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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Friday, July 6, 2012 10:54 - 230 Comments

    Australia doesn’t need the NBN, says Abbott

    news Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has proclaimed that Australia doesn’t “need” the National Broadband Network project and the billions being invested in the initiative would be better spent on “our roads, our rail and our ports” under a Coalition Government.

    “I think that federal and state Labor governments have left us with a serious infrastructure deficit,” Abbott told the ACE Regional Radio Network in Victoria yesterday, “and one of the reasons why I’m so hostile to the National Broadband Network is because it’s a $50 billion investment with borrowed money that we don’t need. What we do need is much more money being spent on our roads, our rail and our ports and that’s what will happen under the Coalition.”

    Abbott’s comments this week are not the first time the Opposition leader has called for the NBN project to be scrapped and its funding spent instead on transport infrastructure. “That $50 billion could fully fund the construction of the Brisbane rail loop, for instance, the duplication of the Pacific Highway, the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail link, the extension of the M4 to Strathfield, and 20 major new teaching hospitals as well as the $6 billion that the Coalition has proposed to spend on better broadband,” the Opposition Leader stated in May 2011, referring the unpopular broadband plan his side of politics floated during last year’s Federal Election.

    In January 2011, Abbott described the NBN as “a luxury that Australia cannot now afford”, calling at the time for the NBN’s capital funding to be re-allocated towards the Queensland reconstruction effort following the state’s disastrous flooding, as well as towards similar problems in Victora.

    However, the Opposition Leader’s comments appear to run contrary to comments recently made by the member of his cabinet responsible for broadband policy, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald last week, Turnbull stated that a Coalition Government would proceed with the NBN project. “No, the Coalition will not cancel or roll back the NBN,” he said. “The NBN will continue to roll out but we will do so in a cost-effective manner in particular in built-up areas.” The comments echo comments Turnbull made earlier last month, when the Liberal MP publicly gave what he described as a “solemn undertaking” to the Australian people that a Coalition Government would “complete the job of NBN Co”, instead of ripping up the network or abandoning Labor’s NBN policy altogether.

    At the time, the comments appear to represent something of a backflip for the Coalition. When Turnbull was appointed to the role in September 2010, the ABC reported that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had ordered the Member for Wentworth to “demolish” the NBN. At the time, Abbott said he believed the NBN would “turn out to be a white elephant on a massive scale … school halls on steroids”.

    However, Abbott’s comments this week will re-awaken fears that the Coalition would scrap the NBN project wholesale if it was elected.

    Coalition telecommunications policy broadly focuses on fibre to the node-style broadband, which only requires rolling out fibre to neighbourhood cabinets and using Telstra’s copper network for the rest of the distance to residences and business premises. In comparison, Labor’s NBN policy would see fibre rolled out all the way to premises, in a rollout style which features dramatically greater speeds (up to 1Gbps, compared with an expected up to 80Mbps) and faster network latency compared with the Coalition’s plan.

    In a statement in reaction to Abbott’s comments yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Coalition’s position on broadband was “one of total confusion”

    “The Coalition can’t be trusted when it comes to the NBN or delivering fast broadband to all Australians,” he said. “Only under Labor will all Australians get the National Broadband Network. Only under Labor will all Australians get the benefits of fast, reliable, and affordable broadband. The choice for the Australian people is simple: support Labor and you’ll get the NBN; support the Coalition and you won’t.”

    Abbott is also believed to be incorrect in his statement that the NBN’s funding could be re-allocated to be spend on transport or other forms of infrastructure.

    Most of the funding for the NBN does not appear in the Federal Government’s budget, as, according to accounting standards, it is not an expense as generally understood, but is actually an investment expected to generate a modest return. That return is currently projected to be between $1.93 billion to $3.92 billion. Conroy pointed this out in May this year following Abbott’s budget reply speech.

    “In his budget reply, Mr Abbott also pretends that investing in fast affordable broadband should be replaced by additional spending on roads,” Conroy said at the time. “Mr Abbott clearly doesn’t understand that the NBN is classified by international accounting standards as an equity investment rather than a budget expense. This is consistent with long-standing budget treatment applied by this and previous Australian Governments. The equity investment in the NBN cannot simply be shifted to pay for more roads, unless those roads are being run by a government business making a return.”

    This refrain was repeated by Labor MP and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, during a parliamentary debate on the NBN several weeks ago.

    “I note that in my portfolio of infrastructure and transport, I am continually hearing demands from National Party members, federal and state, in particular, but also from some Liberal Party members saying, ‘You should take the money from the NBN and give it to build a road, a rail line or some other project,’” said Albanese. “There is a complete economic illiteracy about the difference between an investment that will bring a return to the government on a commercial basis—that is, the National Broadband Network—and the circumstances of a straight investment in a road project that will not deliver a return but is simply a cost to revenue.”

    Right now, the greatest problem of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is keeping the other senior politicians in his party quiet when it comes to the NBN. Abbott, Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb, Warren Truss … every time these Coalition figures talk about the NBN they put their foot in their mouth.

    Turnbull, at least, understands the NBN and is gradually building up an alternative policy to be taken to the next Federal Election about it — and he is doing a much better job than previous Shadow Communications Ministers of keeping the Government honest on the issue. But, as Conroy has noted, the Coalition’s approach to the NBN is currently confused. Hopefully the Shadow Cabinet can come to a consensus on the issue before the next election, as it is one of the issues which cost it votes last time around.

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    1. Ryan
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink |

      The problem is, although Turnbull may have good ideas (Emphasis on good, not brilliant), who is going to pull rank and declare the final outcome here? Abbott or Turnbull. The Electorate are being treated like idiots by the Liberals in relation to the NBN.

      • Karl
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink |

        Abbott is being very clever about it really. He is staying on message completely, it’s a message full of lies, sure, but he hasn’t said anything other than we will cancel the NBN. So if he wins he can cancel it no problems. He may even shuffle Turnbull out of communications to seal the deal.

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink |

        Abbott’s “tow back the boats” in the light of professional advice to the contrary is another example of his on message, stick to simple answers way of applying for the top job. His true colours and unfitness for leadership rather than opposition are showing more every day.

        • Simon
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink |

          Exactly. Completely dissregarding the advice of the former chief of the Navy who went to great lengths to explain just what a dangerous and unworkable idea it is.

          If that prick gains power, we’re gong to see a lot more boats blown up and “children overboard” style disasters as refugees will take greater risks to try to stay here. Not to mention Indonesia has shown no willingness to accept boats that are turned back, so the idea is not only stupid, it’s highly irresponsible and dangerous as well. But if it scores him political points with bogans, then Abbott simply doesn’t care and will say anything.

          Just look at him running around Australia with his carbon tax scare stories at the moment. It’s pathetic. And people are lapping it up.

        • jw
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink |

          Abbot’s approach is “positive thinking” gone mad. He aims at a desirable outcome – “stopped boats”, “faster better cheaper broadband” and simply declares he will delivered through his better and more efficient government.

          Much like the Natural Law Party claimed they could achieve all sorts of stuff – only later revealing that their actual plan is to meditate and use tantric energy.

          • Richard Ure
            Posted 08/07/2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink |

            Tony Abbott is on the news tonight saying people join the services to do dangerous things. Do they join to give disadvantaged people a hard time? Sadly service people are not allowed to speak for themselves. He just keeps digging and assumes that buys favour with the electorate. I just hope it is a small part of the electorate.

              Posted 10/07/2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink |

              Abbott knows small business and the regions love the NBN. He knows his days are numbered and thus so are the NOalitions as a leadership change can only be disasterous for them as Julie Bishop cannot credibly be allowed to hang around for yet another leadership team….

              The publics opinion on Abbott has set like concrete and they want the NBN that he cannot guantee!!

              (–>END OF!)

    2. Ryan
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink |

      Sorry just to be more specific in my previous comment, I do not support the FTTN idea that the Liberals are toying with. Like the overwhelming majority here, i’m fully supportive of the FTTP approach currently being undertaken by the NBN.

      • Ben Zemm
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink |

        FTTN isn’t going to be rolled out much quicker than FTTP anyway. See how long it is taking Telstra and their Top Hat upgrades – which is essentially FTTN.

        Still stuck on 7616/384 synch (actual speeds can sometimes be so low that even Google times out) here at work due to un-upgraded RIM… :(

        • Karl
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink |

          7616 kbps? Mr 3475 kbps here is jealous.

          • Posted 06/07/2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink |


            Mr. 1578 Kbps is even MORE jealous here…

            • Soth
              Posted 09/07/2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink |

              I’m on fibre at work, get from speedtest about 450mb/s download, which says “Faster than 99% of AU” :|
              Maybe we should disconnect the fibre from the Liberals offices and give them 56k and see how that goes.

              • jane
                Posted 15/03/2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink |

                Cut their phone lines, because seriously does anyone think these idiots would be able to operate a mobile? 56K-too fast for those clowns. They haven’t managed to get past carrier pigeons, but i understand they’ve heard of this really spiffy idea involving lots of horses.

        • Dialup purgatory
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink |

          No ADSL anything here, dial up speeds only due to DCS20’s in the cabinet down the street.
          So I have had to use 512/512k fixed wireless since 2007.

          next street over gets ADSL2+ access, go figure.

          • Jim M.
            Posted 08/07/2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink |

            No ADSL here either. Stuck on a mix of 3G and Microwave (heavily reliant on weather conditions).

            We are a major exporting manufacturer, in a medium-sized industrial estate, and have lost deals because of our poor internet. We are holding back upgrading our facilities until we can sort out a better solution. We’re getting more intermediate products developed off-shore, and looking at alternative sites for our administrative staff.

            Our whole business is at a standstill because Telstra can’t deliver ADSL. And another 20 businesses are going into an expansion of the estate. Still with no internet.

            • Peter M
              Posted 09/07/2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink |


              then you need to host your web services offsite. It’s cheap. I’ve been using BlueHost (.com) for years and it’s bugger all per month. You can find cheaper ones too, but i’m not moving to save a few $$ per month as i’m happy where i am at BlueHost.

              Happy to respond if you want to know more

              • Jim M.
                Posted 09/07/2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink |

                We host our website, email gateway, etc offsite.

                However, when people in the office can’t access the internet at all because the only Microwave provider available is having another outage, and the 3G network is congested, then that’s a big drama for any business.

                When we can’t download price-lists or fetch emails with contracts because the internet is crawling at 10KB/s, then that’s a problem. When we’re trying to email off a purchase order urgently, and it takes 15 minutes, that’s a problem.

                Our customer-facing content is fine, but it feels like we’re accessing content from the office on two tin cans and a piece of string.

                • Peter M
                  Posted 09/07/2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink |

                  Yeah i thought you probably were doing offsite hosting, but just thought i’d check.
                  well that’s not good Jim. Sorry i can’t offer any solutions for that one except maybe employ someone part time where internet access is good ?? to manage your correspondence?? It might offset any losses you see through losing contracts etc. Just a thought.

                  • Jim M.
                    Posted 10/07/2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

                    Management is thinking of reloacting the whole office.

                    Perhaps to Singapore, where many of our customers are based.

                    Just because Telstra can’t get their act together.

    3. Modeski
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink |

      I wonder if Abbott is just being contrary because that’s what he thinks being Opposition Leader is all about. I find it very hard to believe that any politician isn’t au fait with all the benefits of the NBN, or aware of how it’s an investment and not an expense, especially given the cadre of various advisors feeding them information. Abbott might see his job as opposing the government’s policies regardless of reality, because he has to pander to his electorate and offer a distinction between him and Labor.

      • Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink |

        If this is what he believes is his job then its a sorry reflection of the voting public that they don’t see his actions as shameful.
        American style ‘us or them’ politics is not what I want to see. Infact this highly fractured parliament where the balance of power is held by multiple independents has me feeling more comfortable than ever that our political system is working as intended for the people.

      • Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink |

        The clever play here is to take the NBN- a vote winner in regional areas- and own it. Take it further, value add. Sell Malcolm Turnbull; a genuine one time player in ISP land, as the person best placed to make NBN truly deliver. Scrap the filter nonsense and talk up smarter thinking, working and ideas.
        Dumbing down the NBN will not win votes and it will not make Australia advance.
        This election is a lay down misere for the coalition-but if it loses it will be due to things like the NBN policy- or lack thereof.

      • Posted 08/07/2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

        Politics is played out within an oppositional framework. By contrast, the rest of us know from our own experience that its through collaboration that things get done. And we want fibre to the premise so that we can unleash digital innovation in this country.

        • Posted 08/07/2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

          @David Nxon

          Well said. Cool heads and rational debate. Not buzzwords, political slogans and misinformation.

    4. Sydney
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink |

      The coalition is trying to pull a fast one over the public when it says it is still going to continue the NBN. It is not — it’s going to rely on a patchwork of privately owned broadband networks, with some government rebates for people in the country who will (as always) have to pay a lot more. There is very little different in this plan to any previous Liberal government broadband plan — it’s not even worthy of being called “NBN-Lite”.

    5. Sathias
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

      God help us when this man is in The Lodge.

      • Anonymous Coward
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |


        (cowers in fear…)

      • Graham R
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

        plus 1.

      • MIke
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink |


      • Simon Reidy
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

        + a gizzilion.

      • Mo
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink |

        Even God cannot help with that

        • Noah_73
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink |

          Tony Abbott would tend to disagree.

          • Noddy
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink |

            So you’ve noticed his God complex?

            • MIke
              Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink |

              Abbotts nick name use to be the Mad Monk, look at Early Life and Family end of 5th paragraph.


              Abbotts got friends in high places, he trained to be a priest, he wants to cancel optical fibre for our future comms and hitch a ride on the GOD PARTICAL, thats his comms plan, how could we be so silly not to see it.

              • Simon
                Posted 07/07/2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink |

                He may take our country, but he’ll never take our Higgs Boson!

      • Myke
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink |


    6. Rico
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

      said Albanese. “There is a complete economic illiteracy about the difference between an investment that will bring a return to the government on a commercial basis—that is, the National Broadband Network

      Liberal “economic illiteracy” or Labor “policy lie”?

      Who will the electorate believe ?

      • Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

        Um … Labor policy lie? What are you talking about?

        • Rico
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink |

          My apologies. l was mistaken.

          Malcolm Turnbull is clearly illiterate in economic and financial matters. Of all people, he should spend more time reading Labor policy speeches to educate himself on commercial matters.

          Comment withdrawn.

          • Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink |

            Turnbull has not directly responded to the issue of the NBN being kept off-budget as an investment. I suspect he is staying away from that area of comment — with good reason.

            • Rico
              Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink |


              3. On the point of the accounting for the NBN, you seem to be criticising me and then agreeing with me. The reason the NBN investment is not run through the cashflow statement that is the budget statements is because it is being held as an investment and the assumption is that the investment (shares in the NBN Co) are going to be worth not less than the amount invested. However my point is that the value of the NBN Co is very likely, almost certainly in my view, going to be worth a lot less than its cost and accordingly at some point in the future the Australian National Audit Office should require a write down of that investment and the write down should then be expensed through the Budget. But we will see – lets see how many of the cheerleaders for the NBN are prepared to buy shares in it at the same price the Commonwealth is paying?



              • Ninja
                Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

                Turnbull is selling that the Lib NBN will be worth the same as Labor’s. https://twitter.com/TurnbullMalcolm/status/220268642569428992

                This is a massive sham, it is asking people to pay the same whether it is a datsun or a bmw.

                And this ‘However my point is that the value of the NBN Co is very likely, almost certainly in my view, going to be worth a lot less than its cost’ – is Malcolm’s unsubstantiated view. It is his ‘view’ only and it is not actually true, but if Malcolm says it enough times without been challenged it becomes truth to people who are against the NBN anyway.

                • djos
                  Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink |

                  What a joke, I just replied with this:

                  @TurnbullMalcolm @dmorg78 @sunriseon7 awesome logic MT #facepalm #nbn fios v uverse doesnt count, neither will get 100% takeup, NBN will!!

                  • Ninja
                    Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

                    I’ll be looking out for his response.

                    • Grey Wind
                      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink |

                      Dont hold your breath.

                      • djos
                        Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink |

                        I’ve never had one yet, MT is only engages in guerrilla hit and run warfare, he doesn’t stick around to have real debates cause he knows he’d lose!

                  • Noddy
                    Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink |

                    “cost of FTTN around one third to one quarter of FTTP. Exp is arpu of uverse same as fios so likely value the same.”

                    How about, expected useful life around one fifth.

              • Graham
                Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |

                It’s a real pity that you lack any understanding of the importance of this major infrastructure project.

                Like the Dams of the past and the electrickery and that darn-it morse code telegraff thingy.

                The FTTP is essential NOW rather than paying 10 times as much in the future to get the same job done; while we lag behind the rest of the leaders in the western world.

                Malcolm’s model of using wireless in built up areas is ludicrous, and he knows it, because there is a limited spectrum available that is almost completely taken up already (But hey, he’s alright, he and his buddies will be able to get their unlimited share because of his fortune.

                Rico think about the importance of this infrastructure for the future of this country as a way to minimise the amount of business travel people will have to undertake as but one example.

                It’s not all about you.

              • Richard Ure
                Posted 07/07/2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink |

                “that the investment (shares in the NBN Co) are going to be worth not less than the amount invested.” As the sole owner of Australia’s telecommunications network, NBN will be able to charge RSPs anything it likes within it regulatory framework to deliver a commercial return. The risk is insufficient numbers of people will wish to use it.

                Some risk!

          • PeterA
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink |

            Glad you cleared that up!

            Your comments remind me of the Australian,
            On the front page: “NBN: A BIG FAT LIE”
            a day later, on the 23rd page with a 1inch column: “Retraction: NBN not a big fat lie, sorry guys!”

            At least they have the balls not to sound sarcastic doing it.

            • Mike S
              Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink |

              Except that Rico’s retraction is (not subtly) laced with sarcasm.

              • Mike S
                Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink |

                Whoops, fail on me, read all but the last sentence. Shame on me.

    7. PeterA
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink |

      I give up.

      What is their policy? If their policy is “We won’t invest in broadband” I can live with that, at least I would know where they stand!

      Right now their policy is:
      1) Invest in Roads, Rail and Ports, not the NBN
      2) Run a CBA on the NBN
      3) Build the NBN faster
      4) Build the NBN cheaper
      5) Not build the NBN because we can’t afford it
      6) Encourage Infrastructure competition via (???)
      7) Provide cheaper broadband
      8) Wireless
      9) put the NBN on budget

      • Jeremy
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink |

        10) We’ll have a think about it after the election. It’s all a bit hard right now.

      • socrates
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink |

        This is what seems to be their real policy:

        10) Cancel all future NBN contracts, set up an inquiry into FTTN which to everyone’s amazement will recommend FTTN, utilise a bastard mix of the bits of NBN that have been built plus HFC, ADSL and FTTN while brazenly attempting to still call the new mongrel version ‘NBN’.

        • Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink |


          This does indeed seem to be their policy.

          • Avid Gamer
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink |

            This is what seems to be their real policy:

            10) Cancel all future NBN contracts


            This does indeed seem to be their policy.

            Now I’m REALLY CONFUSED. I spoke to Rowan Ramsey Federal Member for Grey over the phone (it took about 10 days and a bit of email correspondence back and forth to his local office through his secretary to arrange this) one Sunday evening about a month ago, and he assured me that all NBN build contracts would be honoured as is. He said that it would be too expensive/penalty wise/ to cancel these contracts which would most likely be more of them by the next election. So what do I BELIEVE NOW??

            Is this what it has all come down to here in Australia?? A 3 year political cycle of in, out, in out, in, out with no certainty of ANYTHING. I think I won’t turn up at the polling booth next election day, why bother??? pointless Might as well just go BUSH

            • Ben Zemm
              Posted 06/07/2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink |

              I thought it was less “cancel contracts” but more “no more contracts”. My reading is they will honour *current* contracts, but there’s no guarantee of *future* contracts until they waste some more money and time stuffing around to make sure they are ripping themselves off properly.

        • MIke
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink |

          11) Repeal the Carbon Tax
          12) Repeal the Mining Tax
          13) Repeal Civil Union
          14) Repeal Evolution by Natural Selection and replace it with Creationism.

        • Simon
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink |

          Well done for so succinctly confirming my worst nightmare of an “NBN” under the Libs. It’s a terrifying prospect that 10 years from now many parts of Australia could still be on a copper connection, lucky to get ADSL or LTE.

            Posted 10/07/2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink |

            “Man will only redeem himself with cooperation!”[??]

      • Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink |

        Shouldnt it be:

        1. Complain about the NBN
        2. Complain about the NBN not getting here fast enough
        3. Complain theres some magical technology thats better, cheaper and faster
        4. Say ‘No’ a few more times
        5. ???
        6. Profit.

    8. simon
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink |

      In the end it does not matter what Turnbull says Abbott is the leader what he says goes
      If he wants to stop it he will find a way.

      I would like to think common sense would win out in the end but I think Abbott is so blinded with hatred of labour and losing the last election and wanting to become PM at any cost he does not care what happens in the long run

      Why would anyone vote for a leader who has no vision for the future of this great country?

      • Ninja
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

        If the comments are right and recent the article could have been titled ‘Abbott throws Turnbull under the NBN bus!’

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink |

        What is equally bad it that members of the Opposition let themselves be led by TA.

    9. Dave
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink |

      Turnbull’s just refined the language he uses to make what he says sound more plausible, Abbott etc are probably closer to the LNP’s real position, let ‘em talk. Keeping the Govt. honest? They’re sticking cables in the ground so we can all be better connected, how can you lie about that? Simple I know but isn’t that the guts of it?

    10. Chris
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink |

      Ah yes, let’s blow 50b of debt on roads and ports, that don’t generate a return.

      The entire idea behind the NBN being done off budget is that because it generates a return it can be funded through debt instead of being taken out of the budget and taking away from other things.

      • simon
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink |

        They do generate a return

        if you make the toll large enough ;)

        • nick
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink |

          haha simon very good

        • Mike S
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink |

          Well to be fair, roads and ports do generate money for the goverment, just not in a direct manner.

          The NBN will likely do the exact same thing, because they are both infrastructure. However the NBN has the added bonus of direct returns as well as indirect.

          • Ninja
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

            While roads make governments money through economic stimulation there is no direct return. That’s why governments don’t usually borrow money to build roads, there is no way to demonstrate the return.

            • SMEMatt
              Posted 07/07/2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink |

              Unlike a project that does have a direct return you do need a CBA for roads and ports to see the indirect economic growth and social returns are worth it. With something like the NBN with a direct return to cover its cost you only really need to ask two questions. Is it in the public interest? Is it something the private sector failing to deliver? I think the answer is yes to both of those.

              • CAPTAIN AUSTRALIA
                Posted 10/07/2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink |

                “Man will only redeem himself with cooperation!”[??}

        • Noddy
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

          Well, there is a good point. How much value for money do you get from roads? It seems to me a lot less than the NBN.

          Here’s my reasoning. I live within 1km of the entrance to east link, When it opened, rather than use the nepean highway I thought I’d try going into the city using it. They were doing pamplete drops all over to get us to use it and it was free for the first week or two.

          So I used it. Same time to get to work, travelled 8km further, used more petrol. Cost to do it each day around $17. Why would I pay $340 a month to use it? What sort of usage does it get to have to charge that much a month? Obviously the cost per user is much higher than the NBN, even up to 10 times higher. Did I as a user get any value from it even though it’s right at my front door? No.

          I even tried using it for a trips directly north along it’s route. Yes, it cut of 5-10 minutes, but once again cost fuel and cost $12 a day. $240 a month. Not worth it.

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 07/07/2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink |

            “Well, there is a good point. How much value for money do you get from roads? It seems to me a lot less than the NBN.”

            Yes totally agree. If you think about it most roads are in residential areas and it is questionable just how much productivity benefits can be gained from this. People use roads to get to their houses where they live and watch TV, there is no ROI on this at all, what else?

            Driving kids to school: No ROI
            Driving to do the shopping: No ROI
            Driving to eat out: No ROI
            Driving to other recreational activities: No ROI
            Driving to holiday: No ROI

            No ROI on any of these, the government is crazy, it really should be left to the private sector to build these roads. In residential areas they dont need to be paved at all so their ROI will be better. They can charge ~$50 a month for use of the roads if anyone wants something better they can pay more for it or move to an area that is already paved. In non paved ares the best idea is to drive slower to your destinations, what’s the rush? you dont need to drive faster than 40kmph there are no apps that require driving faster than 40kmph.

            • Posted 07/07/2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink |


              Let’s not go overboard. Yeah, there’s no direct ROI to government by people using the free roads, but the ROI is contained within the taxes they pay with what they do when the get to the END of that road.

              Yes, a CBA isn’t done on roads, but there’s no question they provide a gain to the economy. But we don’t know how much. And many roads WOULDN’T pass a CBA.

              None of this changes the fact of the Opposition’s view on a CBA for the NBN however. They would build $6 billion worth of roads, with nothing other than ‘people wanting and needing these upgrades’ as backing (sometimes with NRMA support….but they’re all ABOUT roads), not that I’m saying they’re not needed. But then they expect Labor to do a full CBA on the NBN that ALL corners of industry are hailing as a boon for cost savings and productivity gains.

              Double standards much?

            • Noddy
              Posted 07/07/2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink |

              It’s not so much the ROI. Roads are needed. But how much can you spend on these new super roads and still justify them? If a toll road charges hundreds a month to repay investment and make a profit it can’t be very good.

              You could look at all these roads and take a similar approach to the coalition with their broadband arguments. Identify the bottle necks in the road system and fix them, no use replacing the whole road. For example my trip on the Nepean Hwy. It would be quicker and cheaper than the toll road if they made a few simple changes. An extra bridge over the river at Mordialloc and bypass Mordialloc. Fix the lights or do an overpass at Glenhuntly Rd. Instant 15 minutes off the trip, faster than the super freeways they have put in. They had even planned to bypass Mordialloc and have the Frankston freeway extend to the Nepean Hwy 25 years ago, they just never did it.

    11. jason
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink |

      So if i’m not mistaken, Abbott is saying he wants to scrap the NBN and instead spend the money on Brisbane and Melbourne? isn’t that what their state governments are for?

      There are voters in other parts of the country, Tony. Ahhh but you see he’s going to spend $6b on “better broadband” whatever that means.

      As someone who lives in outer-metro Adelaide and currently gets 7mbit down, I am unlikely to see any improvement under a coalition government, and my broadband will eventually get slower as the copper line decays.

      By the way, the $50 billion Tony is quoting is only $27.5 billion – the rest comes from private industry who do want an NBN and know they can get an economic return from it – plus the plan is to repay the $27.5bn back to the government in the future when the NBN is making profits.

      How are private industry going to get a return from a rail line between Brisbane and Melbourne Tony? What about the Pacific Highway – will that become a toll road now?

      He’s “promises on the run” make no sense once you actually sit and down and think about it for a minute – which is exactly what Tony needs to do before he opens his mouth next.

      • Will Hughes
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink |

        “see he’s going to spend $6b on “better broadband” whatever that means.”

        I think you’re supposed to read that as “better than nothing broadband”.
        It’s better than a poke with a sharp stick, but, y’know… not really achieving much more.

    12. djos
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink |

      Tony Abbott once again shows he has no F’N idea how important the NBN is right now to Business and the future of this country, frankly he’s not fit to run a chook raffle and yet he wants to run this country!!!!

      Frankly this scares the crap outta me!


      • Richard Ure
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink |

        Tony is no Bill Gates. And not ashamed to admit it.

        • jane
          Posted 15/03/2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink |

          He’s not even up to halfwit standards.

    13. Jake Cordon
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink |

      I wonder how many people actually believe what the Coalition is spouting about the NBN, how it is ‘taking money’ away from other possible (and I dare say in the views of the less tech savy) important infrastructure projects, about how it is just a big ‘white elephant’ that will be made redundant when the next crop of you beaut wireless comes around.

      Sadly I think that a large proportion of the voting population does, I can only hope that I am wrong.

    14. Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink |

      I’m utterly unsurprised to see yet more ‘flailing’ on the issue.
      One moment we have indications they aren’t going to be completely daft, the next its more talk of taking the funding away & putting it somewhere else.

    15. Alex
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink |

      The part I find of interest is that the Coalition faithful (I say this because unlike most here who vote on policy/ not party lines, such as the NBN, there are those who vote Coalition ((or Labor)) regardless..) keep telling us the NBN isn’t an issue and has never been an issue of relevance, to any election.

      Regardless of the fact the Liberal party did a post mortem and admitted the NBN in Tassies cost them and Mal, Tony.Paul, Joe or whoever, almost daily have more to say (and always negatively f course) about the NBN than perhaps any other area, apart from maybe asylum seekers.

    16. Belinda
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

      Abbott says >> …. “and one of the reasons why I’m so hostile to the National Broadband Network is because it’s a $50 billion investment with borrowed money that we don’t need”

      Says it all really

      There will be No NBN under an Abbott government
      (despite what Malcolm Turnbull thinks)

      • Alex
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

        Good point Belinda, highlighting this…

        “and one of the reasons why I’m so hostile to the National Broadband Network is because it’s a $50 billion investment with borrowed money that we don’t need”.

        Apart from being blind to what is occurring and deaf (no disrespect intended towards those with such disabilities) to expert advice saying we do need it…

        To make it worse, after saying borrowed money (debt) – so admitting it’s not coming from the budget (general taxation – so not the income taxpayer), he than says we’d be better to use that money in budgetary areas, such as roads.

        No Tony, you wont’ issue bonds (debt) to build roads/rail. You will spend the annual budget allotment (or less) of $12.5B… or about 3.5x as much as the NBN would cost, p.a.

        So double whammy, our roads will not receive anymore and we will not receive the NBN. Or are you going to do the triple whammy, the above, then spend $17B on your pretend NBN + the additional $3.5B p.a on roads. Pfft.

        Seems we have found todays anti-NBN contradiction from the chief anti-NBN exponent himself.

    17. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink |

      I think Abbott should either replace Turnbull as shadow minister or back him in what he’s saying about an NBN. What we have now is Turnbull saying one thing whilst Abbott and various other senior ministers are saying something different. It’s farcical.

      • Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

        “I think Abbott should either replace Turnbull as shadow minister or back him in what he’s saying about an NBN. What we have now is Turnbull saying one thing whilst Abbott and various other senior ministers are saying something different. It’s farcical.”

        A better solution would be for Turnbull to replace Abbott as Opposition Leader :)

        • Grey Wind
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

          “A better solution would be for Turnbull to replace Abbott as Opposition Leader :)”

          +1. God save us if he becomes our PM, seriously.

        • Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink |


          Absolutely Renai. But it won’t happen Abbott has a stranglehold AND the party won’t appear like Labor now by kicking out It’s ‘successful’ leader as Gillard did. It’d be a political disaster and probably lose them half their garnered votes.

          The irony is, they’d gain more because Turnbull would be a much better, more intelligent, more PROactive (rather than reactive) and more rational Opp Leader than Tony ever could be.

          • Ryan
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

            Except to state the obvious that Turnbull hardly made a dent in the polls, and Abbott has managed to make significant gains in the polls compared to Turnbull. Personally I think the next election is going to be a kicker, with a ton of people not wanting to vote Labor, and not wanting to vote in Tony Abbott & Co either (although in SOME aspects they are a better alternative than what we have).

            • djos
              Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink |

              Actually Abbott is less popular than Julia, it’s only the coalition itself that is ahead in the polls.

              • Ryan
                Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink |

                Fair call, mind you its splitting hairs, one week Abbott is more popular, the next is Gillard, then back to Abbott again, etc. Regardless though, the Libs have made significant gains in the polls since Abbott took the lead from Turnbull. Like it or not, its the truth.

                • Graham
                  Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink |


                  it’s called pandering to the lowest common denominator. “Turn back the boats! Off shore processing!”appealing to the racist minority with loud voices and dangerous reactions.

                  The old “Liar, liar pants on fire!” argument that panders to the non-thinkers.


                  Getting idiotic misogynistic shock jocks to do his idiotic work for him.

                  All the while he stands in the background having a dummy spit temper tantrum of: “No, no, no, no,no, no, no,no, no, no,no, no, no.” Because the smarter independents decided that all he was interested in was being PM not running the country. Remember his offensive statements to Kerry O’Brien “I’m no tech-head, so you can’t talk to me about this one!” (referring to the NBN.)

                  This country cannot afford this racist, homophobic bigot to take the lead role as George Pell’s puppet.

                • jane
                  Posted 15/03/2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink |

                  I think it’s more accurate to say the Liars have improved in the polls since Rupert took over.

          • Simon Shaw
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink |

            Unsure about this. My parents are die hard Liberal voters, and even they dislike Tony Abbott and would prefer Turnbull.

            • Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink |

              @Simon Shaw

              Ah yes, but many are Liberal diehards and WOULD vote Abbott EVEN if they don’t like him.

              Contradiction in terms, but such is Australian politics and political views….

        • djos
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

          +1Million, Abbott as PM would be a disaster for this country, the guy is a380 Plane crash just waiting to happen and we’ll all be the victims!

        • Richard Ure
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink |

          He would still be leading people at least half of whom have put Tony at the helm for many months. Did you see Sophie Mirabella on the most recent Q and A? She can talk the most unbelievable contradictory rubbish without apparently realising it.

      • Paul
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink |

        I’d vote for Abbots replacement!!
        The man is deliberately stupid.
        He’s such a great leader he couldn’t convince the ex Nationals to support him rather than Labor.

        • Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink |

          I dont understand this – why be deliberately stupid ? The man’s a Rhode Scholar. Surely he did something intelligent with his time there.

          It boggles the mind. Abbott’s alot like George Bush in a way – they’re both intelligent, but deliberately stupid because they’ve got no idea how to portray themselves any other way. They need some serious personal sales training.

          • djos
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink |

            He was a pretty good boxer there apparently, maybe that’s what did all the damage?

          • jw
            Posted 07/07/2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink |

            Why be stupid?
            Because in this age of a hung parliament, votes from stupid electors may be enough to tip the balance.

    18. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink |

      When Abbott says “Australia doesn’t need the NBN” what he is actually saying is “I dont want the NBN. I dont want to admit we need something that cost me the 2010 election”

      • Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

        Holy heartfailure Batman, I think hes onto something!

      • Cameron
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink |

        Insightful observation I reckon.

        Turnbull is slowly but surely solidifying *his* position on the NBN, it will stay but be tweaked and Abbott is further entrenching his NONBN stance.

        As you said, the NONBN stance of Abbott put the LNP in opposition. How long do you think backbenchers will sit by with Abbott running that line when it becomes clear that it will cost them government the next election?

        It seems Turnbull is playing the long game here, to be honest it may be the only way he will replace Abbott and become LNP leader again.

        Well it’s an interesting theory at least.

      • jane
        Posted 15/03/2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink |

        What he is really saying is that Rupert doesn’t want the NBN unless it’s his toy, so naturally his sock puppet doesn’t want it either. Sod the country. Rupert and Gina are the ones who count.

    19. aussiemike
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink |

      Abbot unfortunatly Tony is ignorant on the NBN, and must be in someones pocket if he thinks Private enterprise can do it better. The country is to big and the population to small to get economies of scale and compitition in this area. It is better to have one, government (people) owned, solution than 3 have baked solutions we currently have with Telstra, Optus and Voda. As the interstae roads are not privatly owned, so the backbone internet infrsatuture should also not be proivatly owned either. Retailers can compete on even turms with NBN, unlike the current Telstra dominated system. This type of comment from the Libs is a real turn off to actually electing them next year, when they clearly should be.

    20. Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink |

      The main problem with the Coalition that I can see, is the Coalition itself. You get to see the glimpses that there are groups within the party not happy with what they’re doing but are usually quickly silenced by the next day.
      That and the forever cries of “Why isn’t my electorate getting the NBN first?”

    21. Graham R
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink |

      I find it disturbing that all the infrastructure improvements he is taking about are on the East Coast – you would think the other states don’t exist!

      …and of course he neglects to mention that it was the previous Liberal goverenment that ran down infrastructure in Australia – that’s how they got their precious surplus.

      • Ninja
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink |

        Not just the other states, but areas in the Eastern states west of the coast. We are all being treated like chumps and we keep taking it.

    22. O'Really
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink |

      Renai, can you please clear up this little sound bite from Mr Abbot? It seems they are bending the truth yet again in regards to infrastructure deficits.

      Abbott: “I think that federal and state Labor governments have left us with a serious infrastructure deficit,”

      According to the Business Council of Australia, in 2008 after the end of the Howard Government Australia was already left with a $90 billion dollar infrastructure deficit.

      “The Business Council of Australia estimates that Australia has an infrastructure deficit of $90 billion. CEDA estimates that the infrastructure backlog is costing the country about $6.4 billion a year in lost production.”

      Source — http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/lifestyle/bn-infrastructure-bonanza-coming/story-e6frga06-1111115117383

      However, I’m not blind to the fact that infrastructure funding is both a state and federal responsibility. So the responsibilities fall to a mix of Labor and Liberal state governments as well as the federal government of the time. That being said, at the time it was the norm’ for the funding split to be 80% federal and 20% from the states.

      I’m just really tired of these very negative sound bites used to frighten the general populous, most of which are not based on fact. They are massive calls to make, where is the proof?

      This entire argument also shines a massive light on to fact that conservatives still do not classify communications infrastructure in the same regard as traditional infrastructure such as roads, rail or ports.

      • Graham R
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink |

        plus 1

      • Mike
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink |

        O’Really for PM

    23. Brendan.
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink |

      I take it Abbott didn’t see Turnbull lamenting his Electorate Office’s fixed line service, recently?

      It was “written down” too. Even when his own communications minister is complaining, his state members are demanding better NBN coverage, he continues to toe a line that is entirely at odds with the party.

      If you have a leader that pretty much ignores what his party wants, well, eventually.. we know where that leads. Don’t we.

    24. Stephen
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink |

      Wasn’t Tony Abbott part of the Coalition government that spent eleven years doing absolutely nothing about infrastructure (other than hawking it to the highest bidder)? Why is he so interested in it now? And where are his infrastructure priorities if not in communications?

      Saying “we have other priorities” is code for “we’re not going to do this, we’ll sell it off at mate’s rates”. We’ve seen it before thanks Tony.

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink |

        Tony favours road over rail “because people want to drive themselves”. As if the experience of new roads creating more traffic isn’t well known enough already.

        He can’t see that moving data (knowledge) is analogous to moving people and goods; and much more efficient and environmentally nice.

          Posted 10/07/2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink |

          Exactly: Abbott can’t embrace change and his days are therefore numbered along with those of The Liberal Party if they aren’t careful…

          He will be replaced, END OF!

    25. Brendan.
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

      “Abbott, Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb, Warren Truss … every time these Coalition figures talk about the NBN they put their foot in their mouth.”

      Problem is, Renai, Mr Turnbull isn’t leader. So even if he’s the least unhinged shadow minister we currently have, his views only go as far as the parties.

      I think folks really need to take stock of the Liberal leadership, which is still at odds with Turnbull’s NBN position. He’s not really softened on the NBN, despite rose-tinted glasses that really wants him to “come around”.

      I really think it’s hopeful to think the L/NP won’t ham-fist the NBN if they take power. If that happens, unless they’re a minority government, the L/NP will take that as a “mandate” to pretty much roll NBN back to, effectively, some kind of hybrid between the current NBN and the cut-price FTTN.

      Meanwhile, Telstra will simply continue to steam-roll ahead with fibre. Leading to a god-awful patchwork that is all but impossible to recover from, without the types of investment that the L./NP are clearly allergic to.

      Honestly Renai? I’d like to see Turnbull pretty much allow the NBN to continue as much as perhaps you do; but I don’t believe he can convince the Party to stay the course.

      • nonny-moose
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink |

        once again i say that it doesnt matter so much who holds the house – you can propose legislation, and get some through.

        but the senate is where the game is at, and while people would (probably!) be very well served by a change to a Liberal House (and therefore a /shudders/ Abbott Pm’ship) those who would do so i would say are best served if they are careful to put their senate vote away to someone who will not just rubber stamp something that comes up to senate on party line and who will actually *consider* policy instead. we dont have much of a tradition of floor crossing in Australia, and thats mainly down to the party locks put on their reps.

        floor crosses or no, there is certainly the ability to put a brake on House activity – provided ones Senate electorate allows one to pick a member that doesnt match the House winner. often one seat follows the other, but i think with a looming Abbott PM’ship it would be wise to encourage the use of the check and balance inherent in the Senate. regardless who my House seat vote goes to i will certainly be looking to the strongest non Liberal candidate senate vote, if my electorate is up for the cycle. those who are voting on senate seats will be important this time around i suspect.

        • Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink |

          +1 nonny-moose

          The Senate is what makes or breaks legislation. Look at the Hung Parliament. It works the same way. We’ve had a half dozen VERY controversial pieces go through the Senate and House of Reps thanks to Independents and logical thinkers.

          They’re the only things that save us from a lobbying based political system a la US……shudders…

    26. Tim
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink |

      What is the voting public suppose to believe?

      You have the head saying something different from the left arm and the left is saying something different from the right arm.

      • Mike
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink |

        If thats the case Tim, Hockey must be the stomach and just below and behind Hockey is Abbott.

    27. Ninja
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

      Renai, is there a direct link to Abbott’s most recent comments. You have thoroughly linked to everything else, but nothing on these comments. Just wondering on the context and timing as Abbot seems to say different things depending on the audience he is speaking to.

    28. Posted 06/07/2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink |

      I’d be interested Renai what your personal thoughts are now as to the Coalition’s policy on broadband. A lot of us, myself included, lambasted you, incorrectly, when Turnbull came out and started saying ‘We won’t cancel the NBN’ and you were simply saying they appear to be changing their tune.

      You were simply reporting what they were saying. However, with Abbott’s latest total contradiction of his Comms minister’s position, do you believe it is likely they will do what they say on broadband (whatever that ends up being, if they even know….) or that they’ll simply try to push it aside and neutralise it in the hope of dealing with it (selling it, subsidising private industry or whatever) WHEN they get into power?

      You often have a better insight, reading and communicating widely within political circles and I’d be interested to know if you think what Tony says is ‘more’ likely, or Turnbull?

    29. jay
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink |

      “the billions being invested in the initiative would be better spent on “our roads, our rail and our ports” under a Coalition Government.”

      Building the NBN would reduce our reliance on roads, just can’t keep building more roads as they reach full saturation. Oh no wait, can’t do that, that’d be too much forward thinking.

    30. Bruce H.
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink |

      Right on Dr. No! – Yeah.. spend the capital on building infrastructure like roads, rail & ports… except:
      Due to suceesive governments in Australia we have had to suffer the following:

      1) Roads. After to 2 major bus accidents on the Pacific Highway in 1989 at Ulmurra (near Grafton) and Kempsey we had both Federal & State governments pledging to the electorate that the highway would be upgraded to 4 dual carriageway from Sydney to Brisbane by the year 2000 via 3×3 leavies taxes etc. To this day successive goverments have reneged on this promise as recently as the latest Federal and NSW state budgets, yet the accident problems exist 23 years on…

      2) Rail. It took over 100 years since Federation.to get a standard gauge railway around Australia. Ironically, the driving force for a standand gauge railway and a universal telegraph system had been advocated by the founding force for Federation, Sir Henry Parkes, way back in the 1870’s, as a means for creating free trade, economic growth and jobs by unifying the various colonies into becoming a Federation of states. By the time we achieved a national stand gauge rail system, road transport of freight had been given a free kick and proved to be more economic and reliable than rail, although a great cost to the public in other ways.

      3) Ports. Governments have been relying on the private sector to pick up the ball and raise capital investment in building ports, particularly to service the coal industry. In Queensland, this has not worked out too well as it is estimated that by the time the new port is completed at Gympie, with substantial injection of public funds, the port may become a white elephant that may never see it used to capacity. Too little, too late.

      If the Noalition is so convinced that the private sector is best placed to provide a base for raising capital to build a private national broadband network, one has to wonder how Tel$tra got it so wrong and never did so, preferring to hand on to an aging deteriorated copper network overdue for replacement. One also wonders why Tel$tra took so long to switch on their adsl2+ DSLAMS in their own exchanges.

      The more I hear from messrs. Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott makes me think that Mr. Turnbill may be getting tired of pushing the Coalition’s own policy on future telecoms and who will really build it. I suspect that behind the scenes Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Abbott may be having heated discussions… I mean realistically, how long can they persist with the inconsistancies in their public statements.

      I think that the best the Colaition can do, either in opposition or in government, would be to ensure the government of the day was in form on the subject and that the NBN Co were keeping to publically stated projections. It should have been declared at the beginning of this long-term project by all side of politics to be bi-partisan policy for the greater good of the nation.

      This is important infrastructure that must be built robustly and on time to best practices. It is service all generations. now and in the future. Proposed ill-considered piece-meal policies will not serve anyone but shorft-term political gain for purpose of winning the next Federal election and protecting existing vested interests.

      It is time for the opposition to stop flying kites and come back to earth,

    31. Robert
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink |

      “I think that federal and state Labor governments have left us with a serious infrastructure deficit,”

      This from someone who was a Cabinet Minister under a government whose spending on infrastructure fell somewhere between “bugger” and “all”…

    32. Mike
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink |

      “That $50 billion could fully fund the construction of the Brisbane rail loop, for instance, the duplication of the Pacific Highway, the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail link, the extension of the M4 to Strathfield, and 20 major new teaching hospitals as well as the $6 billion that the Coalition has proposed to spend on better broadband,”

      Given this majority of this infrastructure is already built and as such is not required, I fail to see the point in such a comment. In fact, such infrastructure is only built on an as needed basis, and I do not see a need.

      Turning my thoughts to reliable communications infrastructure, we do have a need. We had a need yesterday, we have a need today, and we most certainly have a need for tomorrow. A $6 billion patchwork of mixed technologies that will only just meet the needs for today and most certainly won’t meet the needs for tomorrow is nothing but an expensive waste. By the way, I’m going to hold you to that $6 billion so it better cost not a single dollar more!

      Man up Tony Abbott and stop lying to the public. Shut up your ministers who have a permanent case of foot in mouth disease. Start listening to your own communications minister and develop some real policy instead of just spouting hot air.

    33. Sathias
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

      I’m predicting that Turnbull will be their broadband minister until Abbott does his first post-election re-shuffle, and not a minute longer.

    34. Brett Haydon
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

      Sadly you can ban trolls from forums but you can’t ban them from standing for the highest office in the land.

    35. Annoying Old Fart
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink |

      How can anyone believe this man? The billions he would have us believe he will spend on “our roads, our rail and our ports” will go to, according to previous statements, amongst other things, fuel subsidies for foreign-owned miners and rewards for atmospheric polluters.

      • Noddy
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink |

        “rewards for atmospheric polluters”

        Well he is a climate change sceptic. Maybe he thinks the world is flat but keeps quiet on that.

    36. LateralNW
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink |

      seems like the carbon debate has lost steam for the libs so lets move back over to the NBN before the voters realise that Abbott is such a f$uck up head. does any one remember the abbot and Costello duo way back when .. they where f wits too but at least funny.

      Perhaps its time that Abbott is called a liar and drilled constantly on the crap that has been spewing from his mouth for what seems like ever over the Carbon “Tax” We seemed to have forgotten that the carbon issue is because we are destroying our Earth.. just a little bit of a concern for us all I would have thought!

      One point worth noting also re FTTN is that copper is not getting any cheaper and is a waste of a valuable material just for signal transmissions when fibre can do the same thing much cheaper per klm

      • Noddy
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink |

        “does any one remember the abbot and Costello duo way back when .. they where f wits too but at least funny.”

        Yes, i listened to news radio to and from work. I’d hear those two and think what a bunch of childish wankers we have in the house of reps. If I hear anything about a magic pudding again I will scream. Costello thought it was so clever he brought it up endlessly.

    37. Daniel
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink |

      So Tony is AOK for Duplication, great, more wasted space.

      Duplication !=Efficient.

      Also Tony NOW saying we don’t NEED NBN? After Turnbull stuffing up the other week saying that they won’t cancel the NBN ?

      Anyone supporting the FTTN should be shot, the idea to use FTTN in a large country that alot of area’s are overgrowing is not good management, especially if Tony’s idea to use duplication as an excuse!

      • jane
        Posted 15/03/2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink |

        Since when could the Liars be accused of good management?

    38. Simon Shaw
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink |

      I think the Liberal shadow cabinet needs to sit down and get the whole thing straight. Making a definite statement on broadband after the meeting would be an added bonus.

      Wish we had another dozen or so independents in power.

    39. Daniel
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink |

      The Power requirements alone of FTTN and Wireless alone should make Coalition hang their heads in shame.

      FTTP requires 7-8 watts per user.
      FTTN requires 15 watts per user.
      Wireless requires 20-26 watts per user.

      Our aging Infrastructure relies less strain on our business/homes, and yet the Coalition and it’s supporters want to be funny buggers about costs!

    40. Paul Krueger
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink |

      “compared with an expected up to 80Mbps…”

      Actually, no one expects it to be 80Mbps. Its possible that those next to the node will get something better then ADSL, but with only 2 wires, it’s unlikely to be a significant number. You may also rely on the LNP to do it cheaper (this is their publicly stated policy after all), which means nodes spaced a further distance apart, which means far more getting ADSL speeds.

    41. Same old Same old
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink |

      Liberals can keep the utter lies up as far as I’m concerned as we’re not all stupid, and the more you lie, the easier it is to pick a side.

      People say “spend $$ on roads, etc”, only to find that “oh its actually now a tollway, sorry”.

      FTTH needs to happen. Why would you even bother installing FTTN when cable already hits 100 Mbps, secondly how the hell are Liberal going to get Optus and Bigpond to share their cable network with other providers? There’s no point even bothering to extend the cable network.

      Its just useless and stupid.

      Labor’s FTTH is the only way forward, its logical and makes sense. No copper, no dry solder joints, and no speed limits due to copper.

      Liberal will never get my vote if their stance on the NBN continues as per usual. FTTN is just not good enough to be honest. Don’t even bother with wireless.

    42. Dave
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink |

      So the ALP rules huh? Who’d a thunk it? Especially here.

      • Ninja
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink |

        Nice contribution to the discussion, though I don’t see where anybody has said the ALP ‘rules’. If you have something to discuss from a factually based position I’m sure nobody will mind. I’m sure you can do better than that nothing comment.

        • Dave
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink |

          Relax dude I was taking the piss ever so slightly.

          • Ninja
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink |

            I guess massive emphasis on the ‘ever so slightly’ but thanks for the life tip to relax.

            • Dave
              Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink |

              nope and not my job

      • Mike
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink |

        No Dave not Labor but the current NBN plan.

        • Dave
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink |

          Which is Labors’ current NBN plan no?

        • Dave
          Posted 06/07/2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink |

          Mike? Mike?

          • MIke
            Posted 06/07/2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink |

            Dave? Dave? dave? dave? this blog has an echo.

            • Dave
              Posted 07/07/2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink |


      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink |

        “So the ALP rules huh?”

        oooooooh scary thought what happens when a group of people in favor of the NBN start talking about the possibility it may be “demolished” by a political party opposing it, why word might get out and then you’d have more votes for the political party actually building it perhaps resulting in another loss for the party opposing it in 2013. Quick Dave! Silence them! Put those flames out it can only lead to a wild fire!

        • Dave
          Posted 07/07/2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink |

          a ‘ubert reads like the money was well spent.

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 07/07/2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink |

            The NBN is money well spent. The alternative patchwork solution the coaltion clowns are proposing is not.

    43. bob
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink |

      jesus christ. this lot are going to destroy the country.

      • Dave
        Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink |

        hi bob, have a deleterious effect probably, destroy …..no.

    44. Posted 06/07/2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink |

      Was just reading a Senate transcript and came across this gem, for those of you who think politicians don’t have a sense of humour:

      CHAIR: Back to my home state, the Daily Telegraph actually has a positive story about the NBN.
      Senator Conroy: I am sure it was an accident.

      Problem is, it’s only too true!

    45. Markie Linhart
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink |

      Remember it was Abbott who told Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report not long after he became leader of the Noalition; “I’m no tech head…”

      How true…

    46. sb
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink |

      I would be shuddering if I was a liberal MP.

      If this idiot does not understand the importance of high speed communications and the value of the NBN to this countries economy. The future of Australia is well and truly $%#@ed if this clown is Prime Minister.

      The Liberal Party really needs to show this country that its serious about the future of this country, get rid of this completely stupid ignorant man, and they will easily be in parliament for the next two terms.

    47. Charles
      Posted 06/07/2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink |

      The future development and structure of the aust telecoms system (including a reasonable broadband network) really is purely an engineering decision – As such it has no place for the opinions and rantings of ignorant lawyers and politicians. Abbott, you are once again being a stupid pratt!!! Mind yer own business and go find something useful to do – without annoying the rest of us.

    48. Marty
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink |

      The most important piece of infrastructure in the last 100 years and the guy who says, “I am no Bill Gates” says we don’t need it!

      Cmon, get real!!!

      • jane
        Posted 15/03/2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink |

        Lucky Gutenberg didn’t have to deal with the 15thC equivalent of Liealot. Mechanically printed books-medieval NBN.

    49. observer
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink |


      “Right now, the greatest problem of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is keeping the other senior politicians in his party quiet when it comes to the NBN.”

      Why? It seems that they’re telling the truth and Malcolm is trying to make it sound better. I want to hear what they have to say because ultimately, if the coalition gets elected with Abbott as a leader, he is the only who is guaranteed to keep his position.

      I think Abbott’s latest declaration makes it obvious why the coalition does not have a fully detailed policy. Their only starting point is we don’t want the NBN. This does not require a policy just a plan which is likely to include negotiations with Telstra and other private interests.

      Abbott’s renewed call for the NBN to be scrapped is hardly surprising. After all, the idea that communication should be run by anyone but private enterprise goes against the opposition “the market knows best” philosophy.

      As we have seen from coalition supporters on this site, anything run by government is labelled communism. It seems, after all, that “John” was right. The NBN won’t happen over Joe, and now, Tony dead bodies.

    50. cacman
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

      Abbott says Australia doesn’t need the NBN, I say I don’t want him leading Australia. When it comes election time? LATERZ BRUH!

    51. Steven Langley Guy
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink |

      Why are we living in a country with a bozo for an opposition leader? Seriously, this man is a goon.
      When is the hopelessly right wing biased media in our country ever going to have a close hard look at the policies of the Liberal party? Never? Thought so!

      What we need in this country is a discussion about how the media can support the re-election of the federal ALP government. We need to be talking about how we can destroy the LNP permanently.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 07/07/2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink |

        “Why are we living in a country with a bozo for an opposition leader?”

        He is Australia’s George W Bush.

        • GongGav
          Posted 09/07/2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink |

          Please dont say that HC. Dubya was the most powerful man in the world for 8 long years…

          +1 though for the accuracy of intellect….

    52. Steven Langley Guy
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink |

      Australia doesn’t need the LNP, says Australia.

    53. Fool2242
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink |

      More dribble from the most fetid slime in politics! Does Abbott really have any idea? Or is he just banking on the ignorance of Australian voters and their poor memory! Abbott and Howard had over a decade to try and improve Australia’s infrastructure; but they did nothing and have left Labor trying to fix their (Liberals) abject lack of investment.
      Its funny that Abbott should talk about improving Australia’s infrastructure, yet for some reason cannot comprehend that the NBN, is communications infrastructure! lol. Abbotts promise of $4-6 billion for roads is a joke! Does he actually understand how much things cost? I am left wondering how much he paid for his so called economic’s degree!

    54. Graham King
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink |

      By “roads, rail and ports” he means “Let’s help Gina, Clive and the gang dig it up and ship it out as fast as they can”.

    55. Rico
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink |

      Tony Abbott’s thinking is completely in sync with industry wisdom:


      TPG believes that competition is better than monopoly, even if the monopoly is not motivated (as
      said today) by profit. As such, we believe that Australia should not sacrifice its active
      competitive market for a uniform national wholesale price. The “digital divide” should be resolved by alternative methods.

      And once the NBN Co has established itself as the only fixed line infrastructure, it can reasonably be expected that the price for access charged by NBN will increase. Monopolies always do this, even those that are motivated by good ideology. Regulation is rarely, if ever, an effective deterrent. Competition is
      the only reason for price to come down or for quality of service to improve. It is the driver of
      technological innovation and improved business processes. Lack of competition is likely to lead
      to higher costs in the long run and a lethargic approach to the development of new services.

      The best outcome for consumers usually comes when consumers themselves make rational
      economic decisions based on their own requirements. TPG believes that, when the time is right,
      households will demand GPON fibre and businesses like TPG will make commercially rational
      decisions to supply it to those consumers at no cost to the taxpayer. Those who want it, will pay
      for it. Those who don’t, won’t be obliged to pay for it through their tax dollars. In time, the cost
      will come down such that even those who initially didn’t think they had a need for it, will be able
      to afford it and then they will acquire it. This has been seen several times in the competitive
      telecommunications industry. From phones to faxes. From faxes to dial access. From dial access
      to DSL1. From DSL1 to DSL2. From Analogue mobile to 3G mobile. These investments and
      changes have occurred based on economic rationality or, where economic reasons alone have not
      been enough, with the benefit of taxpayer subsidy.

      • Posted 07/07/2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink |

        Really Rico.

        And how, exactly, will these companies provide GPON to customers? They would have to build:

        – Their own backhaul (or rent it; note: TPG just bought a heap, so they have a WHOLE lot to gain by keeping EITHER system active, but particularly the status quo)

        – Their own FSA’s, FSAM’s and FDA’s

        – Their own fibre to each customers house, regardless of whether customers on either side wanted GPON or not, for a consumer price, ie. less than $500

        – Provide hardware, like NTD’s, at consumer prices- ie less than $300 and with the option of splitting the cost over the contract.

        Pray tell, where are these magical companies that are large enough to do ANY of this on ANY sort of real scale, OTHER than Telstra? Seeing as TPG, Iinet, Internode and Exetel, between them, have less than 20% of the market????

        Abbott’s vaunted “competition” and TPG’s submissions about no competition (which is interesting, considering that TPG actually uses mostly Telstra hardware to provide it’s services…..even WITH their own DSLAM’s at the end, they use Telstra copper) would be highly relevant in a market like the US. Or Canada. Or Europe. Or Asia. ANYWHERE where the incumbent doesn’t own 82% of the ENTIRE COUNTRY’s infrastructure.

        Competition hasn’t worked in telecommunications in Australia, it DOESN’T work in Australia and it will ONLY work in a retail capacity in Australia under an NBN. Would you like Telstra to have MORE control, as TPG insist NBNCo. will have under the NBN, when THEY are the ones tendered to build the FTTN the Coalition want? Because NBNCo. can’t build it without changing legislation and do you think the Greens will let them change it??

        Stop listening to party rhetoric about the “market solution” and start doing some thinking. “Market solutions” work ONLY where the market competition is ALREADY strong. If you think that describes Australia, perhaps your cause is already lost.

        • Posted 07/07/2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink |

          People want GPON NOW. Look at the people on HFC. Look at the backlog Telstra have for getting MORE people on HFC (which they can’t because of contention) and yet they aren’t upgrading it. Why? Because ROI is TOO LOW.

          These companies want a 25% ROI in <5 years. GPON does NOT allow this. FTTN would have us with 4 or 5 cabinets per corner, JUsT so 4 or 5 companies could "compete" because there is no ULL as there is now.

          Please, think for yourself.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 09/07/2012 at 1:35 am | Permalink |

          How do you recognise FUD, compare with reality and the facts.
          Part of the reason for the NBN is the poor or non existent B/B so many have. So many areas and suburbs .
          I notice TPG saw the need and provided the much needed fibre for them, the demand is there.

          Ohh you mean to tell me they actually didn’t, the old what I say not what I do scenario eh

            Posted 10/07/2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink |

            We are building China and what have we got to show for it but the worlds slowest internet in an apparently clever country. The Howard Era got laughed at when Rudd decided to give Australia it’s cojones back : PURE FACT!!

      • Jeffrey ONeill
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink |


        considering the NBN is legislated to only make 3.5% over the long term government bond there’s an inbuild method for excessive profits to be lost to falling prices.

        Economic rationalism doesn’t work. The distorted nature of the current telecommunications market in Australia pretty much proves that.

      • PeterA
        Posted 09/07/2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink |

        Industry wisdom?

        One man an industry makes?

    56. Marty
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink |

      I worked on telecommunication competition policy in Canberra in the early 1990s. We believed at that time that we should get away from a solely government owned system (ex PMG) and that introducing private competition would work in driving down prices.

      It hasn’t worked most likely because of Australia’s vast geographic size ! We have now headed back to a single backbone funded mostly by government because no one else will build it. Not Singtel (aka Optus), not British Telecoms (aka Voda).

      The only entity with deep enough pockets is government. And they aren’t doing it to a business plan they are doing for the long term good of the nation.

      There was no business plan when the South Australian government spent 60% of one years budget and built the overland telegraph in the 1880s. They did it because they had foresight.

      And this is why they dragged Quigley out of retirement to do the same thing over again.

      • Posted 07/07/2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink |


        Australia is unique in its’ geographical separation of population. That’s why telecommunication’s competition doesn’t work properly here.

        At least SOMEBODY has recognised this in government.

      • Alex
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink |

        +1 Marty

    57. Dan
      Posted 07/07/2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink |

      Abbott is an idiot. We desperately need the NBN to keep up in a global IT economy. The US has had fibre for years, Verizon has provided a FiOS service since 2005, and now has plans upto 300Mbps/65Mbps (d/u) for $210/month and 75Mbps/35Mbps for $90/month. With online business booming, we need greater bandwidth and speed. People are now making a living running a YouTube channel full-time, where upload speed is crucial. The NBN MUST NOT BE SCRAPPED.

    58. NPSF3000
      Posted 08/07/2012 at 2:08 am | Permalink |

      Were have we heard this before?

      “I think that federal and state Labor governments have left us with a serious infrastructure deficit,” Abbott told the ACE Regional Radio Network in Victoria yesterday, “and one of the reasons why I’m so hostile to the National Broadband Network is because it’s a $50 billion investment with borrowed money that we don’t need. What we do need is much more money being spent on our roads, our rail and our ports and that’s what will happen under the Coalition.”

      “Why dig up every street when fibre to the node could more swiftly and more affordably deliver 21st century broadband?” he added. “Why put so much into the NBN when the same investment could more than duplicate the Pacific Highway, Sydney’s M5 and the road between Hobart and Launceston; build Sydney’s M4 East, the Melbourne Metro, and Brisbane’s Cross City Rail; plus upgrade Perth Airport and still leave about $10 billion for faster broadband?”


      And to quote my favorite Journo:

      “When do you stop reporting that a leading political figure is ‘misleading’ Australia on a certain issue, has made a ‘factually inaccurate’ statement, or is simply ‘mistaken’, and start reporting instead that that politician is deliberately ‘lying’ on an issue in public, for political gain?”

    59. SBD
      Posted 08/07/2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink |

      Why does noone turn around and cram the stats about petrol tax down their throats when they harp on about better spending money on roads than NBN. Besides the inability to comprehend the investment, not a budget item issue thats been covered in the media so much that even if their political briefings are too incompetent to cover, at least the newspapers and this internet thingy have the information.

      “”Over a four-year period it is projected that there will be a $36 billion shortfall between the amount of fuel tax paid by motorists and investment in land transport infrastructure,” the AAA said in its Budget submission to Treasurer Wayne Swan.”

      Read more: http://www.news.com.au/money/cost-of-living/under-the-pump-where-your-petrol-taxes-are-really-going/story-fnagkbpv-1226298533026#ixzz1zxAbAKmy

      So… roads? Do you REALLY want to open that can of worms Mr Abbot?

    60. PeterQ
      Posted 08/07/2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink |

      There is an old adage – money talks and BS walks – the ALP told us, that this would be fast (they promised Gigabit before the election). They told us it would be cheap – they lied – they told us that we would love it. The take up figures are a mere fraction of forecasts. IT doesn’t matter if it “could be great” – if it doesn’t sell, it’s a dog. Yes, we can dream of the information technology enabled future – we can all dream of holidays on the moon, and flying cars, as well. OR we can continue worrying about things that are more important.

      There is another adage – Good Fast Cheap – pick two. Well, the fast is a bit of a washout, the Cheap is definitely not there, ergo good, (many NBN Plans being disproportionately more expensive than non NBN. and fast, wll yes, but it’s like having a lamborghini to go to the corner store.

      Bottom line is, if this currentl incompetent and deceitful government managed to stay in, the only way that they could make the NBN a success is by turning everything else off, and forcing everyone to use it, and then introducing an Internet Tax.

      • djos
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink |

        Job done!

      • djos
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink |

        Ok you can go back to Liberal Party HQ now and advise them that you’ve hit your quota for astroturfing for the day!

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink |

        “that this would be fast (they promised Gigabit before the election).”

        News Flash… the NBN supports Gigabit… in fact it supports 10G or even 100G [simply swap out the cheap electronics when required!]

        “They told us it would be cheap – they lied – ”

        Define cheap, then explain how it *isn’t*.

        “The take up figures are a mere fraction of forecasts. ”

        Correct… technically 2/1 could be considered a fraction :P

        “There is another adage – Good Fast Cheap – pick two. ”

        You do know that is actually the Liberal’s policy ATM? The only difference is their policy is less rationale then your post.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink |

        “OR we can continue worrying about things that are more important.”

        Or we can do both.

        “There is another adage – Good Fast Cheap – pick two.”

        No. You dont get to make up the rules. I do. I pick three. Good, fast & cheap. The NBN.

        “many NBN Plans being disproportionately more expensive than non NBN”


        “but it’s like having a lamborghini to go to the corner store. ”

        You should say Rolls Royce next time… wait, but you were just complaining about not having a gigabit connection just a minute ago.

        “Bottom line is”

        The bottom line is we see ill-informed dribble like yours all over the internet regarding the NBN, all of your “arguments” are easily destroyed so next time you want to have a go at this debate please bring something more substantial to the table. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Observer
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink |

        Why are people like you unable to make any point about the NBN without showing your real motivation.

        This is like you give us the usual coalition disingenuous arguments and then, because you must think that we are dense, you tell us how much you hate the government. Just in case we didn’t realise it already.

        I have a tip of you. There is a life outside of party politics. There are also reasonable, sounds and demonstrable arguments. You should them try sometimes and who knows you might even begin to sound credible.

        I am thinking about Renai’s concerns about the site being seen as a pro-NBN. Unfortunately, given the standards and motivation exhibited by those who are anti-NBN, this is really a case of being pro-NBN by default. All they seem to achieve is distract the issues that are being debated.

        I must confess, I am also disturbed by comments that are purely political about the opposition. The NBN debate doesn’t need attacking political views. What it badly needs is finding ways of convincing those who poorly understand it. After all of us are ignorant with regards to some topics. Perhaps, we should think how we would like to be better informed when this is the case. Otherwise, like those supporting the coalition’s arguments, we will end preaching to the converted.

        • Alex
          Posted 08/07/2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink |

          Simple answer is Observer, apart from politics there really isn’t another reason to oppose the NBN.

          • Observer
            Posted 08/07/2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink |

            I think you are right

            • Alex
              Posted 09/07/2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink |

              “I must confess, I am also disturbed by comments that are purely political about the opposition. The NBN debate doesn’t need attacking political views.”

              Also an excellent point Observer…

              Renai mentioned previously that he thought Delimiter seemed to be becoming a bit too pro-NBN. But I think over the last few weeks it has started to become a bit too pro-Labor, which is why my comments have decreased markedly.

              Now I certainly don’t want to argue with fellow NBN supporters… but it is a bit hypocritical of us to claim the anti-NBNers all politically conservative sheep (which I believe they are) whilst sounding like Labor sheep ourselves.

              Yes the NBN is a Labor initiative which makes me “currently Labor by default” (hasn’t always been and probably won’t always be the case, but now, yes…). However, I have no intention of bagging the opposition for baggings sake (i.e. become as bad as them).

              They have no policies, no real alternative and it is disgraceful that they are using such negativity against the NBN. But if we are fair dinkum, pro-NBN (not pro politics) let’s not become the same as the naysying sheep, by simply toeing a party line.


      • Posted 08/07/2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink |


        Those are some lovely arguments. It is a shame all of them are incorrect. Seeing as you seem to have have come here without reading some basic information on the NBN, ill give you 3 quick points:

        -1: Takeup rate- Perhaps you are unaware. There’s an agreement with Telstra, Optus and other ISP’s to migrate all customers to the NBN within 18 months of switch on. So It’s interesting that you see the current takeup rates as indicative….considering 100% of the people who will have and want a fixed line broadband connection in the future MUST be on the NBN. Were you perhaps unaware of this?

        -2: I pay $69.95 on iinet for 200gb and, occasionally if I’m lucky, 7-8mbps (except on weekends….or weeknights). On the NBN, if I wanted to stay with iinet, I could get a 25/5 connection with 200gb for $64.95…already I’m saving money with a higher speed. Oh yes, that’s right, I also currently need to pay line rental, so that takes my total to $99.90….I don’t nor would I want to pay line rental on the NBN. So I save $35…actually, my apologies, $25 because I would get VOIP instead of a hardline phone….Oh, and just a hint, both exetel and TPG are cheaper than iinet on the NBN too. Perhaps though you are with Telstra and Optus? Their NBN plans are….well, there’s no other word, bad value. Shop around if that’s the case. That’s the beauty of the NBN, it levels the playing field.

        -3: Perhaps if you are so disappointed with the cost and abilities of the NBN you could describe to us the cost and abilities of the Coalition plan to counter our arguments. Please? We would actually very much like to know them?

        My intention is not to be patronising. But it seems to me as though you’ve come to this site, having ignored ALL previous articles and their comments and chosen to argue incorrect facts anyway. We always welcome debate here at Delimiter, but this is an evidence based forum. We argue with factual evidence. Perhaps you were unaware?

        • Simon
          Posted 08/07/2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink |

          Great post.

          I’m currently paying $30 line rental + $59.95 for 150Gb a month ADSL2. I’m lucky in that I’m in the tiny percentage of people that can sync at the reasonably high speed of 16mbps. But in real world terms it peaks at around 12mbps download. However its the paltry 1mbps upload speed which cripples my net activity the most. I’m in the process of backing up a lot of my stuff to Dropbox, Picasa and Skydrive, but it’s painful when your upload speed is under 1mbps.

          Not only would I get a much better 50mbps plan on the NBN for $5 cheaper than I pay now, but when I choose a 50mbps plan I can know that it will actually be 50mbps, not the “up to” bullshit speeds that ADSL2 and wireless are advertised at now. In addition I can choose to not pay extra for voice calls, as I use my mobile for all voice communication. Most importantly my upload speed will be increased by a factor of 25x. Oh and I would get twice the data (300Gb a month) all for $84.95.

          So to summarise, $84.95 a month for a 50/25mbps fibre connection with 300GBs vs 12/1mbps with 150GB for $59.95 + $30 line rental I have to pay now (naked DSL is not available from my exchange). Bit of a no brainer really.

          Best of all, becuase I live in Tasmania, I’ll be connected within the next 18 months :). However it’s not just about me, I’m a socialist through and through, and it’s the ubiquity of the NBN that has the most appeal to me. I want everyone to be able to enjoy the same experience I’ll be paying for at the same price. It’s then that we will start to see amazing new high bandwidth applications and services that all Australians can take advantage of.

          • Posted 08/07/2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink |


            Nicely done :-) Here have a gold star for brilliant comment *gives Simon glittery gold star*

            This is the thing and its what is so frustrating a lot of the time- many people who are anti-NBN simply regurgitate incorrect information. It’s quite possibly not even because their LNP voters, just what they’ve heard from friends they trust who are.

            Keep fighting the FUD people and let’s try and be nice. Some people just don’t know because of the lies :-)

      • Avid Gamer
        Posted 08/07/2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink |

        “but it’s like having a lamborghini to go to the corner store.”

        Is that the same as having a Rolls Royce so you can afford to stay at home to look after a new born?? As in the Libs “Rolls Royce” paid maternity leave scheme of up to $75000 for six months. What was wrong with Labor’s more modest, more prudent more responsible paid maternity scheme???

        Answer that one if you DARE??

      • PeterA
        Posted 09/07/2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink |

        There is another adage – Good Fast Cheap – pick two. Well, the fast is a bit of a washout, the Cheap is definitely not there, ergo good, (many NBN Plans being disproportionately more expensive than non NBN. and fast, wll yes, but it’s like having a lamborghini to go to the corner store.

        Coalition plan picks none. Good? (no, thats FTTP) Fast? only to 50% of people, same problem we have now. (and not as fast as FTTP) Cheap? 16 billion dollars for a network that might give people an upgrade?

        Oh, and then you have to add in compensation, and you have to add in network operating costs (power consumption). Increased end-user prices because all those competitors need to run their own hardware to every FTTN cabinet. Extra cost in end user prices because every competitor will need more staff to manage the plethora of networks that they will have to become resellers of. (instead of everyone just being an NBNCo reseller, they would have to be a FTTN reseller, a wireless reseller, a Telstra HFC reseller, an Optus HFC reseller).

        And that’s if we end up with Telstra and Optus wholesaling their networks. If we take the coalition statements as fact, then we’ll end up with many multiple infrastructure-based competitors. (its the best way to run the industry according to them!!).

        We deserve the price hike if we vote in the libs on this policy.

        • PeterA
          Posted 09/07/2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink |

          Oh wait.

          I forgot!

          They don’t even have a policy! (if they do; PLEASE tell me! I want to know their policy!)

        • GongGav
          Posted 09/07/2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink |

          Fast in this respect means the speed of the build, not the speed of the network. Good-Fast-Cheap; pick two is a standard way at looking at most projects, and this IS no different.

          Just need to break it into two separate projects to understand. First, the NBN itself. Its good (future proofing to a point), and its fast (10 year build is nothing), but $36b is NOT cheap.

          The funding though is a separate project. And THAT side of it is both good (monopoly user pays approach) and cheap (final cost to the owners = $0). But not fast – 20 or so years isnt all that quick.

          Overall, its as close as I’ve ever seen a project be to meeting all 3 of those conditions, but you need to break it down into a couple of projects – the technical and financial sides of it.

    61. Marty
      Posted 08/07/2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

      Support the NBN promotional groups on Facebook.


    62. Marty
      Posted 08/07/2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink |

      MY ISP is currently advertising NBN prices, even there are no connections yet, at prices cheaper than my current ADSL rates.

    63. Marty
      Posted 08/07/2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink |

      Michael Malone, the owner of iinet, doesn’t have ADSL because the copper in his area is multiplexed for phone services.

      • Bob
        Posted 09/07/2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink |

        Surely, as the owner of an ISP, he would fork out for an alternative. I would…

        • djos
          Posted 09/07/2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink |

          Greg Hicks (owner of Adam Internet) couldnt get DSL to his house either and so had a 100mbps FDX Microwave link installed; when I was at Adam we used to call it GregMax in reference to the AdamMax WiMax network. :-D

    64. Bob
      Posted 09/07/2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink |

      Abbott wants to spend the money on “road, rail and ports”. By that he means mostly roads. Why is it not surprising that the same leader who criticises the NBN as a “waste of money” is planning to spend billions and billions on new roads that – in the medium to long term – LESS people will use? Ridiculous.

    65. Colin
      Posted 09/07/2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink |

      Labor’s getting my vote then,
      As much as I would like to vote Liberal for other issues, this issue is close to home for me.

      Abbot can’t seem to make his mind up reguarding the NBN at all.
      The stat sheet in his little letter that was leaked doesn’t have upto date stats on it, often gives estimates out by months when comparing them to promises from further down the track, some even lack a year to the figure, its all just propaganda at the end of the day. They cant even be completely transparent with their own party.

      The clear message at the end of the day.
      Vote Labor and get the NBN,
      Vote Coalition and get a cluster, watch them try and pull money out of the NBN for other things, watch them realise they are not able to do it, whilst having the NBN on hold and costing us more money.

    66. Muso1
      Posted 09/07/2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink |

      The research on new roads is pretty conclusive. New roads = more cars.
      So roads aren’t exactly a modern, quality investment.
      meanwhile, I’ve seen Abbott say several times recently his government would invest heavily in ‘modern infrastructure’. If he doesn’t see the NBN as the ultimate ‘modern infrastructure’ he clearly has no idea what he is doing.

      • GongGav
        Posted 09/07/2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink |

        I get the distinct impression that Tony Abbott’s definition of ‘modrn infrastructure’ includes the term ‘dial up internet’…

      • Captain Australia
        Posted 09/07/2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink |

        Exactly, the term “modern infrastructure” is such a dodgy one after all these years of utter emptiness from Abbott. I can’t see it not going down as the biggest flop of a con-job in Australian Political History: Abbott has no idea, obviously, yet this curiously dressed up special-type-of-infrastructure is inexplicably highlighting the very fact!! JUST SO LOL!! WE ARE BUILDING AUSTRALIA….!

    67. Vitman
      Posted 09/07/2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

      Abbots NBN is the NBS National Budgie Smugglers.

    68. Abel Adamski
      Posted 10/07/2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink |

      Maybe a “Vailleism” for the Lib/Nat option , the National Fraudband Network or NFN

    69. Scott
      Posted 11/07/2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink |

      The NBN would be good if they were to offer $10 per month plans for the vast majority of people who are considered light users. Most of the comments here would be much more valid if every Australian was a hardcore gaming torrenting IT specialist however this is not the case.

      I could be wrong but I just did a quick search around and the cheapest NBN plan I could find was $50 per month. I don’t know if there is a line charge similar to how TransACT fibre currently works (I’m guessing there probably is?) and last time I read into it (a fair while ago) there was a setup fee too. If this is the case this is why projections of wireless broadband causing the downfall of the NBN start looking credible. The majority of ‘everyday Australian internet users’ I know are already switching to wireless and cancelling their landlines due to price.

      In my eyes the NBN is just becoming the next Telstra, another government made monopoly. Just what we need. And due to wireless becoming much cheaper and much more accessible to the masses I predict the NBN will be a bit of a fail.

      NBN will be awesome for business etc but I don’t believe it should be rolled to every home straight off the bat. Maybe they should roll out to houses at a later date as a separate project? meh each to their own beliefs.

      • Marty
        Posted 11/07/2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink |

        Scott, I am able to confidently say that wireless will never be an alternative to the NBN. I say this as a previous spectrum manager with the Federal Dept of Communications. If you take a quick look at what’s already working in the Australian Spectrum Plan you will understand why.


        Many of the existing uses are inefficient users of spectrum and yes, they could be changed. But to do so quickly would be impossible. When the VHF bands were changed to half channel spacing back in the nineties it was done over a seven year period. During this time all private industry, police, fire brigades, ambulances, and all other government departments were required to junk their radio systems so they could not be turned on and replace with new half channel equipment.

        This process near destroyed the Kerner government’s budget and likely led to them going out of government. Eventually the department agreed to allow the wider band radios to be sold to country areas and used for another ten years. So moving folks is not a usually a solution.

        The secret lies in reducing transmitter powers down to those used by WiFi devices. This means frequencies can be re-used over a short distance. For example a mobile phone channel might be re-used a block away. So you end up with effectively a small transmitter for each premise like the Optus Homezone. But all these tiny transmitters, juts like WiFi, have to be connected to each other. That is what we call “backhaul”.

        Now the ideal way to do this is by running an optic fibre to every premise. This is what the NBN is. My view is that the end game is fibre to every home and business with the last 20 meters tehered by low powered wireless than can be frequency re-used.

        Now prices will be far lower than $50 pm. My own ISP is already offering $39.95.


      • Marty
        Posted 11/07/2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink |

        Oh and I forgot to pint out that NBN Co is a wholesaler and will not be, as such, offering plans.

      • Posted 11/07/2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink |

        Scott, I do not wish to put you off, but perhaps you need to read a little more about the NBN and its pricing? There are numerous articles both on Delimiter and many blogs that would show you are incorrect in your assertions.

        For example, exetel offer their cheapest NBN plan for $35. That’s it per month. No line rental. There is a setup fee, but that is no different from dozens of ADSL plans. My own situation, I pay currently $69.95 for 200gb with iinet at, sometimes, 8mbps. Plus line rental of $30- so a total of $99.95. Under the NBN I can get a 25/5 plan with 200gb for $64.95. That’s it. No line rental.

        If you want a landline phone with the NBN, most ISP’s will begin to offer bundles for broadband and phone. iPrimus is currently offering 25/5 broadband on the NBN WITH a normal phone and ALL calls included, for $44.50 a month for the first 6 months and $89.90 a month thereafter. That is STILL cheaper, faster and better than what I get now. There is also the VOIP option, which uses your internet connection to make phonecalls (you can still have a phone number). I would do this with my iinet NBN plan, as it is only $10 per month including all local and national calls (but not mobiles- use your mobile for that). That would mean a total cost of $75 a month for me, $25 less than now.

        Australians DO want more speed and more data too Scott, along with business. Why else would our fixed line data use have grown 45% between 2009 and 2010 otherwise and another 42% in 2011….(ABS statistics). The NBN is also not just about faster access and more data either. It’s about reliability. My copper line is horribly unreliable. I had to reset my modem twice last night cause it rained and I got no connection. I had to do it again this morning. The fibre to the home will stop this happening. Many tens if not hundreds of thousands of Australians have these same issues.

        By all means, ask more questions but the truth is not as simple as ‘we’re happy with the speeds and reliability we have as a nation’. We are not and it has been proven.

    70. Yeah
      Posted 11/07/2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

      Definitely needed NBN but I just think by the time NBN is rolled out then there would be a SUPER NBN NETWORK! LOL then the government would need to spend a couple more billion to roll out another cable! Yeah I just think we are a bit slow in doing things!

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 11/07/2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink |


        The NBN *should* be able to support speeds of up to 1Tbps [or higher!].

        To put that in perceptive:

        Dial-Up: 0.056 Mbps
        ADSL: 1.5 Mbps
        ADSL2+: 24 Mbps
        NBN Initial: 1000 Mbps
        NBN Future: 1000000+ Mbps

        So no, it’s somewhat unlikely that the core infrastructure [the cables] will need to ‘replaced’ anytime soon.

        • Marty
          Posted 11/07/2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink |

          I think the fibre will be in the ducts for longer than the >80 years the copper has been there.

          But the end equipment will increase in speed and reduce in size over time. Currently it takes up a bit of space in your home. Not so bad for a business. This will be your super NBN in the same way we went ADSL then ADSL+.


          • Markie
            Posted 11/07/2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink |

            …and unlike copper, fibre doesn’t mind getting wet so it’s always there – even in a flood…

            • Abel Adamski
              Posted 14/07/2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink |

              Just think of all those powered active FTTN cabinets flooded, they will have to have air circulation and venting for cooling and air conditioning for cooling possibly in some environments, unlike the Passive Optic fibre splitter nodes/cabinets which can be waterproof and unpowered

      • GongGav
        Posted 12/07/2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink |


        Couple of things. First, you’re right, there WILL be a ‘super NBN’ at some point. Beauty of the NBN though is that you DONT need to rip everything up and replace it, the changes will be relatively minor at the exchange.

        Like the change from dialup -> ADSL -> ADSL2, which all used the same copper lines, but different technology at the exchange, future improvements to the NBN wont be through the line, but at the exchange.

        Alan Jones infamous ‘laser internet’ is a good example. It was capable of 26 Tb/s, so obviously as a nation we should wait for that technology to be developed. He didnt read to much though, because if he had he would have realised that the technology actually used fibre cabling very much like the NBN. The fibre will be there under Labor’s NBN, but not under Liberals.

        And thats the beauty of the network – to implement that ‘laser technology’ it would only take putting the right technology in place in the exchanges.

        What the NBN does is give a clear upgrade path, so like the improvements from dialup to ADSL to ADSL2, you can use the same fibre lines to give those improvements. Copper is reaching its limit, so rather than deal with the constant issues with service, now is a good time to replace it and reset the clock. Then we can enjoy decades of improvements for relatively little cost.

        Secondly, we arent ‘slow’ in this regard, we’re actually one of the first countries to do this on a national scale. For once, we’re at the start of the process, rather than dragging behind. ADSL2 and HFC/cable rollouts were examples of us being behind, this isnt. The Liberal model of Fibre to the Node is another example of being behind, Labor’s Fibre to the Home isnt.

    71. Abel Adamski
      Posted 14/07/2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink |

      Worth noting a response by Malcolm to this article in comments


      and Supratim’s follow up and the lack of further clarification from Malcolm

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 14/07/2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

        Malcolm clearly states their NBN is a FTTN solution, unless you have fibre installed prior to the election result, you are doomed. It will now be taxpayer funded for Billions from the budget. Murdoch will get his Cable Pay TV network upgraded and extended at the taxpayers expense in the guise of for Broaband infrastructure competition, shouldn’t be more than a couple of Billion of our taxes for good ol Rupe.
        If it wasn’t so painfull for rhe Nations future, it will be the comedy of the decade watching it become a very expensive taxpayer funded disaster especially if they try to do infrastructure competition to the premises. FTTN what a joke

        • jane
          Posted 15/03/2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink |

          And don’t forget Malcolm the Millionaire’s kick in the guts if you haven’t already got FTTP, you’ll have to fork out $3,000 to get fibre run from the cabinet, so it will be out of reach for pretty much everyone who isn’t wealthy.

          The Liars Party; the party which looks after the wealthy but has never given a toss about the less well off.

    72. Anonymous
      Posted 21/07/2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink |

      Oh, I’m sure you don’t think we need an NBN, Abbot, with your HFC Cable, or ADSL2+
      But try living with a connection that is restricted by the degrading copper to about 1500kbps, and a phone that tends to become unusable after a bit of rain. Or maybe try living on a dial-up connection, or an expensive, over-loaded 3G network. Then you might be changing your mind.
      Where is the national party in all of this? Taking regional Australia for granted yet again?! Regional Telecommunications infrastructure in many areas desperately needs upgrading, and the NBN is the most likely case for that to EVER happen

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