In a speech in Hobart on Friday Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said the release of the Coalition’s NBN policy was ‘imminent’. He said it would contain no surprises – his and the Opposition’s views on the NBN, and their proposed alternative, are well known.
The document will be as much a political document as a technical one, as much of its purpose will be to discredit the Government’s existing policy. To that end, the policy document will comprise in large part the Opposition’s costing of the NBN Co under the current strategy.
News Limited’s Sydney based publications The Australian and The Daily Telegraph are today running stories about the “real cost of the NBN” (not in the Melbourne based Herald Sun). Both publications have today run stories saying that the Coalition’s NBN policy contains “new analysis” that the cost of the NBN could double to $90 million.
“The Coalition policy claims retail prices charged to consumers would rise annually over the next nine years at double the rate of household electricity bills,” say The Daily Telegraph.
“Using modelling from key telcos and finance industry analysis of the NBN Co's 2012 corporate plan, the Coalition has estimated it will take four years longer to finish and potentially cost an extra $45 billion to complete.
“The Coalition's estimates of the real capital costs suggested they would be more likely to reach $71 billion, not the $37.4 billion claimed by NBN Co's most recent estimates. The overall cost to the taxpayer, including overly optimistic revenue targets, would more likely reach $94 billion, the 12-page costing document claims.”
The battle of words over the cost of the NBN will never end. As the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the NBN, independent MP Rob Oakeshott has said, both sides are so intent on playing politics that the facts are obscured and rational debate is impossible.