More than $77 million in bonuses has been paid to executives and senior staff at NBN Co over a five-month period.
The payments between July and December almost doubled the amount paid during the entire previous financial year.
And the bonuses flowed as Australia endured its worst recession in a century.
The government-owned business said the bonuses were only paid if performance targets were met.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has no problem with the payments.
"The NBN was critical for Australia getting through COVID," he told ABC radio on Thursday.
"Traffic levels were up 70 per cent during the day, millions of people moved to working and studying from home and they needed reliable broadband and the NBN delivered."
But opposition communications spokesman Michelle Rowland savaged the bonuses.
"It is absolutely obscene that NBN Co is dishing out some $77 million in personal bonuses despite the fact we have over 200,000 Australians who still cannot access minimum speeds," she said.
Mr Fletcher denied there were double standards at play after the government savaged Australia Post and its former boss Christine Holgate for gifting watches to senior executives.
"Bonuses were paid to the vast majority of Australia Post employees, particularly frontline employees," he said.
"The chief executive had made a commitment that the senior leadership team would not be taking bonuses, and so that was a decision initiated by the company."