Rudd to pay $11 billion of $43 billion NBN

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Rudd to pay $11 billion of $43 billion NBN

Communications minister Stephen Conroy has told Senate Estimates hearings that the Government will sink around $11 billion into the National Broadband Network, which is anticipated to cost up to $43 billion in total.

The admission comes less than a week since Conroy told ATUG delegates that the NBN would cost significantly less than the touted $38 - $43 billion figure, which had “substantial contingency” built in.

“We are assuming that [the network] could be funded with a 50/50 debt-equity ratio, and that of the equity the Commonwealth will hold 51 per cent,” Conroy said.
 
“This means that, at this stage, we are envisaging the commonwealth’s commitment to be in the order of $11 billion.”

Since announcing what has become known as the ‘new new NBN’ project, Conroy said his Department has had “more than 70 meetings with people” interested in the national broadband network policy.

“We are well advanced in recruiting a Lead Adviser for the Implementation Study; entered into negotiations with the Tasmanian Government to build a broadband network in that state; and have released a discussion paper on regulatory reforms,” Conroy said.

The Department also confirmed it had received over 60 submissions for the regional backhaul blackspots scheme, for which it has fast-tracked $250 million.

Conroy said he had held face to face meetings and teleconferences with in excess of 40 different parties, including NextGen, Optus, Telstra, AAPT, and AARNet.

ISPs including iiNet and Internode, and infrastructure operators such as rail and utilities, have also expressed interest, he said.

In addition, Conroy said Nokia Siemens, Huawei, Nortel, and Alcatel-Lucent had all met with the Government in recent weeks to determine if there was a role for them to play in providing equipment to the impending rollouts.

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