Posted November 09, 2018 07:03:48 The Federal Government’s NBN Co is refusing to provide a cost of the fibre-to-the-node network for a new state jobs program, accusing the NBN Co’s management of hiding the costs of its fibre-coaxial network.
Labor has accused the NBN of deliberately understating the costs to avoid the cost of installing the fibre to the premises system to be rolled out to the state by 2021.
The Federal Opposition’s shadow minister for employment, Chris Bowen, has launched a number of attacks on the NBN and its management in a series of statements on the ABC.
Mr Bowen has accused NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, of having a “culture of concealment” on the cost estimates of the NBN.
“What we’re seeing is the Federal Government has made a deliberate decision to avoid public accountability on the costs,” Mr Bowen said.
“This is a deliberate move by NBN Co management to hide the costs.”
Mr Quigly, however, denied any attempt to mislead the public.
“The Government has never, and will never, seek to hide information on costs and its commitment to cost neutrality is strong and strong,” he said.
“All of our costs are publicly available, and we publish detailed information about them on our website.” “
The statement continued: “While the costs have been reported in the media, the NBN Company has consistently stated that its costs are in fact transparent.” “
All of our costs are publicly available, and we publish detailed information about them on our website.”
The statement continued: “While the costs have been reported in the media, the NBN Company has consistently stated that its costs are in fact transparent.”
NBN Co also said it has a “robust” compliance process for the network, which it described as “comprehensive and robust”.
The company’s managing director, Stephen Elop, also denied the statement from Mr Bowen, saying the NBN’s cost estimates were based on a “diverse set of assumptions” that “are the product of an analysis of real-world conditions and assumptions” and were not “based on a single source”.
He also denied any suggestion that the network’s costs are being hidden because it is “undervalued”.
NBN Co did not provide the ABC with an internal cost study of its network, but Mr Elop said the company had conducted a comprehensive cost study in the past.
The company was previously accused of hiding costs of the copper-based fibre network by claiming that the costs would be cheaper if the network was “downsized”.
“It’s a really important point,” Mr Elops said.
Mr Elsop said it was a common practice for a network to be upgraded to a new standard, usually to the level of the network it was originally designed for.
“I think this is common practice, because we have a good reputation for our engineering and our network engineering is a very good reputation,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program.
“You have a number for every level.
You have the copper network, the copper, the fibre network, all of these things.”
The company is also being investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over its costs of upgrading its network to the new standard of 1Gbps.
It has also been criticised for not providing enough information about its NBN rollout to its customers, which includes questions about whether it would cost more money to deploy a new fibre network than it would to upgrade its existing network.
Mr Quigsley said that NBN Co was “totally committed” to cost-neutrality.
“NBN Co will always deliver a cost-effective network to our customers that meets their needs,” he wrote in a blog post.
“As we have said many times, this is not about us getting ahead of the market and pricing the network ahead of it, this isn’t about making a profit for ourselves, it is about providing an affordable, reliable network that delivers quality services.”
NBNCo has been criticised by some analysts for failing to provide cost information to its NBN customers, including some of the more remote parts of Australia.
The Government has repeatedly said that it would like NBN Co to provide information about costs to its network owners.
The NBN Co website has also said that the company would not be able to provide the cost information if it was required to provide it for other reasons.