Encouraging Debate on NBN Ownership Models
Wednesday, 31st July 2019
This event is fully booked or has passed.
A recording is now available via Vimeo (refer below).
Three journal articles covering content presented within the forum have now been published via the TelSoc journal:
- Leith Campbell and Murray Milner, "The NBN Futures Forum" https://telsoc.org/jtde/2019-08-v7-n3/a202
- Jim Holmes, "Getting the NBN Infrastructure We Need" https://telsoc.org/jtde/2019-08-v7-n3/a199
- Peter Gerrand, "NBN Futures: The Option of Merging NBN Co with InfraCo, as a Benefit to the Digital Economy" https://telsoc.org/jtde/2019-08-v7-n3/a198
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher kindly provided a scene-setting video which can be accessed via the following link: https://communicationsgovau.app.box.com/s/rym6lex2vazs54k6mcep86r1rrlq9x5s
Shadow Minister Michelle Rowland also very kindly provided the following statement:
Firstly, I want to thank the team at Telsoc for extending an opportunity to provide a brief message.
The NBN, and more broadly, debate around competition and investment in the telecommunications landscape, have been dominant areas of policy discourse in Australia for some time.
The Australian taxpayer will have made a significant investment, and the task of public policy will be to maximise the benefit of that investment now and into the future.
The NBN rollout is approaching a stage where questions about its future purpose, and the structural settings best suited to that purpose, are coming to the fore.
Appropriately, this will mean the focus and nature of discussion over the next three years will be different to the previous three.
Telsoc has an important role to play, given its expertise, professional membership and ability to facilitate discussion around such issues.
I wish participants the best for today’s discussion and look forward to engagement with Telsoc in the future.
Options for NBN Ownership
The NBN is scheduled for sale after completion of the rollout, sometime after 2021. Is sale the only option? And if so, in what form might the sale occur – at what value and to whom? Might the NBN be integrated with Telstra’s infrastructure unit, InfraCo? How can various options meet national objectives, demands on government finances, industry requirements and user needs?
TelSoc is committed to encouraging informed debate about the ownership options well in advance of the decision process. Scene-setting articles have already appeared in the TelSoc Journal, by Mark Gregory (June 2018) and Gary McLaren (December 2018).
This forum will have four panelists clarifying options and engaging participants in identifying issues that need more examination.
Options and panelists
- Integrating NBN and InfraCo (Professor Peter Gerrand)
In the TelSoc Journal in 2004 (reprinted December 2017) Peter proposed the structural separation of Telstra, forming NetCo as a core monopoly network. The potential integration of NBN and InfraCo, in government or private ownership, would create a version of NetCo. Peter will comment on the benefits and issues.
- Government retains ownership (Dr Jim Holmes)
In this option NBN is retained as a government business enterprise, or translated to another form more reflective of its perceived utility status.
- NBN sold as an entity (Graeme Samuel)
Selling the NBN as an entity has been the stated long-term intention of both Labor and Coalition governments in the phases of development since 2010, with a legislated process including: a declaration that the NBN is built and operational; a Productivity Commission inquiry; Parliamentary Joint Committee consideration; Parliamentary approval. .
- NBN disaggregated by technologies and each sold separately (Michael Cosgrave)
The 2014 Vertigan Report recommended the disaggregation of NBN by technologies – FTTx, HFC, fixed wireless and satellite – which could be sold and compete with each other. Subsequently, accounting separation has been required by government, in possible preparation for future disaggregation, and this option for selling has been supported by the ACCC. One variation is that fixed wireless and satellite remain in government ownership.
Date and Time
Wed, 31 Jul 2019
12:15 - 13:30 AEST