When you get the likes of armchair no-it-alls, no-nothings sitting on the opposition benches in Parliament and the Murdochs of the world and right-wing think-tanks with their own sinister agendas spreading mis-information and out-and-out lies about the technologies behind the NBN it is no wonder the public is confused about what the technology represents and how it should be paid for.
Australia is a huge continent with a small population. Things like railways, highways and telecommunications networks must be at the very least subsidised and by necessity often fully funded by government otherwise they will never get built.
There would be no transcontinental railway or highways or nation wide copper based telecom networks if the Australian government had not have foot the bill. All these things are nation building infrastructure a modern society could not do without yet would not exist if we had waited for the private sector to build it. The government takes a long term view - 20, 50, 100 years when building these things. The private sector at best has a 10 year view. Investments that take 20 or more years to show their return are not things the private sector gets involved in.
Are any of the people opposed to the NBN seriously suggesting that the government of the day should not have built Australia's copper network? Or our national network of highways? Or our railways? Or our dams? Or our airports? None of these things would exist or at the least to the extent they do without government intervention. There is no escaping this simple, obvious fact.
Those opposed to the NBN often bang on about "new technologies which will supersede the NBN" - this is simply a lie. The very nature of the technology - photons travelling along optic fibre at light speed - ensures that nothing currently exists, let alone as a gleam in a scientists eye, which will be faster than light. It is unlikely we will find a new way of moving data faster than the speed of light anytime in the next 100 years. That might change some time after Zefram Cochrane invents a warp drive in the year 2063 but of course that is a fantasy - much like the arguments of the opponents of the NBN.
The gear at either end will continue to evolve until it will be a pure photons all the way from the source to your home computer's CPU and all the components attached to it. But this stuff attached to each end of the light-pipe is the easy and cheap stuff to replace as the tech advances. The major cost for the NBN is digging tens of thousands of kilometres of trenches and laying the optic cable. This is a one-off cost.