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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, October 4, 2012 9:51 - 127 Comments

    NBN could cost $100bn, claims Hockey

    news Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has claimed the National Broadband Network could cost as much as $100 billion to build, despite the company’s own estimates showing that it will require around $37 billion of capital injection from the Government and eventually make a return, paying back the investment with some profit on top.

    In an interview with ABC Radio’s AM program yesterday, Hockey attacked the Government’s financial measures in a range of areas, and particularly with respect to its spending. “… we can’t trust the numbers that the Government is putting in the budget papers,” Hockey said. “Last year they said there was going to be a $22 billion deficit, it turned out to be a $44 billion deficit. There is not one contractor in Australia that believes the Government is going to roll out its National Broadband Network for $32 billion. Expectations are as high as $60 billion, $70 billion or even $100 billion for the National Broadband Network.”

    Hockey’s claim is the second time in the past month that the Coalition has claimed that the NBN project could see a substantial blowout in its costs. In an article published on his website and on business media outlet Business Spectator, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote on September 6 that he could not provide precise financial figures regarding the difference between the Coalition’s rival NBN policy and the Government’s existing project:

    “I have been careful not to nominate a particular sum of money as the difference between what we would do and Labor’s current plan. For a start there is enormous scepticism that the NBN Co project can be completed within the cost and timeframe of their business plan. Several very experienced civil contractors and engineers have said to us recently that they think the actual build cost is likely to be $80 to $100 billion for example.”

    Additionally, Turnbull pointed out that telecommunications consultant Cliff Gibson had estimated a similar amount industry newsletter Communications Day in May 2011, saying: “I do know that the two partner organisations that we work with would have put tens of millions of dollars worth of work in to put the bid together and our experience on this exercise, and the costing involved, would lead me to think that the cost of roll- ing out the optic fibre to 93% of the homes around Australia is going to cost between 60-80 billion.”

    However, based on current evidence, it currently appears as if both Turnbull and Hockey are incorrect in their claims that the NBN project could end up costing up to $100 billion in total. NBN Co’s most recent corporate plan shows that the project will require overall capital expenditure of $37.4 billion in total, in the years until the network is scheduled to be completed in 2021. In that period, the organisation is projecting further operating expenditure of $26.4 billion, which will be largely offset by projected revenues of $23.1 billion.

    NBN Co has already locked in construction contracts for much of the next half-decade in states and territories around Australia, as well as network equipment and other related contracts, giving it significant forward visibility in terms of its costs. In addition, the company has finalised its $11 billion agreement with Telstra and its $900 million deal with Optus, and it is also seeing more Australians take up higher-value NBN plans than it had been estimating, meaning that its revenue estimates may be conservative. Over a thirty year period, the company is planning to make a return of 7.1 percent to the Government on its capital needs – meaning it will make a long-term profit for the Government.

    In comparison, the Coalition has consistently declined to provide detailed financial information relating to its own policy, which is currently based on fibre to the node technology, as opposed to the NBN’s fibre to the home rollout. Turnbull initially stated in mid-August that the Coalition had a fully-costed policy “ready” to be released, but later rescinded the statement, telling the ABC that the Coalition was not in a position to be able to fully cost its policy before the next Federal Election.

    In a statement released yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy called on the two Coalition politicians to “stop misleading the Australian public” about the cost of the NBN. “The Government released the 2012-2015 NBN Co Corporate Plan provided by the NBN Co Board on 8 August. That plan stated the capital cost of the NBN will be $37.4 billion,” Conroy said. “Since then both Mr Hockey and Mr Turnbull have claimed that the cost could be as high as $100 billion. This is false and inaccurate.”

    “The NBN Co Corporate Plan is informed by the agreement with Telstra and signed construction contracts. The Corporate Plan was prepared by the experienced executives of NBN Co, and was approved by the highly qualified independent NBN Co Board. Mr Hockey’s and Mr Turnbull’s outrageous claims effectively accuse the NBN Co executive and board of being negligent in their duty.”

    “This is a disgraceful slur on NBN Co. They should apologise immediately and stop misleading the Australian public.”

    The Opposition has made a number of other inaccurate statements about the NBN over the past few years which have been picked up by various segments of the media. Several months ago, speaking on Channel Ten’s Meet the Press program, Nationals Leader Warren Truss made a number of major factually inaccurate statements about the project, as detailed in this article by Delimiter at the time. In addition, Truss had previously made a number of inaccurate statements about the NBN over the past several months.

    In June, for example, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey inaccurately claimed that 4G mobile broadband had the potential to be “far superior” to the fibre technology of the NBN. In mid-May, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott misrepresented the cost of connecting to the NBN, in comments which the Government claimed represented a deliberate attempt to mislead the Australian public on the issue. Turnbull similarly made a number of factually incorrect statements on the NBN throughout March, and in January Abbott got quite a few facts about the NBN wrong in a radio interview.

    Conroy himself has from time to time made inaccurate statements about other projects in his portfolio. In February, for example, the Minister appeared to consciously tell a factual inaccuracy with respect to the current implementation status of Labor’s controversial Internet filtering project, stating that Telstra and Optus had implemented the mandatory filtering system, when they have only implemented a drastically reduced voluntary version.

    There’s not really much to analyse here. NBN Co and Conroy have provided clear financial estimates for the NBN based on actual contracts which have been signed and actual customer take-up. In comparison, the Coalition has declined to provide the working for its own financial estimates. There just isn’t any evidence right now that what Turnbull and Hockey are saying is correct.

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    1. Chas
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink |

      I think the real question comes down to

      1. Are Hockey and Turnbull unabashedly lying in order to get elected, or
      2. Are Hockey and Turnbull really that inept…

      • GongGav
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink |

        Theres a 3rd question

        3. Is it both?

      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink |

        All of the above.

        • Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink |

          Sadly I think you’re right Michael. I used to think Hockey was one of the better ones in the coalition but every time he speaks I’m reminded that he is as bad as the rest.

          • Grey Wind
            Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink |

            Its amazing the effect Tony Abbott has on his colleagues.

            • Tinman_au
              Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink |

              They’re worried he’ll punch them in the face I expect…

              • NBNAccuracy
                Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink |

                I am sure he will punch a reporter some day. That wierd interview where he just went silent and his head shook, I would swear if the reporter kept pushing he would have punched him.

              • MikeK
                Posted 04/10/2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink |

                Abbott DID throw a punch at Joe Hoclkey once, how he missed is beyond me.

      • Steven
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

        The only questions I can come up with are “Why is Hockey limiting his claims to $100bn? Wouldn’t it be better to claim it could cost a trillion dollars?”

        The answer I come up with for the latter question, is that the people who believe what the opposition say might not know what trillion means…

      • Michael
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink |

        Just to highlight two issues of forecasting going awry.

        1. At the begining of the 2011-2012 financial year the deficit was predicted to be 22bn (pre election it was ~10bn) but it is 43.7bn.

        2. In Victoria we contracted a new smart card system for 300m in 2005 (I think). It has finally been completed in 2011 for 1.3bn.

        This is not to directly criticise any of the estimates but to highlight how quickly any project can blow out in cost. Just because numbers are cited in a report as forecasts they should not be taken for granted especially without analysing the underlying assumptions.

        • Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink |


          There’s no question projects can go way off budget. However, there’s a couple of large differences here:

          1- The budget is highly sensitive to economic issues. People spend less, less tax, less tax revenue. Etc. That does not affect NBNCo. Everyone will continue to pay for internet and everyone will use the NBN for it (over 70% of premises anyway which is what the Corporate plan is based on). Sure, they might spend less on internet than expected but that will only increase the time to pay off.

          2- That Victorian project was budgeted for $300 million….but was the CONTRACT signed for that much? I seriously doubt it. State governments don’t sign contracts like the and that is half the problem. The NBNCo. has signed contracts for delivery of about 1/3 – 1/2 of FTTH and all of the Wireless and Satellite. Sure, there may be small increases. But not vast ones- the contracts will stipulate penalties and such for over budget and significantly over time.

          • Michael
            Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink |

            I agree budgets can be extremely volatile and I was mainly using it to show how a reputable organization can get it wrong. On a side note, the revenue forecasts during the pre-election budget prediction were actually remarkable close to current revenue.

            Yes. The Myki smartcard was contracted out. The company negotiated numerous extention off labour governments and then LNP before finally completing it. It is an interesting case of a company trying to develope a new prodcut and grossly underestimating its own expertise and the requirements.

            • Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink |

              I would point out that Myki is by no means completed.

              • James
                Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink |

                What still has to be done?

                • Anthony
                  Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

                  Myki was to give Vic travellers a ‘smart card’

                  And instead of going to another country that did it sucessfully and cookie cutter their systems, the Victorian government thought it would be a good idea to re-invent the wheel.

                  End story. It works, but it’s slow.
                  And not user friendly to an outsider.
                  But I have been to other states and no ticketing system is ‘easy’ to an out sider
                  (why, is beyond me….)

                  • Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |


                    Right on. Same thing happened with Sydney’s “T-Card”

                    Fortunately the government learnt and the new “Opal card” will be delivered by Cubic systems hopefully next year- they did the Oyster card in London and the Octopus card in Beijing.

                  • Michael
                    Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink |

                    Yeah true it still is probably not finalised. I try to avoid it where possible (RIP metcard).

                    But it does work as an example were people think costs are finalised and yet they can keep on expanding. This can be due to internal failures (lack of expertise / planning / underbudgeting etc) or external factors.

                  • ungulate
                    Posted 04/10/2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink |

                    Yep.. spent a month in London.. the Oyster is brilliantly easy to use, but try actually buying one! It took me an hour at the ticket window, filling in forms etc.. Not to mention the Monty-Pythonesque bureaucracy I had to deal with when I lost it and had to replace it.

                    Oh well. off topic, but yeah they must write code in bunkers without access to the real world.

                    • AnticPed
                      Posted 04/10/2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink |

                      You missed a trick there. Luckily I did my homework and when I arrived at Heathrow 3 I promptly got a shuttle to HR5 where you can buy a visitor Oyster with very little fuss.

                      You ended up getting one intended for locals and they wouldn’t believe it was real without a goodly dose of bureaucracy…

                      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink |

                        Ah, the Brits and their bureaucracy. Aren’t we glad we got it from them….

            • brutally handsome
              Posted 09/10/2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink |

              Actually from my source, the Mykii program was under budgeted in its inital business plan. Which was the reason why it failed. To be able to deploy what they wanted it would or should have cost twice as much, which as reality is showing is about right … mykii is partially working with 2x over budget and over time. So it would require about 25-30% more to complete the project. If they did a correct estimation to begin with, they would have simply arrived at this figure all along.

              Now, desal plant…hm, what do we do with those, now the dams are near full, now there is talk of them as ‘backup’ supply but no talk that they incur operating cost and decrepciation.

              I feel the nbn could be going two ways,

              1- its under budgeted for money and time (mykii outcome)

              2- when its built its not needed (desal outcome)

              • Observer
                Posted 09/10/2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink |

                3- It is build on largely on budget and is needed

                And you will need to change your name to Brutally Wrong

      • Mudguts
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink |

        I think I hear the fibre optic cable dragging along the ground behind Hockey’s car….

        What a goon. Honestly how anyone can take this man seriously is simply beyond me…..

        • Anthony
          Posted 05/10/2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink |

          A few.
          Attached to an Atomic Bananas and tin cans….

          “Just Eleventy…”

    2. Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink |

      Anything to scare the public.. Joe – you lost my vote with your stupid comments.

    3. chugs
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink |

      If only the Liberals backed the NBN they’d be elected in seconds. I have no idea why the continually attempt to dismantle the only financially viable, vote winning, significant economy building idea that the ALP has come up with in the last twenty years. Like destroy the super clinics and pork barreling infrastructure & regional funding mechanisms, sure but the NBN, the only thing that will add a good 1-2% to GDP. Something that will turn Australia into a backbone of significance. Its maddening.

      The only thing keeping dead rotting corpose of the ALP animated is the NBN (and this coming from a left winger).

      Remember how Rudd won his election, he mirrored Howard so much that there was no meaningful difference between the two but the colour of their ties.

      the only reason i’ll vote ALP at the next election is because of the NBN.

      • OliphanT
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink |


        I hear ya and I am with you on this one. Although Miss Julia is shaping up to be a reasonable PM. Yeah the Labour party broke a promise but has there ever been a political party that has kept them all? Not in my living memory. Carbon tax was going to happen eventually, the entire world is looking at ways to make countries greener so it was inevitable. Painful part is over now and we should slot into a global ETS quite easily. As for labor fiasco’s… pink batts is hilarious. Contractors can be dodgy as hell and the government gets the blame… I find that quite interesting.

        Anyway coalition is not shaping up at the moment. When they do I will consider them as well.

        • Soth
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink |

          Totally agree, I think the NBN will cost the Liberal’s another election, think they’d learn from the first time.
          If they backed the NBN as it is, I would probably have no worries voting for them.

        • Ben Zemm
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |

          I got solar hot water instead of insulation with that scheme. When the sparky installed the power point for the pump (that pushes the water through the panel on the roof) he unplugged my freezer. And didn’t plug it back in!!! This is all the government’s fault, I call for immediate resignations of everyone from Julia down. Spoiled food is serious.

          Oh wait, how can I blame the government for what a single sub-contractor did?

          • Soth
            Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink |

            Well I don’t want to get to side tracked from the article, but I believe governments should have the responsibility for higher safety and training regulations when they pump millions of dollars into a scheme. When a certain area is booming, you’re always going to get `cowboy` contractors moving in to take adventage of the situation. When the insulation was rolled out you only needed to do a 4 hour day course with zero installation experience.
            Anyway, we’d like to see some evidence Joey that back up your figures.

            • Karl
              Posted 05/10/2012 at 4:00 am | Permalink |

              Asking a Liberal MP for evidence is like a broken pencil.

      • Mumboj
        Posted 06/10/2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink |

        Re Pink batts scheme, a report by Energy Efficient Strategies found 1.27 million houses retrofitted with insulation saved just under one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions per year and $300 in annual energy costs each, that will save approximately 10 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions and $3.9 billion from energy bills by 2020.

        So it wasn’t a bad investment.

    4. myne
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink |

      Even if it does cost $100bn, it’s still less than the $150bn we’re expecting to spend on roads over the next decade.

    5. Allan
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink |

      Wonder how those 4G speeds go against the newly cracked 1 Petabit over single fibre. Just love the fact there’s a new ridiculous number of $100bn being thrown around now its doubled from back in the good old days of $50bn

      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink |


        Hate to be pedantic, but we need to be when dealing with misleading figures like the Coalitions. The recent fibre test was 1Pbps over 12 fibre cores. Not one. That’s still a substantial 82Tbps over a single fibre and record breaking too over the old 23Tbps. But we just need to be careful. :-)

        • Anthony
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

          I’m unsure if you have that right…
          “NTT’s report states that it used a specially-designed optical fibre in which one fibre strand contained 12 “cores” – light paths within the fibre that don’t interact with each other’

          The way I read it, was 12 ‘light paths’ down one strand…..

          • Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |


            <i.NTT's report states that it used a specially-designed optical fibre in which one fibre strand contained 12 "cores" – light paths within the fibre that don't interact with each other. Each of those fibres carried an 84.5 Terabit-per-second signal to achieve the total 1 Pbps throughput.

            As I read that, there are 12 fibres AND 12 light “cores” within each fibre. Could be wrong, but that’s how I read it.

    6. Jeremy
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink |

      100 billion dollars? That’s nothing, several civil contractors and engineers have said the Coalition’s policy will cost 200 bajillion dollars. Your move, Hockey.

      Hey, making up numbers is fun! Let’s do this instead of discussing actual policy.

      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |


        If it’s good for the goose …

      • Mudguts
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink |

        Hockey should have put his little finger to his mouth in the style akin to Dr. Evil when he said $100 Billion. It would have at least been slightly amusing.

      • TechinBris
        Posted 09/10/2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink |

        Why didn’t he utilise his wonderful Eleventy number? That would have been the joke of the month! He really is a fantastic Comedian.

    7. OliphanT
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink |

      To be honest, if we get %7 return and build new national infrastructure to boot, who gives a toss what it costs. As long as the debt is paid down, the taxpayer essentially gets it for free as they end up paying nothing at all. People should remember that everyone who wants fixed broadband in this country will end up on the NBN. Eighteen months after NBN fibre goes live in your area the copper will be decommissioned. That means seven million Australian’s will be paying on average $50 per month. If you do the math, by the time the NBN is finished and construction has wound down, the revenue will be in the order of 350 million per month. Of which NBNCo will probably get 280 million. In four months you have paid down a billion of debt. There will be ongoing maintenance and upgrades of course but there is a lot of money to pay for it.

      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink |


        Indeed. I remember Quigley saying some few months back they have a profitability on fibre of about 70%….that’s above what Telstra gets!!

        • Michael
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink |

          Profitability above 70% which is greater than telstra.

          Telstra has to be broken up as it is abusing market power.

          Is (will) NBN Co be abusing monopoly power if it can generate profit margins greater than telstra?

          Destroying telstra to create a company that can earn even greater profits at consumer expense?

          • Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink |


            UNLIKE Telstra Michael, NBNCo. are highly regulated on their pricing, meaning if profitability is high, they cannot increase prices- see the latest SAU. They have also a mandate from government to provide only 7% return and above that to cut costs or, as I hope, to expand the network.

            I trust the people running NBNCo. a HELL of a lot more than Telstra. They get paid regardless and they work on behalf of the government and the Australian people. They have no motivation to make super profits by gouging customers with high wholesale prices.

            • Harimau
              Posted 05/10/2012 at 3:15 am | Permalink |

              When you say cut costs, are you talking about decreasing the rental price?

              • Anthony
                Posted 05/10/2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink |

                Things that NBNco could do with profits:

                Give more to the government – Likely
                Invest more in the rollout ie 10GPON and/or extend footprint – likely
                Reduce prices – Likely

                • PeterA
                  Posted 05/10/2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink |

                  Thats just it,

                  They aren’t allowed to give more to the government.
                  7% is pretty much all the government gets.
                  which means it can only go to more fibre, or cheaper prices.

                  Of course, they have to earn more than the 7% to get that. The numbers totally stack up for it to get it, but we shouldn’t count our chickens and all that.

                  • Anthony
                    Posted 05/10/2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink |

                    I agree.
                    Was only giving a balanced view.
                    Government can always change the rules.
                    AKA Superannuation…..

      • Horst Leykam
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

        “People should remember that everyone who wants fixed broadband in this country will end up on the NBN.”

        Actually… anyone who wants ANY fixed line comms to their place will be on the NBN… would not be surprised if that included cable TV as well…………

    8. Funny
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink |

      ok… so quoted in the article that some contractors have said in the article that it may cost $80 billion to build, but hey… NBN co said it wont… so yeah… we’d believe the company getting paid over repsected engineers with experience in the field and no bias to costing of the project… and then of course all the NBN riders all get on and miss the whole point of the article and pretend that there was a chance in hell that they were going to vote libera in the first place…. every article ends up with the same dumb comments from the same dumb people… its labourious

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink |

        “every article ends up with the same dumb comments from the same dumb people… its labourious”

        Indeed. I’m sure I’ve read an ill-informed comment like yours at least a 100 times already. You know what is really “dumb” the NBN could cost 1 trillion dollars to build and it makes NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. The number to be concerned about is how much the government is contributing. Divide that by 9 years. No so scary any more is it? Hope that helps. I’m sorry you are easily fooled by the coalitions scare campaign. btw Funny you know what is really funny; you changed your name thinking we wouldn’t notice you were the same “dumb” person making “dumb” comments. Sorry but you failed.

        • Funny
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink |

          Dont know what you’re referring too.. I have been commenting on Delimiter posts under this name for years… so if you are saying that I have changed it to hide from keyboard warriors like you then you are sadly mistaken. And it DOES matter how much it costs to build because then the majority of costs are going to come from taxpayer money. We need the NBN, BUT if you actually read my post instead of going for personal attacks… the clearest signt that you are out of your depth in any intellectual conversation, it was to point out that the suggestion that we should trust NBN co over unbiased engineers is nonsensical as they have a bias to their own agenda. See… how easy it is to have a logical argument without the personal insults Hubert?

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

            I believe you showed you were out of your depth first by stating “the same dumb comments from the same dumb people” ;o)

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink |

            “And it DOES matter how much it costs to build because then the majority of costs are going to come from taxpayer money.”


            “We need the NBN, BUT if you actually read my post instead of going for personal attacks…”

            You consider what I said a personal attack? Sorry but I’ve only used your descriptive word “dumb” from YOUR original comment. Do you also consider what you said a personal attack? If not then you are a hypocrite…

            “the clearest signt that you are out of your depth in any intellectual conversation”

            yep, I should have realised this when you said “every article ends up with the same dumb comments from the same dumb people”.

            “it was to point out that the suggestion that we should trust NBN co over unbiased engineers is nonsensical as they have a bias to their own agenda.”

            Your claim is that NBNco are biased. Before we go any further you have to prove this claim is true.

            “how easy it is to have a logical argument ”

            It is easy. Just one problem nothing you have said so far has been logical in any way shape or form.

          • ungulate
            Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

            “the majority of costs are going to come from taxpayers money”


            The NBN is funded by its users. Yes, the taxpayer has to borrow money to build it, but then the NBN charges people to use it and this pays back the money borrowed. Simple as that.

            What, do you think the NBN is for free or something?

      • Woolfe
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink |

        “There’s not really much to analyse here. NBN Co and Conroy have provided clear financial estimates for the NBN based on actual contracts which have been signed and actual customer take-up. In comparison, the Coalition has declined to provide the working for its own financial estimates. There just isn’t any evidence right now that what Turnbull and Hockey are saying is correct.”

        As Renai said, if the liberals ante up with some figures, people might start taking them a little more seriously.

        • Woolfe
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink |

          That didn’t come out correctly, So just to clarify

          Renai pointed out the lack of figures.

          I am saying that the Libs need to back up their statements with details, else they can’t be taken seriously.

      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink |


        I’ve not seen you post before. And I’ve been here 9 months….

        Anyway, point is, NBNCo. don’t need bias nor is there evidence they have it. They have some of the best people in the industry, both from Australia and the world building this network. Their reputations are riding on it being a success. Do you really believe they’d just go along with coatings cause it stays inside government guidelines despite the fact it might cost 3 times as much and collapse in a heap on the taxpayer??? This isn’t a bank or an investment house you know….

        The government may be biased. Actually, that’s stupid, of course they are. But the government aren’t building it. Nor are they managing the money they’re just the cheque writers. Also they didn’t do the implementation study which was WHERE THE COST CAME FROM.

        So, do you have any evidence NBNCo. are hiding numbers or signing contracts off the books? You do know the contracts cover anything from 1/3 to 3/4 of the build yeah? Meaning that the budget is mostly fixed?…..

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink |

        “some contractors have said in the article that it may cost $80 billion to build”

        So, who are these contractors? All those who have designed, costed and budgeted the NBN are known. Who are all these contractors? Where is there costing data? Seems I see only one reference to $80Bn and he seemed to have pulled the number out of his ar… thin air when asked. I would hope if he ever got a contract he’d cost it as thoroughly as NBNCo have before he names his figure.

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 05/10/2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink |

          Oooh Oooh!

          I’m a contractor!

          If you ask me real nicely I’ll even give you a cost estimate for the Coalitions NBN.

          Of course, my expertise in building telecom infrastructure is nill, but that’s really not the point here is it?

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 05/10/2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink |

            You have one advantage over the Coalitions sources. You seem to be real and contactable.

            • GongGav
              Posted 05/10/2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink |

              I can get an expert to give an estimate as well if you like. She’s an expert nail technician… Her estimate is “about $43 billion”.

      • arcc
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink |

        I for one would believe the Coalition a whole lot more if they actually named their so-called respected industry sources. Sure, they’ve quoted people & companies in relation to overseas roll-outs and costs, but when in comes to Australia, names & companies of these respected sources are mysteriously lacking. Funny that.

        • Posted 08/10/2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink |

          If Labor has ‘The Faceless Men’, then the liberals surely have ‘The Faceless Sources’.

      • Mudguts
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

        @Funny. Contractors are over charging to do work?!? Say it ain’t so. Seriously I can’t imagine any contractor saying they’ll charge less than they’ve been offered to do some work….

    9. Paul
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink |

      I can see that the NBN can and likely will cost over $100Bn, as this is what usually happens when governments change, necessary projects are scaled back, cancelled, or replaced with a sub-standard alternative and then have to be reinstated at a later date for a much greater capital outlay. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that the cost will far exceed the $100bn figure if you take into account the outlay in work arounds and the opportunity cost of not investing now, i.e. what will we miss out on in terms of efficiency and productivity by not having a NBN?

      At the end of the day we need it and if we don’t get it now we will still need it and will get it later at greater cost.

      • Funny
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink |

        Completely agree we need it, believe me I live in Tarneit and we cant get internet at all, I cant even get a decent mobile phone signal, but to suggest that we shuold trust the company who is building it over a respect engineer is ludicrous

        • Zok
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink |

          What’s even more ludicrous is blindly trusting a politician who’s shown his ignorance of both engineering and economics time and time again, quoting anonymous “respected engineers” in support of his nebulous arguments.

          On the other hand, actual respected engineers, with names and real life experience in broadband projects all over the world, are telling us that what Coalition is proposing as the alternative to the NBN makes no sense.

          Ideology and partisanship can make people believe anything, I guess.

        • Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink |

          To respect an engineer is one thing, the company they work for is another entirely different matter.

          NBNCo is full of very skilled engineers. I would trust them more than the flavor of government thats elected at the time.

          I dont always see eye to eye with my company – but I do have respect for the engineers I work with. Purely because those decisions arent mine to be made; just mine to carry out.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink |

          “but to suggest that we shuold trust the company who is building it over a respect engineer is ludicrous”

          Whats his name?

        • raymond
          Posted 05/10/2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink |

          ncnco dont have engineers? of course they do, lots of them, how do you think they planned the network?

        • PeterA
          Posted 05/10/2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink |

          I don’t trust anyone in a contentious debate that won’t put their name to their comments.

          So, I would ask that “respected [by who?] engineer” to provide evidence for his assertion.

          You only take his word if you respect him. Without a name we can’t respect him. Therefore, I put it to you and Mr Hockey, This engineer is an unknown and not very respectable at all.. Until someone provides evidence to the contrary.

          Oh, and before you claim I am “trusting” NBNco, I’m not. I look at the evidence they have provided. You see, I am not “trusting” them, I am using their evidence to validate their claims!

          I have to trust Joe Hockey that his comments are lies. I can read NBNCos evidence and decide for myself. See the difference?

      • Anthony
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink |

        One of the biggest causes of blow outs on any project is ‘change of scope’.
        Which, evidently, is what the coalition want to do.
        If you start building a railroad across the nullabor, and then say, I know, we’ll make it cheaper and faster if we use timber sleepers instead of concrete ones, and instead go to Darwin. It’s going to cost you double or triple…
        ‘Oh, but it was the other guys that were in before us that blew the budget… They started building it….’

      • Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |


        I can see it costing more than $100 billion too IF the Coalition get their hands on it. Under the same government I can’t see it costing more than $50 billion. Do you agree?

      • Mudguts
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink |

        @Paul, actually it will most likely cost less under the Coalition, because the Atomic Banana is a 3rd rate outdated thing.

        Expect Abbott to shaft Turnbull, cancel the NBN and sell off what’s been delivered.

        Cut, slash, crush, kill, destroy! The motto of the Liberal Party under Tony Abbott.

    10. Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

      26.5 Billion + Eleventy Billion = 100 Billion Right ?

      Hockeynomics at its finest.

      • Anthony
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |


      • Grey Wind
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink |

        Perhaps i will gift him a new calculator with a witty note attached.

    11. Mike
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

      Joe is in all likelihood quite correct in his estimation of $100 B considering the coalition will deploy FTTN , pay an ongoing subsidy to rural users, need to negotiate the purchase of Telstras copper, perform a CBA and then realize half way through the rollout like N.Z. FTTN doesn’t cut it then deploy FTTP all at taxpayers expense. So yes $100B certainly appears accurate of doing it their way.

    12. Tinman_au
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink |

      Anyone else notice they resort to the old jouno trick (used a lot in The Oz) of “sources close to” and “several highly respected *insert role here* have told us”.

      You can effectively ignore anything they say after that, anything that follows it is made up.

      • Anthony
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

        Because it’s in the cheaper and faster handbook…


      • ungulate
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

        Yes, like the “expert” that the Liberals dragged into Senate Hearings that said that the BER was “costing 7 billion dollars too much”..

        Only the guy proved not to be an expert and has long ago been thoroughly discredited.

        Didn’t stop The Australian from publishing the “billions” line. Didn’t stop lots of people believing in it.

        Now that the facts are in and its been determined that the premium paid on the BER for haste was more like 6%, is The Australian publishing a front page retraction?

        Its the same technique being used on the NBN. And its the same dodgy, self interested and politically motivated “experts”.

        Remember how Henry Ergas was trotted out saying “it’ll cost over $200 per month retail to use the NBN”? Then when he disgraced himself the Liberal simply moved on and tried the same tactic with others.

    13. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink |

      Who are these un-named engineers, sources? Why arent they ever named?

      • Steven
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

        Well, Steve Fielding is an engineer… if he was the source for your numbers, would you name him?

    14. Simon Reidy
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink |

      100 Billion now? Why stop there? Just call it an even 100 gazillion dollars, if you’re going to insist on pulling numbers out of your rear end!

      Poor Hockey. He’s always had problems with complex mathematical algorithms, like addition.

    15. Tailgator
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

      4th par. Missing ” ” ? :-)

    16. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink |

      I just consulted an expert, an he thinks FTTN could cost as much as $400 BILLION.. Got his workings on a Napkin..

      • Steven
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink |

        Should have got it in an email… no way those can be faked.

    17. Marc
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink |

      So if the Coalition won’t release their cost estimates because they don’t have access to all the contractual details that NBNCo has, then how are the engineers privy to that information?

      Surely the Coalition could get these so-called engineers onto their team to come up with the cost estimates for their NBN plan because they obviously have access to the data that the Libs don’t.

    18. Observer
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

      I know why they have gone from 50 to 100 billion.
      They have worked out that their “vision” is going to cost over 50 billion.
      So to keep their “cheaper’ promise, they have raised the cost of the NBN .

      As for “There is not one contractor in Australia that believes the Government is going to roll out its National Broadband Network for $32 billion.”.

      Thank you Joe and funny. I never realised that what people believe is much more reliable than a carefully costed budget.

    19. Simon Reidy
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink |

      Did anyone else think of Dr Evil when reading this? :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTmXHvGZiSY

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink |

        Instantly. I was going to finish reading the comments before posting something similar to you. You saved me rummaging around for a link.

      • Dave
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

        Yes actually, that’s exactly what I was thinking of…

    20. The lone gunmen
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink |

      The first NBN was suppose to be 4 billion, next version was over 50 billion, that was quickly change to 40 odd billion. The NBN is already running over budget, but without a cost benefit analysis how would you know? It does however have all the hallmarks of a project out of control and that includes its overall cost.

      But readers here are more interested in making excuses and name calling because they want, at any cost, their taxpayer subsidised NBN. Just remember you also gets the blacklist from the government, together with ongoing surveillance, but at least its at high speed.

      • Rhys
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink |

        Is that you Malcom?

        • Hubert Cumberdale
          Posted 04/10/2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink |

          Rhys don’t mind him, he just finds the whole NBN debate overwhelming and confusing so his opposition to the NBN is purely political. Not to be taken seriously at all; consider that he posts on Andrew Bolts blog and agrees with everything he says…

      • Observer
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink |

        Lone gunmen

        You should post more often. You are so eloquent and entertaining. I just love your persistence in the face of adversity. I know that regardless of what anyone say for you the NBN will always be an out of control taxpayer subsidised project.

        Don’t be shy. Come back soon to enlighten us further with your wisdom. When you do, however, watch that past tense. It might give the wrong impression about your obviously superb intellect.

      • raymond
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink |

        you know what, 100b is nothing over 10 years, and its setup to make money so it will eventually pay that all back.

        what the LNP are proposing is nothing but a money pit, it will never make money and will need constant massive subsidies to be affordable.

        id rather take the chance of having something making a profit than a dead certain loser.

      • PeterA
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink |


        Whats the alternative plan TLG? I’ll support that when you tell me what it is.

    21. Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

      Wow….the trolls are out and some are offensive today….

      • ungulate
        Posted 04/10/2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink |

        Yep, its like with the Woolworths facebook page. Their head of consumer and political relations got caught out providing a chaff bag jacket (signed by Alan Jones) to a young Libs function, and actually MCing the function and after about a thousand comments ended up on the fb page asking him to be sacked, the Liberal trolls showed up and generally lowered the tone of the conversation to that of a drunken party full of delinquent teenagers.

        Who was it that said, if you can’t run a meeting, wreck it?

    22. MikeK
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

      As usual Joe’s got it all confused again, that 100b is actually Joes yearly food bill, not the cost of the NBN.

    23. Simon Shaw
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink |

      Personally, although I am an NBN supporter, I would not be surprised if the NBN went massively over budget and behind schedule.

      That said, I think any project like this, especially a government one, has a tendency to do this. (Yes, yes in theory NBNCO isn’t a Govt entity, but in this instance it may as well be one).

      I just hope it comes in roughly on budget and roughly on time.

      • PeterA
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink |

        That’s just it, no one is putting a name, or any evidence behind the cost-overrun claims.

        No one believes that after 10 years building, it will cost exactly the amount as defined on the ticket price we are holding now.

        But crucially, no one is providing any better evidence than the ticket price we have. Hockeys 100 billion dollars is the definition of untrustworthy. It is without trust. It is without a name for gods sake. This is before we even get to the question of evidence* to back it up.

        We can’t rely on these comments from Hockey, without some evidence. We cant even believe his claim that it is a “trusted” source. You can’t trust someone without knowing what their history is. You can blindly follow that person, (because you are metaphorically blind) but you can’t trust them. Anyone that believes the 100 billion dollar figure is blindly following.

        On the flip side, we know who the NBNco forecasters are, we know what evidence they base their claims on. We don’t need to trust them. We can check their numbers and assumptions and can come up with their numbers or not. The fact that no one calls them out on their numbers that they have released except for unnamed untrustworthy so-called experts implies that the NBN Co numbers are rock solid, and no longer a matter of “trust”.

        * Gut Feelings are not evidence.

    24. socrates
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink |

      Of course NBN ‘could’ cost $100Bn.

      Or it ‘could’ cost $9,676,000,000 plus GST.

      Both figures are equally fatuous.

      Back in the real world, it seems to be a measure of desperation by the Coalition that they have:

      Claimed and then abandoned the claim that wireless will be all we need;

      Claimed and then abandoned the claim that fibre will ‘soon’ be superseded by some unknown tech;

      Claimed and then abandoned the claim that ‘only tech zealots’ could possibly want NBN; and

      Claimed and are still forlornly attempting to claim that NBN ‘could’ cost $100BN, $150BN, whatever…

    25. Markie Linhart
      Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink |

      The thing that amazes me about this bloke is that he can spout all this bollocks with a straight face.

      Yesterday on News24 when asked about the RBA’s cut in interest rates he actually said (shaking his head for emphasis) that the rate DROP was partly due to the carbon ‘tax’!

      I rest my case your honour…

      • Tony Healy
        Posted 07/10/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

        Joe is the dick who was gung-ho about WorkChoices until five minutes after it cost them the 2007 election.

        Then he suddenly decided it wasn’t really a very good idea.

        Nice guy Joe. Wil say anything for food or votes.

    26. Posted 04/10/2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink |


      Actually, that would make sense in the way he is talking about it. A rate drop by the RBA to stimulate spending because the Carbon Tax is stagnating customer spending.

      The fact that there’s absolutely ZERO evidence for that fact however, doesn’t seem to matter much to him….or Abbott for that matter….

      • Anthony
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink |

        @Seven Tech

        The reason the economy is slowing is because it’s cyclical.

        Usually goes 2 up 2 down

        We’ve had 2 up and 1 down over the last 20 or so years…

        The reason it’s cyclical, is because the world is cyclical.
        Tides go in tides go out
        Sun goes up, Sun goes down.
        We wake up, we lay down.
        We run around like our heads are cut off chanting Keep Positive Keep Positive Keep Postive.
        We then realise we are stupid, and we should take a bit of time off and spend with our family…. :-P

        If we take time off…. We spend less…
        Kinda self evident if you look at it…

        The economy is likely to grow, just slower than it did for the last 20 years.
        Or it might find some boost and pick up again.
        Or it could take a dive..

        I’m actually a bit hazey really… My crystal ball is a bit dirty….
        Lowering interest rates isn’t really likely to boost the economy, as ma and pa kettle are in the most hock they’ve ever been (even if governments hock is still at all time lows..)
        But when ma and pa kettle realise that the world isn’t going to end, they’ll pick up the purse again and start spending….

    27. GongGav
      Posted 05/10/2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink |

      For some reason, this reminds me of a Gruen Transfer moment. The smart cookies there went and registered the name “9 out of 10 experts”…

      • Simon Reidy
        Posted 05/10/2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

        9 out of 10 experts are saying Hockey computes all his NBN figures and scienctific interent research at the prestigious Pond’s Institute, so there’s no way he could be wrong.

    28. Goresh
      Posted 05/10/2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

      Obviously the NBN could cost a trillion dollars if you are prepared to gold plate it enough because as population density drops, cost rise exponentially, but it won’t because the lines are drawn toensure it wont.

      In fact, if you recall, the footprint was actually extended slightly once more accurate gauging of costs was possible.

    29. sb
      Posted 05/10/2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink |

      Yes the NBN could cost $100 billion. Its quite easy to do this.
      First you let the liberal parties village idiot stop the existing installation then install his FTTN proposal. approx 3 years later you realise its inadequate and we should have had FTTP all along (as the UK found out) Then commence the rest of the FTTP as should have happened in the first place.

      I fear for Australia, as this is exactly what Tony Abbott (the liberal parties village idiot) will impose on Australia whether we like it or not.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 08/10/2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink |

        The only problem with what your saying, is that like under John Howard, the Libs wont have a “Stage 2″ section where they go FTTN->FTTP. The Howard government only spent maintenance level funding on infrastructure in Australia, which is why health, roads, telecoms, et al were all the problem they were once Labor got in.

    30. DavidStHubbins
      Posted 15/10/2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink |

      I’m on 20MB cable. It’s fast enough when the server I’m connecting to is fast enough. Does everyone think that having an NBN connection is magically going to improve server connection speed at the other end? Oh thats right you guys are just Gen Y kids who only need fast peer to peer sharing because it means you can steal music, movies and software quicker. Really good for the economy that is. Or maybe you sit 2 inches from a 27″ monitor so really need those extra pixels on a video link.

      And suppose it does ‘only’ cost $37B. What about the installation costs that households have to pay? (or lose telecommunications completely once the copper is ripped out as per agreement). What about the above normal data costs for current connections? I do not want NBN. I have NO use for it. And no, monkeys aren’t going to fly out of my rs if I have it and tell me how I can magically become more productive with it…

      When you have a government with limited practical business experience cost blowouts do happen; again, again and again. Just look at the fiscal deficit. Why was there no cost benefit analysis done on the NBN? To see how Labour governments do business just look at the previous Victorian state government – Myki and Smartmeters. Victoria could have employed ticket inspectors on every tram/train indefinitely at a lower cost. Or just let everyone ride for free. Or kept the status quo and flown a rover to Mars. Astronomically expensive. Maybe just maybe they could have thrown some of that wasted money into roading.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 15/10/2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

        “I’m on 20MB cable. It’s fast enough when the server I’m connecting to is fast enough. Does everyone think that having an NBN connection is magically going to improve server connection speed at the other end?”

        Do you think by 2020 your speed requirements won’t have increased by many orders of magnitude by then?

        “I do not want NBN. I have NO use for it. And no, monkeys aren’t going to fly out of my rs if I have it and tell me how I can magically become more productive with it…”

        If that is the case why did you upgrade from dialup. Surely if it was good enough 10 years ago it still is.

        “Maybe just maybe they could have thrown some of that wasted money into roading.”

        Why? I find the roads perfect adequate for my needs. I can go 200kmph on them easily and the limit is only 100kmph. They are way over engineered and a waste of money.

      • Posted 15/10/2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |


        Oh thats right you guys are just Gen Y kids who only need fast peer to peer sharing because it means you can steal music, movies and software quicker. Really good for the economy that is. Or maybe you sit 2 inches from a 27″ monitor so really need those extra pixels on a video link.

        Wow. Have you heard of this thing called stereotyping? I freely admit, when I was a teenager a few years ago and had little money and little sense, I did pirate a few dozen tv show episodes and about 3 albums. But now I’ve realised 5 or 6 years later what the world runs on….I don’t pirate at all and have bought many times over the number I pirated.

        You know that “economy” you talk about? You know how much the internet and connectivity brings to it in this country? About $50 Billion a year and climbing. And you know how many businesses would fold without access to it? Hundreds of thousands. Internet is not just about “downloading pirated movies/music and junk”. The NBN is about connectivity for EVERY SINGLE PERSON in this country. Connectivity that can be USED- there are MILLIONS of people in this country with sub-par broadband (<5Mbps) and even ISDN and Dial-up, not to mention poor quality and expensive commercial satellite. This WILL NOT CHANGE under either the status quo OR a Coalition FTTN solution. The COPPER is what causes this. The NBN is also about ubiquitous connectivity- making sure EVERYONE has a minimum level of access. That's better even than water or sewerage- both of which many people have to pay to have connected or cannot get at all.

        I’m on 20MB cable. It’s fast enough when the server I’m connecting to is fast enough. Does everyone think that having an NBN connection is magically going to improve server connection speed at the other end?

        Firstly 20Mbps??? You’re one of about 900 000 Australian premises that is lucky enough to have access to this….of the 12 MILLION premises that we have….. Second, the servers you’re talking about? Well, what happens when all of them are on the NBN where not only is it faster, but, more importantly for businesses and server hosters, CHEAPER to provide that Upload speed? Oh, that’s right, all those servers get faster. Currently, to get even 10Mbps upload is HUNDREDS of dollars a month for server hosting. Under the NBN, it’ll be tens of dollars a month.

        And suppose it does ‘only’ cost $37B. What about the installation costs that households have to pay? (or lose telecommunications completely once the copper is ripped out as per agreement)

        Households pay ZERO CONNECTION FEES. You seem to have been listening to Mr Hockey again, in respect to the NBN:


        Renai: I simply cannot believe that our democracy allows senior politicians such as Joe Hockey to make factually inaccurate claims such as the idea that 4G mobile broadband has the potential to exceed the capacity of fibre, or that connecting to the NBN will cost Australians up to $1,000.

        It will cost Australians NOTHING to connect to the NBN, other than if they choose to upgrade their hardware at the same time, as is the same now on ADSL. And there are plenty of options not to- iPrimus, iinet, SkyMesh- all offer $0 connection to the NBN, WITH your current hardware. The migration to the NBN is being heavily publicised and ALL consumers will be contacted by their provider to make a timely switch, often with bonuses for doing so early. Oh and the copper is NOT being ripped out unless viable for Telstra to sell it. That WOULD be a waste of money. It is simply being switched off. You are simply incorrect.

        What about the above normal data costs for current connections?

        Current NBN plans are CHEAPER than most ADSL plans or similar price for higher speed and more quota. Tell me, can you get 100Mbps + 300GB for $70 a month on your cable plan?…..cause you can on Exetel NBN fibre….

        Why was there no cost benefit analysis done on the NBN?

        Several reasons, including the fact that doing a CBA on an inherently difficult to quantify benefit of digital connectivity would not represent the benefit to society. The Sydney Harbour Bridge’s “CBA” (it wasn’t a genuine CBA by the way, if you read up about it) was out of date before it was completed….and that was a PHYSICAL STRUCTURE. Wonder what would happen to a CBA on a project that has inherent virtual characteristics….

        To see how Labour governments do business just look at the previous Victorian state government – Myki and Smartmeters.

        It’s Labor by the way….just saying….Mixing State and Federal governments in your argument just reinforces the fact that it is a poor argument. Many Liberal State governments have been in charge of blown out project costs too. But could you tell me of an actual Federal government project (outside of Defense) that cost substantially more than it was supposed to and failed utterly to deliver? BER maybe? I’m not sure 6% counts as “substantially more” and it delivered to thousands of schools. HIP perhaps? Again, I don’t think 7-8% could be counted as “substantially more” and it delivered to 1.2 Million homes. Do you have some others?

        Maybe just maybe they could have thrown some of that wasted money into roading.

        And here is where your argument comes undone completely- the NBN is bonds borrowed funding. It cannot be used, under any normal circumstances, for roads, rail, hospitals, schools, health or any other normal budget item. Removing it wouldn’t actually save any money. It would cost, because the uncompleted NBN would then have no investment potential and would therefore have its’ entire cost unceremoniously dumped on budget. If left to completion, even costing MORE than $37 Bn, it WILL see a return and therefore ultimately cost nothing. How do I appear to have this clairvoyance? Well, NBNCo. has done these “hideously expensive”deals with the Industry, including Telstra and Optus, meaning all those using copper and HFC now, WILL use the NBN in the future, as you say “forcing them” to pay back the NBN. In the process, it will likely save them money and/or give them better quality of service. What an AWFUL scenario, having to use a BETTER technology for predominantly LESS money…..

        Perhaps I could suggest not reading The Australian or The Telegraph for a few days. And maybe Andrew Bolt too.

      • Anthony
        Posted 16/10/2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink |

        Dear DavidStHubbins,

        With all due respect, we can do without the stereo typing.
        I often chat with people who are way over 60 (one was 80) who understand the need for the NBN (and they are online..). But it is only because they asked the questions did they begin to understand. They didn’t start with insults or stereotyping.

        Piracy – Eminem for example, understood the power of piracy. He uploaded his music for the world to see and because very rich because it was free advertising. I don’t condone stealing but understand that the best form of advertising is Word of Mouth. For everyone who pirates a Song or a CD, there is just as many who buy the CD/song, if only from iTunes. I’d suggest you do a little more research before you pidgen hole people.

        As for Myki and Smart meters, they are a Victorian rollout. Not Federal. A man of your vintage should know the difference by now. I am 30 and I do. And the word is Labor, Not Labour.

        I personally don’t believe in everything Labor stand for. Similarly, I don’t believe in everything Liberal stands for. The world isn’t that black and white to naively believe ideals. If you don’t think that Labor has the business experience to run a government, that is fine, that is your opinion. But I will point out, that running a country, isn’t a business. Just like running a home, isn’t running a business. The two are totally different and should never be confused. I’m sure a man of your wisdom understands this.

        What we do understand is that internet needs double every few years, and for the people (that 100%) to be able to access what they need, copper won’t do. And hence the need for a fibre rollout.

        The NBN is a very interesting topic, and there is much to learn about in the in’s and out’s. However all figures show ‘We do need those speeds’. And the coalitions cries that they can ‘do it cheaper and faster’ are unfounded. As all evidence points to the contrary. Especially in Australia that has a very spread population.

        If I may be so bold as to give a wise man advice, it would be very careful what you read in the media (especially one that is 75% controlled by one man). The internet gives us a ‘vehicle’ to check and cross check facts and opinions, and it gives us the ability to do this a lightning speeds. This is a good thing, and in my opinion, would still be a good thing, if it cost twice as much…

        Anthony Wasiukiewicz

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink |


        “I’m on 20MB cable. It’s fast enough when the server I’m connecting to is fast enough.”

        Is it fast enough when the wife and kids are on too, or do you live alone?

        “Does everyone think that having an NBN connection is magically going to improve server connection speed at the other end?”

        Are all the servers you connect to run by companies that cant afford decent infrastructure or do you sometimes connect to Amazon/Netflix where even your 20mbps doesn’t go near maxing the connection?

        “Oh thats right you guys are just Gen Y kids who only need fast peer to peer sharing because it means you can steal music, movies and software quicker.”

        Actually, I’m 50 and I work with software (3gb+ files) that i need to download and update all the time, what do you use the Internet for, porn and emails?

        “Really good for the economy that is. Or maybe you sit 2 inches from a 27″ monitor so really need those extra pixels on a video link.”

        Software _is_ good for the economy, you should see what the industries worth some time…And I have 3 x 27″ monitors, but I sit 18″ away from them….something to do with your eye sight going as you get older…can’t wait till I can do HD video confs, be nice to have sharper/clears video feeds for a change…

        “lots of other waffling about Liberal talking points”

        Um…yeah, whatever mate….

    31. Simon Shaw
      Posted 31/10/2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink |

      I am a huge fan of the NBN concept, but even I am beginning to really worry that the deployment is far too slow.

      I have been monitoring Applecross, WA (6153).
      Now Applecross was one of the early starters in the NBN project and is a proposed point of interconnect.

      Last work was scheduled to commence April 2012. NBN map data says that 12 months after this, services should be available.

      I have seen little evidence of work in the area, it is clear some work is being done. However, considering there are now only 6 months left to complete rollout in this area I am dubious in the extreme that service will be available by April 2013.

      If this is symptomatic of the rollout as a whole, it’s enough to make me lose confidence that the project will be rolled out on time and on budget.
      The NBNCo map is also very static, some information updates would be nice. (A rough % complete would be great).

      Simon Shaw.

      • Posted 31/10/2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink |


        Just because you see no work going on in particular areas at particular times, does not mean things aren’t happening.

        The rollout start was delayed by 9 months. As such, many areas have had their times pushed back. But this is a once off delay- current numbers show the newly started schedule from March this year (compared with July last year) as on time.

        NBNCo. are also doing all they can to catch up on this delay and expect it to only be 6 months behind overall by end of rollout, if not less.

        We are 6 months into a 9 year build- taking numbers and times out of context and perspective helps no one. Patience is a virtue. By June next year, people will be wondering why we were complaining about nothing getting done.

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