I have been going to do a write up on this for a while and having digested all the documents from the Coalitions policy I think now is a good time to do it.
The Coalition has now presented a full policy on how they will handle the NBN if they win the election later this year. This involves moving from a full fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout, to a Fibre to the node Rollout (FTTN) and using the existing hybrid-fibre Coax networks owned by Optus and Telstra as well as the current wireless and satellite options being rolled out by NBN Co.
Using this mix of technologies the Coalition aims to deliver there version of the NBN by 2019 at a cost of $20.4Bil compared to the $37.4 to deliver FTTP by 2021, resulting in the project being finished 2 years sooner and at 54% of the price (assuming both projects go as currently planed) however the cost for the coalitions plan could vary greatly due to some of the assumptions made in there costing such as that “Cost-effective access [to Telstra copper] will be attainable.”
The next most controversial item of these policies raised by Labour NBN supporters is the cost of upgrading a fibre to the node rollout to FTTP later on down the track. The coalitions policy documents references a report on the BT rollout that states the cost of this will be 109% of the cost of rolling out FTTP in the first place, however in the background document goes on to state that this would be cheaper due to the revenues that would earn if the FTTN is in use for as little as 3 years, however looking at the numbers presented in this document, the longer that FTTN is in use rather then FTTP it appears that the FTTP would end up cheaper due to the lower operating costs ($60 V’s $90 per year according to the coalitions documents)
While there are other points could continue to compare from these policies much of the remainder of the coalition’s policy documents deal with a number of assumptions in order to make the Labour NBN seem to be costing more, going slower, or otherwise generally worse then the documents being presented by NBN Co, I could do similar things to the Coalitions policy however I think this would be unproductive.
So having considered the few facts presented in the coalitions plan and compared them with the current documents from NBN Co based on the Labour policy it is my opinion that changing the nature of the rollout of this project would not result in a materially cheaper (noting the costs that have not been factored in to the coalition project) or faster (noting the minimal time that has been allocated to complete all the contract renegotiations) completion of the project than that being currently build by the Labour government, and would then require upgrading at a later date as the remaining copper cabling that this policy relies on degrades past the point of acceptability for purpose (as it already is in some areas as presented by anecdotal evidence) so why not continue with the current rollout and get the project completed correctly the first time