there is simply no profit in it for the private sector.

    Labors haters gonna hate ...

    The costs are already ballooning and delays are already happening, to pretend it's not is a farce.

    I also giggle at the fact that Conroy's supporters will jump to his back to defend a cost forecast by someone who has no real world experience as opposed to Turnbull who was in connectivity business, and a Bank that employs proper analysts.

      When Conroy first announced an NBN he famously sates, "$4.7 billion and not a cent more".

        Actually, Liberals stated 4.3bn to the node, Labour quoted 43bn, now Labour claims it's at 37.5bn, how can they under estimate by $5,500,000,000 ... that's not good financial skills, just like if it's 90bn, or $47,000,000,000 over budget

          Well as of today the libs claim $30B to the node...versus $40B to the home....hmmmm...this is a hard choice to make isn't it..which is better value etc?

      finanaical analysis is a joke. its all artibitrary subjective estimates

        What qualifications do you have to support that assertion?

          Oh god, rofl.

          i am one lol (analyst at a major bank) i can tell you its all BS

          Last edited 09/04/13 10:36 am

      You shouldn't point fingers at either or, if you go and look into the facts neither of these scrubs have studied technology within the last 20 years, i've read both their profiles and nowhere does it say they've actually dealt with tech and know what they're talking about... the closest either of them have come to tech is the following:


      Malcom turnbull: "He co-founded OzEmail in 1994", "His software companies have won many awards for exporting Australian technology"

      It doesnt actually mean he had anything to do with the tech side of OzEmail or those companies it just means he was 'involved'... just like the girl down at subway is involved with me eating a sammich...


      Stephan Conroy: ... rather then list all of it just go look for yourself...

      But to cut to the chase most of the experience is political and it's only in the last few years (i would hope) that he's really 'looked into' tech.


      Please though im begging someone.... just ask one of these guys to explain latency, BGP or why their plan is better... without google they'll most likely stumble over their words for the first 2. But as soon as we get to why their plan is better... so far what i've heard is:

      Turnbull: "mines better cuz it's probably gonna be cheaper" (even though it relies on the existing copper frame which is absolute garbage). And "they've been lying it's really gonna cost $90 bazillion"... if anything is worth doing something of significance must be given up, it's called opportunity cost, and what they're doing is making sure the cost is made up while the network is being built.

      Stephen: so far just been debunking claims of turnbull and speaking the truth that is their plan is better in the long run.

      I know tech, i've been in it up to my eyeballs for nigh on 7 years, though im only just starting to get into the networking part as of 4 years ago regarding coding and more recently the hardware (networking side of it). I can definitively tell you this:

      As of right now FTTH is the only viable option in all aspects (with the exception of price) the tech in essence is faster more reliable and a true upgrade (sorely needed). However, if the coalition were to draft a plan that would implement FTTN with the intention of then upgrading that framework to FTTH they have my vote. This promise would have to be clear cut, written in blood an put on display so everyone could see it, there is no use going FTTN without the FTTH step after it.

    I listened to the radio thing... that guy chief exec of AIG he needs to be replaced, "we don't care what model is implemented weather it's FTTN or FTTH"... are you freakin kidding me?! give me FTTH tards i want FTTH!!!

      You can have FttH whenever you want it. Just move to an area where the NBN has already been installed :-)

    The thing is that in the long run a FTTN network is not as cost effective as a FTTP, i mean how much a year would it cost to maintain/ repair a network of 75k+ nodes or replace them if they get to severely damaged? In the long run i can't imagine it would be cheaper alternative to the FTTP the NBN is implementing.

      Not to mention that the FTTN would still relly on the copper cable currently in the ground from the node to the home. Ask a Telstra tech, what condition those are in.

    Turnbull just tweeted (yes I follow him) that Conroy is full of BS to say the auditor general audits the NBN. I would believe Turnbull before red undies on head man.

    @Luke Hopwell

    This article is a little misleading as it suggests the cost of the NBN will rise by $37.4 Billion to $90 Billion.

    That isn't comparing apples for apples.

    $37.4 Billion is the current projected capital cost and the Coalition is projecting that will rise to $71 Billion.

    The $90 Billion also includes the revenue targets which I assume is the cost to subscribers over that period ($19 Billion dollars.)

    While I am a huge supporter of the NBN (even at $90 Billion) I don't think you've accurately described the Coalition's position on the capital cost.

    Given a project of this size I wouldn't be surprised if the final capital cost is double the original cost.

    50mbit? Bleh. 100mbit should be the absolute minimum. Preferably 1gbps.

      Getting the fibre in the ground is the first step. After that the sky is the limit as to future throughput. Just need to upgrade the relay stations.

      Ahmen brother. All this time, effort, money and filibustering for 12Mbps?.... ADSL speeds? iiNet has PEAK AND OFF PEAK! What a joke, words can't facilitate my expresion of frustration. Internode, probably the most respected ISP in Australia, has 300GB at max chickens for 95 bucks. THAT'S the reason people aren't throwing themselves at it, it's just not as obviously fucking awesome as it should be, it's should be you get as fast as you can get and pay for quota.

        I certainly have no interest in moving from my 120mbps cable service to a 100mbps fttp service for a higher price.

        Make it price competitive and speed much faster than competing technologies and I'm all over it, however.

          Thank goodness it's not all about you and the (I guesstimate) less than 1% of the population in the same boat as you. If everyone had access to the same cable service as you, the NBN or even the need for something like it, wouldn't be needed.

            No shit? I'm all for internet equality and reasonable price access for everyone. Just saying that if there is no faster fttn/fttp than is curently available on a residential service, for me (speaking purely for myself) there is no benefit.

            Still absolutely believe that the NBN is a good thing and hope we end up with fttp and gigabit speeds :)

              Apologies, I read more into your initial statement than I should have.

    It's pretty incredible how many people seem to just want FTTH and damn the cost.

      When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself,
      he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it.
      When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else,
      he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat
      less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else's money
      to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he
      buys, but doesn't care at all how much he spends.
      And when a man
      spends someone else's money on someone else, he doesn't care how
      much he spends or what he spends it on. And that's government
      for you. - Milton Friedman

        After 6 years of Labor, all we have to show for it is $250bn in debt and rising daily. I cannot even begin to guess how much debt we would have after another 3 years . . .

          $250 Billion debt in a $4.3 Trillion economy! Every other western government wishes they were so well off. Our debt is tiny compared to every one of our trading partners.

          You know, if you sit at a desk all day writing code or whatever you will double your chances of getting bowel cancer! It's true and accurate and is the kind of crap that our news media put about. Trouble is, your chances double for 1 in a million to 2 in a million, which means that your chances are essentially unchanged.

            We are no where near $4.3 trillion, it's about $1.3 trillion (if you are talking GDP). Public debt of ~25%, add to that private, which is much higher than other countries. So it's significant.

            As for the "Every other western government wishes they were so well off" I don't buy it. Yeah it's great, but we aren't other countries, we demand our politicians spend OUR money correctly, and we don't like being told, "yeah but others aren't so good" Australia is doing fine, so stop blowing our money.

              You can't say a government is fiscally irresponsible because the private sector keeps borrowing money. That's like blaming the government because you crashed your car into a tree while serenading a teddy bear, it just makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

              Australia's public debt as a percentage of GDP is the 4th lowest in the 20 country OECD; after Chile, Estonia and Luxembourg, none of which are major regional economies. Politicians of a certain party are taking advantage of the fact that debt is a dirty word, making it sound like going into debt is bad economic management. Have Australians already forgotten that going into debt was what saved Australia from recession after the global financial crisis of 2008? Wayne Swan was even celebrated as the world's best treasurer by a poll of foreign economic ministers.

                We navigated the GFC primarily because our banks are incredibly stable and the government simulated.... no arguments there. But they continued spending despite healthy growth and low unemployment. This is the exact time you should be going to surplus, things don't get better than 5% unemployment, if we can't manage a proper, and I mean proper surplus now, how the hell are we going to do it when unemployment creeps to 6%, or 7%? Debt saved us, but it's time to start encouraging growth and surplus, and that is done with free market principles of reduced regulation, less government intervention and reduced government spending, things that the Labor party are just completely incapable of.

                After the last recession we racked up $112 billion, and in that recession unemployment was at 10%, and interest rates 15%. This time we had unemployment at 5.8% and interest rates at 6%, why all the debt still? They are spending more now than at the hight of the GFC. The ALP are still spending, creating taxes on a napkin and regularly throwing policy out with out any departmental oversight. If you think the government doesn't have to worry about private debt you are so incalculably ignorant of this topic it's spectacular. They have to develop policy taking in all the variables, and a major one is private debt (which includes business investment.... which in important)

                Also who do you think was responsible for the ideas of the stimulus? The new treasurer, or the seasoned public servants in the treasury department? That's not to take away from the government, at the end of the day the buck stops with them, and they wear it if it goes wrong, so it should work both ways.

                Australia isn't the USA, UK, France or Italy, we are Australia and we should develop fiscal policy accordingly. I can't stand it when people say we should settle I'm sorry, we should never settle.


                Last edited 09/04/13 5:02 pm

            The numbers, they don't add up.


      Not damn the costs, it's been projected already. 36 billion credit injection to a monopoly company, which will pay it back over time. The government will turn a profit. Personally I don't even get why the government needs to worry about turning profits, it's the government, not the local bank. Governments work under different rules from households or even corporations. They are THE government, they represent us, and they DO things in the interests of everyone in the country, not beholden to shareholders or investors.

    Why does everyone keep throwing the cost of the NBN around when no one even knows how much it's worth?

    Does $90B matter? Does that break the bank or is that an awesome deal?

    Will Tunrbull be releassing the CBA when he releases the plan? After the coalition harping of the lack of a CBA for the NBN, I would say that for him to do any less would be hypocritical.

    Everyone who says "NBN at any cost" identifies themselves as one of the Australians that don't pay tax.

      Not true at all.

      For the 2011 - 2012 financial year I paid over $15000 in tax and I did not receive a cent of welfare.

      I like to pretend that all of that money went directly to the NBN above other things that do not benefit me (but I know that's not how it works).

      You mean in your head? You do relaise that in America, blue states comprise the vast majority of tax intake right? That is, those who vote Democratic (or Labor) earn more and contribute more to the government coffers than those who identify as Republican (or Liberal here).

        Comparing US and Australian socio-economic factors influencing voting is fraught with danger, it's completely different. Are you talking per capita or collectively? I'd say LNP voters contribute more here in Australia. Have a look at the seat map and blue "usually" covers the richer suburbs. However after this election it will cover most ;-P The Libs will have a hard time keeping everyone happy.

        Last edited 08/04/13 2:39 pm

          Fair enough, but I'm trying to relay the point that the tired old 'left' versus 'right' cliche of the COld war era is old fashioned and plain wrong. Green voters today are high earners too, not all tree hugigng hippies on the dole. In fact the biggest Liberal voters are the most socially disadvantaged, those on the dole.

            I'd rather not enter a class battle here at Gizmodo, but the boundries of the last election Labor still hold he socially disadvantaged electorates. Due to their either real or perceived short comings, that has changed and hey are going to be pushed out of those seats, particularly in Sydney and Brisbane. Eventually, when these lower income people don't get what they want out of the Libs, and they won't, they will swing back to the ALP and the universe will balance itself once more. I will tel you what these peopl ened ou of governemnt, fiscal maturity that encourages growth and jobs and federal funding of disadvantaged schools. Broadband is not one of them.

      Say the wannabe guy fawkes avatared anon...
      go away.
      i pay tax. i want the NBN.

      I pay more tax than I care to mention and, as a small business owner, I collect heaps of GST revenue for the government. I haven't collected a single cent of welfare in more than 20 years. I want the NBN. I consider it to be one of, if not the most, important piece of infrastructure in this country's history. Far more important than the Snowy Mountains scheme and the National Highway. I don't care about the cost.

        Snowy Mountains and highways? Your broadband needs CLEAN power and people/goods will move around Australia post NBN. You are a clown, though I respect you as a small busniess owner and employer.

        Last edited 08/04/13 2:43 pm

          Where exactly in my post did I say that those things weren't important or necessary? You think I'm a clown? I prefer to think of people who can't read posts thoroughly as clowns.

            You said the NBN was more important than them.... That's crazy.

    Smartest man in the country mate - he managed to sell FAI to HIH at 13 times its valuation. Even the other "smartest guys in the room" at Enron would have to bow down to him...

    Q for you, if it were fibre to the node which is agreed to be the fastest infrastructure possible ... why not deploy that so that ADSL has the bandwidth to work at it's maximum possible ... once that's deployed, lets look at wireless (4g, LTE, WiFi) technologies and see what the best option is in the 5-10 years that it'll take to get to this point ... wireless technologies = no copper to degrade = cheapest ongoing upgrades = widespread coverage = better than fibre to the home ... sure, we all want faster facebook & pr0n, but if your business really needs faster internet, pay the extra and get an OnRamp / Frame relay data connection and stop complaining ...

      you don't understand the technology at all. That much is clear.

    $90 Billion to make Australian's cutting edge is a price worth paying.
    How much money does the government flush down the toilet in failed projects?

    I wonder how much the snowy mountains scheme would cost with inflation?

      810 million in 1974 apparently... quick back of the envelope calc says roughly 6.5 to 5.7 billion ( i used a cpi calculator... )

    God Malcom Turnbull is full of shit.

    Labour doesn't exactly have a good record of a) telling the truth, and b) delivering on its promises - so frankly, I'm far more inclined to believe Macquarie Bank and Turnbull than Conroy. The NBN is already well behind schedule, and that means costly delays and overruns. At that scale it adds up very quickly indeed.

    Anyway, Gillard and her cohorts will do and say anything in a last ditch desperate attempt to discredit Abbott and the Coalition so that the September election is just an ordinary defeat for them rather than a complete wipe out. Its now a question of by how much than whether or not.

      And the libs do? They didn't follow their own election costing rules....they fudged their own figures (for which 2 accountants that did them were smashed by the accountants tribunal) and their own finance minister said they had a $70 billion dollar hole. They can't even make fake figures add why would you trust them?

        They're both rubbish. Libs are just a little less rubbish.

          Well I agree they are both rubbish...just think you are confused on which is worse. One has zero social program's, zero desire for equality, generally punishes the people it claims to represent. how about nats not supporting an NBN or abbots planned raid on low income earners super? They aren't even hiding that one....or the taxes on small business to pay for a bigger maternity plan...but only labor introduce new taxes right?

        "There will be no carbon tax under any government I lead"
        "we will tackle problem gamblers"

        How about you get started on explaining these.

          "But I am determined to put a price on carbon" and that's exactly what she did...this is NOT a carbon's a carbon trading scheme...companies can buy and sell the credits....that's nothing like a tax...a tax is what the greens and most enviro professionals wanted...that's not what we got...what we got is a typically right wing solution of creating market forces to cause change...but somehow the liberal party is against that...and instead want to use your tax dollars to pay polluters? The mind boggles.

          So I've explained that one pretty well...don't know enough about what they said about gamblers...don't really care about it either.

          How about you explain 'can't trust anything I say in the heat of the moment, can't trust anything I say unless its written down, why not just put a price on carbon then, I'd sell my ### to be PM' they all sound a lot worse than you pretend lie.

            So we don't currently have a carbon tax? JuLiar went to the election with the statement that there would be no Carbon tax. A week after the election what did she announce?

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