Australia's NBN Under Threat

10:00 AM -- Australia's plan to build a A$43 billion (US$39 billion) national, open, high-speed broadband network could be shelved if the current Liberal-National opposition party wins the country's general election on August 21, reports Reuters.

The Liberal-National alliance favors a much more conservative A$6.3 billion (US$5.7 billion) network rollout that wouldn't include incumbent operator Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS)'s network, which is included in the current National Broadband Network (NBN) plan. (See Telstra Bags $10B Broadband Deal and Australia Unveils $31B FTTP Plan.)

If the current plan, which is already underway, were axed, it would spell bad news for Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), which was recently awarded a significant GPON deal by NBN Co., the company heading up the rollout. (See AlcaLu Lands GPON Role in Australia's NBN, NBN Awards FTTH Construction Deals, Melbourne to Host NBN NOC, NBN NOC Opens in Tasmania, IBM Lands NBN Deal, Report Endorses NBN Vision, and Australia Breaks Ground on Broadband.)

Shrinking the NBN would also spell bad news for Australia, which could do with a national, truly high-speed, open network to foster communications services competition and make the country a more attractive location for business development.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:27:19 PM
re: Australia's NBN Under Threat

The opposition is clearly myopic on one of the most important developments in modern industrial development. If the NBN is shelved in place of a half-hearted alternative, then it will be a disaster for Australia because it won't have the infrastructure it needs to grow in the 21st century, it will repel investors, and it will likely kill any confidence among Australians and those interested in working with an in Australia that the country has the wherewithall to deliver on its stated plans.

Vote for the NBN, I say...

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:27:18 PM
re: Australia's NBN Under Threat

Maybe the idea of extending broadband to every desert town and wallaby across an entire continent (albeit a smaller continent) is a bit too ambitious.

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:27:18 PM
re: Australia's NBN Under Threat

I think the Australia plan has it right - they know they can't get fiber to the Ayres Rock, so 10% of the population will be reached by wireless broadband or satellite. Of course the cost of that will be higher per capita, but that's all factored in to the model.

It is certainly ambitious, but not too ambitious, in my view. And better to not quite deliver on the grand plan than not quite deliver on a conservative, watered-down two-bit effort. Because - and call me cynical - whether the bar is set high or low, these plans are never quite fulfilled 100%. Give me 94% of NBN over 98% of cheaper, less ambitious and blinkered vision any day.

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