The Australian government has said that it will cost around AUD40.9 billion (USD40.4 billion) in equity and debt to fund the National Broadband Network (NBN), with the state putting up some AUD27.5 billion of that, Reuters reports. The new infrastructure, the operation and construction of which will be overseen by the public-private NBN Co, was one of the ruling Labor party’s major election promises, and prime minister Julia Gillard has called it ‘the telecommunications development of our century.’ The leader has claimed that the NBN could boost economic growth in Australia by around 1.3%, although no timeframe for such increases have been detailed. NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley meanwhile claimed that his company would become a top-tier Australian debt issuer, with the bulk of the non-government funding expected to come from overseas investors. Annual revenues from the new network are forecast to be AUD5.8 billion in 2021, rising to AUD7.6 billion by 2025, with the state aiming to earn an average of AUD1.9 billion per year over the six years from 2015 to 2021.
Meanwhile, the government has also noted that the AUD11 billion deal with the country’s fixed line incumbent Telstra, under which the latter would allow the NBN to utilise its existing fixed line infrastructure, would be finalised by next month. While this is slightly later than Telstra had hoped for – it aimed to complete an agreement before the end of 2010 – it is still expected that this would allow enough time for the telco’s shareholders to approve the proposals by the middle of 2011.