Australian economy critically reliant on National Broadband Network: survey

From construction to implementation the NBN will transform the economy… if the government and industry get it right.

Average bit/data cap size and price per additional MB in $US (Source: OECD October 2007)

Average bit/data cap size and price per additional MB in $US (Source: OECD October 2007)

Meanwhile, the ACCC and Senator Conroy’s Department of Broadband have both been accused of perceived inaction and misguided policy during the delayed NBN tender process, which is due to close in late November.

In terms of pricing, a quarter of all companies in the AiG/Deloitte survey indicated a willingness to pay a premium price for access to higher speed broadband, which should be music to Telstra’s ears. The incumbent has drawn criticism from its NBN opponents for its desire to charge premium prices for access to the NBN. Telstra has indicated it wants an 18 percent ROI on the NBN build, while Optus/SingTel has said it would be happy with 12 percent.

Australia already pays among the highest prices for some of the poorest broadband services in the OECD.

The OECD’s broadband portal offers extensive comparisons of broadband pricing, speeds, penetration and technologies: Out of 30 OECD countries Australia pays the eighth highest average subscription price, is one of only four countries with 100 percent penetration of explicit bit caps, and the price Australians pay per additional MB once that data cap has been exceeded is more than five times higher than any other country in the OECD. Australia is also home to 7 out of the 10 worst broadband plans in the OECD that reach the bit/data cap the quickest.

The AiG/Deloitte survey also found that 30 percent of small firms indicated they have a low degree of skills which would prevent them seizing opportunities arising from the deployment of high speed broadband.

“Importantly, the report found that businesses of all size lacked the capability, and the skills, to maximize the gains from high speed broadband. It is a particular issue for smaller firms,” Ridout said.

The survey can be viewed in full here.

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