An Infrastructure Australia audit has offered a critical assessment of the Liberals’ multi-technology mix, highlighting problems associated with cost increases, higher maintenance costs and the long-term pressures this is creating for the NBN business model.
The Audit observed:
“The Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) focus has moved to what is now called a multi-technology mix. This different mix has altered projected infrastructure costs. For example, the need for upgrades to Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connections under the current plan drives up capital costs and operating expenses.” (p. 575).
An example of this is the $200 million in HFC maintenance capital NBNCo expects to incur in FY2022. This amounts to nearly $8.30 per month for every active HFC user.
In other words, not only has the use of ageing copper and HFC increased the marginal cost of supplying NBN services, but it means NBNCo will incur future upgrade costs that were not needed under the original fibre plan.
Infrastructure Australia went on to note:
“The technology mix for the NBN has diversified, meaning different users will receive different types of connections. This change will deliver varied outcomes for users, and some may shoulder higher costs or receive lower-quality services.” (p. 588).
The Liberal Party promised its multi-technology would be faster and cheaper, yet they have delivered a network which costs more to build, costs more to run, and does less.