The Government Wants You To Pay An NBN Tax

Image: iStock

The government is pushing for a $7.10 levy to be implemented on the ISPs that deliver Australia's superfast fixed-line broadband, to help pay for the wireless and satellite portions of the National Broadband Network. That

Although the levy will be charged to the retail service providers — the ones already unhappy with the cost and design restrictions of the NBN — those RSPs are likely to pass it on to customers directly. That $7.10 represents a third of the profit some companies make off each customer, according to some reports.

iTnews reports the $7.10 minimum tax will be legislated as part of a package of telco law changes during parliament's winter sitting, sooner rather than later. After today's federal Budget, there are 17 more sitting days before the end of the parliamentary period for the regional broadband scheme charge bill to pass.

It will likely be implemented by July 1 as the government initially intended, if the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2017 passes parliament during the sitting. As well as applying to fixed-line NBN, which will pay for 95 per cent of the Regional Broadband Scheme, competitors to the NBN like TPG's fibre-to-the-basement network will also have to shoulder the burden.

With the NBN already subsidising the cost of building and expanding the non-commercial fixed wireless and satellite portions of the network through its design and initial funding, this bill will shift the cost from the government-run organisation to the RSPs.

Consultation with industry on the bill was held from December until February through an exposure draft, and a submission from ACCAN says that the consumer advocacy group believes levying fixed line connections alone is inequitable. The detail of the reforms are still being finalised by government.

If the cost of funding these services is only borne by customers on certain networks, then these customers are disadvantaged by paying higher prices than they would if they were served by a network that does not have to contribute. This could create a financial difference in the cost of services and disadvantage those who are unable to move or choose the un-levied network. Therefore the costs should not be borne by one network alone.

The 'NBN tax' will likely rise after it is implemented, too, with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield saying it could hit $8 by 2022 in December of last year. The government says that while NBN connections are more expensive, prices could fall over time as the network reaches completion. iTnews says that with 80 per cent of the NBN rollout so far being in regional and rural areas, it's unlikely that many fixed-line customers are already contributing.

NBN connections generally sit at price parity or a slightly higher monthly cost than current ADSL and cable wired internet connections in Australia, although the slowest 12Mbps plans can be as cheap as ADSL. [iTnews]


    Are they for real? Wasn't part of the enormous budget for this project the cost of the satellite and wireless infrastructure...

    Give me FTTP first you goddamn shills... then I'll pay. Forcing the Australian public to pay for this whole clusterfuck is such a joke.

      I'd be happy to have just fibre to the curb; far closer to FTTP but without the costs for the last few kilometres both of the majors are afraid to admit to as it takes the shine off their egos.

      So tempted to protest by adding that cost as a deduction on my tax papers but then that will invalidate the moral standing I have pushed in my prior posts.

      I'll pay $2000 for FTTP

        Add another zero to that figure and you'll be closer to the figure of upgrading your FTTN connection to FTTP. At least based on quotes that some Whirlpool users have discovered, although the highest I saw was $45,000 I think.

    I would like NBN to not have state wide outages semi routinely and suburb wide issues all the bloody time. So that idea can go finger its own butt hole.

      Amen to this. I would like to switch back to ADSL from NBN please.

    Are you fucking shitting me? ARE. YOU. FUCKING. SHITTING. ME?! The whole damn point of the NBN was to replace existing infrastructure. The point of charging more for it in the first place was to cover the cost of that infrastructure. Now they are saying that people who have no say in which network they are on are going to have to pay extra for a substandard service to cover the cost of another service they are not even receiving?! This is just getting goddamn ridiculous... #fraudband indeed...

    Introduces an NBN tax, after completely screwing the implementation and forcing everyone to use it, without indicating how this tax will result in an infrastructure that isn't a decade behind everyone else. Standard fare for this government.

    Last edited 09/05/17 10:28 am

      Yep, definitely a liberal government problem. always the liberal government. what a bunch of crooks. bad people. nothing but gladhands destroying the lives of the public. damn liberals. just the worst...

        I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, trying to sound like Trump or are attempting to diminish my comment through something that isn't there.
        Or, are you just trying to live up to your username?

          I'll admit, i played the wanker card there... and possibly for the wrong reasons.

          Someone said it below and it gets rather tiresome, but its always the sitting government that's at fault - regardless of when decisions are made.

          I'll take the downvotes though, they are deserved.

          On a side note, i do find labor voters to complain a lot more than the other option.
          Maybe just more vocally.

            The Liberals are the ones who downgraded from FTTP, despite strong evidence and testimony from international experts that it would be more expensive in the long run and need upgrading inside of a decade of it being put in the ground. The Liberals are the ones who claimed a "mandate" to cut FTTP when presented with a petition of over 300k signatures to reconsider. The Liberals are now the ones asking taxpayers to pay an additional tax to pay for a service they specifically aren't on, despite the one they are on being substandard in its current form. I'm not claiming Labor are saints or correct on every point, but on this particular subject, evidence suggests their position was overwhelmingly the correct one.

            And for the record, I vote neither Liberal nor Labor.

            Yes, liberal voters basically don't complain. They just sit there and vote/support their side without understanding what is happening.

            Maybe because it's all their fucking fault? Labor had a comprehensive plan for a proper NBN which would cost money but would fully-upgrade Australia's internet and be good for the long term. Then the fucking Coalition came to power and said "that's too much money to spend on something that's just a collection of tubes!", cut everything, shackled us to an outdated bullshit system that's going to cripple Australian internet for DECADES to come, fucked up its implementation, and DIDN'T EVEN SAVE MONEY because they organised it so badly!

            There are a lot of reasons to hate this government, but the absolute FUCKING FARCE that is their mismanagement of the NBN is the cross they should be crucified on. It's a display of incompetence and stupidity so indescribably staggering that it defies belief. There was a plan for Australia's internet, and it was a good one, but these wankers waded in and said "this isn't our plan, so let's scrap it and replace it with one that's incomparably worse in every single possible way!" You're damn right it's the fucking sitting government's fault!

        In this case they did screw the pooch though. They did the standard government overspending plan on a system that was long overdue and the service they have created is incredibly under performing.

        I will concede that Liberal party hate gets a little ridiculous on Kotaku, but the NBN is a fair jab.

          Basically, you and I agree on very little. But we agree on this. Have an upvote. :)

          The Labor plan was flawed, and there's no guarantee that they wouldn't have stuffed it up either, on cost and time. But the way the LNP took to breaking the parts of the NBN that actually made sense was quite spectacular, especially any part of the network with "copper" or "HFC"...


            The problem with both parties and their respective arguments is that the outcome of a Labor win back when NBN was up for contention is purely speculation.

            The only thing we can sort of state is that the Liberal parties NBN is a little bit shit.

    Is that $7 a one-off thing at installation? Or is it a recurring annual (or even monthly) thing?

    Just trying to figure out exactly how much this idea sucks.

      Sounds like they're planning to tax the ISP's, who'll likely increase their prices by $7 per month to compensate.

        ISP's will be taxed at $7 per user.
        ISP's will charge users an extra $20 to cover the tax, administration, account handling and services.

      It'd be nice if the article covered this... I knew there'd be regrets when I clicked on a Campbell article.

      Some quick googling suggests it's $7 a month. Which is fucking insane.

    Faster, cheaper, sooner? Get stuffed, Malcolm. You and Abbott broke this purely for ideological reasons. What a disgrace.


      I had an HFC endpoint installed to my house in February 2016.

      I have no service on this connection.

      I have no confirmed date for service on this connection. The best guess is "after July 2018".

      2.5 years to connect my suburb up after the endpoints are installed?!? With a mixed of technologies - won't even get proper fibre. Meanwhile the ADSL is slowly degrading and I barely get 12mbps down and 256kbps up these days... which isn't bad enough to fix, but is bad enough to make working from home painful. I had better broadband in a village in Cyprus when I was living there 15 years ago.

      So please, I'd love to know why you downvoted my comment...

        This is what really gets to me.
        Not only is the rollout painfully slow, and now the end product shoddy, but the manner in which they have implemented the nationwide rollout has basically killed all investment from any commercial provider. So you literally have no hope at all of getting a better service ever installed. Combined with the existing infrastructure being left to rot, it's a complete disaster.

          Exactly. And it's not like I'm in a rural area or difficult terrain or something. I'm 10km from the Melbourne CBD in an established suburb, 1500m from exchange, and 100m from a TAFE.

          The biggest irony in all this is that pressure from Foxtel etc was partly to blame for this stuffup... and yet now Foxtel would be massively benefiting from a fibre rollout, selling their streaming services as well as their old school paytv.

          (...irony 2 - I have cable to my house but have to have a Foxtel satellite dish because there's no cable to my house... Utopia was supposed to be a warning not a manual...)

            The biggest irony in all this is that pressure from Foxtel etc was partly to blame for this stuffup... and yet now Foxtel would be massively benefiting from a fibre rollout

            That's actually a myth; unless you limit to the Telstra half in which case there maybe truth.

            Personally, I think the whole, sole reason it was scrapped was the Coalition didn't want to credit Labor in any way.

            The budget problems may have been a motivator but I'm sure that they (the Coalition) had the skill to recover the NBN from the death bed Labor tucked it into; the problem was Turnbull would have rather died than admit Conroy was on to something.

        I wasnt aware that i had. Please accept my apologies.

        This screen is small and scrolling is a pain in the arse.

    F*%K you government.

    Would be nice to actually get access to the fucking NBN sometime before I die, maybe then they can think about throwing crazy taxes on it...

      Maybe you're lucky? My area just recently got it and all I hear is people moaning that it's slow, expensive and drops out often.

      Meanwhile we're just thankful we have a cable connection that seems *touch wood* pretty good and have no plans to change.

        it's slow, expensive and drops out often.
        So no change then? :P

    I'm already paying more for a slower less reliable service than I was previously on. What a joke.

    Quick question - how many people have experienced an NBN outage and what is the average length of time for it to come back up? Is it ISP specific fault or that of the actual backbone?

    Just curious as the past 4 years have been absolutely brilliant for me 100/40 with average of 85mbps during peak. DL speeds of over 11mb with concurrent downloads.

    I think in that entire time, we were offline for about 4 hours one evening which was an issues with iinet/tpg at the time.

    In canberra for anyone wondering...

      If you've had it for that long then I'm guessing you're one of the Chosen Ones who actually got the NBN ie FTTP.

      The majority are / will be getting this turd with an "NBN" sticker on it that this government has seen fit to waste our money on. So your experience is probably not indicative of what most of the population will be getting.

      In Hobart, been on fibre for over a year, pretty rock solid here. Don't recall any outages.

        Same here in the northern suburbs. I'm on FTTP 100/40. No drop outs although sometimes when I pick up the landline the phone continues to ring. It's the same on the second landline phone too.

        Do you get the full 100Mbps? I'm getting anywhere between high 80s to low 90s, sometimes mid 90s depending on the Speed Test server.

          i've got screen grabs of 118mbps and 121mbps at around 0200 when we were first in the suburb. We dont get much less that 90 these days.

          And yes, its fttp.

          I do feel sorry for you all that are still waiting, i literally could not move unless it was assured NBN was available. I think canberra got the sweet end of the deal because we got rolled out prior to the manhandling.

          I hit around 70-80 during afternoon/evening when I will do a test now and then. It hits 90+ pretty consistently in off peak times. Since I recently switched from a 25/5 plan I'm super happy with it.

      I've been down 6 times in the two months I've been connected. One of those was only 10 minutes, 2 of them were over 12 hours.

      I'm on the shoddy HFC network which explains everything.

      Optus have said every time it's an NBN fault that they can't do anything about other than wait.
      After calling NBN directly we know that only one of those was NBN and Optus haven't even reported the other 5 to NBN.
      Actually got an Optus manager to apologise and admit to me that they made a mistake forcing people to switch over and the area didn't have the capacity that they estimated.
      So I just have to get used to dropouts and congestion at peak times.

      NT outages are almost a monthly occurance and last for about three to four days at a time. Issues for Alice are non stop, I was sitting around 90 down three months ago, but now find myself struggling to break 20 most days and that is not taking into account the dreadful subcontracy engineers around town. I have heard horror stories of them disconnecting streets when converting new customers to NBN and not even ringing door bells when they are responding to week old connection issues.

    So not only do they introduce a "$300 One-time New Development Charge", they now plan to tax us.

    Seriously Turnbull, just resign. You're clearly too stupid to run a country.

      Is that when you sign up? I've never payed a thing when signing up for a plan, just changed providers and it was also free, plus a WAP. Went on a plan, does that change it?

        The NDC is only for, developments. Think brand new estates where there's not an existing copper line.

          Yep! Except the dumb fucks are NBN Co don't keep their records up to date. I had to pay a charge for an already existing line.

    You know part of the reason behind this right?

    The takeup of the higher speed tiers on FTTN/B has been lower than on FTTP. You know, because the shitty copper means they can't get 50 or 100Mbps down, so why would you pay for it?

    Plus, FTTN/B makes the juicy, high ARPU business services significantly harder to achieve. Crappy copper means those SLAs and CIR are harder. No or low business takeup of the NBN means less big dollars coming in.

    That all means less ARPU. That means less revenue for nbn co. That means this tax is needed to cover the shortfall.

    But remember, 25Mbps to everyone by 2016! Oh wait.

      Does this mean on fttn I wont get 50mbps??? :(

        Depends on your line length and copper quality, exactly like with ADSL.

        If you're literally on top of the node and you've got brand spanking new copper, your line will probably support decent speeds.

        God help you if you're hundreds of metres from the node though. Or if your copper is old and terrible, like a lot of it out there is. VDSL (the technology FTTN uses) is also proportionately more susceptible to interference and degradation over distance than ADSL too.

        This was the whole point of FTTP - you'd get rid of all of these technological limitations that meant you always got an "up to" speed. The technology would have supported whatever you threw at it. The only limitation would have been how much bandwidth your ISP was willing to pay for (i.e. congestion).

        Instead we're stuck with the same old situation, again. Only now we're paying many billions of dollars for the privilege of a second rate solution. Oh, and continuing to pay Telstra for the copper maintenance too! Something that wouldn't have happened with FTTP.

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            Yeah we're classified as getting FTTN. I wish it was fttp or fttc :\

              At least you are not the dude with a node out the front of his house who is slated to get wireless. When it was made into a huge media issue the node was moved a few houses down the street.

            You're right in that they are pushing a lot of "too hard" basket cases onto FW/Satellite.

            But I personally know a few people who are on FTTN and have a line length of 800-900m to the node. Their maximum line sync (based on the tools we have at work) is something like 27/7. And that's theoretical.

            But yeah, absolutely. Unless you're in a perfect location NBN wise, hold on to that DSL as long as you can.

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                Ditto, and whoo boy are there some horror stories. The (small) consolation is at least those "too hard baskets" that get pushed onto FW or Sat don't have a mandatory disconnection. So at least they get to keep the DSL for longer than 18 months!

                My guess is it's based on a combination of factors, of which line length is one. I know those people at 800-900m who are still on FTTN, but I've seen LCTs based on lower distances. Line quality/route/the alignment of the planets on that particular day could also be taken into account. Who knows?

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                How'd you guess? :p
                I'm not even on the front lines in sales or support, but I've seen enough task notes/internal pages/spoken to enough reps to know how bad it is. My condolences if you're in the firing line, haha.

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    Ooh! Ah, that's it. I'm going to report this to me member of parliament.


        That's a bloody outrage, it is! I want to take this all the way to the Prime Minister.

        - How MPs should act.

          Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is a dickwad and it's all his bloody fault to begin with.

      My local member's recent quarterly newsletter was very scathing. I certainly didn't vote for him, but I wrote to him to thank him for taking it seriously.

    All this could have been avoided if they were even slightly financially responsible, and rolled it out to high-density areas first to to generate income to fund the rest. Ah, who am I kidding. We'd still be in this mess, just with more people on NBN about to complain about the new tax.

    So anyway, funny story...

    About two months ago my sister's internet service cut out. She rang her ISP (Telstra) to find out what was going on. Thy told her they'd get someone to look at it and service would be restored in a few days.

    A few days pass and service isn't restored. She also discovers around this time that the landline phone is also down. It's as though someone had cut the line entirely.

    A couple of weeks go by and she's continuously trying to get Telstra to fix the problem. Finally someone tells her that the issue is that her line was shutdown for the NBN changeover, but they can restore her ADSL in the meantime.

    Except, it turns out, a week or two later, that they can't do that because it is Illegal to do that after someone has been switched over to the NBN. Yeah that's news to me, too, but that's what she's been told.

    Anyway that might be fine if it weren't for the fact that the NBN rollout hasn't actually started in her area. So not only can't she go back to ADSL, she can't get NBN either. So no landline or internet service for over two months.

    Anyway my advice based on having FTTP NBN to my apartment is this: NEVER GET NBN. It is the godsdamned worst. Hold on to your existing service as long as you can because NBN is worse. I pay for 100mbit but most of the time I'm lucky to get 10mbit and most evenings it's at 3-4 mbit. If I had a choice I'd go with ADSL or cable because at least then I'd get usable speeds.

    Turnbull should be tried in a court of law for what he did to the NBN. It is a nightmare.

      Some of this doesn't seem all that likely.
      First off once NBN is available in an area they send out mail drops to all premises in that area to alert them that the can now swap over to the NBN, i think it also mentions they have 18 months to do this before the existing networks (Telstra, Optus) will be switched off. Then all the ISP's that have purchased rack space in that area will do mail drops because they want to lock these potential customers into a new 24 month contract. They will actually do this repeatedly because this is one of the best churn rates around where people are changing from their established ISP and shopping around. So to actually miss these notifications that your existing connections are going to be disconnected for more than 18 months means you are actively ignoring these notices.
      Next up it seems very unlikely that Telstra would give up on a connection and the $$ that come with it before they have to, so if your sister's area is not NBN ready it seems quite odd that Telstra would disconnect ahead of this. Then comes the issue where Telstra has an obligation as the owner of the copper phone network to provide a connection by law until NBN takes over, so again seems odd they would disconnect early.
      The last thing I'm confused about is your connection, FTTP to an apartment is a pretty rare occurrence, FTTB is much more common. But even if it is FTTB you should still expect much better speeds than 10mbit... unless you chose an RSP that doesn't buy enough bandwidth to cover all their customers and is limiting you. I suggest you check your modem and see what your sync rates back to the exchange are to confirm that your speed is actually 10mbit or whether this is something your RSP is imposing on you. If you are really limited to 10mbit then i suggest you contact your RSP as they are well aware of the speeds you are receiving. If they are selling you a product you cant receive it sounds like you should change your plan, or your RSP. Finally if you are consistently getting less than 12mbit then NBN is failing on their minimum speed guarantee so you probably have recourse to get the line investigated.

        This is not a unique story. Go to Whirlpool and check the NBN section to get some horror stories.

        I work in the industry and have to deal with the fact that Telstra and NBNco don't fucking talk to each other and cut our clients across without notification all the god damn time and all I can say is... You'd be very surprised. To all of the above.

        Unlikely? In a sane world, yes. But there are layers upon layers of clusterfuck stupidity, bureaucracy, miscommunication and incompetence going on in this space. And NBNco are fucking impossible to deal with. They poached a lot of Telstra/Optus staff, but they did not poach the best and brightest.

      Depends on your area for the NBN. I have HFC, my area has had HFC for the past 15 years thanks to Telstra. The NBN rollout in my area later this year will be...wait for it....HFC.

      They aren't actually doing anything so swapping to NBN just means I get to drop my landline and get access to lower monthly fees. I already experience intermittent outages from the NBN contractors messing around with things while they're doing the "setup" so no difference there either.

        Dont be surprised to see a landline service fee included in your RSP bundle. Its proven a little difficult to actually find a plan on one of the big players that doesnt gouge you for a landline as well.

        Bluntly, if you want to keep your Telstra email address, you're going to pretty much need to stick with them, and I think every plan they have hits you up for the equivalent to a landline, whether you want it or not.

          Stay with Telstra? Bahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

          Nice joke man.

            For some, keeping their existing email address is enough to stick with a provider. I know when I switched to FttP, sticking with TPG was a no brainer for me for that reason, even though most things are registered with my Gmail addy.

            I shed Telstra over a decade ago after they rorted me for over a year, so I hear you, but there are some reasons to stick with them. Their value isnt too bad for a lot of family situations, where you can bundle a few products and save.

            Having said that, if you're happy to bail on em, there are plans out there that dont include the landline blackmail, but I dont think any of the main RSP's are on that list. So just be savvy, you might not get great service or quality customer care.

              My parents use their ISP provided email address for their business. At least they are starting to wind it down to sell for retirement.

      If there is no NBN in her area and Telstra have cut her lines, get her to document everything. There are legal service level agreements that all telco's have to abide by or pay you money for outages. You can waive these, so hopefully they didn't dupe your sis into doing this. She could be in for a nice pay day.

        She has been documenting everything and Telstra have promised refunds for the months she's been without service.

        What bothers us most about the situation is the fact that it's apparently quite legal do this.

          It's not. They legally have to provide a phone line. Make half hearted attempts at contacting them and record all times you contact them and their responses. When you want the money, contact the ombudsman to get it sorted. There are minimum legal requirements that they HAVE to abide by. If not, you get compensation.

    Just remember this rage next federal election.

      Somethingsomething 'stopped the boats' somethingsomething 'national security', somethingsomething 'better economic managers'.

    I'm assuming that's $7 per month and not just a flat $7. The article doesn't state it anywhere.

    If that's correct it's ridiculous. The NBN has already cost tax payers too much, we do not need to be further taxed to pay for it. Remember, we have no choice whether we switch to the NBN or not. It is forced on you if you wish to still have internet and/or a landline phone. That means you're forced to pay this tax if you happen to be on the fixed service that you have no choice over.

    Can we remove the Liberals now please?

    So they want to introduce a $7 premium for fixed line NBN over satellite and wireless. While they are saying this is to fund the wireless and satellite services, I wonder if it is really a first step towards changing the price structure so that different technologies are charged at different rates?

    Why does government exist again? I can't seem to figure out what they're supposed to be for.

    They don't buy enough back pipe now and can't guarantee constant speeds so why in hell would we pay another 8$ for Shit NBN when they don't even give us a stable service now.

    Peak times NBN some people don't even get a 2mbs connection cause the ISP's over subscript and don't buy the back pipe.

    This is a Joke there are not held accountable to provide the service we are paying for AND the government makes it worse.

    I SAY Quality of service but ISP aren't held to them they rip us off with the service just so they can make a buck. ( admittedly some try to break the mold.

    ITs come to this because we accept a sub standard service .

      Yeah Im paying for 100 but barely getting 20mbps. During peak times I've seen it drop to 1mbps and 295kbps at it's lowest.
      The dropouts worry me since the home phone won't work without the internet.

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