The latest spin from NBN Co | “We do not see any basis for a write down”.

By LAURIE PATTON | 12 February 2019

Yesterday at Senate Estimates the new(ish) NBN Co CEO, Stephen Rue, made a brave defence of the project. This is my initial response…

Mr Rue is clearly under pressure not to deviate from the board’s stated position. His technical explanation regarding a “write down” is correct, but largely irrelevant. The fact is NBN Co is not making enough money. And this is because of the current flawed technologies being deployed.

Less than half the total premises connected or ready to be connected are actually signed up.

There is no incentive for RSP’s to move their customers to the NBN until they absolutely have to because they have better margins from their legacy systems. Likewise, there is so much ‘bad press’ about the NBN that it appears many potential NBN customers are holding off moving until they have no choice and/or are opting to go mobile.

Sooner rather than later NBN Co will need to start ripping out its inferior FTTN network, using old copper wires. It is predicted that this will cost billions of unbudgeted dollars.

FTTN cannot compete with current mobile phone speeds, much less what will eventually be possible when 5G is rolled out. 4G mobile is already faster than FTTN. Around 30 percent of NBN Co customers are being lumbered with this junk.

In the end, whoever is on office later this year will have to bail out NBN Co in some form.

According to the Communications department, NBN Co will now need more than the $19 billion the Government has agreed to lend it to complete the rollout, and has little (read no) chance of being able to pay it back on time.

(Laurie Patton was CEO / Executive Director of Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing the interests of Internet users, from 2014-2017.)