What is the National Broadband Network?

The Federal Government's proposed National Broadband Network is set to revolutionise internet usage in Australia by providing super fast internet access to the majority of Australian homes and business. The National Broadband Network will cost the Australian taxpayer $3 billion over the next 8 years.

The National Broadband Network (or NBN) was proposed by the Rudd government as an election promise before the 2007 Federal Election. The proposal involves a fibre optic broadband network running directly into Australian homes and businesses (FTTH or Fibre to the home). The network will achieve speeds up to 100Mbps (100,000 kbps) for 90% of Australians with a combination of wireless and satellite technologies servicing the rest of Australia, with a minimum speed of 12,000kbps.
The super fast network will be able to provide high quality voice, data and video services as well as high definition video conference to reduce the need for business travel. The project will also create 47,000 new jobs over the next eight years.

Following the Labor Government election win a tender process was initiated where companies could bid for the contract to build and maintain the new network. The most notable submissions received were from Telstra, Terria, Canandian based Axia Netmedia, Acacia as well as an individual state bid by the Tasmanian government. Telstra was removed from the bidding process on December 15 2008 after Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy ruled their bid was not compliant.

On April 7 2009 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the National Broadband Network would be built by the Australian Government after none of the proposals provided value for money in the current economy. The Tasmanian Government, however, was successful in its bid to build the NBN in Tasmania and as a result the Tasmanian NBN has been fast tracked and due to commence construction in July 2009.

The Australian Government will now establish its own company as a private-public partnership to manage and build the National broadband network and will then sell off its 51% stake in the company after 5 years. At the beginning of July 2009 the Fedral Government announced the first communities in which the National Broadband Network will be built as part of the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program: Wonthaggi, Leongatha, Korumburra, Inverloch, Foster, Yarram, Victor Harbor, Broken Hill, Darwin, Geraldton, Emerald and Longreach.

The NBN proposal has received criticism from the broadband industry, most notable from Telstra and iiNet who complained the government lacked certainty over the regulation of the new network. Speculation has remained surrounding the tender process to build the network and the opposition has criticised the government for promising wildly unrealistic nation building projects.

With the National Broadband Network set to go ahead the future of broadband in Asutralia looks bright. While waiting for the network to reach your area, you can still take advantage of low cost ADSL, ADSL2+, Naked DSL, Cable and Mobile Broadband plans by comparing and finding the best deal at Compare Broadband.