Hypocrisy: The Australian attacks ABC’s NBN objectivity


NBN fibre rolling out to Blacktown

news The Australian this morning published several articles accusing a senior ABC journalist of failing to uphold the broadcaster’s editorial standards in coverage of the National Broadband Network, despite the fact that the News Ltd newspaper and its commentators have themselves faced the same criticism from the print media watchdog and others in the past.

The newspaper this morning published two articles severely criticising ABC Technology + Games Editor Nick Ross, who has over the past few months published a string of analytical articles on the ABC Technology + Games site exploring the differences (technical, commercial, economical and financial) between the Federal Government’s current NBN policy and the Coalition’s alternative. Initially one of the articles incorrectly described Ross as a “blogger”: The article was updated with the correct “journalist” term.

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.

In the second article, telecommunications analyst Kevin Morgan published an opinionated article claiming that Ross used the ABC’s website to “spruik” the NBN project, and that Ross’s articles did not reflect an objective analysis of the competing NBN policies, but instead were based on “misrepresentation and glaring factual errors”.

It’s not the first time that Ross has been accused of pro-NBN sentiment. In July 2012, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused the journalist of creating “relentless propaganda” to support the NBN, as Ross challenged Turnbull to back up a number of controversial public statements he had made about the NBN.

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.

The articles by the newspaper come despite the fact that The Australian and other News Ltd newspapers have been cautioned in the past by the Australian Press Council, the industry self-regulator, for incorrect articles about the NBN. In March 2012, for example another News Ltd publication, The Australian, published a correction to a story after it inaccurately alleged that a school in South Australia would have to pay $200,000 to connect to the NBN; in fact, the school will receive NBN access as part of the normal rollout.

Several months before that, In December 2011, the Australian Press Council expressed concern about the Daily Telegraph’s coverage of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project, backing a local critic’s complaint that three articles in a short period of time had contained “inaccurate or misleading assertions” about the NBN.

In October 2010, shortly after The Australian published a string of sharply negative articles about the NBN during that year’s Federal Election, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy severely criticised The Australian newspaper in a Senate Estimates hearing for what he said was the newspaper’s distortion of the facts around the costs involved in re-wiring homes for the NBN.

“You made a claim … to be fair, you based it on The Australian, again,” Conroy told one Liberal Senator on the night. “You’ve got to stop believing what you read in The Australian.” “I repeat, you really don’t want to use as your source documents, The Australian newspaper,” Conroy later added. And, waving around what he said was a NSW Government press release: “Go and read the source quotes, and see if you can contort it into the story written in The Australian.”

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley also took The Australian to task on the occasion. Some sections of Australia’s press simply weren’t interested in “hearing reality” on the lack of real costs involved in re-wiring homes for the NBN, Quigley said, adding there was a lot of “misinformation” on that and other issues.

Conroy also spoke out in August 2012 against the media in general for what he said at the time was its action in constantly repeating misconceptions about Labor’s National Broadband Network project, additionally singling out the Financial Review newspaper for particular ridicule and recommending that those interested in accuracy read broadband forum Whirlpool.

It is also unusual for telecommunications analyst Kevin Morgan to accuse the ABC’s Nick Ross of issues with his objectivity, given Morgan’s own background in the telecommunications field and his established position on the NBN. Morgan is widely regarded in the telecommunications industry as being one of the leading critics of the Government’s NBN project, and has made a number of highly disputed claims regarding the initiative.

For example, in a radio segment with shockjock Alan Jones in November 2012 (Jones is also regarded as a critic of the NBN), Morgan claimed that the the rollout of the NBN’s fibre network would put lives at risk, due to the fact that a number of services such as medical alarms, traffic lights and burglar alarms depended on Telstra’s current copper network.

Morgan claimed that NBN Co had not done enough in the area of battery backup support for the NBN’s optic fibre, to ensure that such services would remain available in the event of power failures. “People’s lives are going to be put at risk by this policy,” he claimed.

Perhaps the most unorthodox part of Jones’ interview with Morgan was the telecommunications consultant’s comparison of the NBN project to the Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme promulgated by the British Labour Government in the 1940’s in East Africa. The project was intended to develop the region’s agriculture potential but failed. “If you go out into the bush in Southern Africa, now Tanzania, you’ll find all these rusting tractors, all this junk from this project,” Morgan told Jones. And then, with reference to the NBN: “You’re going to have fibre hanging off power poles, incomplete sections of this network. The Labor Government, if they’re returned, will have to revisit this, have to say this is nonsense.”

In another article published in August 2012, Morgan argued that the NBN project had suffered a “massive failure” to reach any of its goals, discounting issues with the greenfields portion of the NBN rollout and the delayed contract with Telstra which is critical to the NBN as “a furphy”. In another article in October 2011, Morgan argued that NBN Co chief Mike Quigley needs to explain “what value is being delivered by the network”, why the NBN Co “gravy train” of costs is exploding, and why there is “pork-barrelling” in the NBN rollout in Tasmania.

As early as May 2010 — a year after NBN Co was first established — Morgan published an article in industry newsletter Communications Day severely criticising the NBN implementation study released at that point by the Federal Government. And in October 2012, Morgan described NBN Co’s commercial viability as a “joke”, despite NBN Co’s most recent corporate plan being consistent — after several years of NBN construction and operation — with the corporate plan the company released in 2010.

I think I speak very factually here when I say that The Australian newspaper is widely regarded in Australia’s technology sector as being one of the leading critics of the NBN. Despite the project’s laudable benefits to basic broadband service delivery in Australia, as well as to the nation’s productivity and in industries such as health, education and information technology, the newspaper has very rarely praised the NBN, with the overwhelming majority of its articles being bitterly opposed to the network on every measure. The newspaper event went so far as to run a string of front-page articles against the NBN during the 2010 Federal Election, in which the NBN was a key issue.

Similarly, telecommunications analyst Kevin Morgan has emerged as one of the leading critics of the NBN over the past few years. I have never read an article by Morgan praising the network; on the other hand, I have read many articles by the commentator damning the project for what Morgan sees as its financial irresponsibility and other issues. And usually those articles have been published by The Australian.

In this context, it is highly hypocritical for The Australian and Morgan personally to accuse senior ABC journalist Nick Ross of breaching ABC editorial guidelines when it comes to his coverage of the NBN. It’s worse than the pot calling the kettle black; it’s irony of the highest degree.

Like others, I will admit that Ross’s articles haven’t been perfect — he’s made small errors here and there, and I think they could have been better edited. However, they still represent an incredible resource to readers of the ABC, and it is easily apparent at this point that Ross is the only journalist in Australia to have investigated the various NBN policies in sufficient depth, on a range of measures.

Personally, I was surprised and a little confused to read The Australian’s articles this morning. They came across as shrill, indignant and a little childish in nature; almost as though its writers had had to resort to playground insults instead of rational argument to get their point across. I hope to see a more adult level of NBN debate from the newspaper in future.

Image credit: NBN Co


  1. “They came across as shrill, indignant and a little childish in nature; almost as though its writers had had to resort to playground insults instead of rational argument to get their point across.”


    They were just following orders, Sir!


    • If nbn is not political y are safe liberal seats scheduled to be the last to receive nbn and marginals the first?

      • While I personally would have no problem if this were true as it may help the project survive in it’s current form, it is completely untrue. Maybe you should provide some proof of your wild accusations.

      • @boris pogos

        No. There has been several studies on the NBN rollout. There is no statistically significant correlation between the rollout and electoral boundaries.

      • I live in the federal seat of Grey in SA, which is fairly safe and has been liberal since 1993 when they changed some boundaries and my area is getting the NBN this year.

      • I live in one of the safest Liberal seats in Australia – Tangney in WA – and we are getting the NBN this year (June is projected).

        It is total, unadulterated garbage that has been proven over and over and over again to claim that there is ANY correlation between the political leaning of the electorate and the rollout. It is being completed on thoroughly researched engineering principles.

      • Actually on the contrary, I think it shows he holds a high opinion of their standard of journalism. When lines of morality and impartiality are drawn in the sand, Those that cross those lines often have a bitter and twisted view of the world.

        • “Actually on the contrary, I think it shows he holds a high opinion of their standard of journalism. ”

          Of course he does. Thats the problem.
          The discussion at that point was about activist style activities with one poster even trying to find Malcolm Turnbull’s home street. All in a public and fairly widely read forum.
          I doubt whether either journalist named would have a bar of it but the fact that an ABC journalist was thought as a ‘go to guy’ in this sort of situation is probably not something the ABC would be comfortable with.

  2. I stopped reading The Australian in 2010 when their coverage of a range of topics, but most specifically regarding the NBN, was woeful. I emailed them and advised them that I wouldnt read their newspaper again, and I have stuck to that. I will never provide them with a cent of my money, not via Ads revenue nor cash as a newsagent. I wouldnt even take a free copy from CeBIT. That I have to do this really dissapoints me. I am, on the other hand, looking to spend $$ on other less mainstream media organisation who are showing a more respectful approach to advising Australia on its state of affairs. Media manipulation of the populace is disgusting.

    • That was about the date I stopped reading as well..

      They really are hilarious with their inept analysis – reduced to playing the man not the ball.

      It’s ironic that everyone else has moved on to accepting the NBN (their core business Coalition voting audience included). All that’s left opposing it are a few blinkered Australian donkeys pounding out bile for a rump of audience who are still suspicious of this internet thingy and assume that if Labor does it, it must be a white elephant.

    • Wow it took you that long to stop reading it? Hopefully you haven’t stopped prematurely have turned off the rediculiously biased ABC too or you would fit into this headline of “Hypocrisy” too.

      • Yes I agree. The ABC in its attempts to maintain an unbiased position have shifted way too far to the right.

        This needs to be corrected if the ABC wishes to return to being an unbiased news reporting organisation.

  3. It’s a disgrace to see what is happening with Media and Politics.

    Not only Media attack the Goverment, but they turn on each other, because not everyone is deciding they agree with each other.

    Nick Ross is great journalist and I hope the Australian suffers more that this kind of attitude won’t be tolerated in Australia.

    Murdoch needs to die.

    • I think New Ltd needs to pull some of their rogue journos back into line.
      Wishing all Murdochs a long and happy life despite our differences of opinion.

      • I seriously doubt that the Murdoch papers’ blatant anti-NBN stance can be blamed on ‘rogue journos’. You have to keep in mind that through IPTV the NBN poses a massive threat to Foxtel’s dominance of Australia’s pay TV market. While it’s impossible to prove, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a directive coming down from the top to rubbish the NBN at all costs.

          • Do I really have to spell it out, alain? Once the NBN is built, 93% of the population will have access to a fibre network that can easily handle IPTV. Services like FetchTV will actually become a viable alternative to Foxtel, thus introducing much-needed competition to the market. Suddenly Foxtel will have a lot of difficulty justifying their $60 a month subscription fee if users can just go to their ISP and get FetchTV for an additional $10 – 20 per month. Right now Foxtel does have a considerable advantage in terms of content offerings, but who’s to say that that won’t change in the future? The AFL is already moving towards offering content directly to customers.

            Foxtel’s pay TV business revolves around connecting subscribers via satellite or HFC cable – neither of these technologies can compete with FTTP. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t strike me as the sort of man who adapts to changing markets particularly well – this is speculative, but he probably sees more advantage in preventing the construction of the NBN (and thus retain Foxtel’s market share) rather than trying to explore new business opportunities offered by emerging technologies.

          • But Foxtel is all about content and the tying up of media rights to that content, I can watch Foxtel or FetchTV or YouTube or ABC IView etc etc NOW using ADSL2+ or HFC.

            The NBN is not a threat to Foxtel it enhances their total package, they could market a combined NBN Plan that includes a data allowance, a voice package and Foxtel, the infrastructure is irrelevant, the Australian Government is wearing the multi billion debt burden on that one, Foxtel just takes the cream.

          • Agreed, to take it further the NBN increases their audience from the HFC footprint; to the NBN fibre foot print.

            If anything; the NBN is a very positive thing for Foxtel.

          • All those other services are limited to low quality SD def and you cannot get them everywhere, some connections are too slow.

            It is a threat because others can compete on an equal play field.

          • You’ve missed the point, alain – the NBN is OPEN ACCESS. Foxtel will be able to provide services over fibre, but SO WILL ITS COMPETITORS. The NBN creates a level playing field for pay TV operators and eliminates the advantage Foxtel currently has with its closed-access cable and satellite networks. And while you might be able to get FetchTV over ADSL2+ right now, much of the population can’t because either their service is too slow. The NBN will give more consumers the ability to access services like FetchTV, thus increasing its market penetration and competitiveness.

            I’m sorry, but you are laughably WRONG when you say that infrastructure is irrelevant. Content delivery is solely dependent upon what infrastructure consumers have access to, and who is able to access said infrastructure in order to deliver content. If you can’t see how a technologically superior open-access infrastructure is a complete game changer to the present closed-access regime, I have nothing more to say to you.

          • Just to spell it out clearly. The AFL will not need to negotiate distribution through anyone else because they can do it themselves – cutting out the Foxtel (and whoever the free to air company is) middleman. I presume the same will be for NRL and any other major sporting organisation.

            Does that make it clear why it changes everything? It is their biggest money earner in Australia and they will almost certainly be cut out of it.

          • The AFL don’t give Foxtel rights to content for nothing, it is whoever has the deepest pockets gets it.

          • Well, you need to remember your history.
            Foxtel didn’t always have the rights to AFL, but a compeditor did by the name of C7 sports on the optus paytv network bid before 2002.
            Foxtel did refuse to allow the use of their network to transmit the competing chanel, limiting it’s ability to bid high for sports rights. So the lowering of the barriers to entry enabled by the NBN wil allow much easier competition for sports rights. That’s probably why News Corp is against the NBN. It’s classic propaganda model by Noan Chomsky, where the desires of the owner and the business funders are reflected in the selection of the news that’s fit to print.

          • If 93% of the population could have connections that can support streaming of 4k video that might put a dent in Foxtels profits..

          • So how much is the 4k TV streaming Foxtel competitor package on top of my NBN Plan, and what can I watch?

          • You really have no vision for the future do you? Do you really think we’re all content with the crappy quality of video services on offer today? In 10 years 4K will be as prevalent as 1080p is today. Given we already have 1080p resolution on 5″ smartphones, and the entire A/V industry is now gearing up for 4K, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the maths. We won’t see it delivered over the air, but 4k IPTV on a 100mbps is doable, and on a 1gbps connection, a streaming 4K video would barely make a dent in your bandwidth. FTTP is the only way to ensure you have the room for future 4K IPTV services, while leaving enough bandwidth for the myriad of other devices that will be simultaneously using the net.

          • umm ok so we are going into multi billion debt because some residences MAY want to watch 4k TV – sounds fair enough to me.

          • Oh yes alain. Good point, because in my post I clearly say that 4K video is the only thing the NBN can be used for /s *rolls eyes*

          • You highlighted 4k TV over and over in your comment, others keep repeating 4K TV in a repetitive pro NBN mantra as if merely repeating it enough times justifies the Government fed multi billion dollar NBN rollout on its own.

            Did the uptake of Pay TV on HFC cable justify its rollout? -funny that Optus gave up on Pay TV and cannot wait to get their $800 million Government handout and kiss their HFC goodbye.

            Perhaps when 4K TV comes around Optus can have another go at it, this time they will make big$$ out of it because they just will – promise.

            It’s also interesting that Telstra is hanging onto to its HFC for Foxtel, so any streaming TV competitors on the NBN have to persuade Foxtel customers on Telstra HFC to come across because apparently 4K TV is a winner product than everyone out there is hanging for out to buy.

            Unfortunately Foxtel can also offer 4K TV on the NBN infrastructure as well as offering it on Telstra HFC, so customers have a choice as to whether they want to pay extra for the 4K product.

          • Hi alain…

            #1 You have previously told us the HFC was/is a failure.
            #2 You have also heralded HFC as part of an alternate plan to the NBN.

            Q Can you please explain how these “HFC failure networks” are now sensible, as an integral part of Australia’s NBN alternative/future comms network?
            A. ?

            #3 Previously (when trying to support FttN and/or Telstra) you therefore agreed that the deal between NBNCo and Optus was a bonafide deal, as it was ratified by the ACCC.
            # 4 Now you refer to the same deal as a “government handout (I do note you no longer use the term ‘tax payer’ handout – nice work :) to kiss their HFC goodbye”

            Q. Can you please explain why you refer to the Optus/NBNCo deal as an $800m government handout to kiss their HFC goodbye (i.e. leaving clear undertones of some sort of impropriety/wrongdoing) after having admitted that it was a totally legitimate business acquisition, as happens in the private sector regularly… and ACCC approved?

            Q. Since you apparently agree it is legitimate, but nonetheless obviously don’t like such “government handouts”, what’s your thoughts on the Coalition’s plan, as I understand it from the little info we have… of incentivisation/subsidisation (or in your speak ‘actual tax payer handouts’), to companies, which could go well into the $b’s, with possibly no ROI for tax payers?

            I’m not being an argumentative smart arse here… I am genuinely interested in how anyone, especially those so outspoken and expecting others to heed their comments/views, can rationally or legitimately have completely opposite takes on the same issue and still expect these views to be taken seriously.

            If I am wrong, I genuinely look forward to a rational explanation as to where I am wrong. Because after all, isn’t friendly and rational exchange of views, what this process is all about? Cheers.

          • It doesn’t exist yet! Unless you think it’s sensible for a company to put out such a package before fibre has been rolled out and before 4k TVs are common. But then it’ll never exist under the coalition plan.

          • I picked up a new camera+laptop bag earlier this week and saw a HD video the retailer was playing in the back of the store. HD from a GoPro Hero. It was crazy-sharp, and the retailer said, very casually, “oh yes, it does 4K video too”.

            I want one.

            They are (relatively) cheap to acquire.

            If I can generate 4K HD video *now* imagine how much more fun I could have if we had a proper FTTP network to distribute video that was more than just cycling down hills or funny kittens? (Imagine how scary a youtube kitten vid would be at 4K!)

          • With my current connection, it takes over an hour to upload a 3 min 720p video of my son, so his grandmother in the UK can see it in good quality.

            The Coalitions ‘plans’ make no mention of upload speeds, I hate to think how long it would take for a higher quality upload with FFTN.

          • The thing about the Coalition plan is it is so open ended don’t assume you are definitely getting FTTN.

          • @Alain

            Quite right – with the Coalition’s plan I am assuming I am will get nothing as I am notionally in a HFC area.

            The supplier (not Telstra or Optus) offers a top speed of 8 Mbps. Whoo hoo!

          • trolling, to get your point across again alain?

            You’re missing the point; high speed access allows a not-telstra content network to operate to a very high percentage of consumers.

            That introduces competition; yes, Foxtel will still benefit from a high speed ubiqutous network, but so will others.

            Content quality is only part of the puzzle; NBN allows competitive scale to occur.

            You really need to take the blinkers off sometime and look at the bigger picture.

          • Fair enough, FTTH has been around a while now, the NBN Co didn’t invent it, so how are all the Foxtel competitors going in FTTH Greenfield estates and well established TransACT suburbs?

          • They are going terribly of course. They have no volume of scale. The size of your potential customer base is very important. Are you just trolling?

          • So at what point is that ‘scale’ reached where we have enough residences on Greenfield and Brownfield FTTH combined with TransACT residences that justifies more competitors taking on Foxtel?

            What year of the NBN rollout will this cut in?

            Why has Foxtel and FetchTV established themselves in the absence of the NBN FTTH?

            BTW avoiding awkward questions with false trolling accusations is easy, pro NBN posters use it a lot, if you follow the comments I didn’t t introduce the subject of Foxtel poster ‘Quiet Observer’ did.

            Apparently introducing the subject is ok as long as it is contained within a pro NBN theme but arguing against it is deemed automatically as trolling.

          • alain:
            Well, Foxtel has roughly 1.7 million subscribers on closed infrastructure – http://www.smh.com.au/business/foxtel-subscriber-growth-eases-but-earnings-on-rise-20120809-23x2x.html

            So my guess is double that plus a bit, say 4 million on open infrastructure (that’s a much larger potential target audience with free competition) would be around the turning point. According to page 37 of the corporate plan that’ll be some time in 2017.

            “Why has Foxtel and FetchTV established themselves in the absence of the NBN FTTH?”
            Foxtel because they used their significant leverage to corner the market. FetchTV hasn’t really, very few people have it.

          • “Which leads me back to my original assertion, the success of a Pay TV offering like Foxtel is all about the content not the infrastructure”
            How exactly does it do that? I have just described the situation where infrastructure investment has led to Foxtel’s market dominance, linking that up to “the success is all about the content not the infrastructure” is completely nonsensical.

            “Prospective Pay TV competitors don’t have to wait for the NBN rollout to take on Foxtel.”
            Yes you’re right they don’t, if they invest in their own network. How else would they get their product to the consumer? Telepathy?

          • Under the current setup only foxtel have the infrastructure to offer high def pay TV. All the rest make do with low def if you are lucky enough to have a decent ADSL2 connection, a speed higher than the Australian average. You cannot even get fetch TV on the average.
            This opens the market to competition to Foxtel as anyone can offer a pay TV service without have to own the infrastructure.

          • Anyone who wants to, that’s the threat. We could have Netflicks open up shop. There are a lot off incentive to compete when the opportunity to compete exists without having to build the distribution network yourself. Optus tried and fail, but then again they had to build the infrastructure and it didn’t cover everyone, the user had to connect to Optus fibre to get it. etc. This way anyone with an NBN connection could be a customer. Monopoly power is lost.

          • Any number of current international content distributors. Foxtel are pretty awful at content when you compare it to other international paytv operators. When I moved here from the UK in the mid-2000’s I couldn’t believe how limited and over-priced Foxtel is compared to Sky over there. But they currently have a monopoly on distribution.

          • Interesting you mention Sky and Foxtel in the one comment, you do know don’t you?


          • That News Ltd owns a portion of both. That doesn’t mean the content is the same and the prices are the same. The prices are lower in the UK. One big reason would be competition, something the NBN will enable.

          • There certainly is more Pay TV competition in the UK, but the UK doesn’t have FTTH all over either, same as the USA, what conclusion do you draw from that?

            The conclusion I draw is that the number of Pay TV competitors is in direct relation to the population size and the number of populous cities of which outside our six capitals we have precious few, and has very little to do with infrastructure type

    • I think News Ltd needs to pull some of their rogue journos back into line.
      Wishing all Murdochs a long and happy life despite our differences of opinion.

    • Murdoch needs to die?

      Well he certainly does before any of the simpering, whimpering cowards at his ‘national paper’ will exhibit any shred of journalistic impartiality, intelligence or factual integrity. I stopped getting the fetid rag when Defrag left, she was the only reason I had read it for years before then too…

  4. Personally, I was surprised and a little confused to read The Australian’s articles this morning. They came across as shrill, indignant and a little childish in nature; almost as though its writers had had to resort to playground insults instead of rational argument to get their point across.

    Doesn’t surprise me Renai. I think the Right leaning media were surprised at the traction Ross’ article got. So they’re going to do ANYTHING to discredit it. I’ve actually doen a fairly in depth breakdown on Morgan’s article and the news piece that went with it if anyone is interested:


    I think it’s FAIRLY balanced. I was pretty incensed writing it, but I’ve pointed out where Ross has made genuine mistakes or errors are evident.

  5. I hope to see a more adult level of NBN debate from the newspaper in future.

    Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath…

  6. “Personally, I was surprised and a little confused to read The Australian’s articles this morning.”

    That’s your problem; reading it to start with ;)

  7. Why do all reporters perpetuate the myth that without the NBN Australian business will lose out on internet trade, people will be unable to get medical asistance and education will suffer etc?
    What government anywhere in the world is building a national telecommunications infrastructure similar or equivelent to the NBN?
    Why is the cost of the NBN and its business plan so secretive?
    What effect on the NBN is the fact that most people these days are getting rid of their desktop PCs and a moving to mobile devices and wirelss technology is getting better?
    I’m not technically minded but apart from a small group of computer wizards so is most of Australia and all of this “It will be better for us” needs more real reporting from everyone

    • @Question Anything

      Don’t expect a real response with a name like that. No offence, but a name like that says to me you aren’t interested in debating the questions, just asking them to no point.

    • I’ll have a stab at it for you QE.

      There are 80-something countries around the world rolling out FttH, or the equivalent. Some of those are through private companies, some are through incumbent Telco’s but some are also funded by the relevant Government. Not every country rollout is privately funded.

      Why is the cost and plan secretive? They arn’t. They are documents that are on public record.

      Mobile devices & wireless? Sure, more people are connecting that way, but it still only makes up around 6% of the data moved (from memory – someone will correct me if I’m wrong). On top of that, those wireless towers still need to connect to a line capable of transferring the data at the speed expected, which still means fibre all the way to the tower.

      Add to that the fact that our internet needs double every two years, and you should be able to see that what the Liberals want to roll out is good enough NOW, but wont be enough in 6 years. By the time they finish with their FttN rollout (at the best speed possible) it will be redundant, and need to be replaced. Now THATS a white elephant.

      Nobody has ever said wireless is a waste of time. Its not. But its a supplementary option right now, not a primary one – we’re a long way from wireless being good enough to be able to handle 100% of the traffic, if ever.

      If everyone was on wireless, you would have so much congestion the service would be unusable. It would be the same as everyone working in the city, and everyone driving in at exactly 8:30 every morning. There would be such a traffic jam that the situation would be unbearable.

      Is that what you think is the best option?

    • > Why do all reporters perpetuate the myth that without the NBN Australian business will lose out on internet trade, people will be unable to get medical asistance and education will suffer etc?

      Did you even read the article? There are a large number of reporters doing everything they can to attack the project, by selectively reporting bad things only and even outright lying (like the UnOz’s $200,000 school connection which they knew was wrong). They also go REALLY easy on the opposition and don’t even try to apply the same level of scrutiny.

      To answer the question, worse infrastructure = worse performance = reduced productivity, services being less effective, reduced overall benefit to the economy, etc.

      > What government anywhere in the world is building a national telecommunications infrastructure similar or equivelent to the NBN?

      What other country is exactly like ours? NZ is kinda similar, and they’re building FTTH. Europe and Asia have high population densities, making FTTH easier to build and more attractive to investors wanting a quick return, so governments there are less concerned about broadband. The US can’t even agree on how to solve their healthcare problems; do we want to be like them?

      Ideally we should keep up with the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean blindly copying everything they do or don’t do.

      > Why is the cost of the NBN and its business plan so secretive?

      It isn’t.

      Google nbn corporate plan.

      > What effect on the NBN is the fact that most people these days are getting rid of their desktop PCs and a moving to mobile devices and wirelss technology is getting better?

      I used wifi with my desktop PC for years. That is, a wifi connection to a WIRED modem. The free wifi at maccas connects back to a WIRED connection. Using portable or mobile devices does not mean you’re not using wired technologies; current statistics show that a majority of mobile device downloads are over wired connections, thanks to home and business wifi networks.

      If you’re talking about mobile or cellular wireless, a 4G network in 2013 still can’t keep up with the capacity of a 1990s era ADSL network. 3G networks in some areas are less reliable than dialup. Peak speeds don’t mean much if capacity is expensive, since this results in very poor download quotas. As a fun exercise, work out the cost to get a terabyte monthly quota over 3G or 4G (hint: you’ll need dozens of sim cards, and very deep pockets).

      If wireless can’t match wired today, how it is going to suddenly overtake it in the next decade?

  8. With all due respect ‘analyst’ Kevin Morgan could not analyse an etch-a-sketch let alone any aspect of the NBN without first withdrawing his biasometer from his main analytical body part, normally a brain, but in this case a rectum. For f…s sake when will this clown be sent off to Ruperts retirement home for previously marginally useful (to Newscorp) frauds…

  9. The Australian is increasingly becoming Australia’s version of The Onion. After reading an article in it you realise it is actually presenting something totally ridiculous as fact.

  10. Some typical NBN zealot (no really) sent me this, saying that Kevin Morgan is a god-awful hack. He may be, but at least he’s on our side. But judge for yourself the ridiculous poking away at minor trivialities that the keyboard warriors are responsible for now.


  11. I think you set up a few strawmen here, Renai, and don’t answer any of Kevin’s points about the NBN. Nick’s mistake is to advocate for government policy when the ABC charter requires its staff to be impartial.

    • All Nick has done is research the available information, presented the facts, compared the arguments both sides are presenting, and drawn a conclusion.

      I’m quite happy for the ABC to be partial towards facts…I’d hate to be paying them my eight cents a day, and getting partiality towards things that aren’t true.

      There’s an old political saying that facts are biased towards the left.

      Whether or not that is true, there is one thing that facts are definitely biased towards…“the truth”

      Imagine that…truth in journalism…can’t believe that some might argue against that…

      • All The Oz does is compare the arguments and present a conclusion. The level of vitriol here is disappointing.

        Nick appears to have gone too far and apparently has been counselled by his management, but his posts are in a blog format and not news reporting, so that may not have been warranted in other circumstances, but the charter is the charter.

        • “All The Oz does is compare the arguments and present a conclusion. The level of vitriol here is disappointing.”
          No LM. It’s not as academic as you would suggest …

          ‘Clearly Ross has no understanding of the NBN rollout.’
          ‘…. his take on the NBN’s economics is ill informed and verges on mumbo jumbo.’
          ‘Ross is even happy ….’
          ‘And factual accuracy can go begging given Ross’s mission.’

          So all The Oz does is compare the arguments and present a conclusion? No, it does more than that.

        • LM, you seem to have confused “presenting the facts” with “distorting the facts”, as that has been The Oz’s stock and trade in regards to coverage of the NBN.

        • “However, Ross subsequently published a statement on his Twitter account noting that he hadn’t, in fact, been formally disciplined by the ABC.”

        • LM I present to you a new fact, in the same way that the Australian presents facts.
          The Australian Style:
          Telstra have forced you to pay 10,000 dollars to write the comments today on Delimiters website.

          It would cost you that much to run Cat5 through your whole house, to enable a wired network connection capable of using the maximum capacity and latency of your ADSL connection.

  12. The difference is that News Ltd, as a private company, can say whatever the hell it wants to say in The Australia. The ABC, on the other hand, is legally required to be non-partisan and objective. On my reading – and yes, I have read them – Nick Ross’s articles crossed the line.

    • Nick hasn’t done anything wrong in terms of non-partisan and objective – just because one position is more favorable than the other doesn’t mean you breaking the non-partisan and objective rules.

      In my view, that would also be breaking one of ABC’s rules.

      As those stated on Whirlpool, Delimiter and other sites, there are more problems technically, financially, legislatively & competition wise with Coalition’s Broadband policy.

    • … as does the Fairfax press say whatever it likes and that doesn’t seem to be all that enamored with the NBN either.

      But then that’s another argument and there can only be one bad guy at a time…. else it looks like there may be some credibility in the stories…. and we can’t have that, can we?

      • Fairfax, primarily through the Fin review, has been slack with some of its reporting, but I would say that the SMH and Age have been far more balanced.

        • Ahhh… so by slack you mean anti-NBN?

          I love the bias that always comes out… reality is that a Fanbois of any persuasion will see what they want to see in any article…. and the ‘truth’ is relative.

          • Really Reality ?

            It’s nothing to do with fanboisism.

            It’s about choosing the right technology that we will be sticking with for the life of that project, be it 50 years or a 100 years.

          • Using “fanboi” as a response reduces any comment to ad homonym attack.

            The complaints are because Ross doesn’t agree with LNP rhetoric. To distill all the teeth gnashing to basics.

            If Ross had observed that the FTTN position was a superior option, based on facts pointing to that (unfortunately, they do not) I do not, for a moment, believe there would have been an outcry. At all.

            To suggest otherwise would be laughable.

          • Speaking of bias…

            Surely referring to someone who supports the NBN as a fanboi, says more about the bias of the person making such a claim, than it does about their supposed target(s)?

      • @Reality

        I regularly see “NBN comes to X town” or “NBN to boost Small Business” in the SMH ALONG with “NBN delays to blah blah” and “NBN blowout in costs” etc. I’ve never seen the same balance in the Australian, though I’m told they exist somewhere by them….

    • Being non-partisan isn’t the same as giving every idiot a voice.
      To take another example from the MSM to do with the NBN, some people seem to think that an unemployed person claiming disability is entitled to just as much say on the safety of RF systems as the WHO. Just because you can find a crazy cat lady to support your opinion doesn’t mean your opinion is based on facts.

      Remember opinions can be wrong if you base that opinion on lies and misinformation or if you form the opinion before getting the information. The second error is the primary mistake of the MSM and the two major political parties and the greens(although very prone to this in their special interest areas) and independents to a lesser extent. This occurs when you allow ideologies to form your opinion instead of information. There are problems with the NBN but you aren’t going to find them by starting on basis of Labor is bad and everything they do must be bad.

  13. The right wing/Coalition/anti NBN forces are starting to strengthen their attack.
    And the attack on ABC bias/objectivity is just one of the weapons. They know Murdoch press has 85% of all print sales, add the right wing shock jock radio stations and you have a very powerful weapon. Hopes to intimidate the ABC and deter them from providing an outlet for any contrary views or opinions would work in their favour. Meanwhile, they are a private enterprises free to spread whatever spin and bias they care.

    • Well, its not looking good. Aside from the rags, Comms day and radio shock jocks, you can now add IT News and IT Wire .

  14. Could it be that the strength of the attack against Ross and his article is because it can’t be written off and dismissed as simply ‘fanboi-ism’ and ‘religious zealotry?

    • I thought his argument was weakly presented. It may have more to do being published by the government broadcaster and advocating government policies.

      • @LM

        Can you give one specific example from Ross’ article that you believe is weak, preferably one NOT covered by Morgan’s article?

        • Morgan’s commentary does a good enough job. Unfortunately after 50 comments, and also in Renai’s article, no one has tried to explain how Morgan is wrong. Crying about Morgan writing for that nasty/evil/dastardly/filthy pinko/etc Murdoch is not coherent debate.

          What’s disappointing for me is that the level of debate about the NBN on this site descends to Godwin’s Law level (perhaps not literally, but you should get the point) extremely quickly. And before anyone starts, I don’t spruik for the Coalition, I don’t know what their policies are and no-one knows who I vote for.

          • …and you demonstrate the rest of my point. As it’s obviously your site and business you can do anything you like, but aren’t you afraid you’d have nothing more than an echo chamber of narrow minded belittling sycophants. That’s what NBN article comments appear this occasional commentator.

            And I like Delimiter, it’s my only source of Aus IT news. Maybe one day I’ll even click on an ad.

          • “…and you demonstrate the rest of my point”

            That is the problem. You have no evidence to have a point. If you wish to critrique something that is said do it by offering evidence. Saying, you are wrong, this is what I think, with no reasoning given for your belief, not one example, makes your “point” invalid.

          • No, many people have discussed where each of them were wrong and where each was right. The thing is Morgan’s objections were on small errors and sometimes even spelling mistakes, he failed to address the main arguments.

            “And before anyone starts…”

            Sorry it does not seem that you are being factual or objective. You simply state Nick is not ojective and Morgan is. Some reasons for this belief should be used to support this view or you are likely to be labelled as biased yourself.

          • Irrespective of ones personal views for an author or a publishing paper (It is poor form to confuse the two, unless you would call Wayne Swan and Craig Emerson conservative opinion writers); you should refute the arguments presented before entering into an ad homiem attack against the author.

            “Like others, I will admit that Ross’s articles haven’t been perfect — he’s made small errors here and there, and I think they could have been better edited.”

            This is a concession that there is some truth to what he has written but sit poorly with the tone of the rest of the article.

          • Not to you specifically, more of a general comment. It just ended up there sort of by accident.

      • ” and advocating government policies.”

        And what’s wrong with that?

        While I could understand the concerns of the ABC being a propaganda outlet, the simple fact that an article supports a government policy is not cause for alarm.

        • Turn that statement around,

          How would you feel if the ABC was supporting LNP policy?

          Remember it can go both ways.

          • They could support whatever they like as long as they did so on a factual basis. They are FOR ALP policy or AGAINST LNP policy, they have reported good and bad for each. Being objective is about presenting factual data and conclusions based on that data, not trying to selectively present points so they both appear the same.

          • Good definition of objectivity.


            The ABC is not objective on all issues,

            On climate change it has a terrible record. The ABC will omit information that it finds uncomfortable, e.g. the fact that the rate of change of temperature has not kept up with what accepted models has predicted and they have all had to be revised downwards over the past 10-17 years despite CO2 levels growing.

          • Any ignoring of relevant data that disagrees with you current opinion is bad.
            This is where the scientific method is good. You work with a hypothesis and when you find something that doesn’t agree with it that hypothesis is thrown away and a new one developed that fits all the new data.
            This is where I have a big problem with Turnbull. He is being asked very important questions about his policy and he just ignores them, replies with obvious BS, or starts attacking the questioner. This is not objective. Suggested problems with purchasing copper for example. He shouldn’t dismiss them. He should talk to Telstra and get some agreement and then accurately report the outcome. Omitting data to suit a personal opinion… well we may as well start burning heretics who claim the earth is round and it roevolves around the sun.

          • “How would you feel if the ABC was supporting LNP policy?”

            If they did anything like the detail of work Nick has done? Informed and enlightened.

            Why did you think for a second that who made the policy was remotely important?

  15. “Ross is the only journalist in Australia to have investigated the various NBN policies in sufficient depth”
    Such modesty Renai!

  16. Fewer than 1% of the population read The Australian by its published circulation figures (approx 130 000 out of 22 million). So how can this be considered Mainstream Media or even relevant?
    This is a niche extreme right wing propaganda rag and should be treated as the irrelevancy that it is. Politicians and TV stations would really do well to learn this lesson too. The supposed main stream media has got its predictions of the main factors woefully wrong in all recent elections – and they still keep repeating the same rubbish.

    Just ignore them and they’ll go away eventually.

    • It’s readership is small but tends to be the most influential. It’s a center-right paper that advocates for small and effective government and is not extreme right wing. Silly statements like that don’t help.

      • So it’s ok to question the Australian based on the number of readers but’s not ok to do the same of the ABC site because the few readers they do have are ‘most influential’.

        How do you know this and who are these ‘influential’ readers anyway?

        • I find it interesting alain.. that everyone of your comments here (but one) is or ends with a sarcastic and somewhat pedantic question…

          Do you really want an answer or are you just flame baiting?

          • Getting personal again I see NBNAlex and hope I take the bait and respond in kind, it was a legitimate question in the context of the comment made about ABC readers.

          • @ alain.

            This isn’t an attack on you (so no need for the cloaked appeal to Renai) and it wasn’t only from me… several other posters have also made mentioned. It was a simple question following everyone’s observations, asking why you feel compelled to ask what are IMO, pointless questions… rather than using evidence based comments, which are required here?

            I’m sure Renai allows one’s comments to be critiqued… and I certainly don’t mind you or anyone critiquing mine. But if you are going to cry wolf every time I (or others) ask you to clarify something and don’t like your questions or comments being critiqued, while you continue to refuse to answer clarification questions, I’d suggest that you are in the wrong place and corresponding with the wrong people…

            Let’s face it, if you are commenting factually, what are you worried about? Surely you (being as anti-NBN as any) would welcome critiquing “IF” you have the facts to back your comments. I’m positive you would love nothing more than to rub it in our faces!

            But you do not and the only rational conclusion is, because you cannot. Being so, I will continue to debate the issues in a meaningful way and using evidence based information, as is required at Delimiter and I look forward to you joining me.

          • Got all that lengthy diversionary waffle but the question was quite simple the poster asserted that ABC readers were ‘influential’, I simply asked how the poster knew that.

            Apparently according to your distorted logic its ok to assert ABC readers are ‘influential’ without any evidence whatever but apparently it’s not ok to ask the question how they know this.

            Your vindictive repeat attempts to divert the discussion to ‘all about Alain’ is boring for everyone to read and adds nothing to the subject of Renai’s articles.

          • @ alain

            Firstly – “Your vindictive repeat attempts to divert the discussion to ‘all about Alain’”

            No, I’m simply asking why you, as you are the only person here who continually makes claims and then makes completely contradictory claims, to please explain, and I am doing so politely.


            So to summarise, I am according to you, vindictive because I ask you to support your ongoing baseless anti-NBN claims at Delimiter (an evidence based forum) and you are unable to supply this evidence :/

            But I do agree with your second part that it is boring for everyone else. Because I’m not alone in asking for simple clarification which is normally not never forthcoming our clouded in thick fog. As you did above, when I was referring to all of your comments here, not just the one I replied to only.

            I have a suggestion for Renai… to concrete the “evidence basis of Delimiter”…

            I believe the comments policy point in relation to “false information” should be further elaborated upon. Perhaps something along the lines of – “If comments posted as evidence based rather than opinion based are questioned… if the poster refuses or cannot rationally support those claims, the poster will retract the statement and will be warned. Three strikes and they are out for a week…”

            Then we’d sort out the men from the boys…

            By ‘for now’ alain, have a nice Sunday :)

      • It can only be considered centre right as the the centre of Australian Media has skewed so far in the last 30 years. Its policy positions are extremely right wing radical in a historical and world context. If you read European media for example, you’d see how uniformly bad the Australian media has become at reporting and offering a range of opinion.

        Frankly Murdoch has homogenized reporting in the anglophone world to a frightening degree at the same time as delegitimizing academic and other alternative perspectives.

        The public has disengaged from this because it’s inaccurate and increasingly irrelevant. The Australian is only influential to people who believe it is, that’s why their circulation is shrinking and their prognostications are increasingly wide of the mark. Keep clinging to it if you like but it’s not the future, or at least it shouldn’t be any future you’d want.

        • This is why outlets like Delimiter are forced so often into a “correcting” role. Because the mainstream media usually only provides one view of things — and often there are factual issues involved. I don’t like always being in that role, but if left to its own devices, The Australian (and other outlets) would colour Australians’ views in a quite disturbing direction.

    • Its stories also get syndicated to the rest of the news limited, which are the most widely read dailies in Aus and also includes news.com.au

  17. Folks
    This is good because more people will follow up and read Ross’s article and actually see the hypocrisy of the coalition almost a case of shooting oneself in the foot, they tried way back to bring down Grogs Gamut and look who well that worked, same bogons in ltd news then as now.

    They are worried in case the abc (still not worth capitals) will drift away from the “narrative labor bad, liberal good” , so a veiled threat to bring them back into line. Anyway Ross has announced he has NOT had his wrist slapped just more OO bs

    With little bit of luck (catchy song title) it will spread to the other Murdoch rags and more people will get to know the truth that is if they can stand the truth. More last chances scraping the barrel before Sept 15th.

    By the way I have Transact but still eager for an NBN connection what with 5 computers is the house smart tv’s, ipads and laptops the grandkids count 17 items with internet connectabilty, still the solar panels providing energy to ACTEW cover most of the electrical power bill.

  18. I stopped reading the “Un-Australian” awhile ago. Too many times having tracked back to the source material, I have found the “reporting” in that paper to be at times, many, many times, badly misquoted, taken out of context, wholly, wildly and totally inaccurate, or sometimes and out and out lies.

    Their presentation of half truths and biased reporting has put me off what was once an “as closed to an unbiased and balanced newspaper you could get.” Now it tiss full of nothing but coarsely and badly edited news sound bites and over the top opinion pieces, many with a far right leaning.

    That fact that they publish opinion as ‘fact’, scares and worries me for our future as a country, when normal and intelligent persons alike regard that papers stories to be an accurate presentation of all the facts and the truth of that matter.

    When I hear of people with University Degrees, some with many, think of that newspaper as presenting the true unbiased facts, I weep. I truly weep.

  19. I have a choice with the Australian, and that is I don’t have to buy it. I do not have this choice with the ABC.

    • Is someone holding your eyes open and jamming your face in front of an ABC article? I’m confused..

      • Yes If i stop funding the ABC i will go to jail.

        I really do wish I could but i would rather prefer to avoid jail.

        • I also have no ability to not fund the Australian. Advertisments are included in it, both by the government and buinesses and there isn’t anything I can do about not funding those companies some how.
          In fact the lack of accountability in the private sector is greater than for the ABC, so you should rail against that more than the nature of paying for public goods.

          • So if you do not buy a private good it does not get any sales. Then if you extrapolate that out, if not enough people buy it, it will go broke.

            For a public good, if you dont buy it, it does not get any sales. Then if you extrapolate that out, if not enough people buy it, it still gets funding from the government (or more funding) and condequently it will still get my money even though i did not want it to go to it.

            The lack of accountability around advertising? Have you not seen the backlash against sponsors for being associated with alan jones or lance armstrong etc? It is definately possible to motivate coporate entities in the digital age.

    • No you dont have a choice with the Australian, if you want it you have to pay for it but the ABC is free. The only time I seen newspapers usefull is for wrapping up fish and chips.

      • Even then who wants LNP propaganda rubbing off on your meal? You’re likely to get at least one chip that says GREAT BIG NEW TAX on it.

      • I wish I lived in your world. How do you avoid paying taxes while still earing an income?

    • Excellent artical, its the same conclusion that I have drawn, thats for the link Leigh

  20. Ugh. The Australian. I wouldn’t even wipe my butt with it, should the need arise. I take woman’s weekly more seriously than I do The Australian, which in a fair world would change its name to “The Conservative”. Its nothing more than a thinly veiled Coalition propaganda machine, and has been for years. One that is desperately afraid of the demise of its readership in the digital age, and probably fears things will only get worse when everyone has fast access to real journalism online.

    Every piece I’ve ever read from Nick Ross has been intelligent, articulate, well researched and balanced. Pretty much the opposite of every NBN story in the Australian, so the word hypocrisy is a massive understatement.

  21. The NBN single handedly enlightened me as to the folly of believing what you read in any mainstream publication. I admit I was truly shocked by the inaccuracies printed. It’s all about selling ads, not informing the public. Unfortunately I’ve learned it doesn’t only apply to the NBN. There’s rarely a factual article to be found on any topic that has a even a slightly political angle.

  22. ” I was pretty incensed writing it, …”

    You’re kidding :)

    I think what you’ve done is part of the right outcome from Nick’s article. I think Nick did a great job in pulling together all the information in that article. Some fact, some opinion. Some (arguably) right, some (arguably) wrong. All there in one place as a source for rational comment and debate. Grahame Lynch and Kevin Morgan commenting on Nick’s article, and you commenting on their comments is all part of that debate. I think Nick should welcome the feedback and join in the ongoing debate. The more debate, the more information for people to consider. Long may you all continue.

    Whether Nick has been suitably objective or not is a matter of opinion and everyone is welcome to have their own. The same applies to similar comments about any of the participants. I don’t think that’s a proper part of the debate. We should be able to discuss this as adults without getting personal.

    Whether Nick has been disciplined by the ABC or not is between him and his bosses and can in no way be considered news worth reporting in a national newspaper.

    • Sorry, that was intended to be in reply to seven_tech’s earlier post re his response to Kevin Morgan posted on whirlpool. My mistake.

  23. The question is not whether it is the ABC or the Murdoch media that is biased. These are the two ends of the spectrum on many issues in this country. The ABC is a peculiar organisation where everyone has virtually identical ideologically predictable views on every issue, those views pervade every program, and no other views are allowed to be expressed. Basically the ABC belongs to the ALP. The Murdoch media belongs to the conservatives. Its a simple as that. For either to criticise the other for bias would be laughable.

    The only difference between the two, other than the direction they lean in, is that the Murdoch media actually allows views that differ from its own to be expressed in its media. The ABC preaches diversity, but doesn’t practice it. The Murdoch media doesn’t, but, oddly, does.

    • @Gordon

      The only difference between the two, other than the direction they lean in, is that the Murdoch media actually allows views that differ from its own to be expressed in its media. The ABC preaches diversity, but doesn’t practice it. The Murdoch media doesn’t, but, oddly, does.

      Care to give an example? I can think of one for the ABC off the top of my head- there was “The Great Global Warming Swindle” which was aired on ABC a few years ago. It was followed by a Q&A specifically about what evidence that documentary showed. It tore it to shreds of course, because it was either old, incomplete or completely incorrect in assumption. But they showed BOTH sides.

      Can you name one for News Ltd?

      • “Can you name one for News Ltd?”

        Yep … Martin Ferguson (ALP mp) has a regular column.

        • @CMOT

          That’s not exactly what I meant and that’s opinion pieces, not news or debating pieces. I was meaning the whole “This is one side and now here is the other- lets discuss and…..oh look, we can see side X is bollocks from this evidence.” As the ABC did with “The Great Global Warming Swindle.”

          • That sounds like a feature article. I don’t think I’ve seen one on the NBN anywhere. aiui Nick Ross’ piece is a blog, ie. opinion.

            The thing is The Australian does carry articles that clearly disagree with their editorial position. Keeps the letters page ticking over nicely :)

            I’d like to see Conroy write an article on the NBN for The Australian. See if they’d publish it. I think they might.

          • @CMOT

            That’d certainly be interesting. Likely though they’d want to print a rebuttal from Turnbull. Would be interesting to see if Turnbull actually used his debating skills or just parrotted “cheaper and faster”. I’m gonna say the latter simply because of the election.

          • I actually agree with alain here…

            Although I believe we are being a wee bit pedantic about words.

            Obviously the word demolish is being used to frighten and push the boundaries of truth. The tech savvy understand that it means the NBN will be stopped, but the average Joe may well think the Coalition will actually remove the NBN, already built.

            Just like the Coalition says they will build a faster and cheaper network, that’s also intended to push the limits of truth. Again the tech savvy know that Malcolm is meaning FttN can (theoretically) be rolled out faster and for less dollars (when not taking everything into consideration). But Joe average may think, why the hell is this government spending (add inflated NBN figure here) for ‘fast speed broadband’ when the others can give us faster broadband, cheaper.

            Thing is, these are politicians and this is politics (the words are carefully chosen for their ambiguity) …seriously, what would you expect?

            What I find even more perplexing than politicians stretching the truth (who would ever have thunk it, eh?) is how any of my fellow posters here, will measure what one side says to the nth degree (even down to one word) but will let the others says whatever they want… and even agree without first legitimising what they say and sans contestation :(

  24. The repeated comparisons of the NBN and NotNBN platforms presented to us reminds me of the Evolution versus Creationism debate.
    One presents a slew of facts and conclusions, the other vehemently denies the presented facts but only offers a substitute based on faith.
    Lead us to the light Malcom, just don’t shine it down a fibre optic cable.

    As for people like “Question Everything” in the comments above;
    “I’m not technically minded but apart from a small group of computer wizards so is most of Australia and all of this “It will be better for us” needs more real reporting from everyone”

    They take their car to a mechanic, ask doctor’s to check their health, and accept what they are told since they are not technically minded enough in those fields. It can be wise in those examples to get a second or third opinion.
    Yet when its a slew of computer professionals, all saying the same thing about positives and negatives of each network solution….

    • “The repeated comparisons of the NBN and NotNBN platforms presented to us reminds me of the Evolution versus Creationism debate.”

      Maybe more like socialism versus libertarianism.

      This isn’t just a technology debate. There is no technology debate. Everyone knows FTTP wins hands down in the technology stakes. There’s much more to any project than just the technology though. Trying to reduce this to a technology debate is imo futile.

      I think this is as much as anything a debate about political philosophy and the role of government. The ALP and the Coalition are at two extremes here. They are not going to meet in the middle. Much of the rest follows on from that. The ABC and The Australian are very unlikely to see eye-to-eye on this.

    • @SBD

      While I appreciate the comparison, I have to disagree on the creationist debate. It’s a myth for a start that they are mutually exclusive. Yes, I do believe in Creationism. I also believe in Evolution. But secondly, that debate centres around people’s base beliefs- Do I have a soul? What is after death? You can hardly compare that to what someone’s political preference thanks to their “bogan Mum” or “Businessman Dad” believe.

      I agree much of the parallels are similar. But the nature and end game of the debate is far FAR more complex than the NBN.

      • @seven_tech
        Yes, I do believe in Creationism. I also believe in Evolution.

        LOL, well that is an oxymoron if ever I read one.

        Back to the article at hand. Lets just call a spade a spade.

        The Australian is a crock when it comes to writing an unbiased article related to the NBN. It is the height of hypocrisy and it’s likely that they have a psychological projection problem.

        • @theslydog

          Mmmm, do you REALLY wanna get me started ;P It’s not, trust me, I just don’t think comparing politics to religion (2 things which should never, EVER mix) is reasonable. I got the idea behind it, but there are better comparisons, like CMOT’s.

      • I agree they are not exclusive, but trying to find a pro-creationist that accepts evolution may be a method used by a divine hand is like trying to find a hen with yet to be evolved teeth :)

        That’s why NBN reminds me of that area of debate. Actually, it was Malcolm that made the religous comparison recently with his pro NBN zealot remark. I’m sure the irony was lost on him. Which position has nothing more than a call of faith as support to date?

        Base beliefs are what we are dealing with, people that have an inherent distrust of anything “fact based” or heaven forbid “technological”, the blinkers go on, the shutters slam down and they won’t budge from their position.

        How often has Malcolm had his errors pointed out to him. yet he continues with his political position. I am fairly sure I recall delimeter actually sending corrections to his office, yet we keep hearing the same drivel.

        Malcolm’s ‘call to the faithful’ (be it common man, or liberal supporter, or whomever he thinks believes him?) is still resulting in the dozens of articles we see linked on whirlpool each week, constantly rehashing the same information.

        Personally I’d love to see the NBN roll out and think its the best solution for the country in the long term. I also doubt it’s going to happen, and perhaps the loss of it is a worthwhile price to pay for getting rid of Labour, who have backpedaled on every issue I can think of except the NBN, so who knows what they would do if reelected, fairly certain nothing they say they will. Given Julia’s previous reversal’s… cancelling the NBN would even be possible :p
        It’s however a crying shame that getting rid of Labor will result in nothing better (Liberals have no policies of substance I am aware of other than the destruction of the current NBN). Hooray for a two party system….

        I once tried discussing radio waves with a chap that was convinced it was bogus, he’d experimented with ham radio 20 years ago and knew everything he wanted to know. Radios and batteries shoot out electrons! Reckoned you could weigh the difference between a full and flat battery. Electromagnetic waves were a conspiracy of “them university chaps”. He was totally mystified by the comparison photo I took for him of a mobile phone outside with no reception when placed inside a 5mm wire cage, those electron things must be HUGE. He then banned me from the site for being one of them educated guys out to deceive the public.
        As for relevance… that chap IS related to the reporters for The Australian, (even if the relationship is no closer than the same species.)

  25. Infrastructure works should never be allowed to be stop after starting we don’t star building roads and then stop them if government changes do we ?

  26. If Nick Ross has not been “disciplined” and he says he hasn’t, therefore he probably hasn’t been disciplined, The Australian deserves a spray from Media Watch.

    Meanwhile, the Australian story says in part: “‘With it being an election year, there is a great deal to be done in informing the public about the current NBN policy and the consequences of ditching it in favour of a Coalition alternative’,” Mr Morgan writes.”

    Since “a great deal needs to be done” wouldn’t it be nice if Malcolm Turnbull got on with the job instead of his present oversimplified half truths and failure to answer the “Delimited Questions”‘ not to mention the additional ones which require answering after each new half policy announcements.

  27. 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.


  28. This month Todaytonight Adelaide ran a promo every half hour for four days before they aired a segment about the “forty billion dollar Government botch up” “Your burglar, fire alarm and medical alarms useless”
    I spoke to the fire department and they said that they do not have any issues with the NBN in a power blackout. Burglar alarms have GSM backup or are solely GSM in case someone cuts the wires and NBN gives a larger battery free of charge to people with medical alerts. Kevin Morgan again?

  29. I am not a fan of The Australian newspaper / site as I have on a number of occasions posted Comments in relation to their articles where I identified factual errors. None of these of course, ever appeared at the bottom of their articles. This proved to me they are a dishonest and irresponsible company that publishes fictional stories for their own benefit.

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