Gillard repeats: Abbott would ‘rip the NBN fibre up’


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has repeated her claim that a Coalition Government would physically remove the National Broadband Networks’ fibre cables out of the ground if it were to take office.

In a statement yesterday, the Labor leader hailed the imminent delivery of fast broadband under the NBN to the Darwin suburb of Casuarina, noting that the $11 billion deal signed between Telstra and NBN Co would accelerate the rollout of the NBN in the Northern Territory.

“This is all in stark contrast to the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott who doesn’t appreciate the potential of the new technology and has made it clear that he wants to “demolish” the NBN,” said Gillard. “Tony Abbott would rip up the fibre out of the ground.”

The comments came despite the fact that the Coalition has repeatedly stated that it would not physically remove the NBN fibre infrastructure, but would instead look to make use of it in its own telecommunications policy, were it to take government. Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull pointed this out today, in a joint statement with Country Liberal Party MP and NT representative Natasha Griggs.

“This is false and has been contradicted by the Coalition on numerous occasions,” said the Liberal MPs. “The Coalition will not rip out any asset that Labor has installed – Labor may waste taxpayers’ money making political points but the Coalition will not.”

“The Coalition’s first priority when it wins Government will be to conduct a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, which will investigate how to use existing infrastructure most efficiently.”

Turnbull and Griggs also pointed out that Gillard wasn’t the first to announce the commencement of the rollout in Casuarina. “Last July, Senator Conroy said construction would begin in the second quarter of 2011, giving the NBN Co two more days to meet this requirement,” said the Liberal MPs.

“That is unlikely to happen because construction contracts – originally scheduled to be finalised in December 2010 – still have not been signed for second release sites in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.”

Griggs said there had been “little or no progress to date” on the NBN construction in Casuarina, despite the region receiving the “green light” 12 months ago.

The news comes as the Federal Government has come under attack from a new antagonist — the new Coalition State Government in Victoria — over the NBN. The state this week heavily criticised the NBN policy, arguing in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the NBN that the project could see the telecommunications sector’s existing “dysfunctional” market structure replicated and competition put at risk.

Image credit: MystifyMe Concert Photography, Creative Commons


  1. fucken stupid thing to say.
    Shows that she’s not paying attention I think. Pity, because Abbott’s policy would be simple enough to mock and rip to shreds.
    She’s wasting an opportunity buy being a poor player.

      • Gillard should look up the history books at a thing called ‘tech bubble’ and ‘dark fibre’.

        Nothing will be ripped up, if the NBN project goes ahead it will mean –

        1. we have a lot of dark fibre in the ground that was laid as core /backbone/skeletal network which was meant to support the NBN’s mega bandwidth demand

        2. Pocket sites of FTTP estates where NBN actually did build something and go it running, which will none the less be sold off to other providers or be reabsorbed, eg. by Telstra or optus. Networks are easily integrated …

        3. We will have at least some decent fibre builds to regional hubs which ISPs can then use to get the DSLAMs cheaper to these places which otherwise left under the whim of Telstra would never have happened.

        … whats the big deal? Telcos and other plays are trying to build competiting infrastructure all the time, and in many cases the business case falls through, and the infrastructure either gets acquired by another carrier, or , they rip it out themselves and write it off.

        The only outcome of abbott/liberals ripping it out would be if the PON technology does not fit in with their own NBN plan, in which they would probably have to sell it to telstra at bargain basement prices, but thats just politics and money wasting, ie. the millions already spent on NBNCo.

      • “I wish I knew where this “rip it up” Labor meme had come from … it is just nonsensical.”

        Sure it is but I actually think this tactic might be worth pursuing. Like RS said below “if you can’t beat ‘em” lol… Anyway all this time the Abbott and his zoo crew have been harping on about “waste” and “ripping up the precious copper” fibre is expensive and we know nothing will be “ripped up” but halting the rest of the roll out is effectively the same thing in this case, how useful are those fibre connections going to be without the the rest of Australia wired up?

  2. Well you know what they say the best form of defense is attack, unnecessary in this case they should just concentrate on selling the NBN but Gillards advisers probably think they need to take the heat away from the NBN rollout itself and the turmoil following the Telstra and Optus agreements announcements and move the spotlight back onto the Coalition.

    Labor is already on the nose with the electorate, if the NBN falters in any way, and that expecially includes stuffing up the first Telstra and Optus forced migrations they are doomed.

    • There is really no need to target the Coalition when it comes to the NBN. The populace is behind the NBN policy, and the Coalition really has no alternative plan at this point. Gillard’s comments basically represent Labor shooting itself in the foot when it should be celebrating its Telstra victory.

      Notice that Conroy has never stated Abbott would rip the NBN fibre out of the ground? Smart cookie.

      • The populace are majority for the NBN? Where did you get that idea from?

        The only people who want this thing are the regional and rural no-hope-for-telstra-broadband, net savvy geeks, guys like google and Channel 7, media moguls and your run of the mill technophiles …

        The rest of the populace really dont understand it, nor really care about it, they just know its a hell of a lot of money for broadband.

        • My impression has always been that most of the population was behind the NBN strategy — if not seeing it as a positive, more seeing it as a “basic cost of doing business” in the future kind of thing. People are tired in general of poor telecommunications, and this appears to offer a way out of the Telstra mess.

          Sure, there are many against it, but the vocal ones in public tend to be staunch liberal voters. Most other people will admit the cost does concern them, but they think in general the NBN will be worth it in the long run.

          Personally I am in favour of the technology behind the NBN, but like the Coalition, I do believe it will decrease the actual competition in the telecommunications market, which is a bad thing for the consumer.

          • I think there is a lot more people against it than for it, and those arent just liberals. I didnt vote liberal in the last election, nor did I vote labor because of the NBN.

            However you may find that people on online blogs and perhaps the 18-25 age group might be in higher numbers, but realistically, i think most people do not want it. And most have more important matters than broadband and are happy with the ADSL offerings from Telstra and ISPs.

          • I hear lots of people talking favourably about the NBN except for the frustration of not knowing when their area is going to be rolled out (hopefully we’ll see a more detailed roll out schedule now that the telstra deal is done).

            Almost without exception, those who I hear speaking against it are just regurgitating shock jock rhetoric. Things like “Mobile broadband will beat the NBN for performance before they finish it. It’s an unnecessary white elephant” or “Fibre starts falling apart after 15 years, so it’s a complete waste of money” or “the broadband we have now does everything we need to do” or “the coalition want to build a better network for half the money” or “why spend $80 billion so the kids can watch more bloody movies” etc etc

          • Well that is because NBNCo and Conroy are saying to taxpayers and the public, “hey trust us, we know what we are doing and we are going to build the biggest project in Australia’s history, but we are going to keep most of it secret and we arent going to do cost-benefit analysis”

            At least demonstrate to the public as “proof-of-concept” but showing how a medical diagnosis will take place using 100Mbps or 1Gbps HD interactive system of patient care, or please demonstrate “telecommuting”, why not set up a public exhibition of this technology, … but wait you cant, because why? This techonology does not yet exist! Who will develop it? How many billions and how long will it take to develop? Is it even practical? No one knows, no one in the world has the technology or is it in use today.

            So what are they trying to sell here? Its just a swag of ‘ideas’ , thats what most people are against, they dont know why they are paying so much for mere concepts and visions of the future.

          • The technology with remote desktops and VoIP phones is fully mature right now, anyone and everyone could be working from home (or at least, all office workers and call-center workers, and 90% of the people who fill up the trains and the roads for sever hours every day).

            The problem is that management practice in Australia sits somewhere in the 19th Century, and fully intends to continue doing just that. Our economy is not designed to maximise productivity, because if we maximised productivity we would just need to find more keep-busy jobs to occupy time.

            You can throw endless technology at this, and it will have no effect.

          • I think that your assumption (that most people are behind the NBN) is premature, especially considering the background and context you are in (geeky/IT people). Note that I am not trying to be offensive, merely pointing out that making such a bland statement without any statistical proof isn’t very helpful

            As to what Gillard is doing, its really pathetic and low. Then again, this isn’t surprising, if you see here during parliament time, well I would estimate half of the people would immediately change their mind about her

          • @ deteego, I agree with your first paragraph… I think the opposition have done a wonderful political job, along with their mates like Murdoch and Jones, to discredit the NBN…and it is arguable if the NBN is now in fact the people’s choice because of it…

            As for your second paragraph, they are all the same – “politicians”.

            The others have been doing it (which you for your own political reasons simply won’t accept) and now Gillard is doing it…and you say disgusting..?

            Obviously AbbottCo have proven negative politics works and Labor are finally awoken from their slumber and are starting to try to fight fire. You don’t need proof or evidence just blurt it out (as the FUDsters do here too).

            In the end again they are all politicians and you show your naivety if you truly believe one is actually better than the other!

        • Exactly.

          The residents of regional Australia are fully behind the NBN because they see themselves getting a convenient subsidy paid for by the cities. The residents of the cities for the most part already get decent speed ADSL2 so they are facing the prospect of paying more money for a similar service in order to subsidise rural Australia.

          It is a very simple wealth transfer equation.

          • The residents of regional Australia are fully behind the NBN?

            If that were the case then why at the Federal election did just about every regional area vote Coalition and just about every city area vote Labor?

            I’ll give you a hint, because for the most part regional Australia has bigger things to be concerned about then the NBN.

    • The government appears to already be doomed…?

      The interesting part comes when the opposition becomes government and then actually have to do something, rather than just criticise.

      • Well you don’t have to ‘do something’ to get into Government ask Ted Baillieu and the Collation Government in Victoria, if the incumbent Government is on the nose they will be rolled regardless.

        • Oh, so the FUD will stop will it, when a government, your government who does SFA, is in power…LOL!

          • I don’t like Abbott at all, and in a straight out 1:1 Leader comparison I prefer Gillard, but it doesn’t follow that therefore I should support the NBN.

      • hehe yeah … I dont know if they cant think of another option, considering we’ve tried everything already.

        What I think they could do is just subsidise more fibre backhaul builds to lower the cost to ISPs, and build more broadband to regional centres, and build a wireless network that actually works.

        Any major change in the network imo takes too much work and costs way too much, look at our electricity, water, trains, roads… you never hear about a complete overhaul, its because its just not practical.

  3. Why not make this statment… liberals have been doing it for ages and it seems thats what most australians want petty fighting…

  4. Gillard has now offically lost the plot. Time to go Juliar & return the job to the man responsible for the birth of the NBN, KEVIN RUDD!!

      • Indeed Renai… that’s not as funny as you may think…

        I’ve said it before, had Sol accepted the fair ROI on FTTN and not wanted a massive ROI (and then let OPEL have the bush) we wouldn’t be here now…!

        • Correct RS.

          IMO the only guy that can build FTTN or FTTP is Telstra , if they accept fair ROI such that everyone benefits.

          When you try to abuse your monopoly, you get burnt.

          In addition, I never considered ISPs as being competition especially when all they have to do is install a DSLAM, they are simply too greedy and want taxpayers to take the burden of capital investment while all they do is resell at a discount wholesale price and keep lobby the govt to reduce it. Who wins? We the taxpayer who end up pay to build it , and then pay for ISPs to resell it to us?

          IF they want success, just go back to negotiating with David Thodey a FTTN/FTTP solution for a good price, in fact, telstra already have this kind of technology deployed.

          • Well they had their chance twice and blew it twice.

            Which again is why we are here now…!

          • Telstra then allocated funding designated for FTTN of which the ROI and access would have been controlled by the ACCC and handed over to their competitors into wireless NextG and beyond.

            Wise choice, the avalanche of wireless SIO’s and high wireless ARPU’s have been underpinning for at least the last 5 years the accelerating loss of customers leaving fixed line.

            On the other hand the taxpayer is bankrolling the high risk FTTH fixed line rollout, price controlled by the ACCC which Telstra will resell with zero risk which would have had to have been met by their shareholders and borrowings in paying for the massive multi billion dollar CAPEX infrastructure cost such a national PSTN replacement would have entailed.

            Yeah that’s really blowing it!

          • Alain, I agree with your post but I put the surge in wireless broadband as a result of fixed line model breaking down, and poor progress in the roll out of ‘real’ wireless solutions, and not this rubbish called wireless broadband that leverages off existing mobile phone network capacity.

            Every mobile broadband service eg. Optus and Vodafone FAILS, it cannot even be classed as a service or a saleable product. Telstra’s NextG is significantly better but is become worse with more wireless applications.

            People are resorting to mobile broadband because one reason being its the cheapest option, and that fixed line prices have not falled accordingly nor have the product offering and bundles improved, as such people no longer want to pay for it.

          • @alain I see that you have Googled wildly again to find an inaccurate version of history, written at NWAT or somewhere comparable, to aimlessly blurt out, as you yourself do not know!

            Yes of course Telstra’s FTTN would have been “overseen” by the ACCC, Telstra were still going to utilise the copper last mile, which competitors are LEGALLY ALLOWED access to, so…!

            But in typical contradictory fashion, you claim Telstra ridding themself of the ACCC is advantageous, but yet support the oppositions back to the future current FTTN … which will return us to this very situation!

            *** Q. Did/do you support Telstra having an anti-consumer, renewed last mile monopoly, maximum ROI and not have to allow competitors access to the last mile?

            Yes or no…? A forlorn exercise to expect an answer, I know…!

            Also, NextG was never subjected to such ACCC scrutiny as this isn’t a legislative open access, monopoly network. It is open to commercial agreements, if/as Telstra deem appropriate. So, wrong again alain…!

            As for your last paragraph I actually agree with parts. But due entirely to Telstra blowing another monopoly, very fair ROI and staying vertically integrated (d’oh). As such, the current NBN deal (as I have advocated – pun intended) is therefore a real consolation bonus for Telstra.

            But again, in typical contradictory fashion, you claim the NBN deal a boon for Telstra, even more so than FTTN…LOL… but just a few days ago was saying TLS shareholders may vote it down (and hope the opposition are elected and FTTN implemented…)!

            In relation to PSTN replacement cost, Telstra were only going to build FTTN in the cities not Australia wide. OPEL WiMAX was meant to be the rural part. So had Telstra been more switched on, they would have been able to offload the USO to OPEL/the government and just required to maintain the last mile in the cities…

            Again refer to you contradicting yourself by saying Telstra can now offload the maintenance, while lauding the oppositions FTTN NBN alternative, which will again return Telstra to having to maintain the last mile throughout Australia.

            Seriously, your lack of knowledge (and ridiculous contradictions) in all comms department is most noticeable, as you try to get up to speed on the fly, but always well and truly, miss the mark.

            Never mind, keep trying tiger…. as I look forward to standard excuses #1 – 10…very soon!

      • @Renai LeMay

        “lol I think the guy who was ultimately responsible for the birth of the NBN was Sol Trujillo :)”

        Well I think it was the G9 consortium lead by Optus, if they had wanted a fair ROI and were not after massive concessions from the ACCC especially on overbuild we would have G9 FTTN today.

        • Oh alain, your facetiousness is humorous…

          But shows even in jest you have NFI…!

          Surely you as a Telstra fanboi would know that the G9 never intended to “seriously” build a network, they were there just to get the best deal for themselves, from the Telstra deal…

          When it came time to present their (by then TERRiA) RFP, they didn’t even submit a united bid…they said, oh we’re with Optus…!

  5. Well I beg to differ that the populace is behind the policy, I don’t think the populace will really know what will happen until the copper and HFC is switched off the ONT boxes are installed and the forced migrations take place, I tell you what though the NBN Plans better be as cheap as the current lowest cost BB and voice packages, to the CENT!

    It gives Abbott or Turnbull a good come back to Gillards ‘rip the NBN fibre up’ statement, they can say Labor forced Telstra and Optus to ‘rip down the HFC’ so that struggling NBN can get some much needed customers.

    • Not likey, considering the NBNCo has already negotiated to migrate Telstra and Optus customers onto it, and since they will be the only wholesale provider, that is a worse monopoly than what we had with Telstra.

      That would assume that this business model was sound, if it isnt, and the NBN costs more than what it makes from wholesale its services to retailers, what does it mean? it becomes bankrupt? I can see this happening, especially since I believe that the costs of construction has been vastly underestimated.

    • Which HFC is that…?

      The same HFC you said failed and the majority don’t want… you now want to keep open…?

      What an odd little man is alain!

  6. Earlier in the year i was in Armidale when Abbott cycled through , he had a meeting in the town hall, and said if he was in government and Armidale or other towns with fibre layed he would replace them with no hesitation

    • Yes I know what you mean, they all seem to have a sameness about them in content after the first two or three posts.

      Perhaps you should just headline them ‘Argue about the NBN 1’, ‘Argue about the NBN 2’ incremented up every Monday


  7. He was asked a question in that meeting about the fibre he didnt say what he would replaced it with he said said they would be replaced, unless he has now changed his mind i have my suspicions.

      • Yes that’s the one, just like Gillards ‘No carbon tax’ policy before the election and Howards famous utterance to camera ‘ there will be no GST’ before the election he won at the time.

        • Gee you aren’t starting to inadvertently see what I have been telling you all along are you alain?…

          That they are all politicians, one is no better than the other, they just ideologically teeter either way of the centre line, but are all in the end, FOS…!

  8. The coalition government will probably not be stupid enough to rip out the fibres (I hope), but they will rip up the NBN and all the major paradigm changing advantages that comes with a ubiquitous, uniform, high reliability, high capacity network, and bring us back to the future of being held over the barrel by a private monopoly infrastructure owner – if you are lucky enough to get decent broadband where you live.

  9. I have an idea, lets tear up all these contracts, cost the tax payer even more billions, leave the cable in the ground connected to nothing, give them some cheap tech junk addon to keep those others happy, and step back in to the dark ages. Hey did i mention we will do nothing if we get re-elected, but we’ll have a nice collection of $$$$$$$$$ under our butts.

    • i love the Libtard bleating about the surplus “it was supposed to be for a rainy day” … and saving us from recessions wasn’t a good idea? huh? the Libtards hated it because they WANTED us to slide into recession so they could point and say “look another Labor recession”…

  10. Interesting that Gillard has said this straight after polls have put Abbott as preferred PM, maybe her tactic is to spread FUD to the general populous who don’t understand what the NBN is (other then it’s expensive).

    • Could be Labors few redeeming policies, but only misguided in the belief that because the NBN won the approval of a few key independents and disproportionately a federal election, that Gillard beleves the NBN is some ace of spades, when the majority of people do not support the NBN or are indifferent to it, what Gillard thinks is a winner may turn out to be a dud going into the next election.

  11. The more desperate this Labor government becomes, the more blatantly obvious its lies become.

  12. Just a blatant lie by Julia Gillard. No one would waste their time to ” rip up the fibre out of the ground.”

    Julia is becoming as bad as Anna.

  13. Does Gillard really expect us to believe her? Isn’t this the same person who told us there would be “no carbon tax”?
    With Gillard and Co, it’s a case of believe half of what they do and none of what they say.
    In the absencve of any achievements to boast of, all Labor has going for itself is its ability to constantly lie and, seemingly, get away with it.

  14. I LOVE hearing the bleating of a Libtard opposition who still can’t accept they are actually in opposition… it’s a laugh a minute….. keep up with your backflips Phoney-tony and you’ll qualify for serc du sole!!!!
    and JEFF… you want a list of lies? “there will be no GST. Never Ever” “they were throwing chldren overboard” “there was no pension claw-back” “Work choices was good for the country and workers” “we have a mandate to introduce work choices”… you can tell when Tony is Lying… if he tugs his ear, he’s telling the truth… if he opens his mouth, he’s lying”

  15. Why does it surprise people that a politician is exaggerating ?

    The Libs wouldn’t rip the cables out of the ground, they wouldn’t willingly do anything that costs money, they would privatize it, and give the money from the sale to the rich.

  16. Shane Hurford, totally off-topic mate. This is about Gillard & her comments claiming Tony Abbbott would rip up the NBN fibre if elected. This isn’t about non-nbn government backflips, both current & previous governments. Get back on topic!

  17. Just look at all the fixed line options avaiable today, HFC, ADSL, ULL … yet subscriptions are dropping, why? Simple, even with competition, it is still too expensive for the household budget, and whats on offer is poor value for money. Hows the NBN going to make things cheaper? The ULL price model in metro areas is actually at its most economic, eg. iiNet, internode, TPG, and people still want it to be cheaper, so with NBN what are they going to offer, more data or more speed – same price? Maybe only get more speed … why would people want that?

  18. I hope this story does not spread any further than here those few remaining supporters of Julia dont need to know about. imagine what a stupid thing to even contemplate. Clearly this woman is unfit for her role.

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