Labor has promised to “phase out” fibre-to-the-node for the NBN in favour of fibre-to-the-premises technology should the party win the federal election.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten yesterday unveiled the party’s broadband policy.
At its centre is a plan to bring up to two million homes and businesses onto fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, ditching the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology championed by the Coalition under their multi-technology mix (MTM) model.
“Fibre-to-the-premises is a proven technology,” Labor said in its policy.
“An emerging technology – known as fibre-to-the-distribution-point or ‘fibre-to-the-driveway’ – has the potential to deliver fast and reliable broadband while reducing customer connection costs.
“This is a new technology which has not yet been rolled out at scale. Labor will further explore the potential of this technology in government.”
Under Labor’s new policy, however, it will retain the hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) portions of the current NBN plan. It said no renegotiation of arrangements with Optus and Telstra will be required under the party’s proposal.
It will also keep fibre-to-the-basement technology being deployed into apartment blocks, and the fixed wireless and satellite footprint of its original plan.
Labor leader Bill Shorten committed to complete the NBN by 30 June 2022 and said it would “cap the total funding cost of the initial NBN rollout at $57 billion.”
“This cap will have priority over the number of additional homes and businesses to get fibre-to-the-premises in the initial rollout,” Labor said.
“NBN Co’s independent board will monitor and ensure compliance with this funding cap on an annual basis as part of its corporate planning processes.”
Shorten said that the cap ensured that the “public equity contribution will be the same regardless of who wins the election.”
He also said Labor's proposal is costed in a "comprehensive business plan" that had been "independently reviewed and tested".
"The NBN is off-budget," Labor said.
"Labor’s plan assumes public equity assumptions in line with current Turnbull Government forecasts.
"The Parliamentary Budget Office has confirmed the proposal would not have an impact on the budget as it does not change the timing of, or the cap on, government equity contributions to the NBN."
BREAKING: A Labor Government will fix Malcolm Turnbull’s mess and build the NBN we need to create the jobs of the future. #ausvotes
— Jason Clare MP (@JasonClareMP) June 13, 2016
There are some “critical assumptions” that Labor is making in its proposal to ditch the FTTN portion of the network.
Labor said it would honour existing contracts and supply agreements that NBN Co has “with a range of delivery partners and suppliers.”
“Where necessary, a Shorten Labor Government and NBN Co will work with delivery partners and suppliers in good faith to manage the transition process from fibre-to-the-node back to fibre-to-the-premises,” Labor said.
“NBN Co currently estimates that design contracts for fibre-to-the-node will be issued for approximately 3.5 million premises by 30 June 2016.
“A proportion of these design contracts will be repurposed or renegotiated as appropriate to achieve identified policy outcomes.”