Meanwhile, NBN Co – the operating company set up by the government to run the project – has revealed its wholesale prices will be frozen at A$24 per month for the next five years. The firm pledges that future increases will be kept below the rate of inflation.
Australia's opposition party has launched a fresh attack against the viability of the government's planned National Broadband Network, claiming operating expenses will be far higher than forecast.
Malcolm Turnbull, shadow minister for communications and broadband, claims the NBN project will rack up operating costs of A$29 billion (€22.2 billion) between 2010 and 2021, compared to initial projections of A$23 billion.
Turnbull alleges that analyst projections show government deals with Telstra and SingTel subsidiary Optus covering retail customers and some network infrastructure will end up costing A$19 billion and A$2 billion respectively in operating expenses, instead of the A$11 billion and A$800 million budgeted for.
The opposition Coalition has long been an opponent of the NBN project, a government-funded initiative to connect a wholesale FTTH network to 93% of the Australian population. The Coalition previously threatened to axe the scheme, arguing it is too expensive and that few Australians currently need the 100Mbps to 1Gbps data rates the network offers.
A cheaper, but far less ambitious, plan by the Coalition would use a mix of FTTC, wireless and DSL upgrades to provide 12Mbps speeds to 97% of the population.