The Australian government is lending the NBN $19.5 billion to finish its rollout

NBN CEO Bill Morrow. Source: NBN

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is being given a $19.5 billion loan by the Turnbull government to fund the rest of the rollout.

The move means the NBN does not have to raise funds to complete the $49 billion project on the open market.

The existing $29.5 billion in government funding for NBN Co. was expected to run out at the end of the financial year.

Finance minister Mathias Cormann announced the decision today in a joint release with communications minister Mitch Fifield

“To help ensure that nbn can fully focus on the remaining rollout as it significantly ramps up, the government has decided to provide the remaining funding required to complete that rollout through a Government loan to NBN Co Ltd on commercial terms,” the ministers said.

“A government loan on commercial terms represents the most cost effective way to raise the debt and secure funding to complete the rollout of this important national infrastructure project.”

They expect the loan to be refinanced on external markets in 2020-21, ahead of the privatisation of the business.

The ministers said the strong indicative credit ratings the NBN Co. received from credit agencies showed its business case is strong. The loan terms will be set in line with the ratings.

“The NBN is on schedule, ahead of its revenue forecasts and has met or exceeded its key rollout targets across two financial years,” Cormann and Fifield said.

NBN CEO Bill Morrow issued a statement, saying: “With security of funding in place, we are focused on the job at hand of building the network and providing fast broadband access and universal connectivity to all Australians by 2020.”

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