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Labor's national broadband network has been given an independent boost with a study of its future economic benefits concluding it will add $3800 a year to the wealth of the average connected household in 2020.
The study, by economic modelling firm Deloitte Access Economics, has found "super-fast" broadband would provide multiple economic benefits to households through practical changes and such developments as e-commerce, e-medicine and tele-working.
The NBN proposes download speeds of up to 1000 megabits per second, which would facilitate the download of a high-definition television show, for example, within seconds.
The study was commissioned by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
It did not model the comparative benefits of the Coalition's cut-price NBN plan that would stop short of the full fibre-to-the-home system proposed under Labor's plan. Labor's NBN is set to cost $37.4 billion compared with the opposition's roughly $20 billion option using fibre to the node – essentially a cabinet at the end of each street – and then relies on the established copper network for the final link to the property.
The Deloitte study analysed 10 types of households and found that those connected and utilising the super-fast system would reap financial benefits of thousands of dollars a year by 2020, when the system is due to be fully operational.
A single-income household with a small business and two children to support would be $7000 a year better off, and older Australians would also achieve savings of that amount due to potential for e-health to improve living standards and delay an eventual move into nursing home accommodation.
"Our estimate is average annual household benefits will be worth around $3800 in 2020, in current dollars," the report states. "Around two-thirds of these benefits [$2400] are financial benefits, the rest are the equivalent monetary value of consumer benefits such as travel time savings and convenience of e-commerce."