[ad] The service leader for Cloud is now in Australia. Secure, reliable cloud and managed hosting all backed by 24x7x365 Fanatical Support. Create your free account now.
Buy an Seagate Business Storage NAS for your chance to win a holiday
[ad] Purchase a selected Seagate Business Storage NAS to receive a $20 cash-back AND go into the draw to win a $1,000 Flight Centre voucher so you can holiday in the destination of your choice. T&Cs apply.
Great articles on other sites
- NBN Co strategic review to be released tomorrow
- Xbox One smashes sales records
- Tech leaders call for speed, ubiquity in NBN rollout
- AIIA urges Hockey to tackle taxes
- IBM accuses Qld govt of trying to ‘rewrite history’
- Newlease undergoes reverse takeover to score ASX listing
- Australia Post loses battle | The Australian
- Start-ups leap at Telstra's accelerator
- Labor won't hand over NBN advice to Turnbull
- Adelaide Uni on hiring blitz for tech transformation
How mobile and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy
[ad] How will the adoption of mobile devices and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy? Are you reaching your organisation's customers through these touch points? Click here to download a whitepaper by Fifth Quadrant examining consumer and business attitudes to these new contact channels.
50 things top IT pros need to know
[ad] This 18 page TechRepublic whitepaper explores 10 things you should know to become an epic IT manager, 40 other essential tips to advance your IT career and practical guidance for starting an IT consulting business. Click here to access the whitepaper.
News, Telecommunications - Written by Renai LeMay on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:54 - 71 Comments
Abbott faces down Tassie NBN supporters
news Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has stared down harsh criticism of the Coalition’s rival broadband policy in a tense community meeting in Launceston, where the Labor Federal Government’s popular National Broadband Network was one of the topics being discussed by Tasmanian residents.
Tasmania has for some years been a key battleground state in terms of NBN politics, with the state being chosen as one of the key early stage rollout zones for the NBN due to its current poor levels of telecommunications infrastructure and competition in the telco sector, which remains dominated by former monopolist Telstra.
A landmark report handed down in July 2011 into the Coalition’s loss in the 2010 Federal Election highlighted a failure to adequately respond to Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network plan as a key reason for losing valuable votes, specifically naming the Tasmanian electorate as a highly sensitive area on the issue.
“The failure to properly explain the Liberal Party’s broadband policy and the Labor Party’s effective scare campaign was a major cause of the party’s failure to win seats in Tasmania,” the report produced by Sydney academic Julian Leeser stated. “This was the nearly universal review of people making submissions to the review and is borne out by research undertaken by the Liberal Party.” “In the view of many, the party’s policy amounted to a threat to come into people’s homes and rip the Internet out of the wall.”
Last week, Abbott attended a community forum in Launceston, where he fielded a detailed question featuring extensive criticism of the Coalition’s rival broadband policy from Andrew Connor, a spokesperson for Digital Tasmania, which has been one of the key lobby groups in helping to push for better broadband infrastructure in the state. Connor is also a councillor at Meander Valley Council and an IT consultant.
Connor told Abbott (full audio available here) he and his ministers had “set out to destroy the NBN”, despite the fact that the project was supported by much of the community, had been “a deciding factor in the last election”, and despite the fact that the technology industry broadly agreed that fibre-optic cable would be the key technology to meet global telecommunications needs.
“The question for you is what are you going to do if you’re elected — what are you going to do with the NBN?” Connor told Abbott. “Are you going to rip it up? Are you going to shut it down? Tasmania needs this technology, and the rest of the country needs it too. We also need another link to Tasmania, and that’s being left off the map.”
“The NBN really is a massive project for the country, creating employment, and also opportunity for education and healthcare everywhere. That value-adds onto the $50 billion that’s being spent on it. We need to know what you’re going to do with the NBN, and we need to know the policy more than 10 days out from the election, like last time. But we also need to know how your policy meshes with the state-level policy of supporting the NBN.”
Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has informally outlined a number of details regarding the Coalition’s rival broadband policy, such as its focus on splitting Telstra, re-using the existing HFC cable networks owned by Telstra and Optus, deploying fibre to the node technology and so on. However, the Coalition has not substantially fleshed out its policy in a formal policy document, and many details of the policy remain unclear, compared with Labor’s very detailed NBN plan, which will have advanced substantially in implementation by the next Federal Election.
In addition, the NBN continues to enjoy strong levels of popular support, even amongst Coalition voters. More Coalition voters support the project than are against it, according to new research released yesterday, as support for the initiative continues to grow to record levels. According to the polling data, in total 42 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Liberal or National voters stated that they were in favour of the NBN, while 40 percent in total opposed the project and the remaining 18 percent didn’t know. Amongst Labor and Greens voters, the numbers are much more strongly in favour of the NBN, with 80 percent of Labor voters and 68 percent of Greens voters for the plan, and with a much higher proportion of those polled being strongly in favour. In total, according to Essential Media, 57 percent of Australians currently support the NBN.
At the Launceston meeting, Abbott responded by stating that he “profoundly” disagreed with many of Connor’s inferences. “But that’s the beauty of democracy; we are open to being challenged,” he said. Abbott said the problem with the NBN wasn’t its objectives, “which are laudable enough”, but that it created a new government monopoly, “which we don’t need; it’s too expensive”. “None of us want to pay more than we have to for anything, and it is doing more than is necessary with fibre,” he said.”
“Fibre is very important, of course fibre is very important,” he added. “But you do not need fibre to every home to have a decent broadband system. In fact, most of the cost of the NBN is the delivery of fibre in that last few hundred metres to ensure that it goes to 93 percent of the homes in our country. That is the problem. Govt monopoly, unnecessary expense, and insistence on fibre to every home.”
The Coalition, Abbott said, wouldn’t “throw good money after bad” if it won government, and would accept what it found when it took power. “We’re not going to rip up contracts, we’re certainly not going to tear down infrastructure,” he said. “But we do not, certainly, intend to continue, what we think is unnecessary and too expensive, and we certainly don’t guarantee to keep in public ownership something where competition, I think, is generally better at delivering an affordable service.”
Abbott also stated that in Tasmania, the NBN had so far passed only 4,000 houses, with less than a thousand premises having taken up the service, “even at subsidised prices”.
Connor said there were “well-documented reasons” for the take-up rates. However, Abbott said the fact was that at the moment, the NBN was passing five houses a day in Tasmania. ” If the schedule is to be met, it has to pass 170 houses a day. Nationally, the NBN has so far gone past about 18,000 houses. They are telling us that it’s going to go past almost a million by the end of the year. Now does anyone really believe that this government is capable of doing that?” he said.
“So I am all in favour of faster broadband. I am all in favour of better broadband services. But I think we can do it much better than is currently happening.”
Who’s right here? Well, both sides. Connor is right — Tasmania and the rest of Australia stand to benefit greatly from the NBN. It’s a worthwhile project which is slated to make a return on government investment (that is, it will actively make money for the government), as well as achieving important industry and public policy outcomes such as restructuring the telecommunications sector and providing better services to consumers. In addition, Connor’s statement that the Coalition needs to provide more detail with respect to its alternative policy was also accurate.
However, in his speech, Abbott was convincing — as he so often is in person — and won a round of applause from the Launceston audience. Plainly, there are people in Tasmania who think the fibre rollout in the state is proceeding too slowly, and they’re right. The NBN has been quite delayed over the past several years, primarily due to the need to finalise NBN Co’s agreement with Telstra, and things are proceeding more slowly than many people would like. Labor first won government this decade in November 2007. 4,000 premises in Tasmania is a pretty slow rate for that four year period.
The caveat, of course, is that the NBN is now in full ramp-up stage and will, from now, be rolled out in an accelerated manner. All of the planning has been done, all of the I’s have been dotted and the T’s crossed. Every state in Australia will receive a vast swathe of NBN infrastructure over the next three years, and the Coalition has not yet done enough to illustrate the details of its own plan, and how it would transition the NBN to that plan.
The principles espoused by Abbott last week are good principles — but principles do not a plan make, and Labor has a very detailed plan which is being implemented rapidly as I write this. The Coalition needs to actually show the nation its broadband plan — if in fact it has one at all.
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 - 1 Comment
“Diabolical mess”, “Scandal of epic proportions”: NT ICT Minister damns Fujitsu to hell in extraordinary rant
More In Enterprise IT
- Qld confirms plans to sell CITEC
- David Boyle appointed NAB CIO
- Qld payroll lawsuit ‘rewriting history’, says IBM
- Harbour City Ferries goes Microsoft across the board
- Payroll disaster: Queensland sues IBM
News, Telecommunications - Dec 11, 2013 12:29 - 33 Comments
More In Telecommunications
- Labor forces NBN Co back to Senate
- Telstra 4G trials hit 300Mbps
- “Captain of the Titanic”: Turnbull mocks Quigley’s NBN tenure
- NBN Co still has 1Gbps on way
- Delimiter appeals Turnbull Blue Book censorship
Blog, Industry, Startups - Dec 10, 2013 10:19 - 0 Comments
More In Industry
- Telstra shares millions with Box
- The Australian IT sector needs a stronger voice
- Xbox One goes off with a bang … but will the PS4 launch eclipse it?
- It’s not just Freelancer: Aussie tech IPOs are back in general
- Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care
Digital Rights, News - Dec 10, 2013 18:57 - 0 Comments
More In Digital Rights
- Telstra ‘not logging’ customers’ web, email history
- Labor, Coalition reject Intelligence committee reformation
- Screwed: Australian PS4, Xbox One lack basic functionality
- Censored: Appeal for AG’s Blue Book fails
- Senate to force TPP publication