Conroy asks why Vertigan panel bothering with NBN analysis

NBN cost-benefit analysis on track for mid-June submission to government

Senator Stephen Conroy

Senator Stephen Conroy

A National Broadband Network review panel will finish its cost-benefit analysis comparing different NBN approaches even though the government has already decided to go ahead with a multi-technology model, said the panel’s chair, Michael Vertigan.

Vertigan, who is also a director of Aurora Energy, is in charge of the panel appointed by the government to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the NBN and an assessment of the regulatory environment of the rollout.

In a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on the NBN on Monday, Senator Stephen Conroy asked if there’s still a point to finishing a cost-benefit analysis given the Coalition government’s decision to ditch the fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) plan that was supported by Labor.

“You could write back to them and say, ‘Given you’ve made your decision in this area anyway, we’ll save the taxpayers some money and won’t bother going down this path…’” suggested Conroy.

“We intend to complete the task,” replied Vertigan. He said the panel will issue its report to the government in mid-June.

Vertigan said the cost-benefit analysis will compare the pros and cons of four different scenarios: maintaining the status quo with no NBN rollout, a purely commercial rollout, a fibre-to-the-premise NBN deployment and the multi-technology model.

The Vertigan panel plans to release an analytical framework that will provide theoretical guidance for the cost-benefit analysis by the “end of this coming week,” he said.

A variety of stakeholders, including NBN Co, major telcos and the Victorian government have submitted comments to the panel. The Vertigan panel issued a framing paper in February.

The panel is still weighing views from stakeholders and is “very much in the process of coming to conclusions rather than having settled views,” Vertigan told the committee.

Besides Vertigan, the NBN review panel also includes former eBay ANZ CEO Alison Deans, former Australian Communications Authorty CEO Tony Shaw, and Henry Ergas, a former OECD economist and known Labor critic.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags Stephen Conroynational broadband networkAustraliagovernmentVertigan reviewNBNbroadbandMichael Vertigancost-benefit analysis

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1 Comment



true why bother with this report anyway as the Lib's have stacked the panel with their pets. The report is useless as NBN co under guidance from Ziggy has already changed from FTTP to FTTN. Look at Tasmania where they were promised FTTP before the election, now they are getting FTTN, NBN Co is already doing FTTN in areas and not connecting people that have fiber at their place now. They will be connected by FTTN at a later date as NBN Co has been changing connection dates of not making appointments.

If the panel suggested to stay with FTTP, it would be moth balled and ignored by the minister as he wants his FTTN and the Victorian gov't should mind its own business as how can they say what is best for all of Australia when we do not have voting rights in their state, I live in NSW. If Victoria wants FTTN then let them pay for it and the money saved should be spent on FTTP for the rest of us.

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UPDATED: Which NBN plan is best?