A new Infrastructure Australia report is recommending the nbn be split into distinct business units and privatised.
The report, Australian Infrastructure Plan: Priorities and reforms for our nation’s future proposes that the Australian Government should split nbn into distinct business units to encourage infrastructure competition, promote private investment, and allow for specialisation in managing different networks.
The report says the near-term challenge for the Australian Government will be to ensure the efficient rollout of the broadband network, so it’s desirable to defer the privatisation of nbn until the rollout is complete.
Then over the medium term, the Australian Government should transfer nbn to private ownership.
The report suggests two prominent options for how to split nbn into different businesses.
The first option consists of splitting nbn along technology lines, with one company selling services over the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial cable networks, one over Fibre to the Premises or Fibre to the Node networks, and others through the satellite and wireless networks.
The second option consists of splitting nbn along geographical lines, for example, by major Australian cities.
The report suggests remote and regional services covered by satellite services could be managed separately through CSOs, where there is insufficient commercial appetite to deliver services through a private model.
The Australian Infrastructure Plan recommends that in preparation for a future sale, nbn should begin to establish separate internal business units in anticipation of creating a more competitive network once the rollout is complete.
The report suggests that prior to nbn’s privatisation, the Australian Government should undertake a study to consider the objectives of a sale, including the preferred method and structure of sale; actions required to prepare nbn for sale and the industry structure in which the entity operates.
The report said the delivery of the NBN provides an important opportunity for Australia to capitalise on its potential and enable all Australians to benefit from an increasingly digitised world.
In another one of its recommendations, the report said the Australian Government should workwith communities and business to maximise opportunities created by the National Broadband Network.
By working with communities, it will boost productivity and increase the efficiency of services and infrastructure and the government should lead the way by increasing the delivery of government services and information online.
Infrastructure Australia is an independent statutory body that is the key source of research and advice for governments, industry and the community on nationally significant infrastructure needs.
Read the full Australian Infrastructure Plan: Priorities and reforms for our nation’s future report here.