The NBN is broken. Here’s the fix.

Main Article Content

Phil Dobbie

Keywords

Telecommunications, Economics, NBN, cross-subsidy

Abstract

The approach to the NBN has been fated from the beginning. This paper explores how the original design was more to do with constraining Telstra’s monopolistic ambitions than developing a sensible broadband policy for Australia. The result is a solution that is expensive, constrains competition, is blighted by Telstra’s infrastructure – including the widespread use of asbestos – with a one-size fits all approach that satisfies few. The ambition of ubiquity is also examined. How can it be ubiquitous if many people choose not to subscribe?

With the optimistic air of change that has come from a new Prime Minister, this is the time to look at a realistic option that accepts the approach will include government on-budget expenditure, establishes a future proof approach and provides the opportunity for those who want it to pay a realistic amount towards getting connected. The analogy is, governments build roads, not driveways. So why should we assume anyone building a national telecommunications network should worry about connecting right up to the front door, especially for those who don’t want it.

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