NBN critics ‘like climate deniers’, says Budde


news Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has accused the harshest critics of Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network project as being similar to “climate change deniers” in their irrational opposition to the project, arguing that such critics are given undue prominence in the media, despite representing less than five percent of the population.

Over the past several years, Budde wrote today in a post on his blog, dozens of research papers and many articles in the press had been written about the NBN, But less than five percent of those participating in the NBN debate had argued that the NBN was a waste of money. “The five percent who are downright dismissive of the NBN are mostly politically motivated and are basing their opinion on the high cost involved,” he wrote, “and so they agree that we either should abandon the project or indeed look for the cheapest plumber in town.”

“The disappointing thing about this last category is that it is widely reported by the press, who are always interested in dirt-digging, mud-slinging and strong language, in the same way that they give the > 5% minority group of climate change deniers far more attention than they deserve. Politicians and their supporters are seriously over-represented within the above two groups of naysayers – particularly those on the more conservative side of politics.”

Budde argued that that five percent had revealed their “ignorance” of the project by not examining industry areas which were likely to be stimulated by the NBN’s underlying infrastructure – areas such as e-governnment, e-health, smart grids, the digital economy and so on, focusing only on “the broken record” that costs were too high for the project.

The comments by Budde – who has broadly taken a positive view of the NBN over the past several years as the project has progressed, although he has criticised some aspects of it – come as the level of misinformation about the project promulgated by senior politicians in the Opposition has continued to grow over the past several months.

For example, last week Federal Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne inaccurately claimed on national radio that the National Broadband Network has not connected any customers at speeds of 100Mbps, despite the fact that in fact, 44 percent of NBN customers connected so far to the project’s fibre infrastructure have taken up such speeds. Subsequently, Pyne declined to retract his comment, despite being presented with evidence of its falsity. Last week Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey repeated several times an inaccurate claim that the NBN’s funding could be treated as an expense in the Federal Budget, despite the fact that accounting standards require it to be treated as a capital investment.

Most of the other comments made by the Coalition about the NBN have only addressed surface-level issues and not the deeper industry productivity gains and new sector expansion capabilities that the NBN’s proponents claim will flow from the development of the network.

For example, in July this year, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott stated that Australia didn’t “need” the National Broadband Network project and the billions being invested in the initiative would be better spent on “our roads, our rail and our ports” under a Coalition Government. Abbott has previously (in December 2010) referred to the NBN as a “video entertainment system” and “interactive gambling” (January 2011). A columnist and Deakin University professor wrote in the Daily Telegraph in January 2011 that the project should be abandoned, and those interested in the Internet should “get off the internet and go outside and do things that connect with the absolute real world”.

The only senior Coalition figure to have substantially addressed the dynamics of the NBN project in public has been Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has argued that the aims of the project – providing fast broadband to all Australians – were sound, but that those aims could be met faster and cheaper through using different technologies such as fibre to the node, instead of the primarily fibre to the home broadband rollout style being used by Labor. However, Turnbull has declined several times to answer fundamental questions about why the FTTN-style deployment would be better than Labor’s FTTH-style rollout.

Like Budde, the Federal Government has at times appeared frustrated by the quality of the debate around the NBN. In August this year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy delivered a fiery tirade against the media for constantly repeating misconceptions about Labor’s National Broadband Network project, singling out the Financial Review newspaper for particular ridicule and recommending that those interested in accuracy read broadband forum Whirlpool.

Conroy’s comments came after the Financial Review recently published several highly disputed articles relating to the NBN.

In late June, for example, the newspaper published an article stating that there was “a real risk” that the NBN’s fibre infrastructure might be overtaken by technical breakthroughs in areas such as “wireless technology”. However, the notion that wireless could serve as a replacement for fibre or other fixed network technologies is heavily disputed by the global technology community and is a view outside current mainstream thinking on the issue.

The AFR also reported that take-up of the NBN in the areas where it is available so far has been “minuscule”. Unfortunately, this claim is also heavily disputed. In general, Australia-wide, NBN take-up rates have been strong. In fact, in communities such as Willunga in South Australia and Kiama in New South Wales, the take-up rate in the short time the NBN has been active in those areas has been north of 30 percent. This rate is expected to accelerate as Telstra’s competing copper cable is shut down in areas where the NBN has been rolled out, forcing Australians to migrate onto the NBN fibre.

Over the past several years, there have been a number of other misleading articles published by various local newspapers about the NBN. In December, the Australian Press Council expressed concern about the Daily Telegraph’s coverage of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project, backing a local critic’s complaint that three articles in a short period of time had contained “inaccurate or misleading assertions” about the NBN. Similarly, in March this year, another News Ltd publication, The Australian, published a correction to a story after it inaccurately alleged that a school in South Australia would have to pay $200,000 to connect to the NBN; in fact, the school will receive NBN access as part of the normal rollout.

All of this has come despite the fact that national polling continues to show that Australians overwhelmingly support the NBN. One recent poll found that more Coalition voters support the project than are against it.

It’s hard to disagree with Budde. I’ve been reporting on the NBN day in, day out since before the project in its first iteration was instigated back in November 2007, and over that time pretty much every possible criticism and doubt has been levelled at it in one form or another. Financial, technical, social, political; every single angle has been explored by hundreds of conservative commentators all convinced that the project is set to flop.

However, as with the climate change issue, the weight of evidence on the NBN’s side has grown pretty overwhelming. As every argument against the NBN has been raised, it has been knocked back, usually by third-party industry technical commentators, but sometimes by NBN Co itself. There are a few issues with respect to the NBN which are still contentious – such as its deals with Telstra and Optus, the speed of the rollout, the location of wireless towers and so on – but they are gradually being worked out as the rollout progresses, or have been laid down in stone and would be difficult to change at this point.

But despite this, we still continue to see misinformed, inaccurate and just plain irrelevant opinions and analysis about the project by commentators who don’t appear to understand its dynamics. These sorts of comments are coming from the Coalition, they’re coming from conservative commentators such as Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones, and they’re coming from other random ‘experts’.

To my mind, most of these comments are not worth taking seriously. For starters they are often just simply false, but beside that point, almost always, they don’t address the higher order issues which are also part of the NBN’s rationale. Things, as Budde points out, such as boosting productivity in the economy, fuelling the growth of next-generation digital businesses, generating e-health solutions, helping the deployment of smart grid technologies and so on.

These are all things, given the constant onward march of technology, which Australia will largely take for granted in a decade or so. But to get there, we’ll need much better infrastructure than we have right now. Despite that being a fact, it appears that many people just don’t understand these ideas; and so their comments about the NBN don’t add anything to the debate. When you disagree with the fundamental facts of a debate, it’s hard to have an intelligent conversation about it.

And these sorts of commentators do remind me of climate change deniers (in fact, perhaps not coincidentally, many of the major NBN critics are also climate change deniers). Just as with the NBN, the evidence is on the side of climate change existing and being a human-created phenomenon. But to climate change deniers, the fact that the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence points towards the existence of the issue doesn’t matter. Just like the NBN.


  1. The reference to climate deniers isn’t by accident I’m sure. They cling to their beliefs despite any evidence that conflicts with their chosen position and the opinions of these people are given too much coverage in the press despite the misinformation they peddle. Reality doesn’t get a look in.

    • Is this similar to how the severity of Hurricane Sandy was claimed to have been exacerbated by climate change (Australian Climate change commission) only to have the claim refuted by the people who published the source data?

      Btw when did global warming morph into climate change?

    • A cunning way discredit someone’s argument is to attack the person. The word “denier” is intrinsically associated with holocaust deniers, it’s an obvious attempt to smear those who dare to question the science of climate change to avoid sensible debate.

  2. These people who are consitantly making these in accurate and flat out wrong claims about this project, are really the only people getting coverage in the media.

    i am very concerned that the average Australian, who doesnt know any better, will start to believe these Lies. if you tell someone something for long enough if they dont know any better they will believe them.

    ask your average Australian what they think about the “NBN”, and they will tell you;
    “Isnt it that thing thats really expensive and digging up our streets”..
    “that project which had that blow out” “millions over budget to give us less options”. etc etc…..

    i do believe this is being done on purpose, and they choose to turn a blind eye to claim ignorance becouse it doesnt suit their agenda. and the general population are believing them. And it is horrifyingly scary.

    can we do anything about it.?

    • Grass Roots Education

      When presented with chances to educate people, try and do so, but be polite and not forceful, or you risk doing more harm than good.

      The better argument to focus attention on is the repeated lies from Abbot, et. all. When conversation turns to political commentary I frequently ask “Would you trust him with your children?, your money? your job? how about your country?… didnt think so.”

      When you point out how hes a loud mouthed cartoon ostrich of a politician, who is either out right lying, completely ignoring the truth for political gain, or in actuall fact doesnt understand economics and should have his degree stricken from the record at Sydney University.

      And above all this, hes demonstrating quite well all by himself that USA style political tactics just may not work over here, I was worried that he would succeed in an election simply by yelling “IM NOT LABOR” loud enough for long enough people might listen and think he was worth a shot.

      It fortunately looks like the nature of compulsory voting and having stronger extra parties in Parliament (The Greens and the Nationals despite their long standing agreement to side with the Liberal Party but are not required to, they only do it out of political expediency for their own careers) are going to hopefully keep him from becoming PM. I always hoped our nation wasn’t so foolish that he would be able to keep up this charade he calls a political campaign for an entire parliamentary term and get votes doing so.

      • To be honest I think the agreement the nationals have with the Liberals is making them irrelevant. They should be wielding a lot more power than they are but they have tied their fortunes to the Liberals. ATM the only thing the nationals seem to stand for is Tony Abbott at least the green while offering support to Labor as still their own party.

        • Aren’t the National Party down to good old Barnaby and the leader guy (can’t recall his name)? I very rarely hear of any others….

  3. Unlike the NBN, global warming; in excess of todays unexplained occurence; was also experienced during the medievil warming period without the input of man, so stop spouting the tax grabbing propganda you are being fed.

    • Carbon Tax does not exist, it is a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Look it up!).

      Also the NBN helps reduce pollution because it’s not always Active.

      FTTN on the other hand, is always on, also requiring batteries, and about 50-70k of nodes.

    • “Unlike the NBN, global warming; in excess of todays unexplained occurence; was also experienced during the medievil warming period without the input of man, so stop spouting the tax grabbing propganda you are being fed.”

      Your comment is invalid.

      • Seconded. What a load of crap.

        I don’t even bother speaking to anyone who can’t grasp the basics of climate science any more. Its pretty easy to tell that they are in the ignorant/brainwashed camp if they still deny global warming. The weight of evidence is overwhelming, yet some people still believe want they want to believe. Its like arguing evolution with creationists.

        Totally agree with Paul Budde on this one, and that’s a great opinion piece too Renai.

        • The evidence for man-made climate change is very strong but the evidence for catastrophic climate change is a bit flimsy and only seems to be backed by scientists with confirmation bias.

          I support the NBN and action on climate change but I don’t think it’s acceptable to try to silence dissent by using childish, broad generalisations and loaded terms like “denier.” We have to keep the intellectual high ground.

    • First Renai , This is a subject I have been researching since the mid 90’s. The exception I take is to this comment “the evidence is on the side of climate change existing and being a human-created phenomenon”. This stance is part of the problem.
      Climate always has and always will change due to many factors including Solar Cycles, asteroid strikes etc
      However our impact, not just Greenhouse gases, also Ozone depletion (keeps part of Antarctica frozen ) is a major additive factor and now the feedback mechanisms appear to be kicking in (Arctic Sea ice and the thawing permafrost).
      Second ED
      I suggest you research the Milankovic and other Solar cycles, the peak warming was during that Medieval period, trending down to cooling since. Research the production of pottery, iron and smelting, firestick hunting, slash and burn agriculture..
      Research the Agricultural/Fishing industry sites etc. Also the Commodity analysis’s in the investment markets.
      Bearing in mind Solar activity has been subdued for the last two cycles, we are part way into another solar minimum expected to last approx 60 years and Earth should be slightly cooling, but still slightly warming.

      Yes there is a correlation with the anti NBN brigade

      • Ooo, you’ve been “researching” have you? On the internet no doubt?

        Well in that case I’m happy to take your word for over all those *actual* researchers with actual degrees who’ve spent their whole life studying the subject, and whom in their thousands overwhelmingly disagree with you.

        I’m sure your cursory internet browsing has given you a much better understanding of the topic. I mean, you know about Milankovich cycles! I’m sure those ivory-tower, labcoat-wearin, book-learnin climate nerds haven’t even thought of that!

        • Hi Sanchez,
          I think you should actually read and understand Abels post. Though it is a little confused, I do not think he is technically disagreeing with Renai.

  4. The conservative side of politics has really shown itself to be solely and wholly interested in only one thing – getting power!

    They dont have any constructive policies at all and their MSM mouth pieces are only too happy to help them if it means they can cling to the side of the digital cliff for a few more years!

    Even if MT took over I’d be very reluctant to vote for the LNP again as he has been one of the lead propagators of FUD!

    • It seems the only difference between the Earl of Wentworth and the ‘other propagators of FUD’ is that the Earl has such an assured and polished manner in delivering the Coalition bullshit.

      Oh, and also the fact that some members of the political class think that praising the Earl will cause ructions in the Coalition, but such base politicking surely has no place on a factual site like Delimeter. :)

      • The only other difference I can see socrates, is, because MT “once upon a time” had a monetary stake in Ozemail, that somehow makes whatever he says in relation to comms gospel, in the eyes of the perpetual anti-NBN rabble/Coalition stalwarts.

        Funny though, the fact that MT “currently (not once upon a time NOW” has a a couple of sizeable stakes in two (iirc), overseas FttP/H companies… apparently doesn’t account for anything, according to the same rabble :/

      • Unlike the rest of the Coalition, at least Malcolm puts out alternate ideas/suggestions (it doesn’t matter that they aren’t necessarily good ones, at least he’s trying). All Tony has is “No”.

  5. Well I’m not a “climate change denier”, I honestly don’t know enough about the subject to really give a concrete opinion either way to say if it is happening or not since this is in no way my area of expertise, however my logic has always been if climate change is happening or not is it largely irrelevant, I mean is it really a good idea to be pumping all sorts of harmful gases into the environment to begin with?

    Anyway, Paul Budde very well may have point though, seems to me many want to flat out ignore the possibility of climate change because it’s more politically or economically convenient for them. That is very much true for those opposed to the NBN as we’ve witnessed ever since the debate started…

      • “I know carbon dioxide is more toxic than cyanide gas.”

        so michael, could you please enlighten us since you decided to stop by with your straw man and explain in detail your opposition to the NBN? Let’s see if it’s political or not.

      • Just thought I would clean up your FUD.

        There are toxic components to green house gases e.g. sulfurs / CFC and other hydro carbons.
        There is Carbon dioxide.

        • “There are toxic components to green house gases e.g. sulfurs / CFC and other hydro carbons.”

          Great. Now perhaps you could explain what am I referring to when I said:

          “my logic has always been if climate change is happening or not is it largely irrelevant, I mean is it really a good idea to be pumping all sorts of harmful gases into the environment to begin with?”

          That’s not FUD. That’s simply stating an opinion. Hope that helps.

          btw you did not answer the question regarding your opposition to the NBN. I look forward to your response on this issue. Your climate change “analysis” not so much.

          • To your points.

            Harmful emissions and releases are covered by various environmental acts. Some of these are greenhouse gasses and others have a cooling effect. E.g. In urban areas ozone is a pollutant and there are limits on emissions.

            They are separate concepts and should be treated as such.

            On the NBN i would ask that you not misrepresent me. I have explained my position before. I am not in opposition to the NBN but I do think that there are various ways in which it could be improved.

  6. @Ed Kavanagh

    Well said Ed.

    There is absolutely no evidence that climate change is caused by human activity, and moreover all the claims of future massive temperature and ocean levels rises made 10-20 years ago have been proven to be false. Yes, ocean levels are rising slowly and ocean temps have gone up a little, but this has happened before in the Worlds history. Is it man made? Very debatable.

    • “There is absolutely no evidence that climate change is caused by human activity”

      hey Graham,

      I’m sorry, but your statement is inaccurate, and I will not tolerate such future statements on Delimiter. Please see our comments policy:


      It prohibits “Comments which inject demonstrably false information into the debate”.

      If you post again claiming that there is no evidence for climate change, I will ban you from commenting again on Delimiter for the period of a week. If, after that period, you do it again, the next period will be a month. And so on.



    • If we want to talk about climate change/global warming, lets do it elsewhere. This is a TECHNOLOGY news site. The article is about media spin/tactics/accountability, not about whether certain scientific theories are valid or not. Discussion of climate science does not promote good debate on TECHNOLOGY issues, which is (I assume) why we are all here.

      Leave the climate science discussion for the climate science sites. Here we discuss tech and tech issues.

      • One could argue that technology is what is actually driving AGW (cars, electricity generation/usage, all those plastic electronic things being made, etc) (and what will fix it, solar, wind, various geo/thermals, etc), so I kind of see them as hand-in-hand.

  7. Sorry, but I call BS when I see it, and people spouting government propaganda whether they are aware of it or not need to be pulled up. The author says “And these sorts of commentators do remind me of climate change deniers”. The use of the word “Denier” is pretty shocking as if it somehow should stop the debate dead as you are being somehow Anticlimatic. Same tactic is use whenever you use the word Palestine.

    • Using Stupid analogies is just plain stupid Ed.

      We call people deniers because they outrightly ignore evidence provided, regardless of the topic at hand, not what is on the topic.

      Here is a fact, 4 months on, and the Carbon pricing for example hasn’t killed Australia.
      Here is fact #2, NBN is going, and the Coalition party has 0 customers, 0 plans and policies that cost billions into a massive black hole.

      • Its not a stupid analogy, its an underhanded way of trying to stop a debate by making holocaust deniers and climate change deniers somehow equate and therefore all looneys. When I see bully boy tactics then I stand up to be counted. Dont try bully me mate. It makes you look foolish. Facts are we have had non human caused global warming (as you use to call) several times in the past, So stick your Dirty Denier tactic were the sun dont shine. This is a democracy the last time I checked.

        • Well, Ed, who was it who equated “Climate Denier” with “Holocaust Denier”?

          (Hint: nobody who promotes the idea that anthropogenic climate change is real…)

          I wont address the factual errors about climate change in your statement – as has been said, that’s a discussion for a different site.

          But, relevant to the topic of the post, I’d ask why is it that you think Climate Science is all “government propaganda”? Do you have any source for that, other than an activist’s blog or political website? And if you do, would it be from a source that *doesn’t* get a large chunk of it’s funding from the fossil fuel industry?

          This has all been well documented – back in the late 80s, both sides of politics were pushing for action on Climate Change. Just like they (successfully) did on ozone-depleting chemicals, and before that sulphates & nitrates that caused acid rain. The “doubt” that has arisen since then has been manufactured, by a small, well-connected and well-funded network of “experts”, think tanks, bloggers, and media commentators. Year by year, the science becomes more and more concrete and certain, and year by year more money is thrown (primarily by fossil fuel industries) at spreading uncertainty and doubt. It’s gotten to the point where conservative politicians in the US dare not even admit they agree with every major scientific organisation on the planet.

          The problem, now, is that certain politicians look at that, and see that they don’t have to tell the truth to “win” the argument, so long as they get the right support in getting their message out. They know they can lie, and lie blatantly, and almost nobody will ever pull them up on it.

          “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.” – Jonathan Swift, 1710

        • Given the vast uncertainty about the effect of human actions on the climate there should be room for more than one view.

          As others have pointed out there are different factors affecting earth’s climate with human activity being one of them. Why is it unreasonable to have doubts about the magnitude of our effect? Why should people who question the established orthodoxy be compared with holocause deniers.

          The statistical models cannot be simply interpreted and forecast off. There is no ironclad answer yet.

          • Well I must say I agree with Michael. Stop looking so surprised Michael, and do pick your chin up off the floor.

            Given the uncertainty about the effect of human actions on the Climate, there is definitely room for many views that should be considered, till proven beyond a doubt, by proven scientific methodology that has been Peer reviewed. Till then, we cannot know for certain that AGW is going to make Mankind extinct or even if it is happening.

            But then, we do know by a certain facts, that pollution is not good for us, nor the environment. That has been proven beyond a doubt. We were warned that there was a problem with this long before it was proven, just like some visitors to Africa were warned by the natives that the really big Cats out on the savannah would not curl up on your lap and purr. Instead they were dangerous and would eat you. Do we really want to be the sorry sod that totally ignores the advice of the learned natives to the area and try cuddling the overgrown pussies? After all, it hadn’t been proven beyond a doubt yet! But as we learned rapidly, just as we did with CFC’s and pollution, and the poor fool in Africa got shredded and became lunch for the beautiful cats, we learned you don’t sit back and wait on the premises you might be wrong, over you might be right, unless you really do have a death wish.

            Now that simple lesson is over, and since the whole kafuffle of AGW is about pollution, which we know is not good for us or the environment, isn’t it logical that we try to reduce pollution to the least amount in our wealth creation (we know they love that term), thus reducing the damage to us, the environment and also the cost of the clean-up to those who created the mess in the first place. We should also do this to the amount that is technically possible for our current technology (which is quite advanced actually) and accepting it as the cost of staying alive and healthy. After all, what is the point of all that Gazillions in cash you created with the by-product of all that pollution if you’re dead from toxic poisoning! So as you see, it is just so silly to justify polluting for the sake of polluting, because you’re not rich when you’re dead.

            Same logic really amounts, when your communications is not keeping up with the technology you connect to it. The only reasons why one would argue to not advance with a technology that has been proven to work and is in common use around the globe, would be that your investments would be devalued or the current situation is already impacting on your investments that were built before the current advancement in technology came into being or was affordable to roll out on a large scale. After all, no one likes it when other’s rain on your parade, do they.

            Poor Rupert and Telstra, who don’t like the thought that the NBN, with all that bandwidth and speedy data, would provide easy conduit for their competitors to enter a market they had successfully garrotted (at great expense) into a “walled garden” where one could control the flow of the information and utilise the public opinion shaped by it to control the political environment to fantastic profits.

            So the NBN is really not really Australia’s problem, as it is affordable and technically possible on which the experts agree. It’s Rupert’s and Telstra’s problem, who actually happen to control most of the media in the big brown land. Bring on the NBN and connect your devices and enjoy the wealth of the knowledge of Mankind and his creations. After all, isn’t it disrespectful to not enjoy other’s hard work to provide what was meant to be consumed by you all? And don’t worry about Rupert’s Limited News and Telstra, the rain might break their drought and evolution will kick in and they will evolve new products that people actually will enjoy, instead of getting bored with.

          • Thanks Techinbris. (Yes my jaw did drop)

            I have strong views on the issue as I am a chemical engineer and many projects that I have seen related to emissions reductions. I have no qualms with reducing emissions and I think it is a good thing to have sustainable production. The debate should centre around what action should be taken and how fast that action should take place. As we do live in the real world it does need to balance living standards with the environment such that neither is destroyed and in the long term everyone wins.

            As for how this relates to the NBN, it is clear that there are many people who criticise the NBN not on its existance (whatever their original thoughts were) but on its implementation and structure. Those criticisms are not “deniers” but people who have a different vision for how it should operate most efficiently.

            I have seen this time and time again where proposals, facts, and reports are dismissed just because people do not agree with the source. Idea are neutral and should be debated based upon merits alone and not subject to ad homium attacks on the author to invalidate an uncomfortable idea. It is sad to see proposals by Henry Ergas so often dismissed just because he is a conservative economist and not based upon the merits of the ideas. (I enjoy reading his work mainly becuase he will always provide a list of sources and spreadsheets (where applicable) so that it is possible to go over it yourself)

            Btw just as I have to disagree with you on a point, Murdoch does not own most of the media in the country. He has the largest market share of consumers but not titles.

          • I always enjoy a good balanced critique or knowledge seeking when real care has gone into providing factual data to support the hypothesis. After all, unless we explore the limits of our knowledge we will never advance. Hence I celebrate the challenges we make to the status quo in the name of enlightenment. So many advancements in science were ridiculed when they were presented and published (a good example was on the mathematical equations and formulas to utilise with electricity and magnetism) as useless to our Society before a use became available for the Community. But a short time later it was anything but the case, as electricity was placed into availability of the people with profound results. It didn’t get everywhere at first, but it did get to most people eventually. Same was with the telephone. No one screamed that it was a waste and was not required as we had the valve radio.

            But like everything, we will never know the answer to everything, so, to wait till we do is to stagnate and morph into death. But we should never disregard any knowledge if it is sound, but we cannot see how it works or can be utilised. But if there is a danger, as we discovered what can happen if a nuclear accident occurs, or what to do with such toxic by-products and how to store them with safety for the term of toxicity, we do need to err on the side of caution as we did in the Nuclear Technologies. To say that nuclear technology is wrong, is to place blinkers on your head and to adopt a Luddite philosophy. Look at the good in sciences like medicine. But it doesn’t mean a no-holds barred utilisation of it on such a scale it destroys the Biosphere being habitable to most of the current inhabitants of differing species. It just means to err, to not create irreversible damage to ourselves on this rock, no matter how nice the promises of luxuries are. What is the point of luxa (or is it luxae, luxus? Grrr, lugos? No that is the Greek) *sigh* if you’re dead from the actions of obtaining it?

            So nothing should be discredited unless it is absolutely shown to be a false path (eg: 1+1=1) and we will not utilise entropy to muddy the water to justify that as possibility due to resistance. :{D
            But when a possible threat is shown to exist, we should take stock, err on the side of caution to minimise the danger as much as possible and if it affects our lives so profoundly with life threatening calamity (not wealth loss which is minor on the scale of reality), create an alternative to the possible danger as quickly as possible til more is known. After all, life doesn’t halt for anything. Neither does technology for a curious species such as ours.

            Oh as to what you said about Murdoch, maybe, but the effectual outcomes are absolutely the same.

            Love the splitting of hairs. It helps us advance. Isn’t life wonderful.

          • BTW Michael, your work on emmision reduction, Kewl! Would love to learn more on it. Got a URL on the types of emmision control your working on. It doesn’t have to be yours, just the technology. I am not going to intrude that much.
            Sorry, I am a curious pain I know. But a Science and technology buff none the less.

          • The two areas that I have some experience in are solvent extraction (most commonly know as a component of CCS technology) and I also had exposure to a new form of cement.

            The cement was interesting (Start-up firm of a lecturer), as instead of being limstone based, it was made mainly from fly ash and furnace slag. Since this method uses waste products and does not produce emissions as part of a chemical formula on the climate change front it is a big reduction in emissiond for cement production.

          • So it is a bit like the Roman ash cement without the Limestone? The Roman Cement was amazingly good due to the ash from Vesuvius chemically bonding is a way I am not sure of, with Limestone (cement). What is being used in this new method? Sorry guys and gals, I know this is sort of off topic, but it’s interesting and in a oblique way, it is on topic as AGW was mentioned. But I haven’t enough to go on to pin this down to Google.
            CSS, well it is interesting. But can it work? We can trail it and see if it works and how well, but right now like a lot of things, we do have to err with caution as we don’t want to depend on it too much and have to deal with a disaster peculating up to bight us in a few decades when we already have huge issues to deal with. Much like the Nuclear industry, now we have discovered the danger of Carbon.

          • Yep, it was very similar to the cement used in older civilisations, another location from memory was eastern europe (Ukraine). The main ingredients that we saw were fly ash, furnace slag and “activators” which I’m geussing are the key component (also were the major cost).

            From what we were told it was superior to portland cement but since it had not been tested (used in a building site for 20+years) there were not comprehensive tests of its properties over the long term. This was limiting it’s access to markets in first worl countries so the plan was to market it in countries like india first and once it was established then try to enter Aust / US etc.

          • Well if it anything like the molecular bonding of the Roman mortar, you have your answer right now on how good it is. Considering the earthquakes in that region and the buildings and aquaducts still standing, it is brilliant.

    • Hey Ed, explain to us why you aren’t like a climate change denier then?

      While you are thinking (hope it doesnt hurt too much) I’ll tell you why it’s an apt comparison:

      1/ NBN denialists ignore that Copper is an EOL technology
      *no one is building new PSTN networks
      *the IT industry has stopped using copper at Cat6 (Cat 7+ is not used at all) for 10GB+ connectivity

      2/ NBN denialists ignore that the maintenance cost of copper are such that even Telstra cant justify doing anything but the bare minimum

      3/ NBN denialists ignore that FTTN/C networks requires 3x more power run than equiv size FTTH networks

      4/ NBN denialists ignore that FTTN/C Networks simply cant deliver the services Aussie Business’s are crying out for (I was the business CDM until early this year for a top 10 ISP and the bulk of small-medium biz are crying out for affordable 100mbs+ Broadband. Large companies are too, they are able to afford to use Fibre for CBD offices but all the metro offices are on bonded DSL or microwave links)

      5/ NBN denialists ignore ignore IBM’s research paper to see what the NBN will be worth to the economy (clue, it’s trillions)

      6/ NBN denialists ignore Cisco’s predictions and analysis of Australia’s data usage in the future – copper networks simply wont cope (they arent even coping now)!

      6/ NBN denialists ignore that providing a single ubiquitous national network enables applications that can be developed for a known standard in that knowledge that it will “just work” no more down scaling apps to work on flaky 1/2Mbps DSL connections or high latency variable speed 3G/4G connections!

      Anyway, that’ll do for now – now bugger of and educate yourself then you can rejoin the discussion and not look foolish!

      • At least NBN deniers can count to 7.

        But to address your points, [1] no one is recommending that copper is a good rollout for greenfields, indeed thanks to the NBN promising cheap fiber to the real estate developers, the NBN policy has actually resulted in some greenfields stupidly getting copper instead of fiber because the NBN has a backlog on fulfilling what they said they would deliver (and no you cannot blame that one on the Telstra negotiations, NBN can wear that all themselves).

        The point is how to efficiently leverage the existing copper investment and how to structure a competitive industry without a great big government sponsored monopolist in the middle of it.

        [2] Please cite some genuine evidence that FTTH has LONG TERM lower maintenance costs than copper. Sure maintenance will be less when it is all brand new but a quick bit of research indicates that silicon dioxide is damaged by water molecules (just like copper is) and the only way to make fiber last a long time is to exclude the water. You have exactly the same problem to deal with either way. The best fiber contains a hermetically sealed carbon layer for precisely the purpose of preventing the water getting to the glass, and a silicone outer shell (i.e. hydrophobic). Can you cite evidence that NBN is using this grade of fiber? I can’t find any mention of it on google, did anyone even think to ask?

        Then there’s the fiber joins and inevitable changes to the network as blocks of land are subdivided (requiring extra joins). Joins in fiber are more difficult than joins in copper and also require the water to be excluded.

        [3] Including the fiber endpoints in that analysis? All the power paid for by the householders? Anyhow, just about every new piece of computing equipment has been getting more power efficient right across the industry, so it’s really a moot argument.

        [4] “Crying out for” meaning that uptake rates on a voluntary basis are somewhere between 10% and 20% but in 18 months we will force people to use the product that supposedly they will be happy with.

        [5] and [6] at least have some similarity to climate change in as much as the researchers have a vested interest in keeping themselves in a job. You will NEVER find a climate researcher who says, “Oh there’s a bit of warming but so tiny that I wouldn’t really worry about it, hardly even worth doing this research, let’s just put up a handful of automated monitoring stations and leave it at that.” Similarly you will never find a major equipment vendor publishing a research paper showing no particular need to by any new equipment. Just doesn’t happen.

        [7] This is just pure ignorance… there is always going to be a range of applications requiring higher or lower bandwidth. The comms industry long ago adopted standards such as IP and Ethernet, so there never was a need for government takeover to achieve compatible equipment. We have IP layer and Ethernet layer compatibility right now. Besides that, the NBN isn’t even intending to roll out 100% fiber so still people will be using wireless, satellite, mobile devices, etc.

        • But Tel, the “NBN Deniers” might be able to count to seven, but they sure as hell cannot tell the difference between reality and a Fairy Story without being told.
          But thank you for providing your insight. It does provide reassurance we’re progressing well in our Nation’s communications now. If you don’t like it, it must be excellent value for money, for most of the Public. :{P
          Life can be good, if you let it be. So smile!

  8. The biggest issue with this attitude is that it actually has a negative impact on debate. The NBN hasn’t been improved by saying no and bringing up lies and misinformation to justify their position. You can’t take part in a debate if all you do is site a corner and say I’m right and your wrong so nah nah nah, it shows the debating skills of a 3 year old, and 3 year olds shouldn’t be running this country.

    As for with the climate change I look at the smoking/cancer thing. On one side you had published peer reviewed papers linking Smoking to varies cancers and lung diseases, on the other side you had the industry with the most to lose, funding research with the goal of finding no link. Who would you believe? My science background is university level physics(I subsequently went into a different field) and the process works like this. Have an hypothesis figure out a way to test your hypothesis, test, publish your result if you are right or wrong. If your wrong maybe your hypothesis was wrong or your test was wrong but if you discount anything that disagrees with the hypotheses because your funding source says so, you miss a chance to learn and improve our knowledge of the universe.

    A classic example of this was the Neutrino research at CERN a year or so back that seemed to have contradicted what we know about the speed of light. Now they could have just discounted all the results because it didn’t agree with that they knew instead they went out published their results and asked why this doesn’t agree with what we know. A reason was found and something was learned.

    With the NBN debate if you begin from the position of the NBN is a waste of money because Labor, while ignoring anything that says other don’t be surprised when we assume your an idiot 3 year old sitting corner “going I’m right and your wrong NAH NAH NAH” with there fingers in their ears.

    • Except of course for the fact that people have regularly been putting forward very direct, well explained and logical arguments pointing out problems with the NBN and regularly they just get shouted down.

      * How is it that low voluntary uptake and following that up with use of force (squelching the competition) to make people buy you product is a beneficial way to deliver any service?

      * How can NBN become profitable without depending on forced uptake?

      * Why not put that existing copper network up for auction and allow a genuinely competitive industry to evolve?

      * Fundamentally a wholesale monopolist is still a monopolist (as demonstrated by the electricity industry in New South Wales) which is a crappy way to run any industry.

      • I am surprised you can’t answer those yourself.

        “* How is it that low voluntary uptake and following that up with use of force (squelching the competition) to make people buy you product is a beneficial way to deliver any service?”

        Uptake is actually better than expected. No force was used to squelch the competition. They were paid hansomely for the changeover. Why not complain about change over to DTV as well?

        “* How can NBN become profitable without depending on forced uptake?”

        Who knows, maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t. Due to uptake occuring over a longer period it would take longer to pay back.

        “* Why not put that existing copper network up for auction and allow a genuinely competitive industry to evolve?”

        Go ahead, why don’t you buy it if it’s such a great investment. The only reason I can see for someone to try it is to undermine the NBN. Oh right, that’s is your goal. The only real buyer would buy it for scrap. They may squeeze out a little money, nothing that would allow any form or maintenance. But eventually it would be dead and FTTH would be the replacement. Why make the change over as inefficient as possible just to suit your political ideals?

        “* Fundamentally a wholesale monopolist is still a monopolist (as demonstrated by the electricity industry in New South Wales) which is a crappy way to run any industry.”

        Is that a question?

      • Aaaah Tel, always sprouting the same old tired arguments! Are you a “one trick Tony” too?

        * How is it that low voluntary uptake and following that up with use of force (squelching the competition) to make people buy you product is a beneficial way to deliver any service?

        * How can NBN become profitable without depending on forced uptake?

        It’s a planned migration just like when a business or home user upgrades it’s computer/s or systems so stop being so dramatic, the business or consumer is getting, at the very minimum, the same service at the same or less money (the latter if they are smart and shop around)! In most cases they get a better service for less money!

        If the customer really doesn’t want a fixed line service then they can choose that option too!

        * Why not put that existing copper network up for auction and allow a genuinely competitive industry to evolve?

        That’s just idiotic! seriously when was the last time the Power companies put up their old power stations or power lines up for auction when they’d reached and of life? never you say, exactly right they tear them down and replace them and send the left overs of for recycling!

        * Fundamentally a wholesale monopolist is still a monopolist (as demonstrated by the electricity industry in New South Wales) which is a crappy way to run any industry.

        Just because NSW do things badly doesnt mean NBN Co are making the same mistakes – just look at Victoria where they havent had nearly the same level of gold-plating due to a different structure being used. Also look at SA, we are likely to get a price drop due to the regulator review discovering that they had set the price power higher than it should be and are likely to cut it soon as a result.

        the fact is tho that just like in the power and water sectors, the last mile connectivity is a natural monopoly and making it a wholesale only is the only way to deliver cost effective prices to consumers while providing ubiquitous connectivity to the population of this nation.

        Most importantly tho, the FTTH NBN delivers outcomes for small, medium and even big business that simply wouldnt happen on an obsolete patchwork network as proposed by MT! for example IBM’s commissioned research shows that a FTTH NBN is going to be worth trillions to the Aussie economy over the next 30+ years and other large IT companies like HP have and are investing heavily (HP spent over 100million on a new APJ Datacenter in Sydney) to provide next gen business services that arent possible over a half baked FTTN/HFC “NBN”!

        When I was CDM for Adam Internet we had customers that wanted to use the Adam Tier3 DC but due to limited connectivity options were unable to justify the investment, others with more money had to resort to microwave links if they where lucky enuf to have line of sight to several tall buildings in the CBD and then had to shell out for $20k worth of gear (or an expensive multi-year contract).

        So to sum up, you and your mates who think this is a waste of money have no clue what a big deal this really is for the economy, you are to focused on the small picture of video streaming to home uses and other “side benefits” that could be delivered by a patchwork quilt of obsolete technologies instead of looking at the big picture which is enabling Aussie Business’s to take themselves to the next competitive level!

      • Guess what Tel, you’re just going to have to get over that injustice as it happens in more than just the facet of telecommunications. No one is forcing you to choose the NBN, but you are forced to pay tax. Nobody is forcing you to work, but you do have to vote. No one is forcing you to eat, but you do want to live don’t you? So if you don’t want the NBN, don’t take it up. Many people will follow all the propaganda and feel incensed against having it pollute their existence. History is full of such people right to this very day (eg: Luddites, Amish and 1950’s Buffs , of which my Mother is one). But I think there are far greater calamities that require our attention that impact on the future wellbeing of all of our children, than just the superficial outcomes of whether they will have exponential growth in everything including luxuries, wealth or high saturated fats in their diet. Please reset your relational index point to neutral. It really has slipped way off to the right into almost the realm of irrational Fascism. No one really does want to go there. It causes hypertension for you and misery for the rest of us.

        Chill! Take deep breaths and don’t forget to breath. We know it is easy to hyperventilate when one gets excitedly angry.

        Life can be really, really good, if you let it be. :{D

        Have a fantastic day!

    • Like how, when in government, they ‘paused’ the Australian Broadband Guarantee in around April/May almost every year because they ran out of money for what was basically a voucher scheme?

      Yes, pretty much how Malcolm suggests they’ll fund the regional areas for his plan.

      Ask the ISPs that faced severe financial problems when the vouchers were “paused” how much they liked it.


        • I can see it now. “QLD the Ignorant State” number plates. It comes complete with a “Can’t Do Campbell” set of eyes glaring at you as you follow in the car behind it, reminding you the Police are everywhere watching. Oh! The nostalgia of the Bjelke-Petersen years returns! :{D

  9. Well written article but…

    I’m a tad cautious of trying to link two separate issues together. It’s good to note the similarities between the two groups, but one has to be careful that one doesn’t step from rationale debate to name-calling & group-think. Among possible problems you run into the issue of off-topic rants in the comment sections :P

  10. Heh, NBN and climate change? We’d just need to mention something about how nobody is deploying Lotus Notes any more and we’d have a trifecta of loony-bait :-)

    • Just thought I’d bring some of the Whirlpool discussion on here..

      Turnbull says he wants his Atomic Banana. Abbott says he wants to crush, kill, destroy. Hockey still spouts voodoo economics. Pyne is off his brain. Since we really don’t know what the Liberals might do we might as well call their policy the “banana splits”..

      One banana, Two banana, Three banana four…


      Which one is Malcom.. which one is Hockey.. :)

  11. Hmm…

    Its a nice analogy, as far as it goes. NBN “critics” demonstrate the same combination of dogged determination and tortured logic as the climate deniers. That’s true. It does show you the immense human capacity for self delusion.

    But there are differences too. Climate denial is for many a deep rooted emotional reaction centered on concepts of identity or even religious notions. Or even just fear. We can’t be changing the planet. We have the right to change the planet, or oh no, its not happening!

    Climate denial is easily exploited politically of course. But with the NBN what you have is an example of pure political manipulation. Without Abbott choosing to use Republican tactics, very few people would be “dead against” the NBN. Some would. But for most it would positive change. Some might not understand it, but the hostility would largely not be there.

    Its a two edged sword though. Abbott might use negativity as a tool but if he pushes it too far, people are going to ask “ok, so the NBN seems a good idea.. so what are YOU on about, Abbott?”.

    I’m quietly putting some faith in the idea that when Obama is re-elected, the republicans are their Tea Party friends are going to spit the dummy something frightful. But the nice irony here is that whilst the Liberal party have adopted Republican tactics, the failure of said tactics in the states is going to cause even more consternation in Liberal circles. They may even try a (shock horror) policy.. but too late.

    In response to SMEMatt, I tend to agree.

    I’d have dearly loved to at this stage be engaging in constructive criticism. Improving on the NBN, especially in rural areas. Actually looking into its construction activities at ground level and seeing what can be improved. Talking more about how the government should make more use of it. And so on.

    But that sort of constructive debate has been made impossible by the sheer nastiness of our present opposition.

  12. Renai you demean yourself by using the term climate change denier. It is a term utilised by those who wish to shut down debate and denigrate those who do not agree with the current orthodoxy in politically correct debate. It attempts to conflate people who disagree with the current orthodoxy of climate change with those who deny that the holocaust happened in Germany. The raw amount of uncertainty present in climate change is staggering. It is completely different from the NBN where there are reams of hard numbers on the technology and only a few numbers need to be forecasted (which is relatively simple). I am surprised that you would support this analogy.

    I would like to see anyone here on the forums present a model to analyse (not forecast) climate change. After 3 years of econometrics we did not start on time series modelling in undergraduate studies. We did however do enough to be able to look at the inter-related systems and vast numbers of variables that are all interconnected.

    Are human actions having an effect on global climate? Probably. What is that effect? I do not know, it could be major, it could be insignificant. The earth is an ecosystem that is an equilibrium. The cycles do not move quickly.

    Personally “Climate Change Denier” often masks poor analysis and shoddy policy.

    Wind farms in Aust will often generate most greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime than they save. This is due to the emissions generated while manufacturing the aluminium used in their construction due to the brown coal power stations.
    Hybrids will most commonly pollute the enivronment more than a small car. This is due to significantly higher production costs for the car itself and then the battery which is composed of more exotic metals must be disposed of safely. This will balance out of the car is on the road for 15-20 years. This is not the case yet.

    People involved in these industries decry their cause and shout down any opposition as “deniers” but fail to do a proper analysis. To look at greenhouse gas emissions you need a lifecycle analysis, from birth to the grave. Manufacture to decomissioning. Yes some policies may reduce emissions during the “use” period but increase them significantly during the others. This is all glossed over with such labels.

    • +1. Renai I enjoy your posts usually but I am saddened by your pulling out the rulebook and suspending the offending user. A simple warning that this was not the place to discuss climate issues would have sufficed with the reason that they are out of the scope of your, and the majority of the readers, expertise.

      As a project, the NBN is orders of magnitude less complex than climate change and can be placed well within the realm of what we understand. I’ve never seen you pull the rulebook out on nbn naysayers who are demonstrably false and hope to see you more consistent in your moderation in the future.

      • “I’ve never seen you pull the rulebook out on nbn naysayers who are demonstrably false”

        Then you don’t read Delimiter that often :)

        • Kinda nice to see really, too many people on the Internet get away with sprouting demonstrably false info and say it’s their right to have an “alternative view”.

          If there is a car sitting in front of you, it’s OK to have a differing view on it’s colour, but there is something fundamentally wrong when you have a “view” on if the car is actually there or not…

      • “the NBN is orders of magnitude less complex than climate change and can be placed well within the realm of what we understand”

        Both are within the realms of what we can understand. If you have a lot of telecommunications knowledge, the NBN is easier to understand. If you have a lot more scientific knowledge, climate change is easier to understand. The only thing that really makes either of them hard to understand is the FUD and the lies from the conservatives.

    • No that is also incorrect, those who have done the research for a long time on both Climate Change and on the NBN.

      Especially with the NBN a number of countries stopped rolling out FTTN and actually moved to FTTH during start of our NBN.

      Fact 1. NBN is required because bandwidth is exceeding the current networks.
      Fact 2. Mobile Data is not being used so someone has to pick up the pace.
      Fact 3. Cost of Rolling out FTTN and then Upgrading to FTTH is cheaper than FTTH is incorrect.
      Fact 4. Upgrading FTTN to FTTH Only gives out 330Mbps Download and most importantly upto 20-30Mbps upload.
      Fact 5: Pricing of the NBN is similar to that of the current networks and better value of the Mobile Networks (especially comparing to Data volumes).
      Fact 6: NBN uses less electricity than FTTN due to less passive networking equipment – making the equipment last longer.


      Plenty of Evidence is there if people actually look for it. We are not the Deniers as we want these things to happen.

      The Deniers are people who don’t want things to happen.

      • I was using this point to highlight the complexity underpinning the climate change debate. The complexity of the models leads to a massive amount of variance / uncertainty in the results. This justifies doubt in model coefficients (not even going into 20 year forecasts). None of the reports published shows the confidence interval or similar when making a prediction.

        But you are correct in that any more details is way off topic. Just please do not use the term “denier” as it is used by those who wish to bully / intimidate/ silence opponents. Terms like critic, skeptic etc do not have the same connotations and are no longer used as they do not have the same effect. It is a sad day when you categorize people who do not absolutely agree with you in the same category as holocaust deniers.

        • Michael it is a Sad Day indeed, when only intelligent and well spoken and educated member of the opposition labels everyone who disagrees with his opinion on the NBN debate as a FTTH Zealot !

        • Yep. There is another one of those terms coined by spin doctors that are full of connotations. “Zealot” a religious fanatic that will not change in their opinion.

          Rational debate should be free of these labels.

        • @Michael: Correct me if I’m wrong but i have yet to see anyone here make that connection between Climate Change Skeptics/Deniers to Holocaust Deniers. I will agree that it is an incredible hyperbole and frankly a rubbish one to make…

          However the only person to make that connection here was Ed himself…. and that was in the middle of his own hyperbolic reactions to “evidence” people are trying to show on climate change. =/

          • I have nothing against the term skeptic / critic etc etc.

            I do protest against the use of the term denier. It is deliberately used based upon that connection.

            Ed or I are not making the connection. The connection has been made through years of association with holocaust deniers. We are merely highlighting it.

            If you do not like being associated with it then do not use the term denier and pass along the request to others.

          • Protest all you like Michael… but it’s not just about you and your opinion or perception of a particular word.

            If Renai was to stop using particular words because each time “one” reader objected well…

            From the online dictionary…

            Denier (n) – a person who denies.

            As such, please dismount from your high horse… now ;)

    • Actually Michael you’re 100% wrong in your opinion.

      “The earth is an ecosystem that is an equilibrium. The cycles do not move quickly.”

      Almost any environmental scientist/climatologist will tell you the exact opposite. Climate is more like balancing two knifes on their sharpened edges. Sure everything looks balanced RIGHT NOW, but just out of sight there’s a TIPPING POINT.

      Push things too far and they ‘fall over’, rapidly swinging to a new point of temporary stability.

      • Off-topic but…

        He’s right, its an equilibrium and like with any equilibrium, if there is a change within that system, a new equilibrium is established which Michael fails to acknowledge. Clearly Michael didn’t progress that far in Chemistry. It might’ve helped. The equilibrium has shifted and thus we have climate change which is caused by humans.

        • I was using equilibrium to highlight the complex relationships between all of the different systems. In chemistry terms it is an equilibrium (whether it reaches or not is anothewr matter).

          Personally Jo I would have thought it self obvious that in any system when you introduce changes you have to analyse the changes.
          Is it within the abilities of the current equilibrium to return to its starting point?
          Will it shift the equilibrium? How much? How Far?

          • “Is it within the abilities of the current equilibrium to return to its starting point?”

            Yes but it would require extreme measures destroying our way of life – shut down of factories and stop polluting in any form!

            “Will it shift the equilibrium? How much? How Far?”

            That’s what the scientists have explained. Maybe you should do your research and look it up on websites that aren’t conservative funded but independent. How about using the study funded by a conservative organisation designed to fail but ended up proving climate change changing the mind of the physicist who Nick Minchin originally used to support his arguments and now discredits because he’s arguments don’t agree with his own.

          • Jo, the science is not settled.

            I remember in 2007 Ross Garnaut was telling us that Australia would be in a perpetual drought due to global warming. As a consequence we have all these desalination plants (incredibly power hungry and expensive) dotted around the country and sitting idle.

          • I would once again on this specific point agree with Michael. “The science is not settled.” I think a lot of people are misunderstanding Michael’s points, and sorry Michael, your clearly not presenting the fact your questioning everything as rationally as possible very well. You’re playing Devil’s Advocate and naturally they are seeing you as evil. If I am wrong on this, I’ll quietly slink off into the background and lick my cuts.
            But I have pointed out before, you don’t sit back and wait on the premises you might be wrong, over you might be right, unless you really do have a death wish. But then, we cannot just “pause” our civilization nor bury our head in the sand because we desire more of that silly stuff called money that has worth only to a thing called man and nothing else in the Universe. We have to pollute less, and to all the people who say AGW has nothing to do with the NBN, you are wrong. It has everything to do with it as it will utilize less energy to run and it will reduce the need to utilize fossil fuels for personal concentrated transport. People will be able to heal in their own homes reducing stress on the health systems infrastructure, etc,etc.
            But in all things, we are still learning the Universe in which we all reside. Imagination opens the path and today’s Science Fiction is tomorrows Science Fact (well, some of the time). But it really is silly to take a Luddite approach for the sake of wealth, for someone else, who is lying to you to perpetuate that cycle of wealth concentration. Wealth will always ebb and flow around, but to force it faster and stronger in one direction and you have the trouble with it become too rapid just like LA’s issue with the drains they built. Nature curves its water courses for a reason. Let’s learn and adjust. Most things are much the same if we open our eyes and are willing to learn and adjust at all times.

    • Michael,

      The examples you choose are not only wrong, but are also irrelevant to the rest of your post.

      And the term “climate denier” is a necessary one to describe people who willfully deny evidence, and you only have to skim any one of a number of web sites to see climate denial in action. Its often as bad as that guy the other day that claimed that the levee that failed in the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy had actually been dynamited. Yes, really.

      Oh, and here’s a clue. Wind turbines have a cost in terms of embedded energy of about 2 to 5 years. And a life of up to 50 years (with maintenance). Reinforced concrete might be expensive energy wise, but once its there, it lasts a long time. Hybrid cars? Wrong again. Trot out your sources. Happy to expose the lazy, opportunistic and sloppy use of figures.

      • If you cliam it is necessary for people who deny evidence then what about people who lie or fabricate or selectively present evidence?

        Climategate emails from the IPCC?

        Hurricane Sandy climate change link refuted?

        The entire debate has become muddied by vested interests. Reports are written to have shock value and not pure scientific basis. Group think is present at many organizations.

        Where has the nuanced debate gone? Why has a term that was once refrained to the very fringe is now used to cover a large segement of the population?

        • I personally hate when enough evidence is presented that the minority becomes the majority and those who keep arguing are treated like conspirousy theorists. I personally would love to see the debate on if the earth is flat or round continue and I am not yet convinced that the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth. ;)

        • If you read my arguments NBNaccuracy,

          I am not debating that human are having an effect, I am questioning the magnitude / speed / certainty of the published results. I see that not a single person can point me towards a source that can address the uncertainty inherent in climate change modelling.

          Given that why is it unreasonable to have doubt?

          That is why I protest at the use of the term “denier”.
          The whole gist of what I am asking is to stop using a term laden with strong connotations linking back to true massacres for political purposes.

          • So you are saying that climate change IS occuring, but that you question other elements, for example human influence, etc.

            In which case, you don’t need to worry about the term “Climate change denier” because you are not one.

            Because you AGREE that climate change is happening, but that you question some of the data within that indicates causality.

            No problems. You are not a climate change denier. As opposed to someone who believes it is not happening.

            So you should stop talking about it now, because this is a tech site and we are discussing the NBN.

          • Thanks, and I should probably leave it be. I just see the term used so often at anyone who expresses doubts and not just people who are in complete denial. I know climate change is an emotive debate but as with many public debates there is less respect for people with a differing opinion.

        • You talk about nuanced debate, and at the same time spout the now thoroughly discredited “climategate”..

          Oh dear. You’re demonstrating exactly the kind of mindset we’re talking about.

          • Climategate does not disprove climate sciece. It highlights that even the IPCC is not above exagerating the effects or omitting the confidence level / data points to increase the impact of predictions and findings. Just because others misrepresented them as well does not invalidate their actions.

            The other thing I would ask you ungulate is about your references for embedded emissions, I cannot remember where I heard my numbers and I almost never see them addressed so I havent been able to research it further. Where did you get your information as they look interesting in that they have done a proper lifecycle analysis.

    • “It is a term utilised by those who wish to shut down debate and denigrate those who do not agree with the current orthodoxy in politically correct debate. It attempts to conflate people who disagree with the current orthodoxy of climate change with those who deny that the holocaust happened in Germany.”

      As stated earlier, its not a means nor attempt to stop debate and no one other than conservatives such as you and Bolt have even tried to link it to holocaust deniers which is simply an attempt at sympathy for your side of the debate and attack on the other side. Ironic, isn’t it.

      “The raw amount of uncertainty present in climate change is staggering.”

      No, the raw amount of uncertainty presented in the media about climate change is staggering. If you actually did your research and listened to scientists, you would not only realise but be amazed at the level of certainty about this within the scientific community.

      “Are human actions having an effect on global climate? Probably.”

      Definitely, there is not doubt.

      “What is that effect? I do not know, it could be major, it could be insignificant.”

      You don’t know but scientists do. Whilst there is some debate on the subject and there always will and should be to ensure we reach the correct conclusion, deniers use this to claim there is no effect at all and its all a blow up.

      “Personally “Climate Change Denier” often masks poor analysis and shoddy policy.”

      You’re right, climate change deniers mask their poor analysis and shoddy policy and spread their FUD.

      “People involved in these industries decry their cause and shout down any opposition as “deniers” but fail to do a proper analysis.”

      People who do analyses on these industries are NOT deniers, often they’re environmentalists trying to figure out what the best solution really is. I actually know environmental organisations and people from these organisations who do not support recycled paper, they support plantation paper which is environmentally sourced from a somewhat ‘renewable’ source without the great energy expenditure involved with trying to recycle paper. Industries are also not environmentalists. They’re trying to sell a product and will do so in any way possible and being green is a big thing so they exploit that.

      What I don’t get is why people are so opposed to creating a better world (or do these people deny pollution is bad?). In case you’re wondering I’m aware that being anti-‘carbon tax’ /= being a climate denier because in that debate political and economic ideals also come into play.

      Having questions about climate change and AGW is not wrong and could even indicate higher level thinking except where people are completely rejecting facts and regurtiating but not questioning the dribble from conservatives such as Bolt, Jones, Lord Mock-whatever his name his, etc. These are the deniers, the deniers of facts.

      • Holocaust denier is a historical (and current) term. Denier is now linked to that term.

        By appropriating that term you are trying to conflate the two issues (consciously or subconsciously).

        • “Holocaust denier is a historical (and current) term. Denier is now linked to that term.

          By appropriating that term you are trying to conflate the two issues (consciously or subconsciously).”

          That link only happens when creates a scenario in which a causal link is made. I personally never even thought of that link today UNTIL someone made such a link. And as far as most average people on block they wouldn’t even make such a link.

          The irony here is the “mud” about Denial being linked to Holocaust was a “defence” strategem from the skeptics side to promote a form “outrage” at being shutdown =/

      • **missclick** (continuation)

        “Are human actions having an effect on global climate? Probably.”

        Definitely, there is not doubt.”

        This comes back to the statistics. I studies statistics at an undergraduate level for 3 years. This forms my doubt as I have seen how easily it is possible to obtain false results from statistics or to manipulate statistics to obtain the results you want. Don’t just brush it aside without responding to this aspect of my post otherise it seems to me you are acting out of blind faith more than informed opinion.

        The reason I keep bringing them up is that forecasting is not an exact science. It is based off the assuptions and models used. Without being able to anlayse and critique these then the validity of the forecasts is questionable. This relates to the NBN’s business case as it is trying to predict 20+ years into the future and account for all sorts of qualitative factors including business expertise and experience.

        • @ Michael.

          “The reason I keep bringing them up is that forecasting is not an exact science. It is based off the assuptions and models used. Without being able to anlayse and critique these then the validity of the forecasts is questionable. This relates to the NBN’s business case as it is trying to predict 20+ years into the future and account for all sorts of qualitative factors including business expertise and experience.”

          A. So what we have are, assumptions (your word)… or rather, analysed and scrutinised estimations (as all builds do) by some of the best in the business, highlighting costs, funding, timeframes, take-up, revenue, etc… clearly suggesting how and why the NBN will be a winner.


          B. Blind, baseless politically motivated anti-NBN scaremongering, which even the opposition can’t agree on and have to lie about… suggesting it won’t be a winner.

          Yet you criticise A and wonder why we pick A as our “evidence” over B?

          • Not even commenting on the LNP policies.

            However just because the opposition is garbage does not mean the NBN Co’s predictions are correct. They can both be wrong it is not zero sum. The NBN is currently behind on it’s targets for good reason but until it speeds up there is still room to doubt the predictions.

          • Incorrect Michael.

            Because we have two choices only. The NBN or the opposition’s alternative. One or the other…period.

            Commenting without taking this into account or suggesting both are no good, makes one’s comment invalid, imo.

          • BTW of course no one expects the projections to be spot on, particularly over such a period (except the dooms-dayers in their crusade to push negativity) but the corporate plan is a weighted guide.

            Of course question them, but once again, I question people’s motives who deride A and push B.

          • That is taking a hugely partisan approach to politics. You are with us or against us.

            The reality is no policy is perfect. There are always going to be improvements to government policy and who knows if enough people push for them they might actually get implemented.

            By not allowing any middle ground all you are doing is condoning sub optimal outcomes and shoddy policy work.

            They must be good as the alternative is worse.
            Why not fight for the best outcome?

  13. Budde’s argument seems driven more from a desire to put the boot into anthropomorphic climate deniers than anything else.

    This has nothing to do with whether climate deniers are right or wrong. I’m always unhappy when unrelated groups of mocked people are used to try and prove an argument. It relies upon a dislike of one group to make another group look bad too.

    It’s a line of argument that says, “These NBN critics are like those climate deniers, and we all know the climate deniers are too stupid to change their minds, so the NBN critics must be stupid too.” The argument relies upon (1) a common belief that the climate deniers are wrong, and (2) the NBN critics must be comparable to the climate deniers simply because they both refuse to change their minds. No evidence, just an assertion based upon an unsubstantiated comparison. The comparison is untested: some people won’t change their minds because they’re stubborn; others won’t change their minds because they’re right. Who is right isn’t the issue: Budde assumes all are wrong and therefore believe the comparison is valid, but offers no evidence that legitimizes his assertion.

    To be clear: I believe that many NBN critics are stubborn in the face of facts and refuse to change their minds. I don’t need to compare them to hated groups to make assert that idea; it’s an idea that is either valid or invalid on its own, and doesn’t gain credibility from bringing in others for comparison. It’s a lazy line of argument that relies upon emotional dislike and not clear thinking.

    • An additional comment to mine above: a number of the comments above shows that some here believe that it’s quite possible to not be stubborn about the NBN while not endorsing climate change. This supports my argument that it’s invalid to compare NBN critics with anthropomorphic climate change deniers.

  14. I think you are doing us a disservice by linking the NBN debate to the climate change debate. I think you could spend your time better by explaining the topics mentioned by Paul Budde in terms that can be understood by the general public. If people are going to have to choose between FTTN and FTTP then they need information they can relate to their lives. For example …

    – what is e-Government/e-Health and why can’t it be supported by FTTN?
    – which parts of the “digital economy” cannot be supported by FTTN?
    – what tele-commuting jobs cannot be supported by FTTN?

    Labeling people “deniers” is not helpful. It’s insulting.

    • I believe Renai said “similar to” and “like” climate change deniers. Climate is changing, the only question is what percentage is due to human interference. I don’t think it’s insulting, have a cup of cement (I don’t think a spoonful is enough in this instance) < THAT is an insult for the record.

      As for the rest of the article, we can only hope coming up to the election the Liberals/Nationals actually release some policies regarding the NBN and how they believe it can be done better, using facts not just made up ******.

      • ” THAT is an insult for the record.”

        Thanks. I hope you feel better for it. It hasn’t added anything useful to the debate though.

        The debate about man-made climate change is whether it’s real or it isn’t. The debate about an NBN is not about whether we need one or not. It’s about whether the solution should be mostly FTTN or FTTP. It’s a totally different debate.

        Turnbull is pushing FTTN instead of FTTP. Labeling people who want to make an informed choice as ‘NBN deniers’ is not only insulting, it’s plain wrong. Better by far imo to explain what FTTP can do that FTTN can’t in terms the general public can understand and relate to. Then they can make an informed decision come election day.

    • CMOT,

      As has been pointed out to you on WP, there is no choice between FTTH and FTTN.

      The Liberals have no intent to build FTTN, nor could they or would they given the 3 year lag before any such work started and the political consequences of doing so.

      As for pointing out that the same thought processes are involved in the making up of bogus arguments it goes like this.

      Plimer says that volcanoes are responsible for CO2 emissions. Fact, they’re responsible for 1/150th of human emissions. But there’s nothing stopping him from making the claim and there will always be people who want to believe him

      Turnbull says FTTN will be better, faster cheaper and there will be no shortage of Liberal sycophants who desperately want to believe it.

      You’ve kept saying that Turnbull’s policy is “credible”. What you mean is Turnbull’s policy will deceive enough people to get them to vote Liberal against their own best interests. But, that’s “ok” in your books.

      No different to the climate deniers trotting out “credible” arguments – if it misleads enough people that’s all that matters. Just as Turnbull doesn’t care about FTTN and knows he cannot implement it, but winning is everything for the Liberals.

      • “As has been pointed out to you on WP, there is no choice between FTTH and FTTN.”.

        That could well be the case. It’s what Turnbull is talking about, though Abbott and Hockey seem to disagree. If it comes down to a choice between mostly FTTN and FTTP then I think people should be given enough information in a form that’s relevant to them to allow them to make an informed decision. Given Turnbull is talking about FTTN now, I think the education process should start now.

        “What you mean is Turnbull’s policy will deceive enough people to get them to vote Liberal against their own best interests. But, that’s “ok” in your books. ”

        I don’t know how suggesting people should be provided with information they can understand is supporting deception. I think people should be given information to enable them to make an informed decision. Whether you or I agree with that decision is irrelevant.

        • “I think people should be given information to enable them to make an informed decision. Whether you or I agree with that decision is irrelevant.” — fully agree. Can that information please be complete, and not just 50% of the information needed to make an informed decision?

          Turnbull pointing out that NBN is behind its rollout schedule is correct. Thats useful information to know, and helpful for making an informed decision. But so is the reason behind that delay – the extra time it took to negotiate with Telstra.

          So please, give people the information needed to make an informed decision. Just make it complete.

        • And, has been pointed out to you on WP,

          It doesn’t matter that Turnbull, Joe, and Abbot are contradicting each other, and Pyne is losing the plot.

          The reality is that if a LIberal government actually attempted FTTN it would take 3 years to get started.

          The Liberals might be liars, but they aren’t stupid.

          They aren’t going to implement FTTN, because it is NOT in their OWN interest to do so.

    • Hey, CMOTDibbler

      If people are going to have to choose between FTTN and FTTP then they need information they can relate to their lives. For example …

      – what is e-Government/e-Health and why can’t it be supported by FTTN?
      – which parts of the “digital economy” cannot be supported by FTTN?
      – what tele-commuting jobs cannot be supported by FTTN?

      To begin I will explain a term that has been thrown around and not really given much of an explanation as to the significance of the meaning. “FTTH will deliver Ubiquitous broadband.”
      For the people which will be connected with Fiber, under FTTH. Their upload speed will be the same as their download speed. And you will have the choice of which speed tier you would like to be connected to. I.E, two people from different locations connected to a 25Mbps connection will both be receiving exactly the same 25Mbps upload and download speed regardless of their location, as long as they are connected by fibre.

      The connection speed is varied according to the distance from the cabinet on the street corner and the quality of the copper line. And as soon as you get 100 to 200 Metres away from the cabinet the speed drops very quickly.
      The upload speeds are not the same as your download speeds.
      You have no choice of speed tiers, your connection is your connection. Its the fastest possible speed you will get without bundling multiple lines, (which is very expensive.) or replacing the copper line with a new copper line or laying a Fibre connection To The Home (FTTH) anyway.

      So the two people on a FTTN connection in separate locations will be getting very different connection speeds, depending on how close they are to the cabinet and the quality of their 50 to 60 year old line.

      There is also the Issue that under a labour government the NBN built by a FTTH technology will be done through NBNCo as an investment to the government. Which is expected to make a return. No government subsidies. And as soon as NBNCo has made a return on that investment they will be dropping wholesale prices, so your internet connection will get allot cheaper.
      Under a liberal government instead of having an investment, the build will be done via subsidies to the bush through a tendering process to Telstra and Optus etc.
      NBNCo will be sold off and private enterprise will be encouraged to finish the build.
      The liberals have also been quoted as to try and recommission the Telstra and optus HFC cable networks.

      (HFC Cable, is Fibre to a node whereas instead of last mile being copper telephone wires, the last mile connection is a Cat 6 single cable with an outside and inside layer separated by shielding. The problem with this type of connection is everyone in the street shares this connection. Like mobile phone towers, the more people using the connection the slower your connection becomes, and uploads are significantly slower than the download speed)

      FTTH is the most future proof technology, with many already available upgrade paths past 1GBps.

      Why do you keep ranting about upload speeds…???
      Well up load speeds will be what will severely limits the effectiveness of things like your mentioned;
      e-Government/e-Health, tele-commuting jobs and in turn the “digital economy”.

      Remote diagnosis and tele presence technologies require a huge upload bandwidth. Can you imagine a doctor trying to diagnose you with a VGA Quality skype camera.?

      Here endith the lecture. :)

      • FTTN would have to be replaced with FTTH in due course.

        No money saved.

        Money wasted.

        End of argument.

        • Just to expand the debate on that point-

          What about the time value of money?
          What about the time value of obtaining benefits of faster internet earlier?

          (Whether or not it is beneficial is another question)

          If what your saying is true then there would be no incentive to buy a house that is not your dream house as you would just have to upgrade it anyway so it is money wasted.

          • Aussie business’s need 100mb+ speeds now, it doesn’t matter if they are small home business types or metro branch offices of larger enterprises!

          • michael, there have already been many articles published about how long it would take NBNCo, to switch to a FTTN rollout including re-negotiations wit telstra who own the copper lines planning and implementation and to switch now, would be the same time as to finish the rollout as it is now.

          • I am not saying it is a good idea, just that there are often circumstances where using an intermediate technology does make sense.

          • Yes, and it seems those circumstances were if it was 2007. Given the predictions of bandwidth requirements for the future FTTN will be sub par by 2017. With how late we are with upgrading there looks like there is huge chance that the FTTN “stepping stone” will not be paid off before FTTH will be needed. The likely outcome would be it just cost us more to get to FTTH or we will yet again have to work with a sub par system to avoid that waste.

          • There are still situations where a FTTN stepping stone may be beneficial.

            E.g. rural areas or MDU’s / nursing homes that are not scheduled to have the NBN installed until later in the rollout but where significant benefits can be gained by upgrading the connection immediately.

            I’m not saying a full FTTN rollout but it would be interesting to see the possibilities of a mixed rollout with FTTP being rolled out to maximise cost efficiency and FTTN as an intermediary in other areas. However, as the benefits from faster internet shrink the benefits from installing FTTN decrease as well. If the benefits are from high speed internet then there is a definite possibility that FTTN is worthwhile but if the benefits are from FTTP then it is not.

      • “Here endith the lecture. :)”

        Thanks :)

        I get the stuff about the differences in speed between FTTN and FTTP. However, I think many of the general public hear that stuff and can’t relate to it. The point I was trying to make is they need to see examples like the one you give to be able get their heads around the difference. More education and less labeling.

        One thing I’d like to see sold more is the ability to have multiple services on the one FTTP link …

        – one for home internet and one for business internet
        – one for internet and one for health monitoring and one for smart metering
        – one for internet and one for ipTV

        Multiple, separate services that don’t interfere with one another. Examples the general public can imagine using.

        • you are absolutely correct, the more “CORRECT” information people have about the project, and less miss information and spin. the better off everyone would be

  15. Paul Buddle you make a very strong case for the critics of the NBN. Time has proven the “climate deniers” to be correct.

    Time to try something other than petty and offensive name calling if you want people to believe your case mate.

    It sounds like Paul wants some free publicity by making outrageous statements.

    • “Time has proven the “climate deniers” to be correct. ”

      Again, off topic but really? Please explain.

      Changing the public’s opinion does not mean they’ve been proven to be correct. Its only demonstrative of the piss poor state of our media where the 3% are given 75% of the coverage whereas 97% are given 25% of the coverage.

      Its just like the NBN debate. Anti-NBN (and anti-Labor) articles are published more often in the media than those in favour of the NBN (and Labor in general) which helps to change people’s opinions however this does not mean its correct or proven to be correct.

      • “Again, off topic but really? Please explain.”

        He posts on Bolt’s blog and practically agrees with everything he says. That’s all the explanation you need. “Climate denier” or not his comments can be safely disregarded.

  16. Deniers are Deniers.
    You’re just wasting your breath or finger tips on the lot of them as they won’t believe anything real you slap them in the face with.
    Turn around and ignore them. Hopefully the likes of Alan Jones, Bolt, Abbott and Co, will all just go away eventually, and we can sit and enjoy our NBN in the calm of a reasonable and responsible government. (note, I did not say Labor).

  17. Hey everyone,

    just a quick note: Further debate about whether human-created climate change is real or not will not be tolerated on Delimiter. The scientific evidence for human-created climate change is irrefutable at this point. Furthermore, this issue is off-topic. Further posts debating whether human-created climate change is real will be instantly deleted.

    Kind regards,


    • Renai,

      While I have no argument for or against climate change, I find your hard-line stance here a little perplexing. Yes climate change is off-topic, but on the other hand, who brought it up to begin with? Um… you did.

      Or to put it another way, if you write an article which heavily features phrases like “climate change denier”, you can’t act surprised when people start discussing climate change in your comments section.

      Anyway it’s your site and your rules, just thought I’d throw that out there.

      • It’s not hard-line. It’s basic Delimiter policy:


        We prohibit: “Comments which inject demonstrably false information into the debate”

        A large majority of the comments regarding climate change were along these lines. There is no debate about human-created climate change. Saying it doesn’t exist is akin to saying the Earth is flat.

  18. Reading through these comments. I see a definite correlation between climate change and NBN … non believers (to avoid a strawman). Those who refuse to accept the evidence for the need for FTTH also the ones claiming there is no evidence for human created climate change. Seems like the vocal minority nutjob brigade to me.

    • Amazing isn’t it, the very nut jobs arguing that the comparison isnt fair are completely rejecting all the scientific and industry evidence proving both the existence of climate change and the need for the FTTH NBN are only reinforcing the comparison!


    • Interesting analogy from Maurice L. Newman.

      “Climate science is a bit like that – push the rewards and the catastrophes far enough into the future, and have faith that the prophecies will come true.”

      “The message was stark. If the non-believers didn’t convert immediately, our children and grandchildren would face a hell on earth. The priesthood excommunicated and humiliated sceptics and deniers. Alternative views were not tolerated and, where possible, were suppressed. Did someone mention the dark ages?”

      Is it just me or does this relate just as well to alot of the NBN debate? I definately see some parallels.

      • There is no “debate” from the anti-NBN crew, in their mind it’s just “wrong” and there are no benefits that they can see, or will admit to.

        You can spot the politically motivated ones though, as they argue the Coalitions “almost NBN” is “better” (even though it’s a half ar#ed attempt that _will_ cost Australia more in the long run). Like the rest of the Liberals policies, the “almost NBN” is also Disney fairy dust, so the fact the NBN crew argue an aspiration (also known as “A cherished desire”) as a fact/real alternative, is kinda weird…

      • No, it doesn’t remind me of the “debate” at all. The NBN “debate” as you refer to it seems to be a bunch of self interested or politically bias people posting easily disproved FUD. Or them stating their “opinion” no matter how uneducated or against all rational expectation. Constantly ignoring facts that would wreck their arguments? Why have we not seen anyone show why the predicted 100Mb+ will not be needed from 2017 onwards? They say they “don’t think” it will or “they don’t use that much”, ignore those that do currently need that sort of bandwidth. Do they show any imperical evidence that it won’t be needed? No. Can it be shown that it will be needed? Yes. They argue that FTTN is cheaper. How? Everyone knows it will need to be upgraded to FTTH in very short order. Show us the maths! I have seen one person try, they had to give FTTN a 15-20 year life span to even come close. 25Mb for the next 15-20 years? Really?

      • Michael,

        Actually, its just you.

        Climate change is occurring and its because of man made influences. That’s not in dispute.

        What consequences there are is of course debatable. How much is the barrier reef worth? How much will it cost to house more climate refugees? These are all valid questions. We should proceed cautiously. Make small steps. Things like implementing a small carbon price. Things like a modest funding of utility scale renewable energy. Oh heck. That’s what we’re doing. Anyhow whilst the science is beyond dispute there are valid arguments about what the consequences are and how we should deal with those.

        But with FTTH there are no such questions. The fundamental fact is that the copper network will have to be replaced. So its not a matter of if but when and by whom, and at what cost to the end user.

        Under Labor the NBN will provide a ubiquitous, future proof network at least cost to end users.

        The alternative is to see FTTH being implemented piece meal under private ownership.

        The one thing the anti-NBN crowd all seem to have in common is the belief that the future will never happen. That if we do nothing then magically the copper will not only be all we ever need but somehow will attain immortality.

        The one question the anti-NBN crowd simply cannot answer is this.

        What costs more. Build a FTTH network now, or do something else, potentially costing billions of dollars, throw that out, and THEN build a FTTH network.

        Go on Michael.. tell me the future will never happen. Tell me we will never build a FTTH network.

        • Read my comments, I have never said that climate change is not happening. I merely questioned the magnitude of our effect. It is interesting the hornets nest that alone stirs up and how many people misrepresent the slightest questioning or debate to their thoughts as total opposition to climate change.

          Again my stance on the NBN has been stated before and is not “anti-NBN”. I disagree with aspects of the policy but think that especially now that the rollout has started why change it drastically unless there are clear benefits. There is another parallel to the climate change discussion any debate is total opposition. Anyone who questions shall be excomunicated and condemned.

          However, as I stated above multiple times, climate change debate and the NBN should not be used together in an analogy as they are very different. The NBN debate has many more solid facts while the climate change debate is based off historical data that is often from secondary or tertiary sources.

          “future proof”
          That phrase alone makes it seem that it has become an article of faith. Nothing is future proof. We can take a bet based upon the best technology we have available currently but given the rapid changes over the past 30 years who can predict what will occur over the next 30 years?

          • @michael,
            “future proof”
            That phrase alone makes it seem that it has become an article of faith. Nothing is future proof. We can take a bet based upon the best technology we have available currently but given the rapid changes over the past 30 years who can predict what will occur over the next 30 years?

            All the upgrades that have happened over the last 20 years since the development and implementation of fibre networks have increased the capacity exponentially. still using the same single strand of fibre, the only piece of equipment needed to be upgraded is the equipment at the end of the line.

            one of the optus subsea cables runs at 6 Tbps over a single strand of fibre and there is 6 in that cable all the same technology. and with the NBN you will have 3 cables 1 active and 2 back ups running into your house.

            I don’t see it becoming outdated anytime soon. Unless of course the develop quantum entanglement in a way that can be used on a commercial scale.

  19. I liked the comments with Hurricane Sandy last week. Climate change may not have directly caused Sandy, but it sure as heck gave it a solid helping hand.

    Like the NBN.

    We may not need it TODAY, but we’re sure as heck heading towards a day when we will.

    Point being, it doesnt matter if you believe or not, something is needed in the near future. Whether you apply that to climate change or NBN doesnt matter. The world is changing, and its up to us to protect our own future interests, whatever the scenario.

    • And more to the point,

      If we are going to need FTTH at some point

      …and we will have FTTH regardless thanks to the fact that copper will decay
      …and building FTTH will cost about the same whether we do it now or 10 years from now
      …and it will only cost yet more money to build some stopgap network in the mean time
      …and while we do nothing, and waste money on some “alternative” all we do is lose the benefits

      Then is there any reason for NOT building FTTH, now?

  20. It is a real shame that Australian right-leaning elite is following American lead in politicising the subject of climate change; unlike their UK counterparts. In UK (and rest of Europe), respect for science is bipartisan.

    This extreme partisanship and divisiveness on every subject in Australia (from science of climate change to NBN, and everything in between) is just degrading our democracy. Elites should encourage people to consider topics rationally, and to recognize and appreciate opinions of experts, rather than fostering this child-like picking and choosing of positions based on emotional beliefs.

    • Science should be impartial and free from lobbying efforts. Unfortunately that is rarely true. The IPCC report in 2007 (see climategate scandal) highlights that problem.

      The best science projects are ones where vested interests do not have a stake but it is true that those are hard to find.

      • “Climategate scandal” was a complete beat up by sections of media, supported by vested interests.

        Science (as in natural science, as in scientific method), can be neither partial nor impartial. People are confusing science with politics here. Results of scientific tests just are; they can have certain weight, depending on how repeatable they are, how resistant they are to attempts to disprove them and how consistent they are with the rest of scientific knowledge, but that’s all. It is in interpretation of those results (and decisions on how to act on them) where bias and lobbying of vested interests comes in.

        There definitely are lots of very powerful vested interests in play (relating to both topics on hand here, NBN and climate change); and it is not very difficult to identify them. You just need to answer the following questions: Who stands to gain, and who stands to lose, by accepting scientific, evidence-based findings and recommendations on any subject? And what is the size of their relative interest or financial power? Hint for answering these questions in regards to climate change: the list of top 50 global companies does not include any solar-panel nor wind-turbine makers.

        • Also known as “Follow the money” ;)

          Change is hard, why upset a good business model, specially when you can just dig something out of the ground for next to nothing and on-sell it at great profit.

          Maybe they should ask the movie/music/book/newspaper industries how ignoring things works out…

        • Tinman_au,

          As you say follow the money. Look at the funds from governments around the globe that are invested into climate change. Look at the funds that are invested into disproving it. The number of research grants in climate change is much greater than the private sector invests. So as you said, follow the money.

  21. Budde uses the climate-debate version of a “Godwin” argument and the internets erupt.

    I’m sure it had nothing to do with creating a polarizing headline to grab attention. Right? :)

    I don’t see how linking NBN deployment opponents to a highly emotive topic somehow improves the NBN, or in a single sentence, provides QED.

    It simply polarizes opinion, on a project that already has far too much opinion being bandied about as some kind of proof that the evil empire (labor and NBNco) seeks to eat babies.

    I’m reminded of a rather relevant film quote:

    “Just the facts, Ma’am” — Sgt. Joe Friday

    .. it’s about time this was the goal of any number of journos and industry analysts (who should bloody well know better, by now) rather than sensationalist sound-byte tea-bagging.

    • Yeah it’s kind of getting out of hand with the comments :)
      Most technology babble goes over my head, and now add this into the mix! Argh *head explosion*

  22. It is fair to say that technically the NBN is a valuable project for all the reasons espoused by many before me. However whilst the technical infrastructure may be first rate it is how it is used that will benefit Australians. This is more influenced by government policy and business cases. In healthcare, where the NBN folk have been demonstrating some very good usage models that have had great potential benefit.
    However the Department of Health which pays for healthcare in Australia does not seem to share its enthusiasm. In the recent mini budget they significantly cut the number of Australians eligible for Medicare reimbursement for telehealth consultations. So one branch of government espouses loudly the benefits of the NBN and telehealth whilst another is slashing the availability of that benefit. It is that sort of disconnect and communications failures within the NBN supporter base that puts this much needed infrastructure project at risk.
    Whilst the NBN communications masters have developed great TV ads of the benefit of the NBN, they probably need to visit some of the other government departments and give them a copy of that video. Actually what they really need is people with real experience in the areas of benefit like healthcare, and not just more telco execs with a narrow view of what success is. It is not the number of houses you attach fibre to, its how those people use it to improve their lives.

    • Fair comment Doc…

      However, the people will be able to use the NBN once it’s there…as opposed to, obviously, if it isn’t there they won’t!

      Education is required…but sadly, as soon as the $’s are mentioned in relation to education, the NBN nay sayers again start their rhetoric :(

  23. On the flip side there are plenty of NBN fanatics that refuse to look at the NBN from an objective view point. The pro NBN zealotism is probably stronger then the anti NBN zealotism..

    As well as media outlets publishing articles that are 99% pro NBN or constantly pointing out inaccuracies said by the anti-NBN brigade, rather then offering both anti and pro articles on an equal basis..

    • “On the flip side there are plenty of NBN fanatics that refuse to look at the NBN from an objective view point.”

      Which objective point of view is that? That it’s a “white elephant” or something? That sounds a lot like “opinion”. I don’t have a problem with folks having opinions, lord knows I have a bunch of those – but they aren’t a substitute for facts.

      “As well as media outlets publishing articles that are 99% pro NBN or constantly pointing out inaccuracies said by the anti-NBN brigade, rather then offering both anti and pro articles on an equal basis.

      Which media is that? Both News Ltd and Fairfax seem to be rather staunch defenders of the LNP being able to say whatever the hell they like regarding the NBN.

      In fact, very few mastheads, let alone their publishers are actually providing a balanced view. Most are simply parroting the LNP “plans” as some kind of holy grail.

      Hate to burst the bubble, but currently most major mastheads are unashamedly anti-NBN, few if any are un-biased.

    • “As well as media outlets publishing articles that are 99% pro NBN”

      Don’t make me laugh. The overwhelming majority of articles published by Australia’s media about the NBN have been highly negative.

      • Renai, “highly negative.” is a plethoric understatement.
        9 out out of 10 news articles published by mainstream media mentioning anything to do with this project have publically pushed negative, factually incorrect propaganda…

        • When has propaganda ever had to be factual? It is created for a purpose and that purpose isn’t always the truth. Thus, it wouldn’t have had to be created and marketed as a mass belief product, it would be just fact and stand on it’s own merit.
          Maybe that is where true science fails. How do you sell something to people who freak out at the thought they don’t know everything.
          Answer: You can’t.

    • rather then offering both anti and pro articles on an equal basis

      That would indeed be an improvement for the majority of mainstream media, currently dominated by Murdoch press and their tireless anti-NBN spin.

      However, providing “balance” of opposing opinions is not much better either; that’s exactly what we have as a running policy on ABC in regards to climate science (and many other topics.) Opinions (and the time apportioned to showcasing them in the media) should be weighted according to expertise of the opinion giver.

      When presenting scientific topics, views of scientists should be given much greater weight than views of politicians, their media advisers or mining industrialists; when discussing networking technology, views of experts in network engineering should be valued above political commentary or views of bankers, investment professionals or dentists.

        • -1 :)

          Experts in network engineering will tell you all about the technology. What matters more in the debate (as Dr margelis said) is the use that is made of the technology. Network engineers can be some of the worst at telling you that.

          • CMOT,

            Even if FTTN and FTTH presented exactly the same end user experience (clearly they don’t) and even if our rising demand for speed or data is a fiction.

            You’ve still got one slight problem…

            FTTN is physically good for so long as the copper holds together.

            FTTH is good for 50 years.

            Even in those terms you’d be stupid not to build with fibre. The copper will rot. You’re going to have to spend the money on fibre. You’re actually spending more money to delay doing so.

            End of argument.

          • Network engineers are very good at many things, mainly related to networks :)
            It is time for NBN to get people who understand the various usage areas properly involved in a mature discussion and tie it into a national strategy.
            Technology fails when it doesn’t deliver value. The debate about whether one is better than another is transient, it’s what can it do for the people who use it. It needs to be an open and honest discussion, not advertising fluff portrayed as discussion. We are used to having those discussions in healthcare, it is how we learn and improve. I think it is time for NBNCo to do the same.

  24. The thing is, and it’s something Renai has (rightly) pointed out before — most mastheads at this point are pretty much just dumping content out, un-checked.

    Facts and and an understanding of the topic at hand don’t sell papers, folks. There’s a distinct lack of understanding of what is a) at stake and b) why this is so very important, is entirely lost in the translation.

    And so the natural reaction to several billion dollars being spent by the evil NBNco is, IT’S A TRAP!

    If anything, this simply highlights the woeful lack of education and information coming out of NBNco and the DBCDE office. Too busy refuting (frankly) dopey claims, not enough being informatve.

    Anything that is, becomes drowned out in the sea of grinding-teeth.

    • Comment from a work friend today.

      “One of the reasons why the NBN is rolling out in odd places ahead of needed places (and remember, this is a public roll out, not a private, lets-make-cash-fast one) is political. It seems the government is rolling it out where they can get the most votes for it.

      When the opposition put this same argument forwards in parliament, the government did not respond. Did not deny, just ignored the question… ”

      Belief being that the very statement itself makes it an undeniable fact. No checking of facts (reiterated a point that the rollout map vs marginal seats has SOME corelation – duh!), and it doesnt matter how much evidence is put in front of him, the ‘fact’ is Labor is rolling out in Liberal, National, and Independent areas just to get votes.

      And yes, he’s a very avid climate denier. Seems the mentality of one matches the mentality of the other quite well.

      • this point was raised and heavily put down. they even overlaid the rollout map ontop of the electorate seats, it was about 50 / 50. the rollout is happening the way it is becouse of the rollout of backbone infrustructure. they cant pick and coose who gets it becouse the need the “Pipes” to connect them to.

        • Yeah, I know. But its a standard ‘fact’ put forward that is so easily disproven, yet is still somehow ‘evidence’ that NBN is failing, or the wrong option, or that the Atomic Banana is still the best option, etc etc.

          He even stated that I should put the rollout map over the electoral seats, so apparently a 50/50 split which SHOULD be seen as a non-biased rollout was somehow evidence of vote buying.

          I live in Wollongong, as suggested by my tag. Kiama, one of the original rollout sites, is traditionally Liberal. Rolling the NBN out there first isnt going to change that. Likewise, rolling it out to the bulk of Wollongong as they are over the next 1-3 years isnt going to change voters from Labor to… Labor.

          Is it?

          Just putting this friends statement forwards to show what the Labor Govt is up against. If someone wants to see shadows, they are going to see shadows. But there is a consistency between various groups, which ultimately is what Budde is pointing out.

          If someone is a climate denier, theres a greater chance they’ll be anti-NBN as well, regardless of what evidence is put in front of them on either topic.

    • It is scary that the posters cannot spell the word sceince (sic) and that the first two leading “experts” are TV weathermen
      Lets take a look at a few of the others:
      Robert C. Balling Jr -Balling has acknowledged receiving $408,000 in research funding from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade (of which his University takes 50% for overhead). Contributors include ExxonMobil, the British Coal Corporation, Cyprus Minerals and get this OPEC!!!

      Sallie Baliunas – Between December 1998 and September 2001 she was listed as a “Scientific Adviser” to the Greening Earth Society, a group that was funded and controlled by the Western Fuels Association (WFA), an association of coal-burning utility companies.

      Robert M. Carter- Sits on the advisory board os the Institute of Public Affairs which is funded by the mining and tobacco industry along with Monsanto.

      Asking a meteorologist about climate science is like asking a paramedic about brain surgery.
      Sure they have a pretty good general knowledge about the subject but it is not their field of expertise.

      That is not to disparage either paramedics or meteorologists by the way. If I am lying injured on the side of the road, give me a paramedic over a brain surgeon any day. If I want to know whether to plan a BBQ for the weekend, give me a meteorologist over a climate scientist likewise.

      But if I need a brain tumor removed or want to know what the weather will be like next century, forgive me for asking going to the person best qualified to help.

  25. Once upon a time there was an ice age, it melted. Once upon a time there was a vast inland sea in central Australia. Where did all the water go.

    In recent times there was a large earth quake off Japan, caused the sea floor to rise by about a metre.

    Once upon a time there were cable with metallic conductors. In the future the metal will be replaced with a glass like substance.

    Then in the future there will be all these wireless devices vibrating water molecules in the atmosphere making them warmer, the real cause of global warming maybe? Maybe the world will become a giant micro wave oven?

    • I particularly like the following observation:

      “Existing access networks, capable of offering less than 100Mbps per subscriber, have become the bottleneck to superfast broadband. But the Bangor team says it’s now working to produce commercially-exploitable smart OOFDM modules and network prototypes, using low-cost, off-the-shelf components.”

      — don’t tell the Member for Wentworth. :)

    • “would allow 20 feature-length films to be downloaded in one second”
      Like everyone has SAN in their house capable of storing that amount of data throughput, or computers to process that kind of raw information.
      I wish some news services would get more realistic in their descriptions.

      “Existing access networks, capable of offering less than 100Mbps per subscriber”…
      I’m waiting for that first 5Mbps.

      • I think it’s kind of a chicken and egg issue when it comes to stuff like storage that’ll cope with the NBN speeds, why fork out the extra dollars for a top of the line system when there isn’t any infrastructure to support it?

        Once higher speeds are available, people will look at upgrading their gear to get the most from it so it’ll be a good time for the entire IT industry in Australia…unless the Libs kill the NBN “chicken” of course…

  26. I only have a few things to say, most of which should not surprise anyone here:

    1. I own a small business that employs 20+ people
    2. The so called ‘cloud’ is great for us – but it means we need 100% stable internet
    3. We currently pay $1200+ / month for 10/10 fibre service.
    4. I want/need NBN. Even an “OVERPRICED” Business plan at $200/month.

    • I doubt you’ll get it at that price if you require 100% uptime. You’d need two sources of everything including your entry to your building, for diverse paths. Even then, there is absolutely no such thing as 100% uptime. You just need to cover as many things as you can afford and accept that your Business may have to cope for a short time without it. If you don’t, then you deserve what you get.
      Not bagging your wish list, just saying to be real.

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