In 2009 the Australian government launched what it claims to be "the single largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history". The project involves building an ultra-fast national broadband network (the "NBN") relying mainly on fibre-to-the-premises ("FTTP") technology. The project is being built by a government-owned enterprise known as "NBN Co" and, for at least the first eight years, is being funded fully by government. The total government contribution to capital expenditure is estimated at twenty-six billion dollars; with more than twenty billion dollars having been allocated to the project up to 2015-2016 alone. The aims of the project are to increase productivity; to strengthen the Australian economy and to boost future prosperity. While a small number of other countries have deployed FTTP, these have all been substantially private initiatives in very different geographic conditions - Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Other countries have also been less technologically specific than Australia. Successful countries typically deploy substantial proportions of at least two fixed-line technologies. The Coalition opposition parties will scale the "NBN" back to a mainly fibre-to-the-node ("FTTN") network if successful in the election later this year.
Keywords: Broadband, network, fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-premises, DSL, wireless, infrastructure, investment, subsidy, cost-benefit analysis, Telstra, NBN Co, Optus
Jel Code: H54, L96, L98