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News, Telecommunications - Written by Vijith Vazhayil, Chillibreeze on Monday, April 9, 2012 12:16 - 47 Comments
Come clean, Conroy: Turnbull slams Brissie NBN “gerrymandering”
news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused the Government of targeting its own electoral seats in the National Broadband Network’s (NBN) rollout in Brisbane, where Labor suffered major losses in the recent Queensland election. NBN Co’s latest rollout plan for the next three years was announced several weeks ago.
“NBN Co roll-out maps released last week reveal an unmistakeable concordance with Federal electoral boundaries in Brisbane. But far from targeting marginal seats, the NBN rollout in Brisbane is almost entirely gerrymandered around Federal Labor’s safest Queensland seats,” said Turnbull in a statement on his site.
“In the greater Brisbane area, the Labor-held seats of Rankin, Moreton, Lilley and Griffith achieve significantly more coverage than the neighbouring LNP-held electorates of Brisbane, Ryan, Dickson and Wright. Yet many parts of the latter have inadequate broadband, such as Grange in Brisbane and Karana Downs in Ryan,” he said.
Turnbull added that the Coalition – which believed Labor’s NBN was too expensive, too detrimental to competition and would take too long to roll out – would offer a less costly alternative that would deliver better broadband sooner in areas that have poor service. “But to the extent that this network is rolled out, it should at least be targeting areas on the basis of their need for upgraded broadband, not to assist with Labor’s political survival,” he said.
Bowman MP Andrew Laming, whose electorate will not see much NBN activity prior to 2015, has also come out hard against the Government. In an article on the subject which had appeared to spur Turnbull’s rage, The Australian quoted the Liberal MP as saying: “The cold, hard reality in Brisbane is that households in Labor seats are eight times more likely to get the NBN than those in Coalition seats. Worse, the odds are around 50 per cent better if your Labor MP is a minister. This is a save-the-political-furniture strategy. They are not targeting marginal seats here. They are just trying to survive.”
“The cold statistical reality in Brisbane is that 9 out of 10 households in Labor seats represented by current or former senior Cabinet Ministers are in the rollout plan,” said Turnbull last week. “This compares to about 6 in 10 households in Labor seats held by backbenchers, and fewer than 2 in 10 households in Coalition seats.”
Communication Minister Stephen Conroy and NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley pre-empted the Opposition’s claims on the issue during the three year rollout announcement several weeks ago, stating that NBN Co’s engineers had no idea where the electoral map boundaries were.
The locations were chosen, according to NBN Co, firstly on the basis of meeting a number of policy objectives, namely that construction should take place across both rural and metropolitan areas; that construction should be across all states and territories; that the rollout in Tasmania should be finished by 2016 and that all new developments with over 100 premises should be covered.
In addition, NBN Co added a number of its own guidelines to help determine the schedule, ranging from the idea that the fixed wireless rollout should be completed in 2015 (it will target a small percentage of areas which won’t receive fibre); that satellite broadband via NBN Co’s own satellites should be available by 2015, and that areas where there were a large number of new developments should be prioritised, to avoid old technologies having to be installed — only to be replaced with the NBN later on.
Turnbull however, is not convinced. “In some places the NBN Co’s planned work boundaries literally follow the same major roads as Labor/Liberal electoral boundaries,” he said. “If this is because of clear differences in the broadband services available on either side of the road, rather than pork-barrel politics, then Labor should make public the hard evidence supporting that claim.”
I haven’t done any analysis on this issue yet with respect to the geographical boundaries, however I would find it very hard to believe that NBN Co’s engineers took the electoral map into account when they were drawing up their rollout planning. That behaviour isn’t consistent with the corporate attitude I have seen from NBN Co as a company, or the personal integrity displayed by executives such as Quigley and others.
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Dec 11, 2013 13:07 - 0 Comments
“Diabolical mess”, “Scandal of epic proportions”: NT ICT Minister damns Fujitsu to hell in extraordinary rant
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