NBN Implementation Study gets flack from Opposition

Senator Stephen Conroy's release of the NBN Implementation Study has continued to attract attention from Federal politicians.

Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, told Alan Jones on 2GB AM radio that the National Broadband Network (NBN) couldn't conceivably work without a business case.

"This was something that the government brought forward without the simplest business case," Abbott said. "The calculations for it, if any, were just back of the envelope and you just can’t trust with public money a government which commits $43 billion without the most serious analysis.

"It was a broken promise because we had Lindsay Tanner telling us up hill and down dale that the Government would never commit public money to any of these projects without a full business case being done and this is the biggest project of all done without one."

Abbott reaffirmed previous statements that, if he won the next election, the network would be scrapped on the fear it would established a monopolistic corporation once privatised.

"We just won’t go ahead with it. For years we had a nationalised telecommunications carrier. We finally sold it off to the public. Telstra’s not perfect but it’s better in private hands than it ever was with the public servants running it and we don’t want a new Telecom in this country today."

However, the 500-page, $25 million report - co-authored by McKinsey Company and KPMG - provides a business case which concludes the NBN would pay back taxpayers' investment by year 15.

Speaking to the Melbourne Press Club today, Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said the Opposition's comments were baseless.

"The Opposition spokesperson said this morning he didn't care what the study said," he said. "This takes opposition for opposition's sake to a new level. They are opposed... even before they see a plan that it can be done."

Rudd also pointed out that the Opposition is yet to offer "concrete alternative plans."

"When in government, they had 18 failed broadband plans over 12 years that left Australia with some of the slowest, most expensive broadband anywhere in the developed world."

"It's time to get on in dealing with this infrastructure need for the future."

Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, welcomed the release of the study prior to its publication.

"It is hoped that this report will give us some way of assessing how the NBN Co will operate as a business and what the project economics look like," Ludlam said in a statement. "We will closely evaluate the full report with the view to continue negotiations with the Government on this long overdue overhaul of Australia's telecommunications sector."

More political comment is being sought by Computerworld Australia.

Listen to the full speech by Senator Stephen Conroy and Senator Lindsay Tanner.


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