Turnbull’s NBN media war blows back


blog Those who’ve been following the National Broadband Network debate over the past several months will have taken note of the ongoing attacks Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made on sites such as the ABC, ZDNet and even Delimiter. Turnbull, it has been apparent, feels strongly that we’ve been doing a bad job in our articles and are heavily pro-NBN and not objective enough about the Coalition’s rival NBN policy. This morning, long-time telco commentator David Braue skewers Turnbull for this ongoing war on the media, in the erudite fashion which Braue readers have become accustomed to. Some choice paragraphs (but you really need to read the full piece):

“Turnbull has proven himself to be that particular type of politician who, when he has run out of defensible facts, shifts strategy and begins to target not the policy, but the people he sees as its proponents. Rather than dealing in facts and genuine debate, Turnbull is instead opting to deal in vagaries, insinuations, and character assassinations. He attacks critics who are absent, withholds crucial facts that would properly inform the debate, and is now all but refusing to engage with those who are anything but bloodthirsty enemies of Labor and its NBN.”

I’m not as harsh a critic of Turnbull and the Coalition’s rival NBN policy as Braue or Nick Ross at the ABC has been, and recently I’ve even controversially come out as saying the Earl of Wentworth has a viable policy, if not one that is anywhere near as good as Labor’s. But there’s no doubt where most of the readers’ sympathies lie on this one, as the acidic comment thread following my positive (but heavily qualified) Turnbull sentiments earlier this week demonstrated. As always, Braue nails his target to the wall in a way that reflects the sentiment of the masses. This is a must-read.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


      • @NightKhaos. The longer he takes the less of an impact it will have at the next election. The more ill trust labors policy that has been around for quiet some time. and more importantly is actually in action.

      • Surely you jest! The last policy came out on the Wednesday before the last election. He could release it on the Sunday before the next one, and claim we had “twice as long” to look at it than last time…


        No, he claimed he had a fully costed policy in August…there’s no excuse other than blatant politics not to release it.

      • “Patience. Much as I want to see the policy I can’t see him producing it in detail until after the new year.”

        You might want to clarify that, some people might think you meant this upcoming new year!


      • This is just normal politics.
        Unfortunately the uneducated masses might just believe what he says to be true, and have no time to verify the facts.

        As is the case with most political policies most election years…

        • Given the level of popularity of the NBN, even among Liberal voters, you might want to conclude that many have already seen through the “FTTN is cheaper” mantra and realised its a false economy.

          You don’t spend money on something that won’t last. That’s a very simple precept that most ordinary people do understand.

    • hmm seems like Tony knows about ‘put up or shut up’ too. problem is these liberals don’t seem to backup their claims with facts. just some random baseless claims.

      • There is a close parallel here.

        Tony knows he can’t “axe the tax” because he won’t have control of the Senate.

        Malcom knows he can’t implement FTTN because of the above and that it would take years to get rolling.

        Neither of these people are every going to admit it.

  1. Coalition MPs don’t release policies until the lead up to an election. They’ll sling mud and FUD about Labor but won’t produce anything substantial to support their claims of how they’ll do it better.

    Don’t expect anything official from Turnbull about the TBN (Turnbull Bullshit Network) until after the election is called.

  2. I like others here, simply don’t trust Malcolm any more. His deceptions are quite devious, as he doesn’t directly say things like “fibre will be obsolete in ten years” or “wireless is the future” but he certainly makes no effort to correct his own Leader and other party members from saying such things, nor has he make any attempt to correct Alan Jones and his callers on these fallacies when they came up multiple times last time he appeared on Alan’s show. He just sits back and lets the lies roll in, as he knows that its best to let the public continue to think those things in order to win the election. This is not a man I can trust.

    Then there’s the fact that Malcolm’s own comments about his alternative broadband plan are way too vague, too conflicting with known evidence, and above all else we know shat supporting FTTN in 2012 is simply a giant waste of time (and ultimately money).

    I’m glad the more intelligent media are trying to pull him up on these things, but given he won’t engage in sensible debate, and paints supporters of the NBN as some kind of obsessed tech-crazy zealots, it’s reasonable to assume he’s going to continue deceiving the Australian public wherever possible, right up until the next election. By the time any true policy details are released, there will be very little time to properly analyse and compare it to the NBN, and that’s exactly what he wants.

    • “Then there’s the fact that Malcolm’s own comments about his alternative broadband plan are way too vague, too conflicting with known evidence, and above all else we know shat supporting FTTN in 2012 is simply a giant waste of time (and ultimately money).”

      Turnbull knows it’s a waste of time and money too. Consider he’s saying nodes can support copper and fibre connections now in his latest rants so he is effectively conceding the point that faster speeds will be needed since he also supports rolling out fibre in Greenfields. His position on the NBN plan is looking even less credible since it is now universally accepted that FttN is a stop gap solution and FttP is inevitable.

    • I don’t trust Malcom because what he’s proposing, he knows he cannot implement.

      It would take years to get NBNco to redesign and go through all the same processes they had to go through in order to get FTTH into production.

      A new board.
      A new design.
      A new business plan.
      New deals with both Telstra and Optus.
      More iterations with the regulator.
      New construction contracts.
      And so on..

      Given the inherent delays and the obvious political dangers, he’s not going to do it and he knows it.

      What does that say for his credibility?

  3. Davids article is a good one. I’ve actually lost a lot of respect for Malcolm the way he’s been attacking the media, when all the media have asked is that he deliver some evidence that he’s actually thought through his plan.

    Malcolm has made a rod for his own back in a lot of ways by not actually releasing any details for his policy (and I’m sorry, but “how long is a piece of string?” type answers don’t really qualify).

    It’s impossible to compare what he’s released with what is a current, fully functioning project, and I’m sorry Malcolm, but unless you can show you have a deliverable alternative, and show that you’ve thought about how to overcome some of the obvious issues with it, I’m fully behind our media pushing you to do so.

  4. I’ll just summarise.

    Turnbull plan: “We are determined to complete the NBN” (whatever that means). Through changing to “technological agnosticism”. Yet likely only less than two years sooner. Leaves us with broadband that is substantially worse in bandwidth compared to where countries like China, Japan, Russia or Korea will be in 2020. Higher prices every month and with higher operating expenditure. But much lower capital expenditure. Yet Telstra keeps the copper. Delivers marginally better results – like for me – for people whose copper is not so good. I only have one pair, for example, so vectoring is out. Is likely however good enough for most households for the next ten years. Delivers a result, nevertheless, much sooner, and, again, at much much less debt funding for capital expenditure.

    NBN: Takes longer to put together, establishes a government-run wholesale monopoly, kills competition in fixed-line communications, delivers lower prices (as guaranteed by the ACCC), but is more expensive – especially for high bandwidth users – because it cross-subsidises regional users. Has a very high number of points of interconnect which raises the barrier of entry for RSPs. Has useful near-symmetric (and symmetric for higher expense) upload speeds. Australia is near 10% of GDP debt, so it seems like we can afford the investment. Furthermore, a rollout of FTTH to greenfields, part of the coalition plan will be much more cost-effective if combined with nearby brownfields rollout, which the coalition plan doesn’t seem to include.

    Based on these simple things I prefer the NBN. If Mr. Turnbull is not going to address any of the above points or answer questions around some genuine concerns – I can’t have vectoring and like upload speeds, so why bother with VDSL? – or take advantage of the fact that Labor is a minority government and continue to not engage the crossbenchers in legislating, then I guess we just hang on and vote based on the above facts, and whatever slowness NBN Co may encounter or whatever changes Mr. Turnbull makes on his policy, in the next election. Simple as that. If you don’t like the policy, and Mr. Turnbull doesn’t seem to be interested in changing his mind or answer some very important questions based on the facts presented dozens if not hundreds of times to him, then don’t vote for his party.

    If Mr. Turnbull is interested in answering questions, however, more extensive answer to the questions posed by people like Renai is in order. If one can’t answer, confidently, and in detail, all the questions posed in a satisfactory manner, and Mr. Turnbull can’t, while with NBN Co the vast majority of questions are clearly answered, then it’s just not a good enough policy that warrants overturning another one at a cost of billions. While leaving behind something that, in the estimation of my summary above, is more likely to produce a worse result. It isn’t even clear if this whole thing is a coalition policy or just Mr. Turnbull’s opinions.

    All in all, let’s just get off the ad hominem attacks. Things like “Turnbull Bullshit Network” or “don’t trust Malcolm any more” or “put up or shut up, Malcolm!” may be, subjectively, very well true. But they haven’t advanced the discussion, nor is it likely that they will, nor are they likely to change many people’s minds.

  5. I think Mr Turnbull is in a difficult spot with his alternative FTTN proposal. It simply is nowhere near as good, technically speaking, as FTTH, but he can’t just admit this any more and play on the cost aspect as the Libs to a man have been harping on about how wireless and FTTN are just as good or better than fibre. Or are future proof. Or lay golden eggs.

    So now he finds his one and only selling point, that FTTN probably costs less, is utterly overshadowed by the fact that it is so very inferior. It’s just more than any of the current crop of pollies can bear to man up, say the FTTP plan is technically better, and move on from there. Of course you could roll out a workable FTTN network in Aus, its hardly in doubt. It would probably cost less in the first instance too. Its also guaranteed to be technically inferior. It just is, and by a fairly wide margin.

    Show us how the Coalition would be better stewards of the NBN rollout. Show us how you would in fact reach more people or achieve higher speeds or roll it out faster or cheaper. But quit with the endless BS about how FTTN is in any way what we need, what we want, or a technical equivalent.

    • “I think Mr Turnbull is in a difficult spot with his alternative FTTN proposal. It simply is nowhere near as good, technically speaking, as FTTH, but he can’t just admit this any more and play on the cost aspect as the Libs to a man have been harping on about how wireless and FTTN are just as good or better than fibre. Or are future proof. Or lay golden eggs.”

      It’s called ‘populist politics’, and it is exactly what he’s up to.

  6. As David points out in his article, I think we should attack the policy, not the person, show where his policy is flawed, not the man himself.

    This isn’t addressed to anyone in particular, but there have definitely been a few threads where things have gone off the rails in this regard, which doesn’t really help matters at all.

  7. I’d like to know exactly what $15b covers.

    The NBN, in either plan, covers everyone. So far, a certain amount has already been spent, or commited to be spent, on the FttP network so far, either built or contracted. There is also an amount thats been spent on satellite. Those costs arent going to magically disappear under Libs, and arent going to be rebuilt over.

    Both those costs are still going to form part of the total cost for the LNP plan, so either need to be added to their costings (ie to the $15b figure), or removed from Labor’s NBN plan when looking at what it will cost to finish the job.

    Anyone know whats been commited to so far? If theres $10b of build so far, thats $10b of build the Liberals dont have to cover…

    • But then the liberals have to spend whatever amount of money has already been spent on testing rollouts to re-test how they are going to deploy an FTTN network…

      Remember when they did the FTTP trial phases in really small areas? They’ll have to do those for FTTN, as well as scrap all the planning they have for FTTP that hasnt begun construction, and repeat the same process but this time with techs (re)trained in rolling out FTTN. All of these things cost money.

      They will have to recreate the tendering process; each of the contractors will have to re-run their numbers, buy additional / different equipment, they’ll need to revisit their workforce, fire some fibre technicians, hire more copper techs, employ some electricians (I wonder if copper techs cost less than fibre-trained techs, do their qualifications cross over? do their accreditations to work on the copper network cross over?).

      To my knowledge about 2 billion dollars has been spent. The vast majority on the framework (I heard that 2 billion figure before they hit mass-rollout). A vast sum of that will have to be re-spent designing the new FTTN network, it won’t go down as a straight reduction of the FTTN build. (so maybe subtract 1 billion for network as-built, total cost 15 + 2 – 1 = 14 billion … not a huge saving for a network 1 tenth as good, 10 times as expensive to maintain, and 20% of the life expectancy)

      • I am wondering how much technical work there is with FTTN compared to FTTH for the guys rolling it out.
        If we take the fibre to the point where there would be a FTTN cabinet.

        With FTTH it seems less knowledge and planning is required:
        Take fibre from point down the street.
        Drop cable at each premises.
        Once connection needed fit ONT.

        With FTTN there seems to be more and stuff more prone to errors.
        Take all copper that is in use and attach it to the cabinet
        – making sure you get all the active lines and don’t waste connections on inactive lines.
        – connect the right wires to the right connections so the person doesn’t suddenly have someone elses number.
        ISP must immediated swap the person to the NBN as there is no 1.5 year overlap period. The copper is cut.

        There is another option with FTTN but it has it’s own problems. Cut and move the line from the exchange only after people take up FTTN plans.
        This has several problems with VDSL2
        VDSL performs best on shorter lines, with vectoring.
        Having this change over period means VDSL suffers the extra noise of other services on adjacent lines.
        The lines adjacent and maybe even the VDSL2 line connect not only to the house but back to the exchange (the line connected to the node may stay connected to the exchange for phone services and VDSL2 tapped in) This creates bad conditions of many more “echos” on the lines from the extra lengths of highly bundled copper hanging off the back end of the node.

      • @Peter A

        To my knowledge about 2 billion dollars has been spent.

        Uh uh. NBNCo. Financials, page 59:

        Total contributed equity: 2.832 Billion.

        Page 18:

        Commitments payable: 3.929 Billion. (possibly some amount can be renegotiated)

        Likely total spent now is OVER $3 Billion and with another ~$3 Billion committed.

        • Thanks 7T, that works well enough. So, lets call it $6b commited so far.

          Either take that off the $37b FttH build, or add it to the $15 FttN build to get even a slightly more accurate picture of the cost of each. I know, the $15b isnt the full picture, but work with me.

          You’re now looking at either $15b vs $31b, or $21b vs $37b. Point is, the gap is coming down. When you add in other costs to flesh out the whole picture of FttN, that gap gets smaller and smaller.

          And thats where I’m coming from. Right NOW, its $21b vs $37b. Instantly, because of whats already been down under FttH, the FttN model has gone up 40%. With more to come.

          Thats why I’d like to know what the $15b covers, so we could see what other costs are going to need to be paid, or have been paid/commited to already. The costs so far are STILL part of whichever NBN we get.

          • @GongGav

            Thats why I’d like to know what the $15b covers, so we could see what other costs are going to need to be paid, or have been paid/commited to already.

            Telstra’s proposal was fairly in depth (originally) and the 2008 proposal was, essentially, just an upgrade of the original 2005 proposal. So we know it would include:

            1- “Remediating” the copper (but only enough for 12Mbps)
            2- About 98% coverage (again, only at 12Mbps)
            3- An assumption of any backhaul required to the exchanges to handle the node bandwidth

            Basically, Turnbull has copied and pasted Telstra’s “upgraded” proposal (we think), but it still doesn’t include the transit network (if NBNCo. build it) or the wireless/sat, which will almost certainly be kept. It’ll be a hybrid version, not an original Telstra version

  8. Anything policy-wise Turnbull produces now, is unlikely to actually mean anything without Abbott signing off on it.

    Having said that, the sheer degree of vague statements and periodic changes to quite how it fits together suggests to me, that, as typically is the case, it’s just not high enough on the Liberal radar, to matter.

    The Coalition basically doesn’t care. A bit of an investment into propping up Telstra and job-done, that’s the best Turnbull can hope for. Anything else, carries too much investment, and too little support. Forget upgrading FTTN to FTTH. The price will be carried by those who can stomach the several grand price to have the last mile replaced.

    Turnbull is really conning the Australian Public. I don’t believe for a moment there is a road map for his plans; the sporadic changes and amendments and back-downs on supposed policy (that now, clearly, does not exist) expose the lie for what it is.

    The great irony is the strong support for the NBN at the grass-roots, local government level, even in Liberal governments. A Liberal lead federal government would have more than enough support to push having the NBN retained.

    • Note, this isn’t an attack on Turnbull per-se.

      It’s a lack of patience for the politicking that is being used to obfuscate the debate; rather than clearly define a future direction, the Liberal opposition is stonewalling and reverting to claims of “bias” when the questions on policy become pointed.

      I think they can do better than that. It’s about time they were reminded.

    • unlikely to actually mean anything without Abbott signing off on it

      In blood. On stone. With a quill carved from the tail-feather of a pheonix.

      And even then, you’ll need DNA evidence to prove it’s actually Abbott’s blood before he’ll consider it a binding promise…

  9. There is a serious issue with broad impact on the uptake and implementation of technology in many contexts, especially anything that’s run by government, which is that, given the speed of technological progress, the people with the money and power – the ones making the decisions – don’t know what they’re talking about. This is a generalisation, but, like most generalisations, is generally true :)
    This could be fixed by trusting people with real and up to date knowledge to inform the decision makers but I feel that this is seen by the powerfull as losing control or admitting weakness. I would see it as being smart enough to know when you need help. If I were a leader, I’d rather consult with real experts than look like an incompetant in public by making insupportable statements… but then I’m not Malcolm Turnbull and I’m grateful for that :)

  10. Crikey. Its all pointless verbal poison. Either technology will do the job for most of us. Yeah there might be some who feel they must have 100Mb/s download but whoopie.
    If the opposition win they will cut back the fibre rollout and some of us will have FTTN. I’d be happy with 12Mb/s+ rather than my 5Mb/s

    Either way I have aerial copper from the pole behind and will eventually end up with aerial fibre I guess apparently the same as Kiama. Who really cares if we get fibre right now or FTTN. There seems to be too many later day journos who think they know what everyone must have

    If Turnbull is cranky with many of these then too bloody bad. Get over it. Its not the end of the world

    • @ Greg, “who really cares if we get fibre right now or FTTN.”

      Anyone who isn’t politically hamstrung and can ergo understand that FttN is obsolete and therefore a stupid idea!

    • It’s not to do with what technology or speeds we have now. Either would do just fine now. It’s in 10 – 20 years time. If FTTN rolls out now, doesn’t save enough money, doesn’t have a long enough life, isn’t rolled out very very quickly, there isn’t adequate allowance for upgrade to start in 10 years time. We have just wasted a lot of money that would not have had to be spent if we went straight to FTTH. All the questions being asked of Mr Turnbull are trying to get this information so to gauge if it will be a little waste, which is fine for a faster interine roll out, or if it will be a big waste.

      • That FTTN is a waste of money, it is merely sufficient to know it will be replaced with fibre.

        Turnbull’s core argument is cost. FTTN costs less than FTTH. But that’s only true if you never build FTTH.

        End or argument.

        You know I once wanted to buy a fancy mp3 player but the one I wanted was expensive. But then I looked on ebay and found this cheap player from a man in hong kong.

        Well, it had its niggling faults, and the memory was only half the size it claimed. And in a few months, it fell apart. So I went ahead and bought the mp3 player I really wanted. Its lasted years.

        But I managed to spend not just the price I was trying to avoid, but both prices. That’s FTTN in a nutshell.

    • “Yeah there might be some who feel they must have 100Mb/s download but whoopie.”

      To be honest, it’s never been a question solely of speed, although the market is demanding higher speeds. Well above the NBNco predictions.

      The difference between the NBN and Turnbull’s Magical Unicorn network, is that the former exists, is being built and has policy and costings backing it.

      “There seems to be too many later day journos who think they know what everyone must have”

      .. actually, that’s ironic given it’s Turnbull whom is stating what is sufficient for most people. :)

      NBNco and retailers are giving people broad choice on plans and speeds.

    • FTTN might be enough for what many currently “need”, or more correctly, what many think they need, right now. Based on what they have right now. (People who can’t see the need or benefits of FTTP are the kind od people who didn’t ‘need’ broadband in the dial-up era, or who didn’t ‘need’ internet at all before it became widespread, or didn’t ‘need’ cars and highways when they were happy with the horse carriage , etc.)

      Planning for the future of national infrastructure requires more than just looking at what is happening currently and then just considering the first, minimal, most immediate step that needs to be taken to improve on that, in a most minimal way possible… especially as we know what steps number 2, 3 and so on are going to be already; and even more importantly, knowing that taking step 1 only, in isolation, will only make going to following steps more expensive than jumping to step number 2 straight away.

      Doing FTTP now will save money medium to long term. Doing FTTN first would mean spending a few years maintaining and/or improving the last mile copper, maintaining the node cabinets, and then coming back to replace that last mile with fibre anyway. This piecemeal approach requires more labour in total, costs more in total, pushes the benefits of fast broadband (especially upload, especially for small businesses) further into the future, results in a less optimal network design, reduces financial benefit to society and costs more overall. Going the FTTN route now would be just plain irresponsible and wasteful.

    • @Greg

      And with FTTH you have that ‘choice’. You can ‘choose’ 12/1 if you ‘want/need’ it.
      Under FTTN you have no ‘choice’. You get what your copper can give you. That’s it.
      Like it or lump it…

      It also leaves no space for multiple user accounts (ie home and business).

      In saying that, there is always the argument that we should walk before we run, and that slow and steady wins the race. However, people forget how long it takes to plan and build such a network. And the fact that the ‘topology’ is in a ‘loop’ as compared to Telstra/Telecoms ‘star’ topology (to allow for better redundancy).

      The point is, it takes time to build.
      And by the time it is finished, many ‘will’ need those speeds.

      And they will no longer have to move home to get them….

      Sincerely and in good faith
      Anthony Wasiukiewicz

    • Greg,

      You’re getting fibre now? Good for you. Now you’ll have something that will last 50 years or more and you can use whatever speed you want.

      Others won’t be so lucky. They’ll get FTTN. And they’ll have to pay for it. And then when that becomes obsolete (which could be within ten years) they’ll discover the money the spent paying off FTTN was wasted.

  11. “I’m not as harsh a critic of Turnbull and the Coalition’s rival NBN policy as Braue or Nick Ross at the ABC has been”

    In all honesty, it would be good if you where harsher on MT, he deserves it for many reasons and none more so than his continued dishonesty when discussing all things NBN!

  12. i dont think turnbull will even need to release his policy, people are now getting to the start of the gold rush that is the NBN, all turnbull has to say is faster and cheaper, and those with no clue at all (IE 95% of the voting population) who have been told it might be 10 years before you see it will go, well now it is only 3 years away if we go with the libs, will go hell yeah.

    Politics is little more then a sales event, and i have a bad feeling that next years elections is as always going to be won by lying salesman who promise the earth and deliver next to nothing. It doesn’t matter how you cut it, in the longer term the NBN is better for the economy, wether it be not wasting as much money on the USO, paying to upgrade the FTTN in 5 years in 5 years dollar value, or savings in health and road and many other things or just walking away with a sellable asset (i DON’T think we should sell it to be back to the telstra monolith that we have today) sometime in the future.

  13. NBN Alex
    Mate that is so much rubbish
    FTTN is alive and well as any techologist will tell you
    I walked past a Transact FTTN on a pole today. Didn’t look dead to me

    • Rubbish Gregory?

      FYI – I didn’t say dead, I said obsolete, please learn the difference.

      FttN uses copper, copper as a medium for broadband is obsolete – Webster dictionary: “of a kind or style no longer current”.

      You propose a government spend at least $15B (MT’s figure this week) to roll out obsolete infrastructure which will need to be upgraded to what is currently being rolled out now, anyway.

      Speaking of rubbish ;)

      • Ooh clarification for the pedantic.

        Of course the Coalition won’t be rolling out copper, but they will need the old, existing, worn and obsolete copper for their FttN plan.

        • ….and this leaves us with a question which (to my knowledge) hasn’t been answered yet – What does the coalition plan to do about people whose copper is rooted and can’t support FTTN? Replace it (which is stupidly cost ineffective)? Give them FTTH instead (which I’ll see as an incentive to sabotage my home line to ensure my line is in pristine condition)? Just shrug their shoulders and say “**** happens”?

          Somebody has to nail MT on this point.

          • No, these will be the lucky few that get 2Mbps although they are less than 100m from the cabinet.

            Seriously though, Telstra are only obliged to maintain the copper for voice (1500Hz bandwidth) so how well do you think these lines will run with full VDSL2 bandwidths (>10MHz)? Joins, patches and cuts will probably cause significant issues due to impedance mismatches.

            I have asked MT many times if he has as estimate of the costs of the Cu remedial work that will need to be undertaken. He has never answered, I am guessing because it will be something of similar to the cost of FTTP when you add it all up.

        • And to add to that. Someone close to me has dead copper.
          Telstra said has to be replaced and they wont pay.
          The line would have been capable for ADSL2+
          But has to deal with slow fixed wireless speeds.

          The last mile copper in town is of similar vintage…

          • I’m in the same situation. The copper here is dead.

            What I’d love to know is what will Malcom do

            Is he going to waste money replacing the 2Km length of cable that’s at fault?

            Is he going to replace that cable with fibre?

            How much will that cost me?

            And when its all said and done, how does replacing ageing copper with fibre in a bit-by-bit fashion not add up to billions of wasted money?

    • FTTH is the end goal. You can either spend now, or spend even more later.

      Those are the choices.

      Malcom knows full well a Coalition government would never fund FTTH, we know this because they refuse to fund it now. What makes people presume that they’ll suddenly decide to fund it in future?

      It’s the classic case of “she’ll be right, mate!”. It’s never that simple.

      • Indeed Brendan…and all the FttN fanbois simply seem to ignore the Telstra factor, as if it’s not a factor :/

        With FttN there are two alternatives, as far as I can see –

        1. Buy/lease the last mile copper from Telstra, for whatever Telstra demands. Of course some will argue NBNCo were in the same boat re: pits and ducts… no. Telstra’s pits and ducts were obviously preferable but not a pre-requisite for the NBN. The copper IS needed for FttN, so…

        2. Allow Telstra to keep the last mile to them self and be at their mercy, like before, but forever more.

        Choose 1. It will cost, big time, because the copper is needed for FttN and Telstra own it! What would you do if you were Telstra? And that’s on top of the cost of the fibre component. Then when FttP is actually needed (possibly before FttN is even completed) those “taxpayer” dollars paid for the copper, were wasted…

        Choose 2. How much will Telstra “demand” and under what terms…to replace their last mile copper with fibre (ttP) when required?

        Let’s go back pre-NBN when primarily Australia’s comms revolved around Telstra vs. the rest. Forums like this had the entire tech community (apart from Telstra shareholders and employees) and many consumers, arguing the virtues of relinquishing Telstra from total control, no matter what it takes.

        How quickly some seem to forget (or how they allow their ideology to take over their former beliefs) as they now, having seen Telstra relinquished of total control, argue in favour of returning all power to Telstra?????

        Even without factoring FttP being vastly superior tech wise to FttN, the fact that the current NBN can be built as NBNCo wants, on behalf of all Aussies and not what Telstra wants on behalf of Telstra shareholders, is surely a plus!

      • 5 years ago, Labor’s FttN plan would have cost $4.7b, but was scooted out as not cost effective.

        Today, Liberals FttN plan is listed to cost AT LEAST $15b…

        3 times more, in just 5 years. What do you think a FttH build is going to go up to if there’s a 15-20 year gap?

        Simple hint, it wont stay at ~$40b…

  14. The burst of backbiting by the Earl of Wentworth is very interesting, because it provides a window into his reaction to people who do not agree completely and fulsomely with his position. Given his attitude, it would be interesting to know if he has tried to threaten any of the many blogs which have contained valid criticisms of the Coalition policy on dumbing down the NBN.

    One fact which Malcolm might like to ponder is that, as usual, Australian data volume on the Net increased last year by 52 per cent. By the time his FTTN bitza was finished, it would be out of date and the construction crews could carry straight on with ripping it out and replacing it with fibre.

  15. I think this whole “policy” debate can be summed up as follows…

    Malcolm and the LNP have the best NBN policy… for the past. The ALP have the best NBN policy for future.

    Too little, too late Malcolm.

  16. Forests and trees.or smoke and mirrors
    A) TA (Our future PM) has PROMISED he will pause/stop the NBN

    B) Hockey (Our future Treasurer) has stated he will stop the issuance of Government bonds and cut off all funds to the NBN

    C) “The Opposition spokesman on Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, says that in government the coalition will continue the NBN in a reduced, privatised form rather than destroying it as previously promised”
    No guarantees he will either be the Comms Minister or have any influence on the Matter – Fletcher the most likely Comms minister has a different view – basically private sector.

    D) Telstra has stated the NBN is a positive for them, they have no wish to operate National fixed infrastructure
    “The executive director said that rising pressure in recent years from competitors in the telecommunications space meant that drastic changes to the company’s structure were required for its survival.

    He said the introduction of the NBN was useful because it provided a clear example of why Telstra had to shift away from its traditional method of making profits – owning and operating the copper infrastructure on which phone and internet services rely.

    “With the NBN, it’s a visible sign that we need to develop our customer end of the business model far more or else … we’re simply not going to be in business anymore,” he said. “It gives you a burning platform to act as opposed to having to create the burning platform.

    “So I think the NBN is terrific because beyond providing bandwidth for the country for Telstra it provides that impetus to think of who our competitors are and how we can accelerate our customer-service led strategy.”

    Telstra has indicated it’s bargaining position


    Some pieces of the puzzle

    Critical fact
    Telstra OWNS the exchanges, the Ducts and Pits AND the Copper. Much of the NBN’s backhaul and Transit is LEASED off Telstra.

    Work it out for yourself

    The ONLY organisation that could build a National Network of any sort is Telstra, they have indicated thanks but no thanks, what will it take to change that?, Removal of all regulation and ACCC regulation would be essential, possibly keep current pricing for political purposes with Govt subsidy for the first term then the Banditry would commence

    • Translation:

      Telstra: “We’ve love to only work in the retail sector, while being gifted an annual amount for the old infrastructure we dont want to deal with any more. Win/win for Telstra AND shareholders.”

  17. And now you understand why people were so critical of you Renai for last weeks post.
    Although some of it I’m sure was over the top.

    But in the end, Malcolm is playing the man and not the ball, because he has no policy…
    He just has an idea. With absolutely no Australian data with which to form a conclusion or policy.

    Sincerely and in good faith.
    Anthony Wasiukiewicz

  18. i’d like us to follow a more ancient practice in regards to policies… i’m sick of the crap both parties put out as “policies”

    This practice .. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaleucus

    Anyone who proposed a new law, or the alteration of one already existing, had to appear before the Citizen’s Council with a rope round his neck. If the Council voted against the proposal the proposer was immediately strangled.

    i think we’d then see better policies from both sides of politics… and i for one ,would watch alot more of parliament!

    • “Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe.
      No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is
      the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill. 1947.

      • “True Democracy is the purest form of Communism. Capitalism is not pure Democracy.” — GongGav 1991

        • We you lucky Australia gets a good balance between socialist and capitalist methodologies then aren’t we….

        • GongGav, capitalism and communism are economic systems; in theory, you could have either in any political system, be it democracy, dictatorship/autocracy/theocracy etc.

          In practice, however, all countries with communist economic systems were and are extremely undemocratic, while all democratic countries are very much capitalist. (Although it is also true that many, if not most, capitalist countries are also undemocratic.)

          What is “pure” democracy, anyway?

          • This’ll teach me to take an arvo off. What we call communism is actually socialism, not communism. Communism is having everyone as an equal, which is also what democracy is about. By the people, for the people, etc etc. One representative, looking after the communitys best interests as a whole, that sort of thing.

            What we call democracy, is actually capitalism. We call them something we expect them to be, when they are something different.

            With communism, on a political level, you have tiers of representatives, looking after the various tiers of population – individual, household, suburb, local, state, federal, etc. Each level votes on their representative, who looks after their interests for the level above.

            In an ideal world, you would look at an issue, put a solution to the vote, and implement the agreed solution over the whole representative. In the real world, its not that easy. Corruptive influences distort the issue and vote, moving it away from a purely representative forum.

            Our view of democracy becomes capitalism, where the individual usually run a distant second to the corporate interests, while communism is corrupted by the individual interests. People in powerful positions vote to keep themselves in power, or shore up their own interests ahead of those they represent.

            Democracy becomes Big Brother with the faceless power, Communism becomes Animal Farm where everyone is equal, some are more equal than others.

            But at its purest level, democracy votes a representative, to look after the individuals best interests but able to concede to the larger communities greater good. Which is also one of the main ideals of communism.

  19. Where are the detailed policy costings, intended reach, and proposed Telstra negotiations etc?
    Who will get FTTN and what are the guaranteed speeds etc.. I could go on, because there are a myriad of unanswered questions. “cheaper and faster” is not an answer.
    Is Mr Turnbulls policy in fact a coalition policy? Mr Abbott hasnt said anything except “pause”
    Not much to go on is there?

  20. No matter what MT supplies, if it is from the Libs, it’ll all be Private Enterprise to the rescue for their utopian model of “Profit über alles”, even if Taxpayers will continually fund the exponential growing demands of those Private Enterprises, as they require their annual profit increases to pacify the Market’s demands. Talk about the welfare state for Private Enterprise! Socialization of the funding of profit growth! Gee, I need that like a hole in the head.

    At least with the current NBN model it’ll be cost controlled and not the 2% on the 2.5% on the 3% exponentially increasing profits that nearly all Private Enterprises demand these days. Bit like a junky wanting the next hit to be that bit better/higher. That means the prices will always increase way above CPI if it is Private Enterprise Wholesaler model as MT and the Libs want.

    Nope, no matter what he offers, it is not going to be as good as what we are currently getting, because we will just be feeding the habit of the financial junky Market, who’s demand is exponentially growing, and always will. So even if technically better (I doubt it), financially it’ll suck in the long run for the people of this Nation.

    Don’t get me wrong, but I am all in favor of a profit to be made for Private Enterprise, but the current financial market systems are cannibalistic and not in our favor. Just let it die. I’m sure we could design a far better system, given the chance, that isn’t a rigged pyramid game and doomed to failure.

  21. Fuck Malcolm Turnbull, his credability is shot to pieces, i see him now in the same light a i see the Mad monk Tony Abbott and his other attack dog Juliue Bishop.

    All three of them disgraceful human beings. If only it wasn’t illegal to shoot them…. Hmmm.

    Mal & Coalition have no plan, no clue and policy re the NBN. They have only hollow promises. The only thing we can look forward to from a future coalition government is all to be stuck in the same copper hell we are all in now..


  22. Renai
    Mate a lot of these comments are really going way off base and getting into socialist versus private enterprise issues

    Whilst useful in a few instances it does detract from your site being professional versus an all in brawl which is the way it seems to be developing. A lot of the commentators are extremely know all in their points of view. I mean they are always right and with several differing points of view that isn’t possible

    Looks there is always many ways to skin a cat so a bit of common sense and respect for other opinions might help in the longer term

    • Yes, Greg, we need a bit of common sense.

      Why spend more money to only delay the inevitable?

      Why indeed, unless you need a “policy” – one that’s designed to fool Liberal leaning voters into thinking its “safe” to vote Liberal.

    • Please Gregory…

      You came here and blurted out.. “who really cares if we get fibre right now or FTTN”

      So you ask a question and when you receive replies to your question, you complain?

      Seriously, there are many reason why we care, but if you cannot accept even one of the numerous reasons why, it paints a clear picture about YOU… no one else :)

      • Here is the best picture of why we care.

        FTTN is a technology which is a small improvement on what we have.

        FTTH allows for HUGE future expansion and will last us for many years to come.

        Now the picture. This is just today, without upgrades that have already been tested overseas.
        Isn’t it obvious which one provides the best room for improvement as the decades roll by?


        • Is this one your Picture?
          Someone needs to add a big green arrow pointing to the top orange line as on a quick glimpse, you don’t see it…

          • No, it was posted by someone on Whirlpool. It certainly puts the technologies into perspective. It’s almost worth someone not seeing the orange line at first for the shock value when they do :)

  23. It’s true that attacks on Turnbull as a person are ad hominem, but consider that when one subjects his statements about the NBN and his own plan to the rigors of Symbolic Logic and whittle out the meaningless words, the qualifiers, the ambiguous points, one ends up with precious little to work with. The extend of this is so severe that many people, bother in Delimiter comments and on Whirlpool argue many different points as if they are what Turnbull has said.

    In other words, Turnbull’s statements are so nebulous that they can be taken as meaning many different things.

    With that foundation there isn’t much to talk about other than guess work about what he means, or driving the point home about the man who is making the statements. Most people would like to hear from a man of honour who says what he means and means what he says, not a man who manipulates words to con the ordinary bloke.

    • So in other words, we can expect a steady as we go with Telstra, should the Coalition win the next election. A country built on the Velocity system of gouge and milche. The Market will be pleased. And that is all one has to realise to know that this would be the outcome if the Mad Abbott gets into the Lodge *shudder*
      Why else would MT waffle so much with much ado about nothing about something that might be, but wont and doesn’t want to be pinned down to it so a lot of wiggle room is required.
      Sad day when everyone has come to the realisation that Politicians are no longer representing us and will willfully decieve us even by ommision of the truth. Think not? Do you believe them? Does anyone?
      Why do we vote for these jerks? Oh that’s right, were told to by the Media. You know the ones that have spread the word of the dream of wealth and fortune, but never really deliver nothing but promises. Sheesh! What a let down again.
      MT has just present a carrot on a stick. Chase it if you want. I think a lot of us will sit a wait patiently for the NBN to rock on by.

  24. A large element of delimiter readers seem to be under the impression that the ALP is going to win the next election hands down. Hate to tell you it ain’t going to happen. The LNP is to this point well ahead and hasn’t even released any policies, which I would expect will be released in the next few months building up to the election.

    The ALP is going to get to June 2013 with nothing left in the bag except for maybe more handouts further increasing debt levels if they did actually win the next election.

    The NBN and what it is/does now is going to be a very different animal late next year and beyond. If their connection rates for actual active services doesn’t increase substantially over the next 2 quarters then the ALP is going to end up with egg on it’s face. At the moment the uptake is just above 10% of premises actually passed and capable of being connected. It wasnt that long ago that people were saying the uptake rate was going to be substantially higher. I reckon the guy washing car windows at the traffic lights has a higher uptake rate

    • lol
      A large element of delimiter readers seem to be under the impression that the LNP is going to win the next election hands down…

      No one thinks the Libs are going to win.
      No one thinks the Labs are going to win.

      What we do know, it that the ALP have a superior broadband policy.
      And the libs have one. No they don’t. They are going to ‘pause’ a white elephant.

      I’m unsure if you’ve ever looked up the definition of white elephant.
      But if the NBN is one, you wouldn’t want to pause it…..

      This is the muppet that is the Liberal leader.
      And I use the word muppet factually.

      As you should never vote for the leader. You should vote for the party and the policy.

      And at this stage, Mr ‘There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, and I mean it’, has absolutely no power to repeal it until fiscal year 2014. Whereby, a bipartisan Carbon trading scheme is set to be delivered the following year….

      The muppet, is a good indication of the party in this instance…..

      I reckon, you should take a hike…..
      Some where, someone out there, believes you have a clue what you are talking about….

      Very few are going to vote on the NBN alone.

      But if the majority took five minutes to do the sums in relation to what Tony, Malcolm and the Libs are proposing, the would have absolutely no votes…..

      (I think I’ve just fed a troll)

    • Sorry, but what you have just trolled out is nothing more than your view of the world. I can do that too,in the sense that my view is that Middle Class Australia just want the money from the Middle Class Welfare and don’t give a stuff about any policies, bar that. They want money for doing what they do best. Breeding.
      JWH showed Australia really does have a price tag for loyalty. Horrible to realize it is true, but hey, that’s reality for you.
      So, spare us right or wrong, better or worse in policy, being why you think the Coalition will romp it in, when people vote according to that which will protect a source of $$$$$$ for what you love to do with no real great effort.
      I hear LNP constantly going on about cutting costs, but they won’t go near their biggest form of their largess that ever hit Australia, due to how it is how they buy votes. They don’t even pay for it. We do.
      Sheesh! Myopic politics for you! Think. It doesn’t hurt.

    • “The LNP is to this point well ahead and hasn’t even released any policies”

      Which is why they are ahead currently.

      Every time TA diverges from the “Stop the boats, stop the great big new tax, ALP waste” lines, the Libs drop a point and he drops several (he is now less popular than the tax he want to repeal).

      It will be very interesting to even see if Tony/the Libs actually have _anything_ constructive for Australia, because he hasn’t shown anything at all so far…

  25. The Liberals policy is actually perfect and quite ingenious.
    First they have said they will completed any work where contracts ahve been signed for.
    By the time the next election is over a lot of contracts will be signed which means the LNP will be able to turn around and say that they will be completing those contracts because they are obliged to do so.
    The next thing they will do is say that although Labor has wasted a lot of money the installation of FTTN will create a digital underclass and it will be fairer for all taxpayers to have FTTP in all convenient places.
    They then procede to complain that the cost of FTTP is a great debt created by Labor and procede with the sale of NBNCo and say that the procedes of sale are a great amount of excess money they have found out of nowhere.

    • I forgot to add that the LNP will also be able to say that any productivity gains bourne of the NBN are from their policies or because of confidence in their party to bring Australia out of the mess left by Labor.
      The NBN policy will be created according to how far into the build is at the time of the election and a lot of people will be happy that they get to have FTTP courtesy of the LNP.
      A LNP backflip away from FTTN will be a great win for the LNP.

      • Indeed EG…

        IMO a future Coalition government will either blame the previous government, beat their chests wildly or even more likely, do both… relating to their lesser broadband outcome.

        They really can’t lose politically… unfortunately, it is us who will lose :(

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