"Netflix Tax" - How the Liberals screwed Australia


My wife incredulously asked if I was aware of the proposed “Netflix tax” today - which I’d never heard of…

Apparently the move to streaming television services is stressing the NBN, so now there’s talk of imposing some kind of monetary penalty for people who use these streaming services.

Thanks Liberal/National partys.

If you’d followed Labor’s NBN plan, I expect this wouldn’t be an issue.




I’m really not a fan of the mixed delivery Coalition NBN but I’m not so sure it wouldn’t have happened with Labor as well. The issue is partly the requirement for the NBN to show a certain return on investment not just the ability to deliver content over an NBN that is barely fit for purpose.

ie to say… even if the FTTP Labor NBN would have had plenty of capacity to deliver the streaming content (which it would have had) NBN Co would still have had a strong incentive to throw out Net Neutrality because their financial model is unsustainable without a median cost per user that’s well above what most people were paying for ADSL.

And some more, not that most of us need to be made aware…

I accept that Labors plan would have cost more than what the Libs have ultimately done… but this project was meant to bring fast internet to the majority of the country, and provide some degree of future proofing. The results instead are worse than ADSL for some people.

The user pays method should not be an excuse for what is a nation building piece of infrastructure.

Indeed and that is the point I was making, even Labors (much much better) primarily FTTP NBN was when ultimately designed as a for profit ‘user pays’ piece of infrastructure (just a better designed one).

Then there is the whole 121 POP disaster, 6 to 9 would have been plenty.

If the ALP had been able to build the NBN as originally designed, I think people would be happier to pay a Netflix tax.

The fact that the LNP destroy the NBN then turn around and want to tax it is like a double smack in the face.

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I certainly would not be any happier about paying a ‘Netflix tax’. The whole concept of pricing some types of internet traffic differently to other types goes against the very heart of Net Neutrality.


I’m not saying I agree with it, just saying that its just a double kick in the face coming from the LNP.

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“Net Neutrality” was a term I’d never heard until about 6-12 months ago, with questions being raised over how the US is considering creating a hierarchy of internet services, that would make it much much harder for start-ups to compete with established businesses. (ie a new streaming service with limited funds Vs Netflix.)

And I straight away felt that NN was something that needs to be maintained. Considering how US politicians seem to get obsessed with breaking up Microsoft (and Apple?) due to being anti-competitive… you’d think they would support NN, not want to destroy it.

In terms of cost to the end user… if Labor’s NBN cost much more than the existing NBN, I guess it would have struggled to gain customers - based on the $90/month for unlimited NBN that Telstra charge. I imagine a lot of people would be opting to find good phone data packages instead - indeed people probably do that now. That’s where I say - Labor would have had to subsidise the service to help cover the setup, so the customers would only be paying for the ongoing maintenance/future proofing/etc costs…

I think it is utterly insane that Aussies have to pay by the amount. No one else does. Of all the things about Australia that surprised me, this was number one. Mostly I didn’t feel out of place in Australia. Things didn’t seem weird. And certainly not “foreign.”

Except for setting up internet and mobile service with Optus. I was completely dumbstruck at how Straya does this. And NBN itself has been such a cluster[badword], I just don’t know when Australian internet is going to join us in the 21st century.


Certainly not any time before the next election.

Well, I lived in Sydney in 2010-2011. Doesn’t seem like much has changed in nearly ten years. Just talk and talk and talk. Meanwhile the connection rate in much of Asia is absolutely schooling Australia. As was said, this is INFRASTRUCTURE. This is roads and bridges. This is basic education and business. Australia is leaving itself behind.

Whilst in opposition in early 2007 Labor’s Fibre to the Node NBN was quoted to cost $15b, however by the time Rudd became PM later that year the plan changed to Fibre to the Premises, resulting in the estimate rising to between $37b - $43b.

This was a huge increase, but also for huge benefit.

I’m happy to accept that this estimate would not have been the final cost if they had continued with FTTP (noting that there were a lot of unexpected issues with delivery), however given that the Liberal’s mostly FTTN NBN is still going to come in around $10b over Labor’s upper estimate - I can’t help but think that they should have pressed on.

It would have to be one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the nation’s history, but given the technological world that we now live in - it’s taxes well spent. (Or would have been…)

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Yep. The NBN should have been implemented as originally planned, but the LNP don’t care about anything other than being in power. Their NBN was their way of “doing the exact opposite to Labor”, and also keeping their friends happy (ie Murdoch) under Abbott. They don’t plan for the future, have a vision or anything. The ALP are by no means perfect but they (from time to time) have a vision for the future that isn’t based on tax cuts to keep their hold on power.



In every scenario fibre to the premises would have become cheaper as the build progressed. The maintenance budget would have become cheaper. Instead the savings in “build” are now going to maintenance because the older technology can’t cope. It’s a black and white issue. Fibre to the node and fixed wireless are a joke.

I don’t buy the “we didn’t think about streaming”. It’s the same rubbish argument TV networks used to make people redundant “we didn’t anticipate multi channels and HD”. You don’t need a crystal ball to see the future, it was obvious as soon as things like iTunes and YouTube emerged.

In regards to the NBN making money, sure Joe Public aren’t going to pay big bucks. But a lot of companies are happy to throw money at it to get a fast reliable speed. The business market is where the NBN could have made money.

That was always the plan, even small business were happy to pay more. However, it’s not all about money, it would help bring Australia to the world. Make our services etc viable in an overseas market. Growing the country and bringing more investment here.

Not to mention the benefits to health, education and defence, to name a few. But again the bottom line today is more important than Australia tomorrow. Sad really.


Typical journalist bottom feeder angst article.
I do not see where this “Netflix tax” is LNP policy. Seems to be the NBN CEO cooking up ways to try to keep the NBN white elephant afloat and briefing some ignorant journalist.

The easiest way for corporates in Veneztralia to guarantee a profit is always get the government to rig things for you. Making a compelling product consumers want is too much work, and politicians are very easy marks.

As for this thread, Instead of swallowing journalist click bait and whining how which party is promising to give you most free stuff, how about you start a campaign to make sure no party adopts this proposal as policy?

And also let the NBN sink into its eventual irrelevance. Let’s not waste anymore of our grandchildren’s taxes on it.

Wireless cannot replace the NBN unless it’s small cell 5G (like TPG tried to roll out but the government banned Huawei and they stopped). And 5G needs fibre to the 5G box.

It’s possible that at some point that NBN co will use (as part of an upgrade) 5G at the nodes alongside Fibre to the Curb and FTTP.

Either way we’re stuck with the NBN, it can only be upgraded at this point and stopping all tax spending on it will do nothing except mean our internet gets worse not better.

I’m a huge proponent of the original labour plan, the liberals seemed to have a objectionist mindset when it came to NBN and refused to enter into discussions (although to be fair I think both sides are guilty of that position from time to time).

Even within the current framework that we have been stuck with I think there are ways to do things better. Broadband choice being one of the big ones, give the whole community the option to upgrade before installation. Surely the costs would be much much cheaper (per premises) and by offering it upfront there is no (or at least far less) overbuilding and waste of resources. Hell I can see a scenario where the local council considers paying (or subsidising) the upgrade costs as a means to attract more people into their community (even if it’s ultimately a cost in your rates).

When it comes to ‘Netflix Tax’ I think it does warrant some discussion and I see two view points. Either:

A) End users consume “stuff”, if the infrastructure needs to be better to cater to that stuff this is then a cost that is borne by the infrastructure provider and in turn passed onto the consumers. The down side is that it drives UP the cost of service for everyone.

B) If we look at it from the other side and say where a content providers traffic accounts for more than xx% of the global requirements they are required to pay $X / month to help sustain the network on which they rely. Of course this just drives UP the cost per month for each user.

In short, Option A, increase the base cost to everyone to ensure all traffic works is likely the fairest and easiest option. Distribute the costs so low end plans are not impacted and the high end/high speed plans take the brunt of the cost (on the wild assumption that they are likely the users anyway). On that side I’d like to see that even now with cheaper basic plans be offered at very low cost for basic needs (think Granmas online shopping), although mobile broadband mostly covers this today.

In either case the hard part is how to distribute that money back to the infrastructure provider(s) in a way than ensures they actually invest it back into making the network better (rather than just pocketing the profit in the short term while letting the network degrade then crying poor when it needs to be upgraded cough Telstra cough).

Sure I’m advocating for a price increase, but I do see value in a quality network, especially when it’s become so ingrained in our everyday lives.

The idea has been floated to reduce the competitiveness of competition to the NBN.

And yes. The thing is a frigging dumb pipe. It should not matter where the content comes from, price on volume, not what.

They ‘seemed to’ because they were lobbied heavily by Murdoch who owns Foxtel to stifle the NBN to suit his business. Murdoch is the goose that lays the golden egg for the LNP, they’re not going to ignore him for the betterment of the country.

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