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  • Featured, News - Written by on Sunday, April 10, 2011 15:08 - 45 Comments

    YOU’RE WRONG AGAIN, Hackett tells Conroy

    Simon Hackett has accused Communications Minister Stephen Conroy of again making factually incorrect statements about Internode’s approach to the National Broadband Network, claiming Conroy hadn’t even read some of Hackett’s recent statements on the matter.

    The comments represent the latest altercation between the two as part of a public spat which has developed over the past several weeks regarding the NBN’s pricing model, which the Internode MD has been highly critical of. Conroy was last week forced to acknowledge he had made an error regarding Internode’s submissions to the competition regulator on the matter.

    In a blog post published yesterday (Saturday), Hackett escalated the developing conflict.

    “Recently, Federal Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has again made some incorrect statements about my proposed improvements to the NBN Co wholesale cost access model,” he wrote. “Those reported comments (if accurate) contain a variety of statements about my proposals that are misleading in some cases, and entirely wrong in others.”

    Hackett referred to a ZDNet.com.au article in which Conroy made a variety of comments regarding the Internode MD’s beliefs about how NBN Co’s pricing model could be changed to be more favourable to small ISP. In the article, Conroy mentioned a number of aspects of Hackett’s argument, noting that he considered some of the Internode MD’s arguments “very valid”, but that predictions of “doom and gloom” regarding the pricing were “a little early”.

    However, Hackett said Conroy had gotten many of his arguments wrong. For example, with relation to the Minister’s statement that Hackett’s own pricing proposal would increase the price of the ‘access virtual circuit’ component of the NBN pricing, Hackett said Conroy was “completely wrong”. “I have in fact proposed precisely the opposite!” he wrote.

    Conroy’s spokesperson has not yet responded to an invitation to respond to Hackett’s comments.

    In another example, Conroy stated that the Government would comply with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s decision on the number of points of interconnect which NBN Co will provide to ISPs to access its network, despite the fact that the Government actually agreed with Hackett’s proposal for a lower number.

    “The government has the capacity to legislate to override the ACCC decision on points of interconnect – a decision it continues to reiterate as being in conflict with their policy aims!” Hackett wrote. “The government has certainly not been shy in passing other major changes to the NBN legislation over the past few weeks alone, all of which represents major intervention in the marketplace. Why be so shy about addressing this particular issue?”

    Hackett also took Conroy to task on a number of other matters, describing one of the Minister’s arguments as “simply false” and another as “showing nothing of the sort”. The Internode MD said he was attempting to arrange to speak with Conroy or his advisors, as well as NBN Co and the ACCC, regarding the pricing model.

    “Unfortunately it seems as if Senator Conroy has not actually read my proposal before passing judgment about it,” he wrote. “… However, having people ‘shooting from the hip’ regarding my proposals (intended to improve the practical outcomes of this policy), without even taking the time to read them properly, is really not advancing the debate in a useful manner.”

    Image credit: J Miller, royalty free

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    1. deteego
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Love the pic, would have been better if you could get Hackett do the same face

      • Posted 10/04/2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

        hehe I wouldn’t want to be the man who asked him to … ;)

        • deteego
          Posted 10/04/2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Where the hell do you get these pictures anyways?

          • Posted 10/04/2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

            A lot of our pics come from royalty-free image stock sites like http://www.sxc.hu, or Creative Commons-licensed (commercial use) pics on Flickr or found through Google Image Search. Some are given to us by companies or made available to press through their web site (Apple does this, for example) and we take some ourselves or use stills from our videos.

    2. Y2K
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Conroy seems to have unlimited feet as he keeps shooting them off.

      • atmurray
        Posted 10/04/2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

        …that’s what happens when don’t know what you’re doing and shoot from the hip!

    3. Rob
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Would be better if a dummy was being spat out of the child’s mouth

    4. Jim
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      We need like a “Battle of the Titans” on the ABC one night between Simon Hackett and Stephen Conroy.
      I think it would be good entertainment. :D

    5. Mike
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “We need like a “Battle of the Titans” on the ABC one night between Simon Hackett and Stephen Conroy.
      I think it would be good entertainment. :D”

      I’d pay to see that especially if Mark Newton was there to discuss “filtering” as well.

    6. Posted 10/04/2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      conroy is a luddite, he know nothing about IT & economics.

      NBNco & labor are in an entrenched position politically, they cant afford another backflip, specially atm when poll numbers are so low.

    7. Posted 10/04/2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      what’s on your nose. is it black nose day and I missed it, Conroy does rub people the wrong way the quite often

    8. Mike
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Simon has illustrated the facts drawn logical conclusions and proffered an alternative which will deliver the most advantageous results.

      Chances of it being adopted – Zero

      Too many “vested interests” and politicians – logic are mutually exclusive terms.

      • sandman
        Posted 11/04/2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

        And Simon Hackett, owner of Internode doesn’t have vested interests as well?

        Hackett’s a smart man, who has done some very good things without doubt. Let’s not pretend though that at the end of the day he’s not a businessman, and very successful one at that. He ultimately wants Internode to be best placed out of the NBN.

    9. Posted 10/04/2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      now I have black dot on my hat. what is that. has me stumped, the big issues dominate my world.

    10. dave
      Posted 10/04/2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Wow, the minister hasn’t even read some his recent statements on the matter?

      He has better things to do. Stupid article.

      • Reality Check
        Posted 11/04/2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink | Reply

        Stupid Minister.

        Not name calling, just a carefully considered observation of various extraordinarily bad actions.

        And wait till you see the ones that hav’nt surfaced all the way yet.

        But he’s not Stupid all alone, he has had a little help from other fools like perhaps Rod Tucker &
        Prof (Gilligan) Coutts !!

        They may know something about Telecommunications even though there’re making mistakes, but are complete stooges about Economics. Which is all the NBN is about. VIABILITY.

    11. Reality Check
      Posted 11/04/2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      Speaking of Viability,

      What will happen when the wider community find out that the “take up rate” Conroy refers to is the take up rate of FREE connections not the take up rate of subscriber’s ! That is paying, interested customers.

      When your giving away FREE fibre and you cant get 100%, thats a complete failure.

      In Tassie the FREE fibre take up rate is 47 % !

      But in the metric that matters, the subscription take up rate, the result is an UNVIABLE 13 % ! !

      And thats after 9 months and the special below cost introductory offer ! ! ! !

      Which is coming to end shortly once the ACCC rules on the numbers. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

      • PointZeroOne
        Posted 11/04/2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink | Reply

        It’s not free, I believe the ISPs are not having to pay for the access, but the customer is still having to pay for an Internet plan from an ISP to take up fibre.

        • Reality Check
          Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink | Reply


          Approx. 1450 premises have accepted the free connection to nbn fibre. (from the 4000 offered the connection. 2000 declined)

          They have not subscribed to any ISP for any service through the fibre. They have not been charged for absolutely anything. FREE.

          • PointZeroOne
            Posted 11/04/2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Right, so its an opt in trial?

            Not everyone likes to be on a trial…..

            What I said about contracts with ISP etc still stands and would reflect on how many have opted in for the trial.

            • Reality Check
              Posted 11/04/2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Its not a trial. Not at all.

              its only called a trial as a pretence to allow for the below cost pricing.

              Once the “trial” contract term expires a new term with commercial ACCC approved pricing will continue.

    12. Jim
      Posted 11/04/2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      Tassie is full of left wing tree hugging greenies who live down there for the sole purpose of trying to live away from technology.

      You just wait till the mainland sites start accepting customers. I would predict easy 80-90% take up rate.

      • Reality Check
        Posted 11/04/2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink | Reply

        @ Jim

        Response to “Free NBN fibre connection” in Mainland Brunswick site was less than 48 % also.

        But again lets see what the subscription rate will be.

        • alain
          Posted 11/04/2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink | Reply


          Townsville was not to crash hot either.


          Perhaps the new NBN Guide will fix all of that, punters can download it on their ADSL and wireless connections and read about what they are missing. LOL

        • PointZeroOne
          Posted 11/04/2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink | Reply

          These are trial areas though and not final pricing, also people would be locked into contracts with there current ISPs and so cannot break out and get an NBN connection.

          • alain
            Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink | Reply

            “These are trial areas though and not final pricing,”

            Yes the pilot pricing is artificially cheap and the installation cost is highly subsidised, makes you wonder what the uptake figures will be for commercial pricing.

            “also people would be locked into contracts with there current ISPs and so cannot break out and get an NBN connection.”

            You know this is a reason how?

            • PointZeroOne
              Posted 11/04/2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Because people would rather not spend the money to get out of a Contract.

              I know I wouldn’t want to pay out a 24 month contract unless I was in the final months.

              If the NBN got rolled out to my door today and I was locked into a 24 month contract, I’d wait the contract out or wait until it wasn’t too expensive to pay out, to get out early.

              People care about the costs of things, even if it’s paying $100 to get out of a contract to switch to the NBN now. They’d more likely wait few months and not spend the $$.

              • alain
                Posted 11/04/2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

                Yes I know all of that, but that’s not my question – it is ok to say you don’t know.

                • Jasmcd
                  Posted 11/04/2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  I would say he knows that by using common sense Alain….. you should try it some time.

    13. V for Vendetta
      Posted 11/04/2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hackett is one of the most active, well informed and articulate proponents of ISPs in Australia. He also knows how to work the media both traditional and social. Conroy should do the smart thing for once and STFU. In this battle of wits Conroy is unarmed.

      • alain
        Posted 11/04/2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink | Reply

        “Hackett is one of the most active, well informed and articulate proponents of ISPs in Australia.”

        He is also only one of about 200 ISP’s in Australia, it would be interesting to hear what the others think, the silence is deafening.

        • rusty
          Posted 11/04/2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink | Reply

          “it would be interesting to hear what the others think, the silence is deafening.”

          Excellent point. If it is so doom and gloom, why haven’t some of the other ISPs spoken up in support of Hackett’s position? Safety in numbers and all that.

    14. Sammy
      Posted 11/04/2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      Ironically the majority of ISP’s are quiet about the internet filter as well or they don’t have the balls to stand up to him.

      • Chris Schneider
        Posted 11/04/2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink | Reply

        How right you are there. Internode are ALWAYS vocal about things like this. They don’t worry about this retaliation. Look at their very vocal stand against Telstra on pricing or the Filter. They don’t care whether anyone wants to join them they do what is best for the industry (and themselves). Michael Moloney would be the next one to make waves if things get really bad but remember Simon has taken up this fight for the ISP smaller then him, so I don’t think you will hear anything from Telstra, Optus or iiNet.

    15. alain
      Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink | Reply

      What about the CCC, the Competitive Carriers Coalition, they are vocal when it suits them like getting stuck into Telstra over the years (for their members benefit of course).

      Their position on the current controversy on the NBN wholesale resell? – big fat silence.

      • Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink | Reply

        Maybe that means they aren’t concerned with the current provisions?

        • alain
          Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink | Reply

          It would be good to hear what their position is one way or the other though, do they agree with what one of their key member ISP’s is saying or not?

          • Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink | Reply

            We appoint you our representative to go and ask them.

            • alain
              Posted 11/04/2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink | Reply

              No Renai can do that, in the interest of balanced comment on Delimiter.


    16. Asmodai
      Posted 11/04/2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink | Reply

      If one guy is saying what everyone else is thinking and acting like the lightning rod for Conroy’s tantrums, I think the rest of the industry would be more than willing to play the ‘wait and see’ approach.

      On the plus side, it’s nice to see someone raising concerns about the NBN NOT being branded a luddite or a naysayer or what have you… For too long, anyone that wasn’t 100% sold on the debate, but who think FTTP is a great idea if done right, have been villified. Now that some of the more unimpeachable technologists are pushing for greater accountability and thoroughness, hopefully more people can see that bringing up concerns re: Labor’s plan is not opposing FTTP, it’s just trying to make the end result better for all. Distinctly different from those who flatly say there is no need for updating our infrastructure.

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