• The Frustrated State: How terrible tech policy is deterring digital Australia

    Written by Delimiter's Renai LeMay, The Frustrated State will be the first in-depth book examining of how Australia’s political sector is systematically mismanaging technological change. Click here to help fund it on Kickstarter.

  • No Brother: Science fiction, martial arts & Australia's darkest city

    Set in Australia's darkest city, No Brother is a vision of a future where martial arts discipline intersects with power, youth and radical technological change. It is the first novel by Delimiter's Renai LeMay. Click here to help fund it on Kickstarter.

  • Featured, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, March 18, 2013 21:49 - 66 Comments

    NBN support rises to 73 percent of Australians

    news A new poll has shown that support for Labor’s National Broadband Network project has risen over the past few months to a total of 73 percent, adding to a long-term trend of enduring support for the initiative demonstrated over the past several years; with even a majority of Coalition voters supporting the project.

    The poll published today was recently taken by research house Essential Media, using a sample size of 1,874 Australians. One of the questions it asked was whether those polled supported or opposed a certain set of Government decisions, including the NBN, the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the carbon tax.

    In response to the question, some 35 percent of respondents indicated they strongly supported the NBN project, while some 38 percent supported it, making a total of 73 percent, up from 69 percent in a similar poll taken on 26 November last year. Only 9 percent of respondents strongly opposed the NBN policy and a further 10 percent opposed it, making only 19 percent in total of Australians which opposed the project. A further 8 percent of respondents didn’t know how they felt about the NBN.

    “The decision which has the most support amongst respondents is the NBN, with 73% in favour and only 19% opposed – an increase in support since this question was last asked in November,” wrote Essential Media in its comments associated with the poll.

    The detailed results also show that while support for the NBN was strongest amongst Labor and Greens voters (88 percent in both camps supported the NBN), the majority of Coalition voters also supported the NBN, with 61 percent in total supporting the project and only 33 percent against it. Only 18 percent of Coalition voters strongly opposed the project, while a further 15 percent opposed it.

    The news adds to a long-term body of evidence which continues to show that the vast majority of Australians support the NBN project and that support for the project may actually be rising. For example, recent survey data, consisting of research conducted in the early stage NBN rollout zone in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, showed that 89 percent backed the NBN as a “good idea”, even if they hadn’t immediately signed up to use the project’s fibre infrastructure.

    The survey adds to a number of other recent surveys and studies which have demonstrated enduring support for the NBN project amongst Australians in general. A similar study published in October 2012 (also by Swinburne) asked the question: ‘Do you think the development of the National Broadband Network is a good idea?’ According to the report, 35 percent strongly agreed with the proposition, and 32 percent agreed. Some 13 percent sat in the middle with an answer of ‘neither’, while 13 percent disagreed, and 7 percent strongly disagreed.

    A similar survey taken in 2009, when the NBN policy was in its infancy, found that a higher percentage – 43 percent – strongly agreed, while 32 percent agreed, 17 percent sat in the middle, and 5 percent and 4 percent disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. This may indicate that the Coalition’s ongoing criticism of the NBN has had some impact on the project’s popularity, with the amount of Australians strongly agreeing with the project slipping, although the project as a whole remains popular with the majority of Australians.

    Another poll taken in February 2012 showed similar strong results for the NBN. The poll was taken by Australian social and market research company Your Source. The organisation sends out between 7,000 and 8,000 invitations to respond to each poll it conducts, from which it usually receives about 1,000 responses.

    In February 2012 the company polled its audience with the following question: “From what you’ve heard, do you favour or oppose the planned National Broadband Network (NBN)”? The response displayed an enduring level of support for the NBN, with 56 percent of total respondents supporting the NBN in total, compared with 25 percent opposed and 19 percent stating that they didn’t know.

Just 10 percent of those polled strongly opposed the NBN, while 20 percent strongly favoured the project. Amongst Labor and Greens voters who responded to the poll, support was the strongest, with 80 percent and 77 percent supporting the initiative, 42 percent of Coalition voters supported it.

    Over the preceding 14 months before the poll was taken, Your Source has asked respondents the same question on three other occasions, with respondents displaying a very similar support rate for the project — ranging from 48 to 56 percent. Those opposing the project have ranged from 19 percent of respondents to 27 percent.

    The polling echoes internal Coalition research. A landmark internal report handed down in mid-2011 into the Coalition’s loss in the 2010 Federal Election highlighted a failure to adequately respond to Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network plan as a key reason for losing valuable votes, especially in the sensitive Tasmanian electorate, which is receiving the network before the rest of the nation.

    The majority of the report did not mention the NBN, but one section quoted extensively from a similar report produced last year by Sydney academic Julian Leeser into the Tasmanian leg of the election, which has been reported in brief.

    “The failure to properly explain the Liberal Party’s broadband policy and the Labor Party’s effective scare campaign was a major cause of the party’s failure to win seats in Tasmania,” the report states. “This was the nearly universal review of people making submissions to the review and is borne out by research undertaken by the Liberal Party. In the view of many, the party’s policy amounted to a threat to come into people’s homes and rip the Internet out of the wall.”

    We’ve now seen quite a few detailed reports showing that Labor’s NBN project is overwhelmingly popular in the electorate, and the evidence from early stage rollout zones such as Brunswick also shows that the more Australians know about the NBN, the more likely they are to support it. In May I wrote:

    “An overwhelming body of evidence is gradually being accumulated that Australia’s population as a whole is staunchly in support of the NBN. Views on this matter are not divided; research has consistently shown that the policy is very popular and that most Australians in all areas agree the project should go ahead.

    Now, I’m not going to say that the Coalition has to do everything the population says, should it win government. Clearly, sometimes a Government needs to enact an unpopular policy because it’s the right thing to do. But such overwhelming support does mean that the Coalition needs to produce a higher burden of proof for why the NBN policy as a whole should be substantially modified.”

    These comments have been true for quite a while and continue to be true.

    submit to reddit


    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

    1. Malcolm
      Posted 18/03/2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

      $100 billion dollar white elephant that is going to mean digging up every granny’s garden and will have users paying three times as much for their tin cans and string.

      Our rival policy has no details at all, but it will be cheaper and faster.

      TRUST ME!

      • Karl
        Posted 18/03/2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I find it Funny how much the collation bags out the NBN without having put on the table an equivalently detailed policy.

        • Rob
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink | Reply

          We will have to dig up Grannys garden anyway as the current distribution network has pretty much expired. Do you wonder why the fault volumes are always “records” every year? They are waiting to go ahead and replace the copper (which only lasts 15 years at most) with fibre ( which theoretically could last 100 years). So the LNPs plan is going to cost you more in the long run then just doing it right the first time.

          • GongGav
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink | Reply

            Slight correction. Copper generally lasts around 30 years, not 15. Having said that, the bulk of our copper is apparently around 30 years old now, or older.

        • Karl
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Renai, how is this person posting as me when I’m registered with my name?

      • Jesse
        Posted 18/03/2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely no sarcasm came from Malcolm’s mouth today.

      • Fourbypete
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:06 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the added detail Malcolm, you know the bit where you say “trust me”.
        We do not!

    2. Dan
      Posted 18/03/2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      ^ was me, just trolling the trolls, before they get to work tomorrow.

    3. Derrick
      Posted 18/03/2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Malcolm is right, what would I need all that extra speed for… that reminds me.. I’ve got to go buy some stamps and write him a letter , that is after I watch a movie on my Beta player and record a new song on my tape deck of the wireless… radio that is.. :)

      • Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink | Reply

        hang on man, you have to give me some warning, because my valve components of my wireless radio need time to warm up before they start working.

    4. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 18/03/2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      73% I’m not surprised. It’s clear that the coalition clowns attempts to fool everyone with promises their gimped version will be completed sooner and cheaper has had little effect too.

      • Fourbypete
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink | Reply

        God help us if MT gets wind of this. Next he’ll be saying he will roll out fiber to 73% of Australia and cheaper faster Blah, blah blah…

        • Bruce H
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink | Reply

          Actually, MT will say that the sample size is too small and not representative of ‘true community opinion’. For the record, the sample size is only just smaller than Neilson’s average!

          • GongGav
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink | Reply

            A sample size of 1000 or more is considered sufficient.

    5. Arokh
      Posted 18/03/2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Before please don’t get me wrong I’m all for the NBN and hope it still comes to my area in 2015. What I’m griping about is the sample size being less than 1% of the Australian population and then making a statement of “73 percent of Australians”. You cannot use a less than 1% sample size to represent all Australians. All I hope is that when the Liberals sadly come to power later this year, that I’ll still get my NBN (assuming I can afford it after they cut everything else and still increase prices).

      • Fourbypete
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink | Reply

        +1 from me too. The sample size is too small. I could have done that same survey in Wagga Wagga and got that result. And be finished in time for lunch. I suspect the result isn’t far from the truth though. almost two thirds of Victorians want fiber based on recent polls.

        • Austcc
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink | Reply

          The sample size is more than ample. From http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html for a 5% error, 95% confidence level and a population of 20,000,000, the recommended minimum sample size is only 385. They are using a sample size four times larger than necessary.

          Statistics is one of those seemingly counter-intuitive areas. If you have not properly studied it, you are very likely to be wrong about it.

          • Paul Krueger
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:38 am | Permalink | Reply

            Austcc is completely correct. You don’t need a large sample for reasonable accuracy.

          • Greg Alexander
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Absolutely. The sample size is big enough – as long as it’s a representative sample.

            Ask 1000 people from one town, or demographic and it’s no good

          • Fourbypete
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Thanks for the correction everybody (lay off the coffee). It was just my opinion. I’m no expert in these matters.

      • Travis
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink | Reply

        Exactly the same sample size as these polls conducted that suggest a ‘landslide’ victory for the Coalition. That’s why these polls are all inherently flawed.

      • Paul
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Reply

        Arokh, I think you need to go back to statistics 101. In terms of polling the population of Australia, a sample size 1874 is more than acceptable. To call for a sample of 1% of the population is ludicrous (and impossible to get – the cost would be beyond ridiculous) and would add very little value… in fact the results are unlikely to differ very much at all (and you receive diminishing returns for each extra person you add).

        I’m not going to go into all the equations but instead point you to one of (many) simple calculator you can find on the net: http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html

        If you plug in the numbers, the sample size used above will give you a margin of error of +-3% with a 99% confidence level… which is polling terms is reasonable.

      • socrates
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Arokh, do you know what you are calling for, when you demand a 1% sample size of all Australians?

        That would mean 230,000 contacts, which is clearly nonsense and isn’t going to happen.

        The sample size of 1,874 people is adequate and fully in line with recognised survey standards.

        And it’s a very interesting result. You listening, Malcolm?

    6. alain
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      The poll sample size is one thing the other important aspect is that the population sample is randomly selected.

      Interestingly enough in this poll you need to read the question:

      ‘Q. Do you support or oppose the following Government decisions?

      NBN (National Broadband Network) – high speed broadband access across Australia’

      I am sure the majority of people support the Government ‘NBN – high speed broadband access across Australia’ because there is only one choice to answer.

      What will be interesting to see is when Turnbull publishes the Coalition policy the question is actually asked again on the basis of which policy you prefer and will it determine your vote.

      I expect the Labor and Green vote will remain roughly the same for the Labor policy and the Coalition vote will shift to the Coalition policy.

      • TechinBris
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink | Reply

        Alain, you have a new Career. Comedy.

      • Brendan
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink | Reply

        What sort of reverse logic noddy comment is that, alain?

        “The survey results are invalid because there is only one choice!!!!1″. If there was only one choice, sir, what Turnbull did would be irrelevant, post election, yes?

        Your logic has an unexpected self-referential GOTO jump.

        I’m sure if it was the other way, you’d be claiming it was very sound and reasonable!

        Given the NBN outcome is far from certain under a Liberal government (and don’t try and sell me that Malcolm has seen the light and will be indulged by Abbot to continue on) there is no forgone conclusion.

        Choice will be exercised at the next G.E.

        • alain
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I didn’t say the poll was invalid at all, I was only stating it would be more interesting if there was more than one choice to choose from for the NBN question, that is the Labor policy or the Coalition policy.

          As it is phrased at the moment most respondents will say yes I want a Government NBN high speed broadband access across Australia and I only know about one, the only other choice is to say no I don’t want one at all.

          • RocK_M
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

            But thats not the poll’s aim.

            The poll’s aim was to gauge support for the *governments* current policies. And from the survey set the NBN as a policy is a very popular policy (as opposed to Carbon Pricing which hit just under 50%). To ask a comparison would be irrelevant to the poll.

          • Brendan
            Posted 20/03/2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink | Reply


            There is no Coalition Policy to compare it to.

            Also how can you operate a survey to gauge interest in the NBN, if you ask about the coalition? Surveys typically have a focus point; they are designed to garner a statistical outcome based on a set of questions.

            Such a report isn’t invalidated simply because it doesn’t have a 50% question loading regarding the Coalitions plans.

      • Trittium
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

        “there is only one choice to answer”


        There are two answer choices.
        1. Support
        2. Oppose.

        It says it right there in the question. End of story.

        “As it is phrased at the moment most respondents will say yes I want a Government NBN high speed broadband access across Australia and I only know about one, the only other choice is to say no I don’t want one at all.”

        False. This is not how the question is phrased at all and is a misinterpretation. The question actually says: “‘Q. Do you support or oppose the following Government decisions?”

        The key words in here are SUPPORT and OPPOSE. It is not phrased as “Do you want an NBN?”. Someone may want a high speed NBN but they do not necessarily SUPPORT the current government’s decision to build one in its current form. Heck, just look at yourself as a perfect example of this type of person where you clearly would want better broadband but are vehemently opposed to the current government’s rollout.

        • alain
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

          There is no ‘choice’ to show if you approve or disapprove of the Coalition version of the NBN, yes I understand it is not the intent of that particular poll which is all about Labor Government policy but I hope any future poll whether it is from this company or others has such a question post a Turnbull Coalition policy release.

          The key question in the importance of NBN policy is if it will influence the vote, for example is the approval of the Labor NBN from a polled Coalition voter strong enough to change their vote to Labor.

          If internal Coalition polling indicated this was a statistically significant amount of Coalition voters shifting to Labor I would expect a not so subtle shift to more of a Labor like FTTH rollout in the coming months.

          But assuming minimal change to what we already know about Coalition policy if the Coalition gain power in September you think that pre election polls results like this will have any bearing on them changing their NBN policy to be more Labor NBN like after September?

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

            As Trittium rightly said, if you support the Coalition’s choice you disapprove, it’s quite simple…

            73% approve…which means they support the current NBN, not the alternative.

            By adding more questions they’d simply cloud things more and I’m guessing had they have asked more questions you would be here asking why they didn’t just ask the obvious one telling question (as they have done) if/when the outcome again, wasn’t to your liking.

            • skywake
              Posted 19/03/2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Technically supporters of the NBN in this poll could also support the Coalition’s alternative but at the same time people who oppose the NBN don’t necessarily support the Coalition’s policy either. As a rule though both of those generally lean towards the “incumbent” policy. People who support the gov policy tend to not support the opposition policy and people who oppose the gov policy have all sorts of ideas on what the better option would be.

              Plenty of people who oppose the NBN who would think FTTN being rolled out by NBNCo would be equally as bad. Plenty of people who oppose the NBN on the grounds that wireless is the answer no matter how much Turnbull wants to ignore that crowd. Not anywhere near as many people who think NBNCo rolling out a multi-billion dollar FTTH network to ~90% of the population is a good idea but would also approve of doing FTTN instead…… I’d wager….

          • Trittium
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

            “But assuming minimal change to what we already know about Coalition policy if the Coalition gain power in September you think that pre election polls results like this will have any bearing on them changing their NBN policy to be more Labor NBN like after September?”

            The short answer to this is no, unfortauntely I don’t believe that polling results like these will actually change the coalition policy.

            But personally, this is the part of the whole tone of politics in Australia at the moment that I find desperately sad. Despite the current NBN policy being largely popular in the electorate (and even with Coalition voters as we’ve seen in prior polls) and the NBN being a contributing factor to the Coalition being unable to negotiate with the independents to form government at the last election, it seems that the current Coalition opposition will romp in at the next election regardless of their telecoms policy.

            With Julia Gillard being so disliked according to recent polls, I don’t believe the Coalition needs to change their telecoms policy to secure enough of the vote to win. I would suggest they are likely going to win for other reasons – so changing their broadband policy away from what it is at the moment will be unnecessary.

            So rather than do the best thing for the country (note I believe that the current NBN is the best thing for telecoms future), the Coalition will most likely stick to their cheaper network because the way things are going, the NBN (unfortunately) won’t be an election deciding issue.

            Perhaps in the future once the Coalition plan is revealed fully and we see another poll what I’ve written above may change… though I would still consider it unlikely. But it would be interesting to know just what the split in opinion between policies is (as a separate poll).

    7. TechinBris
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink | Reply

      Another flamin’ Poll?
      Polls. Polls, and even more Polls. All I know is Polls have been totally dragged into disrepute by Vested Interests Pollsters hankering to skew the population into their desired outcomes that are amiable to their desired profit. Bluntly put, they are a herding device. A noise at you heels to scare you down a selected path.
      Only a fool would bother with them anymore. It is a product polluted into insignificance by those who live by the creation of them.

    8. Samuel of Kadina
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink | Reply

      Given the premium that non Telstra customers are charged in the country for ADSL or satellite, despite the high level of subsidy provided by the Liberal Government, through HiBIS or BroadbandConnect, we know that subsidy to get private to rollout doesn’t work long term in communications. The NBN provides a basic wholesale service universally.

      Another thing on statistics, 100% of all All Bran consumers want Fibre.

    9. Slim Bim Jim
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink | Reply

      My only concern is whether the sample differentiated between Labor’s FTTP NBN and LNP’s FTTN NBN.

      They are being very clever in taking a well known acronym and slanting it for their own uses to muddy the waters.

    10. Bill
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink | Reply

      Just proves how low the NBN is on the list of priorities for most people. Labor should be a shoe-in to win the election if it was so important to most people.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

        “Just proves how low the NBN is on the list of priorities for most people. ”

        Such a low priority yet so many NBN articles in the mainstream media about it.

        That’s very interesting don’t you think Bill?

        • Bill
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I not get your point? If it was such a priority, wouldn’t Labor be well ahead in the polls?

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

            “I not get your point?”


            • Bill
              Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Clever, but still doesn’t explain your point!

            • damien
              Posted 19/03/2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

              HC, I don’t get your point either. Bill’s point (I think) was that as a *primary* or even a secondary voting issue, the NBN doesn’t figure (despite a like for the NBN). For the majority it won’t translate as a vote for Labor, as the electorate has already made up its mind against Labor.

              Only non-ideologue technocrats, like the majority of the readership here, will care enough about the NBN to vote Labor. Unfortunately, we are in the minority.

    11. Adam
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink | Reply

      MT: We’re delivering the NBN too. Faster, cheaper, sooner. Why you no love Renai?

      The problem here is that MT keeps using common terminology but with a very different meaning.

    12. Gwyntaglaw
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink | Reply

      Right about now, Malcolm Turnbull is making soothing noises about he will bring the NBN to fruition, only “faster and cheaper”.

      Somehow I can’t shake from my mind a memory of Microsoft’s tactic of “embrace, extend, extinguish” towards technologies that it doesn’t like, like Java.

      It’s a classic bait-and-switch. It’s as obvious as hell. And despite all Renai’s efforts, it’s probably going to work, too.

    13. Tom Bills
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Its interesting that all of the polls declare ‘support’ for the NBN project, but none of the questions poll the effectiveness of the roll out.

      Its hard to find credibility in the question asked, since the answer is almost a given. It’d be like polling for a cure to cancer; “do you support the need for a cure for cancer”. You’d probably have a very high positive response rate in this instance.

      However if the question was “do you think the rollout of the NBN has been effectively managed”, you might get a very different response.

      I believe the NBN is definately a solution and definately worth pursuing, though as someone with my CCNP, i’m still at a loss (well not really) as to why the NBN co persists with deploying the network where there is little to no fibre to start with… and in regional areas. Deploy the damn thing in the cities with existing footprints and let the project start being utilized at higher capacities and making a return sooner. But alas, the rollout sites are political so who cares about effectiveness right?

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

        “Deploy the damn thing in the cities with existing footprints and let the project start being utilized at higher capacities and making a return sooner.”

        Which is funny because the coalition clowns have been complaining about NBNco rolling out in city areas and have said with their plan they will prioritise areas which are underserved. That means in their scenario they’ll deploy their FttN patchwork solution in regional areas first and areas that have HFC last.

        “the rollout sites are political”


        “who cares about effectiveness right?”

        Apparently you dont else you would have realised the NBN rollout is as effective as it can be since it is working it’s way out from the 121 POI locations.

        • Tom Bills
          Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Thank you for your critical yet unsubstantiated rebuttal.

          The sites are political, its why you can overlay them with the swing seat election maps and the changing electoral boundaries. Or alternatively just have a sit down with some of the union leaders, which I have. They’ll quite readily admit it providing you don’t have the means to throw it into the media mix.

          I’m glad however you provide one word answers and inflammatory responses to a simple statement instead of engaging with my premise about the survey questions asked. A clear indicator of someone who is more willing to fight about a topic than discuss it with sincerity.

          • Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Correlation does not imply causation. Can you prove causation?

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

            “A clear indicator of someone who is more willing to fight about a topic than discuss it with sincerity.”

            Indeed. So when you are sincere about discussing the topic you can provide evidence to back up your claims (The burden of proof is yours). Until then I’m not interested.

          • Paul Thompson
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Sit down with some of the union leaders? I wasn’t aware that the unions ran the ACCC.

          • skywake
            Posted 19/03/2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

            “The sites are political, its why you can overlay them with the swing seat election maps and the changing electoral boundaries”

            Have you actually done this? Do you have some examples? What would it look like if it was political? I’ve asked people claiming this quite a few times in this “debate” and I only ever get fuzzy answers. When I confront them with specific examples (from Perth because I’m in Perth) like the lack of activity in Hasluck (~1% margin) and Perth (10% ‘safe’ Labor seat) while Tangney is prioritised (25% safe Lib seat) it’s brushed off.

            Seems for every specific example you can give someone has a new and different reason (excuse) as to why what NBNCo is doing there is political. But you don’t want specific examples I guess. More “productive” to make broad statements that can’t be falsified and when pressed for examples you cherry-pick to make your case. Sound about right?

          • Austcc
            Posted 20/03/2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink | Reply

            Sorry, that theory was already debunked by non other than the MD of the company that supplied the maps to NBNco.

            Managing director of Callpoint Spatial, Brian Beckor, said electorate information did not match up with telecommunications infrastructure.

            “There are so many technical considerations that go into the network design as it stands, and more than enough factors that are outside NBN Co’s direct control, that adding one other ‘artificial’ geographical constraint would in my opinion render the task nearly impossible,” he told The Age.

            Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/nothing-political-about-nbn-sites-20111021-1mbko.html#ixzz2O1xinYVr

            • alain
              Posted 20/03/2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink | Reply

              Sounds like a reasonable and rational explanation to me, I don’t believe political reasons like marginal seats etc have any bearing on the NBN rollout geographical plans.

              • NBNAlex
                Posted 20/03/2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink | Reply


                Did you forget something?

    14. Paul Thompson
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “But alas, the rollout sites are political so who cares about effectiveness right?”

      Neither side of politics had any say in where the rollout started or where it is being implemented.

      • RocK_M
        Posted 20/03/2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

        “But alas, the rollout sites are political so who cares about effectiveness right?”

        This is perhaps one of *the* most amusing out of all the arguments. It’s one of the biggest strawman arguments out of the entire debate.

        Why would the starting areas of an infrastructure roll out that’s meant to cover the whole nation be such a huge issue? If *everyone* is meant to get an upgrade whether NOW or WHEN THE PROJECT ENDS why is there such huge debates on the starting areas being “politically motivated”? The issue of “have nots” is a moot point unless the project is changed.

        If so then If you were against the idea of the NBN then why is it an issue? Why would the lack of an NBN which is a “white elephant” in your area be a problem? Wouldn’t your area have just saved millions of funding for not getting the NBN? Or is the argument because they *want* the upgrade because it’s coming anyway but are sour grapes because they can’t have it yet and are afraid they never will?

        • Paul Thompson
          Posted 20/03/2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Hi RocK_M,

          I get really amused by those people who effectively say: “I am opposed to the NBN, I hate it, it is useless, noone wants it….. and I demand to have it before anyone else.”

    15. j~money
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink | Reply


    16. Ian P
      Posted 19/03/2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There is an awful lot of sarcasm in here. It’s not surprising. Practically speaking, both sides of politics appear in my opinion to have screwed up the NBN policy: Of course people are going to support something they see as an asset, regardless of the cost, which is why we sometimes see people driving cars or buying houses they can’t afford. Clearly labour made some blunders in going in headstrong with technology definition, lack of a cost benefit analysis and the ultimate and took all the front-end political upside. They also failed to engage the private sector adequately and copped responsibility for the investment good or bad. Time will tell on that one. The libs have probably screwed up even more by joining the technology selection bandwagon and could have used the excuse that things are too far along to be unwound. MT is going to cop a lot of well-deserved heat if he tries to unplug, unbundle, wind-down, scale back and/or give us a half-arsed, mal-optimised network he appears to promise. He says he will deliver it all quicker. Rome was’nt built in a day Mal. Where do I stand politically? On neither side since it’s politics that is getting in the way of proper management and oversight of this development.. The quicker the whole shebang can be reviewed properly without political fighting or interference, the better off Australia will be in our hopefully well connected future.

      • Austcc
        Posted 20/03/2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink | Reply

        You seemed to have forgotten how the current NBN policy came about.

        1. Regarding labor being headstrong with technology definition, remember that NBN mark 1 was originally supposed to be FTTN. That idea was shown be be unworkable by the panel of experts who evaluated the RFP for NBN mark 1.

        2. Regarding no engaging the private sector adequately, the RFP for NBN mark 1 took proposals from all comers. The only private company that did not engage in the process was Telstra, and it was their own choice.

        Regarding FTTN vs FTTP, FTTN is a great choice if and only if you currently own a cost-recovered copper network, and using it allows you to postpone $10B in capital spending by around a decade. It makes absolutely no sense if you need to buy or lease a copper network, or worse, if you need to lay your own copper pairs. When Telstra pulled out of NBN mark 1, that sounded the death knell of a FTTN network.

        • Ian P
          Posted 20/03/2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink | Reply

          Ref your two references to Telstra not engaging in the (bidding) process, is incorrect. Telstra did submit a brief bid but was unable to submit a fully detailed bid due to the fact that issues such as separation of it’s business units and compensation had not been addressed prior to issuance of the RFP. The Telstra bid was subsequently deemed non-compliant.

          History shows that effective commercial negotiation of potential stakeholders was possible but the Rudd government at the time appeared more intent on driving forward it’s ‘nation building agenda’ than getting the best approach over the line. Earlier attempts at a NBN by the Howard government in 2003 via a senate commitee report, actually recommended FTTN ‘or alternative technologies’.

          It is also interesting to note recent reports that the two major carries spent as much if not more than the current NBN annual spend on maintaining their existing networks indicating that capacity to invest would be there where the business case justified it.

          • Brendan
            Posted 20/03/2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Telstra’s bid was non-compliant because they did not complete it correctly.

            To suggest it was an “oversight” or because of some kind of internal structure issue is ludicrous. Telstra’s move was purposeful; Sol left shortly after.

            “Earlier attempts at a NBN by the Howard government in 2003 via a senate commitee report, actually recommended FTTN ‘or alternative technologies’.”

            Because at the time, the incumbent was intended to build said network; Telstra are the initial instigators of FTTN. They own the CAN and have existing infrastructure; at the time it made sense to them and provided a framework to shut down the early days of infrastructure based competition.

            FttN only makes sense if you already own the infrastructure. And this is where Turnbull’s plans fall apart.

            If you’re going to build a new network, the answer is (and has been for some time now) fibre.

          • Abel Adamski
            Posted 20/03/2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

            “It is also interesting to note recent reports that the two major carries spent as much if not more than the current NBN annual spend on maintaining their existing networks indicating that capacity to invest would be there where the business case justified it.”

            But what did we get for that spend in comparison ?, would you like to hazard a reason why such a poor result in relation to essential national infrastructure.

          • Austcc
            Posted 20/03/2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

            “Telstra did submit a brief bid but was unable to submit a fully detailed bid due to the fact that issues such as separation of it’s business units and compensation had not been addressed prior to issuance of the RFP.”

            Change the word unable to unwilling and I will agree with that statement.

            “History shows that effective commercial negotiation of potential stakeholders was possible but the Rudd government at the time appeared more intent on driving forward it’s ‘nation building agenda’ than getting the best approach over the line. ”

            I saw events then in a different light. Telstra’s then chairman and CEO were hellbent on maintaining the monopoly at all cost. They thought they were in the cat bird seat because they owned the copper pairs Since the government’s plan then was FTTN, they believed that the government could not proceed with its plan without acceding to Telstra’s demand. They were so sure of their position that they submitted a non-[compliant] proposal (which, IIRC said something along the lines “Yes we have a proposal, but you aren’t getting it until you give us what we want.”). No one, least of all Telstra, expected the government to bypass Telstra entirely with a FTTH network.

            “It is also interesting to note recent reports that the two major carries spent as much if not more than the current NBN annual spend on maintaining their existing networks indicating that capacity to invest would be there where the business case justified it.”

            Not necessarily. It is not just a matter of comparison of maintenance costs. You need to compare the cost of doing nothing versus building a FTTN network versus building a FTTH network. As I said previously, if you own the cost-recovered copper network, using it to delay spending around $10B is not a silly idea at all.

    Leave a Comment


    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT

    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications

    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry

    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights