NBN business plan still lacks information: Analysts

Although it provides some further clarity, analysts say information has been omitted from the document

The release of the NBN business plan has provided much needed extra detail on the National Broadband Network (NBN), however significant details remain unknown, according to analysts.

NBN Co Corporate Plan (PDF), unveiled by the Gillard Government on Monday 20 December, revealed a basic feed from the NBN will cost telecommunications wholesalers $24 a month, and will offer download speeds of 12 megabits per second and upload speeds of one megabit per second. A service Prime Minister Julia Gillard claims is both viable and affordable.

IDC telco analyst, Mark Novosel, told Computerworld Australia that the released document is “a start”, adding some clarity to the debate.

“There is a substantial amount of information that has been omitted, particularly around pricing and costing,” he said. “There are reasons for this, however, the opposition is likely to demand further information to be released, without which it may potentially delay the NBN process.”

Gartner analyst, Geoff Johnson, echoed this sentiment, noting that many calculations were not published in the document, only the end result.

“The most recent development is that it has pricing in it and it’s got more than coverage maps in it,” he said.

According to Ovum research director, Kevin Noonan, now the plan has finally been released, the more important issues, including implementation issues and the next step in service delivery, can be focused on.

“The challenge I think for government policy makers is that other parts of government will now need to lead the way in utilising the NBN to deliver the business case,” he told Computerworld Australia.

“We’ve got the plan there on the table, the big challenge is making it real and no one is going to thank the government for having a lot of cable rolled out until there are real people getting real services, including the likes of health, education, transport and regional services.

“The government now really need to start turning their minds both in a policy and a service delivery sense about what they will do to lead the way on utilising the NBN.

“Really, what we’ve seen delivered is a plan, and all companies need a plan but the support for the plan will quickly wither away unless people can actually see a clear indication of it actually happening.”

Noonan noted the skills shortage in the ICT industry and how major recruiters are looking to locate development centres close to universities.

“The challenge for that will be in making sure those centres can connect up in a reasonable way,” he said.

“The NBN potentially provides the answer to that question but the success of NBN will rest in the ability to deliver those services, which will require new skills and you can’t get those new skills unless we have people located in regional centres because that’s where they want to be connected up and developing new systems.”

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

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