25th Nov 2010. The Australian government has released a non-confidential summary of the business case for the Australian National Broadband Network after pressure from independent senators. Whilst devoid of any detailed information, the 36 page summary has secured the support of the independent senators to pass the Telstra separation bill this week in the Senate, delivering key industry reform and NBN risk factor.
“[The document] contains carefully selected materials answering some of the key questions and which allow them to explain to their constituents their decision making process,” Prime Minister Gillard said. “But we have been very careful and the material being released will not cause any market uncertainty and does not relate to matters under Cabinet consideration.”
“[The document] confirms the NBN will be built on a financial viable basis with affordable prices for customers,” she said. “IT confirms that prices will decrease over time as market becomes more and more competitive and customer join the network.”
In return for providing Layer 2 wholesale services, the business case summary indicates the NBN Co would also receive a rate of return higher than the long-term bond rate, making the NBN commercially viable. The NBN’s construction time was also expected to be shorter and less costly due to the possibility of a deal between Telstra and NBN Co.
“The total capital expenditure is $35.7 billion, that is obviously less than the capital expenditure previously publicly released of $43 billion,” she said.
“That difference is overwhelming explained by the agreement with Telstra and the ability therefore to get access to Telstra infrastructure for the roll out.
Last night Opposition communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, claimed the Federal Government’s arguments for not releasing the National Broadband Network (NBN) business case this week amounted to “pathetic excuses”.