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  • Featured, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, July 29, 2013 12:40 - 111 Comments

    Tassie NBN “will take 80 years”, claims Abbott


    news Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has inaccurately claimed that the rollout of Labor’s National Broadband Network in Tasmania will take “80 years” to complete, in what Labor’s Regional Communications Minister Sharon Bird immediately labelled a deliberate attempt to deceive residents and businesses in the state.

    On Friday last week, Abbott attended a public forum in the Tasmanian city of Launceston. Among other issues, the Opposition Leader was asked about the Coalition’s broadband policy. The issue is a key one in Tasmania. The state, which has historically suffered some of Australia’s poorest levels of broadband access and speeds, was the first in the nation to receive NBN infrastructure under a special agreement with the Federal Government, and Labor’s NBN rollout will be finished first in Tasmania.

    In addition, a landmark report handed down in July 2011 into the Coalition’s loss in the 2010 Federal Election highlighted a failure to adequately respond to Labor’s National Broadband Network plan as a key reason for losing valuable votes in Tasmania.

    However, responding to questions on the issue, according to a report published by Yahoo!, Abbott rejected suggestions that the Coalition’s more modest NBN plan, which will focus on the use of fibre to the node technology rather than the technically superior fibre to the home, would mean Tasmania would suffer a lack of competitive advantage.

    “It will take 80 years before the whole of Tasmania has broadband rolled out under this government,” Abbott told the audience, adding that the Coalition’s version of the NBN could be rolled out faster and cheaper.

    A media release issued by Regional Communications Minister Sharon Bird had the Abbott quote as follows: “Malcolm (Turnbull) reckons that at the current rate of rollout it will take 80 years before the whole of Tasmania has broadband rolled out under this Government.”

    Abbott’s comments appear to be based on the fact that Labor’s NBN project is substantially behind schedule, owing both to issues such as delays in detailed negotiations to gain access to Telstra’s existing infrastructure and customer base, a well as extensive problems in the rollout of the infrastructure itself. NBN Co announced in July that it had only finished constructing its fibre network to some 207,500 premises at the end of June.

    Although there are substantial differences between the two projects, as well as in the geographies of the two countries, British incumbent telco BT revealed last week that its fibre to the node network has passed more than 16 million premises since the network rollout was commenced in 2009, with more than 1.7 million customers having signed up for active connections to the infrastructure. The Coalition has regularly used the BT example to argue that Labor’s NBN vision is taking too long to deliver.

    However, all infrastructure projects start off slow when it comes to their construction, as initial major contracts are signed and underlying project planning put in place. There is a growing body of evidence that NBN Co’s rollout speeds are currently dramatically increasing, compared with the slow speeds which the project has been experiencing over the past several years. The NBN project is currently on track to be completed around the 2021 timeframe.

    In her media release, Bird strongly criticised Abbott for the comments, describing the “80 years” claim as “ridiculous”. “Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull continue to deliberately mislead the people of Tasmania about Labor’s National Broadband Network,” Bird’s statement said. “The only thing that might take 80 years is for Tony Abbott and his frontbench to come up with a policy which offers decent broadband for all Australians.

    “Once again, Tony Abbott has shown he is prepared to say anything to make a political point, proving he is unfit to be Prime Minister. The facts are that the NBN rollout in Tasmania is on track to be completed by mid-2015, covering around 250,000 homes and businesses across fibre, fixed wireless and satellite technologies. Tasmania will be the first state in Australia to be fully connected to the NBN, giving it a competitive advantage over the rest of the country. The NBN is already available to over 36,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania. Construction on the NBN’s fibre network has commenced for another 94,500 premises.”

    Bird pointed out that Tasmanians in areas such as Midway Point, Scottsdale, Smithton, Triabunna, Deloraine, Sorell, St Helens, George Town, Kingston, Hobart and Launceston could already connect to the NBN, with construction also having commenced in areas including Somerset, Weymouth, Beechford, East Devonport, Deloraine and Ross. The NBN fixed wireless service is also available to rural communities surrounding Sorell, Round Hill, Cygnet, Weymouth, Richmond, Lulworth, Herringback, Mole Creek, Huonville, Mount Hicks, Natone, Mount Direction, Deloraine, Westbury, Yolla, Ridgley, Snug, Deviot and George Town.

    “There is a clear choice in Tasmania at the next election when it comes to broadband. Labor’s NBN is delivering a world class communications system that is serving Tasmania’s broadband needs now and into the future.” Bird said. “The Coalition’s second-rate alternative keeps last century’s copper, which will hold Tasmania back.”

    The NBN debate has over the past several years seen politicians from both major sides of politics make false and misleading statements about the project, leading to a situation where academics have commented that the debate is full of “false statements”.

    Bird is certainly right — even under the worst possible estimates, there is just no way that it’s going to take 80 years to roll out the NBN to Tasmania. Even if the whole NBN project runs ten years late, which is extremely unlikely, that would only place the project’s completion data at around 2030. Abbott (and Turnbull, although I haven’t seen the Member for Wentworth make this particular claim publicly) can bluster all they want about “80 years”, but the fact is that the NBN is a massive infrastructure project, and these types of infrastructure projects take time to get off the ground, before ramping up to speed gradually, as the NBN currently is.

    However, it’s also true that Labor and NBN Co themselves did open the door for the Coalition on this one. There really hasn’t been a huge amount of NBN construction work undertaken in Tasmania since the initial first tranche of early fibre rollouts in the state back in 2010 and 2011. Things are getting up to speed now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some Taswegians have gotten tired of NBN Co’s slow rollout speed by now.

    There is also the fact that the Coalition has promised to consider taking fibre to the node services to some areas which, under Labor’s plan, would only receive wireless services under the NBN. On paper, this promise doesn’t stack up — as Bird mentions in a separate media release, the Coalition’s NBN policy promises the same amount of wireless and satellite use as Labor’s. However, the prospect may be tantalising for some of those remote Tasmanian communities currently slated to receive wireless NBN services. FTTN is a flawed and technically inferior technology rollout style compared with fibre to the premises. But it’s likely to be a damn sight better than the NBN’s wireless offering, and that is a fact that, no doubt, some Tasmanians have already taken note of.

    As in 2010, Tasmania will be a very interesting battleground for both sides of politics in the upcoming Federal Election, especially when it comes to the NBN. Why? Because the state’s broadband is crap, and has been so for a long time. Plus, its economy is ripe for the kind of modernisation which faster broadband infrastructure can bring; a fact which its own politicians have long been very aware of.

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    1. Micky
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

      and this is the guy that so many of the public adore, who they clamour to be the next PM.

    2. Dan
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

      “There is also the fact that the Coalition has promised to consider taking fibre to the node services to some areas which, under Labor’s plan, would only receive fibre services under the NBN.”

      Methinks that’s supposed to be wireless.

    3. atlarge
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink |

      Sounds like Turnbull threw Abbott a hospital pass on that one.

      • Non Puto
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink |

        Or it could have been Abbott throwing the controversy Turnbull’s way?

    4. Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink |

      You sure he didn’t say 18 instead of 80 ?

      • PeterA
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

        Not if the online chat referenced by this post by Digital Tasmania is to be believed.

        The written question included the 80 year claim, and TA’s response included the 80 year claim.

        Since it is an online chat (presumably in writing)…

    5. Brendan
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink |

      “It will take 80 years before the whole of Tasmania has broadband rolled out under this government,” Abbott told the audience, adding that the Coalition’s version of the NBN could be rolled out faster and cheaper.

      Technically speaking the rollout (from either party) won’t actually ever truly end. Because the network will continue to grow over time. Australia’s population growth isn’t static.

      Whilst there has been a lot of shrill claims of late, this is exceptional twaddle even so.

      Abbott clearly has very little understanding of what is going on, either within the Labor Policy, or his own parties Policy. He may be the party favourite as leader, but holy hell, learn what the hell it is your party is doing. And you’d better darn well understand what the other guy is doing.

      Lest you be seen for a fool.

    6. Markie
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink |

      I’ve just stopped laughing and wiped the tears from my eyes!

      This guy Abbott gets more more outrageous by the second!

      Go away…

    7. The12thMan
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

      “However, it’s also true that Labor and NBN Co themselves did open the door for the Coalition on this one. ”

      Really Renai?


      Are you seriously suggesting that every Government project that has a roll-out must proceed at a single pace for the entire length of the build, otherwise it’s ‘opening the door’ to outrageous lies?

      I thought you were better than this.

      • Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink |

        hey mate,

        the NBN is substantially delayed — nine months (from memory) by the Telstra deal, and another three months this year. And even then, not all of those premises currently listed as having been passed by fibre can actually connect — in the case of MDUs etc.

        If the NBN rollout was a lot further ahead, the Coalition would have few grounds to attack it. However, the rollout is not on schedule — far from it. You and I understand that there have been legitimate reasons for this, and that infrastructure projects take a while to ramp up. But 207,500 premises in four years is not a good headline look for the government when it comes to the NBN. And that’s true as well.

        “I thought you were better than this.”

        As for this … dude, attack the ideas, not the person. Impoliteness, particularly towards the authors of articles, is against or comments policy:


        • The12thMan
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink |

          Yes, but the delay is nowhere near 80 years.

          You even say yourself “even under the worst possible estimates, there is just no way that it’s going to take 80 years to roll out the NBN to Tasmania.”

          So which is it?

          Has Labour “opened the door” to the outrageous 80 year lie, or hasn’t it?

        • Daniel
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink |

          But that’s not 80 years.

        • Harimau
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink |

          But we agree that those were external factors, right? It’s hard to argue that Labor left the door open for the Coalition to attack it when these delays were out of their hands. It seems to me that what the argument ultimately comes down to, is a criticism of Labor’s powers of prediction.

          Having said that, they have left the door open for the Coalition to attack the NBN by unusually over-publicising what should be a run-of-the-mill infrastructure project, as one analyst recently noted. But then the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor government has been criticised for being unable to sell its achievements to the voting public, and the NBN is one of their greatest achievements and one of the few that has been around since (the end of) their first term. I don’t know if they would have been better off for them not to so strongly promote the NBN as a Labor policy, but as they have, it’s simple bad luck the way things have been going for them there.

          • Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink |

            “we agree that those were external factors, right”

            I’m sorry, but it should have been obvious that it would take a lot longer than the Government predicted to negotiate that massive Telstra contract. It was one of the most complex contracts of any kind in Australian history. It weighs as much as and looks like several phone books. The contracting issues are also pretty standard for infrastructure projects of any kind and the delays could have been predicted.

            You can’t just absolve Labor of all responsibility for these issues — the Labor Federal Government does bear some responsibility for them. Four years ago, it promised to deliver a certain number of premises, and it has consistently failed to meet those time frames. There are mitigating factors, sure, but those factors could have been predicted somewhat in the first place. Negotiate with Telstra? Who would have thought it could take so long???? *sigh*

            Of course, Tony Abbott’s “80 years” lie, and the lies and falsehoods of the Coalition in general when it comes to the NBN, cannot be justified. That’s just obvious.

            But the NBN has also suffered some demonstrably poor planning and project management under Labor, and Labor too must be held to account for that. It has not delivered (yet) on its promises with the NBN, and that’s just accurate. Some of the Coalition criticism of the NBN is justified. Not very much, but there’s a kernel of truth there.

            I find it incredible that Delimiter readers at the moment all join in to whale on me when I imply that anything NBN Co or Labor has done with the NBN has been wrong or that screwups have occurred. But the truth is that things aren’t black and white. Both sides have made good points, and also had problems with their approach. In general, Labor’s approach has been much better, but that doesn’t mean they have gotten everything right. Far from it.

            Problems on both sides, as I wrote here:


            • Observer
              Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink |

              “The contracting issues are also pretty standard for infrastructure projects of any kind and the delays could have been predicted.”

              If this is so, we should expect the Coalition to be able to predict delays when negotiating for the copper network. Furthermore, it would seem highly unlikely that the Coalition will be able to deliver the rollout within their predicted deadline.

            • Chris Watts
              Posted 29/07/2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink |

              Re the delays on the Telstra contract.

              I think of it as trying to predict how long a peice of string is by a person who’s interest it is in keeping it secret. No matter how long the NBN thought it was going to take, Telstra was going to take as long as possible, because it was in Telstra’s interest to string it out.

              Of course it was a different matter once it was finalised and Telstra knew what it had to do to get its wad of cash, but until then, Telstra was continuing to get its monopoly rents.

            • SBD
              Posted 29/07/2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink |

              ” Negotiate with Telstra? Who would have thought it could take so long???? *sigh*”

              All too true, but the mistake is being repeated by Malcolm Turnbull with the repeated/constant assumption of altering the NBN to use Telstra’s copper network (apparently for free cos its no use to Telstra anymore) Altering all those phone books worth of contract, and merrily getting underway with cheaper/sooner broadband, (that, due to some incredible planning is immune to all the time/cost blowout he assures us affect the current NBN). All this significantly completed within 3 years. (will take half that to renegotiate and regear more likely)

              • Posted 29/07/2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink |

                I agree with all your points, but I will point out that the period for the Coalition’s NBN policy to deliver is six years, not three.

                • PeterA
                  Posted 30/07/2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink |

                  I thought it was 25 megabits minimum for everyone in 3, and 50 in 6? or did I misinterpret …

                  • Harimau
                    Posted 30/07/2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink |

                    I think existing Telstra and Optus HFC is supposed to cover the first three years (and be opened to the wholesale market), then get over-built in the second three years with FTTN, but correct me if I’m wrong.

                    • Tinman_au
                      Posted 31/07/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

                      The HFC, under the LBN, is an integral part of the LBN, I’m not really sure that they would bother rolling FTTN into those areas serviced by HFC (HFC is a better version of FTTN anyway….similar system, but with coaxial cable instead of copper…some HFC systems in the US are already looking at DOCSIS 3.1 which can offer up to 10/1 Gbps, I don’t see why they’d bother with FTTN in these areas).

                      And I agree with Peter, Malcolm’s claim is that everyone will have 25Mbps by 2016 is obviously because he expects FTTN to be rolled out by then to those areas that don’t have FTTP/HFC/Wireless/Satelite

                      • Tinman_au
                        Posted 31/07/2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink |

                        The reference for DOCSIS 3.1: http://stopthecap.com/2013/06/12/cable-industry-readies-docsis-3-1-up-to-101gbps-if-they-decide-you-need-it/

                      • Harimau
                        Posted 31/07/2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink |

                        Well if that’s the case, then yeah, just as you and Peter have suggested, logically Turnbull expects a complete FTTN rollout by 2016 (because the current maximum is 24Mb/s on ADSL2, and he wants a minimum of 25Mb/s), not 2019. And that is obviously complete nonsense. Speeds greater than 50Mb/s by 2019 are supposed to be gained with vectoring, right?

                        So isn’t Renai mistaken here? The Coalition’s FTTN rollout is supposed to be completed in 2016 (in order to guarantee a minimum of 25Mb/s Australia-wide), but the project is supposed to be completed in 2019 (so everyone has a minimum of 50Mb/s, keeping ‘just ahead’ of demand and then soon falling behind).

                      • Tinman_au
                        Posted 31/07/2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink |

                        I think the “50Mbps by 2019″ part would be the follow up vectoring project after the main FTTN section of it. it’s hard to know for sure, a lot of Malcolm’s plan is pretty rubbery.

            • Harimau
              Posted 29/07/2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink |

              Of course, Renai, you’re right. But what I disagree with you on is not whether Labor is guilty or not, but what Labor is guilty of. As I said, “It seems to me that what the argument ultimately comes down to, is a criticism of Labor’s powers of prediction.” Labor *should have* predicted that it would take longer and should have added extra time for uncertainty, and even if they didn’t, if they were going to politicise the NBN like this, they should have just added a generous timeframe to each milestone, just to safeguard themselves politically. So Labor are guilty, as ever, of being politically inept. However, your phrasing of the problem supports the accusation by the Coalition that there has been significant mismanagement of the project – and that issue with phrasing is completely irrespective of whether or not you personally, actually believe this.

            • Sonicmerlin
              Posted 30/07/2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink |

              So how long do you think it will take to plan a brand new FTTN Network?

            • Blake
              Posted 31/07/2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink |

              The same people would be running NBNCo…so no.

        • Observer
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

          “If the NBN rollout was a lot further ahead, the Coalition would have few grounds to attack it.”

          Granted but given the Coalition’s track record, they would manufacture some.

          • Alex
            Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink |

            Indeed, as someone else pointed out in relation to MT’s claims of contractors going bust because of the NBN and ergo NBN mismanagement, had the same contractors been making bumper profits, I’m sure we can all envisage the MT claims of wastage and guess what… mismanagement.

            • Lionel
              Posted 30/07/2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink |

              How many of the contractors actually are going broke? Seems many of them are rolling out the NBN without much complaint. Silcar on the other hand, especially in the NT, seemed to be failing before they even started. Odd for a company that did some of the rollouts of test areas to get things so wrong.
              If there is an audit, I’d really like to see one of Silcar. Were they setup to fail and have a large part of their initial payments disappear somewhere? It always seems to be Silcar subcontractors that complain about bad rates. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened. I know quite a few companies that have taken grants from the government based on some product they were going to develop. They then proceeded to use minimal staff to mock things up as cheaply as possible to show development to the pre agreed stage, then stopped. No intention of developing anything. Just doing as little as possible to get as much as possible.

        • Francis Young
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink |

          We must never forget that the Telstra deal was delayed by the parliamentary delays to the enabling legislation, upon which Telstra needed to base its proposal before putting it to the shareholder meeting which gave it 99.25% support.

          Perhaps we can use FOI to obtain the full direct costs to taxpayers of the frivolous late night debates and extra sitting days which Malcolm Turnbull inflicted on the parliament at the whim of Captain Luddite.

          These direct costs would include the full price rescheduled airfares and extra hotel nights of MPs, Senators and their staff which were billed back to Treasury. I think the cost of those months of wrecking tactics is a major blot on the coalition’s record, and until we see the business benefit of the fibre, we will be unable to quantify the indirect costs of this shabby delay.

        • Andrew Mestoth
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

          +1 Renai

          The “delays” so far (on the early part), were due to contract negotiations over duct access. The coalition will go through the whole process again to actually get the Copper this time.

          Whilst the coalition plan is feasible (and IMHO very last century), I don’t understand how, no matter who is directing the policy, they can increase the “speed” of the rollout.

          Digging up trenches and installing fibre to the node within 500m of every house is likely to be only marginally faster than running fibre directly past anyway. yeah it will be faster, but it seems to be only saving one year on the “plans”

          That year will be eaten by the new contract negotiations + any further “shock” news about asbestos or other related delays. Apparently its a news flash, old Telecom pits and exchanges have asbestos in them, Predicting we will (?Australian Financial review article incoming?) discover that we used asbestos in some old copper wires, which may well be in the ground still…..

          (not denigrating any workers that may have been exposed, however the companies should have briefed everyone that there is an exposure risk, and taken appropriate precautions, as the risk exists irrespective of which government’s plan is in use), lumping it as a “NBNCO delay proves Labor is inept” is just short sighted. Liberals plan will suffer the same issue.


        • Tel
          Posted 30/07/2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink |

          … nine months (from memory) by the Telstra deal …

          They never did explain why they are so far behind the original plan on greenfield rollout, and kind of difficult to blame Telstra for that one.

          • Lionel
            Posted 30/07/2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink |

            Wasn’t the original plan on greenfield rollout that private enterprise do it. That NBNCo was provider of last resort? They seem to now be responsible for the lot. I think they should have had a hefty fee to do so. To many penny pinching developers trying to get an extra couple of thousand for each plot of land.

          • Posted 30/07/2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink |


            They are not ‘so far’ behind. The original Corporate Plan called for 63K Greenfields by 2013. They have passed 46K.

            I’d hardly call 17K far behind. It’s 75% complete.

            • Lachlan
              Posted 30/07/2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink |

              There was also a slow down in building approvals.
              From 100k in FY 2011, to 90k in the last two FY.
              That’s a 20k reduction in Greenfields premises right there.
              The green fields numbers should always had the “on demand” aspect of them highlighted in the past business plans. You don’t want NBN co to be blamed for a drop off in house construction.

            • Tel
              Posted 30/07/2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink |

              From “Corporate Plan 2011 – 2013, page 15, 15 December 2010″:

              Exhibit 1.1: Premises Passed or Covered (incremental Year-on-Year)

              FTTP Greenfields Build Total (by July 2013): 70k
              FTTP Greenfields BOT Total (by July 2013): 249k

              Where BOT is defined as:

              BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) Greenfields Build-Operate-Transfer greenfields premises for which NBN Co will sub-contract third party fibre providers to build the network on NBNCo’s behalf.

              So basically they were intending to have 319k greenfields fiber connections by now. They were also expecting better than 70% uptake rate on those (i.e. active connections, paying customers) by July 2013. I think a few people at the time said it was optimistic.

              Their target number of active fiber connections was 511k (brownfields, and greenfields totals).

              Their achieved number of active fiber connections has been 33600 or about 7% of what they set out to do.

              Wanna keep blaming Telstra?

              • Alex
                Posted 30/07/2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink |

                And this equates to the ‘topic’ of 80 years how?

                • Observer
                  Posted 30/07/2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink |

                  I spoke too soon. LOL

                  • Alex
                    Posted 31/07/2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink |

                    Indeed Observer… seems only one cheque was sent/received this week ;)

                    All facetiousness aside… you will however notice the complete deflection from the 80 year claim and the typical complaint (really the only complaint the detractors have) of NBNCo being behind their projections…

              • Posted 30/07/2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink |


                BOT Greenfields aren’t reported by NBNCo. That is why I used the straight number. In fact, I don’t think BOT Greenfields are even in existence anymore- NBNCo. signs off on ALL Greenfield builds and they are connected to the NBN. Those that aren’t, are estates specifically who asked for Opticomm/Telstra or the like and won’t be connected to the NBN until after a exclusion period. I believe the BOT Greenfields were canned- it was what Turnbull wanted- pay the 3rd parties and NBNCo. connects them later. It was canned by the government before the trial rollouts.

                There AREN’T 319K Greenfields built and lived in. Go look at the ABS statistics. Or NBNCo’s own statistics- about 1/4 of the Greenfields passed NOW have residents. That was LOTS passed.

                You then mix Brownfield and Greenfield total customer connection numbers together and say it is 7% compared to the 70% they wanted (which was BROWNFIELDS) (keeping in mind this would’ve been AFTER the first copper switchoff date, which is now still 4 months away.

                I’m not continually blaming anything on Telstra. It was a 9 month delay. That’s fact, whether it was Telstra, NBNCo. or the ACCC or some combination. I’m blaming the shocking maths above on you.

                • Tel
                  Posted 31/07/2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink |

                  I’m only comparing what was on their plan with what was achieved. That’s generally the whole gist of why people do planning.

                  The half-million active connections they planned to have represented a pretty major revenue stream, you know income, the stuff that pays back the tax money that the NBN have been borrowing. Since that revenue stream is now 7% of what it was supposed to be, that’s a major failure in terms of return on investment.

                  • Posted 31/07/2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink |


                    I’m not sure if you’re deliberately not applying logic to NBNCo. but the revenue from 300K users, for 1 year, is the equivalent of about $50 million. NBNCo’s revenue at full copper switchoff will be $9 BILLION. Also, NBNCo. currently AREN’T using debt. They’re using the old communications fund.

                    So your assertion that NBNCo. have failed because they’re a year behind and missing out on said revenue is entirely incorrect.

                    • Harimau
                      Posted 31/07/2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink |

                      “deliberately not applying logic” is the modus operandi of the Liberal voter (see: Andrew Bolt)

        • Sonicmerlin
          Posted 30/07/2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink |

          The delay isn’t 80 years. It will actually result in the rollout costing less due to decreased equipment costs. And unlike the LBN is actually rolling out right now. As in… Today, and is currently in the ramp up phase. How many houses has the LBN connected thus far?

        • Annie
          Posted 31/07/2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

          Well follow your own advice and call Tasmanian people Tasmanians, not Taswegians.

    8. Alex
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink |

      Yes BS is BS, regardless of which political side is BS-ing…

      But seriously… using the “Poitifact” lie ratings, do we really think that the “free NBN connections” and omitting the words “up to” in relation to FoD, are anywhere near the $94B and 80 years gems?

    9. Soth
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink |

      But in 80 years time we will have laser internet! NBN is obsolete already!

    10. Harimau
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

      80 years, is it…

      Here’s my theory.

      I think Malcolm Turnbull was trying to explain to Tony Abbott that Labor’s NBN would “last” for 80 years. Tony Abbott, not being a very good listener or possessed of the gift of critical thought, took away the mistaken idea that that’s how long it would take to roll it out.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink |


        TA’s not a “tech head” and shouldn’t be expected to understand how “years” work.

        • Andrew Mestoth
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

          Loves the technical detail about “years” :)

    11. Kevin Cobley
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

      What I want to know is the cost of getting fibre to my premises under the coalitions policy?
      Turnbull’s now tossing around a figure of 3 grand as a “possibility” I guess now the 5 is really disliked. By the time of the election hopefully it will be under a grand.

      I’ve got Telstra fibre in the conduit 15m from my property and you won’t believe what they want to connect me. It was originally installed for the local council depot 500m from my home, they were obviously jack of the copper.

      Are they going to remediate or replace the copper which goes dark every time it rains?

      • Daniel
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink |

        The only reason why he would say $3000 is to match Cost Per Premises of the current rollout.


        Where as current estimates=~$2500 per premises, $1400 difference.

        And we have Renai & Co complaining about Labor’s NBN difference?

        You ask where $900 comes from? From Malcolm Turnbull himself.


        “Let’s assume that we can spend $900 on average to get a premise up to the most part “.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink |

        The cost of laying fibre is totally dependant on the distance run. Sounds like you aren’t too far from infrastructure, so you may even pay less than $3k

    12. Daniel
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink |

      And lets not forget it was Malcolm Turnbull originally estimated that Labor’s NBN Per Premises cost was $4,000 per premises.

      “The cost of FTTN upgraded to FTTP after ten years of operation measured in today’s dollars is $2963
      per premise, while FTTP up front measured on the same basis costs $4003. Applied uniformly across
      the 12.2 million premises Labor’s NBN proposes to pass by June 2021, the savings in today’s dollars
      from deferring FTTP for a decade would total $12.7 billion.”

      Page 15.

      • Observer
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

        So if we recalculate MT’s proposition, using $2185 as the actual cost per premises, we now have a loss of $9.5 billion. Using his logic, the cost of achieving an ultimate outcome comparable to the present rollout will be $40 billion. This, of course, doesn’t even account for the purchase and maintenance of the copper. Nor, does it take into account the likely loss of revenue due to poorer rate of take up (as seen in the UK and in NZ).

        This is also accepting MT’s upgrading figure, likely to be higher given MT’s tendency to use best case scenario for his plan and worse case for Labor’s plan.

    13. Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink |

      Abbott participated in an online chat hosted by the local paper the next day. Here’s a transcript of the only NBN question and his non-answer. http://www.examiner.com.au/story/1662101/replay-our-live-chat-with-tony-abbott/?cs=95

      11:14 Comment From Digital Tasmania
      Mr Abbott, already ~14% of premises in Tassie can connect to the NBN with the remainder by 2016, how can you seriously say that the NBN will take another 80 years to complete in Tasmania? Your plan wont even get off the ground by 2015 at best.

      11:20 Tony Abbott:
      The NBN rollout is proceeding very slowly indeed: it’s way over budget and way behind schedule in Tasmania as elsewhere. Based on the latest rollout figures Malcolm T says that it will take 80 years to finish in Tas alone. Our commitment is to deliver at least five times current average download speeds everywhere by the end of 2016

    14. Alex
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

      And that’s 80 years just for Tassie?

      • Daniel
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink |

        If you believe Coalition Party.

        It’s simply not true.

        If working 285 days a year, over at 100 premises per day, that’s 28, 500 per year.

        That’s 285,000 over 10 years.

        If working days at 285 days a year, over 500 premises per day, that’s 142,500 per year.

        That’s 1,425,000 over 10 years.

        Apparently Tasmania population is like ~550,000 odd? and slowing?

        If anyone listens to Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott or anyone from the FUD Party.

        Should be shot.

    15. Rohan
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

      “There is also the fact that the Coalition has promised to consider taking fibre to the node services to some areas which, under Labor’s plan, would only receive wireless services under the NBN.”

      So another promise to consider. It’s another empty promise because it won’t result in anything other than: “We had a think about this and decided not to do it, so yeah, it sucks to be you.”

    16. jason
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

      FTTN can not be delivered from the D/A Renai..
      40km copper loop stops fttn from the D/A you only cover 2.7km line length to the pit based on a max distance of 500 meters to 1st point, average for metro copper is anywhere from 0.22mm-0.40mm with average cat-3 spec in the lead-in, you would need the minimum spec of 0.64mm-0.90mm if you wish to consider vdsl2..

      total cost of fttn $40,950,000,000,000 based on 2,100,000 per 1,950,000 D/A’s or nodes

      total cost of ftth $1,462,500,000,000 based on $750,000 per 1,950,000 D/A’s or nodes


      total cost of ftth $2,925,000,000,000 based on $1,500,000 per 1,950,000 D/A’s or nodes

      Current derailment within the LNP policy only deploys from then node itself no options of a node at every 1 km mark or a pit deployment fibre/vdsl2 conversion hardware..
      also there no budget for copper upgrade..

      ALSO NOTE: FTTN under LNP doesn’t START the deployment process until 2017 with a min of 10-15 year deployment process..

      sadly industry is ahead on the speed policy by the end of the year 1000/400 services will be on offer making, looking at capacities within wireless and/or satellite you’ll have a severe device restriction

      fttn on its best day might see (up to) 50/12 if ya lucky even 100/40 makes xdsl joke and HFC isn’t that fer behind..

    17. Haderak
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

      There’s only one response which this speech should have prompted:

      “Mr Abbott! How long will it be before Tasmanian residents can receive 1GB services under the Coalition’s FTTN scheme?”

    18. Simon Reidy
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink |

      This is possibly Abbott’s most stupid NBN gaffe yet. Surely it had to be a random number made up on the spot?! I can’t believe Malcolm would be stupid enough to actually advise him to say 80 years! That’s a construction blowout of 75 years. How can Abbott keep a straight face coming out with such shit?

      If Tony is telling the truth about Malcolm advising him to say this, then I’d like to hear from Turnbull directly about how they arrived at that figure, because it sounds like nothing more than a giant lie. He may as well have said it will take 6 millenia!

    19. Rob
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink |

      Any Chance it was a typo?

      80 years seems like Abbott just being stupid. 8 years seems about what Turnbull would say.

      • PeterA
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

        See Digital Tasmania comment above, where he quotes an online chat that Tony Abbott participated in.
        Tony Answered a written question asking if his 80 year assertion was credible.
        He replied, in writing that it was, again quoting 80 years.

    20. midspace
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink |

      Maybe there was a typo in their transcript?

      “Malcolm (Turnbull) reckons that at the current rate of rollout it will take 80 years before the whole of Tasmania has broadband rolled out under this Government.”

      • PeterA
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink |

        A typo in their transcript; and a further 2 times in the online chat a day later (see above), in both question and answer?

        • PeterA
          Posted 30/07/2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink |

          -1 (-50?) comprehension

      • Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |


    21. Bern
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink |

      Well, technically, if they haven’t been rolling out much at all in Tassie since the first batch of early rollout, then their average rate for the last few months might equate to 80 years to complete. Of course, the people doing 2,000 premises per day on the mainland will have plenty of spare time in a couple of years, so they might as well help out down in Tassie, and get it done in under a year, even if it doesn’t get ramped up before then. :-)

      • Daniel
        Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink |

        As I said earlier in my post, that is not even technically possible to be 80 years.

        You can do as little as 100 premises per day and that equates to 28, 500 per year (or 285,000 over 10 years).

        20 Years perhaps, but not 80 years.

    22. jason
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink |

      also 12.8km is the max coverage you get for xdsl from the node on an up to gauge of 0.40mm anything after that it is purely hit and miss.. foe xdsl service..

      Generally Malcolm is full shit and Tony is not much better..

      Fibre has been on the Discussion TABLE since 1973 within then Telecom Australia (now telstra) Fibre has been on the as an end point solution since somewhere between 1975-77…

      a report tabled circa 1993/4 later revised between 2003-03 and cited the original reports findings within the 1993/4 report…

      Telstra has been at 5 minutes to midnight since 1993 over the state of the copper whether it be aerially deployed or sunk in bare earth deployed..

    23. Peter
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink |

      Abbott please retire now before you really humiliate yourself by loosing another unlooseable election

    24. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink |

      To borrow from Red Dwarf:

      Lister: Sounds like he had a screw loose.
      Rimmer: I don’t think he had one screw fully tightened to be perfectly honest with you.

      That wasn’t about Abbott, but if the screw fits … :)

      80 years. Daft sod!

    25. Alex
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink |

      All he needed to do was say “up to” 80 years ;)

    26. Richard
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink |

      Ho hum, zzzzzzzzz , why even bother reporting such dribble.

    27. RyanH
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

      There are reasons for the slow rollout in Tasmania that present the actual situation in a better light than the summary figures do. I’ve lived in 2 of the areas that currently have NBN access and Tasmanians being a talkative bunch of people, it’s pretty easy to find out where things are at.

      The early rollouts were typically in smaller towns where a significant amount of work was above ground. Early this year construction shifted to Launceston and Hobart. Guess which totally useless telecommunications company that we all love was introduced into the loop when significant underground work commenced. Not to say there weren’t other problems but scheduling (digging under roads and high traffic areas) and asbestos (really the training of staff and getting better information about what is in the ground) have been key in the past few months.

    28. Brendan
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink |

      Given the same people rolling out FTTH would be rolling out FTTN, Abbott has successfully confirmed that FTTN would be as fast as FTTH.

      So “better, faster” is actually “it will take 80 years to roll out FTTN”

      *golf clap*

    29. Jon
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink |

      For Tasmanian voters..

      FTTN to be completed by 2016
      FTTH to be completed by 2015

      Vote Coalition to get a slower network – LATER.

    30. Posted 29/07/2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink |

      Slow clap for Abbott everyone….

      I don’t think even non-techies would’ve swallowed that. He might’ve gotten more credibility from them if he’d said 8 years, even if it was still a lie. But that’s just total and utter horse-shit.

      It’s fortunate that Tasmanians in general seem to be fairly savvy when it comes to politicians. I’d say if the NBN were on those who attended that meeting’s agenda….they were unlikely to have been swayed by that….”information” from Abbott.

    31. Tony
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink |

      “inaccurately claimed” or downright lied?

      This man is a joke, and so are the headlines which hide his real deviousness.

      • Harimau
        Posted 30/07/2013 at 12:44 am | Permalink |

        I think he’s just a genuine muppet. I think of him as Australia’s very own George W Bush.

        • Lionel
          Posted 30/07/2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink |

          Well, not quite as dangerous as GW.
          At least he can’t call for “nukula” weapons to “stop the boats”.

    32. sb
      Posted 30/07/2013 at 3:56 am | Permalink |

      Once again ridiculous statements from Tony Abbott.

      However Once again, the media allows this sort of tripe to be discussed.
      The Media has had no intestinal fortitude, and really go after the LNP regaridng such ludicrous statements.

      Yes Renai, has done the correct thing and reported what rubbish this is, however its very “polite” in its wording. Its is not really asking Abbott or Turnbull to stick to facts and justify such statements.

      Also the remaining gutless media in Australia have not even batted an eyelid. In relation to the NBN and both sides of politics, when are the Australian Media going to hold these clowns accountable to FACTS and truly challenge these clowns when such outright BS is sprouted.

      Thanks Renai for showing what NBN falshoods are being sprouted, however its clear 99% of Australian media dont have the b*%ls to stand up and challenge such utterly ridiculous statements.

    33. david
      Posted 30/07/2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink |

      There are about 200,000 households in Tasmania. Say 250 working days/year, 80 years, so rollout rate needs to be :
      200000/(250 * 80) = 10 per day.

      Definitely looks achieveable.

    34. Alex
      Posted 30/07/2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink |

      Hmm, it’s obvious that something is rotten in Denmark, when even the usual suspect nit-pickers can’t find anything to support TA’s latest wonder statement or try to deflect it all back onto NBNCo…

      • Observer
        Posted 30/07/2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink |

        Strange without Fibroid. Whatever happened to DT? Tel had a bit of a nibble but nothing too serious. Luckily we still get the occasional one hit wonder.

        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink |

          Now we wait… lol

    35. midspace
      Posted 30/07/2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink |

      Yesterday it’s 80 years for NBN in Tasmania.
      Today it’s Tent city for detainees in PNG.

      I’m guessing Tony is aiming for 1 Mad Monk claim per day. Now I need figures for how often he does come back to the NBN.

    36. sigh
      Posted 31/07/2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink |

      And this is the guy who everyone wants as the next PM? Keating was asked not long ago on his thoughts of Abbott being the next PM, his response “God help us all… An intellectual nobody” <- sums it up perfectly.

    37. Roger Ling
      Posted 31/07/2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink |

      Not everyone in Tas will get access to the NBN in Tas, at least not in the timeframes proposed (2015).

      For me I am ineligible for Fibre, Wireless and Satellite, and no I don’t live in whoop whoop or down the bottom of some lonely lane in a gully, but just on the outskirts of Hobart.

      An extension of the Coalition FTTN would look attractive to me as a main road passes quite close by me.

      • LRE
        Posted 31/07/2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink |

        Roger, I don’t think that is possible to not qualify for either 3 under the NBN….

        • Alex
          Posted 31/07/2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink |

          Hmmm, isn’t the NBN 100% (although not by 2015)?

      • Simon Reidy
        Posted 01/08/2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink |

        Untrue. While you may not be lucky enough to receive FTTP (which is certainly unusual given the vast majority of Hobart is receiving FTTP) then you will still be eligible for wireless or satellite via NBNCo, given 100% of Australia will be covered. I live on the outskirts of Hobart too, but I’ll have FTTP access here in 2014 if Labor win the next election.

        If you aren’t in a FTTP area with Labor’s NBN, what makes you think you’ll automatically be in a FTTN area under the Coalition’s plan?

    38. Roger Ling
      Posted 31/07/2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink |

      I will see what pans out LRE, but in my area fibre to home is not being rolled out (fair enough), outside of the fixed wireless footprint (although I think the coverage map is wrong) and not eligible for interim satellite (have existing adsl – 3 mbps and access to expensive but relatively fast 3G, 6 to 16 mbps). Permanent satellite may be offered at some stage but that would be some time after 2015 / 2016.

    39. Observer
      Posted 31/07/2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink |

      Hey Fibroid is back. Got a refresher briefing from head office.

      Nice to see you again speak on behalf of everyone else and coincidentally it fits in perfectly with the Coalition’s second best offering.

      • Alex
        Posted 31/07/2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

        Postman got there at last eh…lol ;)

        • Observer
          Posted 31/07/2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink |

          Maybe if we tell me that him has finally convinced us and that will man some booths for good old Tony, he might leave us alone. I suppose I am being unkind. After all every village needs one.

          • Observer
            Posted 31/07/2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink |

            should obviously be “If we tell him”. Oh, life without an edit button!

            • Tinman_au
              Posted 31/07/2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink |

              Delimiter 2.0 has them, it’s like the FTTP of the pair of sites :o)

    40. dave
      Posted 02/08/2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink |

      “FTTN is a flawed and technically inferior technology rollout style compared with fibre to the premises. But it’s likely to be a damn sight better than the NBN’s wireless offering, and that is a fact that, no doubt, some Tasmanians have already taken note of”

      Is FTTN going to be a “damn sight better” than fixed wireless?!!?!?!

      Wireless NBN is 25mbps …. how fast will a FTTN based service be? …. how fast will it be for those who are outside the area where the current NBN rollout plans to use wireless (and thus I am making the assumption the copper network they’re connected to is not going to be great).

      What evolution of speeds is on the horizon for these two competitors ? (wireless and FTTN) …. very little for VDSL (unless you are within very close distance to the kerbside box) …… and

    41. dave
      Posted 02/08/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

      “FTTN is a flawed and technically inferior technology rollout style compared with fibre to the premises. But it’s likely to be a damn sight better than the NBN’s wireless offering, and that is a fact that, no doubt, some Tasmanians have already taken note of”

      Is FTTN going to be a “damn sight better” than fixed wireless?!!?!?!

      Wireless NBN is 25mbps …. how fast will a FTTN based service be? …. how fast will it be for those who are outside the area where the current NBN rollout plans to use wireless (and thus I am making the assumption the copper network they’re connected to is not going to be great).

      What evolution of speeds is on the horizon for these two competitors ? (wireless and FTTN) …. very little for VDSL / FTTN (unless you are within very close distance to the kerbside box) …… and probably substantial for wireless.

      FTTN has the advantage over wireless of lower latency …. but other than that, the answer is not so clear.

    42. frank
      Posted 25/08/2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink |

      why do people care more about this NBN than a good economy?

      • Lionel
        Posted 25/08/2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink |

        Doesn’t seem to be much wrong with the economy, especially with the dollar returning to a level that makes exports competitive.

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