NBN critics: Can’t you do better than this?


opinion Attention, NBN critics: If you’re going to engage in the popular Australian pastime of sledging the National Broadband Network, at least get your basic facts right before doing so. Otherwise, you’ll end up with egg all over your face.

As I’ve previously written, some people are determined to be critics of the NBN, no matter how much evidence has been previously been presented to address their claims. Like junkies scrabbling around after a fix, this type of commentator is so addicted to criticising the NBN that they will grab at the slightest new piece of information to make their argument; despite the fact that it may lead them into ill-informed and fruitless commentary.

This morning I submit two examples of this approach.

The first is one we’ve come to expect. Fresh from findings that he breached the Racial Discimination Act with previous posts, controversial columnist Andrew Bolt posted two entries on his blog this week regarding the NBN. In the first, he quotes extensively from an article presenting some of the findings from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report into global government investment in broadband — the same one which Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull was so keen to hype up earlier this week.

“Either the Gillard Government is the smartest in the world, or the rest of the world wouldn’t make the same mistake,” writes Bolt, adding that Turnbull’s claim that Australia’s NBN was the telecommunications version of Cuba was a “good line”.

It would, of course, be fine for Bolt to heap praise upon this report … if it hadn’t already been severely discredited.

Aside from the obvious fact that, like the last Economist NBN report, this one contains glaring factual inaccuracies, a number of people have pointed out that the Economist just seems biased against any government investment in broadband. This area of industry, it appears to feel, is best left alone; leading Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to label this style of content as “right-wing dogma” and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam to label it as “a wild-eyed neoliberal rant”.

None of this, of course, is mentioned in Bolt’s blog. You know. For balance.

However, we’ve come to expect this kind of approach from Bolt when it comes to the NBN. Far more disturbing, however, is this opinion article which appeared in The Australian newspaper (where else?) this morning, and is referred to in Bolt’s second post on the NBN, entitled ‘National Blowout Network’. Published by self-styled “independent” telecommunications consultant Kevin Morgan, the article also cites the Economist report, but goes far further than Bolt’s brief missive, arguing that NBN Co chief Mike Quigley needs to explain “what value is being delivered by the network”, why the NBN Co “gravy train” of costs is exploding, and why there is “pork-barrelling” in the NBN rollout in Tasmania.

To put it mildly, I was flabberghasted that anyone who calls themselves a “telecommunications consultant” could write such tripe.

I wondered as I read the article … who, faced with this garbage, would employ Kevin Morgan as a consultant of any kind? I did a quick Google search for his name, but couldn’t find his organisation’s web site. Is Mr Morgan, in fact, employed? Or, the Google search results appears to imply, does he merely spend his days ensconced in his basement, writing rant after rant about the evils of government-funded optical fibre rollouts, like some modern-day digital Ebenezer Scrooge?

Now, his claims barely need addressing, but I feel I should go some way to doing so, if only to demonstrate that unlike the good Mr Morgan, I at least can engage in rational argument.
For starters, Kevin, the “value” which will be delivered by the NBN is as follows:

  • 100Mbps (and eventually, 1Gbps) broadband to most Australian homes and business premises
  • The removal of broadband blackspots in the process
  • Restructuring of the telecommunications industry to remove a vertically integrated monopoly player
  • Unloading the massive regulatory burden on the sector
  • Bolstering Australia’s innovation and productivity stakes
  • The potential to improve retail competition in the fixed telecommunications sector
  • A profit to the Government on its investment
  • The fastest porn, movie, TV and game downloads the world has ever seen. And if that’s not a public good, then I don’t know what is

Is that clear? Right. Now let’s move on to some of Morgan’s other claims.

My favourite is the claim that there has been only “limited and costly progress to date” in the network. Uh, yes. When you design a nation-wide broadband network from scratch, it requires a great deal of planning, incredible amounts of engineering detail, thousands of rollout staff mobilised, hundreds of millions of dollars of supplier contracts negotiated and more. I would have assumed that you would know this, as a “telecommunications consultant”.

NBN Co has always said this would take a while, but because that planning work has been done and trials completed, the company is now accelerating its rollout massively.
“His first progress report submitted to the committee as executive chairman of NBN Co revealed that after two years and despite spending more than $800 million, only 18,000 homes had been passed with fibre-optic cable and a mere 600 connected,” wrote Morgan.

Yup. And it’s true that the NBN is running late — mostly because of the lengthy amount of time it took the company to come to its arrangement with Telstra. Little wonder. The massive contract between the pair is undoubtedly one of the most complex legal agreements in the history of Australian telecommunications.

However, Kevin, check back in a few years and I have no doubt you’ll acknowledge the NBN money which Quigley and his team has spent so far will have have been well-spent. In only a few years, millions of premises will have been connected to the network and many will be enjoying record speed and latency ratings on their home or business broadband.

Lastly, there’s that old chestnut, wireless, which Morgan throws in for good measure. It’s something most NBN critics do — just wack it in at the end, to add insult to injury.

As I’ve written recently, there are good reasons why the fixed versus wireless broadband debate isn’t going away anytime soon, and it’s a legitimate debate. However … Morgan doesn’t go into that debate in any detail. Instead, he just adds the wireless issue like a dash of poisoned salt onto the end of his rotten commentary, like a savoury blessing.

“The number of wireless (mobile) broadband users now rivals fixed-line users and spending on wireless broadband will soon match spending on fixed-line broadband,” writes Morgan. Yup. But the overwhelming majority of those doing that spending won’t be cutting their fixed-line connections and setting up wireless. They’ll be buying both. As many people have written time and time again, the increasing power and speed of wireless broadband in Australia (hello, Telstra 4G!) does not mean Australia won’t need to upgrade its fixed broadband networks as well. We need, and want, both. That’s the reality of the situation, and always will be.

Now, what pains me about the kind of commentary we’ve seen this week from the dynamic duo of Bolt and Morgan (sounds like a gang of bushrangers somewhat, doesn’t it?) is not that they’re criticising the NBN. I personally am an NBN critic.

As I’ve stated repeatedly, I love the idea of fibre broadband to my door. However, I am also largely against massive government intervention in any market, and I believe, given the right regulatory setting, private markets are much more efficient at infrastructure investment than governments can be. Furthermore, I haven’t given up on the idea of infrastructure-based competition in the telecommunications sector. A decade’s worth of experience reporting on the sector has taught me that it can work very well (hello, DSLAMs; hello HFC cable; hello mobile networks).

But what I will not, will absolutely not stand for is poor and ill-informed criticism of technology projects of any stripe. It is a simple fact that (as with his writing in the racial discrimination case), Bolt has been lazy this week in his blanket sledging of the NBN; and so has Kevin Morgan. Morgan’s commentary is incredibly full of well-worn NBN clichés that have been debated ceaselessly for the past several years. The man should be ashamed to raise them again in such a simple-minded fashion. I am sure that if Mike Quigley read Morgan’s commentary this morning the phrase “Fox News” would have come to mind.

If we are going to debate the NBN, let us do it on more intelligent grounds; grounds that are still up in the air. Personally, I think the idea that the network should be rolled in, with rural areas getting fibre first, to be a ludicrous idea. As we’ve already seen in Tasmania, the kinds of people who live in the bush often don’t want or need this kind of infrastructure — as opposed to inner-city metropolitan dwellers, who most assuredly do.

Then there’s the NBN pricing scheme and points of interconnect arrangement, which Internode managing director Simon Hackett has done such a delightful job of skewering. Or the provisions in the Telstra and Optus contracts which prevent the pair from sledging the NBN as they market their own wireless services.

You could even — and this is my personal favourite — speculate wildly on what will happen if the Coalition takes power in 2013 and radically alters the NBN project. In my opinion, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott have got a lot of explaining to do on this point.

What I am saying is … the conservative point of view is a legitimate one in Australian society — and one that I, and many others, share some sympathy with. But let’s not devolve our national debate to the level of dumb beasts, please. I believe in the intelligence of Australians too much for that. If you’re going to criticise the NBN, apply some grey matter first. Because a failure to do this will result in a NBN debate which will serve nobody … even the project’s harshest critics.


  1. As for Bolt…my favourite “point” that he makes is the massive bill for legal fees that have been incurred by NBN Co.

    The legal fees that have been incurred by way of his LNP mates demanding from Quigley so much legal documentation in regards to the Alcatel-Lucent bribery scandal in estimates hearings.

    • I don’t understand why he points out that fixed telephone is dropping and uses it as ‘proof’ that people are going mobile – he suggests there has been 2.2% GROWTH in dsl but not enough to ‘offset’ the amount of people with a fixed telephone who ‘left’

      Has he stopped to think that;
      A) people churning from a SSS based service to ULL based service result in no net gain or loss in numbers
      B) the amount of people on DSL has not dropped, only gained.


      Look at reports from folk like TPG – people are deserting their fixed telephones en masse and jumping onto TPG’s ‘Home Phone’ service which is delivered via ULL – looking at TPG’s latest investor report they added almost 100,000 ‘Home Phone’ subscribers in just one year!

      “In particular, retaining copper tails in a fibre-to-the-node network”

      “better use of rapidly growing wireless capacity”
      Moving FTA TV to the NBN would allow the government to free up huge amounts of spectrum to be used on wireless networks, furthermore NBNco are rolling out a fixed wireless service..

      “As things stand, voice pays about 75 per cent of the annual cost of the copper network and broadband contributes most of the rest. But voice revenue has fallen by 30 per cent since 2004 and that fall could accelerate as ever more traffic shifts to mobile services.”

      Or moving to VoIP based services??

      • *Moving FTA TV to the NBN*

        moving FTA TV to the NBN would mean it’s no longer “free to air” for consumers, but “pay NBNco for CVC”.


        • They could cover some or all the cost of providing it for free by the massive amount of spectrum space it would free up.

        • Because all of that spectrum and broadcast towers are free now, right?

          TV stations make their $$ from ad’s, they can handle it.

          • i watch FTA TV, but i don’t pay for spectrum or broadcast towers. my TV antenna just grabs the signals out of the thin air. the NBN is not free to use.

  2. National Blowout Network See what I did there? I replaced the word “broadband” with “blowout”, if that isn’t proof that it is a waste then I don’t know what will satisfy you NBN-leftwing-communist-cuban-fanboys!

    • lol

      I’d pay a lot of money to see Conroy wearing Fidel Castro-style outfit and smoking a Cuban cigar :) Captioning that photo would be fun.

      • we should all petition him to do exactly this the next time he meets with turnbull.

      • Note that Cuba successfully privatised their National Telco in 1997, before Australia had released the first round of Telstra shares.

        They’re not really a good socialist example in telecommunications :)

  3. The problem with people like Kevin Morgan, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones is that they are “grubs”. They have no business commenting on technical, financial and political issues regarding the NBN that are clearly above their heads but they do anyway, they have an audience that lap this stuff up, no need for facts.

  4. $10 says your comment about fast porn is picked up by the anti NBN lobby!
    Lets hope Conroy doesn’t use it to try and justify his filters either ;)

  5. Why do they need to do better not like there are professional standards for journalist to uphold.

    • I’ve been wrestling with this concept a lot recently. I think I have broadly decided on my own approach. It’s taken me 10 years. We’ll see how it goes :)

      • So have I. The problem with the press is responsibility, they don’t have any. The issue is how do you enforce that behaviour. Media outlets need to be held accountable or we will end up in the farcical situation that exists in the UK today.

        The recent steps to introduce laws that protect peoples privacy goes part of the way of giving you and me some relief from the media. But it does not address the issue of media pieces like the ones you mentioned. When outlets lose balance and engage in a campaign to influence the public for/against any project then there needs to be a way to recognise that imbalance and effect punitive damages, including preventing the editor from working on that publication for a set period of time. If that fails then other measures can be taken to affect the revenue stream of that media outlet.

        This might fall foul of all sorts of so called rights but they have abused the right to free speech for long enough. The media needs to learn that reporting is a privilege and not a right. They need to know that with power, comes responsibility.

        • Given the press’s behavior with the carbon tax, I’m pretty sure one can say they’re just as bad as the UK and US.

  6. *Personally, I think the idea that the network should be rolled in, with rural areas getting fibre first, to be a ludicrous idea.*

    this is just one example of how the sector has been completely distorted by the selfish motives of Telstra’s parasitic competitors. the reason why ISPs like iiNet and Internode are in favour of a “regional to metro” roll-in (as opposed to “metro to regional” roll-out) is because they already have a dominant market share in the band 1-2 ESAs.

    all they care about is stealing more market share from Telstra in the regional areas, and thereby, increasing their gross margins. that’s all they care about, making more money. they don’t care about the viability of the NBN, taxpayer welfare or the general health of the sector.

    (given that Telstra only has 40% retail broadband market share nationally and most of this is relatively titled towards regionals, this implies that their market share in the metro areas is even lower than 40%. i can’t think of any major incumbent telco in the world that has a market share as low as Telstra’s in terms of access lines, yet the “Competitive Carriers Coalition” continues to push the blatantly false propaganda that there is a “lack of retail competition” in Australia.)

    hence, the “market opportunity” for Telstra’s competitors lies in the regional areas, which is why they are in favour of a “roll-in” approach. also, the decade long time frame of rolling out the fibre network also means that their DSLAM investments which are concentrated in the metro areas are protected and will continue to make money for another couple of years while all the work is being done in the regionals.

      • Would of been a Mills and Boon novel for Sol.
        Can’t stand Telstra no matter what pretty colour it has been painted, been stuffed around by them too many times.
        Telstra Fanbois can’t think of anything worse. ;-)

    • and despite getting everything they want, in terms of a ridiculously-expensive, taxpayer-funded, all-fibre (90%) network roll-out and building regional areas first which protects their metro investments and allows them to immediately steal Telstra’s regional subscribers…. they are still screaming for so-called “compensation” for their DSLAMS* from taxpayers’ coffers!!!!

      talk about f–king greedy ISPs.

      i can’t wait for the Liberal rain to pour down in 2013/14 and wash all this industry bullshit parasitic scum detritus from the streets (and hopefully an immediate double dissolution to clean out the Senate).

      *which they publicly boast can earn back the relatively small capital outlay within 2 years.

      • “this is just one example of how the sector has been completely distorted by the selfish motives of Telstra’s parasitic competitors. the reason why ISPs like iiNet and Internode are in favour of a “regional to metro” roll-in (as opposed to “metro to regional” roll-out) is because they already have a dominant market share in the band 1-2 ESAs.”

        Actually I think it was the trio of independents who got us this idea; not iiNet and Internode, who primarily want affordable backhaul to the bush, so they can put in their own DSLAMs etc, as they have already done in areas like Geraldton as the NBN is rolled out in those areas.

        • and all that brand new regional backhaul is funded with 100% taxpayer dollars to subsidise private ISP profits.

          if the Government is so intent (and stupid) on destroying our domestic telco incumbent/champion and handing over more market share to the Singaporean Government-owned and controlled Singtel Optus, then just get the ACCC to declare Telstra’s regional backhaul network at “competitive prices” and be done with it.

          the net effect is the same, except you will have saved taxpayers a bundle from having to duplicate Telstra’s existing regional backhaul.

          Telstra’s national broadband market share will drop further. they will have even less free cashflow to invest in maintaining or upgrading the fixed network. you will see more corners being cut and more upgrades being postponed, etc.

          competition is a means to an end. competition for competition’s sakes is just plain stupid. telco policy shouldn’t revolve around shuffling market share and gross margins between the various ISPs just to satisfy the greed of a few undercapitalised, loud-mouthed, ACCC-screaming players who are nothing more than “resellers” with virtually ZERO infrastructure but keep asking for a bigger slice of the total industry cake.

          there’s only one telco in the market which has spent BILLIONS year in and year out on maintaining the copper assets and it sure ain’t Optus, iiNet or TPG who get LSS for as cheap as $2.50.

          if you’re going to screw the sole network operator out of much needed cashflow to service the capital-intensive infrastructure, you end exactly in the situation we are now in with all those broadband blackspots and unremediated wet copper.

          every other market in the world has managed to negotiate with the incumbent to allow it to upgrade to FTTN while still earning a commercial return to fund the upgrades.

          only in Australia do we have a situation where the “industry” can’t move forward because of Telstra’s rapacious and greedy competitors (or “resellers”) spoilt and encouraged by the ACCC who expect everything to be handed to them for free. (in this respect, Labor’s $50bln taxpayer-funded NBN is the ultimate gift to these greedy ISPs.)

          competition is a means to an end and not an end in itself. commonsense tells us that primary importance should be placed on ensuring that the actual network owner and operator which has ongoing capital commitments (which run in the billions) to maintain and upgrade the actual infrastructure has the financial wherewithal to fund these capital-intensive activities.

          (if Telstra is secretly squirrelling away billions of free cashflow instead of re-investing it, where is it on their audited balance sheet? why aren’t earnings and dividends on a rising trend? why hasn’t the share price rocketed over the past couple of years?)

          all this petty squabbling amongst the undercapitalised, small-balance sheet, reseller ISPs for “market share” and “retail margins” should never take precedence in the broader picture. the underlying reason why Australia is so far behind in upgrading the copper network to FTTN is precisely because of these various zero-asset, zero-infrastructure, reselling “stakeholders” who demand an excessively big role in determining how someone else’s private infrastructure is upgraded and on what terms.

          this is just completely insane and unnecessarily complicates any industry transition or infrastructure upgrade. imagine if you were the eldest sibling in your family and you bought a car with your own money and you let your other brothers/sisters borrow it.

          now, suppose that everytime you decided to spend YOUR own money to upgrade YOUR car, e.g. install a roof rack, book it in for a maintenance repair, change the seats, transmission, etc, you are forced to consult and seek the approval of your other siblings just because they also use YOUR car…. that’s just completely nuts….

          no wonder we’re in the situation (impasse) we’re in.

          • so australia’s comms policy should comprise of far right ideology mixed with extreme telsra fanboism?

          • Agreed. It’s ok that Telstra takes all our money, because its owned by Australia!

            /bows down to the new and existing overlord:


          • Ok, got through, ok, seems the same as the last 100 rants. Got links? Anything to substantiate your opinion? Anti psychotics?

          • >just get the ACCC to declare Telstra’s regional backhaul network at “competitive prices” and be done with it.

            That’s actually a good idea. Also I’m reading your self-implosions/rants with great amusement. Carry on.

        • renai lemay

          pro iinet and internode comments have backfired on you again and will continue to backfire

          iinet and internode will be hindrance to the nbn or any other wholesaler,

          iinet and internode will always complain there is too much competition

          consumers are slowly waking up t oiinet and internode and there profit making only interested rather then consumer interest

          • >>iinet and internode will always complain there is too much >>iinet and internode will always complain there is too much competition.

            Classic Syd.

            Here’s the news. We are the competition !

        • It is also the government’s response to the fact that twice they have cancelled programs (Opel, NBN Mk I) that were to bring regional areas up to snuff (although the net result of either of those two programs, if they had succeeded, is debateable).

          The idea has typically been to subsidise where the market was unwilling to go (ABG etc) and let the market fight it out in cherry areas.

          Of course, any chance of major investment in cities has been severely chilled with the NBN coming, so people that may well have been upgraded in the last 4 years (ADSL2+, FTTx etc) have not, and now everyone (ie. a vocal minority), is crying out for faster internet.

    • I believe it was because the country independants made the country rollout a condition of their support to get Labour into government. Do you know of some secret deal between them and the ISPs or are you just talking crap?

    • City folk might be surprised to learn that the resurgence of many regional towns which depopulated themselves to capital cities in the 1960s and 1970s is largely driven by sea- and tree-changers who actually use technology.

      What makes the publicly-funded NBN a critically urgent national-building project (rather than socialism) is that it brings broadband to about seven million Australians for the first time, and the tiny pilot hamlets in north-west Tasmania are not representative of this huge market.

      Consider this: had suburbia with more-or-less adequate ADSL been prioritised for NBN fibre, takeup would probably have been modest. Regional towns in the 1,000 to 20,000 premises range mostly have sub-2 Mbps ADSL or dialup (do you remember 56 Kbps dialup?). When they are offered NBN fibre, takeup is near universal, as we saw in Armidale.

      My point is that revenues from high-takeup regional towns will yield more early returns for NBNCo than they would if low-takeup suburbia had been prioritised. So the first objective of the NBN is to deliver to the have-nots as a priority – and this just happens to also be the way to recover the build cost earlier.

      • Heh your heart’s in the right place, but the economics just don’t match up. Building in to out makes much more financial sense. But it doesn’t matter. The NBN will be profitable no matter what.

  7. Brilliant article Renai! I wish the rest of the media had as much integrity as you.

    For reasons that escape me I was listening to 2GB a few hours ago and it was mentioned that *Kevin Morgan* was going to give an interview about an article he wrote for *The Australian* – My immediate thought was “Oh dear, here we go again. To Cuba probably.” This is a new low.

    • Cheers Paul! I try ;)

      I don’t follow a lot of the mainstream media, being mainly interested in issues of technology, so it’s possible that debate in other areas is this stupid as well. I’m not sure. But I do get tired of it in relation to the NBN ;)

      • You got all poetic, there with : “he just adds the wireless issue like a dash of poisoned salt onto the end of his rotten commentary, like a savoury blessing”

        allow me to encourage you to continue in similar vein.

  8. EIU study is factually flawed, they must have hardly examined any countries since China is investing 2 trillion yuan into communications, this is $300-$320bn AUD depending on the exchange rate – it’s $308 today. Their NBN makes ours look pathetic in terms of spend and even per capita they are spending more than we are. Look here for more information on the matter: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1791924&p=1

    “”If we are going to debate the NBN, let us do it on more intelligent grounds; grounds that are still up in the air. Personally, I think the idea that the network should be rolled in, with rural areas getting fibre first, to be a ludicrous idea. As we’ve already seen in Tasmania, the kinds of people who live in the bush often don’t want or need this kind of infrastructure — as opposed to inner-city metropolitan dwellers, who most assuredly do.””

    I can agree here, the bush should still certainly be on the list to get it, but there is one thing Malcolm suggested that I agree with – “don’t ignore the laws of economics” – I agree, roll out to the most economical areas first so the project has it’s financials in tact – still aim for 93%, hell, even 100% coverage – but cover the areas that will give you $$ to keep going first.

    I feel they should do something like cover the entire A.C.T – I don’t live in ACT, I live in WA – but the A.C.T is our smallest state with arguably the highest wages, good internet penetration, but poor speeds – cover it and show all the politicians what the rest of the country will miss out on if they side with Abbot.

    • I feel they should do something like cover the entire A.C.T – I don’t live in ACT, I live in WA – but the A.C.T is our smallest state with arguably the highest wages, good internet penetration, but poor speeds – cover it and show all the politicians what the rest of the country will miss out on if they side with Abbot.

      I think if they are going to cover one state first rather than the random scattering of sites they should do VIC or NSW. (VIC probably makes the most sense) This would be far more poignant than the ACT, it can be claimed as a milestone, the ACT is really just another city inside NSW.

  9. Your article, which is pointless and just spewing your own biased and unfounded views, and at the same time making unback assertions about point critiques of NBN, was nothing but a pointless waste of BW.

    It seems youve just bought in the views and propaganda of labor and conroy, paul budde etc. hook line and sinker.

    If anything, the NBN for the large amount of money it will cost, should be independently evaluated, and not have a private consultant (KPMG) produced a report paid for by NBNCo, and used as an unbiased evaluation of feasbility.

    In addition, the claims made by conroy and the likes of Budde should be validated by economics and academics, to prove whether these benefits are real, or just science fiction, or if they are even practical. Ive seen snake oil salesmen, and the type of miracles NBN needs to justify it, apart from being a high speed consumer internet and media network, needs to be validated and proven, that real productivity is gained, and it will not just be a super expensive broadband network.

    So far, NBN attracts a lot of genY and netgeeks, but to the average person or business owner, they are bafflied by all this telecommuting and ehealth, please at least demonstrate it with a pilot as to how you will make the provision of services more efficient…and that I cannot do that with much cheaper technology , that may already exist.

    Too much of the ‘benefits’ of NBN are ‘conceptual’ , but there is no reason why 1- they cannot demonstrate these new productivity methods, and 2- prove that they will have economic returns – otherwise, this is just a load of political BS that has wasted already 1Bn in taxpayers money.

    • Word. People should spend thousands of hours researching the topic for free. Because then we will know that they will have no bias….

      /slaps head.

    • SYG, there is going to be BS thrown about, that is the nature of politics. Either side can say what ever they like, interpret/misinpret data, make assumptions, spin and spin and make the data say anything. With so much of this going on the only way you will REALLY know what is BS and what isn’t is to study and understand the technology, the financial side, etc, etc. And really that isn’t really doable as the NBN would be in or not by then. You just aren’t going to get a straight answer. I know what I believe of the technology and why, but that could have ulterior motives like some many other people. Or maybe I am dilusional and love to post 100 line rants that go off into area 51 and moon landing conspiracy type arguements. The more YOU know the more you can sort the BS from truth.

      • NBN makes a lot of claims of what it will deliver, all these claims are “new age” sounding, but okay, at least PROVE to us, evidence… demonstrate how ehealth will will and reduce the costs significantly, or how it will reduce carbon emissions by telecommuting, this is what they are selling … otherwise, it is just another big entertainment and personal communication network that is overkill for downloading, making phone calls, and checking emails.

        • the advantages have been well documented, for those who actually can see past their own noses (or politics) and want to see. As well as measurement advancements in technology which have historically occurred, to plot future requirements.

          why do you think fibre is, and has been for many years, being rolled out throughout the world…for no reason? because it’s detrimental (and expensive)? No, because copper is unable to handle it now, let alone in the future and it is needed.

          this is part of the argument you gloss over… show me the evidence you say? instead why don’t you prove we (and the rest of the world) are wrong and that we do not need to upgrade?

          so tell me, did you have evidence of impending internet banking, social networking, pc’s in every home/business or even sending instantaneous mail worldwide, if you were around in the 80’s, to validate the need for the internet or for upgrading from dial up?

          but yet, even after witnessing all of these and many more advancements, you refuse to accept that new advancement will occur? refuse to consider let alone accept the documented possibilities/advantages?

          and you still need ‘actual evidence to validate now’, what will be occurring in 10 years, once (IF), this 10 year build is nationwide…rofl!

          • What I want is NBN to go to a hospital and to someones house, that has NBN, and show how they are going to ‘revolutionise’ health services… that is more efficient that say, me driving 15mins there for an appointment, that it can be done in my own home, thats what they are selling, is that BS or not, can you show me this setup?

            Then show how telecommuting will work, that I can do more with NBN , that I cannot now do with ADSL2+, how is it going to be any more efficeient, explain how i wont need my car anymore to get to work etc.

            etc. etc… all this artsy fartsy stuff, this is what paul budde and conroy keeps repeating, but can they even create one demonstration of it that isnt grainy and jerky video….or show use how it will work in a demonstration, its just basic business that if you want your client to be interested in your idea, you have to at least show them a proof of concept or prototype, but where is it? oh, just take our word for it, this widget will CHANGE THE WORLD and THE WAY YOU THIKN…FOREVER!

          • You are only thinking of yourself again, there are people nowhere near hospitals that have no access to broadband. Stop being so selfish.

          • you just proved it.

            the experts tell us the technology is available, but as you say, any (current) “video is grainy and jerky”…why’s that?

            because as i said, the means of supplying this technology to the masses, a 100 year old telephone network, can’t cope. but yet, you want proof of something that isn’t built yet to convince you, whilst blindly believing what we have is and will be good enough?

            surely at some point instead of people being blind cynics, they could simply use foresight and a little common sense, to consider “at least the possibility”, that what is being claimed, may have some credence, rather than just saying nuh and toeing the party line.

            seriously show me what you can do now which you can’t do on dial up. you could probably do most everything, just much slower. but would you go back to dial up?

            not so long ago i’m sure people would have scoffed at the idea of buying an item from your own home, via a computer, from the other side of the world, corresponding instantaneously via electronic mail and paying for the item electronically via your card or account, with a all the currency conversions etc done! then just sitting back and waiting for the postie to deliver it to your door.

            this “widget” is now a part of life. but please miss the point and tell me you can do that on adsl, because apparently adsl is as good as we will ever need, just like dial up was all we’d ever need, eh?

          • That’s a great argument, prove ME wrong. Religion’s been using that one for years.

            You’re trying to convert us mate, not the other way around.

          • that’s a great argument.

            no one’s trying to convert you, we are just trying to

            a) educate you, by highlighting past technological improvements
            b) ask you to use common senses and foresight

            obviously to no avail.

    • *these benefits are real, or just science fiction*

      Oz Communist Party Senator Scott Ludlam’s “Google augmented reality” not good enough for you? ;)

      personally, i’m flabbergasted at the sudden, highly personal attack on Kevin Morgan. i haven’t read every single article authored by him on The Australian, but his Senate submissions have always struck me as extremely well-researched, well-argued and of an impeccable quality. he’s a chap who clearly knows what he’s talking about.

      unfortunately, because the facts and arguments he presents are against Labor’s massive, taxpayer-funded, political pet project of laying fibre everywhere, he’s being skewered and attacked left, right and centre on every tech geek forum.

      the same goes with Malcolm Turnbull. (in general, i’m no fan of wealthy merchant bankers or corporate lawyers.) however, Malcolm has actually bothered to travel around the world talking to telco operators and regulators in the overseas markets and has made a relatively-impressive (as MP speeches go) and highly-valuable contribution to the NBN debate.

      yet, all the one-eyed, fibre geeks choose to conveniently ignore all the arguments and facts he has presented, or attempt in vain to “rebut” by either, deliberately or not, misinterpreting his comments or fabricating false data or arguments.


      you can post a 1,000,000 more articles or comments on Whirlpool, ZD or delim slandering Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, “the Libs”, “Telstra fanbois” or whatnot…. none of this shit matters… policy at the ministerial level isn’t determined by rantings on internet forums.

      certainly, the industry players have heard Malcolm’s tolling of the bell and are already positioning and jockeying for a post-Labor/Conroy future when the current NBN is completely halted and Telstra once again retakes the reins after this relatively biref “interlude” of Conroy Universal Fibre Insanity.

      the Libs have to be answerable to the Australian population for terminating an extravagant, white elephant project? let’s see… how long does it take Tony Abbott to make a decision to kill a project accurately dubbed as “school halls on steroids”?…. about 5 seconds, i’d say… (go for that double dissolution, Tony, and clean out the Senate!)

      so, carry on folks… yes, Abbott and his zoo crew chums.. blah blah blah…

        • I think toshP300 makes a good point.

          All you netgeeks really need to get off your ritalin and WoW and actually go out into the real world.

          • What good point? He is just saying his opinion, there is no point.
            Any why am I a net geek? Never played WOW in my life. I regularly am involved in sport, 100km in under 9hrs, cycle about 40 kms a time on my mountain bike at least 3 times a week.
            Does that count or do I have to play “footy” go out and get pissed on a regular basis and think meat pies are a gourmet treat?

          • Don’t talk about pies. I was more envisioning the add with the two meat heads saying “They don’t know what their missing out on”. But a pie would beat the tast of this pasta and salad I’m eating, bit bland. Oh well, worked late and couldn’t be bothered cooking. Safeway salads needs some zest.

      • sounds like the oppositions policies ARE in fact made here, because almost every anti-nbn comment i have read, reflects this…!

        interesting that you make the connection with “the school halls” too, as that was another initiative where a government actually gave something to the little people for a change and regardless of another “The Australian” smear campaign, was independently evaluated and found to have been a success.

      • Morgan isn’t being criticised for being anti NBN. He is bring criticised because he cited a factually flawed report and then used cherry-picked numbers to try and convince people that the cost is blowing out. Right now he has about as much integrity as a wet paper bag.

    • “Too much of the ‘benefits’ of NBN are ‘conceptual’ , but there is no reason why 1- they cannot demonstrate these new productivity methods, and 2- prove that they will have economic returns – otherwise, this is just a load of political BS that has wasted already 1Bn in taxpayers money.”

      Just because a lot of ppl are stupid idiots and cant see past there own pupil doesn’t mean shit

  10. I’d just like to ask how many people would give a toss about wireless if they actually had fixed line ADSL. I think the numbers would be a lot less than we see now. The reason Wwreless take up is so high is the disgraceful state of ADSL availability. There are people who can’t get dial-up still in this country. Get a grip all you wankers that claim the NBN isn’t needed.

    • If you live in the city…you can get fixed line…where i live, ie. 30mins out of melbourne CBD, i can get ADSL, ADSL2+, cable from telstra or optus….and all the mobile broadband… id say 95%+ of people in metro areas can get good broadband and are happy with it, ie. 8mbps is quite fast with 100gigs…but u can get more if you want to pay for it.

      But for what its worth, literally, ie. for mostly entertainment and personal communication, you dont need to spend as much on BB as you would petrol, food or electricity right?

      So it seems there are two groups who are biased to NBN, and they make the most noise…but the reality is, the majority of the population either 1- dont really care 2- are happy with the current offering but wouldnt mind if it were cheaper…

      others are 1- rural/regional people 2- people who are net geeks or have some antisocial disorder who dont go out much… but why should everyone pay for these people? When we could better spend money on training and apprenticeships that reduces youth unemployment and provides real future for australia, and real future for people to live fulfilling lives?

      • Oh right, you have all the internet you need? OK, what the hell. Hey guys, put down the shovels, this guys got his connection and that’s all that matters. Don’t worry that other people can’t get it, he is all that matters.

        • Didn’t you hear? He also reckons 95%+ of people in metro areas can get good broadband, too. Case closed, clearly he’s done his research.

          • Well I am one of the lucky ones. I get 12Mbit. A lot of my friends seem to fall into that 5% though. 1.5Mbit because the Telstra pits outside their house are old and keep flooding but they won’t fix it because it only effects about 5 houses and it’s no econimic to dig up the road (the end of a court) to fix it. Another 3Mbit with regular drop outs. One can get ADSL1 in off a RIM but it’s so congested of an evening it’s barely usable, it is less congested than his local 3G wireless though, it drops to a few K a second once schools out. Few can’t get BB at all. Quite a few at 5-6Mbit. I do know one who lucked out with 16Mbit, but they are the only one I know of getting more than the 12Mbit minimum that is used as some sort of yard stick. Oh, and I don’t live in the country these are people all over Melbourne.

          • There arent many RIMS in metro areas…how do i know this? I used to work for Telstra…

            All this talk about blackspots is pretty much over infalted BS, to try to make an incorrect point about the network.

            Furthermore, because of competition (ironically) and low cost of ULL and high cost of network maintenance, Telstra has cut back on CAN maintenance to a minimal.

            If you dont maintain something to high standards or continue rolling out to clear blackspots you will have problems, but the prob. is definitely exaggerated.

          • What I said is the situation, no lies to try and make a point, but simple fact. Tell the guy sitting behind me their aren’t many RIMs. He lives in Pakenham. I have a RIM about 100m from my place. Luckily I am not on it and connect to the exchange.

            I don’t know what they are rolling out. I have not seen anything really change. Maybe a few backhaul upgrades to reduce congested exchanges.

            But then again, the current state of things is all irrelevant BS, we need a communcation system that takes care of requirements for the next 50 years and there isn’t much life left in copper at the current rate of increase in data consumption.

          • Actually meaning to reply to the post below but can’t…. Someyoungguy, how long ago did you work for Telstra? The reason RIM’s exist is because in various areas Telstra underestimated demand – it will mostly be areas where units are popping up and new suburbs that will be plauged by RIM’s – I can see the Perth CBD from my verandah and my area is on a RIM – I am lucky and have direct copper to the exchange as my block is a old one.

      • There is no cable in Canberra, Hobart and Darwin and there is almost no cable in Perth. Furthermore you are ignoring things like RIM’s with no ports. Melbourne has the fastest internet in Australia and you suggest you have access to every technology available including 100Mbps cable so it’s no wonder why you don’t see the NBN as necessary.

        • as STATED, in any METRO AREAS THE NUMBER OF RIMS are VERY VERY FEW…look Ived lived in Bris, Syd, melb over 35 years in various cities, ive designed, RIMS, CMUX, ISAM and all that Telstra rubbish, so I know whats out there and where…

          Knowing these 3 major cities, i can say VERY rarely do i see a road side cabinet AGH…why? because the exchanges in metro are close to gether due to density – obvious isnt it?

          There are some pocket areas where RIMS were popular and before the full DSL rollout that are unfortunate to have RIMS , mainly new estates…it was just that 90s period, which could be alleviated if Telstra maintained their network, ie. just put an ISAM Adjunct unit… however why should they? the ULL price is low in metro.

          Now new estates deploy ISAMs, as that is the evolved technology, so the blackspots in metro centre around a particular era, where broadband was emerging and voice was the main need for the network, and these new estates got RIMS.

          … I bet if i drove you arond melb or sydney for days you will barely see 1 -2 AGH’s .. but the people who complain the most and loudest and people in non metro areas who are behind RIMS … and they now want 36Bn for 93% fibre network for which most people dont need.

          • Sorry to burn you ‘ SomeFailGuy ‘. I’ve just moved into a brand new house in a 2 year old development. That means it doesn’t have Fiber ( not compulsory until Jan 2011 ) and has RIMS/Pair Gain all through it.We can see Sydney city from our Balcony. You and the ‘ designers ‘ of this rubbish should be put in gaol for putting Australia in this mess. Then you just put you’re head up you’re own ass and act like it’s not happening. You make me sick with you’re ‘ I’ve got it so it’s OK ‘ . I hope you’re exchange explodes and Failstra tell you it ain’t worth it. You’ll cry like a bitch then. Sorry for the language but spending 400k+ and finding out internet isn’t available is a bit too much.

          • i notice a common thread amoung these NBN whingers…”I’ cant get this, “I” cant get this, well maybe its because “you” live 50-100kms from the cities…or youre one of the < 5% (im being generous) who live in a poorly telstra maintained blackspot…

            Well now like children, you want the country to pay 30-40Bn on a superflous network, so you can get 100mbps…

            oh wait, this is just the very mentality of these stupid independents who hold the balance of power and the govt hostage…they want 100mbps…but no company or deomcratic govt in their right mind would do a massive network overkill just to make a very very small group of ppl happy, then again, thats why sooner we have an election the better, and kick these guys out, and have a parliament that isnt at ranson two a few country bumpkins


            There are enough of them for it to be a problem. Even if you have access to an ISAM with plenty of ports, you’re still stuck on Hellstra Wholesale…

  11. The NBN isnt. Its just something that can be talked about. The real problem is that it has stopped investment. It has also proved beyond a doubt that we can exist with progressively worsening networks (We have no choice). Dont shoot the messenger, but in all but a few sections of the country, we have gone backwards since the NBN took over.

    • but lets see, people are paying not much for ADSL2+ … come on, TPG offers unlimited for $60pm ..and it will continue to go down, in addition to better quality and offerings when competitors catch up and more infrastructure is put in…

      While ISPs today offer a system where price will fall, and quality will go up, NBNCo seems to see the current price at the minimum, but likely to go up, with less offering, so it can recover the 36Bn cost.

      While it believes that people will flock to 100Mb fibre, which imo is baffling…since people have lives in AU and we are an outdoors culture, and that telecoms we use mainly for entertainment and personal use, and not for businesses, as households dont run businesses… All I want to know, is how they think that people would not rather pay less for something they consider adequate , as opposed to more that is beyond their needs? How is that a viable business case?

      • So how long do you think the current ADSL2+ or FTTN will last? Do you have a concept of the technological changes that occur in 50 years? That is how long the NBN is meant to last us. 30 years ago I used a 110baud, (that’s 11 bytes a second, it took 6 seconds to draw a line of text) modem. 27 years ago a 20MB drive was huge and the province of minicomputers. I can only imagine that sometime in the next 50 years terabyte speeds may be needed, and fibre is capable of it. Why would you need that data? So you 3D printer can replicate a product you purchased? Who knows. 50 years ago virtually no one had a telephone and televisions were just starting to be bought by the more affluent. The microprocesser was still 10 years off.

        • im not a geek, i dont need to download at 100 terabytes per second…i have a life.

          Way i see it, I could surive with 4mbps…but i can get 8mbps, which is sweet, and lots of downloads…

          By my line can do 18mbps…..but you know, maybe in 10yrs time i might want that…and then i can go on that for another 10 yrs.. by then everything would be unlimited anyway….and price would probably drop to maybe 30-40$ per month…

          to be honest, id rather get that than 1gig…what the hell do i need 1 gig for? i spend my free time going out with friends or doing sports etc… which cost money, unless i was poor or had social issues, then id stay home on the net all day getting zit faced and fatt ass

          • No, he has a good point. His whole post is me, me, me. Unless your like me, your a zit faced, fat bottomed loser. And this is what I want and that’s all that is really needed, unless I can get it cheaper.

          • Whoosh, straight over you head. You honestly cannot see the difference between now and 50 years time and not think about anyone but yourself? Now this sort of attitude is a bigger social issue these days than the NBN.

          • No actually you are wrong. This is how I think most people , or at least ‘normal’ people think.

            Most people dont think broadband is much of an issue, because we have access to many providers who offer pretty good value, so I dont see what the issue is myself…

            It just seems to be a minority if you can special interest or lobby groups who put unusual high amount emphasis on broadband, and it did not help by the fact we had a hung election and the key deciders where in seats that were in rural or regional Aust. where it is costly to get services out to due to distance and sparse population, and the fact we have an incumbent (privatised) provider.

            This view isnt held by the vast majority of Australians. Come the next election, when the indepedents no longer hold leverage, I’m sure broadband would fall back into the distant where it was before this peculiar election outcome.

            So really, I dont see what the whole problem is, my broadband is adequate, and I would say for 95%+ (my own figure) of all people in metro and outer-metro areas in Australia, services are quite good, prices are reasonable and there is much choice. And they will only get better and cheaper.

            So, my point argument is really an ad hominem one, is your own personal situation or constitution, or your vested interest, clouding your rational judgement?

          • @ someyoungguy,

            i can answer that on my part…”NO”

            i am not in ICT, or even remotely involved in any telco, ISP or whatever, nor i am i politically active. i have no shares in any comms companies and no shares or involvement in any nbn construction company etc.

            read: i have absolutely no relationship to the nbn or political party, just an avid fan…

            why? in a nutshell, because the nbn is replacing superseded technology for us and our kids and their kids, as the copper just cannot do the job any longer. Nor was it meant to do the job but it has been a fantastic interim measure…

            again (whether you wish to believe it or not) just like dirt roads were until we got serious… and i bet there were someyoungguys back then, naysaying and just factoring me, me, me too, because they were happy with their tracks and couldn’t envisage the possibilities.

            wtf are our taxes for if not to replace superseded national infrastructure? plus, this infrastructure has the capacity to pay for itself plus make a resounding profit (if either kept or sold) and it will create 1000’s of jobs, plus flow ons etc, etc, etc.

            anyway… and as for having a life outside of this interwebby thingy, you seem to spend a lot of time here, disproving that!

          • “This view isnt held by the vast majority of Australians” show any data to back that up.

            “So really, I dont see what the whole problem is, my broadband is adequate, and I would say for 95%+ (my own figure) of all people in metro and outer-metro areas in Australia, services are quite good, prices are reasonable and there is much choice. And they will only get better and cheaper.”
            Rubbish. Show any data that shows that.

            “So, my point argument is really an ad hominem one, is your own personal situation or constitution, or your vested interest, clouding your rational judgement?”
            No, I do not believe so. I am more than happy with the broadband I have now. You on the other hand saying what you want and calling anyone who says maybe others would like access or that in the future there may be demand for higher speed, are zit faced, fat arse, WOW players. In short you are stating what you want, saying that is all that is needed for everyone (and I assure you most have nowhere near the connection you do or have access to cheap unlimited plans) and rubbishing everyone else.

          • Most people don’t think broadband is not a issue? You have gotta be kidding me, it practically decided the last election – and you can hear all the various councils, even Liberal ones – asking when their seat is going to get the NBN. If that isn’t proof enough look at the polls on News Ltd websites about the NBN – they are all like 75%/25% in favor of it…

          • The fact is we shouldn’t do it now in an uncertain economic climate to waste on entertainment.

            E-Education argument doesn’t even exist
            E-Health is already here but apparently we can get 100Mb/s and forget about THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END WHO DOESN’T HAVE A QUALITY WEBCAM.
            Reducing congestion is the biggest elephant I have ever seen.

            Honestly, if you’re selling your idea to someone, you don’t tell THEM to think of what it provides, you’d get laughed out of business school.

          • @Someguy

            So, because you are happy with your current service, everyone else doesn’t matter? Go away.

            This is all irrelevant, of course. The problem is that Morgan is trying to mislead the public.

          • curious.
            how do you know your line can do 18mbps?

            also, for someone who spends all of his free time going out and “doing” sports (btw, how do you “do” a sport?), you seem to be devoting an awful amount of time to the internet.

          • How do you expect we squeeze more speed out of our copper network even in 10yrs?? for half a decade we have seen zero improvement in speeds over copper. It will not get any faster.

          • Sooo.. In 10 years time you’ll want increased speeds. You’ll also want unlimited downloads, and you want it to be cheaper.

            I’m afraid that the aging, dying and incredibly expensive to maintain Telstra copper network wont be able to help you with any of that.

      • Unlimited for $60 per month? Sign me up.

        Oh wait, I only have access to Telstra Wholesale…

  12. It take vision to see beyond what you need now and prepare for what you will need in the future. The most successful societies are those who act on that vision. In case of broadband it doesn’t need much vision as we are already at the limits of what we can do with what is currently available. Many people have the option of going else where.

    We have an incumbent telco who is not interested offering alternative services unless you are located in select zones, competitive telcos who can’t offer alternative services as they can’t access underground ducts and it is cost prohibitive and might I add outright stupid for them to build their own.

    Infrastructure is one of the reasons we have governments. If it wasn’t for government investment in infrastructure we sure as hell wouldn’t have wide spread access to roads, running water, sewerage, electricity, telecommunication, and we sure as hell wont end up with widely available improvements to our telecommunication infrastructure.

  13. Renai: “the “value” which will be delivered by the NBN is as follows:
    *100Mbps (and eventually, 1Gbps) broadband to most Australian homes and business premises…..
    *The removal of broadband blackspots in the process …..”

    “Personally, I think the idea that the network should be rolled in, with rural areas getting fibre first, to be a ludicrous idea.”

    it looks to me that you contradict yourself. you say theres value in removing the blackspots and giving ubiquitous access, then you say its ludicrous to work on areas with blackspots and least ubiquitous service first?

    i mean it cant be expressly – as part of its overarching goals – be for one thing and yet be stupid for dealing with that exact problem in the way it is dealing with its rollout?

    in any case, despite the low takeup rates i dont see it as a bad thing. youve heard most of it before, expanded market opportunities for domestic market operators to folk that have a blackspot eradicated and so forth.

    the other thing is that disappointing numbers in the sparsely populated areas is probably to be expected. but that represents the *lowest* expected takeup areas – at least i think its fair to expect the NBN will do much better than the rates in those areas as the rollout moves from the outer to the inner and more urban/metro areas. i know it’d be nice to have the best figures up at the start of the rollout but thats not the way this rollout was designed. to me having the numbers improve as you go along is better than having the reverse…..

    as for ‘Fox news’, personally i was going for the ‘Australian…. or is it Dual Citizen now….?’ you may be on to something tho LOL

    • I think that surplying the NBN to the cities first would be better economically.
      The city rollout would be cheaper to premises.
      It would have a higher uptake.
      It would be more profitable.
      Substantial ROI would start years earlier.

      It is nice giving those that have nothing access first, but it’s got to cost.
      Also net usage tends to increase as people use it more, discover what it can do.
      Those who haven’t had it at all could get it sooner with interim satelite and may likely be happy til it reaches them.
      I am sure there are those who do have the net but at bad speeds, unreliable connections and are in the country who would object.

  14. Your list of value offered missed the single most important aspect..

    It will be a national network… ie ubiquity.

    It is the ubiquity that will provide significant opportunity for innovation. No point inventing Australia’s greatest app if you can only serve 10% of the nation, or 1 household but not the neighbour.

    Tail circuit speed helps, but ubiquity is more important.

  15. When you say “infrastructure-based competition”, I don’t think the word competition means what you think it means.

    Sure cable can compete on speed, but the cable operators choose not to compete on price and quota. And since you’re talking about competition, you’re really talking about value.

    Pick any price point cable plan, and you can get better value on ADSL2+. It may or may not be as quick, but that really depends on many different factors which may or may not be beyond the control of the ISPs. So saying ADSL competes with cable is like saying a Holden Commodore competes with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Yes they’re both family-sized cars, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end; however, the Commodore will always look better in terms of value for money.

    You also mention the mobile networks. Until 4G becomes more widespread, they’re even more lousy in comparison to the ADSL and cable networks. And even when 4G does take off, it will still be far worse value than practically any fixed-line network.

    Yes the cable networks compete with eachother, yes the ADSL networks compete with eachother, and yes the mobile networks compete with eachother, but none of these technologies really compete against the others. That’s the definition of infrastructure-based competition.

    The playing field is much more level in the USA. There they have true infrastructure competition, as they have multiple cable networks competing with the copper network, and value is only a function of price and speed, unlike here where it’s a function of price, speed and quota.

    Personally I think the cable networks have harmed competition, as they’re only available to a small subset of broadband users and they give the false impression of infrastructure-based competition. If they didn’t exist, the government would’ve had more motivation to remove Telstra’s vertically-integrated monopoly power, which would have and will do far more for competition than the cable networks ever did.

    • The cable wars are widely considered to have been a disaster. The two other listed forms of competition (DSLAMs and mobile networks) were successful, but they have a low capital cost per user. DSLAMs piggy back off the copper network, which does *not* have any competition. The cost of the DSLAMs themselves per user would be under $100, yet installing a fixed line (copper or fibre) costs over $2000 per connection with current labour prices. With mobile networks, only the tower+backhaul needs to be installed, once again with a low cost per user. The cable wars failed because a *high* investment per user was required, and the telcos realised that consumers would have a hard time paying off *two* high-investment networks.

      So yes, we can observe today that cable is not being used to compete with ADSL.

      With *one* NBN, consumers can pay it off over 20-30 years easily enough.

      I would say that the general rule of thumb is “competition works where capex-per-user is low”. It’s low with DSLAMs and mobile networks. It isn’t low with copper, cable or fibre.

      • Yes Renai’s belief that private businesses can more efficiently compete in infrastructure ignores the very foundation of economics. He really ought to read some Adam Smith.

        On the other hand he at least he doesn’t suffer false arguments. That puts him above 50% of the human population.

    • Uh… I live in the USA and we most definitely don’t have infrastructure competition. It’s either cable or DSL. Not ADSL2+. DSL. Lots of places only have 1 option. Some have neither- they use satellite or dial=up.

      It sucks here.

  16. I find it fascinating that people use the current NBN price to show its good value compared to other services. But in fact we should be adding 50% to the price as over the next 30 years prices increased by 250% if they are adding on 3% to keep ahead of the CPI, where as other services will remain the same.

    Yes i guess i cant do better, just as i cant think of a better way to jump of a cliff.

    • What? NBNCo has stated that they plan to *lower* prices over time. The price-cap rule is there to…cap the price, to prevent NBNCo from raises prices overnight. There is currently no indication that they plan to raise prices above CPI at all.

  17. The title of this article is “NBN critics: Can’t you do better than this?”

    The postings of peope from BOTH sides of the argument (as well as those of the author) show that neither the critics nor the promoters can. Or perhaps what it shows is that the people posting here (and perhaps the author, too) are not quite as au fait with the topic as they like to have us believe.

    If you’d all take the vitriol out of your statements, remove the political bias from your arguments and devote some *thinking* time to the issue, we’d all be better off.

    • I understand where Renai is coming from. If you are going to argue the case for or against you sure use valid arguements as it’s just a waste of time rehashing over and over things that have been proved false or inaccurate. I think the against camp tends to do this way more than the for camp. Also being on the against camp Renai would find it annoying if someone makes people against it are just a bunch of idiots trying to justify their position with known falsehoods.

      • Im asking NBN and Labor provide a proof of concept and deomonstrate ehealth, telecommuting, and how climate change can be reduced rar rar…

        This is just asking for solid engineering evidence, demonstrate e-health ina lab please, and maybe i might be convinced, but as a scientist, where is the ‘rational’ argument when you are relying on science fiction and business studies that you yourself comissioned and are portraying them as facts

        • Not sure where the random e-health thing came from, I’ve never mentioned it. They did a demonstration of e-health some months back, got no details on it, find them yourself if you are really interested. I only saw a little of it.
          Engineering evidence? Need to structural analysis of what?
          LOL, you are a scientist? Yer, right.
          I have posted any business studies at all. You seem pretty confused or are you just a forum bot. Not doing a good job of the turing test and convincing me of inteligent thought.

  18. sadly, political bias and vitriol appear to go hand in hand and are the driving force behind a lot of these comments.

  19. I think I could do better, I woudl save money and rather invest in teh biggest Fibre Optic pipe or pipes out of AUZ,

    No point having NBN as we are just going no where quicker.

    I already have 100mb to my home… and its sh1t3 when trying to do anything overseas.

  20. I got a simple suggestion, all the political motivated, ill informed and future potential leaders that deliberately hinder the progress of the NBN and seek to destroy it put in JAIL. Yeah that’s right, put them all in JAIL ! and make them financially responsible and open to being personally taken to court in the future. This may sound extreme but it is for Australia’s best future interests for business and security. Personal selfish agendas in leadership that get in the way of positive future growth need to be dealt with quickly when your determining our nations future.

  21. Kevin Morgan often appears on ABC’s lateline business as a ‘telecommunications consultant’ to talk about NBN, Telstra and other such topics. Ive wondered before who he actually works for, and what makes someone a ‘telecommunications consultant’.

    • But of course what he is only called into question because he doesn’t support the NBN in its present Labor political form, any pro-NBN comment by anyone is ok and always valid.

    • Read a book on telecoms, get your political buddies to throw you on a committee once or twice, and you’re probably ahead of Morgan in qualifications.

  22. “the kinds of people who live in the bush often don’t want or need this kind of infrastructure”

    I want and need this kind of infrastructure living in Mount Isa 5kms from the exchange forever stuck on adsl1 as there appears to be no intentions of telstra ever upgrading the exchange to put in more adsl2 ports the NBN would probably get here before that happens.

  23. The problem for the NBN is time, people can say fast speeds and will do all sorts of stuff but currently for 99.9% of people there’s no NBN connection and when it does come around your looking at silly amounts of money to even be connected to it.

    People who have a phone line but no data line aren’t going to fuss about a NBN connection at $70 a month just for NBN line rental then a VoIP phone line poped on top.

    The other problem is money/cost, currently the Labor government is around 700billion in the red, NBN has a budget for 40 billion, with 1 billion spent and probably less than 1,000 people connected to it right now, what the independent who said NBN had to be rolled out to the rural areas, got a total of 7 people to connect up for free, that was just a $200,000 dollor roll out, meaning each person cost $28,600 each to give a freebie connection to for 12 months as it’s still all a freebie trial of NBN currently but that can only last for so long, the last tassie NBN count had 30 people connected.

    (I guess the reni didn’t know that seeing as it can’t figure out why the NBN has suddenly gone for a rural install. or he wouldn’t have had that rural roll out line and he talks about knowing all the NBN facts, lol 90% of it is all political grandstanding, not tech heads trying to work out what to do next)

    For the NBN to be any sort of success it needs more than a handful of people getting a connection many people aren’t going to want to drop a phone/DSL connection that’s costing them say $50 a month in favour of supposedly fast speeds to a $100 NBN low speed data connection without a phone line added to it so you better add another 30, 40 bucks on top

    (seeing as all net connections require both sides to be at the same speed or very fast otherwise your simply stuck at what ever the other side gives you if that’s a 5Kb trickle then that is all you will get even on a 1Gbps connection)

    By the end of the year Mobile will be 4G around many places and already mobile providers are starting to drop prices and offer higher caps and data on plans right now.

    At this moment I’m reading that I’ll probably be hooked up in 5 years time, lol why bother to setup the NBN in the first place, when mobile will probably be the main connection for most people.

    Apple released the 4S in Australia first for a reason.

    And I’m not an Apple product user in anyway but just shows that Apple see the Australian mobile market place far more important than the US market, we already outstrip everyone else in the world for buying apps and using smart phones in the world.

    And NBN people hope that mobile won’t kill NBN.

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