BEN GRUBB August 08, 2012
Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy, left, with NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley. Photo: Tamara Voninski
NBN Co has unveiled a new corporate plan. It reveals NBN will cost $4.6b more than forecast to build and operate and that ugly battery backup boxes will no longer be mandatory, among other things.
4.20pm: We have filed a story on the new corporate plan. You can read it here. We are going to close this live blog. Thanks for reading. You can still comment below. NBN Co's corporate plan can be downloaded here.
3.52pm: We will post a few more updates to this blog and soon post our wrap up of the press conference.
3.35pm: Asked earlier about the difficulties some people renting units and apartments faced with getting their strata management to agree to connect to the NBN, Conroy said there was nothing the government or NBN Co could do. "It's not the first time someone has faced this problem," Conroy said. "If the strata says no then we will declare [the property] 'frustrated' and move on to the next one. We can't storm the building [and connect the customer to the NBN] ... even if people in it were begging us to [connect them]."
3.18pm: During the press conference Fairfax Media's Lucy Battersby asked about the ugly-looking battery backup boxes that were, until today, mandatory if you wanted to be connected to the NBN. The boxes are installed so that if there is a power outage, customers on the NBN can still make phone calls. But the batteries will now be optional, and NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley expects this will save NBN Co "hundreds of millions" of dollars. Senator Conroy said "extensive" consultation with emergency services departments had been done before it was decided to make the boxes optional, though says they will still be mandatory in some cases where a person suffers a life-threatening illness.
3.10pm: Senator Conroy and NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley have now left the press conference. A number of things were said that we have not posted yet in this live blog that we will post after this update. We're currently digging through the new NBN corporate plan.
3.01pm: A journalist has asked if, like in Queensland, the federal government should introduce laws that make it a criminal offence to lie in parliament when talking about topics such as the NBN. Conroy says it's already an offence to lie to parliament.
2.42pm: A journalist from The Australian newspaper is asking about the 3.9 per cent capital expenditure cost increase revealed in the new NBN Co corporate plan. The journalist called it a cost "blowout". Mr Quigley and Senator Conroy don't believe it is a blowout, and instead call it a cost "increase".
2.40pm: Both Mr Quigley and Senator Conroy are now taking questions from media.
2.33pm: Mr Quigley has been talking about the financials of the NBN. He says the total funding from the federal government (the only NBN shareholder) has gone "up a bit". In 2027, NBN Co will pay its first tax bill.
2.21pm: NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley is now speaking. He says NBN Co is now a fully functioning wholesale telco.
2.20pm: Senator Conroy has gone back to complaining about the Opposition. He says many media who are attending today's event would have travelled over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to get here. He says if Tony Abbot and Malcolm Turnbull were faced with having to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge they would only have built one lane each way. "You can imagine the nightmare of traffic you would have if the people who built the Harbour Bridge had the foresight that Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull display today."
2.18pm: Senator Conroy says it will take six months longer than forecast to build the NBN.
2.15pm: "Let's move on to why we're here today," Conroy says. He says the government has passed all NBN related legislation.
2.05pm: Senator Conroy says he's been reading a "very informative" thread on the broadband forum Whirlpool. Called "Fighting the NBN FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt)", the 77-page thread goes into great detail about the benefits of the NBN and things the Opposition have been saying about it that may not necessarily be true.
2.02pm: Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has arrived. He says he first wants to address some of the "misconceptions" that have been spread by the Opposition Leader Tony Abbot and Opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull.
2.01pm: Part of the higher cost is because of the agreement to pay Optus around $800m to transfer its customers from its HFC network to the NBN, the NBN Co report says.
2.00pm: The corporate plan says the cost of building the NBN will be $4.6b more than forecast in the 2010 report. However, NBN Co says it expects revenue to be much higher than forecast, giving the government a return of 7.1 per cent, up from 7 per cent, per annum.
1.56pm: Welcome to Fairfax Media's live blog of the release of NBN Co's updated corporate plan. We've just been given NBN Co's updated plan. You can watch the event live here.