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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:40 - 125 Comments

    Market better to deliver broadband, says Abbott

    news Tony Abbott this week said the private sector could deliver broadband cheaper and more swiftly than the Government’s National Broadband Network project, in comments which Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said illustrated a growing divide between the Opposition Leader and Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    According to Turnbull, the Coalition’s current broadband policy focuses on immediately commissioning the Productivity Commission to conduct a cost/benefit analysis into how best to pursue the nation’s broadband needs, and then likely changing the NBN model to pursue a fibre to the node, instead of fibre to the home strategy. The Coalition would also likely continue the current policy of using wireless and satellite technologies to serve rural and regional areas, pursue the separation of Telstra’s wholesale and retail operations, and maintain the HFC cable networks operated by Telstra and Optus.

    However, in an opinionated article published in the Financial Review newspaper this week with respect to the Federal Budget, Abbott appeared to reject parts of that model. “Government spending will come down because we will end Labor’s waste, we won’t throw good money after bad on the NBN when faster broadband can more affordably and more swiftly be delivered through a competitive market,” the Opposition Leader wrote.

    The comments appear to refer more to the broadband policy which the Coalition took to the 2010 Federal Election, which focused on incentivising the telecommunications market to deliver broadband outcomes, rather than Turnbull’s approach, which, like Labor’s, would feature dramatic government intervention in the sector.

    Abbott’s comments reflect the second time over the past several weeks that Abbott has appeared to make a statement contracting Turnbull’s position on an issue. Several weeks ago, for example, Abbott said a Coalition Government would “pause” the Federal Government’s NBN project and save money in the Federal Budget by doing so. “Now, if we can get our borders under control, if we can pause with unnecessary white elephants such as the National Broadband Network, I am confident that we can make the savings that will be needed to give the forgotten families of Australia the cost of living relief that they deserve,” he said.

    Abbott’s comments appeared to refer to the persistent Coalition idea that the tens of billions of dollars the Federal Government is investing in its NBN project should be classified as an expense under the Federal Budget; an expense which could be cut to and re-allocated to other projects. However, the Coalition is believed to have been factually incorrect in its claims that the NBN funding should be included on the Federal Budget as an expense and could thus be cut to save money. Most of the funding for the NBN does not appear in the Budget, as, according to accounting standards, it is not an expense as generally understood, but is actually an investment expected to generate (according to its corporate plan) a modest return of 7.1 percent on the Government’s investment, over the period through to 2030.

    According to a research note published last year by the Parliamentary Library of Australia, Labor is technically correct on this matter, and the Coalition is wrong. “Australia has adopted internationally accepted accounting standards, and these are applied in the budget treatment of the NBN,” the library’s Brian Dalzell, who works in its economics division, wrote in the report.

    Turnbull has over the past several years made a number of similar statements. However, in early September, facing substantial criticism on the issue from the Government and industry commentators, in a small note published at the end of a lengthy response to a critique of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy by Business Spectator, Turnbull appeared to acknowledge the correctness of the NBN budget treatment — a position which would be the reverse of the one Abbott appeared to take today.

    “Under the accounting rules the expenditure on the NBN does not count towards the budget outcome – so much deficit or surplus – but it is cash – real money – nonetheless and it does add to the debt burden of Australians,” Turnbull said at the time.

    Abbott’s comments come as the Opposition Leader continues to appear to take a dissimilar view of telecommunications policy than Turnbull. In general, Abbott’s views on the NBN over the past several years have focused around cancelling or dramatically winding back the project. In comparison, Turnbull’s comments on the matter have increasingly focused on changing the technology used in the project — moving to a fibre to the node rollout, instead of Labor’s more ambitious fibre to the home plan — while still using much of the current structure of the current NBN project.

    For example, in June news Turnbull 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. This appears to have led to concerns by some Coalition backbenchers that Turnbull’s approach is too similar to that of Labor.

    In a statement released this morning, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said it was Abbott, rather than Turnbull, who “calls the shots” on Coalition broadband policy. “Over the last ten months, the Opposition Spokesman, Mr Turnbull, has delivered 20 speeches, issued 36 media releases, and sent 1,341 tweets, but still has not released a broadband policy,” Conroy said. “While Mr Turnbull professes a commitment to fast broadband, Tony Abbott does not. While Mr Turnbull has now acknowledged that the investment in the NBN is not part of the budget expenditure, Tony Abbott does not. While Mr Turnbull has said the Coalition will roll out a broadband network, Tony Abbott does not support him.”

    “In just the last two weeks Mr Abbott has again labelled the NBN an ‘unnecessary white elephant’; he has said that he would ‘pause’ the NBN to make budget savings; and he has stated that he will simply rely on the ‘competitive market’. It is time Mr Turnbull cleared up the confusion by admitting the Coalition will not build the NBN and that everything he has said for the last year is a sham.”

    opinion/analysis
    It is perhaps true that journalists such as yours truly and Conroy himself are making a mountain out of a molehill here in alleging that there is a gulf between Abbott and Turnbull when it comes to broadband policy. I don’t think Abbott is actively attempting to sabotage Turnbull or to illustrate a policy difference between them. Personally, I think it is just that Abbott does not fundamentally understand broadband policy in general, and the personal differences between former Opposition Leader Turnbull and the man who ousted him several years ago are too great for them to work closely enough on common messaging in this area and on Abbott’s education.

    There is, of course, no love lost between Abbott and Turnbull. If Abbott falls, many expect that Turnbull will be one of the leading candidates to take the Coalition’s reins once again (or could it be Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, who has also demonstrated a poor understanding of broadband?). And they also come from fundamentally different political backgrounds; Turnbull being a liberalist in the traditional sense of the word, and Abbott being an arch-conservative; and a religious one.

    However, Conroy’s also fundamentally right. Turnbull has not yet actually delivered a formal Coalition broadband policy; all we have to go by right now are speeches, tweets, press releases and blogs. We don’t know whether Turnbull has taken such a policy to the Shadow Cabinet for approval; but one suspects that he has not, given Abbott’s poor understanding of the policy dynamic in the portfolio.

    Liberal Party research showed after the 2010 Federal Election that poor broadband policy was a key reason it didn’t win government. One can only hope, for the Coalition’s sake, that it does not make the same mistake twice. Of course, one must also realise that if Labor does retain power in the next Federal Election, that Labor’s NBN project would proceed. At this stage, in the absence of a better policy, this is an objectively good thing. 100Mbps broadband to almost every residence and business premise in Australia? Labor’s NBN policy has its own flaws. But underlying it is the prospect of a massive improvement in basic service delivery; and that’s something we should all be able to agree on.

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    125 Comments

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    1. iceyone
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink |

      SIGH!!!

      Private Enterprise has had 20 years to do something!

      Giving more money to Telstra to fix up black spots will not work – it’s time the government invested in Australia’s infrastructure and bought us in to the 21st century!

    2. Brad Cann
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

      Personally Renai, I think you need to stop giving free advertising to the coalition, every time they make a factually incorrect statement, they get free play from everyone, which in my mind actually helps make it more real because endless sites and media agencies give it air time, even if it is to only correct them.

      Those that know the difference in accounting and why we need FTTH, know already, whereas those that don’t will probably never know or change their mind. Its like an atheist who suddenly see’s god and still says there is no god,once peoples mind is made up next to nothing is going to change their mind.

      • Zok
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

        This may be true for many (and probably is true for majority, actually)… however, in a situation where public support for parties is close to 50:50, next election could be decided by a very small number of voters. It is more important than ever to hold politicians accountable and to strongly and visibly correct any and all untruths and misrepresentations, and even if that only affects a very tiny percentage of people, it might prove crucial in deciding the future direction of the government.

        • Graham R
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink |

          +1

        • Michael
          Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink |

          I agree, the level of depth and analysis applied to IT sector in politics has significantly improved public debate (on this topic). It would be a sad day if poor arguments were allowed to slide or factualy incorrect statements not corrected. If only this level of media scrutiny was applied to other sectors as well.

      • H Simpson
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink |

        It seems Renai is happy to republish numerous untrue headlines simply to get hits on his page.

        It doesn’t really matter if you write 10 pages to dispute it, the typical lemming will only read the headline and ignore anything else.

        • Austcc
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink |

          Actually the headline Renai wrote is factually true. If it was written by an editor at the Australian, it would have said “Market better to deliver broadband”. That little phrase “says ” makes all the difference.

          Learnt that the hard way seeing an obviously wrong headline in an Australian article on NBN months ago, Something way off like saying that fibre was not future proof. I read halfway down the article (which incidentally was balanced and well written) without seeing any reference to the outragous headline. Went back to the top to check that I did not misread the headline (I did not). Then finished reading the article, and three quarters of the way down, there was that outragous statement – spoken by an opposition spokeman. And that was it! The headline had nothing to do with almost the whole article, just that one sentence. And it conveniently did not mention the speaker of the statement – implying that the outragously wrong statement was factual.

          That was when I learnt that reporters write articles, but editors write headlines. And if you have a biased editor, the headlines are just a bunch of lies, regardless of how well written the article is.

    3. Dy4me
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

      Tony Abbott this week said the private sector could deliver broadband cheaper and more swiftly

      And yet after 11 years of Liberal’s in power we got the same old thing from the private sector. Mostly because the existing infrastructure “Telstra’s copper” has reached its limit and is now aging…So we are actually going backwards as the copper deteriorates.
      The whole reason why the government needs to build a better network….NBN FTTH, which unlike copper doesnt get worse over time. and has near infinite future upgrade potential .

      Saying the private sector will provide broadband cheaper and more swiftly is all talk. If that was the case, they had the past decade to do that. But they didnt. Simply cuz no single company other than telstra has the ability or resources to do so. And Telstra quiet like their current monopoly.

      • Posted 03/11/2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink |

        And yet after 11 years of Liberal’s in power we got the same old thing from the private sector.

        Why don’t you try being just a teensy bit honest about what private enterprise managed to achieve in communications during those 11 years?

        Start by listing the products and speeds that were available each year please, and the national takeup.

        • NBNAlex
          Posted 03/11/2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

          @ Tel

          Of course speeds increased over the previous 15 years (and as that did occur and as the laws clearly suggest, this will keep occurring, hence our need for a FttP NBN… I digress).

          But the speeds only improved as much as Telstra would allow them to, for their own commercial benefit. They owned the PSTN and others either resold re-badged Telstra or placed DSLAMs into Telstra exchanges and accessed Telstra’s network. Being so, network based competition wasn’t actual it was a farce. Weekly trips to the ACCC/Courts, fines, etc…

          Remember too, all of those ADSL2+ enabled exchanges not being switched over because it didn’t suit Telstra? They wanted assurances that these exchanges wouldn’t be open access (‘no competition’). So they weren’t switched over until 2008 (iirc). Ironically soon after they switched them on, they offered access anyway :/

          And while we were being denied ADSL2+ on commercial grounds, countries such as Japan had been rolling out fibre since the late 90′s and by the same year we were finally allowed ADSL2+, Japan’s FttH numbers had already eclipsed their DSL numbers. That’s how far behind we are (or were, pre-NBN).

          But of course there are completely different geographic and demographics between us and the Japanese. This being so, having a natural monopoly NBN nationally owned (with blind profiteering and withholding of technologies for commercial reasons not on the agenda) and level playing field competition at retail level imo, is the best outcome.

          But of course I don’t have political ideology to uphold and would have gladly accepted market driven forces to have taken up the slack “before” the need for the government to step in… but of course, private enterprise didn’t! And whilst we can’t blame the Liberal government for that per se`, we can question why steps weren’t taken by them to at least right the wrong somewhat by separating Telstra, which they refused to at the time and have only over the past few years agreed to do so, if returned to government?

          • Posted 05/11/2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink |

            Sure, Telstra did their share of obstructing, but my point is that the competitive free market delivered the goods and most of the PITA with Telstra was their inherited their monolothic nature from the old Telecom government decreed monopoly days.

            Why do you blame the market for the damage done by governments past? Do I go round blaming you for what someone else’s grandfather did back in the day?

            • TechinBris
              Posted 06/11/2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink |

              Because tthe Market never acknowleges it’s mistakes of the past. They just blame everything or anything else. Of course the Great Depression wasn’t their fault. Neither was the GFC. Why? Because at their behest, the laws that stopped a repeat of the initial Stock Market Crash were repealed and they went and did the same thing again. They still are. Nothing is stopping them.So technically by indirection, it is our fault, but their actions directly cause the problem. Now why have we not repealled those laws is more the question you should be asking.
              Apply some critical thinking please instead of faith.

    4. Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink |

      He’s writing opinion pieces now?

      What was the heading: ‘Carbon, white, NBN, boats, elephant, tax, stop!’?

      I’m not particularly interested in what Abbott says on broadband, other than how much it indicates he doesn’t understand it at all. I know I should care, cause supposedly he’d have the power if elected…..but I just can’t bring myself to imagine that hell yet….

      • TechinBris
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

        Well it would be a hell for Australia’s budget if Abbott became PM. Imagine how much the security will cost the Country to protect Abbott from the hoards of Australian’s that won’t be able to get even half decent Broadband after he “demolishes” the NBN. They’ll set up Madame Del la Guillotine on the front lawn of Parliament House!
        So much for the much vaunted belief that the Libs are better for the economy! LOL

      • Simon Reidy
        Posted 03/11/2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink |

        ‘Carbon, white, NBN, boats, elephant, tax, stop!’?

        When I first read this I had visions of Abbott having a nightmare uttering these words in his sleep. Then I realised I was visualising Abbott in bed, and nearly threw up in my mouth.

    5. stoffs
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink |

      Obviously as i’m not part of a political party , i can’t understand why they all need to continuously shoot themselves in the foot.

      If the Coalition (of the Unwilling) stated that they would not touch the nbn , and allow it to continue – they’d win the next election easily. Yet they can’t bring themselves to do it.

      I just wish that on some side of the political spectrum , someone would actually show some real leadership qualities…

      • Posted 01/11/2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

        What your wishing would happen is called “bipartisanship” and its completely been lacking of late.

        It doesnt help that we have a political system where voting along party lines is considered required for continued membership to the party. Otherwise the nationals would be in much better position without having to drag the Liberal Party boat anchor that is Tony Abbot, everywhere they go.

        • Michael
          Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink |

          The saddest part is that bipartisanship in politics vanished after the 1996 election. The Hawke-Keating era has a strong history of bipartisan reforms but then it has stopped after that government ended. There were no bipartisan reforms in the Howard years and the major bipartisan reform (legislation) of the Rudd-Gillard era has been Fair Work Act.

          • Simon Reidy
            Posted 03/11/2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink |

            So true. I was having this discussion the other day. Now days it seems that bipartisan support = weakness in the Libs eyes, when the irony is (to people with half a brain anyway) that it’s actually the exact opposite. Some of would actually like politicians to agree on something other than condemnation of terrorists and the need for troops in Afghanistan.

            Bipartisan support on big issues is a sign of a strong leader who is prepared to put the interests of the country (or heaven forbid, the whole planet) before his own political ambition. Something we’ll never see from Abbott, but did at least some of from Turnbull as opposition leader (fat lot of good that did him though).

            • MikeK
              Posted 03/11/2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

              There was bipartisan support on the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) but only because it was a too hot potato for the Opposition to oppose.

            • Michael
              Posted 03/11/2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

              Good point, I forgot about the NDIS. (A pity that the productivity commission report has been superseeded in it’s implementation). So the only bipartisan support from an opposition party has come from liberals. So historically which party is the negative one?

      • Graham R
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink |

        Well said.

        It gotten that bad that if Labor said the sky was blue, Abbott would say no, it’s not!

        The Liberals are just jealous because the NBN is not their baby, and looks like being a success – so much for putting Australia first.

    6. mash
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink |

      It is fundamentally impossible in a country of such low population density and large distances for a private company to make a return on its investment for the kind of thing the NBN is doing. Even if they restrict their operation to Inner Melb & Syd. Simple fact.

    7. Bern
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink |

      Someone really should explain the concept of a “natural monopoly” to Mr Abbott.

      Although it’s entirely possible that he already understands why infrastructure competition seldom results in a better outcome for consumers, but chooses to ignore it in favour of political point-scoring (or because he’d be happier with a better outcome for private investors at the expense of consumers).

      • Karl
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink |

        “Although it’s entirely possible that he already understands why infrastructure competition seldom results in a better outcome for consumers, but chooses to ignore it in favour of political point-scoring”

        I’m still waiting on evidence that he understands anything. NBN, carbon trading schemes, asylum, how to tie shoelaces; there are plenty of options Tony, pick one.

    8. Bruce H
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink |

      Interesting, well since history is a predictor of the future I would draw TA’s attention to the fantastic job T$ did in promoting high speed DSL broadband back in the 90′s when they had the monopoly. OH THAT’S RIGHT, T$ DIDN’T DO SH!T!

      T$ held everyone back on ADSL 1.5mb and charged a motsa for YEARS! When Internode and other ISPs FINALLY got to put equipment in T$ exchanges after the statutory separation (yeah right!) – which also took years, T$ enabled ADSL2+ on 1500+ exchanges overnight……yes….overnight, that natural monopoly was working well for the people of Australia, real well.

      Besides, TA’s out – early money is MT is in by Christmas.

      • quink
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink |

        Exactly. Wasn’t it about early 2007 that Telstra finally lifted the artificial limit of 1.5 Mbps on broadband? 2007. 1.5 Mbps.

        Isn’t it anti-competitive for Telstra, after privatisation, to have owned both an HFC network and all the phone exchanges?

        Wasn’t it anti-competitive that Telstra was able to use any excuse to keep other DSLAMs out of their exchanges and to change their wholesale pricing when competitors were thinking about becoming too gutsy?

        I find it curious that the supposed free market party is the one that has a policy that is worse for a competitive market than what Labor has been bringing to the table. At least Malcolm Turnbull is committed to the structural separation of Telstra, which should have been done a long time ago. It is dubious whether Tony Abbott, as PM, would even split Telstra in twain or police it if it was.

        • Bruce H
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink |

          Quink is right, T$’s dominance was the case as late as 2007 – gee that is only 5 years ago.

          • quink
            Posted 01/11/2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink |

            I think you will find for all those in Telstra Wholesale DSLAM areas, it’s still the status quo.

            • Posted 01/11/2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

              @Quink

              No, many are now ADSL2. That’s what all the upgrades during Coalition era were.

              • quink
                Posted 01/11/2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

                I wasn’t referring to those areas being 1.5 Mbps, I was referring to this:

                > Quink is right, T$’s dominance was the case as late as 2007 – gee that is only 5 years ago.

                Telstra’s dominance. It’s still the status quo in basically all ex-urban and rural areas.

                • Quiet Observer
                  Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink |

                  I’m still stuck on 1.5 Mbps – the only way I can get faster speeds is to pay more, which I refuse to do on principle. I should not have to pay MORE than ADSL2+ prices to get the most out of my ADSL1 service. And ADSL2+ is out of the question because I’m stuck on a RIM (which isn’t getting a Top Hat upgrade). My only other option for improved speeds until NBN fibre gets laid (which won’t be in the next 3 years) is wireless, which for my level of usage is simply too expensive. And I’m not exactly out in the sticks, either. I know people who live further from the CBD than I do who have better service than me.

                  • Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

                    @Quiet Observer

                    While I feel your pain….the idea of speed tiers remains on the NBN.

                    Or are you saying Telstra aren’t artificially limiting you, it is the DSLAM? It would have to be a VERY old DSLAM to be limited to 1.5Mbps- like more than 10 years old. All DSLAMs since then have been 8Mbps ADSL1 capable.

                    • Quiet Observer
                      Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink |

                      But at least on the NBN my speed won’t be restricted by obsolete and decaying technology. As for my current predicament, all I know is that I cannot get ADSL2+ through my provider (iiNet) because I am connected to a RIM. I can only get ADSL1 service which is limited to 1.5 Mbps (for the reasons I previously outlined). I’d always assumed that the speed restriction had everything to do with Telstra’s wholesale pricing of ADSL1 services – I knew that Telstra had “flicked the switch” back in 2007, but I’d always assumed that Telstra simply charged more for 8 Mbps service.

                      • Posted 01/11/2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink |

                        @Quiet Observer

                        Yes, very true. On the NBN you actually get what you pay for, not what the technology can deliver.

                        Regarding Telstra wholesale- Any ADSL service should be able to theoretically achieve 8Mbps, using the current standards. There may be a limiting backhaul factor on your RIM though. :-(

                      • RocK_M
                        Posted 02/11/2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

                        @Seven_tech: “There may be a limiting backhaul factor on your RIM though. :-(”

                        Pretty much that in a nutshell. Most of the time it’s congestion. I’ve been on the same boat as observer living in a RIM hell estate for the past 15 years or so. Even w/ the “switches flicked on” Telstra just did not bother to upgrade or open any new ports in my area. Basically had to put up w/ my speed dying and eventually being bumped down to 256kb for the past 4 years during peak or so as the area grew and the congestion got worse and worse.

                        My only consolation is that Telstra finally got off their back sides last year and finally started doing top hat upgrades. Oh and as an added kicker Telstra *only* just activated ADSL2 in my area from the Top Hat upgrades…. go figure =/

                • Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink |

                  @quink

                  Ah, ok. You just mean DSLAMs in general being Telstra’s, not that they’re limited to 1.5Mbps. I see. Quite right. I’m on Telstra Wholesale. ADSL2, but $79.95 a month, while for the same speed and quota on-net for iinet would cost me $59.95…..

      • Posted 03/11/2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink |

        So why was the old Telecom so useless? Because it was a government monopoly.

        What finally made Telstra pull finger and start providing a better service? The steadily increasing level of competition in the marketplace.

        What’s the first thing the ALP did? Bring back a government monopoly.

        Think about it.

        Please.

        • Brendan
          Posted 05/11/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

          Overstating that a bit, don’t you think?

          A Retail Monopoly, with a vertically integrated Wholesale arm, isn’t the same as a Wholesale-only monopoly.

          The former can constrain and control supply from network to retail. Something Telstra has become highly adept at. The ACCC has always been at the bottom of the cliff.

          The later can only affect wholesale prices. Given that will affect all retailers, it levels the field.

          Infrastructure based competition exists because it forced an outcome that would otherwise not be possible through Telstra.

          I’m unconvinced ISPs have thrown millions of dollars into infrastructure that is STILL reliant on Telstra simply because it’s more fun. There are economic drivers at play. Like anything. They need to make a buck to survive. If that means throwing their hat into the ring to offer viable services, then they might well do that.

          The Market cannot meet the same goals as the NBN. It would barely even cope with the “post-it note” ideas from the L/NP.

          It’s not commercially viable without levels of investment that dwarf even Telstra’s means.

          • Posted 05/11/2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink |

            “A Retail Monopoly, with a vertically integrated Wholesale arm, isn’t the same as a Wholesale-only monopoly.”

            No, it isn’t the same. After all, you can have any name you like printed at the top of you bill, with exactly the same total price at the bottom. If you want to know how bad it is, just look at NSW electricity where the distributors (Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy, and Ausgrid) are all government owned and all monopoly providers within their allocated areas. Half the total electricity bill goes to these distributors! Half!

    9. mash
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink |

      “or because he’d be happier with a better outcome for private investors at the expense of consumers”

      Its the liberal way! Refer to the sale of whole Telstra (which benefited the government AND private investors at the expense of consumers).

    10. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

      Does Turnbull really believe he is putting together a broadband policy or is he deliberately pulling the wool over the eyes of the electorate? How can he possibly believe he is putting together a policy when he is repeatedly contradicted by Abbott and Hockey? Turnbull is generally credited with having some decent values. The more this goes on the less likely that looks.

      • The Claw
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink |

        Turnbull is basically eating a shit sandwich that he was served to stymie his leadership ambitions.

        The NBN is probably Labor’s most popular policy. Who do you assign the shadow ministry that involves attacking this popular policy? The man whose popularity amongst the general public you most fear.

        • mash
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

          LOL! nice one! Despite the potential it causes for public dis-harmony, I wonder if Abbot gets a warm inner glow watching his rival having to attack something he would privately be much in favour of (IMHO).

        • TechinBris
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink |

          Your correct that MT was given a poison chalice and ordered to drink it. But being a clever Vegemite, he’s drinking it in small enough portions to end up nauseous and sick, but not enough to kill him. Notice whilst pushing the Party’s agenda, he’s not 100% committing himself to their stupidity.

          • mash
            Posted 01/11/2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

            LOL 2. Agree. Watching that dude tightrope walk over the Niagra falls was boring in comparison. Only someone of high intelligence could negotiate Malcolm’s path. I guess its a middle finger back at Tony that he remains untainted and as popular as ever.

        • Nick
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink |

          Perfectly put. No one seriously believes that Turnbull doesn’t secretly love the NBN. If he was to take back the leadership and win the next election, the NBN would proceed with little more than cosmetic changes.

      • GongGav
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink |

        To put what Claw says a different way, look at it like this.

        Abbott beat Turnbull for the leadership. Rather than banish him to the back benches, he kept him close. But not too close. He gave him the ideal portfolio to punish and reward him at the same time. Comm’s.

        He gave him a low profile portfolio, with a high profile situation to deal with. Nobody cares about the Comm’s portfolio, the big ones are finance, health, education, and foreign affairs. Comm’s is the red headed step child of them, no matter how much is spent in it.

        It doesnt matter how good a job Turnbull does, he’s still only looking after a minor portfolio. But its high enough profile that he’s responsible for the failures.

        Its one of the few things Abbotts done that I’ve applauded him for. He couldnt have put Turnbull into a better role.

      • nonny-moose
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink |

        i propose it is going the other way; to bolster any future tilt. “look fellas, while hes been here toying with the levers and playing Dr. No! ive actually been doing work, y’know…” i have to give him credit hes cut and grafted his policy to bolt on some better bits as time has gone by. hes willing to change his mind, IOW.

        Tony? that guy puts me in mind of a brick wall. as inflexible as, and as hard to get through as. i know there was all sorts of bashing of kevvy once he was rolled, all those stories of him blowing his gasket over whatever it was pushing his buttons at whatever given moment…. i can easily imagine tony doing the same. Malcolm? not so much.

        that bit of speculation asides, i think Malcolm attempting to build a policy in spite of the whiteanting isnt a bad idea at all. it may even earn (grudging?) respect in some quarters. one might even think hes someone you could work with, negotiate with maybe? rather than the alternative. at any rate i certainly know which i prefer of the two styles and from my POV his is a much easier sell than Dr. No!. that might come into play yet?

        • TechinBris
          Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink |

          Like any brick wall that has no reinforcing added, a well-aimed strategic hard kick can bring down a hard brick wall. The taller it has been built up (and has not the Liberal’s built Dr No up) the easier it is to make collapse. When it falls, watch the rabble run to get from under its shadow lest if fall on them.
          I was always dubious it would last when Malcolm took the reins after Honest *cough* Johnny had to depart. The pattern was set decades ago within the Liberals, though now they really should be called Tory. They definitely believe in “Born to rule” and get pretty nasty if they are not.
          Funnily, I believe in Menzies’s original belief on which the name Liberal was given. Malcolm is one of those small L Liberals also. To survive the disintegration of the UAP, the Conservatives had to move into Menzies’s new Party to keep any traction politically, but always were uneasy bedfellows with the rest of the true adherents. Unfortunately, for the average Australian, the old factions of the UAP moved in to take over after Menzies’s retirement and Holt mysteriously disappeared. How convenient for them!
          Liberal has been anything but since. They have changed even more recently, since Johnny took the reins and now really should have a name to reflect their new true beliefs. I suggest Liebral.
          After all, on just this NBN subject alone out of many others, it’s just lie, after lie and just damn lies. The new name would be a little less false advertising, considering we suffer too much already.

    11. Mr Creosote
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink |

      I dont think Abbott and Turnbull are at odds on this – certainly not to the extent portrayed. I think Abbott defintely doesnt understand the nuances of what Turnbull is proposing, and as such is making more sweeping statements.
      If you look back to the speech from Turnbull that has provided the most detail of what he is proposing to date, his Press Club address in Aug 2011, he said
      ” Let me turn to what we will do.

      At the outset let me explain our objective: to ensure all Australians have access to very fast broadband that enables them to access the services and applications of value to them, and at a price they can afford.

      In achieving that objective we will ensure costs to taxpayers are minimised; competition is enabled and encouraged (not just in retail services but facilities as well); and under-served areas are addressed as soon as possible. Faster broadband faster.

      Commitment to free markets and competition are engrained in Liberal Party DNA, but we also believe competition is a means to ensuring affordability, particularly at entry levels.

      Turnbull clearly has his fingers crossed, hoping the private sector will bail him out. The difference then though is that Turnbull goes on to point out that there will be areas that are outside metro, existing FTTH, HFC, wirless and sat that will be uneconomical for the private sector, and that govt will have to subsidise building ot services in those areas. This is the bit that Abbott left out of his brief statement.

      At the end of the day Abbott is politicking. He only wants to point out the “good” aspects of what they are trying to do. Doing it cheaper and creating work for the private sector will resonate with some voters. Abbott doesnt want to highlight that govt involvement will still be needed. Like any political statement though, people should look deeper than the soundbyte to find out what the real story is.

      I agree that Abbott has no clue when it comes to knowing about comms policy, but I think he was at least half listening to Turnbull on this one.

    12. Joe
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink |

      “Personally, I think it is just that Abbott does not fundamentally understand broadband policy in general”

      Partially true

      Its simply Abbott commenting in the same manner as Alan Jones, in order to please and convince the audience he is right because they’re too dumb to know any better. He does the same with the carbon tax – “cobra strike” and “wrecking ball through the economy” – and the boats – “illegal immigrants” – amongst other things. There is a rift between Turnbull and his party, not just Abbott however thats why they dropped Turnbull as leader. It won’t come to anything though. He’ll keep his portfolio and these ignorant comments from Abbott, Hockey and co. will continue on the NBN and other policies from Labor in general.

      I’m now becoming tired of the frequency of these comments.

      • Graham R
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink |

        Actually, I suspect Abbott fully understands.

        It seems the Liberals have a policy of deliberate misdirection when it comes to the NBN, with the idea of brainwashing the public before the next election so that the NBN becomes irrelevant in deciding the election.

        This would still mean the destruction of the NBN of course, but the Libs don’t mind that, provided they win – so much for putting Australia’s interests first!

    13. The Claw
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink |

      The private sector MAY be able to deliver broadband cheaply and swiftly – to those of us lucky enough live in densely populated urban areas.

      The point of the NBN, though, is to provide quality broadband to ALL Australians. Not just the ones that can be serviced profitably.

      • GongGav
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink |

        I’m still waiting for HFC to be rolled out in Wollongong. Still waiting for them to fix the copper lines so my ADSL2+ is faster than 6 Mbps as well, despite being less than 1km from the exchange.

        Both signs the market failed to deliver.

    14. Posted 01/11/2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink |

      It would be hilarious if future Liberal Party research shows that they narrowly lost the 2013 election because of yet another poor broadband policy.

      • Elijah B.
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink |

        They didn’t acknowledge losing the previous election from having a poor broadband policy. They conducted an internal investigation which concluded that they had not been successful in getting their message out. This allowed them to save face and say it wasn’t their fault, so long as they don’t wonder what their broadband policy actually was.

    15. djos
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink |

      “One can only hope, for the Coalition’s sake, that it does not make the same mistake twice.”

      Honestly I hope they do make this mistake again and it bites them on bum … HARD.

      The current cheaper, faster, better mantra is pure BS and they deserve to lose trying to sell Australia a half baked collection of obsolete technologies!

      • Zok
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink |

        And how ironic it is that one of the false memes the Coalition (and their allies in the Murdoch media) have been spreading is that FTTH NBN “is going to be obsolete by the time it is finished” (supposedly deprecated by some fictional wireless technology)… At the same time proposing to implement actual obsolete technology in the form of FTTN.

        Boggles the mind!

        • djos
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

          I totally agree, the hypocrisy and stupidity is astounding!

        • NBNAlex
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink |

          @ Zok…

          Comment of the week, most succinctly put.

        • Hubert Cumberdale
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink |

          “At the same time proposing to implement actual obsolete technology in the form of FTTN”

          yep, and Turnbull has practically conceded this point due to endorsing nodes that can support both copper and fibre connections.

        • Gene W
          Posted 02/11/2012 at 2:29 am | Permalink |

          It’s simple, really.

          FTTH has this “risk” of becoming obsolete, however small.

          FTTN is already obsolete, so there is no risk at all!

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 03/11/2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink |

            +1

    16. Simon Reidy
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink |

      “Personally, I think it is just that Abbott does not fundamentally understand broadband policy in general

      Personally I think it is just that Abbott does not fundamentally understand anything.

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink |

        He knows how to say ‘no’ ;)

        • Simon Reidy
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink |

          Well, that’s true. He also knows how to lie his arse off and churn out simplistic sound bites for the media, but that’s about where his political abilities end.

          • Zok
            Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink |

            He also understands women. :D

            On the serious note, it is perplexing how an anti-intellectual character like Abbott can manage to cruise through university and end up with a double degree (he is a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws!)… Even more perplexing that he somehow became the leader of the Opposition even though he publicly admits to “not having any interest in economics”!!!

            He could be our own George W. Bush.

            • Abel Adamski
              Posted 01/11/2012 at 11:32 pm | Permalink |

              I suggest find out more about the Rhodesw Movement and Scholarship. Those degrees are not the same as if from Harvard, Sydney or Melbourne. More token for Mastering The Rhodes ideology

              • Zok
                Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink |

                True. However, Abbott’s BEc and LLB degrees are from University of Sydney.

                • SMEMatt
                  Posted 02/11/2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink |

                  There are two types of intelligence.
                  1)Those who remember (been lead to believe this is very good for studying law or most bachelor level courses for that matter). I know plenty of people with degrees who all they can really do is acquire knowledge and apply it is linear way. Some of them are very successful.

                  2)Those who think, TA hasn’t really struck me as a thinker. People who just accept what they have been told by their list approved sources aren’t those who think. This is also why you can’t take TA at his word without a prepared statement. It is also why he repeats thing over and over. MT tend to think a bit more and is evident in the ways he looks for solution within the confines of what TA will allow, he also tends to over step his mark a bit to.

                  People who remember will also do the same thing without really questioning why they are doing it. The market can do it better because, with no real reason. They will tend to do something because they have always done it that way. A thinker will question why and push the boundary of what is possible. We need both types to run the country, but it should be the thinker pushing things forward and not the remembers holding us back.

          • Joe
            Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink |

            “churn out simplistic sound bites”

            And he has no reason to do any different

            The media eats it all up and regurgitates it to their audiences. Because of these sound bites, Mr Abbott’s opinion and bullshit is always heard in every political matter in the news but often Labor minister’s are neither able to respond nor a clip of them even played.

            That is why his party’s support is as high as it is, not because of the supposed incompetencies of the ALP, greens and independents Abbott and his media are always banging on about.

            • TechinBris
              Posted 02/11/2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

              I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the endless feast of Main Stream Media’s vomit. That is why I like Delimiter.

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 01/11/2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink |

          “He knows how to say ‘no’ ;)”

          Does he though?

          Saying something repeatedly doesn’t mean he understands it, just means he’s a parrot.

        • jasmcd
          Posted 02/11/2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink |

          So does my 10 month old.

        • Michael
          Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink |

          Why does the government need him to say yes? Why doesnt the government just ignore him and get on with it, i.e. run the country?

    17. Clive
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink |

      Yes Abbott’s model has been such a success elsewhere. Take the US for example, 300 million in about the same land area as AU, get out the city and ……

    18. Kevin Cobley
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink |

      Not much intellect needed for either Economics’ (a half-baked subject full of opinionated texts and very little of tested and validated theories, and these guys think that economic/political laws supersede the laws of Maths and Science. Oil supplies are finite not variable according to price once maximum output has been reached) and Law (The ability to reinterpret the English language to benefit their clients ends).
      The real intellects in Universities are in Maths and the Sciences, can’t see Tony make it through the first semester in any science course.

    19. Stephen H
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink |

      Telstra and Optus did a great job of running fibre through Australia’s cities. Or at least through a couple of dozen suburbs. In duplicate, and ignoring everywhere else.

    20. Duke
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink |

      The further this election cycle goes the more convinced I am that this trained simian will lose the unloseable election and go down in history as the dumbass version of Hewson, who at least had a functioning human brain. Tony the pug monkey and his wind up drumming backflips will simply fade into the irrelevance he and his clown army thoroughly deserve, and also hopefully accelerate the the hypertension of his odious parrot to cause immediate retirement to his trendy warehouse loft…

    21. Graham R
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink |

      “I think it is just that Abbott does not fundamentally understand broadband policy in general”

      As I said earlier I suspect Abbott is much smarter than he looks, and actually has a very good understanding of broadband policy. I believe the liberals are running a deliberate misdirection strategy with regards to the NBN. The real problem is that it is working!
      When I speak to most of my less informed friends, they seem to believe all this rubbish.

      One of my friends recently said, and I quote “I have nothing against the NBN but with typical Labor lack of forethought it was poorly planned, poorly financed and poorly managed so is doomed to failure. More wasted $$ that we the tax payer has to pick up. I would have preferred to see the billions of NBN dollars spent on our hospital system”. Hopefully I have educated him.

      Labor and the NBN somehow need to counteract this misinformation policy. How? Good question, it might be very difficult with the big media and shockjocks being Liberal pawns.

    22. sb
      Posted 01/11/2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink |

      John Howard left the market to deliver broadband.
      Where did that get us……. nowhere ?

    23. Mattee
      Posted 02/11/2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink |

      More FUD…

      I stopped reading after “Market to deliver high speed…”. Switched off right there.

      For 20 odd years I’ve been a regional internet user logging 8 years on Dialup, 9 years on ADSL, 2 years on ADSL2+. I’m still one of the lucky ones.

      But the market won’t deliver… anyone that’s been anywhere for any length of time knows that the market has had decades to do something about areas that are not North Sydney.

      Honestly, I’m too cranky to get my thoughts straight… I’ll re-comment when I stop laughing/crying/laying in the corner in the foetal position…

    24. WIlly
      Posted 02/11/2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink |

      I just dont understand, embrace it, get and get rid of Abbott and they have the next election won.

    25. Marc
      Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink |

      Market has done a pretty good job so far *rolls eyes*

    26. Soth
      Posted 02/11/2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink |

      Leighton has been pushing for the fibre from Singapore to Perth for a few years now, due to begin work in 2013. So I’m hoping if the NBN gets canned by the Liberals if they win, Perth MIGHT still get fibre, but through the private sector, which will be costly.

      • Posted 03/11/2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink |

        Australia-Japan Cable: jointly owned by Telstra, BT, Verizon Business and Softbank.

        Pipe Pacific Cable: owned by PIPE Networks.

        Telstra Endeavour: owned by Telstra.

        Southern Cross Cable: owned by Southern Cross Cables Ltd.

        Need I go on? Notice the existing privately owned and operated cables? On what basis is a Leightons private cable going to be more costly than any of the existing private cables?

    27. TechinBris
      Posted 02/11/2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink |

      Well as far as it goes, the last 15 years has been an example in principal that the hype that is bandied about that the Market does it better is a load of Bollocks.
      I can think of item after item that the world was promised to everyone if they did things the way the Market wanted. That the Angels of Value would choose to reside on planet Earth if we followed the Yellow Brick Road down to the Private Market Town called Utopia.
      Guess what? It was a road that was heavily tolled and Banksters at every turn robbed us of our money so when we got to the gates, we were told we don’t have enough money to warrant being able to enter the privileged place where all the nice things are available.
      So the People said “You fooled us once. Shame on you!” The Market replied “Well we can make it better!” “Sell your Public Assets and privatise them”. “It will create more competition and stop the distortion of our Market, which makes it hard for the Market to work properly you know”. “Everything should be privately owned and everything should be bought and sold and the Market will bless everyone in their cotton socks (available for the blessing you at only $23.99 incl. GST).” “We’ll even give you easy credit”!
      So the Bank was sold, as was the Telecom network, the Health Insurance and numerous other items the people owned including the Family Farm. The People waited for the gates to open with expectation as the price of everything went up to prices hard to afford and service became a legend lost in the midst of time within the Slums surrounding Utopia. Getting your own money became even expensive in antithesis to the promise that it would become cheaper. The people in trying to look for positives, did clutch at the truth that now they were privilege to know how much was being ripped off them. Small blessing at least, but it was something. But the doors to Utopia were still firmly shut and only those with much wealth were allowed in the heavily guarded gate.
      Then the people cried “You fooled us twice! Shame on me”! Then a clever Dick from the Slums around Utopia yelled “Why don’t we utilise the cash of people of this Nation to build a Network that is not privileged like the Market’s, but egalitarian and available to all where it is feasibly possible and the next best in Technologies for the rest till we can manage it affordably”. “Competition has certainly given choice, but better value? Questionable, but bigger headaches, indeed!” “Then we will be able to have better communications infrastructure to build new and exciting ways to provide the services we need and to entertain ourselves at a more equitable price for everyone.” “Lets us also make those who pollute our environment around us, as they would not in their fair City, pay to clean up their own mess instead of us having to pay to clean it up after they have finished and left for the next place to play their game called Rape, Pillage & Plunder.”
      The residents of Utopia reeled in horror! If this becomes possible, where will the money from those Plebs, that are utilising our services, come from? “I don’t want to have to leave Utopia” came the horrified screams form vaulted Ivory Towers in the centre of Utopia! “I want my therapy”! “I want my cosmetic surgery”! “I want my Room Service”!
      The action was immediate and much money was pumped into Political Organisations to buy an outcome that would stop this immediate threat to their Market dominance. After all, it always has worked before. “You must halt these plans of equitable Telecoms and making us clean up after ourselves”. “How could we afford to maintain the lifestyle we have become accustomed to, if we lose the revenue stream and loose the maximum profits available to us, by having to clean up the leftovers of our wealth creation?” “How do we control the flow of information so we can make sure the information is always favourable to our need to create the wealth that makes Utopia so grand, if they have access to real information and knowledge?” “Next thing you know they will want to tax us more”! “Silly, silly Plebs, who just do not know their place!” “Don’t they know who we are?”
      The Political Party (Whose name is not be mentioned *scary*) extolled “Leave it to us and we shall tell them “NO!” “We will give them slogans simple enough to remember and repeat them enough so they will come to believe them”. “After all, how many times have they heard it”? “It must be true”! “It worked for Goebbels very well, and it can work for us also”. “Good citizens of Utopia, let us use your hard fought for Telecoms”. “Let us use your Media you bought at great expense”. “Let us utilise your Wealth and we can buy a victory for you, so you may continue to live in Utopia!”
      The Citizens of Utopia were not so sure. “We’ve fooled them twice”, they murmured. “They no longer believe us.” The party Leader renown throughout the land for his ability to say no, extolled to the nervous habitants of Utopia, “Trust me for I am Dr No”! “I and my merry Rabble will utilise the secret weapon of FUD to confuse those pesky Plebs and help you to keep them in their place, which is of course, creating your wealth for you.”
      So a “Spectacular” of fear, uncertainty and disinformation flooded the land and confusion abounded in the slums outside of Utopia. Media extolled and gave attention to the gullible that chanted the new religious chants of “Stop the Boats, Big new Carbon Tax, Ditch the Bitch, Budget Black Holes and the perennial favourite of “Just say No!” They created a convoy of no consequence (and incontinence) and broadcast it on every media as a triumph. They organised a Witch Burning (which seems, to some, a real crowd pleaser) and organised Public relations firms to troll the Internet to keep the confusion alive in forums and Blogs.
      At first, the crowd was entertained and went along for the ride. Distracted they laughed at the antics and went along with the Spectacular that was hatched into being by (shhh!), Ok, those who shall not be named. The residents of Utopia were thrilled! “Our investments are saved”, they cried! Doctor No quietens them and advises to show no fear or worry to the Riff Raff or they may not follow the Spectacular’s aim of delivering the Parliament of the land to the (Shhh!)..Uh? Ok! Those who shall not be named (There….happy! *grumble*grumble*)
      But alas, still a year from the magic alignment that brings that ceremony that everyone hates to participate in, the Spectacular shine begins to fade as people realise that the numbers and the outcomes extolled in the media don’t seem to add up. The science doesn’t belong in this Universe and the slogans now are repeated so often that most people with some intelligence wince in pain and withhold their animal instincts to throttle the idiots repeating them ad-infinitum into the enlightenment of reality. The Spectacular rolled on………..and on……..and on.
      Will the people cry “You fooled us thrice!”
      To be continued in the land of Oz.
      *chuckle*

      • Michael
        Posted 02/11/2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink |

        This all comes down to basic idealology of private enterprise vs public (government) spending. Communism (socialism nowdays) is still very attractive on paper but ultimately in implementation it will rarely ever work. Yes there have been some successful communist states but out of a proportion of all of them ?( less than 1/10?)

        The main problems with allowing public enterprise to take over everything is that it does not allow for creative destruction. There is no allowance for structural change in the economy, one of the main reasons why a market society function so well is that successful ideas succeed and dud ideas go bankrupt. In government enterprises this does not happen due to the temptation to use some more cash and try a bit harder. (See Aust. car industry / Aviation industry).

        The issue of a “government premium” does not only apply to owenership but also to who controls the expenditure. Allowing for a decentralised model will have some greater successes and some failures, but if the model of the successes is adopted the overall level increases. In a centralised model a uniform level is used at a random quality with very little incentive to raise it. The uniform level removes personal responsibility which decentralised models promote. The BER is a classic example of this. In government schools costs were 30% higher than in catholic and over 50% higher than independant schools (Orgil report). This is because the decisions were often made from a centralised remote location instead of principles very much aware of the fact they would be unlikely to see such infrastructure funding again for a long time.

        Centralised control can be excellent when the controlling force is intelligent and benign but given human corruption, cronyism, complacency I will admit to being pessimistic on this cause.

        • TechinBris
          Posted 03/11/2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink |

          Yes! :{D

        • TechinBris
          Posted 03/11/2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink |

          And continue? It doesn’t stop there. tell us.

        • TechinBris
          Posted 03/11/2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink |

          Oh, BTW Michael, you are correct in some of your assumptions. But laying the premises that the Public Projects are inefficient by cost alone fails to take into account the Private Market’s action toward publically funded projects. Agreed that a Principal of a Private School can build to the standard that is required by the law and build something will save on costs by shopping around and utilising cheaper imports. But the Government does expect its Services to build to the law of safety also, but it generally requests to support the local Industry policies it supports, which actually a lot of the time are Private Industries. And still they complain and point fingers and scream “Waste!”? That doesn’t always allow for the cheaper materials to be purchased that a Private School may take advantage of, but what everyone forgets is how many businesses stayed alive with their Employees doing meaningful work because the Government did not abandon them to buy the products from cheaper imports. These bickerings are all politically motivated and are duplicitously misleading. There is blame on all sides, but do we profit to have a Witch Hunt for every failure? No. It is more constructive to see what went wrong, see if we can fix the issue without restricting the freedom of choice to accept a certain element of risk in our lives or not. Basically, it is taking responsibility for you actions. Everyone just avoids it like the plague now.
          Also whenever public funds roll out, why does the Private Market jump in and gouge instead of the normal status quo? Point is that both models suffer corruption. Centralised and Distributed models also suffer. The correct balance is the key to everything. Without a strong adjudication system to keep the law fair and equitable to everyone, everything fails as you get humans always looking to maximise advantage. That is our species failing. It’s called Greed. We will kill each other to pander to it.
          BTW, on the Insulation program, it wasn’t the Government that told businesses to go and do shoddy workmanship leading to fires and deaths. That was the Private Sector’s doing in the all-consuming desire for a fast buck with the cheapest possible outlay for materials and labour. The Law if applied correctly, should punish, and I hope severely reprimand those who showed such disregard for the Community’s safety. But the “Witch Hunt” to blame the Government for the deaths and fires because they helped with the cost to create more energy sufficient housing to assist in people to be able to save on energy and cut pollution? How ungrateful. Some people don’t deserve such generosity, but will bitch if they don’t get it too.
          I actually am a strong believer in a strong private Market. I believe in a Small Government (I know your surprised). I believe in a strong and just Judiciary will stop the carnage we see everywhere today, but that is to do with the fact we actually have a domineering Market, weak or compromised Government and a Judiciary that is following a Law that has been perverted to maximise the advantage of not the Just, but of the rich and powerful. The very things the Liberal Party was created to uphold was Small Govt., strong Private Enterprise and a strong, fair and Just legal system to keep it all in check and fair for all the Citizens. But it was lost as the Conservative faction of the UAP took over after Menzies retired and his successor Holt mysteriously disappeared.
          Blind faith in any mantra is dangerous. That is why I am so sceptical. That is why I wish to expand this whole discussion so that everything can be laid on the table warts and all. So we can realise that aspects of all the political flavours in the correct places is the answer and not myopic ideology in one methodology. Which is what we are suffering.
          So please do expand. If I am misunderstanding you, I am sorry. This whole NBN argument is bordering on ridiculous as are a number of issues flying about. I do believe we are not all that dumb. But belief that the Market is the answer when it has already proven it isn’t? Pffffffftttt!

          • Michael
            Posted 05/11/2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink |

            I just saw this post,

            It is shocking how you misrepresent the BER issues. The Orgil report (commission by the govt) found that there was no difference in quality between sectors. There was a price difference but no quality difference. This comes down to management fees and the contractors used to conduct the actual work. The government by utilising large construction companies found that they had much larger overheads for a project that was unsuited to smaller scale projects that was demanded for these jobs. In contrast by allowing local tendering (by independant schools NOT Govt schools) local contractors can complete the job cheaper. This is becuase they have contacts locally, know local supplies of materials etc and are used to working on smaller projects.

            What went wrong? The government tried to dictate exactly what schools should do with the funds and who should construct it. Then they wonder why it doesnt suit local needs.

            It is the risk aversion of the public departments that lead to these problems. The need to put in place policies and processes to prevent failure that just add layers and layers of red tape. There needs to be a point where personal responsibility comes into the pricture. Authority needs to be delegated and consequently responsibility for benefits / losses.

            I know that the market does not have a solution to everything (See externalities / Public goods) but given the risks associated with government control there needs be a strong reason to justify intervention. It cannot be just because it seems like a good idea. One great investment of the past by the government – Kodak…

            • TechinBris
              Posted 06/11/2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink |

              Yes that was some of the cases. But why did the Government do what they did? You will find the politics of blame play a part in it. With the BER, there were many, many, many factors of right and wrong. You can blame the Government for some, and The Opposition for some, Large Contractors for some and also “some” of the smaller unethical Contractors that have not done the correct thing in the past. So how does one protect against human nature? Answer is that you can’t. So once again we come to the point I have said brefore that without a “Just” rule of Law, instead of Law to work in the best interests of the Rich and Powerful (which has been most of the revision of laws for the last 20 odd years), you end up with corruption equating to standard method operandi for those who can buy their justice and the rest of the community having to lump it for everything that goes wrong.
              BTW, I didn’t say that was the only thing in the BER. It was just a tiny factor of it that has been totally unrepresented like a lot of things in the interests of collateral damage to anyone someone doesn’t like in these days of hatred über alles. We have become a nasty Society. But one can very much hope we will see the error in the direction we are headed and reverse our course.

              • Michael
                Posted 06/11/2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink |

                ” You can blame the Government for some, and The Opposition for some, Large Contractors for some and also “some” of the smaller unethical Contractors that have not done the correct thing in the past. So how does one protect against human nature?”

                “The Opposition for some”

                How do you blame an opposition for a government policy failing? What effect does the opposition have on the formulation or implementation of the government policy?
                This is a typical ALP fanboy line of blame the LNP for anything and everything that goes wrong. Tony has bad policies and is prone to making verbal errors but how can the opposition be held to account for what the government decides to do and implements. The government by definition has a majority in the house of reps, and there are minor parties / independants in the Senate that are equally responsible as the opposition for blocking any legislation. (See Greens.)

                • TechinBris
                  Posted 06/11/2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink |

                  Your right in that the current Coalition I have absolutely no respect. Why? Because they don’t even try to negotiate! Being in Politics is all about the art of negotiation. But when you play the “dark side” as they are, and part of that is the “blame game”, reactions occur that can have subsequent adverse reactions that were not part of the intention or may have been calculated in order to smear. Now I have little respect for the current Government either and they did similar when they were in Opposition, but not to scale of the current paradigm being applied by the Coalition. But I begrudgingly give Labor a little respect due to the fact they are actually practicing the art of negotiation, which is what Politicians are supposed to do. Obstructionism to anything and everything, paramounts to nothing much more than petulance. I expect it from a Child, but grown Adults? Pfffttt!
                  The current situation in the Parliament is toxic. Why is it so toxic? Someone has to make it toxic. I am not going to go around pandering to right and left and simplifying the complex structure of our Society down to right and left. We are more than that and I would like to expect our Parliament is more than that. But it isn’t, especially right now from the actions of the Opposition. But hold that in mind, M.T. I do have a deep respect for, considering he is bailing like crazy to stop the Liberal ship being labelled the “SHIP OF FOOLS” and sinking because of it. There are wonderful people with wonderful minds in the Liberals. Shame they aren’t the ones running the show right now. Can fairly much same the same for the Labor Party too. Considering the lack of resources the Independents and Greens have, a number of mistakes I am willing to swallow. We’ve had enough mistakes from those with all the resources, so cut some slack! You’re demanding it for your team. So play fair.
                  But diversity of opinion in this country and the ability to negotiate so as many of our diverse differences are accommodated, accepted and nurtured is a strength, in the same way as genetic diversity gives strength. Myopic philosophies and the cost of winning at any price, endangers that and the very life of our species to exist, in a way we hope to leave a better world for our offspring. So if I am to be accused to be a Fan Boy, I am of diversity. Of that I am proud.
                  Of Tony, well, I have seen Teenagers in High School who can argue rationally better. The sooner someone in the Opposition who can actually do anything remotely like negotiate takes the leadership, the better. Our Parliament deserves it. The Australian people deserve it. The NBN debacle has proven how inept he is. He’d be a good Political Party Whip, but not much else. And that is being generous.
                  Now you can spit your chips! Life can be wonderful, if you allow it to be.

      • Posted 03/11/2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink |

        Great pile of waffle, but how about bringing up even one single bit of factual data to back it up.

        How about what speed your personal Internet connection was 15 years ago. Let’s just start with that.

        Your understanding of the banking industry is laughable. The private banks are regulated up the wazoo, and if there is an excess of easy credit then talk to the Reserve Bank about that because they control the interest rates (or talk to the Fed in the USA who control their side of the banking industry).

        • Michael
          Posted 03/11/2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink |

          The biggest problem with the banking sector is partly the regulation but also the expectation that taxpayers should bail them out when they go broke.

          See Iceland vs (rest of world) for a good example of dealing with a banking crisis.

          Deregulation is not the answer if there are no consequences to risk taking. That is just moral hazard.

          • TechinBris
            Posted 03/11/2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink |

            Well, you gave us part of the spiel, but don’t stop Michael. You haven’t followed your hypothesis to the conclusion. Yes, I threw a hypothesis out, in a humorous story whilst keeping most of it within what seems to be the outcome from those of the Market, which amount to “Do as we say, not as we do!” And yes, I did flavour the Fairy Tale with a Socialistic essence. And boy didn’t you jump! Straight for the throat! If you cannot enjoy some ridiculous humour, but instantly see it as a threat to life, the Universe and everything, including your most Holy Dollar (is it so fragile it requires defence), you need to get a life.
            Now, you began really well. But like most of your kind, the moment you reach the point where “profit” appears, you generally slide into orgasmic rapturous joy and you come to a shuddering halt at that point.
            But in the point of the NBN being a publically funded and owned network, is obviously seen as a threat to the Market’s (thus also you) status quo, or it wouldn’t be attacked with such rhetoric that is mathematically and physically impossible in this Universe at the current technological advancement we are at. The endless flapping of the wrist towards outer space with the decree that all you say is true and correct and provable according to the proof you say exists “out there” is no different than Religion. Your belief in Capitalism for everything is based on nothing more than faith. You’ve created a religion from it. But if it makes you happy, go knock your socks off with it. We’re happy you’re happy. But as religion is a personal faith, it should not be forced onto non-believers of your faith. To do so is rude and outright insulting. If you consider it isn’t, let me know and I’ll find a Chapter of the Church of Satan and politely request they might find the time to pay you a visit. I’m sure you will be delighted.
            But if you can offer more of what you have begun to espouse to us, but continue all the way to the conclusion (please don’t stop at profit again), you might actually give us a plausible reason why the Market has failed to deliver the advancements available in telecommunications over the last 10 years and why the Socialisation of the losses of Multi-National Corporations benefits the Taxpayers in general, whilst they get not much of the profit in return. Please continue to the conclusion so we can understand the logic and the factuality that makes your decrees correct and worthwhile. Also, leave out the vapourware from Galaxy X which proves everything you said is true. Facts please. Also, clean up your Socialism is Communism. It is not. You might think it is, but so far you have only shown your faith that it is. Now continue to the final climax of the successful completion of a Capitalist world. I know you’ll be surprised! Teach us! Oh yes, collude with Tel as well (same Faith), as we are all still trying to understand his logic too.
            Yes, we do want to understand you. We really do. Then all this bickering can end. It is getting tiresome, is it not? :{D

            • Michael
              Posted 05/11/2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink |

              The funniest part is that you havent looked into what i posted at all. The example of socialising losses that you talk about in the banking sector I deplored in the post you replied to. Lookup what Iceland did when its banks went bust.

              It is different to the US.

              • TechinBris
                Posted 05/11/2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink |

                Oh I know about Iceland. I read all about the people banging pot and pans and the Government’s intervention into their financial Institutions. I also noticed your comment one Finance demanding and getting the privatisation of profits whilst expecting socialisation of the losses. But that is further down the line of the story. Lets progresse linially around the circle that is human politics so we can all understand it simply. Without understanding this you find you can get addicted to looking at a rose colored world. You really need to see the human world in all it’s dreadful Technicolor.

                • Michael
                  Posted 05/11/2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink |

                  Let me set it straight. In Iceland, the government did not bail out the banks. They had ridiculous amounts of debt but the public did not take it on. In a “pure” capitalist society profits are privare and so are losses. However, as you are aware none of us lives in a purely capitalist society due to market failures.

                  • TechinBris
                    Posted 05/11/2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

                    Yes you are correct. But I wouldn’t want to have a pure Capitalist Society for reasons that are evident if you follow the simplistic ideology to its conclusion. But why has the socialisation occurred in the hardened bastions of Capitalism? Her in Australia, I think it was under the Warren Commission into the Banking System, the Banks were never to be secured by the public in order to implement the reforms they wanted. But the GFC hit and we did. Why? It is a can of worms, but don’t get caught up in the detail, look at the Macro, for till you understand the nature of the problem, you really cannot hope to get to the detail to resolve all the issues that is Political, financial and social.

                  • TechinBris
                    Posted 05/11/2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink |

                    Oh, I forgot Michael, in Iceland, their Govt. was under increadable pressure to socialise those losses of the Banking Sector, and was moving to do just that, but the People would not let them. Thus it really was the people of Iceland and not their Govt. that brought about that result in a wonderful display of people power. A wonderful display of Democracy in action. But I would not hold for the same to happen in a lot of other democracies.

            • Michael
              Posted 05/11/2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink |

              Whether it is socialist or communist, let me ask you one question.

              Why wouldn’t the people who rip people off in a capitalist society continue to rip people off in a socialist society?

              Same problem except that this time they would work with the government. But we all know there is no government corruption in this world.

              • TechinBris
                Posted 05/11/2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink |

                I will answer your question and you will need to understand it to progress. You will always have some people rip off others. It is human nature. You have to live with it.
                We have resident in all of us the ability to be the utmost evil along with the ability to the the most wonderful feats of kindness. But generally, one can hold to and old saying, that when things are at their best, we tend to act our worst. But when things are at there worst, we show what we can do, being at our best.

            • Posted 06/11/2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink |

              “I know you’ll be surprised! Teach us! Oh yes, collude with Tel as well (same Faith), as we are all still trying to understand his logic too.”

              No you are not. You are making no effort to understand whatsoever. You just like going on long winded rants, wake up to yourself.

              “Yes, we do want to understand you. We really do.”

              Who is we?

              • TechinBris
                Posted 06/11/2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink |

                Who is we? Everyone who questioned what was happening some time ago, which you are only starting to do. We all have reasonably come to the same conclusion. You’re still are questioning. Catch up.

              • TechinBris
                Posted 06/11/2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

                I take that comment back. You are not questioning and probably never will. *sigh* Poor Vegemite.

          • Posted 05/11/2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink |

            “The biggest problem with the banking sector is partly the regulation but also the expectation that taxpayers should bail them out when they go broke.”

            I’ll agree with you on that one, bailouts are a bloody stupid idea.

            The government (long ago) made a formal agreement to bailout the depositors (even that’s a bad idea but governments are constrained by what is politically acceptable), they never made an agreement to bailout the executive class and the shareholders.

            That said, governments depend on the banks to keep order in society, probably a lot more than most people understand. It’s a win/win deal, but you and I are not amongst those winners.

            • TechinBris
              Posted 06/11/2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink |

              Ahh Tell, now that you have started down the road towards where simplistic philosophies fail, you need to reason out why this has occurred and this time follow it to the , unfortunately unappetising conclusion.
              So take off those rose coloured glasses and absorb the horrendous Technicolor of the result of unfettered Capitalism. It isn’t much better than it’s opposite in result other than it allows freedom a little longer as long as you, yourself, are useful in making a profit for them. Haven’t you realised it is a form of servitude? Not that anything is wrong with that whilst everyone serves everyone else, but it does eventually slide down to an unappetising end. A tip for you in finding a solution to the conundrum. There is no easy simple solution. Only complexity. We are a complex species after all. So it really is easy to understand.Begin to question. It is the road to wisdom.

              • Posted 06/11/2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink |

                Another fairy story? I did request that you put warnings on those things.

                There are good reasons why capitalism and individual freedom provide much better adaptation to a complex world than central planning can achieve. Capitalism delivers the goods, Socialism can only redistribute what is already there. Every society has people who are more powerful than others and get a bigger share of the available resources. Socialists promise equality but the ones who make it to the top of the heap, tend to also look after themselves once they get to the top. If you show them up they will turn to violence — maybe look into why Bob Kernohan took a bashing.

                Capitalism gives people the opportunity to improve themselves… it doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work for a lot of people. Democracy gives people the opportunity to choose their leaders and replace the ones that become too entrenched in privilege. Thus, liberty and democracy form a balancing pair, each one making up for what the other lacks. Sadly our present society is moving away from both liberty and ultimately from democracy as well.

                • TechinBris
                  Posted 06/11/2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

                  Oh boy! Are you stuck in a rut. Capitalism is a myopic simplistic solution that fails in many ways, just like Communism and Socialism (simplistic form). But I am not even going to bother to go up against something someone says that has their philosophy built of faith alone without the right to question that belief. Countless lives over the Milena have been destroyed by that.
                  Knock your socks off Tel, till you realise that no one really is paying attention and have progressed past your 19th and 20th century idealism’s. Ciao and enjoy life. May you live long and prosper. If you don’t, shame.

                  • NBNAlex
                    Posted 06/11/2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink |

                    I wouldn’t worry to much TechinBris..

                    I have “generally” found, that people who scream commie/socialist, let the market decide… are normally the first to have their hands out for a government payment (or tax break), scoff at the cost of private schooling, reject private health care and flatly refuse an e-tag to travel on privately owned roads…

                    What’s the bet if our friends bank went bust, losing “his” savings, he’d soon change his tune?

                    Just like big business in the US, snouts in the greed trough, telling their government to butt out of their businesses… until of course the GFC set in then they went in on hand and knee, begging and grovelling to the government for a bail out…

                    :/

                    • TechinBris
                      Posted 06/11/2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink |

                      Why I wrote Ciao and disregard anything further the fossil says with a small exception. We could always utilise him as a “standard” from which we evolved so we remember not what to do again. Great memory jogger if we forget something. *chuckle*

        • TechinBris
          Posted 03/11/2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink |

          You want facts to back up a comic Fairy Story?
          Well, when you actually come up with the facts that unassailably prove your rhetoric about the Market being infallible, the saviour of Mankind and that the NBN will promote tooth decay and bring ruination to the Family Farm (you get my drift do you not?), also it has to be actually correct mathematically, I am sure I will be able to do so also for a Fairy Story.
          Now collude with Michael. You have your chance to show everyone how correct you are. Put it on the line. We do want to understand what you’re saying, but we are all having issues with your Faith. It isn’t making sense to us.

          • Michael
            Posted 03/11/2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink |

            If you are going to resort to this sort of hyperbole, at least respond to the points I raised in my post above. In abscence of a good debate,

            Farwell Comrade

            • TechinBris
              Posted 03/11/2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink |

              Comrade? I prefer fellow Citizen please. A Pleb like all the rest. After all, I am also just a part of making this Nation work like you. Look up!
              Yes, I am prodding you, but now you may understand why I am. It is because you strike me as more logical than Tel. Hence why I ask you to expand to the conclusion of Capitalism, because I doubt he would dare.

              • Michael
                Posted 04/11/2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink |

                I would rather have put my belief in capitalism where you attempt to align people’s desires with the benefit of society. In contrast to socialism where you have a central planning (person / agency) that dictates the course that should be taken. If there is potential for corruption is a capitalistic model then that is only magnified when all that power is centralised.

                • TechinBris
                  Posted 05/11/2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink |

                  That is a nice beginning. But it never stops there. If you proceed following the process you have the small businesses grow as they provide a service to the Community and yes, you have what you say. Then they grow and require more Capital than they have available and they turn to the Stock Market to gain that Capital to grow to be able to provide the service the People desire to have. All is wonderful there as you say. Meanwhile over at the Communist side, the Political Power there has decreed that all is the property of the State and that the People will be cared for if they work hard and look after the State. But unfortunately it looks great on paper, but human nature always come to the fore (we just cannot help ourselves) and very quickly after a bright shining morning of Communism as it ramps up into life, the leaders flop it over into a night time of Despotism which leads to the enslavement of the People to the Despotic regime. Am I correct so far in my description?
                  You can do the next instalment. Why? Because this is something I have learnt that people need to discover themselves about our systems or they cannot fathom how it could be.

          • Posted 06/11/2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink |

            “You want facts to back up a comic Fairy Story?”

            It would be helpful to all concerned if in future you preface your comments with “This is a Fairy Story.”

            • TechinBris
              Posted 06/11/2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink |

              I think most could tell that. But I do understand why you couldn’t.

    28. James
      Posted 05/11/2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink |

      Simple question for Tony. If the private sector could deliver better broadband, why isn’t it?

      Passive ideologues will not create nor sustain a better future for Australia.

    29. Goresh
      Posted 06/11/2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink |

      The private sector had a decade to deliver. It is time now for the government to step in and do the job that the private sector is clearly unwilling or unable to do.

    30. SMEMatt
      Posted 06/11/2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink |

      Tel has shown me the way look at what is failing and succeeding.
      Capitalist countries around the world are going bankrupt while Communist China is strong.
      The truth of the matter is like most things the answer is somewhere in the middle.
      It is this middle ground that has made Australia strong we are not America yet American philosophies and attitudes have slowly taken over politics and media in this country and some people seem all too willing to follow America down the same mistakes. Parts of the USA have the same problems with communications that Australia has, they have also tried many of the same solutions as has been proposed in the past and they have failed primarily because of the actions of private monopolies defending their turf. Thankfully the private sector is always right attitude isn’t part of Australian culture so we still have a way out.

      Infrastructure should be provided to all on a equal footing (where reasonable) so we all have a chance to profit from it. Within reason everybody has access to good road to make their business work and access to electricity however availability of modern comms infrastructure is pot luck. The government makes available roads but doesn’t sell you cars to us them, it make electricity available but you buy your microwaves and light bulbs private industry. The NBN is about providing the infrastructure and leaving the delivery of services to private industry.

      Just remember this how successfully would the like of Gerry Harvey have been if electricity was restricted to inner city Sydney?




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