Economic benefits of the NBN

Working with strategic advisory firm AlphaBeta, we undertook an economy-wide assessment of the economic benefits of the NBN. The summary of the methodology for this analysis was recently released.

A key finding of the modelling was that the NBN contributed an additional $1.2 billion of economic activity in 2017.

Working closely with the AlphaBeta team, who analysed Census data and undertook a comprehensive survey of 3,500 individuals across 1,700 postcodes, we were able to define a set of impacts attributable to the NBN through its provision of high-speed broadband.

The starting point of the analysis was a traditional estimate of the improvements in business productivity due to a combination of higher broadband speeds and improved access to the service. From there, drawing on survey data, we considered:

  • Improvements in business productivity due to higher broadband speeds and greater access to broadband.
  • Improved labour market outcomes due to online education;
  • Increases in hours worked through higher levels of telework enabled by the NBN; and
  • Additional hours worked as online job search costs reduced.

Three separate scenarios were considered that considered the future pace of the NBN rollout:

  • The Corporate Plan target: Measuring the economic impact in 2021 of Australia moving to the speed tier mix in 2021 as identified in the 2018-2021 Corporate Plan, and engaging in behaviours and business activity that capitalise on the benefits of these speeds;
  • Focus on 50: Measuring the economic impact in 2021 of Australia moving to a 'focus on 50' scenario, with all households on lower speed tiers moving at least up to 50mbps plans, and engaging in behaviours and business activity that capitalise on the benefits of these speeds; and
  • Top-end users: Measuring the economic impact in 2021 of Australia moving to the speed tier mix of the current top 20% of users, and engaging in behaviours and business activity that capitalise on the benefits of these speeds.
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