Question mark over the future of NBN in Australia

A political hot-button for the last decade, the NBN is back in the headlines this month after comments by Telstra’s CEO about the viability of its wholesale pricing models.

“Unless we get the pricing structure right, we’re going to create this unnatural dynamic in the market which biases technology for reasons other than what’s the best technology for the customer. If wholesale pricing structures don’t change, that’s what’s going to happen.” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said.


It seems that this problem lies in the NBN’s wholesale pricing model to the network providers. Without room for convincing profits, the mobile carriers have little motivation to keep selling the NBN solution and will in fact look to use cheaper 5G networks to bypass NBN and turn greater profits.

These comments come amid the struggling reputation of NBN’s historical performance. Huawei executive David Soldani said the NBN had failed and that many sites were delivering 6Mbps or less at peak-time - “worse speeds than many were getting on old ADSL services”.


And while complaints about the service seem to be coming down, with comments like this being made in public discourse, the question looms, ‘Are complaints coming down because service is up, or are complaints coming down because people are getting used to sub-par performance and reliability’?

So strap in and let’s see how the NBN plays out in the coming 12-18 months. There are a lot of eyes watching how the government fixes this $51 billion project.