Smart cities a hot topic of the ongoing Australian election, with incumbent Prime Minister pledging more than $100 million a year for them.

Yet an ABC report aises doubts about whether the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) will have the chops to handle the data tsunami smart cities will generate.

The NBN is the national wholesale-only data network that was trumpeted as a future-proof upgrade for the country’s aging copper networks during its announcement in 2007.

Yet since then, the rollout of the NBN has become bogged down in a political morass, with the $56 billion project subject to various studies and legislative debates over the years.

And so it’s no surprise that the NBN has become a notable topic of the ongoing federal Australian election, with both political parties claiming their version of the network is the fastest. The Liberal party is pushing for the network to use existing copper while the Labor party proposed an all-fibre network.

What is not debatable is that smart cities of the future will rely heavily on legions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices that produce data in much larger quantities than ever before. And the NBN is therefore be the most important infrastructure component in any Australian smart city plan.

And so, discussions of Australian smart city projects naturally return to concerns that the NBN won’t be able to handle the coming flood of data.

NBN won’t keep up with smart city plans

Communications analyst Paul Budde said earlier this month that the ‘ ‘fibre to the node’ version of the NBN would not support the volume of data smart cities will produce.

“There is no city in the world that is working on the smart city concept that’s thinking fibre to the node is good enough,” said Budde.

Nonetheless, smart cities remain a very popular subject in both on and off the Australian election circuit. Smart cities featured prominently in Melbourne’s Connect Expo in April and as they will in next week’s Making Cities Liveable Conference.

Meanwhile, Sydney hosted the Smart Cities and Urban Innovation Symposium this June while Parramatta hosted the Smart Cities Summit last November.