NBN farce extends and pretends

A week after it was revealed that Australians pay the highest broadband costs in the OECD and ranks 67 out of a wider list of 83 countries:

Embattled NBNco has admitted that it is running way behind schedule in connecting homes to the NBN network:

Half a million homes will have to wait longer to connect to the ­National Broadband Network…

NBN Co has downgraded the total number of homes with active NBN connections by June 30, 2020 from 7.5 million to seven million…

The revision in the number of active connections isn’t the only change in NBN Co’s latest corporate plan, with the company also pushing out the deadline for when it becomes cash-flow positive by a year, from full-year 2022 to full-year 2023…

FTTC cost-per-premises (CPP) had risen from $3058 at the end of 2018 to $3129 by the end of June this year. Meanwhile, HFC costs have ticked over from $2466 CPP to $2590.

Not only is the rate of connections slowing, it’s data speeds are slowing, with consumers shelling out more for basic internet access under the NBN than they were for ADSL plans that provided the same speeds.

The sad reality is that the situation facing Australian consumers won’t change until the federal government writes-down the value of the NBN, thus enabling NBN Co to lower wholesale access prices, which can then be passed onto end-users.

Leith van Onselen


  1. NBN HFC and FTTN is no longer able to support the “Netflix” effect on 720p / 1080p streaming. It has collapsed the network and providers are talking about limiting access or the Netflix tax.

    The rest of the world – like everywhere – has been on 4k Netflix for a long time now – and moving to 8k with Disney and others in the next couple of years.

    That’s a 64 Gig episode of friends going to 128 Gig while current tech is FAILING at 720 mb.

    So yeah – best of luck with “writing it down” – it has to be dug up and refitted with Fiber – simply no choice on the matter. Has to be done whether we like it or not.

    The alternative is living in a country relying on Cobb and Co stage coaches, horses and hay while the rest of the world is moving to autonomous vehicles.

    No question, no argument, no 5G does not cover this – not even 1000th of the possibility of covering it.

    • I don’t think that’s correct, the core network has plenty of capacity, and the last-mile connection (even on FTTN) is plenty fine to play 1080p on Netflix.

      The problem is the CVC pricing and ISPs not buying enough bandwidth from NBN.

      The solution to the whole mess is just to cut out the ISPs from the picture completely, and for the NBN to just sell directly to customers. The profit margin of the ISPs will pay for whatever profits NBN needs, and with the economies of scale I’m sure they can handle billing, customer support, peering.

      Alternatively instead of writing down the NBN by $20b, just spend that money and the value of the in-place network on acquiring a majority share of Telstra, and get them to take over the whole thing, with pricing and servicing to regional areas as required politically.

      If fixed residential broadband becomes a Government monopoly, so be it. Its a completely mature technology. We can have open competition in business broadband and mobile broadband to keep things in check. You’d probably want to allow Vodafone and VHA to merge as well, to keep things in check competitively and to keep Telstra staffers on their toes.

      We can even go a step further and mandate that all dwellings must have electricity, water, and NBN connected. We could embed those service/connection prices in a land tax and then charge the consumer only for the usage component. The average mum and dad would probably welcome having fewer bills to manage.

    • Even better – just move to satellite like Kenya has. Got to keep up with the movers and shakers out there – FGS, The Democratic Republic of Congo will overtake us soon.

    • Agreed, but there IS an alternative. The rich get FTTP and everyone else (outside of Tassie) can suck eggs.

  2. behind on roll outs – in my experience it can’t even provide broadband to those (like mwa) who are signed up. waiting for 5G so we can get rid of it