blog If you believe NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the NBN Strategic Review released last week is all about re-using HFC cable, implementing Fibre to the Node and minimising the use of Fibre to the Premises. However, a close reading of the document shows that it also finds that former NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley was right: Labor’s original FTTP vision can still be delivered very affordably and in a timely manner. I analyse the issue in an extensive, 3,500 word article on Delimiter 2.0 this morning. A sample paragraph:
“A close reading of NBN Co’s Strategic Review report published last week shows the former chief executive of the company was overwhelmingly correct: A predominantly Fibre to the Premises National Broadband Network can still be rolled out with only modest cost and timeframe implications. But that’s a truth that nobody currently involved in the process seems to want to hear.”
I’m not the only person to have noticed this. I note this article by Informa senior analyst Tony Brown, published on the Sydney Morning Herald. In it, Brown writes:
“… the Strategic Review concludes that NBN Co could actually build the all-FTTP NBN by mid-2024 – just three years behind its original schedule and only four years after the completion of Turnbull’s hybrid model … From a political perspective it now gives his opponents the chance to ask, ‘Why are you delivering a second-class network when we could have a world-class FTTP network with just a couple more years’ work?'”
Politicians are fond of telling selective versions of the truth. It is true that the NBN Strategic Review recommends a model which heavily favours re-use of the HFC networks as well as FTTN/FTTB options … a model which nicely dovetails with the Coalition’s policy requirements. What is not clear at this stage is why this makes any sense at all, when Australia could have a fully fledged almost universal FTTP network for only a few billion dollars more and only a few years later, if a different path was taken.
But then, that’s politics. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has conclusively demonstrated he doesn’t want to hear sense … or even, really, hear the public at all, when it comes to NBN policy. No doubt the Minister would prefer that commentators such as myself and Brown not continually raise these inconvenient truths. No doubt the Australian public, or at least the 70 to 80 percent of it which supports Labor’s NBN model, would prefer the Minister actually, you know, do his job and get Australia a better broadband network, one which would propel us into the future rather than looking squarely into the past.
Image credit: NBN Co