Govt. flayed: NBN Facing $630mil. Bill To Fix Telstra Copper
A report in The Australian, quoting supposedly confidential NBN documents, said the NBN company is looking at a tenfold blowout on what it originally thought it would cost to remediate the ageing Telstra copper network.
This revelation closely follows the news that NBN also potentially faces a huge bill – perhaps more than $360 million – to overbuild the decaying hybrid fibre-coax network it has bought from Optus for $800 million, a network now judged to be “not fit for purpose”.
The latest revelations on the controversial FttN plan show that NBN expects to spend $26,115 per node to fix Telstra’s copper lines to ensure it can deliver the speeds and service quality promised for Malcolm Turnbull’s mixed-technology network.
With the NBN planning to build 24,544 nodes by the end of 2019 – each of which will connect up to 178 premises – the total bill to fix faulty copper lines will be about $641 million, the Oz says. The documents are also said to reveal that a further $520 million is needed to connect “high-cost premises”: ie, homes and businesses located at unusually large distances from nodes.
Said Budde yesterday: “These are exactly the issues I flagged in 2013 when the then Opposition, now Government, came up with their NBN changes.
“All of the problems that we are facing now were clearly known by those in the industry who have any understanding of a copper network that in places is more than 50 years old and a technology that is on its last legs,” he told CDN.
“None of this is rocket science and once again clearly shows that the MTM (multi-technology mix) decision was purely a political one. We have now a delay of already another two years and cost blowout after cost blowout – and in the end we get a second-rate network. Only politicians can make such dumb decisions.”
Former head of NBN CO Mike Quigley has also entered the debate with a stinging criticism of the Turnbull plan for a mixed-technology NBN rollout.
Turnbull had “consistently talked down” the cost of the Coalition’s fibre to the node model “and now the chickens are coming home to roost”, Quigley has written in a paper supplied to the press this week.
“It is time to stop trying to blame the previous government and management for the problems with the costs and timing of the MTM,” he said, urging the Government to admit that it had “grossly underestimated” the cost and timeframe of its NBN policies.
He added: “As long as Australia’s broadband future is tied to an aging copper network, we will fall further and further behind our competitors and trading partners. At a cost of $56 billion and counting, that will be Mr Turnbull’s legacy.”