NBN could cost $100 billion, claims Turnbull


news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has publicly claimed that Labor’s National Broadband Network project could could cost as much as $100 billion to build, despite the company’s own estimates showing that it will require around $37 billion of capital injection from the Government and eventually make a return.

The comments were made in an interview on the Sky News television channel over the weekend. “The fundamental problem that we’ve got with the NBN is not simply that it’s costing so much money – I mean that is huge obviously, and that’s our biggest complaint – but it’s taking so long. At the rate they are going this could take 20 years or more to complete, and it could cost up to $100 billion,” said Turnbull.

When questioned by the presenter where that figure came from, Turnbull replied that it was based on how much it was costing NBN Co per premise to deploy the network. “… of course you have got to remember they have reached now as of end of December passed only 70,000-odd premises out of 12.25 million they are supposed to do over the next eight years,” the Liberal MP said.

However, it is not clear where Turnbull is sourcing the $100 billion figure from, as the MP has recently criticised NBN Co for not releasing cost per premise data with respect to its current network rollout.

It’s not the first time a senior member of the Coalition has mentioned a $100 billion figure with respect to the NBN. In October last year, for example, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey used the exact same figure in an interview with ABC Radio’s AM program at the time.

“… we can’t trust the numbers that the Government is putting in the budget papers,” Hockey said. “Last year they said there was going to be a $22 billion deficit, it turned out to be a $44 billion deficit. There is not one contractor in Australia that believes the Government is going to roll out its National Broadband Network for $32 billion. Expectations are as high as $60 billion, $70 billion or even $100 billion for the National Broadband Network.”

Similarly, in an article published on his website and on business media outlet Business Spectator, Turnbull wrote on September 6 that he could not provide precise financial figures regarding the difference between the Coalition’s rival NBN policy and the Government’s existing project:

“I have been careful not to nominate a particular sum of money as the difference between what we would do and Labor’s current plan. For a start there is enormous scepticism that the NBN Co project can be completed within the cost and timeframe of their business plan. Several very experienced civil contractors and engineers have said to us recently that they think the actual build cost is likely to be $80 to $100 billion for example.”

Additionally, Turnbull pointed out at the time that telecommunications consultant Cliff Gibson had estimated a similar amount industry newsletter Communications Day in May 2011, saying: “I do know that the two partner organisations that we work with would have put tens of millions of dollars worth of work in to put the bid together and our experience on this exercise, and the costing involved, would lead me to think that the cost of roll- ing out the optic fibre to 93% of the homes around Australia is going to cost between 60-80 billion.”

However, based on current evidence, it currently appears as if both Turnbull and Hockey are incorrect in their claims that the NBN project could end up costing up to $100 billion in total.

NBN Co’s current corporate plan (PDF) states that NBN Co will require some $37.4 billion in capital expenditure over the next decade to construct its network infrastructure. It will also spend some $23.1 billion in operating expenditure over that period, although that figure is expected to be made up mainly from $26.4 billion in revenues over that period. Ultimately, over the long term (30 years or so), NBN Co is projecting that it will make a return of 7.1 percent on the Government’s investment in the infrastructure — meaning that it is currently projected that the construction of the NBN will actually make the Government money on its investment.

Additionally, not all of its funding is expected to come from the Government. NBN Co is currently projecting that it will require about $30 billion worth of government investment over its life, with another $14 billion to be funded through debt arrangements.

NBN Co has already locked in construction contracts for much of the next half-decade in states and territories around Australia, as well as network equipment and other related contracts, giving it significant forward visibility in terms of its costs. In addition, the company has finalised its $11 billion agreement with Telstra and its $900 million deal with Optus, and it is also seeing more Australians take up higher-value NBN plans than it had been estimating, meaning that its revenue estimates may be conservative.

In comparison, the Coalition has consistently declined to provide detailed financial information relating to its own policy, which is currently based on fibre to the node technology, as opposed to the NBN’s fibre to the home rollout. Turnbull initially stated in mid-August that the Coalition had a fully-costed policy “ready” to be released, but later rescinded the statement, telling the ABC that the Coalition was not in a position to be able to fully cost its policy before the next Federal Election.

In a statement released last year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy called on the two Coalition politicians to “stop misleading the Australian public” about the cost of the NBN. “The Government released the 2012-2015 NBN Co Corporate Plan provided by the NBN Co Board on 8 August. That plan stated the capital cost of the NBN will be $37.4 billion,” Conroy said. “Since then both Mr Hockey and Mr Turnbull have claimed that the cost could be as high as $100 billion. This is false and inaccurate.”

“The NBN Co Corporate Plan is informed by the agreement with Telstra and signed construction contracts. The Corporate Plan was prepared by the experienced executives of NBN Co, and was approved by the highly qualified independent NBN Co Board. Mr Hockey’s and Mr Turnbull’s outrageous claims effectively accuse the NBN Co executive and board of being negligent in their duty.”

“This is a disgraceful slur on NBN Co. They should apologise immediately and stop misleading the Australian public.”

The Opposition has made a number of other inaccurate statements about the NBN over the past few years which have been picked up by various segments of the media. Several months ago, speaking on Channel Ten’s Meet the Press program, Nationals Leader Warren Truss made a number of major factually inaccurate statements about the project, as detailed in this article by Delimiter at the time. In addition, Truss had previously made a number of inaccurate statements about the NBN over the past several months.

In June, for example, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey inaccurately claimed that 4G mobile broadband had the potential to be “far superior” to the fibre technology of the NBN. In mid-May, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott misrepresented the cost of connecting to the NBN, in comments which the Government claimed represented a deliberate attempt to mislead the Australian public on the issue. Turnbull similarly made a number of factually incorrect statements on the NBN throughout March, and in January Abbott got quite a few facts about the NBN wrong in a radio interview.

Conroy himself has from time to time made inaccurate statements about other projects in his portfolio. In February, for example, the Minister appeared to consciously tell a factual inaccuracy with respect to the current implementation status of Labor’s controversial Internet filtering project, stating that Telstra and Optus had implemented the mandatory filtering system, when they have only implemented a drastically reduced voluntary version.


As I wrote in October:

There’s not really much to analyse here. NBN Co and Conroy have provided clear financial estimates for the NBN based on actual contracts which have been signed and actual customer take-up. In comparison, the Coalition has declined to provide the working for its own financial estimates. There just isn’t any evidence right now that what Turnbull and Hockey are saying is correct.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. His NBN could cost $100bn – he really can’t comment on the current NBN because, even in his own words, doesn’t have access to the figures.

    • Exactly, he can’t even cost his own, but expects every one to believe him on his “costing” of someone elses…

      Henny Penny Turnbull is back in action :-/

  2. Turnbull is just laying the groundwork for his own FTTN disaster. He will waste $40 billion paying Telstra to bring their copper back up to scratch so they can actually deploy a network over it….

  3. So… when his own version of the NBN is released and it ends up costing 40 billion…. he can claim that he saved 60 billion rather then actually spending 2.5 billion more for an inferior product.

    • Turnbull has clearly given up on standing by principle, and is now reverted to the moral toolset of a barrister arguing his brief: anything is justified.

      A loose acquaintance with the facts; a winning charm to smooth over all logical inconsistencies; a tendency towards the theatrical and grandiose when trying to conjure the doom-laden horror of a government DARING to spend money on basic infrastructure.

  4. Here’s something I posted elsewhere:

    > Cool. And if it costs let’s say $60 billion instead of $40 billion, NBN Co can charge higher prices. Which would still be pretty competitive with what we’re paying at the moment. Or it can go cap in hand to the government, which in the worst worst case scenario would have to increase taxes from about 26% of GDP to about 26.25% of GDP for five years to get $20 billion in taxes to pay for that boondoggle.

    > And in exchange we’ll have a network the actual infrastructure of which will last the better part of a century (or longer) on average, is cheaper to run than the current system and provides a better competitive environment than the choice of Telstra or Telstra for infrastructure (with Optus HFC shutting down quite soon even if the coalition wins). And one that can be sold off, even if only in part, for billions and billions.

      • Which would be still be lower than what it was under Howard. They like to talk about big surpluses under Howard but forget the big spending and the big taxing that happened also.

  5. Did I just do a U-Turn onto Regurgitation Street in the Suburb of Neoconservative?
    OH! Sky News! The Murdochcracy Network’s “Fox News (Light)” Channel. Dismissed it as irrelevant propaganda instantly, except for gullible fools that fall for that sort of thing.
    Tsk. Some Sheeple never learn how easy it is to become a Lemming.

  6. What was Malcolm Turnbull’s methodology in arriving at an estimated cost of $100 billion? I suggest he doubled the number he first though of, added enough zeros to the end to make it look scary then rounded it up.

  7. MT: The government’s wasting 1000 billion million bazillion dollars. Did I scare you? Don’t forget to vote 1 for MT on election day.

  8. Maybe Turnbull’s maths goes like this: NBNCo has spent $x so far, and connected 70,000 premises, ergo cost per premises is $x/70,000.

    Never mind that most of the money spent to date was on backhaul and other back end infrastructure, and this cost should be spread over the entire 12.5 million premises, not just those connected to date…

    • Yep, that is pretty much how they are going to spin it.

      They will probably be already working on a package of statements and conveniently massaged numbers to present exactly that case to the Australian public at Murdoch HQ as we speak (type), all of course in terms that will appeal to the Laws/Jones/Bolt fans, all of whom already vote Liberal.

      Here’s hoping that at least there are more than two journalists (e.g. Nick and Renai) that are prepared to pull said numbers apart and expose the lies that Murdoch is spouting

    • That is my guess. Once again proving he isn’t suited for his role. He is said to be the most techy guy there but he is pretty much illiterate :P

  9. Weasle words.

    The NBN ‘could’ cost as much as one hundred mykis! Imagine how many jobs we could create by restarting our space industry with $150 billion?

    It’s sad that the journalists listening to Turnbull dribble this nonsense don’t ask if he realises it’s not a linear rollout.

    Maybe it’s true – the higher he paints the ‘cost’ of the ALP NBN, the higher a budget he has for his own version, whatever Abbott actually allows.

  10. “..At the rate they are going this could take 20 years or more to complete, and it could cost up to $100 billion”

    “I want you to vote for the Coalition, to do this I am going to invent numbers based on time scales that aren’t in the NBN plan, and scare you a whole lot with them; so much so you’ll forget to question why I do this, or why I don’t actually have a policy, or what it might cost us to implement a butchered alternative, or that we’re going to have to delay build because we need to figure out what we’re going to do. But at least it won’t be 100 Billion, right? Beuller?”

    A small amount of critical thinking will expose the situation for what it is. Turnbull has embraced the scare campaign. Nothing more.

    • @Brendan

      ‘ Turnbull has embraced the scare campaign. Nothing more.’

      You think he would come up with something more original than just copying what Labor do.

      • Difference being the Labor scare campaign is based on facts, unlike the Liberal scare campaign that seems to be largely based on lies, mistruths, and deception.

          • Alain, the Labor campaign is based on the fact that the LNP have a lack of policy in the public arena.
            How is that not a fact, unless your going to try to push the line that the LNP do have a policy, which is along the lines of opposition to anything, that is diametrically opposed to their desires and annihilate those who don’t confer to their betters, like them, who know what is best for everyone because they say so.

          • That’s not the Labor scare campaign, the Labor scare campaign is based on untrue statements like the Coalition will ‘demolish the NBN’ and they will ‘rip it out of the ground’.

            I predict that Labor scare campaign will become more and more shrill as we progress towards September, but I didn’t really expect them to resurrect it so early in 2013.

          • Words that can be backed up by soundbites from Liberal heavyweights. I have said I’m disappointed they are using them, and I am, but they are still statements made by Abbott and friends, and hence are fact.

            How is NBN costing $100b a fact?

          • @GongGav

            It is not a fact, Turnbull said it COULD cost $100 billion, Labor are saying the Coalition WILL rip the NBN out of the ground, no ‘might be’ about that statement is there?

          • So its okay for one side to engage in this kind of behaviour because the other side is doing it?

            I love your logic there. They’re both wrong. They both should be called out for it. To suggest that it’s okay for one side because the other does it is hypocrisy.

          • Alain, did the wind shift and you just changed tack. I can remember a certain Coalition Minister saying they will demolish the NBN, but then you switch to something else…….hmmmmmm.

          • @alain – the whole disgust we feel towards the Liberals can be summed up with this situation. They state, as if fact, that its going to cost $100b. They state, as if fact, its going to take 20 years.

            They dont back these claims up. They dont prove their own costings. They dont provide ANY detail at all, apart from the soundbite that it will cost $100b. Which is NOT fact. At least we agree on something.

            As for Labor, it has been stated by the Liberals that they will rip it up. They have changed from that, and as I have repeatedly said, I am disappointed that its still being tossed out y Labor. I wish they would stop using it as well.

            But out of the two claims – $100b and ‘rip it up’ – one has a basis of truth, the other doesnt.

            This is where I was coming from when I said to make an unbiased look at whats happened, rather than just stick to the “they are behind’ mantra of Abbott and friends. Its deceptive to leave the argument at just that point, rather than reflect on WHY they are behind.

            Think for yourself, and try to see that for circumstances outside the control of NBN (notably Telstra shareholders) there was a delay. Then look at the progress made to minimise that 9 month delay down to 6 months.

            ‘Rip it up’, as sad as it is to see it still being used is based on something thats been said. Its deceptive, definitely, but its based on one of the few policies the Liberals have actually put on paper. I cant see much, if anything, from what the Liberals have thrown about that has any evidence to back it up in even the smallest way.

          • They didnt say theyd rip it out of the ground. They said they would destroy it, and that is basically what the libs policy is, a collection of “nbns”, with some not even meting the international standard for what passes as broadband…

          • In less than an hour, I predict someone will find and post links to at least one Liberal MP saying one or both of those terms; ‘demolish the NBN’ and ‘tear it [the NBN] down’

          • I predict you may be right, but such a rosy outcome will have some quickly grabbing their favorite rose coloured glasses and then claim they cannot and have not seen it.

          • So you really want to post the link now don’t you? Since you’re managed to prove him wrong by waiting an hour. Are you proud of yourself?

            I mean it’ll make your argument with GongGav so much easier won’t it?

        • No he doesn’t, didn’t you know Brendan…?

          Apparently, because the NBN Corp plan didn’t come out until 4 months after the last election, MT doesn’t need a policy, according to “some”.


  11. How many times has something like this been said before: “We have provided clear financial estimates for the Project based on actual contracts which have been signed and actual customer take-up.”, or words to that effect, only to arrive at an outcome that is borderline disaster.

    If the typical path of extremely large and complex projects is followed by the NBN then they have around 1 chance in 3 of completing the project for less that 20% overbudget and over time. If they fall into the other 66+% then the cost and time blowout could be well be $200B and even more. Anyone, who has managed projects in the $10’s of millions (let alone $Bs), knows only too well that sound estimates in the face of extreme complexity is not too far removed from picking a winner using a pin!

    It would be nice to believe that the NBN can deliver what they have promised, within budget and on time, but unfortunately the shear weight of history almost certainly says otherwise.

        • Again Selection bias.
          You are looking at the wrong type of project.
          http://www.bca.com.au/DisplayFile.aspx?FileID=835 That was just the first report I found with regards to infrastructure projects. Some components of the NBN do involve IT projects of the type you have highlighted as being prone to extreme cost and time overruns, but they make up a very small part of the project and I believe may have mostly already been delivered.
          The other thing to look at is what is taken as the initial estimate for project in the case of the NBN that initial for the current form has been revise down a bit and then up slightly when the Telstra negotiation took 6months too long. The current figure is higher than the previous form which was found to be unfeasible when proposals once the proposals were examined. This unfeasible form is looking closer and closer to the current LNP proposal.

          • Ok, then lets take the 4 ‘unprecedented in their scale’ (the reports words not mine) infrastructure projects mentioned in you selectively unbiased research:

            NBN – too early to say anything.
            Airport Link M7 – Failed due to poor usage estimates. In Recievership.
            Wonthaggi – $2.2B overbudget and 12 months late.
            Oakajee – $3B, then $5.9B, due to start 2011, still waiting to commence.

            You should probably read the conclusion of your selected article which clearly states: ” Efficient delivery of these mega projects is proving to be a challenge with severe cost and time overruns likely.” pp 37.

            With respect to the other projects mentioned, you should also note from the conclusion that the writers admit that the sample size used was limited and “Therefore, the results can only be considered as indicative.” pp 37

          • Here’s examples from “another poster”… to run the bean counter over Syzygy :)


            Personally though, I’m glad people throughout our history have had the balls to take a chance and build for us all… rather than just saying it’s all too hard, too expensive and not really required….

            Because let’s face it, if it wasn’t for such foresight in the early days of telephony, to oppose the likes of those who now oppose the NBN, and build a PSTN (what – for a telephone we will never need or use in our own homes) we wouldn’t even have the copper, the luddites now desperately cling to, would we?

          • In reference to you URL – The Snowy Scheme is definitely one of Australia’s greatest engineering achievements. However, to say it was on time and to budget is actually a stretch. It started out as a £60M project that by 1948 was £125M – excluding an additional £100M for electrical transmission infrastructure. Its final cost varied somewhere between $800M and $1.2B (in 1974 dollars). In 2004 $ its probably $6B, which would put it within 10-15%, well maybe, it depends how you calculate todays $ value for £1 in 1950. Most of the early proposals did not mention an end date at all, its definitely not in the 1950 report and by then SMHA existed under a Commonwealth Act and had been tasked with design and construction. So to say it was on-time is simply a fudge. Almost certainly, they didn’t know how long it would take until around 1955 when the first water flowed from Guthega and produced its first hydo-electric power.

            But, if would really like to know how well we build truly icon public infrastructure then you would know we hold the world record for the greatest cost over-run of any large-scale public project. The Opera House cost over-ran by 1,400%, and that’s for a greatly scaled down version of that agreed in the design contract, and does not include some $40M spent in early 2000’s to add back some of Knudsen’s original design concepts. It was also ridiculously behind schedule – 10 years. I am also extremely happy they spent the $102M to build it; it’s why I turned up on opening night.

            I have absolutely no problem with the construction of the NBN, it should have been started 5-8 years earlier than it was. However, the likelihood of it being built, as it is currently designed for the current budgeted cost is minimal. If it is built on time and on budget, then you can take your hats off to the 100’s of Project Managers that made it happen. My point is that the historical evidence for projects of this size and scale is almost always over time, over budget, over and over again (apologies to Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg).

          • Seems most disagree…


            “Work on the system started in 1949 and was finished in 1974, taking twenty-five years to complete. The entire project was completed on time and to budget, costing approximately A$820 million.”


            “Construction of the Snowy Scheme officially began on 17 October 1949 and took 25 years to complete. Tunneling records were set in the construction of the Scheme and it was completed on time and on budget in 1974, at a cost of $820 million.”


            “The scheme took one generation to build, from 1949 through 1974.It was finished on time, and **under** budget,for $820 million for a national asset which will last for hundreds of years.”

            But I agree the NBN should have been started sooner… all the more reason why, it can’t stop now :)

          • NBNAlex, I appreciate you efforts. I’ve seen these statements also. Problem with all of them is that they make absolutely no reference to any source material to justify their statements. Of course that does not make them incorrect, just unsubstantiated. All of my research, over some years, as I have a particular interest in the Snowy scheme having grown up in Tumut and a father that worked on the project for Thiess Bros., leads me to believe (rightly or wrongly) that its an urban myth to claim on-time and on-budget for the project as a whole. You have to remember it took 25 years to build and the cost and time schedules changed many times as they progressively came to grips with new technologies and new machinery. In the early 50’s no-one would have considered the impact of, for example, the Haulpaks or Cat D9’s used in the 70’s.

            I often wonder what the early Project Managers, or Engineers as they were, thought about as they tried to estimate a project of its size given that would have been somewhat aware of the fact that they were estimating in the 1950’s for sub-projects that would not start for 10-15 years. On what basis could they estimate the impact of future technology? It must have a truly exciting and questioning time for all of them. In much the same way this has to be a ‘problem’ for the NBN design engineers and Managers. Their problem, while not of the scale or complexity of the Snowy, still has to account, in some way, for technology change over decades. I don’t envy them their task at all and I wish all the success possible, but given what they have to achieve my gut (and many empirical studies on large, complex projects) tells me they have less that something like a 10-15% chance of being right.

          • Just to one more thing, which also helps to explain/confirm (whatever) the real positives of technology change over time for the Snowy. In 1950 it was estimated to generate 2,600,000 kilowatts of power, or there abouts, I’m working from memory here, but today it generates some 3,740,000 kilowatts. What that might mean for the NBN is any bodies guess. The real question is what allowance are they making for technology changes, what costs have they allowed for equipment replacement and design changes over 20 years???

    • In the meantime, the NBN has been exceedingly micromanaged for a project of this size, and despite your worries to the contrary, has actually been almost 100% on target with its goals to date.

      The whole “what if” argument doesnt carry weight if the nay sayers bothered to actually take the time and look at the publicly published plan, and do some non-biased analysis of what its aims are, and the real reasons behind where its behind those targets.

      Like the common claim its behind in the rollout. Factor in the 9 month delay in negotiating with Telstra (delay largely due to needing shareholder signoff), and then figure whether they are really behind or not in what matters.

      Look at the initial estimates of cost (~$42b from memory), then look at the most recent estimate – $37.4b, and I think you’ll find they are remarkably close to where they expected to be.

      Yes, many projects go over time and over budget. Those are the ones you read about. But the NBN isnt looking like one of them.

      • They are not even at 1/3 of the build yet and they are already behind schedule, tell me all about how ‘well it is all going’ at about 50% build and EVERYTHING at that point in time is on target.

        • You never stop, do you?

          How behind is the NBN, and whats caused that delay? I’ll give you a clue – it starts with T and ends in elstra.

          Start thinking for yourself, instead of using old Liberal soundbites.

          • I read the CommsDay article the ZDnet article is based on.

            Seemed to me the author didn’t understand the difference between the different classes of Greenfields connections and how they apply to the rollout numbers. That a Class 0 connection can’t be serviced by an ISP at all but can still be marked as completed by a contractor for example.

            In other words: nothing to see here, move along.

          • There is also plenty to see here about the brownfield rollout, you prefer not to read it .

            ‘The government-owned company confirmed the quoted brownfield figures to ZDNet today.’

            ‘NBN Co’s daily run rate for this financial year is 1028 premises per day in brownfields areas, according to NBN Co’s 2012 corporate plan. In order to reach its June target, NBN Co will need to pass approximately 3,456 premises per day for the 69 working days between March 12 and June 30 in order to meet its goal and cover the 238,489 additional brownfields premises.’

            Hence the summary:

            ‘NBN Co will need to triple its daily run rate for the remainder of this financial year in order to meet its June target,’

          • Then NBNCo will need to triple the amount of premises passed. Just because I ignored something and focused on another point doesn’t mean that the part I ignored is relevant and undermines my argument.

            Look, the original article by CommsDay was pointing out the disconnect between the numbers as well as the the requirement for NBNCo to increase the speed of the rollout.

            In other words: there is no evidence to suggest that NBNCo isn’t meeting it’s internal targets and that it was going to ramp up during the next few months, so it’s a null point to try and suggest that that particular point indicates “delays”.

            The part of the article that could possible indicate “delays”, i.e. the disconnect between the reported and actual figures, stems from a misunderstanding of the data.

            So as I said: nothing to see here, move along.

          • So what figures quoted in the link are ‘wrong’ and where is the misunderstanding?

            Remember this key statement in the piece before you jump in:

            ‘The government-owned company confirmed the quoted brownfield figures to ZDNet today.’

          • I read the CommsDay article the ZDnet article is based on.

            Direct quote from myself. I didn’t disagree with Josh Taylor’s assessment and article if I’m honest, only a) your apparent understanding and b) the original CommsDay article because they didn’t seem to understand the difference between the different classes of connection.

            Why do I feel like I’m repeating myself?

          • @NK

            So you reckon it’s ‘no worries’ for the NBN Co to triple its current daily brownfield premises passed rate to meet its June target in the next 69 days?

          • It’s already accerlated it’s roll-out considerably in the past few months. What makes you think this rate of growth can’t continue?

            Look, let’s take your argument that “we can’t know what the NBN costs until it finishes” you used when Turnbull doubled the cost of the project. Technically you’re correct, but…

            There is no evidence to suggest that the estimates were significantly off, especially in any way to double the cost of the NBN as Turnbull suggests.

            The same thing applies here. There is no evidence to suggest that the roll-out schedule cannot increase to meet the targets.

            So, in the same way you ask us to reserve judgement until 2033, I ask you too. Only difference is: with your argument you’re advocating a figure which contradicts the established evidence, and I’m advocating a figure which doesn’t.

          • Because it’s not 2033, is being pretty pedantic IMO.

            Such logic would therefore apply to everything and nothing would be done, if we didn’t estimate FFS.

            We could ergo, use the same rules for MT’s FttN… but of course we don’t have enough info to even do that.

            Laughably, apparently trying to deride the figures we have (or should I say, deride everything NBN) is more important to some than actually having detail from the exalted Coalition :(

          • I’m not in doubt alain. Its still too early to see if there are delays beyond the 6 months caused by the Telstra delays. We wont see anything around those until rollout numbers are in the millions per annum, rather than the small numbers up to this point.

            At the moment, I havent seen anything to suggest there are other significant delays slowing the rollout. There ARE some issues, like Synthco or whatever their name is, but there is enough leeway in the system to work around that and modify where the rollout gets done to compensate.

            You cant base an analysis on such a small data set though, one way or the other, because such a delay WILL skew the figures drastically – this is the basis of the FUD you and others keep spewing about delayed rollouts. So with numbers largely on track, outside the 6 month Telstra delay, I’m more than willing to expect that status to continue for at least the next 6 months.

            After that its anyones guess, and the NBNCo corporate plan will be null and void if the Liberals are in charge.

          • Interesting some of the comments in relation to your supplied article alain…

            Where people claiming to be in NBN areas are suggesting it’s already to go, but “external red tape” appears to be holding things up.

            Of course, you’d question their validity and even if found valid, your not really interested in, or willing to even vaguely consider actual reasons anyway… no matter how valid they may well be, are you?

      • I’m not sure how you can state that the NBN is “exceedingly micromanaged” (I hope it is by the way) and that somehow because it “has actually been almost 100% on target with its goals to date.” somehow implies the project is actually running to its time and cost schedule.
        I have yet to see any meaningful data on the estimated cost to roll-out all individual FSAs, the actual cost for those completed, the % complete of FSA installs in progress and the their actual cost to date. The figures we have, or at least I have seen, are gross figures which only allow us to work on averages at a significantly grossed up level. Averages yend to hide all sorts of things, good and bad. There is no detail that would allow any real actual v estimated analysis at a more meaningful detailed level. We don’t know the estimated or actual costs of installations that have, quite obviously, highly variable cost profiles. Nor how well the NBN is achieving individual FSA installs on a time and cost basis. The NBN Co. has these numbers and if anyone knows where I can find them in the public domain please let me know. Until then I will give them no more benefit of doubt that I would of any project in its early stages.
        By the way, this is not an attack on the NBN concept, nor is it some political belief frenzy – as many seem to have. I have no problem with its core objectives. There are things I would like it to do that at the moment it is not covering well at all, viz pp. 68 of its latest Corporate Plan regarding wireless. I would like it to succeed, but my experience, over some decades, says they stand a very high probability of failing to meet their current time and cost estimates. It’s not personal; it’s simply the facts from the histories of many other large, complex national projects all over the world.

        • I had a bit of a look to see if I could find any facts and figures which discussed the actual success of large projects meeting their budgets etc, rather than relying on the quite subjective anecdotal evidence you can provide, or the cliche ‘everyone knows projects always go over budget’.

          Unfortunately I couldn’t find much. There was an American study which showed that around 3/4 of multi-million dollar projects within one state met their budget estimates (the other 1/4 being either over or under)

          It would be good to see some actual statistics on how successful project cost estimates are. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the cost come in at 20% over budget, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it took an extra couple of years to complete. But I think we need to base our expectations on real data, not cliches and anecdotes.

    • We could also stagnate technolically, whilst the copper returns to it’s natural state of Malachite and eventually watch our Society collapse, thus becoming irrelevant in the modern world.
      Yay! Tell the truth, I’d rather give it a go than not. By remaining dependent on old technologies and becoming a Luddite Paradise just doesn’t attract me at all.

  12. 50% of the articles on Delimiter are about the NBN. There is other news going on Renai. Big story is breaking now about M2 buying Dodo, nothing on Delimiter.

    ACCC draft decision last week to allow Telstra to increase L2IG AGVC pricing which is causing plenty of comment elsewhere doesn’t seem to even be worthy of a mention on Delimiter.

    I have read Delimiter since Day one and really enjoyed your insight, but I think your obsession with the NBN is now to the detriment of reporting of other issues in the IT sector.

          • We’ll have to talk to your Editor about some of the types of discipline that could be metered out on you Renai. Have you any preferences?

          • Perhaps its time to hire some cadet journos to cover basic stuff? There are also a few CC newsites you could draw from I think?

            Personally, I like your frank, and more importantly, honest, coverage of NBN news. Theres so.little of it in other Oz media now Rupert and Gina own everything…

      • Good to see the Dodo/M2 article :) Have you ever thought of resurrecting the Friday profile piece you used to do? I enjoyed reading those.

        If you want to do an investigative piece, try using the Centrelink online systems after having a baby, and count the number of crashes, stalls and systems that aren’t linked.

        Makes me sad to think of the billions of dollars we shell out to companies like CSC and IBM to get such rubbish online tools.

        Sigh, rant over.

    • problem is there are few journalists across the entirety of Australian reporting with the technical chops to be able to report it for what it is – most broadsheets quite frankly are hacks about it and are happy to play stenographer for liars. Renai may be ‘over committing’ but hes not willing to merely repeat what has been said, dust his hands off and move on to the next job. i respect and appreciate that.

      too many journos earn their wage by taking the easy route as parrots. thats not the ‘journalism’ i want to read. you may be right that Renai needs to cover more than just NBN but i would not wish to pull it back too far – surely theres a happy medium.

      • I respect Renai as a young guy striking out on his own and having a go, bloody good on him. I would rather support Renai with my clicks than itnews/zdnet etc.

        I have NBN fatigue, and would rather read less about it and more about what else is going on in our exciting industry.

        Maybe we could have a Delimiter NBN free week. The world won’t end :)

        • Unfortunately, I expect the NBN will just become a bigger and bigger story as time goes on. Up to the election, it will become a bigger and bigger pawn in the policies of each side, and if/when LNP wins in September, their version is going to be microanalysed to the nth degree.

          Do you think all the anti-NBN stories are just going to stop if the Liberals decide to roll out FttN?

    • Yeah, but other topics would be boring old straight reporting, which seems to be banned on Delimiter re the NBN.

  13. Just as well MT has wait this long to do the sums. If he had taken the cost to connect the first premise and multiplied it by 37 million he’d have a much higher figure.

  14. MT needs to shave all his hair off and start putting his pinkie finger into his mouth when making these comments….

      • I agree with Alain, we should wait till 2033 before deciding if it’s over budget ;-)

    • Well considering how much money is being printed, which generally brings about hyper-inflation, doing this now may end up being a bargain. :{P

    • @alain,

      What of Turnbull’s network? How do we know how much that’ll cost since it’s not finished yet?

      As for NBNco, there’s this thing called a policy. There are budgets and statements to show the costs. We know how much it will cost, plus or minus a few million.

      The only reason it could blow out is if factors OUTSIDE of NBNco’s control cause it. Such as recalcitrant councils, having to remediate ducts due to Telstra’s lack of records, or Liberal input because Uncle Malcolm decides to dick with the deployment.

      Given Turnbull hasn’t built his network yet, we can’t possibly know what it’d cost. Right? Spare me..

  15. The Coalition and Abbotts “middle class welfare”:
    The Baby Bonus over the next 10 years is going to cost 35 billion dollars $35,000,000,000.
    The “First Home Saving Grant (or last home sellers grant)” is going to cost 32 billion dollars in a weak economy in a strong economy up to maybe 40 billion dollars or $40,000,000,000.
    Negative Gearing of real estate (a tax deduction for what owners of multiple properties this ain’t middle class welfare it’s rich guys welfare) another 30-40 Billion Dollars or in Turnbull’s estimating another 40 billion dollars or $40,000,000,000.
    Tony’s (who’s dads in the dental prosthetics business) very own programme “The chronic illness dental grant $4,250 for each chronically ill patient every 2 years” forecast to cost $98 million annually, if Labor had kept it going over the next 10 years would have cost 12-15 billion dollars (the actual cost of this programme had risen 1200%).
    The new Bizzaro world of financial fantasy generated by both parties with Tony’s being the most lavish the new middle class welfare grants for pregnancy and childbirth could cost a similar 30 billion over 10 years. Financed by Tony’s BIG NEW TAX.

    Just these 4 programmes alone over the next ten years will cost around 120 Billion dollars or $120,000,000,000 and what does Australia get all those billions,unaffordable luxuries like flashy SUV’s, Flat screen TV’s and holidays to New Zealand (where they are getting FTTH).

    • We got the first home owners grant, and the baby bonus (twice for that matter), and don’t have any large flat screen TVs, don’t have a flashy SUV, and haven’t had any overseas trips. Or rather the TV and overseas trip were purchased well before the first child and house, so completely unrelated to any of their costs.

      Maybe we did the stupid thing, like negotiating the house to a fair price without the first home owners being included in the price, and used the baby bonus to offset my wifes income while she was on maternity to leave to cover the expenses related to the child.

      Maybe we were just silly, or maybe (and probably more likely), you taking the FUD stance that anyone who gets these grants is going out and blowing the money on luxury items. I hate to break it to you but that isn’t the case at all.

      • I got the FHOG when I bought ~6 years ago. It effectively became my deposit. The reality is that people dont get these amounts and splurge them on luxury items. They are largely absorbed into the costs at hand. Baby bonus might have seen a bunch of people buying big items, but at the end of the day it was only a small percentage.

        As for negative gearing, why is it an issue? For most properties they are only negatively geared for a relatively small timeframe, and capital gains tax at the end certainly compensates for any tax benefit they might initially receive.

        Its not just for the rich either. Plenty of people I know negatively gear, and they arent on massive incomes.

        • This issue with negative gearing is not so much middle class welfare, but how its distorts investment choice. It introduces a bias towards property for investment when there is already a shortage in property for home owners on the market.

          The FHOG is a problem again not from a welfare perspective but just because it artificially inflates prices for people in that bracket and ends up going to the seller instead of the buyer.

          • Cant say I disagree with you too much Michael. For me, I used it pretty much as it was intended. I knew I could afford the repayments, but was never going to save up the deposit.

            I’ve noticed that the lower end prices are inflated as a result, but negative gearing is STILL considered by many to be a rich persons luxury, when it isnt. Just about anyone on an average salary or better can buy a rental property, and take advantage of negative gearing.

            You dont need to buy a rental property in the richest suburb to take advantage, you can do it for around $450 a week, before the benefits kick in. Get 1/3rd back from tax, cover the rest with expenses and rental income, and suddenly its neutral or positively geared.

            Which is where I was coming from when I commented that plenty of properties dont stay negatively geared for too long. A $300k place somewhere like Wollongong will go up in value and rent fast enough that you start paying tax (which is a good thing) within 5 years more often than not.

            And the low end of the market is the part that still grows the best, because its the entry point. $800k+ is where it stagnates, because thats where properties start to get overpriced.

          • Actually the bias towards property investment has a greater affect of other areas of investment and has in the past been highlighted as an issue with regards to start up investment.

  16. Im just extremely glad/relieved it has already started in my area (2650)

    Fibre | Construction to commence within one year – we will commence construction in your area from Feb 2013 in phases with last construction scheduled to commence in Sep 2014*.

    I still will be voting labor.

    • “P.S. Hubert, add this report to the Delimiter Hall of Shame!”

      Sure thing, if the old forum was still functional this certainly would be considered Hall of Shame material given the lack of understanding contained within rivals that of The Australian contributors…

      “Justin advised Optus/Terria and the G9 during their bids under the original NBN proposals.”

      Salty bitter tears confirmed.

  17. Nothing really that new here. We’ve heard Turnbull’s lies before. How long ago was he calling for more honesty in Politics?

    Turnbull is a lying lier who should feel bad for actively trying to deceive the Australian public.

    I’ve lost all respect for him… and I actually used to have quite a bit of respect for the man even though I disagreed with him on quite a few issues. Not any more. He’s taking Australian’s for fools.

    Let’s use Turnbull Maths (Turnbull Maths: The art of using misleading figures to back up an outright lie.):

    Malcolm told a massive lie in one interview on 17/3/13. This averages 1 horrible lie in a single day. We can extrapolate that to show that Turnbull lies to the public a whopping 365 times a year! (366 on leap hears).

    But wait… there’s more! We can be more accurate. The Sky program ran for 1 hour (?). So Turnbull actually lies at the rate of 1 massive lie per hour. That’s 24 massive lies a day, or 8760 massive lies a year.

    Now we apply the Malcolm Multiplier; a Malcolm Multiplier is a completely made up multiplier used to exaggerate a result derived via Turnbull Math to come up with a Turnbull Truth. A Turnbull Truth being, of course, an outright lie. The formula is as follows.

    Turnbull Truth = (Malcolm Multiplier) x (Malcolm Maths)

    So, applying the Malcolm Multiplier of 1,000,000 (completely pulled out of a dark space, like most things Turnbull says), we come to the horrible truth that Malcolm Turnbull lies to Australians at an astounding rate of 8,760,000,000 times a year, or 24,000,000 times a day.

    And that’s the Turnbull Truth.

    • Honesty in Politics = Oxymoron
      Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Oh! That means………oh. :{(

    • “They believe if they repeat the BS often enough it must then be true.”

      Hmm, so did Goebells…and we know how he ended.

    • First rule of Propaganda is that you never actually believe your own propaganda. It will always create a situation where you inevitably disappear up your own nether regions and come into a nasty mishap, like death in some form.


    I’m sorry… but this is just classic…

    Ages ago when the Coalition started their smear campaign on costing and started upping the “cost” of the NBN build from the then 24billion to 35billon and progressively increased it to 50billion I once made a gag on how the prices would eventually keep “inflating” where eventually the Coalition will say the NBN will cost 100billion….

    Predictable BS at its finest!

    • Unfortunately the thing is the general populous will believe what Turnbull says. Two major obstacles that NBNCo will need to overcome are:

      1. The general hate for the Labor party at this present time
      2. The past failures of Government projects

      As a side note I heard an advertisement for a new housing development last week which used super fast broadband as a selling point. If the LNP promised to preserve the current NBN plan as is, I wouldn’t care if they win the election. However they will change the project to it’s detriment just to try and score political points, not thinking about the long term benefits a well built broadband network would bring to the country.

      • I think you are right Hayden with your two points, the conclusion at the end of this piece says it all:

        “I don’t think [the NBN] will [be a big election issue] because I think the next federal election will be a landslide defeat of the government and a whole range of policy issues will be pushed aside because it will really be about the competence of the government,” he said.

        “I think [Labor will] be defeated really badly.”


        • If you’re right even more reason to call Turnbull out to account for statements like this, so that we can keep him honest when it comes to his policy, whatever that turns out to be.

          • Well assuming he does release something by September as he has stated he will it is going to be hard to keep him ‘honest about it’ in the same way it is was hard to keep Labor honest about their policy until the rollout actually started and you had the chance to compare reality with what was stated in the first NBN Co business plan released in December 2010.

            Since that plan we have had a revised plan MK 2 released last year, from which we can match reality with what the revised figures state.

            If you match that Labor post election win in 2010 timeline we can expect a Coalition NBN Business Plan four months AFTER a supposed win in September then another revised plan two years after that, which is our only real chance from which we can expect to keep ‘them honest’ from.

          • *sigh* Again with the “it was okay for Labor, so it must be okay for the Coalition” fallacy.

            Labor made some mistakes, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for Turnbull to make the same ones.

          • Well I wouldn’t call it Labor mistakes as such, I was just stating the reality of the timeline of the two NBN Co business plans releases after the August 2010 hung election.

            Whatever Turnbull releases before September it is going to be hard to rip it apart especially if as I suspect it is sprinkled with plenty of ‘depends on Telstra co-operation’ exit signs, and the Telstra co-operation bit depends on ACCC co-operation.

          • So, if come the election and the Liberals win. Turnbull plans out what needs to be done to complete the NBN and shock horror, discovers FTTH is the lower cost alternative for long term infrastructure, will you suddenly be agreeing with it? Or have you been so objective you will be protesting his decision?

          • First hurdle…

            “If you match that Labor post election win in 2010 timeline we can expect a Coalition NBN Business Plan four months AFTER a supposed win in September…”

            And will you “match your current status” by coming here daily bagging the Coalition and their broadband plan, by picking out one or two words from any statements, totally disregarding possible delay reasoning and basically being totally negative about everything (even positive stuff) if they fail to supply a Business Plan within 4 months?

            If we are talking about matching you’d have to say “yes”. But I think we all know the real answer ;)

          • Ooh BTW – I missed your gist…

            Were you again suggesting it’s ok for MT to not even have a broadband “policy”, because the NBNCo didn’t produce a “Biz plan” until 4 moths after the 2010 election?

            If so, pleeease…

            Like NK I feel I am repeating myself, but quarterly for the last 2 years :(

          • @alain,

            I love the way you try to compare the fact that NBNCo didn’t have a business plan to the Coalition not having a concrete policy… and then suggest the lack of Business plan justifies the lack of policy…

            Err, but as I have told you before (sigh), the red herring in you apples/oranges comparison being, the current NBN policy was announced in April 2009 “16 months prior to the election”…

            Which means, using your logic, if MT discloses his policy in September he’s 16 months later, than the current NBN policy, isn’t he?

        • Yes, it say’s Economou underestimates the importance of the network. The same sort of underestimation that lost the coalition votes during the last election.

          People still think the LNP will slide in to Government unopposed. I’m not convinced it’s so cut and dried. A far larger percentage of voters will be in the NBN build queue by the election, delays or no.

          NBN is set to become a pretty massive election component.

        • Labor,should have set up 3 companies and given them 33 Billion each and said first one to deploy wins. That way the network would be a whole 1Billion dollars cheaper than Turnbull keeps saying it is and be built quicker as they race to each premises. As an added bonus we could do some cost recovery by turning it into a reality TV show, and open up the gambling industry to take bets on completion schedules. Spending 3 times as much give you the 3 competing networks and we all know than even though the infrastructure costs are 3 times as high for 3 networks, competition will magically make them cheaper.

    • I don’t care if it cost 100B.. It’s got to be better than the current copper network. I have been have lots of ADSL problem. Don’t forget that copper wasn’t design for ADSL or VDSL. Were Fibre can be used for anything. The only thing I don’t like about the current NBN is the time it’s going to take to install the fibre network.

  19. I don’t doubt that by the year 2100 it could have cost $100 billion dollars. I also don’t doubt that by the year 2100 it could have earned $200 billion dollars or more for itself and added trillions in extra economic activity to the economy.

    And we would also still be using it in 2100.

    What does Turnbull intend to do that will last until 2100?

  20. Ha. Looks like they’ll replacing a white elephant (according to them) with a turkey.. Sadly it gotten so bad that the libs can pluck any old figure out of the air and the media repeats it as gospel….

  21. I see Turnbull has now resorted to just pulling random figures out of his arse, with the sole rationale being they sound scary. Pitiful.

  22. Hockey: “There is not one contractor in Australia that believes the Government is going to roll out its National Broadband Network for $32 billion.”

    Actually correct, although completely disingenuous – the capital cost is $37.4bn, so of course no one believes it will be $32bn – in fact, the amount it will cost that experts and contractors will agree it won’t cost are essentially infinite.

    What a frustratingly idiotic statement.

    Where are the laws to prosecute politicians for criminally misleading the public for political gain to the gross detriment of the country? It’s interesting that the legal definition of Treason in Australia specifically lacks the clause for deliberate acts to cause damage to the nation (or Commonwealth).

  23. At last! Insight into how he will do it Faster and Cheaper!

    Claim the existing plan will cost 100Bn and take 50 years!
    Then deliver a stripped down service Faster and Cheaper.

    12yrs and 25Bn. Quarter of the cost of NBN. QED

  24. It’s definitely lagging on rollout schedule though. Applecross WA is supposed to be 100% finished, April. (Two weeks away). (Or 6 if I am generous and give till end of April).

    Now Applecross is a PoI, but as far as I can see, there has been very little fibre roll out and no homes connected at all yet in the area.

    Damn shame.

  25. What about the Wonthaggi desal plant?

    The contracts were signed.
    It was over a short time frame, much shorter than the NBN and had negotiated industrial peace prior to commencement.

    However, the construction period was outside of its deadline, and it was over budget.

    They had to ask the state government for water payments before they had finished construction to meet interest repayments or else they were in financial trouble.

    Another example of a contracted project not meeting it’s estimates.

    Just because numbers are written down as a business plan does not mean that they will be met. Anything can happen in 10-15 years.

    But sadly we will never know as with changes in the government any problems will be blamed on the other side.

    • Selection bias and an anecdotal evidence example.

      Can you provide specific examples or correlations that might indicate the the NBN is set to follow a similar path to your mentioned project? Because if not, this example is interesting, but I question if it applies.

      • Fair point, it is anecdotal at this point in time since the construction phase is still very early on.

        What proportion of government owned / implemented infratstructure projects have been completed in or under budget?

        Since the NBN is a GBE and not directly over seen by a government department, it would be fairer to compare it to a PPP?

        But my purpose is not to say that it will blow out, just that you cannot assume it is certain. I would be very interested to hear if you have any examples of projects delivered on time in budget.

        • What proportion of government owned / implemented infratstructure projects have been completed in or under budget?

          You don’t set an easy goal here do you.

          Since the NBN is a GBE and not directly over seen by a government department, it would be fairer to compare it to a PPP?

          That seems logical.

          But my purpose is not to say that it will blow out, just that you cannot assume it is certain. I would be very interested to hear if you have any examples of projects delivered on time in budget.

          No it isn’t certain, but like I say whenever Alain says we can’t know until 2033: that may be so, but there has been very little evidence to support the notion that the NBN will significantly blow out, if at all. And you know as well as I the counter example I provide here will be just as much anecdotal as your example was.

        • “You don’t set an easy goal here do you.”

          I gave one side of the spectrum where they stuffed it up, so naturally the other side is? And no, I don’t believe it is easy at all.

          Yes, it is true we will not know the true extent until the end of the project in 20 years, but with 2+ changes of government who knows what shape it will be in by then. Any problems will be blamed on tinkering by (insert opposition) and so we will never know what could have happened.

          • No, you gave an anecdotal example and then asked for hard statistics knowing full well that hard statistics is very hard to get with that particular data set. Hence why you provided an anecdote in the first place no?

          • Oh, sorry if it came off that way,

            I was asking for an another example (anecdotal evidence) that illustrated the opposite angle, i.e. a project that went to plan.

            The logic being that if it is a government project which is privately run, but all similar projects have had overruns to a certain extent, then is it unfair to assume a similar trend based upon historical evidence?

          • Its a (Liberal) state government.

            Why I don’t think that matters: The people in government departments don’t have huge changes. They are often the same people working for different masters. It is merely the projects chosen that changes. Which admittedly; may actually factor into the outcomes.

            This is merely an anecdote to inform debate.

            “The expected cost variance of the 20 sampled non-residential building projects is 114 per cent above their original approved budget. Ninety per cent of the variance in project budgets occurred during the evaluation phase of projects when the project business case was developed and project scope and costs were more accurately defined. Project performance in the definition and delivery phases is generally good, accounting for only approximately 10 per cent of variance, indicating effective project management in delivery and the value of robust planning to project performance.”

            So projects typically overrun costs. After they have been defined (the Evaluation phase) they on average out of 20 (presumably randomly selected) government orchestrated construction projects in WA deviated by overrunning their forecast cost by 1.4%. (10% of the overrun – where teh overrun was 14% attributed to the delivery phase)

            I believe the NBN is now past the “Planning and Evaluation” phase. (Where it saw a deviation of costs upward).


            But; as you guys have said; it is actually meaningless.

          • Oh wait; I didnt read properly.

            114% *above*

            rather than 114% of the expected cost.

            That changes things;

            it means the NBN if held to these figures should have doubled during the planning phase. (Though; is the 2007 FTTN nbn counted here? – in which case in increased by more than 6 times the 5 billion dollar estimate).

            leaving 10% of 114 as the expected delivery phase cost overrun. or 11.4% (average) cost overrun attributed to the delivery phase.

            So by those numbers it wouldn’t be unheard of to hear a number like 41 billion dollars for the NBN as completed.

            Again meaningless.

          • How about the Snowy Scheme, where a government corporation contracted with private companies. That was completed on schedule and budget.
            Further back in time is the Goldfields pipeline, which was also controversial regarding needs and debt levels. This was also a government entity contrating with private companies.
            There are two, but futher back in time. They however more closely resemble the business structure of the NBN.

            Also directly comparable, Perth’s southern desalination plant was completed on schedule and budget, and is flushing my toilet quite satisfactoraly. But that didn’t have the PPP structure, but was rather more of a turnkey purchase contract.

          • It is good to know that there are solid examples for both sides.

            Cheers, I didn’t know about the perth desal plant as I’m from the east coast so I don’t see as much news about WA.

          • Well it’s all a massive red herring in reality, because for us to see either NBN policy Labor or Coalition through to completion and on budget Labor have to win this year and also in 2016 and control both houses of Parliament and so does the Coalition.

            Massive if-then-else statement.

          • Sad isn’t…

            That instead of bi-partisan support, instead we have cheap politicking standing in Australia’s futures way :(

        • What proportion of government owned / implemented infratstructure projects have been completed in or under budget?

          What proportion of government or government funded projects are there with as much transparency through periodic reporting to the public? I’d say the NBN is unprecedented as a public infrastructure project given the level of transparency (but feel free to correct me if you know better). Other Govt projects are under the purview of a single department and the public doesn’t know that it has spiralled out of control until tremendous damage has been done and costs have blown right out. There are vested interests with the people overseeing those projects with very little personal penalty for anyone if it all goes pear shaped.

          The NBN is a different kind of project, and say what you like about Rudd and Conroy, they did make a lot of good decisions with the way they devised the parameters for the NBN & NBN Co.

          The NBN is also designed to be a profitable investment, something only public infrastructure projects like utilities can ever hope to achieve (and most of those weren’t initially designed as profit generating investments anyway).

          So the difference between the NBN and other projects are essentially the intention for it to meet stated profit targets and enough transparency for the public to be able to see if and when key, periodic milestones are being met. This also gives the Govt and the public a tremendous amount of agility to respond to problems if milestones are being missed (and they’re not, or the LNP would be decrying the NBN far louder than they are. Maybe, you know, with facts…

  26. Somebody needs to change the record player inside Turnbull’s head – he appears to be stuck in a loop.

  27. Dear Malcolm, I don’t care how much Labor’s plan costs because like you called me last week, I am a heavily religious NBN zealot with no regard for sanity or government tax dollars.
    Help us obiconroynobi your our only hope!

  28. Dear Malcolm, take a dump, or get off the dunny. (or in other words, start backing up your claims with something more than “this guy at the pub told me…)

  29. Nice one Malcolm. What about the hundreds of billions of dollars, that will eventually be lost from our economy, should we not build the NBN?

    • Simon, please dont take this as a nasty question. But can you please tell me in what industries, and for what reason the lack of an NBN will cost us Billions?

      • I can’t. In reality I was using Malcolm’s method of throwing huge baseless numbers out there, as though there were fact :)

        Having said that, I’m a strong believer in the NBN being an enabler for all sorts of tremendous long-term benefits to our economy; from things like better productivity for businesses (many of whom are stuck on 1mbps upload ADSL right now) less congestion on the roads as more people work from home or use telepresence, and then there’s new IPTV services that could potentially be worth billions alone.

        I also believe broadband ubiquity will lead to more intangible, indirect benefits, like better medical and government services, and superior education of young minds, by allowing things like latency free HD video conferencing from school to school (as well as the types of distance education options that will naturally improve for students learning from home).

        The NBN is about building the underlying infrastructure that will last us at least the next 50 years. Probably longer given we still don’t know the full potential of fibre. Not only is is stupid to waste money and time on patchwork solutions as the Coalition would have us do (particularly when we know it will cost more to convert FTTN to FTTP in the long run anyway) but it would be setting us back years in all sorts of ways, and means Australia will miss out on the economic benefits and level broadband playing field the NBN creates (level for at least 93% of Australia anyway. The other 7% will still get a better wireless/satellite service from the NBN).

        • “like better productivity for businesses (many of whom are stuck on 1mbps upload ADSL right now) less congestion on the roads as more people work from home or use telepresence”

          Since the temperatue has cooled down, my speed has increased! 4672/832 sync!
          Now, if we can take care of global warming, I can keep my high speed!

        • And just to point out how stupid our government is, the Thai government is opening a tender for leading manufacturers of high speed trains (like the Japanese bullet train now running at 320Kph, and France’s TGV), to submit application to build the Thai’s new high speed rail network.

          Meanwhile, our governments (state and federal) are still contemplating it while they complain about the cost and complexity of acquiring the land.
          The stupid part is, the longer the think about it, the cost will keep going up as land is built on and developed.

          Do the feasibility study already, and tender out the design to these companies.
          If we can at least get that far, we can determine the worth of getting it in place.

        • I have always been suspicious about the medical claims.

          There are many great uses in surgery where advice can be sought from leading experts in their specialisations in different parts of the world of data sent to analytical centres in different hospitals.

          But I do not see consultations becoming widespread over the internet. Many doctors I have spoken to do not like the technology as they do not have the same level of interaction with the patient and they cannot use all 5 senses, (barely 2 over the internet). In addition the risk of additonal liability if something is missed is astronomical.

  30. “At the rate they are going this could take 20 years or more to complete, and it could cost up to $100 billion,” said Turnbull.”

    its an interesting combinations of numbers, 100 billion over 20 years, 2 billion per year – peanuts isnt it, and yet somehow hes making that look ludicrously expensive.

  31. The $ cost of printing 1 business card, is not the same as the $ cost of printing 1,000 business cards divided by 1,000.

    The $ cost of transporting 1,000 L of petrol in a tanker is not the same as the $ cost of transporting 44,000 L (tanker capacity) divided by 44.

    “based on how much it was costing NBN Co per premise to deploy the network”
    Does Mr. Turnbull understand the economics of bulk deployments is different from single deployments?

    It’s the same with cooking in Restaurants. You don’t just multiply the figure of a single by the required numbers.

    • Yes you are correct,

      What is even scarier is that the cost curves do not alweays slope downwards, they can be flat and also slope upwards.

      • Fetch pulls down about 800MB/hr when streaming or just under 1800k. They only say you need 3.5Mb but really the stream only uses about half of that, they’re just covering themselves.

        I sync at about 7Mb and have 2 Fetch boxes and both can stream fine (Fetch via Optus and connection via iiNet) simultaneously while at the same time doing other things on the net.

          • No I got what you said, figured it must have been in error since that would be an obscenely fast connection.

          • Actually I think we got that backwards, “p” is pico (10^-12) which would make it an extremely slow connection required, you’re thinking of peta “P” (10^15), which would mean an extremely fast connection required.

          • omg, you’re so right!

            I don’t need a broadband connection!
            Dialup is enough!

            $1 per month Dodo Dialup + $22.95 per month Telstra phone, for streaming multiple standard definition channels.

  32. I don’t believe the Liberals, but then again I don’t believe Labor or the NBN Co. What I see happening is cost about double that of what is stated by NBN Co and a take up rate much lower due to high costs, currently there is no way I’ll shift from ADSL when to get the same sort of data I will be paying double the price or more. If the Liberals knew what they were doing this is what they would be targeting, the ludicrously high costs to connect that most families can’t afford and lets be honest, what is the point in getting 10x the bandwidth if all you can afford is 50Gb of data.

    • Have you even looked at currently available NBN plans at all?

      Because they’re hardly double. Most people will pay pretty much the same as they do now.

    • Not sure where you’re getting your figures from, once I get connected to the NBN I’ll be paying $20/month less than I’m currently paying, and will get roughly 15x downstream, 50x upstream, and 2.5x usage compared to what I get now.

      And what connection costs? Connection to the NBN is free.

      I think you’ve been listening to too much FUD.

      • And what connection costs? Connection to the NBN is free.

        Nothing is ever free Tezz. What one hand gives the other takes, particularly when the Government is involved.

        • So… you decided not to answer the question then?

          Let’s be clear, if you chose to switch to the NBN during the initial roll-out, there is NO connection charge.

          • So… you decided not to answer the question then?

            Let’s be clear, if you chose to switch to the NBN during the initial roll-out, there is NO connection charge.

            Yes I did answer the question, just in a different post. However in response to your statement “Because they’re hardly double. Most people will pay pretty much the same as they do now.” Go on show me where and I’ll happily submit.

    • ok currently I pay $59.50 pm ADSL2 300Gb Peak unmetered Off Peak.
      Fibre Connection would cost me $84.50 for 250Gb Peak unmetered Off Peak @ 50/20Mbps or $94.50 @ 100/40 Mbps. Maybe not quite double but still much higher than I am paying now for less data at a higher bandwidth. I think you have all been blinded by the speed of light.

      • If that is the price you intend to pay for your NBN connection then I don’t know what to say, other than you clearly haven’t looked around at what prices (from reputable service providers) are available.

      • So from that I have established you are with Exetel, and only looked at their pricing when doing comparssions.

        In reality you are using the OP300 plan, correct?

        Considering that Exetel are a discount provider this limits your options somewhat. However I do believe we can get you an equivalent deal.

        Specifically, since you clearly don’t mind being with a discount provider, here is the best option: PennyTel

        There bundled options will cost you an average of $60.87 a month for 25/5, and that is unlimited. Unfortunately this is the closest deal I can find to what you currently have, despite being about a dollar a month more expensive. The bundled plans go up to an average of $91.31 a month for 50/20, again unlimited.

        There are also naked options which range from $36.53 a month at 12/1, which might be faster than your current connection depending on your ADSL line, to $76.09 a month at 50/20. All unlimited again.

        (Disclaimer: monthly price calculated by multiplying by 365.25 days and dividing by 12, please note that you will actually be charged per day by PennyTel).

        • I am with exetel, and budget they might be, but from my own experience they are way more reliable than Telstra + they give me updates when they are performing work on the network, something that never happened with Telstra. I also looked at prices from Internode and iinet as well as exetel plus a few others from http://www.nbnco.com.au list of certified providers. (they aren’t on this list)
          I’ll admit that the price there seems quite reasonable at around the same price, pretty much the only one I have seen though.

          • As I said, Paul, your current plan is very cheap. Cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad or anything, but most people pay about $20/m more than you do. This is why finding a plan that matches yours was difficult, but at least one exists. If I hunted some more, it’s possible I’d find another. But why bother? Instead we acknowledge that you CAN get a good plan for about what you pay now, and that considering how much you pay this is significant.

            The fact is, there are going to be a few losers. There always are with changes like this. You end up paying about a $1 more a month, minimum. But if we look at the majority, most people do win out. For example, if we look at Telstra in isolation, who have the biggest market share, every single NBN product they offer right now is cheaper than an equivalent ADSL or Cable product from them, and their NBN plans are relatively expensive.

            I’ve had a few people complain that because they happen to be in the small percentage that get over 12Mbps for their ADSL2+ connection, switching to a 12Mbps connection, despite it being equivalently priced, means they’re worse off on the NBN. These people can be argued as losers too, although most of them can get cheaper prices if they switch providers.

            The NBN never promised to deliver it cheaper to everyone, so asking retailers to fulfil this promise is almost an unreasonable expectation. However, the fact is, they’re doing it anyway, so that can only be a good thing.

          • Plus pennytel VOIP is extremely reasonable rates, multiple connections available (smartphone with softphone, PC softphone, handset via ATA.) Message bank that emails the message. POTS No’s.
            However unlike Skype no video .
            Easy to log on and change forwarding No’s etc, whether service is local or international configuration, access and numbering.
            Take your home phone around the world with you, just need broadband access

  33. @ Paul:
    Have you actually looked at any of the current NBN plans on offer? Many are cheaper &/or include more data than the present ADSL offerings.

    However you are probably correct when applied to NBN’s future prospects once Turnbull is in charge & destroys the proposed level playing field in pricing for all modes of connection.
    Those lucky enough to have fibre by then will likely have to pay through the nose for their “Premium FTTP Service” denied to the remaining 2nd/3rd class population with his FTTN offering little more than their existing lottery of service options.

    • I have Grump3 and whilst the prices appear to be dipping slightly from when they first started, I don’t see the value there yet, as I just asked Tezz, anyone shows me a great deal from a reliable supplier and I’ll eat Humble Pie.

        • Short summary of what I see as the best Exetel plan. 100/40 connection, 150 Gb/ month, $60. I believe this also includes VOIP service, but not 100% certain on that.

          So you get a phone service, a 100Mbs FttP connection, and 150 Gb per month for about $2 a day.

          As the 6th most used ISP (again, not 100% certain on that. About that anyhow) its reliable, and a great deal.

      • I am currently on iiNet paying $89.95/month for 200GB/200GB ADSL2+ (+$29.95/month for the required phone line).

        For $79.95/month I could get 12/1 NBN (slightly faster than what I sync at with ADSL2+ now but close enough to be equivalent) via iiNet with 500GB/500GB usage, and no phone line required, making an overall savings of about $40/month.

        Good enough example?

      • Guess it depends upon your requirements & location.
        All we can get here on the NSW Mid North coast between Forster & Taree is ADSL1 @ 1.2GB/s which means everything is slowww.
        Most likely if we get the NBN we’ll be stuck with wireless but at 25GB/s it will be a vast improvement & is presently offered at a similar price to our current plan by a number of providers.
        We only use VOIP, (which improves our phone’s performance here but would perform much better still at a decent speed) but are compelled to pay $33/mth line rental to Telstra purely for internet access so dropping the landline would reduce the cost well below what we pay now for a far superior service.

  34. And who would you recommend?

    Keeping in mind Exetel can’t provide me a service, and the closest TPG (another cheaper provider) plan I can find is $79.95/month for 300GB, not including phone rental.

  35. Turnbull’s has also been making misleading statements re British Telecom’s broadband products, he’s been making statements referring to BT deploying FTTN, but on their website:


    Their packages offered are in 2 classes of product:
    1) “ADSL” all plans have the same download speed 16Mbs only vary from download allowances and some of the usual unnecessary add-ons.
    2) INFINITY “FIBRE” and when it uses the definition “FIBRE” I’m assuming it would mean FTTH otherwise it may be considered by lawyers to be “deceptive and misleading conduct”. The site uses the definition of “FIBRE OPTIC” many times on the site.

    Comes in 2 speeds, 38Mbs download 9.5Mbs upload or the faster 76Mbs download and 19Mbs upload.
    Unlimited packages costs 36 pounds a month including line rental +5 quid for TV whatever that means.


    • http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/products/broadband/getting-ready-for-bt-infinity

      “We’ll need to plug in your fibre modem into the master phone socket so please make sure you have two power sockets available next to it – if you don’t, please have a power extension cable available.”

      “BT Infinity uses the latest in fibre optic broadband technology to deliver the internet at groundbreaking speeds. Instead of sending electric signals through copper wires, BT Infinity sends information down a glass network at the speed of light giving you a faster, smoother online experience. It’s future proof so you’ll be able to enjoy all the internet has to offer – now and in the future.”

      No Nodes here.

      This is a No Node Zone.

  36. Turnbull can – no, WILL – lie through his teeth. Whatever it takes.

    “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

    Says it all, really.

  37. “NBN could cost $100 billion”, claims Turnbull.
    “FTTN could get up to 80Mbps”, claims Turnbull.

    North Korea could be up to something also.

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