Public support for NBN waning?

Essential Research poll finds Labor and Liberal/National prefer broadband from the private sector
  • Tim Lohman (Computerworld)
  • 01 February, 2011 12:45

Public support for the National Broadband Network (NBN) could be on the wane with a new poll finding both Liberal/National and Labor voters favour the private sector, rather than the government, to deliver broadband services.

The poll, taken by Essential Research in late January, found 53 per cent of 1053 respondents preferred the private sector to run broadband services compared to 29 per cent favouring government.

Liberal/National voters voted 63 per cent in favour of private sector broadband services compared to 24 per cent in favour.

Crucially, Labor voters also favoured the private sector (44 per cent) over the government (38 per cent) and despite the Federal Government rolling out the universal access publicly-owned National Broadband Network.

Some 28 per cent of all respondents indicated they favoured a scrapping or postponement of the NBN as the best way for the Government to pay for the damage caused by the recent floods.

Just 11 per cent of Labor voters agreed with scrapping or postponing the NBN while nearly half (48 per cent) agreed. However, Scrapping or postponing the NBN was strongly favoured by those aged 55 and above (40 per cent).

The poll is yet more bad news for the NBN Co, the company responsible for delivering the NBN. A separate report from Access Economics has found the company may face a skills shortage and consequent project delays as a result of rebuilding efforts in post-flood Queensland and continued mining projects.

According to Access Economics’ latest investment and structural change monitoring report, resources investment and associated infrastructure works continue to dominate the Australian investment landscape, with strong commodity prices delivering a profits surge. The subsequent boom has made new investment projects irresistible, according to the research firm.