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In the finest traditions of "putting out the trash", this highly critical report was dumped on the unsuspecting public late in the afternoon on the Friday before the AFL and NRL grand finals

Peak internet body applauds the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN calling for full fibre NBN, writes executive director Laurie Patton.

INTERNET AUSTRALIA (IA), the NFP peak body representing the interests of Internet users, applauds the work of the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN, which released its first report on Friday, 29 September 2017.

This report totally vindicates the calls we’ve been making for more than two years now. Australia needs a 21st Century broadband network and this is not being delivered.

When I joined IA three years ago, board policy favoured returning to a full-fibre NBN. This remains very much the preferred position and what’s occurring in 80 percent of new broadband rollouts globally. Two years ago, the directors resolved to call for the adoption of fibre-to-the-driveway — or as NBN Co prefers to call it fibre-to-the-curb. Our experts maintain this is a suitable interim option because it can be upgraded later as needed. FTTN is not cutting it now and cannot deliver for the future.

Our stance is based on our members’ belief that fast, affordable and reliable broadband is essential to our economic and social development. IA has consistently called for a bipartisan rethink and an agreed plan to solve a looming crisis facing NBN Co.

The way we're heading now, whoever is in office in 2020 will have to deal with our biggest ever national infrastructure debacle. NBN Co will owe the government approximately $19 billion, which it is having to borrow to complete the rollout, and within five to ten years will have to fund an expensive replacement of FTTN. No-one seems to know how many billions this will cost. It’s not provided for in the NBN Co business plan.

The Joint Standing Committee is correct. We need to abandon the FTTN rollout immediately.

Recommendation 2.91: The committee recommends that the Australian Government direct and enable NBN to complete as much as possible of the remaining fixed line network using FTTC at a minimum (or FTTP), and require nbn to produce a costed plan and timetable under which that would be achieved.

Recommendation 2 2.92: The committee recommends, in light of recent results and developments, that the Australian Government commission an independent audit and assessment of the long-term assumptions underpinning NBN's financial projections and business case as set out in the Corporate Plan 2018-21.

You can follow Laurie Patton on Twitter @LJPatton.

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