The NBN has been labelled “the silent train wreck” by a commercial property analyst, who claims that property values are increasingly tied to the quality of connection speeds than physical location.
Writing in a blog post on lifehacker, Commercial Property Guide’s Stephen Rose said that rollout expansion of the NBN “has flatlined in 2018”.
He also suggested that the business rivalry between Australia’s two largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne – is being given an unfair advantage because NBN rollout is favouring locations north of the border.
“NBN penetration in previously low rollout areas of Sydney CBD and North Sydney has surged to 35 per cent and 38 per cent, [respectively],” said Mr Rose.
“However, Melbourne CBD remains an effective NBN-free zone at only 6 per cent.”
According to Mr Rose, the government has prioritized cost-cutting over quality, to the detriment of business customers – particularly SMEs.
“NBN is far more important than better quality Netflix. We need a high-performance NBN so businesses that occupy our commercial real estate can remain globally competitive,” he said.
“This is especially true for small business who don’t have the resources to access alternative high-speed internet.”
Lamenting that the federal government “appears to have a limited and simplistic vision for the NBN”, Mr Rose said the end result is an internet system not fit for purpose.
“Cost-cutting has replaced the objective of delivering a world standard internet network. The performance of the HFC (hybrid fibre-cable) component of NBN has been further downgraded by using a very low-cost design standard. The design assumes very modest neighbourhood peak bandwidth requirements, based on the federal government’s report ‘Future trends in bandwidth demand’,” he said.
“So where are the critics? The peak industry bodies that should speak out about our failure to compete globally on digital connectivity are silent. No organisation has suggested the unthinkable – the NBN is not fit for purpose.”
Mr Rose also criticised ongoing delays in the completion of the NBN as creating further uncertainties for internet users.
“The completion date for NBN has progressively moved from 2018 to now officially 2022. However, informed insiders now expect completion to be beyond 2022,” he said.
“This leaves us pondering – NBN, the silent train wreck.”
Mr Rose’s criticism of the NBN comes after the former executive director of Internet Australia, Laurie Patton, said service improvements and a fall in customer complaints about the NBN is “most likely temporary”.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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