The remaining money that Australia’s national broadband network company needs to finish the rollout of the country’s multi-technology mix fibre- and copper-based — $19.5 billion, to be exact — will come from a government loan, rather than private investors NBN had hoped.
In May, the government’s 2016-17 Federal Budget showed that NBN would need an additional $16.5 to $26.5 billion to finish the network. It had originally planned for that money to come from “significant private sector investment”, with the government capping its investment at $29.5 billion.
Today, government communications minister Mitch Fifield released a statement with joint NBN shareholder minister Mathias Cormann saying that the investment will allow the government-owned company to continue operating without waiting for outside cash:
“To help ensure that NBN can fully focus on the remaining rollout as it significantly ramps up, the government has decided to provide the remaining funding required to complete that rollout through a government loan to NBN Co Ltd on commercial terms.”
“Fully focus” is the same term used by NBN chief executive Bill Morrow in his statement:
“This allows the NBN executive to fully focus on building and operating the network, to bring fast broadband to all Australians by 2020. NBN welcomes the decision, which is in the best interest of the Australian taxpayer.”
Cormann and Fifield said that they expected NBN to repay the loan after the currently government-owned company is sold off to private operators — hopefully — after 2020.