They actually paid to Cut the Copper
The NBN had to pay Telstra for the copper even if they did attempt to lay fibre to the premises (although access to the pipes would be helpful).
The payment would have been needed because once the NBN was available to a household, they MANDATED that the copper be cut. So that people could not choose to remain on the copper. And to do that they had to pay Telstra compensation for making their network illegal.
Why on earth would any sane person wish to remain on slow, broken and horrendously evil copper when they have a choice of fibre? Well, it turned out that when they did the initial roll out in Tasmania the vast majority of people stayed on copper because in the areas targeted by fibre the copper was good enough for what people used it for. Maybe Netflix will change that, maybe not.
But competition with copper would have killed the economics of the NBN if most people did not use the new service. And that is why they made the copper illegal. And that is why Telstra could hold them to ransom.
So they had to buy the copper regardless of whether they used it. Quite different from what the article says.
The correct solution was to focus on the broadband black spots and make 2mbs a mandatory requirement on Telstra, like phones already were. Then cheap technologies like loop extenders could address that. Once everyone has that, then crank up the speed to 5mbs, which is plenty for Netflix. Then reassess options based on newly available technologies.