Blog - Written by Renai LeMay on Sunday, February 24, 2013 18:44 - 58 Comments
Is the Coalition’s NBN policy fundamentally different?
blog ABC Technology & Games Editor Nick Ross has earned himself a certain … reputation in Australia’s telecommunications sector. If you believe Ross, he’s an evangelist for the truth; one of the only local journalists to have actually gone into depth investigating the differences between the NBN policies of Labor and the Coalition. If you believe Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Ross makes a habit of using the ABC’s platform for pro-NBN “propaganda”. Well, it’s never easy being a journalist reporting on a politically charged area.
Whatever your view, it’s true that Ross continues to go into extreme detail in his articles regarding the NBN debate, and his articles on the subject are worth reading and very though-provoking. That’s why we highly recommend you check out Ross’s latest opus on why the Coalition’s NBN policy is fundamentally different to Labor’s vision. This piece, entitled “The vast differences between the NBN and the Coalition’s alternative”, clocks in at 11,000 words: You’ll need a block of time to finish it. Probably a key summary paragraph:
“The Coalition’s NBN alternative is different by almost every measure. It uses different technologies to connect the bulk of the country; it has different uses and applications; it affects Australia’s health service differently; it provides different levels of support in emergencies and natural disasters; it requires a different amount of power to operate; the cost of maintenance is different; the overall cost, the return on investment and the re-sale value are different; the management, ownership, governance, competition and monopoly factors will be different; it has a different life-span and upgradability issues; the effect on businesses (of all sizes) and GDP is different; the effects on television are different; the effect on Senior Citizens is different; the viability and potential for cost blowouts is different; the costs of buying broadband will be different; the reliability is different; the effect on property prices will be different; the timescale is different; the legacy is different. Ultimately, it has completely different aims.”
If you want an alternative view (and alternative views should always be welcomed by open-minded people), we recommend you check out this similarly massive piece from Communications Day publisher Grahame Lynch. Entitled “A riposte to Nick Ross and slipshod NBN advocacy from the ABC”, it digs down and attempts to rebut Ross’s 11,000 opus sentence by sentence. Wow. A key paragraph:
“… in reading this opus last night, I was struck by Nick’s loose construction of research, argument and expression. Not only is the piece unbecoming of acceptable editorial standards regarding bias, but also those of accuracy and logic. It is a disservice to both the ABC’s audience and the cause of NBN supporters.”
I’ve made my way through both massive pieces — it took the better part of an hour. Frankly, not only do I want that time back, but I would encourage both Ross and Lynch to be somewhat more brief in their articles on this subject in future. Even a magazine feature will usually only run to between 2,000 and 3,000 words; 11,000 is just too much, in my opinion — although I did just finish re-reading the entire Wheel of Time fantasy series … so what do I know ;).
With this in mind, I’ll be publishing my own (much briefer) view of the situation in the next day or so. The points Ross and Lynch make are too big and too important to ignore. It’s true that there are neither beginnings nor endings to the NBN debate. This kind of stuff goes on forever. But I would like to provide one ending, if I may. I will not be the only judge of this situation. But I would like to hold the privilege of being one judge ;) See what I did there? Yup. That’s how I roll :)
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