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Should the NBN be Sold? And if the NBN is sold what Next for the consumer?


It may appear to be getting ahead of current NBN Progress. Completion keeps being pushed back 2020 last time I looked. Both major parties in Federal Parliament have said very little about the prospects or NBN sale.

One Telco Expert’s advice on Selling the NBN - FUTURE GOVERNMENTS URGED to DELAY SELLING NBN Co

It’s difficult to know what questions to ask and even more difficult to discover many of the answers.
There is a consumer choice to go into the next federal election accepting that the NBN will be sold. To trust in the ghost of Robert Menzies or memories of consensus politics. Or to ask that as consumers to be properly informed of the issues and positions of each major contender before we vote.

I’m suggesting this topic as a place to collect separately from all the other NBN related topics:

  1. What consumer protections should come with the future NBN ownership?
  2. Should the NBN sale be split up, if so how and what are the likely consumer consequences?
  3. In the future NBN world (for each premise connection most notably) how will maintenance and upgrades be prioritised and costed?
  4. What will the future Customer Service Guarantee provide if at all it remains?
    5, Should the NBN or part of the NBN even be sold into private ownership, as per the mandate of the current government?

Are there concerns that the outcomes will not be equitable, that there will be government legislated outcomes granted with the conditions of sale that limit consumer protections, and that consumers will be separated into different classes of service limiting access to competition as well as opportunity?

Privatisation or government ownership - what's best for the people?

Perhaps Mark you may garner more interest if instead you asked ‘whether the NBN should be sold, and if so …’
rather than just assuming everyone agrees that is should be sold?


Someone had to say it – i chose to bite my tongue, but am so glad you didn’t.

Neoliberal politics is a modern evil. Essential state & national infrastructure should be owned by the public via govt, not flogged to corporations to milk it & screw us. Only people who’ve never worked in big corps fall for the delusion that they care about actual service delivery & system maintenance. They instead care about nought but maximising share price to gain their bonus at the next AGM.

NBN has had a truly crap genesis, care of liebs & nuts politics, & privatisation would only confirm that the public never will receive a high quality service at a decent price, over most of Oz.


Thanks Meltam6554. Some edits made.

Note that the NBN will not be available to connect at either of the two places I have an interest before the next Federal election. For many of us it will be impossible to have a reliable informed view on the NBN outcomes or the sanity of keeping or selling it. Many of my near neighbours have a more benign outlook. Some consider the NBN or NBN Co to be a little fairy at the bottom of the garden. When it shows up they will talk with it. Until then don’t worry.

The IT expert in the original referenced article suggests it should neither be split or sold, advice which appears to be very contrary to others.

Notably one recent position of the ACCC (tongue in cheek), champion of all things consumer!

ACCC concerns over the sale of the NBN

The ACCC appears to be supportive of the sale and supportive of the NBN being split up.

Another view even suggests splitting the FTTN customers out in the sale. One stated outcome is that it can then compete with Fixed Wireless NBN. How nonsensical?


Should NBN be sold? NO!!

Privatising the telecommunications infrastructure was a betrayal. One for which John Howard should be brought to account. Paul Keating started privatising Telstra, but it was Howard who took it to a ruinous extreme and threw the infrastructure into the pot.

What should we do?
Return infrastructure to public ownership.

Separate Telstra into retail and wholesale/infrastructure arms. The best mechanism I’ve been able to come up with takes the form of a de-merger. Telstra is split into two companies, with shareholders given shares in each proportional to their current Telstra shareholding. Government then acquires all shares in the wholesale/infrastructure company, at value.

Return radio frequency spectrum to public control. The easiest way would probably be to not renew spectrum licences as they expire. Associated assets of providers other than Telstra could be acquired at value, where economically and operationally rational.

Establish a statutory Commission to provide telecommunications infrastructure and wholesale services. Vest in the Commission all infrastructure and wholesale assets formerly held by Telstra and nbn™.

The "Never Never Broadband Network" - NBN complaints

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose …

what could go wrong …


Let me look into my crystal ball…

I have another that says all plans will go up by $20pm once the deal is done. (7% ROI on $27B sale price over 8M NBN services)


Telstra will probably be bought by Huawei … then we’ll be proper screwed …

Huawei cyber vulnerabilities
The "Never Never Broadband Network" - NBN complaints

Should the government build assets with taxpayer dollars and then sell them to the highest bidder? This has been the dominant ideology for the last thirty years, and look what happens to those assets.

  1. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Sold for pennies, biggest bank in Australia, dudding all of its customers and locking children into Dollarmite accounts. A dollar might go further if you put it elsewhere!
  2. Telstra. The initial sale was at bargain basement prices. Then the Howard government decided to make decent money off the rest, and said ‘it’s for Mum and Dad investors’. How many ‘Mums and Dads’ still hold Telstra shares, when they’re struggling to keep up with the ever-growing cost of living? In the meantime, the network has decayed - to nobody’s surprise except the Liberals when the NBN decided to pay premium prices to buy it back! What kind of idiots are we?
  3. Airports. There are all sorts of natural monopolies, and airports are an obvious one. The prices they charge to airlines, renters (shops) and consumers have gone through the roof! Worse, if second Sydney airport is ever built the owners of Kingsford-Smith have first right of refusal!!!

Then of course there’s public housing. Demand has increased, while stock has decreased. I heard this morning that Victoria has 60k+ public housing tenants, and 83k+ on the waiting list! Worse, it’s going to sell prime central Melbourne real estate to developers, on the proviso that a certain proportion of the resulting apartments will be set aside for public housing. WUT?

If governments are unable to pay their bills, they need to either cut their expenses or increase taxes! Not cut taxes (for a few) and sell off taxpayer assets for short-term gain. Choice @BrendanMays @ScottOKeefe needs to make some noise about the idea of building a second-rate NBN only to flog it off to the only likely bidder at mates’ rates! It should be run as a major issue at the next election.


OT for this thread but since you mentioned it, to bring you up to date from May 2017, Badgerys Creek is under way by the Feds since Sydney Airport declined their option to develop it.


An alternate assessment on the value in the sale of the NBN, and why Telstra may be in the box seat?

One of the hard economic assessments is that after investing $32B in the NBN, plus then NBN’s own financing debts of $19B the NBN may need to be sold off for as little as $10B to make it a viable investment?

There are many permutations on the selling conditions and sale price, so nothing is assured. Per the SMH report:

Given that NBN Co has only been able to drive increased penetration of higher-speed products by discounting them, there is a big question mark over its ability to achieve its financial forecasts.

Moreover, wireless is already substituting for fixed line broadband in an increasing number of households and the imminent rollout of 5G networks can only amplify that trend.

NBN retailers aren’t making money and there is, with the current NBN settings, an enormous incentive for the wireless networks to position themselves as an alternative to the NBN.

Wireless isn’t a perfect substitute for fibre-based broadband but the wireless networks could divert enough customers from NBN Co to make a mess of its projections, which are already sub-economic.

Edit: All has been very quiet in the public arena on this topic since. Having had time recently to read through both the NBN Co 2018 Report and latest NBN Business Plan for 2019 too 2022 - there are a few clues as to the future.

One may be the forecast financial position and income streams 2021 forward. This appears to paint a successful financial enterprise from 2021 moving forward.

A second observation is the heightened and primary focus on improving customer satisfaction and improving measures of positive service outcomes.