Independent senator Nick Xenophon has secured a deal with Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for the release of the NBN business plan. The release clears the way for the passage of the Telstra separation bill this week in the Senate.
Get up to speed on the NBN debate.
The deal will see the release of a 36-page document summarising the NBN Co's business case — itself a 400-page document handed to the Government on 8 November.
“[The document] contains carefully selected materials answering some of the key questions and which allow them to explain to their constituents their decision making process,” Gillard said.
“But we have been very careful and the material being released will not cause any market uncertainty and does not relate to matters under Cabinet consideration."
According to Gillard, the document does not detail market sensitive information such as the number of households retail providers will be able to connect to the NBN.
“[The document] confirms the NBN will be built on a financial viable basis with affordable prices for customers," she said. "IT confirms that prices will decrease over time as market becomes more and more competitive and customer join the network."
Gillard said the NBN Co would also receive a rate of return higher than the long-term bond rate, making the NBN commercially viable.
The NBN's construction time was also expected to be shorter and less costly due to the possibility of a deal between Telstra and NBN Co, Gillard said.
“The total capital expenditure is $35.7 billion, that is obviously less than the capital expenditure previously publicly released of $43 billion,” she said.
"That difference is overwhelming explained by the agreement with Telstra and the ability therefore to get access to Telstra infrastructure for the roll out.
“For Senator Xenophon, this is information he can rely on.”
The summary will be made available to independent senators and crossbench MPs before being publicly released.
Where is the NBN build at? See Computerworld Australia's NBN Map.
Earlier today the Federal Government advanced its Telstra separation bill, achieving a second reading of the bill in the Senate, despite strong criticism of the bill from the Opposition.
In Senate debate prior to the 33-30 vote in favour of the Government’s Competition and Consumer Safeguards Bill 2010, communications minister Stephen Conroy claimed the Coalition’s recent campaign to block the bill unless the NBN business case was made available to Parliament was a ruse.
Last night Opposition communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, claimed the Federal Government’s arguments for not releasing the National Broadband Network (NBN) business case this week amounted to “pathetic excuses”.
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