Kevin Rudd Misleading Australia About Economic Benefits of NBN
Kevin Rudd is deliberately misleading Australians voters by linking a taxpayer-funded analysis of the future benefits of high-speed broadband to Labor's failed National Broadband Network, and by claiming it shows his policy will "not only transform the Australian economy and improve our national competitiveness, but will also directly benefit every family in the country".
Mr Rudd made the claims following the release of research commissioned from Deloitte Access Economic which estimates the direct and indirect benefits of high-speed broadband could average $3800 per household by 2020.
But the Deloitte Access report does not in fact provide any support for Mr Rudd's claim that "every family" will benefit from Labor's fibre to the premises NBN.
Nor does it indicate that the Labor Party's fibre to the premises version of the NBN is needed for these benefits to accrue. Most of the estimated value for households arises from moving from narrowband to fast broadband, which could be delivered over today's HFC cable networks, a fibre to the node network, or a fibre to the premises network.
In reality there is not a single benefit included in the $3800 figure for 2020 that will not be delivered by the Coalition NBN.
And while the Deloitte Access report places a dollar value per household on the benefits of high-speed broadband in 2020, it fails to offset this with the costs of building a network to provide it.
As Deloitte Access states in a press release: "The report is about the benefits of high speed broadband and looks over the horizon to 2020, when Australia will have a fully digital economy. It is not a cost benefit analysis, nor a comparison between different NBN policies or of the alternative ways in which broadband services can be delivered. The analysis does not include the costs of constructing and operating broadband networks."
Rather, the report assumes the benefits of fast broadband will be priced at the same price as today's ADSL2 broadband indefinitely into the future.
We know this is not true for Labor's NBN - its own business plan shows charges per user will triple between now and 2021, and be even higher if the network costs close to $100 billion as the Coalition and many others expect.
There is another reason the figure of $3800 per household by 2020 is almost certainly wildly overstated in the case of Labor's NBN. That is the reality that Labor's NBN will be nowhere near finished by then - on the contrary, at the current rollout pace it could take another twenty years to be completed.
After six years of Labor and four years of construction, NBN Co's fibre network is available at 1.2 per cent of the premises it needs to reach to be completed.
Rather than releasing and then misrepresenting research paid for by taxpayers during the caretaker period, Kevin Rudd's case for Labor's NBN would be far better served by actually rolling it out to some of the millions of Australian households and businesses which have substandard broadband.