NBN Questions: debt + international connections

April 8, 2009

Two questions

1. Does the $43billion include the cost of repayment of debt, or is it simply the cost of the actual rollout?

Whether the Government directly borrows, or offers infrastructure bonds, both come with interest that needs to be repaid. The official release says “will invest” which could suggest that the $43 billion figure is to be spent on the rollout, not the repayments. If this is the case, the $43 billion could actually be something like $45 billion.

2: Why doesn’t the NBN include planning for increased international access?

The NBN includes

implement measures to address backhaul ‘black spots’ through the timely rollout of fibre optic transmission links connecting cities, major regional centres and rural towns – delivering improvements to telecommunication services in the short term

But no mention of international pipes. We already have the problem where say a 20mbps ADSL connection here is the equivalent of maybe a 2mbps connection in San Francisco because of the distance and congestion in the connections that pull the data across the Pacific.

100mbps internal connections mean little if there isn’t increased capacity on the international backbones. Yes, you’ll be able to access sites hosted in Australia quickly, but sites outside Australia are another matter.