The Government Wants You To Pay An NBN Tax

Image: iStock

The government is pushing for a $7.10 levy to be implemented on the ISPs that deliver Australia's superfast fixed-line broadband, to help pay for the wireless and satellite portions of the National Broadband Network. That

Although the levy will be charged to the retail service providers -- the ones already unhappy with the cost and design restrictions of the NBN -- those RSPs are likely to pass it on to customers directly. That $7.10 represents a third of the profit some companies make off each customer, according to some reports.

iTnews reports the $7.10 minimum tax will be legislated as part of a package of telco law changes during parliament's winter sitting, sooner rather than later. After today's federal Budget, there are 17 more sitting days before the end of the parliamentary period for the regional broadband scheme charge bill to pass.

It will likely be implemented by July 1 as the government initially intended, if the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2017 passes parliament during the sitting. As well as applying to fixed-line NBN, which will pay for 95 per cent of the Regional Broadband Scheme, competitors to the NBN like TPG's fibre-to-the-basement network will also have to shoulder the burden.

With the NBN already subsidising the cost of building and expanding the non-commercial fixed wireless and satellite portions of the network through its design and initial funding, this bill will shift the cost from the government-run organisation to the RSPs.

Consultation with industry on the bill was held from December until February through an exposure draft, and a submission from ACCAN says that the consumer advocacy group believes levying fixed line connections alone is inequitable. The detail of the reforms are still being finalised by government.

If the cost of funding these services is only borne by customers on certain networks, then these customers are disadvantaged by paying higher prices than they would if they were served by a network that does not have to contribute. This could create a financial difference in the cost of services and disadvantage those who are unable to move or choose the un-levied network. Therefore the costs should not be borne by one network alone.

The 'NBN tax' will likely rise after it is implemented, too, with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield saying it could hit $8 by 2022 in December of last year. The government says that while NBN connections are more expensive, prices could fall over time as the network reaches completion. iTnews says that with 80 per cent of the NBN rollout so far being in regional and rural areas, it's unlikely that many fixed-line customers are already contributing.

NBN connections generally sit at price parity or a slightly higher monthly cost than current ADSL and cable wired internet connections in Australia, although the slowest 12Mbps plans can be as cheap as ADSL. [iTnews]



    I'd be happy to pay the tax if they swapped my FTTN to FTTP and I didn't have congestion at night. Whilst I support regional acc6es to the NBN that is the governments cost.

      The Government's cost is your cost. Either you pay it as a direct tax, or a through your income or goods and services tax. Either way, if the Government is paying for something, you are paying for something.

    Wait, so we're going to end up paying more for a dodgy FTTN connection that screws up as much as my old ADSL2+ connection did? Sounds good, thanks Australia

    Who voted for these clowns? They're building an inferior NBN, pumping tax dollars into Telstra which Australia no longer owns (remember Howard sold it to hide his financial incompetence) and now more fees and charges? Why do they so quickly fund 12 useless french submarines and then skimp on a network that could benefit much of our nation creating both Jobs AND Growth.

      what jobs, what growth? That catchphrase is pretty meaningless though that carrot served Labor well in selling NBN to us. Never mind they'd no costings, never mind the places they compared our lousy speeds to were Primal cities with dense infrastructure and populations.

      Wasn't the promise something about how people could work from home? How grand it would all be to telecommute and so forth.. didn't it sound exciting? I recall iinet used to have aussies on their help lines. If you have to pay for services like I dunno, transcribing services, IT support, medical interpretations, graphic design work, web design.. would you pay an Aussie or would you pay an Indian at 1/10th the cost? After all, they have homes too they're prepared to work from for a fraction of what we ask.

      Forgive my cynicism, go back to the idea that Labor's FTTP would have been a glorious utopia and ignore the fact that they legislated to make it mandatory to connect and that all new houses would have an additional 6 grand tacked onto the building cost to cover connection. Oh hell, and definitely shut your eyes and don't think about the additional cost should anyone ever subdivide a block, or how that would require a whole new layer of infrastructure added to the shiny new freshly laid optic fiber network in street once capacity is reached.

        My God, are you being paid to spout nonsense?
        By the time humanity can fill the capacity of an FTTP connection (taking into account theoretical limits and the pace of current advancements), there will be nothing new and feshly laid about them.

    It's a good policy. By making it as unaffordable as possible then users will tend to go for the cheapest option (lowest speed) so that the second rate infrastructure (non FTTH for many) being rolled out won't be as stressed as it might otherwise be.

    The government that promised no new taxes is making everything it touches better for all (except for users).

    Lol, fuck off. I'm in a Telstra Velocity estate where Telstra charge an absolute fortune with no real competition and crap network management, where things take ages to get fixed. Originally the NBN was going to absorb their network. Now they won't and Velocity estates will stand as islands of overpriced fibre.

    I'm already paying a premium. No fucking way would I pay a tax on top of that.

      Velocity shits all over NBN anyway in most cases. Both T and Optus were rolling out DOCSIS3 and Telstra smarthome/velocity/fibre quicker and cheaper and the government quietly stepped in around 2010/2011 and said "pls stop that, we have plans"


      Last edited 09/05/17 11:51 am

        I guess it is because it's true FTTP but I'm capped at about 35mbit (despite being 'uncapped' to 100 - which others in the estate easily get suggesting artificial shaping for traffic management) and I pay nearly $100/mth for 1TB of usage (phone included).

        But it's very poorly supported. When I first moved here we had constant routing/DNS errors and dropouts affecting the entire estate. Telstra Velocity, effectively a power unto themselves, didn't give a shit until a mass complaint was launched.

        But hey, I'm happy with my 3-4MB/sec speeds. Just wish it didn't cost so much.

          Velocity is very niche. There are very few employees still around that know how it works, same with Satellite. Kinda sucks. :/

      Have you attempted an availability search with say MyRepublic? It was my understanding Telstra's HFC network would be part of the NBN so sucks if your estate isn't going to be absorbed. One place I was looking at moving into showed as HFC stating 100/40 with MyRepublic.

        There's one other ISP who can resell on my network (from memory its Internode) and its way more expensive.

        Telstra' HFC network should be absorbed, but Velocity is fibre and a different story these days :(

      You're wrong. Telstra isn't the only provider you can use, and they can't say they are.

        You can't read. I said "no real competition". The only other ISP who offers service in ny area is even worse value and nobody uses them.

          And it's Telstra's fault that other providers don't want to provide service to you?

            Lol, you waited almost a month to post that and still failed to grasp the point. Well done I guess?

    Clowns all, red white and blue.

    Yellow orange and any other party colour. All cut from the same self-serving cloth..

    Win at all costs. The rest is history.

    PS. Rudd's Fibre plan would likely have been just as wasteful... 100billion here we come, all out of a projected ?? 20-45Billion (Rudd was no technical genius, and Gillard couldn't make up her mind on how best to sieze power)

    Submarines, as long as they aren't Irish.. Never forget the Super Stallion Debacle.
    (Note that the most actual spending decisions aren't government decided but by a "specialist committee" lol.. Govt just claims the glory.)

    Why not put your hand up next time?

      I like how you managed to go from a new tax by the LNP into an attack of the ALP.

      As for submarines - we should've gone for the Japanese tender instead of paying the French to completely redesign one of their designs.

      Well if you're going to have a cost overrun either way, better to do the job properly and to the standards the public expects instead of making an absolute meal of it and just wasting taxpayer dollars on something nobody even wants.

    It's very tempting to make a silent protest and add that amount as a deduction on my tax return under Internet costs.

    Last edited 09/05/17 10:32 am

      I've checked my work emails at home, there's my deduction justified.

    sooo... they want to tax me extra on top of the tax's that i paid to get the nbn (and all other govemental services) so that they can make the nbn better so they will flog it off later...

    HOW ABOUT THIS..... I BUY SHARES in the NBN instead.

    Absolute joke. Especially for customers on second-rate connections like FTTN. Fortunately I could get FTTP at my place so don't suffer from congestion during peak periods. I'd even be happy with HFC but, if it involves copper, forget about it. It's their bungle, they should be fixing it (out of their own pocket).

    Last edited 09/05/17 12:17 pm

      You'd be happy with hfc but nothing involving copper? Well hate to break it to you but hfc is largely copper.

    SAY WHAT! At LEAST $7.10 per month??! (insert John McEnroe) "You Can't Be Serious!"
    Let's see what the telcos will actually charge us for this BS. First they forced us over to NBN from coax where we already had 100mbit down speeds, then they ramped up the price by 30%, now an extra ten is about to go on top. NBN is on avg 10% slower yet is costing us 30% more each month. This is it folks - pay up or go without. Our backs are to the wall - no alternative broadband in our area anymore. This will undoubtedly go down in history as a prime example on "How to screw the tax payer" . Oh well done minister - well played sir.

    Bring on the election .. now where did I put Pauline Hanson and Darren Hinch's number so we can give this the bum-steer in the Senate.

    Please everyone bend over, why all the fuss, we should be used to being screwed by Govt and private enterprise alike, just take it with a smile, life will go on regardless as we continue to be treated as insignifcant end users who will pay up as we have no other choice.

    I am already paying the Tax and after this I am going to pay $7.10 per month, Oh man if this is serious then we need to find another way, but the question is how because they are monopoly.

    Say you're currently on a 24 month plan with your ISP. Can we expect them to tack this additional cost on to the monthly cost, or should contract fees be expected to stay as they are for the term of the contract?

      It'll go on top as it's a government tax outside the spectrum of your contract.

    Isn't Musk thinking about supplying the world with internet by way of satellites. I hope so. That way we can bypass the NBN completely.

      Jeez dude, Didn't you watch Kingsman ?

    A tax to breathe oxygen won't be far off. They've got a cheek to herd everyone onto NBN then push a tax for being on the NBN. What's the tax really for? My current speed on NBN is just a nudge under double what I had on ADSL2 (which was pathetic) and that's with the temporary speed boost as a new user. The reality doesn't live up to anywhere near the hype. We're being screwed over once again and it's OUR fault because we let them get away with it.

    Gotta love know it all right wingers aye. They're so good at running things. And not acting in self interest at all. Thanks tony and Malc.
    Btw i was happy to pay for fttp. Why should we have to pay for the coalition's stupidity? Tony and malc should be put in jail for wasting so much of tax payers money.
    Also more than happy to pay tax towards adani billion dollar giveaway.

    Turnbull should have stuck to being a lawyer instead of trying to roll out a nation building IT project. Let's all remember that the cluster fu** of a so called national broadband network in it's current form was his idea and policy.

    They should have followed the NBN blueprint Singapore put together. Their broadband speeds keep going up in the tune of 1 Gbit every 3 years while prices have been dropping.

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