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  • Featured, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Friday, March 8, 2013 16:23 - 102 Comments

    HANDS OFF NICK ROSS:
    Conroy warns the ABC and The Australian

    news Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has harshly criticised both The Australian newspaper and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for what he said were “outrageous” attempts to vilify and discipline senior ABC journalist Nick Ross for merely doing his job in comparing the Coalition and Government NBN policies.

    This morning The Australian newspaper published several articles accusing Ross, Editor of the ABC’s Technology + Games sub-site (follow his Twitter account here), of failing to meet the ABC’s editorial standards. Ross has published a number of articles over the past six months which have been critical of the Coalition’s fibre to the node-based alternative broadband policy, and Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year accused Ross of using the ABC’s platform to distribute pro-NBN “propaganda”.

    However, Ross’s articles have been very positively received by Australia’s technology sector, which retains significant concerns about the viability of the Coalition’s NBN policy. An article of significant length published by Ross several weeks ago received 438 comments, with the majority praising Ross’s work for its analysis and detail, in a media environment in which few journalists have challenged disputed claims the Coalition has made regarding the NBN.

    In addition, other media outlets have started to use Ross’s work as a basis for investigating the differences between the two policies. This week, for example, Channel 10’s The Project television show used Ross’s work extensively in sharply questioning Turnbull on his rival NBN policy.

    In the first article, The Australian quoted an ABC spokesperson, who said that Ross had been reminded of the need to ensure that his work in the area was in keeping with ABC policies. The newspaper stated that Ross had been “disciplined” over concerns that his work had failed to meet the ABC’s “standards of objective journalism”. However, Ross subsequently published a statement on his Twitter account noting that he hadn’t, in fact, been formally disciplined by the ABC.

    Conroy made his view on the situation clear in a strongly worded interview with the ABC’s Melbourne host Jon Faine this morning. A full transcript of the interview has been published by independent site Australians For Honest Politics.

    “… there now seems to be a policy of trying to intimidate ABC personnel,” Conroy told Faine, although Faine had not asked about the issue. “Malcolm Turnbull is constantly attacking and trying to bully some of your journalists.”

    “And today I read in The Australian, and I know you shouldn’t always believe everything you read in The Australian, but a very disturbing thing where another journalist on the ABC staff has been internally disciplined because they’re not prepared to just accept every policy pronouncement, or claim that’s made publicly.”

    “Now this cannot go on. These internal procedures of the ABC have to be more open and more transparent. Journalists cannot work on a basis that they’re going to be bullied and intimidated, and have complaints lodged against them in a process that is not transparent and open.”

    Conroy noted that he didn’t agree with all of Ross’s findings in his articles, but he stated that comparing policies was the rightful job of journalists, and that Ross in particular had gone to great lengths to examine all of the facts regarding the NBN policy environment. “And for this he’s attacked by The Australian, he’s vilified in The Australian today, and a campaign, through a process that is non-transparent, doesn’t give people inside the ABC a fair go,” said Conroy.

    Faine asked Conroy why he didn’t do something about the situation, given that as Communications Minister he had oversight of the ABC. Conroy replied: “Well I don’t run the ABC, it’s got a board, it’s got an independent charter, and it’s got a managing director. But I think it’s time to call out, where you’ve got journalists inside the ABC are being disciplined in a process that does not – does not remotely give fair justice to the journalists involved. This is just an outrageous process.”

    The news represents the second time in as many months that the ABC has been accused of bias and has discliplined one of its journalists, with Faine himself having been found to have breached the ABC’s policies after an interview regarding allegations of involvement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a union slush fund in the early 1990’s.

    opinion/analysis
    To a certain extent you have to feel a little sorry for ABC Technology + Games editor Nick Ross, following this interview which Senator Conroy gave this morning. I am sure that the ABC really does not want its journalists becoming ‘part of the story’, as has happened with Ross; it would prefer that coverage focused on the issues involved, rather than the journalists themselves.

    However, Conroy has correctly raised the current level of persecution directed at Nick Ross as being extreme, and I have no doubt that senior editors within the ABC will pay a lot of attention. By commenting directly on the persecution directed at Ross, Conroy has in effect placed a cloak of protection around the journalist. If the ABC takes any further action towards Ross on this issue, and if The Australian continues its articles attacking him personally, they know that Conroy will not fail to notice such events.

    This is not an insignificant thing Conroy has done — and there is no doubt in my mind that he hasn’t done it just because Ross has been broadly positive about the NBN and negative towards the Coalition’s rival policy. It’s part of Conroy’s job, after all, to defend, protect and develop the ABC, as its overseeing minister.

    At the core of this issue is a key idea about journalism which are influencing the debate about Ross’s coverage greatly. The reason why the ABC is likely to have felt a little uncomfortable about Ross’s articles is that when you read them, they often don’t come across as ‘balanced’, in the journalistic sense. They come across as slanted towards the Government’s current FTTP-based NBN policy and against the Coalition’s FTTN-based policy.

    However, in writing these articles Ross has correctly, and insightfully, tapped into a current trend within journalism circles away from the ideal of ‘balance’ and ‘objectivity’, and towards the trend of attempting to find the real truth of a matter. In short, moving away from “he said, she said” journalism and towards getting to the actual real-world truth of a situation.

    As Ross has correctly identified, the Coalition’s NBN policy just does not stack up against Labor’s NBN policy in the real world on a range of measures, and there are significant doubts as to whether it’s viable at all (such as the fact that FTTN rollouts globally have only ever been deployed by incumbent telcos on their own networks — not by separate companies such as NBN Co).

    In this context, as I’ve found with my own journalism on Delimiter, there really is no way to provide journalistic ‘balance’ in this debate in the traditional sense. Just as in the climate change debate globally, there is no way to give each side an equal voice, because the sides are intrinsically not equal.

    Sure, he’s made some small errors in his articles, but in general, Ross’s unwillingness to compromise his journalistic ideals, and his steadfast refusal to bow before the public criticism of a high-profile politician such as Malcolm Turnbull, demonstrate the best of investigative and analytical journalism; speaking truth to power in the most literal sense. And power has reacted: Turnbull and other conservative elements such as The Australian and industry newsletter Communications Day have had their view of the NBN significantly threatened in public by Ross’s articles, and are pushing back strongly against his coverage.

    This is the sort of situation that the ABC doesn’t like to find itself in; it likes to stand outside politics. But for me personally, I keep on coming back to the following paragraphs I wrote about this situation in another article last week:

    Consider this, for a second. Wouldn’t it be nice, in fact wouldn’t it be amazing, if the ABC was able to examine every national policy debate with the same veracity and detail which Ross has applied to the NBN issue?

    With his articles, Ross has singlehandedly provided an incredibly detailed examination of the NBN policy divide which represents fantastic value for the ABC’s audience. No interview or feature segment on the ABC’s flagship 7:30 program, no matter how long, could possibly go into as much depth on the NBN as Ross has with his articles. Not even Radio National’s famed Background Briefing program, being audio in nature, could deliver the same wealth of material and references which Ross has included and linked to.

    One of Ross’s self-professed aims with his NBN article last week was for it to act as a reference for the rest of the ABC community, and this in itself is enough to justify the article’s publication. In the context of the shockingly incompetent journalism we have often seen in the national NBN debate, where it is common for local TV stations in remote locations to give those literally wearing protective garb and complaining about radiation sickness the same amount of air time as professional engineers from NBN Co and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, there is a huge need for journalists in every location to be better informed about the basic facts. And often, in those remote locations, the ABC is one of only a couple of media outlets in town.

    In short, Ross shouldn’t have to rely on political players like Conroy to garner support for his articles. It is the ABC itself which should be staunchly supporting Ross’s integrity in this debate, and it is the ABC which should be using his ideals as a template to encourage its other journalists to seek the detailed, nitty gritty truth in the debates it hosts, rather than merely provide a false sense of ‘balance’ to the debate.

    Some ABC journalists do do this. I’m thinking of 7:30 presenter Leigh Sales and journalists Chris Uhlmann and Heather Hewitt, Faine himself in Melbourne, PM presenter Mark Colvin and Breakfast presenter Fran Kelly. It’s quite common for such journalists to challenge power and debate policy in the way Ross has, although never quite in the length and detail which Ross has brought to the NBN debate (because of the differing mediums they work in). However, it’s clear that the ABC isn’t doing this enough in general across its operations, and that Ross’s work has lessons for the ABC in general.

    One of the really good examples of this kind of journalism was Leigh Sales’ August 2012 interview with Tony Abbott, in which Sales pushed the Opposition Leader hard on the issues of the mining and carbon taxes. I think many viewers will agree it represented a watershed moment for the ABC in terms of its journalists seeking the truth in a debate, rather than ‘balance’. Sales ended up winning a Walkley award for that courageous interview, among others. One can only hope that Ross will eventually receive the same kind of recognition.

    Image credit: Kim Davies, Creative Commons

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    102 Comments

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    1. Sathias
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

      There have been rumours that Sales got in a bit of trouble with ABC management for that Abbott interview, but it is hard to judge how much of it is rabid-left Twitter scuttlebutt and how much of it is actual truth.

    2. JimmmyMick
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink |

      I think a “bias” in favour of reporting and critically analysing actual, hard, objectively verifiable FACTS is what we need. Not just from the ABC, but from other media outlets too.

      The Murdoch stable don’t seem to understand those concepts, and I stopped reading them years ago as a result.

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink |

        In the case of The Australian, the advertisers seem to have come to the same conclusion. Where would the Daily Telegraph be without the sport?

    3. Posted 08/03/2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink |

      Its been interesting to see the push back actually. None of it has directly addressed the VAST majority of Ross’ points….to be fair there are alot of them. But you’d think that if these publications and their writers really believed Ross has it all wrong….they wouldn’t stoop to name calling and dirt rubbing.

      I dont recall Ross ever doing it to them…

    4. Peter
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink |

      It’s good to see a journalist digging for the truth at the heart of something. “He said, she said” journalism is little more than being a glorified (and independently paid) press secretary.

    5. Posted 08/03/2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink |

      They don’t get it… the point here is the amount of power in the future that will be required to run internet routers. Some estimate are for 50% of all power generated (quoting from memory). Expected improvements in technology predict light based routers that will use virtually no power. The laying of fiber now is a fantastic step towards the future. And you just know the motives of the LNP are ‘what’s in it for the boys’.

      In the days when Turnbull managed Melbourne IT (IP registrations for .au) we paid through the nose (~$200) compared to .com registrations in the US (~$10).

      http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/12/quantum-networks-may-be-more-realistic-than-we-thought/
      http://phys.org/news/2012-08-chinese-team-quantum-router.html

      • PeterA
        Posted 10/03/2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink |

        I support the NBN and fibre; but you should be careful with that “50%” statistic.

        It presumably only relates to the power to run the “internet” as opposed to all power generated.

        Heavy industry uses power beyond comprehension, I doubt it will be surpassed by the electricity requirements of the internet’s copper based routers.

        There is certainly an argument regarding power that the FTTN crowd need to answer; that is powering a whole heap more pillars in every street.

        • alain
          Posted 10/03/2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink |

          I think you need to research how FTTN works, a FTTN cabinet REPLACES the pillar, but it doesn’t necessarily mean every pillar location becomes a FTTN cabinet.

          Each FTTN cabinet services about 300-400 residences.

      • Ancient One
        Posted 12/03/2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink |

        Turnbull was OzEmail, not Melbourne IT

    6. damien
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

      Renai said: “In this context, as I’ve found with my own journalism on Delimiter, there really is no way to provide journalistic ‘balance’ in this debate in the traditional sense. Just as in the climate change debate globally, there is no way to give each side an equal voice, because the sides are intrinsically not equal”.

      Good to see you come around Renai. I know I’ve given you some grief in the past about providing a false balance to what is essentially a technical argument (NBN architecture and funding model) and as such, one side really is better than the other.

      Recently you’ve been emphasising that point and calling the opposition to task for their lack of vision and recklessness. Kudos.

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink |

        Would we thank Dr Norman Swan for being “balanced” on child immunisation? Or FGM?

    7. TechinBris
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink |

      Sathias, I guess we’ll find out one day from Sales if she did get raked over the coals. I admit I have seen a slight softening and hesitation in her interrogative techniques on some Politicians. Caution maybe?

      Seven_tech, it has been interesting to see a mood swing in the acceptance of the Old Media’s line out in the world. I guess if people notice too much garbage about they start to wonder why. I would hazard a guess they don’t directly attack Ross’ points as he has really tied them up fairly well. No one wants to be called a fool when the hype is over and the world moves on. After all, their reputation is their career. Admittedly though, some no talent Journalists will take the money now and run or retire.

      Nick Ross, keep doing what you’re doing. Good work. Actually, it was excellent, if not absolute perfection. Such is being human. Be proud!

      Renai LeMay, keep up your good work. Your New Media site here is gaining traction for objective Journalism in the IT and Tech field. Not perfect, but that is what I love about it, along with the discussion you allow for all your stories and not just some. No one knows it all, but this site brings the knowledge of some Experts in the fields into the discussions and I have come to greatly respect their expertise on the subjects. I continue to enjoy it each time I read your site.

      To all, this site is great because of you all. Your discussions, even the Trolls (kept under control by the über mind) contribute to the sharing of knowledge. This is the New Journalism. This is what the Internet is about. It is Mankind’s great equalizer, for sharing the mind of us all together.

      A Hive Mind? Who knows. But it is interesting to be part of it all. That is where the Old Media fail.
      The NBN can only make it work better, if it is allowed to. But then, that is up to us.

    8. Goresh
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink |

      There IS one publication that fails to meet editorial standards, ANY editorial standards.
      It is called The Australian

      • Trevor W
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink |

        I have tried many times to comment positively on NBN articles in The Australian. They don’t publish them.

        • nonny-moose
          Posted 09/03/2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink |

          In footy parlance, they are playing the man, not the ball. Rather than attempt to address issues raised, there seem to be a concerted effort to shout down anyone dealing with ftth on the merits, or alternately those pointing out the deficiencies in the fttn option. That’s my theory, ive certainly attempted comment on other sites and had it vanish before. Its altogether possible it was eaten in legitimate fashion, but given the leanings of the publications involved, I wouldn’t put it past them.

    9. xiaoecho
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink |

      If only political journalists would show the same intestinal fortitude that this tech journalist has and tell the truth. The public are starved of truth in journalism. The fact is that FTTH is superior, and that is the plain factual truth. But of course this truth hurts Murdochs bottom line and that is why it must be kept from the public

    10. NPSF3000
      Posted 08/03/2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink |

      I’d be very interested to see what [if anything] the ABC has to say in the matter. Maybe media-watch will do something on this :P

    11. Quiet Observer
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 2:10 am | Permalink |

      While I’m sure that Conroy had the best of intentions at heart, I think his leaping to Nick’s defense may end up doing more harm than good. Ross’ critics will undoubtedly see this as nothing more than confirmation that Nick is in bed with the government and that he is nothing more than a salesman for the NBN rather than a journalist, and of course there will be the good old “The ABC is full of commies” slur by the more right-leaning people. By standing up to all the bullies writing beat-ups about Nick in the press, Conroy has basically guaranteed that Nick is going to receive even more press beat-ups.

      One thing I’d love to see is Jonathan Holmes devote a whole episode of Mediawatch to the garbage that passes itself of as mainstream media coverage of the NBN. Hopefully this whole fiasco with Nick Ross will get the ball rolling.

    12. theslydog
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink |

      @Quiet Observer
      By standing up to all the bullies writing beat-ups about Nick in the press, Conroy has basically guaranteed that Nick is going to receive even more press beat-ups.

      There is no such thing as bad publicity so if it turns into more press beat-ups and gives Nick a chance to respond it should be good for the NBN. It adds a bit of juice to the debate and may help to get the unwashed masses to read a little bit of it. And God forbid, some of it might actually sink in…

      @Quiet Observer
      One thing I’d love to see is Jonathan Holmes devote a whole episode of Mediawatch to the garbage that passes itself of as mainstream media coverage of the NBN.

      +1
      It is about time to take the gloves off, throw them away and call out the garbage media coverage for what it is.

      • Quiet Observer
        Posted 10/03/2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink |

        It’s been my observation that the federal Labor government is being trashed by wide segments of the news media. I’m of the opinion that there’s no such thing as good publicity for Gillard at the moment, and part of that I think is due to what I’m calling “Goebbels Journalism”, i.e. the constant repetition of blatant lies to the point that they’re simply accepted as truth (the best example is the perception that BER and the home insulation scheme were policy failures).

        It doesn’t help that Conroy has already gone a few rounds with the media already. It won’t be difficult for the papers to put a negative spin on his defense of Nick Ross.

    13. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink |

      “Persecution” Renai? You seriously believe Nick Ross is being persecuted? You should try looking at international examples of what persecution of journalists really looks like. You have completely lost your sense of proportion and your balance in my opinion.

      Nick Ross wrote an article that was a mix of fact and opinion. It was an excellent article in that it drew a lot of information together in one place. It has attracted comment and debate in the way that sort of article should. The “facts” are not all correct. Any opinion should be open to challenge. It is the basis for open and honest debate. It can and should be challenged. It is not the gospel according to Saint Nick.

      This is a good example of what Turnbull would call ‘NBN zealotry’. Nick Ross writes a blatantly pro-NBN article and is lauded. Others (eg. Grahame Lynch, Kevin Morgan) challenge parts of the article and are attacked. There cannot be open discussion and debate in this atmosphere. It is almost a religious war.

      You were a beacon of light in your reporting and opinion/analysis. I notice a recent change. You seem to have joined in the war. I hope you can return to being neutral.

      • TrevorX
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

        Persecution is persecution, it is either/or, not a sliding scale, although certainly there can be different ramifications from that persecution (ie in some countries you may be jailed, disappeared or just murdered). Senator Conroy was quite right to stand up for Ross’s rights and that of all journalists – this article left me contemplating how much better off this country would be if more politicians stood up for journalistic integrity like this. I must say that Conroy has come a long way in my esteem considering how negative I was towards him (and the Labor Govt generally) when he was pushing hard on the Internet filter.

        CMOTD if you had read and understood Ross’s article and actually read the points raised by his detractors you would ndetstand that many of the points raised by them were simply false and easily invalidated. Again, just because someone has a critical alternate view does not mean that view is equally as valid – the only thing that makes an alternative view equally valid is if has an equal amount of supporting evidence. When were talking about scientific facts (which is what most of the NBN debate comes down to) the science is not debatable, it is absolute (unless you know of an equally valid alternative theory to explain electrodynamics and quantum mechanics). On the subject of economics there is only a debate if the alternatives proposed can be justified as being equally or more beneficial to the Australian people, and no such alternative has been tabled. I could go on and on.

        Nick Ross’s article had very minor errors in an overall excellently researched and written piece of journalism. Crow all you like about those – they are less than trivial. The other criticisms levelled at him are false, incorrect, disingenuous and deliberately misleading to those following the topic in the media, demonstrating that said detractors are either guilty of the very bias they have (inaccurately) levelled at Ross or they are extremely stupid and incapable of understanding facts or following a logical argument. Either way, such people are not worthy of my time, nor of the position they have being able to publish articles on the topic.

        • andyrob
          Posted 10/03/2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink |

          Trev, very well thought out and constructed reply. Absolutely spot on.

          +100

        • CMOTDibbler
          Posted 10/03/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink |

          Yep, persecution is persecution and Nick Ross is not being persecuted. Some people have disputed what he has written. Some people have accused him of bias. That does not amount to persecution.

          I have read Nick’s article. I think the adjective I used in the comment I posted was “superb”. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he wrote or that I accept everything he wrote without question. Nor does it mean that I disagree with all that he wrote or that I accept everything others wrote in response.

          If you accept everything Nick wrote and dismiss everything written in response then that’s up to you. My point here is that debate/discussion should take place. Why are so many people against it?

          • Posted 11/03/2013 at 1:09 am | Permalink |

            @CMOT

            Because what Grahame Lynch and Kevin Morgan wrote in response did only 2 things:

            1- Point out flaws in Nick’s NUMBERS, not his arguments, predominantly. Easy mistakes to make in the context of such a wide ranging article. Where there WERE factual errors, they are generally minor and paragraphs are spent showing how “ludicrous” Nick’s mistake was.

            2- Use those mistakes on numbers alone to essentially try and show Nick as being stupid, useless, unable to argue, not intelligent enough to be in the debate or simply dumb.

            In summary, the rebuttal articles did not DEBATE, they BELITTLED. That is not debate. That is personal attack when you don’t have any decent arguments. Did Nick ever say Lynch or Morgan were “unable to comprehend the argument” or “did not understand the NBN”?? No, he laid out factual (with some errors) information to show how the NBN could and should provide for Australia better than the Coalition’s ideas. He never once called into question any journalist who reported on it, only the reporting ON the NBN in general. Yet that’s what those rebuttals did- went STRAIGHT for the journalist NOT the article.

            As many people have said already, that is playing the man, NOT the ball. In ALL sports, that’s against the rules (except ice hockey apparently….) and I see no reason why rational, sensible debate should be any different. You do NOT attack, undermine or insult a writer to try and show their arguments are weak. All that proves is that the arguments are strong and in fact you can’t undermine them any other way.

            • alain
              Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink |

              @seven_tech

              ‘1- Point out flaws in Nick’s NUMBERS, not his arguments, predominantly. Easy mistakes to make in the context of such a wide ranging article”

              Yes quite substantial latitude is given to errors in pro NBN argument, any errors made by the Coalition or anti-NBN comment in websites like this for example are jumped on en masse.
              I don’t agree the fact that it is ‘such a wide ranging article’ therefore automatically defines any mistakes as ‘easy mistakes to make’.

              ‘. Where there WERE factual errors, they are generally minor and paragraphs are spent showing how “ludicrous” Nick’s mistake was.’

              I have commented on this before, the redefining of the term ‘minor’ is all about ensuring the outcome you want, those criticising the Ross article may consider them major mistakes.

            • CMOTDibbler
              Posted 11/03/2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink |

              “Where there WERE factual errors, they are generally minor …”

              There is a section in Nick’s article titled “Different uses and applications” where Nick describes a number of uses for the NBN. At the end of the section he writes “The Coalition’s alternative does away with just about all of this.” The Coalition solution he’s referring to is FTTN with optional, user-pays FTTP. To say that that solution “does away with just about all” the applications described is a massive factual error.

              If that sort of error was made in an article questioning the NBN then many posters here and elsewhere would be all over it like a rash. Yet in this pro-NBN article it is accepted as “minor” and doesn’t even rate a mention by Renai. Where’s the Delimiter call to ‘fact check’ Nick’s article?

              I don’t condone ‘playing the man’ but I do want to see the claims in Nick’s article challenged. If, as Nick says, the article is “Secondly, it’s a resource for others in the media to help with groundwork and research.” he should welcome the discussion/debate generated.

              I commend Nick for writing the article. I think it’s an excellent effort to broaden the discussion of the NBN beyond faster internet. I don’t care that it’s pro-NBN or that Nick might be biased. That’s a matter for him and his employer. I don’t think Nick is a protected species though. He’s published an opinionated article and it’s generated discussion and debate. I think it’s a discussion/debate we need to have.

              • NBNAlex
                Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink |

                Yes but FttN with “optional” user pays FttP, excludes those who can’t afford to pay for FttP connectivity…

                Do we really want a digital divide?

                • CMOTDibbler
                  Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink |

                  My comment is solely about the inaccuracy (imo obviously) of that statement by Nick Ross.

      • Shane
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink |

        However, CMOTDibbler, it was not Renai that compared Nick’s treatment to that of overseas journalists. You did, just then. With all due respect, your strawman wouldn’t be fit for stuffing the sausages your namesake sells.

      • Paul
        Posted 11/03/2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink |

        @ CMOT – From Merriam-Webster:
        Persecute
        1: to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief

        Under this definition Nick is being persecuted from within the ABC – although not by those outside the ABC whom you rightly call out as (and I use the term losely here) “debating” the NBN. Senator Conroy specifically comments on the intimidation of Nick Ross from within the ABC. If this is the case then Nick is indeed (under the dictionary definition) being persecuted.

        • CMOTDibbler
          Posted 11/03/2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink |

          “Under this definition Nick is being persecuted from within the ABC …”

          There are clear rules governing the conduct of journalists publishing articles on ABC web sites. If Nick has broken any of those rules he may be disciplined, just like anyone else who breaks the rules at work. Nick says he hasn’t been disciplined.

          Your classifying normal disciplinary action as persecution is peculiar to say the least.

          • Paul
            Posted 11/03/2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink |

            “If Nick has broken any of those rules he may be disciplined, just like anyone else who breaks the rules at work. Nick says he hasn’t been disciplined.”

            And that’s the point I was making… It’s one thing if Nick is displined and his treatment is above board / on the record etc. That would be the correct process if he breached the rules. If, however, he receives adverse treatment in a way that circumvents the discplinary process then that is absolutely harrassment and (because this is about his beliefs) persecution.

            “Your classifying normal disciplinary action as persecution is peculiar to say the least.”

            Nope… I am led to this conclusion by the following:
            1. Nick has NOT been the subject of normal displinary action;
            2. You have an ABC “spokesperson” giving what appears to be inaccurate information about this so-called action;
            3. The minister responsible has stated that Nick has been bullied and harrassed.

            Now I agree that there may be some question over the veracity of #3, which is why I made the statement “If this is the case then Nick is indeed (under the dictionary definition) being persecuted.”

            I will re-iterate the point of my original post… Under the context of the above article the use of “persecute” is acceptable. You make a big deal about it but it is entirely valid to use this term based on the events that have taken place if (a caveat used in my original post) you believe Senator Conroy’s description of events.

    14. Observer
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink |

      One thing should be kept in mind. Those who rely on The Australian, or generally main stream media, for their information have seldom the intellect or interest to seek the truth.

      • Paul Grenfell
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink |

        They cant handle the Truth,, thats why they slander anyone who supports the NBN

        • andyrob
          Posted 10/03/2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink |

          Yep, the father inlaw is perfect example of that. Just gave him a laptop and showed him how to google for news but still believes MSM (Telegraph) as gospel. Stuck in the old ways.

          Bloody irritating.

    15. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink |

      Ah CMOT, fair crack of the Whip.
      Nick wrote an exhaustive factually researched paper, (albeit , with some errors) but all in all it was balanced and just so happens the research led to FTTH as being the best option over FTTN.
      So his conclusion wasnt what the Naysayers wanted to hear.. boo hoo..
      “Others” you say challenged parts of it and rightly so , but apart from a couple of minor errors, Nicks piece was overwhelmingly accurate. Those “others” were not able to hold water against Nicks well researched and inevitable conclusions. Too bad..

      • CMOTDibbler
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink |

        “Ah CMOT, fair crack of the Whip.”

        That’s exactly what I’m saying. A fair crack of the whip for every participant in the debate. For Nick and for those who dispute what he’s written.

        I don’t have a problem with Nick’s article. If other people do that’s a matter for Nick and the ABC. I just think calling what’s happened persecution is silly. Is The Australian being persecuted when people attack them? Of course not.

        • Observer
          Posted 09/03/2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink |

          CMOT

          “A fair crack of the whip for every participant in the debate”

          Do you mean that regardless of their conduct, they should be given a fair go? Only those devoid of valid counterpoints feel obliged to attack the source of the information rather than the information itself. When they make a dishonest attempt at addressing some of the points, they loose all credibility.

          Has it ever occurred to you that those trying to defend FTTN are fighting a loosing battle? Whatever debate there is about FTTN vs FTTP is only possible when the obvious has being rationalised away with disingenuity and dishonesty.

          Surely, you cannot believe that MT really believes that FTTN is a better solution than FTTP. Anyone without political bias and a reasonable level of common sense realises that he has no choice but to try to prove that Labor is once again is failing. The coalition strategy from the word go has been “the government is incapable and we are brilliant”. Simply, this approach, directed at the diehards or the simple minded, leaves no room to acknowledge that, maybe on this occasion, Labor has, in fact, broadly got it right.

          • alain
            Posted 10/03/2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink |

            I have read Ross’s feel good piece on the NBN and for those that already support the Labor rollout it ticks all the right boxes for them, but it read like a ‘Boy’s own Annual’ introduction to FTTH to me, I also read the criticisms of his article by others and I thought they nailed it well.

            Also I like the way any faults in his article which surprisingly enough many on the pro NBN side acknowledged exist are of only a ‘minor’ nature and are of no consequence, depends how want to redefine the term ‘minor’ to get the outcome you want I guess.

            I note you describe any push for FTTN as a ‘losing battle’ as if the technical might of FTTH is all that matters and the fact that the majority of residences couldn’t give a stuff if they had FTTN or FTTH is brushed aside as if it is of no consequence.

            Do I care if I was targeted to have FTTN for example – nope, do I give a stuff if it inhibits by selection of 4K TV – nope.

            The pro NBN pundits push the black and white proposal that is either FTTH or FTTN, not even the Coalition know what the percentage mix will be , Telstra are already starting to dig their heels in over the billions they are getting for their existing NBN agreement so I don’t like the chances of a major FTTN rollout getting any traction post a Coalition win at all.

            There will be SOME FTTN rollout mainly in regional and rural areas as a Coalition face saving exercise but for high density areas it will be FTTH.

            BTW for what it is worth I don’t believe Labor have got it right, their record on infrastructure schemes is appalling and this one is no exception.

            • andyrob
              Posted 10/03/2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink |

              “Do I care if I was targeted to have FTTN for example – nope, do I give a stuff if it inhibits by selection of 4K TV – nope.”

              That is the problem. You might not and so might a lot of people but the biggest majority of people in Australia want it in it’s current form, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL AUSTRALIANS FOR THE NEXT 50 – 100 YEARS. 4K TV will be here soon (look at how quick 3d tv prices have come down) and the vision of the current NBN is for 50 – 100 years, not just 5. What will be around the corner in 10 – 15 years? Not to mention all the other positives for business, Government etc.

              Think beyond yourself because it is not about YOU, it is about the whole country!

              • alain
                Posted 10/03/2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink |

                How do you know the majority of people want it in its current form?

                • Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

                  @alain

                  You know very well how we know, I’m not going to put up links to the various polls again. Because no doubt you’ll say they want AN NBN not necessarily THE NBN. When the wording of the polls are quite clear.

                • Observer
                  Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

                  Because that’s all they know. So far, there has been no alternative. Unless of course, you classify “quicker, cheaper and faster” as a policy. After all, you said that the coalition is not sure of what the “mix” will be.

                  • alain
                    Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink |

                    Of course the Coalition don’t know what the mix will be, how can it be otherwise, they need to negotiate with Telstra on alternative infrastructure or extending the life of HFC, that cannot happen until they win the election.

                    IF that all goes well (note the if is in caps) it then has to pass the eagle eye of the ACCC , if there is a sniff that the agreement adds to Telstra’s already overwhelming market dominance in the communications sector it is dead in the water.

                    • Observer
                      Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

                      Ah Alain

                      Always selective in your replies. Anyway, have you ever wondered, if they can’t possibly know what the mix will be, how they can possibly categorically state that it will be “cheaper, faster and quicker”.

                      I am also wondering why on the one hand you keep telling us how the coalition, let’s be kind and call it approach is better but also that it is unlikely to be implemented. You would not be trying to lure us in a false sense of security by any chance, would you?

                      • alain
                        Posted 10/03/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

                        @Observer

                        I agree with you, how can the Coalition know it will be ‘faster and cheaper’ yet, but of course no will know until 2014/2015 at the earliest, but you have to have some sort of pre election one liner to go on.

                        On the other hand before the Labor NBN build who would have ever thought that the finish date would be extended twice and build targets would be missed, who would have ever thought that can you make a prediction that all debt will be repaid back by 2033 when first of all you are not even negotiating that debt until 2015, and secondly it depends on a 70% active NBN Plan uptake of the residences passed by rollout end.

                        I have always said the Coalition rollout will have higher mix of FTTH than they are alluding to, not that they are alluding to anything much in terms of any rollout percentage mixes.

                        If Telstra dig in (pun intended) and say we want to continue shutting down the copper and the exchanges and let the NBN Co replace the fixed line infrastructure at no cost to them they will just resell NBN FTTH with a nice hefty margin with their lucrative T-Box packages whilst they pump their $13 billion NBN agreement payout into enhancing wireless, so they become the even more dominant wireless supplier.

                        Then the Coalition are all dressed up with nowhere to go except a majority FTTH rollout,

                      • NBNAlex
                        Posted 10/03/2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink |

                        @ alain…

                        “On the other hand before the Labor NBN build who would have ever thought that the finish date would be extended twice and build targets would be missed…”

                        I think everyone except those who oppose for no apparent reason, understand that the NBN is the largest infrastructure build in our history, there isn’t a template to work from and while the projections are there as a progressive guide, there will be hiccups.

                        Surely that’s common sense?

                        Again I reiterate as I have always said, the NBN is NOT (note not in capitals) perfect but it is far and away the best, most fully encompassing alternative, for Australia and Australians IMO.

                        Who would have though dealing with Telstra would take so long (although not even recognised or mentioned by the usual naysayers)? Point for MT to take on board.

                        Interesting that after all this time of giving NBNCo/the current government no latitude whatsoever (sucj as vilifying them for changing from FttN to FttP)… yet you will promote and will allow the Coalition every loophole, excuse and alteration pre/post election, in the book :(

                        I think Dave in Tas said it best here…

                        http://delimiter.com.au/2013/03/08/hands-off-nick-ross-conroy-warns-the-abc-and-the-australian/#comment-586284

                      • alain
                        Posted 10/03/2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink |

                        @NBNAlex

                        ‘… yet you will promote and will allow the Coalition every loophole, excuse and alteration pre/post election, in the book :( ‘

                        Except when I don’t you mean.

                        http://delimiter.com.au/2013/03/06/turnbull-to-reveal-the-shocking-nbn-truth/#comment-584348

                        http://delimiter.com.au/2013/02/15/turnbull-confirms-hfc-areas-last-to-get-fttn-if-at-all/#comment-578883

                        http://delimiter.com.au/2013/02/15/turnbull-confirms-hfc-areas-last-to-get-fttn-if-at-all/#comment-578993

                      • NBNAlex
                        Posted 10/03/2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink |

                        My goodness 0-100 in 2.5 seconds, when you think you have an answer, otherwise ——– …

                        Unfortunately and typically (on the rare occasion you reply to questioning) none of those links you supplied disprove anything I said :/

                        Sure you are trying to be a little more cordial (for obvious reasons) but nowhere there have you criticised the opposition as you do 24/7 Labor/NBNco. And therefore I reiterate you are offering the Coalition every excuse in the book and latitude you never have Labor/NBNCo.

                        Thanks for reinforcing this…

            • Observer
              Posted 10/03/2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink |

              “I note you describe any push for FTTN as a ‘losing battle’ as if the technical might of FTTH is all that matters and the fact that the majority of residences couldn’t give a stuff if they had FTTN or FTTH is brushed aside as if it is of no consequence”

              The reason it is “brushed aside” is that the majority of residences, in fact, support the current proposal (I am sure you will find a way to discredit the evidence that it is so).

              ‘Do I care if I was targeted to have FTTN for example – nope”

              Ah, the old F.. Jack I’m alright. As long as Alain is happy, then everything is fine! Why don’t you send the coalition your wishlist, the rest of the country now doubt will bask in eternal happiness. (Maybe, it is the other way around: They tell you their wishlist, and you follow.

              “not even the Coalition know what the percentage mix will be”

              it is simply because the coalition are reluctantly acknowledging that people want faster broadband but the whole idea of spending on infrastructure is not part of their DNA (to paraphrase your hero TA) and they will end up the absolute minimum, using, let me guess, Telstra to do it.

              “BTW for what it is worth I don’t believe Labor have got it right, their record on infrastructure schemes is appalling and this one is no exception.”

              Well, it isn’t worth much. Even if one were to believe (as coalition members keep telling us) that Labor has got everything they do wrong, at least, they are trying. This could hardly been said about the coalition years in government when they did next to FA. There is not much that can go wrong if you don’t do anything.

            • TrevorX
              Posted 10/03/2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

              “There will be SOME FTTN rollout mainly in regional and rural areas as a Coalition face saving exercise but for high density areas it will be FTTH.”

              Given that FTTN suffers the usual attenuation problems from long lengths of copper, this statement seems to fly in the face of science – rural and regional areas are the worst areas for any copper technology like FTTN, which is precisely why fibre is so important to even the playing field for regional Australia as we move beyond a primary product economy. Fibre will be vital to deliver information, education and enable communication to regional Australians in the 21st century. The satellite and wireless networks being deployed by the NBN Co are a good stop gap measure for the next decade, but as fibre moves to gb & 10gb capable performance and technologies evolve that require such speeds it will be necessary to find the funds to extend the fibre footprint to 99% of the population. FTTN is inadequate for all Australians, but it is worse than useless for those in regional and rural locations.

              • alain
                Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink |

                @TrevorX

                I don’t know what you mean by Australia moving beyond the ‘primary production economy’, Australia’s export wealth is tied directly to our abundance of raw materials like iron ore and coal, I assume you are looking at the ‘digital age’ to fill the stop gap when either demand falls or the resource runs out .

                How the so called ‘digital age’ translates into export dollars no one has satisfactorily explained, a great deal of our current dollars are sending the digital age offshore as IT development projects going to India and more and more overseas call centres and 24/7 support functions for our major corporations.

                A lot of argument against FTTN is based on emotion, it’s not FTTH so therefore by definition it won’t do the job, many overseas countries have FTTN and are still rolling it out, if Australia for example had a mix of FTTH and FTTN the sky won’t fall in because some areas cannot immediately have 4k TV.

                • Observer
                  Posted 11/03/2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink |

                  ” if Australia for example had a mix of FTTH and FTTN the sky won’t fall in because some areas cannot immediately have 4k TV.”

                  Reducing the argument to a single issue is, at best disingenuous. There a lot more than areas would not immediately have. Furthermore, the coalition is more that just FTTH and FTTN. It is about patchwork coverage. And course the sky won’t fall but some things are done smartly with a vision, when others are shortsighted, and with hindsight, shown to have been done stupidly.

                  Two good examples of this are occurring in Adelaide.

                  The first is the southern expressway. Originally built to operate one way in the morning and the other way in the afternoon.
                  The second is the rail link to the southern suburbs.

                  Had the expressway been built with two way traffic to begin with a great deal of money would have been saved and the current traffic disruption would have been avoided. Overhead bridges would not have to be destroyed and re-built to accommodate two way traffic.

                  Had the rail link been originally electrified, rail services to the south would not have been interrupted for several months while the electrification of the line is being undertaken.

                  In both the examples, the sky did not fall but false economies have meant that the cost and disruption are now greater.

                  • alain
                    Posted 11/03/2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink |

                    @Observer

                    ‘Reducing the argument to a single issue is, at best disingenuous. There a lot more than areas would not immediately have.’

                    I see when I throw the 4kTV argument back in a retort it is disingenuous, I didn’t originally bring it up, it has been used over and over to bolster pro-NBN FTTH argument as a single issue because you have to have some product to prop up the FTTH over FTTN argument because there are not too many, but that’s not disingenuous I take it?

                    ‘In both the examples, the sky did not fall but false economies have meant that the cost and disruption
                    are now greater.’

                    I understand there is massive wastage in all aspects of Government infrastructure spend both Federally, State and even at Local Government levels, which is why it is important we get one of the biggest infrastructure projects in terms of the massive multi billion dollar Government debt right in the first place, the Coalition have promised a full review of the NBN rollout including a Productivity Commission CBA, which is something that should have been done by Labor in the first place.

                    What a better time to do it when you are approximately 1/3 into the build progress and have the all important hindsight of the rollout so far to fully review.

                    Nobody should have a problem with that taking place surely?

                    • Posted 11/03/2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink |

                      @alain

                      the Coalition have promised a full review of the NBN rollout including a Productivity Commission CBA, which is something that should have been done by Labor in the first place.

                      Why? Japan didn’t until AFTER their rollout. NZ haven’t. UK haven’t, even if they ARE doing FTTC, they still didn’t do a CBA on it. The only country that DID do one, was Sweden. And they confirmed what was already believed- FTTH would add billions more to their economy than would be spent on it over its’ lifetime.

                      By doing a CBA we would be going AGAINST the world in rollout terms. And one of the arguments used against the NBN is that we are the ONLY country rolling FTTH out on this scale, by government and therefore we shouldn’t. If that holds true, then we shouldn’t do a CBA either….

                      I’m not averse to a CBA. But it is NOT and SHOULD NOT be the be all and end all of the decision to do a full FTTH rollout. A CBA is ONE tool and simply relying on it alone is foolish. That is why I believe the Coalition’s reliance on it would be foolish.

                      • NBNAlex
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

                        Yes but, we (well the anti-NBNers, not so much we) are the kings of FUD and negativity here in Australia and need to keep flogging the CBA dead horse, amongst all the other rhetoric, just err, because :(

                      • alain
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink |

                        @seven_tech

                        I would like CBA done on the current rollout by the Productivity Commission as I have serious concerns about the quoted payback figures of all debt and the timeline to do it in, also the establishment of a single Government owned infrastructure monopoly that requires all competitor infrastructure to be shut down.

                        If the analysis says all is fine and the NBN Co FTTH as per the NBN Co Corporate Plan Mk2 of 2012 is on target for its goals I don’t have a problem with that.

                      • Posted 11/03/2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink |

                        @alain

                        A PC CBA would NOT look at doing the NBNCo. financials! They were done by the Implementation Study. A CBA would look at what is best for the GOVERNMENT to do. NBNCo’s proposed payback would only be one, very SMALL, part of the CBA.

                        At least we know why you think a CBA is important now- you believe NBNCo’s figures are wrong. A CBA will not change or compute those figures in detail, only as part of the larger “Cost” part of the CBA. Can you show me an economic firm who disagrees with NBNCo’s figures? Treasury doesn’t. And that’s who the CBA would use to “cost” the NBN compared to other alternatives.

                      • NBNAlex
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink |

                        @ alain…

                        With due respect to your comment, that if the PC was to rubber stamp FttH etc via a CBA, you wouldn’t have a problem… having witnessed years of never wavering opposition to everything NBN from funding, to roll out, to ROI and everything in-between (even to supporting the mud-slinging at Mike Quigley) I think we would all find that claim very hard to believe (well I certainly do…sorry).

                        Especially considering you still support FttN even after a panel of comms/business experts already did those sums (via RFPs) and found FttN not viable. But instead of not having a problem with their findings/accepting their conclusion, you tried to discredit them:/

                        So I can’t see why the PC (a GBE like NBNCo) would be immuned to the same treatment.

                    • Observer
                      Posted 11/03/2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

                      “I see when I throw the 4kTV argument back in a retort it is disingenuous”

                      No, when this is the only one you use

                      “I understand there is massive wastage in all aspects of Government infrastructure”

                      I am sure whether you deliberately missed the point I was making in my two examples or no but to be sure let me make it clearer to you. These examples related to the consequences of false economies when upgrading is likely. This is the problem with the coalition approach, they want to save money in the short term totally ignoring further cost down the line.

                      The reason the coalition wants to do a review if elected is merely to prove that this version of the NBN is wrong and their “model’ is right. (MT has already told us what the findings will be: “shocking waste”.) This is what usually the tactics of all political parties after an election. The other mob left us with a mess, now we have to take drastic measures to fix it.

                      • NBNAlex
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

                        Agreed Observer…

                        Let’s face it, a CBA in relation to a 10 year build and a 50 (+?) year life, particularly in relation to technology (as already witnessed over many decades) is ridiculous.

                        It’s just political grandstanding and as 7T highlighted here (if indeed correct :) certainly considered ridiculous abroad…

                        http://delimiter.com.au/2013/03/08/hands-off-nick-ross-conroy-warns-the-abc-and-the-australian/#comment-587065

                        So what Malcolm will do to ensure the “right answer is forthcoming” is to ignore the universally recognised need for future FttP, ignore the Telstra factor and basically ignore all common sense…by giving the PC clear yet simple guidelines…

                        Please supply a CBA to indicate which network technology will be cheapest and quickest (as per the election promise)… to obtain ICT improvement.

                  • Bill Smith
                    Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink |

                    Lets use the Southern Expressway in South Australia as an example. YES, if we had the money (after the Labor Government/State Bank disaster), it would have been better to build a two-way expressway, but when the Liberals got in and had to fix the Labor government mess (is this sounding familiar?), they could only afford at the time to build a one-way peak time directional expressway. They kept the land so they could do it in the future, when it was affordable, but unfortunately South Australia had to live with an incompetent government, that almost bankrupted our state. Now the current state government has us in more debt than ever before, and its no wonder why people dont trust Labor to get the numbers right.

                    • Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

                      @Bill Smith

                      I’m sorry Bill, but if you believe Labor are the only party to ever get infrastructure wrong, I think you need to check your political history somewhat. NO government is immune form infrastructure mistakes.

                      • Bill Smith
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink |

                        i was pointing out why the southern expressway was a poor example.

                    • Observer
                      Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

                      “YES, if we had the money (after the Labor Government/State Bank disaster)”

                      Well done Bill, I can see you want to believe what political parties are usually claiming as I pointed out before.

                      In case you missed it:

                      “This is what usually the tactics of all political parties after an election. The other mob left us with a mess, now we have to take drastic measures to fix it.”

                      • Bill Smith
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink |

                        Observer unless you lived under a rock, the State Bank disaster had a terrible effect on the state.

                    • Observer
                      Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink |

                      You spectacularly missed the point.

                      Regardless of what Labor did or didn’t do, it would have been much more economical to do it right the first time. If you can’t afford to do it right, wait until you can because it will always be cheaper.

                      • Bill Smith
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink |

                        So the fact that the Southern Expressway that has helped thousands of people go to work and return home from work doesn’t prove that you can have something that isnt the rolls royce, but it can still work for the majority of people. Would you have rathered not have the Southern Expressway for all those years we’ve had it for?

                      • Bill Smith
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink |

                        Yes you are right, i am missing your point..

                      • NBNAlex
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink |

                        Bill… you started off saying – “YES, if we had the money… it would have been better to build a two-way (southern) expressway”…

                        Admitting do it once do it properly.

                        But finish off by saying (the one-way Southern Expressway) “has helped thousands of people go to work and return home from work …”

                        Suggesting that a two-way wasn’t really necessary afte rall.

                        So which is it? I think you missed your own point… or was your point to argue with yourself :/

                        BTW – the expressway you speak of only helps those in nearby SA, the NBN will help all Aussies.

                      • Observer
                        Posted 11/03/2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink |

                        So the fact that the Southern Expressway that has helped thousands of people go to work and return home from work doesn’t prove that you can have something that isnt the rolls royce, but it can still work for the majority of people. Would you have rathered not have the Southern Expressway for all those years we’ve had it for?

                        Are you suggesting that without the expressway people could not have gone to work?

                        Furthermore, building a two way highway is not a rolls royce. it is pretty standard practice. Just the same as building a network that will last decades with minor upgrades is not a rolls royce. It is commonsense, especially when it is mostly user funded.

                        As you previously said, they even bought land for expansion, obviously aware that a major upgrade would be necessary. And who says it would have taken many years to do it right. For instance, the costing could have been spread over a longer period. The reality is that coalition governments ideologically and historical are reluctant to invest in infrastructure. When they do so, they tend to do the minimum rather than the maximum.

                • TrevorX
                  Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink |

                  @Alain

                  Sorry, that was meant to say ‘primary production & resources economy’ – I either missed out a word or my phone edited it.

                  I notice that you didn’t actually address the criticism I raised at all; you just completely ignored it and talked about something else. Are you even aware you do this? Apart from utterly failing to convince anyone of your arguments, it’s really quite rude.

                  You talk about the argument against FTTN as being predominantly emotional, so I must ask, have you been paying any attention to this discussion? If you had, you will have noticed the numerous and substantial facts levelled against the FTTN model that are based on evidence, engineering, science and economics. Here’s just a few to get you started:

                  1) FTTN requires constant electricity, making the deployment of nodes substantially more complex, costly, comparitively complicated and expensive to maintain, far more expensive to run and far more susceptible to faults. They will also have a substantial impact on electricity demand, increasing the load on grid management and generation.

                  2) Like all copper technologies, FTTN is very sensitive to endpoint distance from the node cabinet. That means you cannot deliver an ubiquitous service to all Australians as performance will rely directly on distance from the node. It also (as mentioned) makes FTTN deployment in regional areas with low population density impossible.

                  3) FTTN relies on copper that we know is degraded in many places, so it will with give those people very poor performance or need to be replaced. I’m not claiming that the whole network is falling apart, but we know Telstra currently spend $1bn a year on copper network maintenance and reportedly that is while they’re only repairing cable that has actually stopped working – what will the upgrade figure be if all substandard or damaged cable were repaired or replaced?

                  4) FTTN is slower, by any metric. It lacks the bandwidth of fibre by several orders of magnitude. Far from a ‘future proof’ technology, it is incapable of providing high speed upload capacity for businesses requiring reasonable bandwidth to on premises servers today, completely ignoring potential future applications.

                  5) Casting an eye to the future, businesses and government departments developing new Internet technologies will always need to consider minimum service speeds. This is the sort of thing that has limited development and delivery of media rich web services for years, as Web development always needed to consider the experience for those customers on dialup. Going forward, a Web portal designed to deliver a radical new experience of substantial benefit to users that requires a minimum service level that only a fibre NBN could deliver will simply be dead n the water before development is even undertaken in a FTTN world. And instead of revolutionising the way we interact with each other, with businesses and government in the next 8 years, it might be 28 years before we see minimum service levels of a fibre NBN standard if the current rollout is halted foe FTTN. (and before you go there, just because this is a future scenario doesn’t make it an ‘emotional argument’ – HD telepresense, smart grids and virtual medical applications are all possible today given adequate minimum service levels that will be impossible on FTTN).

                  6) Economically the fibre NBN will cost the Govt and tax payers less than nothing – once it is fully paid for, it will generate income for the Govt to pay for projects or offset against the tax base. FTTN will be paid for with subsidies to private industry, with a substantial initial cost to taxpayers and the added insult of higher ongoing costs for broadband and phone services.

                  I could go on at length, but I actually have stuff to do today. My point is there are numerous compelling arguments against FTTN that based on facts with no evident emotional bias. So if FTTP is the best technical technology, will give Australia the best network, with the most positive stimulating effect on the economy at a substantially lower cost to tax payers, why are we still having this argument? Oh right, it’s because some of us are conducting a logical argument based on facts, while others obfuscate, ask disingenuous questions ad infinitum and resort to baseless criticism and misinformation.

                  • NBNAlex
                    Posted 11/03/2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink |

                    +1 TrevorX

                    I too have tried for meaningful correspondence and rudely, been snubbed, as have others! I thought we were here for rational, friendly correspond? But alas it seems some have ulterior motives :(

                    So speaking of problems relating to the NBN’s alternative and to elaborate upon TrevorX’s enlightening comment, here’s a few more I posted previously, relating to the Coalition’s Broadband Plan our friend may be able to clear up for us…

                    * What are the technologies to be use %ages and where are these technologies to be used
                    * Total cost
                    * Funding – who pays and from where
                    * ROI – who gets it taxpayers or private enterprise
                    * Ownership – who owns the finished product, taxpayers, private company/companies or a mix
                    * Telstra – the need of their CAN, how will that work
                    * If they need to pay for the CAN, how much (to purchase or lease)
                    * Since the copper is required for national infrastructure, should the government simply seize the CAN from Telstra for the good of the nation
                    * If not, why not – considering it would reduce the most important (to some) cost, significantly
                    * HFC isn’t open access, will Telstra and Optus be forced to provide wholesaling to competitors
                    * ACCC – regarding access for other Telcos/ISP’s, to the Gov/Telstra’s network, how will that work
                    * Maintenance of the old copper – who pays
                    * What about copper repairs or replacement when FttN is rolled out and they find the copper no good?
                    * Do they replace copper with copper or fibre?
                    * If fibre why (since fibre is apparently overkill and a white elephant/waste)
                    * What if they find the copper in the majority of areas needs replacing?
                    * What benefits will we see, considering we will still have a copper bottleneck
                    * FttP – will it ever be needed
                    * If not why not
                    * If so – please repeat the first 5 dot points
                    * Wireless – where does this come into it (remember all those towers)
                    * What happens if FttN is held up legally because of Telstra’s CAN (either by Telstra or competitors).
                    * Ditto regarding HFC but with Telstra and Optus

                    As you can see, the Coalitions Plan has more holes than Swiss cheese. And while the NBN isn’t perfect, it of course has issues (and I have always said this) it is IMO, nonetheless, clearly, far and away the best option… as all of the above problems have been addressed, even if not to everyone’s liking.

              • Grump3
                Posted 12/03/2013 at 1:55 am | Permalink |

                +1000

            • Quiet Observer
              Posted 11/03/2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink |

              “I note you describe any push for FTTN as a ‘losing battle’ as if the technical might of FTTH is all that matters and the fact that the majority of residences couldn’t give a stuff if they had FTTN or FTTH is brushed aside as if it is of no consequence.”

              When it comes to assessing which policy is better for the national interest and the nation’s future, both policies MUST be assessed on their technical merits. “Most people don’t give a stuff” is a horrifyingly myopic reason not to build the NBN, especially when you consider both the present state of our decaying infrastructure and the dysfunctional nature of the telecommunications sector (largely brought about by the mishandled privatisation of Telstra).

              With nation-wide infrastructure projects, the devil is in the detail. The Coalition are doing both the debate and the nation a massive disservice by both tirelessly bashing the NBN while mindlessly chanting the slogan “We’ll do it cheaper and faster” (and failing to detail precisely HOW they’re going to pull off this miracle), hoping enough people swallow the bait without question.

              • NBNAlex
                Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink |

                +1

              • alain
                Posted 11/03/2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink |

                @Quiet Observer

                ‘ “Most people don’t give a stuff” is a horrifyingly myopic reason not to build the NBN,’

                I didn’t say it was a reason not to build the NBN, you deliberately truncated my comment, I said ‘if they had FTTN or FTTH ‘.

                ‘ especially when you consider both the present state of our decaying infrastructure and the dysfunctional nature of the telecommunications sector (largely brought about by the mishandled privatisation of Telstra).’

                ahh yes all that ‘decaying infrastructure’ that has to see us out until 2023 (NBN Corporate Plan), emotive impact statements all the time, pro NBN argument rule No 1 you never mention the word copper unless it has the word rotting or similar in front of it.

                ‘With nation-wide infrastructure projects, the devil is in the detail.’

                Indeed it is people voted for the detail they had on the Labor FTTN rollout in 2007, it was changed after the election, apparently if the Coalition do the same in 2013 it’s just not on.

                ‘The Coalition are doing both the debate and the nation a massive disservice by both tirelessly bashing the NBN while mindlessly chanting the slogan “We’ll do it cheaper and faster” (and failing to detail precisely HOW they’re going to pull off this miracle)

                You could also say Labor is doing the nation a disservice by constantly avoiding a proper CBA by the Productivity Commission whilst parroting broad brush feel good stuff like the NBN is ‘Nation Building’ and we need it for the’ Digital Age’ and using scare tactics like the Coalition will demolish the NBN and rip it out of the ground.

                ‘, hoping enough people swallow the bait without question.’

                There is not just one bait, there is a Labor bait and a Coalition bait swinging at the end of the line hoping enough people swallow without question, we will eventually see which one they hit for a six.

                • NBNAlex
                  Posted 11/03/2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink |

                  @ alain

                  * “I didn’t say it was a reason not to build the NBN, you deliberately truncated my comment, I said ‘if they had FTTN or FTTH ‘.”

                  # There is only one NBN and there is also the Coalition’s Broadband alternative (which some sneakily want to refer as the NBN)… stop the pedanticism, Quiet Observer is correct in what he/she said.

                  ** “ahh yes all that ‘decaying infrastructure’ that has to see us out until 2023 (NBN Corporate Plan), emotive impact statements all the time, pro NBN argument rule No 1 you never mention the word copper unless it has the word rotting or similar in front of it.”

                  ## unless you believe the copper which has been in the ground for years/decades is absolutely pristine, well yes, copper degregdation needs to be factored. Surely this is commonsense and something even Malcolm Turnbull recognises… don’t you?

                  *** Indeed it is people voted for the detail they had on the Labor FTTN rollout in 2007, it was changed after the election, apparently if the Coalition do the same in 2013 it’s just not on.

                  ### Seriously “AGAIN”???… The circle is complete for about the 11ytth time. The only person here who has continually criticised the government for heeding expert advise and bettering their plan is you and then you say you believe the Coalition will supply more FttH post election than the promise and are ok with them doing so (i.e. changing their minds). But to then also turnaround and speculatively accuse others of possibly criticising the Coalition for changing their minds no matter what, if elected, is taking the strawman to new extremes of absurdity. Granted, I will certainly criticise the Coalition and the current governmnet if they supply less than promised (if we get a Coalition promise at all) but will welcome, not criticise the Coalition, if they are elected and improve their post election broadband plan. I’m guessing you will laud them regardless.

                  **** You could also say Labor is doing the nation a disservice by constantly avoiding a proper CBA by the Productivity Commission whilst parroting broad brush feel good stuff like the NBN is ‘Nation Building’ and we need it for the’ Digital Age’ and using scare tactics like the Coalition will demolish the NBN and rip it out of the ground.

                  #### Wow even Mal seems to be softening his stance on a CBA, yet …

                  ***** “There is not just one bait, there is a Labor bait and a Coalition bait swinging at the end of the line hoping enough people swallow without question, we will eventually see which one they hit for a six.”

                  ##### A simplistic political only view which totally ignores the more holes than swiss cheese Coalition’s Broadband plan, But who cares, they are currently popular woo hoo… for whatever the reasons (which of course you have told us many times, ISN’T the NBN).

                  • NBNAlex
                    Posted 11/03/2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink |

                    Clarification last line… “which of course you have told us many times has nothing to do with the NBN”

                • NBNAlex
                  Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink |

                  Addendum alain… and right on cue.

                  “ahh yes all that ‘decaying infrastructure’ that has to see us out until 2023 (NBN Corporate Plan), emotive impact statements all the time, pro NBN argument rule No 1 you never mention the word copper unless it has the word rotting or similar in front of it.”

                  http://delimiter.com.au/2013/03/11/corrosion-drastically-impacts-bt-fttn-speed/#commenting

    16. Dave in Tas
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink |

      I find it laughable that simply publishing the truth can be considered biased.

      If you take the politics out of the debate, no one is going to take FTTN over FTTH. It’s just stupid.

      The ONLY people beating the FTTN drum have a political axe to grind. Simple as that.

      I don’t care much for Libs, Labor, Nat’s or Greens and would just as soon a watch the lot of them drown in boiling custard… but I DO support a FTTH style NBN. FTTN is just stupid on so many levels.

      • Paul Grenfell
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink |

        Hear Hear..!

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink |

        +many

    17. Kevin Davies
      Posted 09/03/2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink |

      Bullying plain and simple. This is what Malcolm Turnbull and News Ltd are doing to Nick Ross. They are trying to shut him down even when he simply speaks the truth. They are using intimidation tactics to silence him. The ABC should be staunchly defending him and his role as unbiased commentator. If choosing a side is stating one is better than the other then we have all chosen as side. This should not be seen as bias. Its called examining the facts and delivering a rational decision from it. Far from what Malcolm Turnbull wants hence the attack on him.

      • MikeK
        Posted 09/03/2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink |

        I agree with you Kevin, if you think its bad now what till the Coalition party gets into government. We can only hope they dont.

        • Bill Smith
          Posted 11/03/2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink |

          Ahh yes, lets all hope for another 4 years of Labor

    18. Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:00 am | Permalink |

      I know how we can save X4 the cost of the NBN. Cancel the F-35s Howard ordered!

    19. Daniel
      Posted 10/03/2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink |

      This is just another attempt to attack people attempting to provide equal opportunity of debates which the Coalition and the Murdoch clearly do not want one.

      CMOT I do believe your way off your racket on this one, this is clearly not acceptable for The Australian & The ABC to attempt to suppress (yes SUPPRESS) others of trying to equal opportunity here in this unfair climate?

      The Majority of people do not know that Murdoch has basically taken over Australian Media & Newspapers.

      If Ross is under the heat at ABC, perhaps he should come over to delimiter ? Or run his own website.

      • Michael
        Posted 11/03/2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink |

        Yes always the right conspiracy to control the media except Conroy has been the only Comm’s minist in history to propose a government body with the power to do so. And the Greens were the only other party to endorse it.

        A right wing conspiracy indeed.

    20. MikeK
      Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink |

      Hey Renai, any new news about Turnballs (Turnbull to reveal the ‘shocking’ NBN truth) story, it should be a good laugh, expect The Australian to run it on the front page.

    21. MikeK
      Posted 10/03/2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

      I’ve already filed it under fiction.

    22. Observer
      Posted 10/03/2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink |

      Alain

      ” but you have to have some sort of pre election one liner to go on”

      Why? Because you can’t have bipartisanship. This is exactly the point I was making before. The coalition in their attempt to discredit Labor, have painted themselves in a corner. Very few of their arguments can be intelligently defended.

      I, for one, would have been more impressed had they done the right thing by backing the overall concept of the NBN and challenge the government when it is of a benefit to the country as a whole. Surely, to propose to replace a network with a long term shelf life with one as TA has already admitted has a short life span, is not only uneconomical and short sighted but plain stupid.

      I must confess that having had personal dealings with all sides of politics, I have little time for politicians but that turns into deep irritation when I see them try to take advantage of people ignorance to achieve their aim (which evidently is to get elected).

      Finally, if the coalition policy is so much better why do they need to bullshit?

      End of rant

    23. Aaron
      Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink |

      I prefer articles to tell the truth who gives a f### about the balance?

    24. Michael
      Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink |

      Truth, balance,

      Even when reporting on “facts” different views will change how it is reported significantly. There is no one way in it is right or balanced.

      But the ABC journalists that you named Renai, John Faine, Chris Ulhman are horribly biased to the left. John Faine is one of the few presenters to have an official reprimand for biased reporting due to a complaint. The ABC does have good presenters but…

    25. Trevor W
      Posted 11/03/2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink |

      I heard Kevin Morgan state on SBS Insight 26 October 2010 “If Stephen’s understanding of the Telstra network is such, that a third of it is above the ground at the moment, he had better go out and have a look. One of the achievements of Telecom and Telstra was to put the copper underground. I used to work for the union that represented the technicians that maintained that copper network. I keep in touch with those people…”

      I have been in 20 suburbs in Adelaide and the copper is above ground.
      I have also looked in SA country towns and interstate. Check Google street view.

      http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/transcript/332/NBN

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 11/03/2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink |

        Seems to be a few supposed expert Telecommunications consultants coming across as venal or with less expertise/knowledge or ability than they would have us and their clients believe

        In a recent article stated that Telstra has replaced over 50% of the copper. – really
        Previously stated most copper faults were in the main trunks and feeders ( trunks tend to be pressurised to prevent water ingress ) and these will be bypassed by the FTTN. Does not match customer complaints

    26. Stephen H
      Posted 11/03/2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink |

      As a regular listener to Radio National and Newsradio, I much prefer the ABC’s approach to journalism to that of the commercial media. It is very clear that Australia’s media rules have failed, and we have a few owners who see their future wealth tied up in the prospects of the Libs/Nats.

      That said, I am regularly disappointed by the ABC. Fran Kelly, for instance, will ask a politician a question and get a non-answer. She will occasionally repeat the question, but really ALL journalists should be stopping at that point and not moving on until the politician answers the question that has been asked. If Australia’s journalists did this, then we would not have the farcical situation of politicians simply bagging each other all the time without actually saying anything constructive.

      But at the moment, only the ABC and SBS (among the big boys) are showing any semblance of journalism. And the ABC is still terrified of another John Howard.

    27. philonos
      Posted 01/04/2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink |

      It is great to see such in-depth investigation as presented by Nick Ross.
      It is a travesty of modern day Australia that politics and vested interests distort most public issues. This appears once again to be happening here, but in the long run let the FACTS be the decider.
      Good going, Ross and good luck. Keep up the good work. I hope other journalists will follow this revolutionary trend!
      If we need a more balanced approach to running the country, maybe we need a “benevolent receivership” to take the reins.




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