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Is a National Broadband Network for Australia good value at $37 billion?

Debate in Australia rages over whether the current Labor Government plan to spend $37 billion on a National Broadband Network (NBN) is the best use of the Government resources. The ruling Labor party on the advice of their experts won the 2010 election under the mantra: Do it once, do it right, do it with fibre. The NBN will roll fibre to the home (FTTH) to 93% of Australian homes, and all towns with more than 1,000 premises, and supply wireless or satellite to the rest.

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Experts In Politics

Kevin Rudd    Australian Prime Minister, 2007-2010
The NBN will enable: "Every person and business in Australia, no-matter where they are located, will have access to affordable, fast broadband at their fingertips." THe NBN will "help drive Australia's productivity, improve education and health service delivery and connect our big  cities and regional centres... [and] to stimulate jobs in the short-term and pay a dividend to the Australian people through enhanced productivity and innovation in the long-term. "
07 Apr 2009    Source

Stephen Conroy    Senator, Labor Party, Australia
NBN Co and Optus [agreed to] decommission its Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) cable network and migrate customers to the National Broadband Network (NBN). This agreement is proof that the NBN is recognised by Australia’s major telecommunications companies as the future of industry. The announcements today that both Telstra and Optus, which combined represent over 60 per cent of the retail broadband connection market ... demonstrate that the NBN is welcomed by the majority of the industry.
23 Jun 2011    Source

Experts In Business

Mike Quigley    CEO, Telecommunications
"We've taken considerable time to reach today's [Telstra] agreement. But it has been worth the wait. It means we can build the NBN more cost effectively and with less disruption and greater certainty than had we duplicated Telstra's existing infrastructure. "This deal will bring about the efficient delivery of a standardised national broadband platform which will foster innovation in applications and services. Unquestionably it will be of lasting benefit to Australia."
23 Jun 2011    Source

Experts In Internet

Google Inc    Search Engine
[The study] makes a “strong case” for the NBN... super-fast Internet access will open up a world of opportunities for Australians and be the greatest enabler of innovation and entrepreneurship that businesses could wish for.
08 May 2010    Source

Experts In Information Technology

Microsoft Corporation    Information Technology
This infrastructure will be critical in the years ahead and essential for reducing costs in health and education service delivery. It will also contribute to overcoming the tyranny of distance that exists in rural and regional Australia.
08 Sep 2010    Source

Experts In Computer Hardware

Intel Corporation    Microprocessor and semiconductor manufacturer
It’s now time to move beyond debate... the NBN has the potential to deliver significant long term benefits to consumers and small businesses alike.
08 Sep 2010    Source

Experts In Business

Masayoshi Son    CEO of SoftBank, Richest Man in Japan
It's a waste; it's a stupid solution. Without using taxpayers' money you can get 21st-century infrastructure. [He claimed that his solution, recently put to Prime Minister Naoto Kan and several members of his cabinet, would deliver basic fibre connections for just 1150 yen ($15) a month, far cheaper than what is envisaged under the NBN.]
30 Oct 2010    Source

Malcolm Turnbull    Leader of Australian Liberal Party
...far from supporting Stephen Conroy’s recklessly costly and needlessly risky $50 billion national broadband network, Korea’s recent broadband experience throws into question some of the key assumptions underpinning the NBN. ... [a] better approach might be to conduct a real-world assessment of how much fixed-line bandwidth households will actually need at various points in time and how to most cost-effectively provide it.
16 Jun 2011    Source


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0 Points      Graeme      28 Sep 2011      Stance on Question: Neutral
They should look at all viable options, that's what I think. They can probably get into satellite broadband as a means to complement the fibres, maybe like NewSat. The problem though is the cost. If they can find a way to reduce how much it would be for the ordinary Australian, then I can see the NBN program working well. If they can't, then say goodbye to all the debates.

1 Point      John Sicoli      08 Aug 2011      Stance on Question: Neutral
$37 billion / 20 million people (the population size) = $2k per person

Australia just does not have the population for economies of scale, and as big business lobbies for service pricing, they get to charge Australians a lot for very little (relatively).

Never mind that the tax payers paid to create the phone company and which was then sold off. Did the tax payers get that money back. No. Now they are trying to do the same thing again.

Only private enterprise will be the true winner.

1 Point      Benja      09 Jul 2011      Editorial Comment
We need more answers on the "Disagree" side (currently there is only a single quote).

1 Point      areff2000      18 Jun 2011      Stance on Question: Mostly Agree
I suggest three problems the NBN addresses:
1. High per Gb prices, compared to overseas
2. Capped Gb per month, compared to overseas
3. Price per month measured taking incomes and currency into account (ie affordability)