Turnbull ‘has no clue what he is doing’, says Paul Budde


news Veteran telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has accused Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull of having “no clue what he was doing” with the National Broadband Network project, in the wake of news that the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN has blown out in cost by up to $15 billion.

On Monday this week the National Broadband Network Company revealed that up to 550,000 less Australian premises would receive the full Fibre to the Premises rollout than had been previously been planned under the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix, with the project’s funding requirement also blowing out by between $5 billion and $15 billion. The details were contained in the company’s new Corporate Plan.

Minister Turnbull said the new management of the NBN company had achieved a “formidable turnaround” in the company’s fortunes, stating that its chief executive Bill Morrow and his team had “done a remarkable job in getting this project on track”. When the Coalition took over the NBN, the Minister said, the NBN company’s cost accounting systems were “frankly, so poor”, that they did not know how much it was costing to connect premises with fibre.

“We are determined that all Australians would have access as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible,” he added.

However, the estimates contained in the new NBN Corporate Plan significantly varied from the NBN Strategic Review, published in December 2013 under Minister Turnbull’s stewardship of the NBN. The compilation of the report was led by JB Rousselot, who has prior connections to the Minister and was appointed under Minister Turnbull’s watch.

In a blog post earlier this week, telco analyst Paul Budde wrote that “more lies” were now leading the NBN project “from bad to worse”.

“… the minister promised a quick six-month turnaround for the policy change; but now, two years later, apart from pilots, none of the so-called multi-mix technology (basically a retrofit of the old copper and coax cables) has eventuated. Now the government has also admitted that this retrofit might cost up to $15 billion more than expected,” Budde wrote.

“It becomes clear that this government didn’t have a clue about its proposed ‘cheaper and faster option’. It was nothing more than political rhetoric.”

“It appears to me that the Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has totally under-estimated the consequences of changing the fundamentals of such a large national infrastructure building project midway through the process. In my opinion he simply didn’t have a clue what he was doing.”

Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare also severely criticised Turnbull this week.

“The NBN is rolling out slower than Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull promised it would and the NBN is now costing more than Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull promised it would,” Clare said in a media conference on Tuesday.

“There’s a couple of reasons for that. First is that the deal with Telstra to buy back the old copper network took a lot longer than they expected it would. They promised that would be done by the middle of 2014. That wasn’t completed until the middle of this year. As a result of that the rollout of the fibre-to-the-node network is way behind schedule. Malcolm Turnbull promised that that would be underway at scale by the middle of last year. Well it’s now the second half of 2015 and that still is not rolling out at scale.”

“The rollout of the HFC network for broadband is also way behind schedule. In the Strategic Review the Government promised that 2.61 million homes would get access to the NBN via the pay-tv HFC network by the end of next year. Today it has been revealed that less than a third of that number will get access to the NBN via HFC by the middle of 2017.”

“On top of that the cost of the new IT systems to run this second rate network has also blown out. We were told when the Strategic Review came out in December of 2013 that that would cost an extra $180 to $290 million. We are now told that will cost about an extra billion dollars.”

“So there have been blowouts and delays ever since Malcolm Turnbull took on this job. The NBN is the biggest and the most important infrastructure project in Australia. It will change the way we live. It will change the way we work. Most Australians get it. They want it. They want the NBN and they want the real NBN but unfortunately now under this government they are getting a second rate NBN. What we learnt today is that it will cost a lot more and Australians will get a lot less.”

Fighting words from Paul Budde — one of the few Australian telecommunications experts still willing to go toe to toe with Minister Turnbull on the fraught issue of the NBN. I suspect at the moment that many former critics of the Coalition’s NBN policy are waiting under cover to find out how the Coalition’s MTM NBN plan turns out before passing judgment. But Budde is probably old enough and ornery enough to speak his mind to power no matter what.

As Budde and Clare have pointed out this week, it’s true the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix plan is not going well for the NBN at the moment. The cost blow-outs and the delays are starting to add up, and the pressure is ratching up on the Government over the issue. There is no way for the Government to simply wave away a cost blow-out that could range up to $15 billion.

It’s also true that not all of these problems can be laid at the Coalition’s door. Many of the issues do have their roots in Labor’s stewardship of the NBN. Both sides of politics have responsibility for the NBN — as a project which extends into multiple Governments.

However, ultimately Malcolm Turnbull is the Minister now, and he must continue to take responsibility for the project — especially as he has now been Minister for almost two years and has radically reshaped the NBN during that time.

I would disagree with Budde on one point with regard to the Minister himself.

I don’t think Minister Turnbull is clueless when it comes to telecommunications infrastructure. In fact, I believe he is an extremely intelligent and savvy individual who has taken a great deal of time to educate himself comprehensively on this subject. He knows his portfolio inside and out, and is extremely technically literate and competent. This isn’t just my opinion — these are comments I hear frequently from high-level people who interact with the Minister, both in Canberra and outside the Parliamentary bubble zone in the rest of Australia.

However, it’s important to realise that the Coalition’s MTM model was never truly a technical solution aimed at meeting Australia’s future broadband needs through using the most appropriate technology and the best commercial model.

The current MTM-based NBN project is a creature of politics, and was aimed squarely at solving the political problem that the Abbott Government could not wholly abandon the NBN nor deliver it in the form that Labor envisioned. It is for political reasons that Malcolm Turnbull took Australia down this path. The Coalition needed an alternative NBN vision, and the Minister is delivering it, barnacles and all.

In short, Minister Turnbull is taking Australia down this path deliberately, rather than in ignorance.

The ongoing problems with the project reflect the fact that multi-year, massive infrastructure projects cannot be delivered in Australia without bipartisan support. The root of the issue here is letting politics interfere much too far with policy development and implementation.

Image credit: Paul Budde


  1. “I don’t think Minister Turnbull is clueless when it comes to telecommunications infrastructure”

    With all due respect, I still think you give Turnbull and his collection of “experts” too much credit. Yes, there are people who surround him and support his views. Try to find someone with a true technical background among them though, there aren’t many. Sorry if you hold management and analysts/consultants in high regard, but after 35 years in the computer industry I’ve found very few of them know what they or the people they are directing actual do. You watch the Senate committees, have you ever seen people have less knowledge of what the company they are leading is actually doing?

    Yes, Turnbull has some knowledge, and a little knowledge in the computer industry can be more dangerous than none at all. Most of the cost blow outs seem to be because of things technical experts warned him about before he embarked on the MTM that he attacked and shouted down.

    • I’ve been told time and time again (perhaps 20 to 30 times) by people who interact with Turnbull, people I respect, that Turnbull is very savvy when it comes to technology and understands the issues deeply. I am basing my opinion here on evidence — that’s all I can do ;)

      • Then he should have resigned in protest. Knowing what he’s doing and how bad it will be immediately and in terms of long term cost is worse than ignorance. Ignorance from a politician is expected. Willful destruction is still expected, but less forgivable.

        • Unfortunately successive governments, and this government in particular appear to be more than willing to out and out lie to us. We allow it by still voting for the major parties despite the failures of both parties on a multitude of issues. The 2 party preferred system is broken.

      • If TurnBull really does know what he’s doing then he should be held accountable by a Royal Commission for willfully and knowingly destroying the NBN whilst lining his mates pockets!

        • We have little evidence of pocket lining. Aside from Telstra getting the $11 billion, which was a reasonable necessity due to the change. Of course the change wasn’t necessary but yeah.

          • Actually we do:

            1/ The SR and all the reviews commissioned by MT where written by his mates (JBR, Ergas etc etc) on extreemly large salaries at great cost to us the tax payer

            2/ The ex-telstra execs hired by Ziggy to run NBN Co were allowed to keep their Telstra shares depsite the massive conflict of interest in them working on a deal that would likely boost their stock values in the short and long term

        • Yeah last time someone wandered off with Billions of Australians $ there was a pretty significant manhunt to try and bring them to trial.

          If he’s the savvy politician and is managing to sound convincing enough then ok its no worse than everyone else involved.

          Anything else and the actions are pretty darn near criminal imho (and I mean that literally too).

      • Well that’s the point. You may wish to review those people you respect and why you respect them. Look at their qualifications and see if they have a technical background or gained their “knowledge” through a management circle jerk. As to evidence, what better evidence than results. Turnbull’s “tech savvy” is being tripped up by all the things he was being warned about and dismissed because his own “tech savvy” and that of his “expert” advisors.

      • If you kill someone by accident, that’s manslaughter which has a certain penalty. Kill someone on purpose and it’s murder with a heavier penalty. Check out the legal concept of mens rea which lies at the heart of most of the criminal law.

        In your summary of Paul’s excellent piece, which of course deserves reading in its original form, there is a reference to nbn(tm) knowing very little about the quality of the Telstra network it has bought. You would take more care if you were buying a used car.

      • I’ve been told time and time again (perhaps 20 to 30 times) by people who interact with Turnbull, people I respect, that Turnbull is very savvy when it comes to technology and understands the issues deeply. I am basing my opinion here on evidence — that’s all I can do ;)

        You’re obviously correct Renai, Malcolm’s own money is on FttP. For him to use taxpayer money on FttN tech just shows the LNP is willing to blow the budget just to make sure Labor don’t get a win.

        As you point out with this:

        In short, Minister Turnbull is taking Australia down this path deliberately, rather than in ignorance.

        He isn’t ignorant, but the cap fits for irresponsible and reckless, especially for such a tawdry political outcome..

      • Just because people say it time and time again doesn’t mean it’s an accurate appraisal.

        In the old days of dial up ozemail retained the same pricing and usage structure while all other ISPs developed cheaper and more user friendly models.

      • yeah, well, Blind Freddy can tell Malcolm Turnbull is only 2nd in Cluelessness to Richard Alston. The fact that politicians say they think otherwise is 1) they are blowing smoke up somewhere or 2) They are just as clueless. Being politicians its hard to tell whether they are lying or just clueless.

        Ask anyone with any technical knowledge and they will tell you FTTN, HFC, Satellite and any of the other proposed delivery methods are second rate, and only a stopgap measure. 5 or 10 years down the track, and $56b+ of taxpayers money thrown down the gurlger, they will have to be ripped out and replaced with the proper FTTH solution, and will cost 10 times much.

        Turnbull’s $11b present to Telstra means nothing other than he will probably be on Telstra’s board of directors, getting millions of dollars in retainers, and flying around the countryside in helicopters for his next meeting.

      • “Turnbull is very savvy when it comes to technology and understands the issues deeply.”

        If that is indeed the case it convincingly indicates he has deliberately sabotaged the NBN in line with Abbott’s orders & constantly lied & misinformed us about the relative benefits & costs involved.

      • Turnbull might very well be technically savvy, but the blind spot in his vision is his political administration savvy. I’m a nobody and not even in the tech sector, but I have worked as a public servant before, and understand the incredible inertia that can exist in delivering a project, even one much smaller than a gargantuan undertaking like the NBN. I formally emailed Turnbull prior to the last election to suggest that there would be big delays in trying to change course on such a big project midway through. I could clearly see the huge risk for timing implied by such a change, and felt that the suggestion that the revised nbn would be quicker should be doubted. I think he was truly overconfident about this side of things, and the delays being experienced are no surprise.

        • I have a Telco background (& just about to get back into the Telco space too, finance industry sucks) and I could see the 2 years of nothing coming from a mile away and along with a few others here, we sounded the alarm extensively.

          Renai even apologised to us after it it became clear we were right and he figured out how to ignore TurnBull’s reality distortion field. :-D

      • I’m a bit baffled by your statement here Renai; you mention that you can only base your opinion on evidence even when in the same paragraph you reveal that you’ve been told many times by people who interact with Turnbull, that he is very savvy when it comes to tech and understand the issues deeply! In analysis, of your paragraph, it seems you are only basing your opinion on hearsay and not actual evidence. What savvy means varies a lot and based (evidence talking here) on what Turnbull been actually doing and deciding, then I would side more with Darren’s statement of knowing a little is more dangerous than not knowing at all. At worse however, it means that he knows what is best and just doing something totally different that is not good for other reasons that I could only guess at, but don’t have evidence to back it up with. Either way, the results speak for themselves, a very abysmal performance for the NBN and were it is heading under Turnbull’s watch.

    • With regard to “I believe he is an extremely intelligent and savvy individual who has taken a great deal of time to educate himself comprehensively on this subject.”

      I suspect, like most people who self educate, they tend to follow their prejudices. If you start from a place where MTM is the best way forward, all evidence that this is so will be given greater weight, and opposing views and evidence less weight.

      Once someone has formed a “wrong” opinion, it is rare that it will change, especially if your person would suffer loss from that change. You only have to look at climate change deniers who ignore all scientific evidence to rely on “some guy on the internet” who has performed their own “review”, twisting the facts to suit their bias.

  2. In my opinion he simply didn’t have a clue what he was doing

    Paul Budde Nailing it!

    I don’t think Minister Turnbull is clueless when it comes to telecommunications infrastructure. In fact, I believe he is an extremely intelligent and savvy individual who has taken a great deal of time to educate himself comprehensively on this subject. He knows his portfolio inside and out, and is extremely technically literate and competent. This isn’t just my opinion — these are comments I hear frequently from high-level people who interact with the Minister, both in Canberra and outside the Parliamentary bubble zone in the rest of Australia.

    MT’s biggest asset is his ability to charm the pants off ppl even when he’s lying his a$$ off (which seems to be most of the time) – please dont fall for his reality distortion field again Renai, TBH I think you may be mistaking intelligence and competence for sheer deviousness.

  3. ” I suspect at the moment that many former critics of the Coalition’s NBN policy are waiting under cover to find out how the Coalition’s MTM NBN plan turns out before passing judgment.”

    Judgement has been passed, repeatedly to the point where there’s little point any more as the government clearly has no intention of delivering a decent network. They know it will suck, we know it will suck, the only question now is how many tens of billions will we blow on something that will need to be replaced in the near future with the original plan?

  4. I agree, you give him too much credit. Intelligent as he may be, he has deliberately destroyed a wonderful nbn vision purely to appease lnp policy. That’s industrial sabotage and will cost the nation tens of billions. He should be tried for treason.

  5. Budde speaks much truth about GimpCo in his blog post but with regards to Turnbull having no clue I think there was evidence Turnbull did have a clue it was going to be an unmitigated disaster when he heard Abbott say “Mr Broadband”. Their plan was designed to be a mess from the very start and politically driven so Turnbull certainly has knowledge of this. Turnbulls having no clue is evident in other areas however, like not taking into consideration expert advice about future speed requirements etc.

    • That’s where the wilfully ignoring it comes in.

      I have to agree with Renai, I think Turnbull has known exactly what he was doing. I even lean to thinking he may have preferred not to do it. But he is not willing to commit political suicide in his own party.

      • Not being willing to commit political suicide deserves recognition? It should have been a quality which delivered him high office.

        Certain folk who followed orders rightly lost their heads over the issue.

      • Woolfe,
        MT has already committed political suicide, remember Godwin Grech?
        And he is not going to lead the LNP so he would be be doing us all a favour if he did the best for the country.

        • Makes no difference to me, unfortunately until the coalition (and for that matter Labor) can excise the more extremist elements and get back to a moderate stance I will not vote for either major party.

  6. “Many of the issues do have their roots in Labor’s stewardship of the NBN.”

    Are you able to list them? Or was this merely an abc kind of “balance”?

    • 1. Setting up a brand new company to rollout an NBN, instead of separating the incumbent and having the incumbent upgrade their own network, as virtually every other country has done

      2. Underestimating the magnitude of the construction task, and mismanaging the construction effort

      3. The whole greenfields schmozzle

      4. Underestimating the time and complexity it would take to negotiate the deal with Telstra

      I could go on ;) Labor is not blameless here.

      • Renai, please go on:
        5. No plan for MDUs, 30% passed listed as service class zero
        6. Underestimating the per premise cost (which from the article they couldn’t even calculate)
        7. Repeatedly denying delays, redefining metrics
        8. Incredible generous contact with Telstra / Optus to retire competitive infrastructure
        9. Underestimating satellite demand, too generous data limits
        10. underestimating the premises in the fixed wireless footprint
        11. failing installation contracts with third-parties

        It might be easier to list what they did right:

        CP16 contains the estimated cost blowout for both MTM and FTTP plans.

          • @Renai Serious question, if MTM wasn’t adopted what do you believe would be the peak funding of the original FTTH plan in a revise corporate plan today?

        • I’ll just highlight 9/ for now, They knew the temprorary satellite would not meet demand. They stated it, it was even reported here. Which is why they ordered new ones years ago

          oh, and 7/ is just politics.

          And 8/ see my other reply ;)

        • And to the topic for once, which as usual is ignored with subsequent deflective dogma of… “but they”…


          • “deflective dogma of… “but they”…”

            Begs the question, why it was included in the article? The NBN has been so totally transformed, that anything done by the previous administration (for good or bad) is hardly relevant.

      • 1/ Telstra wouldn’t, it had been tried, and howard closed that door for them. Private industry just weren’t stepping up to the plate

        2/ All which was pretty well sorted by the time the NoBN turned it around. Also “mismanaging” construction effort sounds eerily like a ltdnews report of complex construction issues being encountered and overcome. Nobody said a massive infrastructure project won’t have issues

        3/ Not sure about this one, so I’ll give it to you. Would appreciate some back ground if possible

        4/ See 1 and 2

      • 1. was really the Howard’s government fault, it should never have been sold with the infrastructure, private industry can’t be trusted to keep infrastructure up to date unless there is competition for it.

        2. Yep

        3. can’t remember it ….

        4. I don’t think ANYONE understood that. Look at how long it has taken for this government to get what it needs. Another reason the network should have been separated from Telstra at sale.

        • 1. I agree that the lack of separation is squarely on Howard’s shoulders (can you imagine how much longer it would have taken with that requirement placed on Labor’s list of things to get through?). That said, I disagree that infrastructure should be in the hands of a private company…I have never seen that be a good thing.

          2. Yep

          3. Agree…what was the “greenfields schmozzle”?

          4. Agree…and what’s amazing is that the Coalition repeated the same mistake even after being warned of it.

      • Whilst not arguing there were obviously problems, to quote Bill Morrow – “I think we need to keep in mind the magnitude of this project. What we’re doing here is uncharted in many other areas, unprecedented in many ways. So anybody that thinks that you can predict and come in exactly on a dollar is fooling themselves.”

        … I think that’s a little harsh Renai.

        Thing is, the current government and NBN management should have learnt from previous mistakes, but unfortunately not only have they not, but in comparison to the start up NBNCo who have supplied the framework for them, and keeping in mind Bill Morrow’s comments (which apparently some naysayers only apply now, not previously) they have taken an incompetent fraudband plan, to new levels of complete incompetence and mismanagement, IMO.

      • 1. Setting up a brand new company to rollout an NBN, instead of separating the incumbent and having the incumbent upgrade their own network, as virtually every other country has done

        Do you really think they could have got away with that Renai? I am assuming you mean Telstra should have been the vehicle?

        There is no way I can see that it wouldn’t have ended up in tears in the High Court. I think they did the best they could given the legal minefield that lay ahead them.

        This one was screwed up in the final sale of Telstra, I said it at the time and I will repeat it now. The government should have split it into a fixed line network company, and a retail company. There was probably enough competition in the market for them to keep the wireless part of the business integrated.

        This is where it went wrong, over successive governments man years before.

        4. Underestimating the time and complexity it would take to negotiate the deal with Telstra

        And yet Turnbull decided to double down on this. That is his arrogance, as I have mentioned elsewhere.

        • “Do you really think they could have got away with that Renai?”

          Yes, if they had made a more serious, long-term effort to negotiate with Telstra.

          • Didn’t they try that initially when the NBN Mk1 was around $4.5Billion, and Telstra wouldn’t come to the table?

      • agreed on 2,3 and 4 but regarding point one, how would they compel Telstra to alter their corporate structure , or have I misread what you meant about seperation ? I assumed you meant the kind of thing the government would only have the power to do whilst they owned the organisation who ran the network ?

  7. *sigh* here we go. I’m about to be ripped to shreds again regarding Turnbull.

    People, I’m not saying that Turnbull is doing the *right* thing with the MTM version of the NBN. I believe the MTM path is *not* the right path and that Australia needs a full FTTP rollout.

    What I am saying is that he is not a numbskull. He is conscious of his actions and deliberately doing this, rather than doing it from ignorance. And he is doing it for political reasons. That doesn’t make it right. But it does make him not an intellectual idiot.

    I hope people can appreciate the difference.

    • People appreciate the difference, which is why they’re hoping he’s just an idiot. If he’s not an idiot, then he’s something a lot worse.

      • “he’s something a lot worse”

        What he is is Machiavellian — which pretty much everyone in politics is. If they’re not, they drop out of the system pretty quickly.

        • It seems to have gotten worse with the current government. Sure, there has always been politicians saying things because it’s convenient at the time. But to abandon election commitments wholesale and ignore the overwhelming weight of expert opinion on everything from climate science to telecommunications to economics – it’s unlike any government we have had in the last 20 years.

      • Yeah exactly the sentiment of a lot of people…. We’d rather believe the lesser evil, than the greater.

        Reminds me of a TISM song ;-)

        • The thing about it is, he could have said after reviewing the results of the Strategic Review, we have now decided to finish off Labors sloppy work and do it in one stage, fibre all the way. Turnbull and Abbott would have been our heroes, we would have forgiven and forgotten all the post election lies and bullshit but instead now we hate their guts.

          • Yep… It would have been a massive win for the Coalition. However being that a lot of funding has recently been coming from Village roadshow and other “copyright infringement” issue groups, my guess is that they were being heavily pushed not to let it come about.

            Political parties should be funded by membership only.
            Which would be awesome because then most of the stupid advertising would go away, as well as reducing corporate influence.

          • I think Personal donations / membership should be allowed – Personal donations above $1,000 per calendar year should be declared within 48 Business hours to the AEC and displayed to the public on AEC’s website within 48 hours.

            Parties should be publicly funded as well based on membership levels – say a $ for $ match system like some companies use internally to match staff charity donations.

            It would also have the benefit of encouraging parties to be more democratic which would in turn encourage more ppl to take an interest and join a party. Higher membership levels would in turn minimize the influence of “the crazies” at the far end of the political spectrum (eg the hard-right “Christian” loonies that dominate the Liberal party now).

    • I don’t think Turnbull is an intellectual idiot. I don’t think anyone thinks he is. He just shouldn’t be deciding how the network should be rolled out. he should employ experts to do that. And the basis for the persons expertise should be their knowledge, not whether they agree with him or not. Name one of his experts who is a technical expert? All I see are bean counters and industry commentators.

      • I don’t think Turnbull is an intellectual idiot. I don’t think anyone thinks he is.

        Indeed. He says a lot of idiotic things though, whether it is because he is clueless or politically motivated is up for debate. I don’t think it is necessarily one or the other either, there may be some grey areas which is evident from the 7:30 Report the other night. Turnbull will often default to a political answer in tight situations to hide shortcomings.

        • “He says a lot of idiotic things though”
          Him and his paid “experts”. They are pretending to know more than they really do, all managers, unless they have come up through the ranks do. Even then they tend to hit a period of time when all they knew is useless. The good ones realise this, the bad (usually due to ego and not accepting things have moved on) completely stuff IT projects. Most of the time people buy into and think “Wow, what clever guys”, but for those that know they are bullshitting is really irksome.

        • I chatted to one of his experts on Twitter. Rob Kenny. He’d written an article about bandwidth usage and he was so way off. He had no clue how virtual reality work, nor most of what he was basing he analysis on. Pretty much he got some bandwidth figures for video and applied it to everything. Once I explained where his ideas on VR were out by a factor of about 5-6 at least, to his credit, he did understand why his assumptions about how it worked were an wrong and asked to be pointed to information explaining how it worked. Hopefully at least his VR figures will be better next time and his concept of how it did work is never tried for the sake of peoples stomachs and ultimately carpet.

        • He not an idiot but he is morally bankrupt, people like Turnbull and Abbott make you feel dirty, small people like them drag you into their gutter, no vision, no greatest, neither of them are leaders or champions. I have far more admiration for Gillard, to me she was a champion, Tony Windsor said the same on QandA the other week.

          • I note Tony Windsor is that disgusted he is planning to re enter the fray and run for politics.
            Now that is one man in politics that I admire, plus a couple of the new indies, hope they too don’t get corrupted, but then they don’t have to be part of the party machine

    • Well, we agree with you there.. But I don’t think the previous admin was as bad you picture it.
      Pales into insignificance compared to Turnbull’s cheaper, faster, sooner mantra

      • I think NBN Co’s previous management was fantastic. But I do think they were dealing with some poor structural decisions made by Labor. They suffered the consequences from that.

        • Indeed they were.

          Imo the 3 main mistakes Conroy made were:

          * not overruling the ACCC’s POI decision
          * not insisting NBN Co come up with a non-ADSL influenced pricing and speed tier structure
          * insisting on the prime contractor model

          pretty much everything else was close to the mark or spot on.

          • * not overruling the ACCC’s POI decision

            I think this was one of those damned if you do damned if you don’t situations.

          • Not really, the ACCC clearly overstepped the mark, imo its job isnt to protect legacy business models (fibre backhaul owners serving the redundant adsl market), it’s to protect consumers by ensuring there is competition.

        • Can definitely agree that both major parties (even independents and greens can’t really escape totally) have not helped this potential nation building project be anything other than a bit of a tragedy currently.

          The original company men did a wonderful job considering. Current lot seem to be just ‘yes men’.

          • Why the indies and Greens? They were on board with the Original NBN. They jumped off board with the MTM, for good reason

          • @woolfe its around the whole build from the remote parts into the cities.

            I’m not adverse to hitting up the blackspots and the like but there really hasn’t been a chock full location even planned.

            If a few city spots which have more demand than supply for ADSL I’d wager a few of the uptake ‘arguments’ would be somewhat different. I am pretty sure that was a requirement of their voting along with Labour. I could be wrong.

          • IIRC, the justification for the “build it from the country into the city” approach, was that previous infrastructure projects have started in the city, then, just when they’re about to be extended to the country – oh, dear, we’ve run out of funding, I guess we’ll just have to stop work there and call it done.

            The end point is that country areas are woefully under-served with all sorts of infrastructure. The independents who held the balance of power at the time saw NBN as an opportunity to give country areas a leg-up, and ensure they didn’t miss out on a communications revolution.

            Of course, our current ‘adult’ government is doing their best to make sure that *everyone* misses out on a communications revolution, but that’s a separate issue.

          • “The original company men did a wonderful job considering”

            I agree…and the problems they had were more of execution and teething problems, not the current design and goal problems we see. Labor’s issues could have easily been fixed (and things like Project Fox show that they were well on their way to doing so). Now we are sinking into a quagmire of political misdirection…
            I agree with Renai, Malcolm isn’t stupid…but to label him simply as Machiavellian is an insult to poor Niccolò. Turnbull has become completely unsubtle in his total disregard for what is best for the Country, and is completely and solely about what is best for Turnbull…the country be damned.

    • I hope people can appreciate the difference.

      Totally. That was the gist of my comment.

    • “What I am saying is that he is not a numbskull. He is conscious of his actions and deliberately doing this,”

      and this is why we need a royal commision – imo it would have 2 main benefits:

      1/ Exposing to the Australian Public exactly how TurnBull and Abbott destroyed the NBN

      2/ Serving as a deterrent to all Politicians from both sides who may be thinking of destroying a National project for party political reasons

      that last one might be wishful thinking but we DO need a mechanism to hold Pollies to account and we dont really have that atm.

      • And the present government has given the nation a nice precedent. Just as long as the commissioner is chosen much more carefully.

        • I’m not suggesting this should be political revenge, I honestly believe Turnbull et al have acted directly against the interests of this country and in a fraudulent manner – they need to be held accountable for their actions.

    • “In short, Minister Turnbull is taking Australia down this path deliberately, rather than in ignorance.”

      I think you can add “arrogance” to that list as well.

    • I 100% agree with you Renai.
      When Turnbull was delivering his Opposition NBN presentations it was obvious to me that he did not believe one word of it. Hell, some of it he had to bring in others to say, he couldn’t bring himself to say it.
      He may not be a Network Engineer, but he is a very smart operator who has been holding this portfolio through multiple shuffles by choice. He knew the FTTN was the right solution, but the powers that be wanted otherwise, and he is beholden to them, the Party and Murdochistan.
      IMHO its an error too many people make about Politicians from the other side, that they are simple and/or idiots. They are not, they have got to the top of a ‘profession’ probably more cut-throat than drug dealing, and not by being fools. Sure, some are puppets, well trained puppets who have an intelligent and ruthless staff, but most are smart, determined and ruthless themselves.

      • “Sure, some are puppets, well trained puppets who have an intelligent and ruthless staff, but most are smart, determined and ruthless themselves.”

        A perfect description of Canberra.

      • But they keep telling us, and especially inexperienced school kids, that they ALL approach their calling with the highest motives.

    • “And he is doing it for political reasons. That doesn’t make it right. But it does make him not an intellectual idiot.”

      Actually, it does make him an intellectual idiot. Anyone with intellect wouldn’t sacrifice a country for political gain. In fact, someone with high intellect would see that regressing the technology powering the NBN is hamstringing the digital economy, costing jobs, and increasing the rollout costs.

      If you look at Turnbull’s history of bad decisions, they aren’t based around intellectual prowess, but ignorance. Do we need to be reminded of the Russian rainmakers? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-11-20/turnbull-pumps-10m-into-rainmaking-gamble/731004

      Or maybe his work as Environment Minister? http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2007-10-04/turnbull-approves-gunns-pulp-mill/689310

      Both of those examples collapsed completely. Rainmakers turned out to essentially be a hoax, and Gunns went into administration without being able to set up their pulp mill.

      I have yet to see any evidence Turnbull is the intellectual giant that many portray him as. Just because he speaks like an intelligent person doesn’t mean he is an intelligent person.

      • “Actually, it does make him an intellectual idiot”
        There is a case where someone who is very intelligent would screw over the country for gain. If they were a sociopath.

      • “Anyone with intellect wouldn’t sacrifice a country for political gain.”

        You’re confusing intelligence with motivation. There are plenty of highly intelligent people who use that intelligence purely for their own self-interest. And even people who are quite altruistic will allocate at least part of their intelligence towards looking after their own interests.

          • It was only ever Murdoch propaganda in the first place…. Still nice to see it destroyed and reality shining thru!

        • “There are plenty of highly intelligent people who use that intelligence purely for their own self-interest.”

          What ‘self-interest’ is there in destroying the NBN? It’s not a vote winner, it doesn’t earn Turnbull money, it doesn’t do anything for Turnbull other than convince voters he’s an idiot.

          The only reason to destroy the NBN is he has been told to. Following orders like a good little soldier. This is not a sign of intellect, nor a sign of savvy investing. This is a sign of a complete lack of intellect.

          Turnbull has used lies, misinformation, and sheer arrogance to deflect any criticism. These are not the actions of an intelligent person, but of a desperate person doing the job he was ordered to do.

          The reason why Turnbull wasn’t an effective leader wasn’t because he agreed to carbon pricing, but that he had no idea what he was doing. Any person with intellect, and such political acumen, wouldn’t get rolled by a punch-drunk bigot.

          Look at Turnbull’s record, look at what Turnbull is doing now. He’s destroying the NBN much to the disappointment of 75% of voters who support the NBN.

          While I accept intellect and altruism aren’t intrinsically linked, destroying the country for no personal gain is hardly a sign of an intellectual powerhouse. 20-odd years in ICT and I’ve seen plenty of ‘tech savvy’ idiots.

          • “What ‘self-interest’ is there in destroying the NBN?”

            To answer this question, you need to ask the question: “What does Malcolm Turnbull want?”

            The answer: Malcolm Turnbull wants to be Prime Minister.

            How does he do that, from Opposition, after losing the Opposition Leadership?

            1. Suffer a period of exile.

            2. Eventually make his way back to the Shadow Cabinet, in a relatively junior portfolio.

            3. Come up with a policy in that portfolio which is different from Labor’s, and broadly along Liberal lines.

            4. Be appointed Minister in that portfolio.

            5. Try and maximise his political position while waiting for the Prime Minister of the day to screw things up.

            Does this answer the question? The Coalition’s NBN policy, as I stated before, is a political solution. It only has a much to do with technology as it needs to, to serve its political end — eventually, getting Turnbull appointed PM.


            “Turnbull has used lies, misinformation, and sheer arrogance to deflect any criticism. These are not the actions of an intelligent person, but of a desperate person doing the job he was ordered to do.”

            Nope — they’re the actions of a normal politician.

            Note that I’m not defending Turnbull’s actions or Australia’s political system. FTTP is the right policy for Australia, and the political system is … well, you know how it is.

            But I will say that Turnbull is acting rationally by the rules of the game he’s playing. He is maximising his own self-interest — just not ours.

            As for votes … Turnbull personally doesn’t need the public to vote on anything. He’s in one of the safest Liberal seats that there is. All he needs is for the Liberal Party room to vote the right way.

          • You left out 6. Leak like a sieve!

            Though I guess you could lump that in with 5. :)

  8. For me the last paragraph in your analysis sums up the NBN issues perfectly.

    “If Only” politics could have been set aside so the NBN could have been set up with a bipartisan approach that worked towards what was best for the country. Yes, I know, I saw the pig flying backwards past my windows as well :)

  9. I found Turnbull quite clueless when discussing high bandwidth applications and the requirements of a low latency network.

    And yes there’s no point in discussing the NBN failure now. It’s mission accomplished from the point of view of Murdoch and Abbott. There’s no joy in “I told you so” when our country will be retarded for decades from this fuckup.

  10. Where were all these criticisms before the election ? They start coming out now seriously ?

    Turnbull was a pen pusher he has absolutely zero credibility whatsoever and has absolutely no idea what he is doing and is techno illiterate. And arrogant fascist stooge.

    • They were here, they were always here. But there was also a hope(forlorn) that Turnbull wouldn’t be the greater evil, and that he would manage to massage it into a more palatable situation.

      Heck their own reviews showed that they could have done the fibre for only a little more.

    • Can’t blame Renai for all the Coalition lies prior to the election, heck, a lot of the voting public bought it was well…

    • Where were all these criticisms before the election ?

      Everywhere. Being ignored by those who thought they knew better and the voters that brought into the budget emergency lie.

      I remember I said a few times something along the lines of “Turnbull just has to fool enough people long enough until the election is over”

      So here we are in “I told you so” mode.

      btw Rizz, what is the count on the “I told you so” meter? Are we in triple-digits yet? ;-)

      • I’d suggest ooh, about as many as there are days left in the 2016 deadline countdown, HC ;)

  11. Turnbull will be the one that goes down in history as being the biggest dick , ruining the Largest Infastructure project Australia has endeavoured in creating , which has now turned to crap with MTM tech . Turnbull pack your stuff up & get out you are useless …..

  12. My questions for the cost blow out would be.

    How much is this directly from the change in deployment.

    How far along would the true/real/fibre NBN be along if it had not been messed with. Even with remediaton being required in some areas

    I agree there were issues under labour with the deployment and the blame game. Amongst other thing within NBN Co and its contractors.

    The way I see it if the managerial issues had been resolved then the project would be further along at a reduced cost.

    And with the savings Simon Hackett made then that would have helped even further. Just as they are now.

    • Even with remediaton being required in some areas

      See, that’s the thing.

      Running fibre doesn’t require a fraction of the remediation that FTTN does. Especially as the previous deal with Telstra made it clear that it was Telstra’s responsibility to deliver access to the ducts & pits, and any required remediation was there problem.

      Now, with the new deal, nbn(tm) has paid Telstra *more* money, to take over the job of duct/pit remediation, and on top of that, pay for remediation and maintenance of the old copper, which was in terrible shape to begin with.

      Great deal they negotiated…

      • Don’t forget that pit and duct remediation and asbestos was Telstra’s job at their cost in the original negotiations. Apparently the $2Bill they allocated for that was going to be woefully inadequate (Telstra didn’t have a clue as to their state in the original negotiations and the execs who were responsible for that area are now in in NBN), maybe that was the reason for the delays caused by tardy pit and duct remediation which created such issues not just for NBN but also the contractors as it became obvious LNP would win (That convenient Asbestos issue 6 months before the election), minimise outlay.
        Now Pit and Duct and asbestos are NBN’s problem and Telstra is being paid to do what would have been at their cost previously ( part of the reason for the blow out also being blamed on previous management)

        • +1 Abel…

          Not only that, the FTTP naysayers used to completely blame NBNCo for all of the asbestos problems, claiming, well they should have known… ?

          Like, err, what?

  13. The thing about Turnbull’s claims about this being a hangover from Labor-era NBN Co mismanagement and poor administration is, he had a handpicked group of his own ‘experts’ do a review, and replaced the whole management team. It should have been evident during the SR if cost tracking, accounting and reporting within NBN Co were inadequate. It should have been evident to the new management team in short order. The complete lack of transparency bordering on media blackout since the LNP took over suggests they had something to hide, not that there were glaring, fundamental problems with NBN Co’s practices and processes under Labor. In fact, given the LNP’s history of pitchfork wielding drum banging about any possible or perceived mistake Labor has ever made, the fact that they didn’t capitalise on such a discovery suggests that, in fact, no such discovery was ever made. It’s a political convenient misdirection to deflect attention and culpability away from Turnbull, but if it had any basis in fact there would be evidence; evidence he would have been crowing about 18 months to two years ago.

  14. “I don’t think Minister Turnbull is clueless when it comes to telecommunications infrastructure. In fact, I believe he is an extremely intelligent and savvy individual who has taken a great deal of time to educate himself comprehensively on this subject. He knows his portfolio inside and out, and is extremely technically literate and competent.”
    Agreed 110%.

    Which places his and his parties actions in the realm of criminal fraud and national sabotage, rather than the wrist slapping criminal neglect would have gotten them.

    There NEEDS to be a royal inquiry.

    And I said as much over a year ago on this very site amongst other places.

    • +10000
      Maybe the indie’s can push for one if they hold balance of power, which is a possibility. Especially if Tony Windsor stands again

  15. “In short, Minister Turnbull is taking Australia down this path deliberately, rather than in ignorance.”

    If that is true then this despicable … has not only broken his MP vows, you know the ones that say “govern in the best interests of the people” but has acted in a manner totally against the good of the aust public.

    If there aren’t criminal charges available then there should be.

    Oh and I do believe it’s true.

  16. I’ve never understood why people think Paul Budde is an expert on these things. Most of the information he puts in the public domain is nothing short of fanciful claptrap. However I do agree most of NBN’s issues are a result of political interference and their political ideology.

    The biggest problem with the NBN is the ongoing political interference. Let NBN build what they were legislated to do. The second biggest issue is it’s roll out plan. It should have been concentrating on areas where people had no access to broadband, instead of doing areas that had adequate services until NBN had the time to deliver faster services. This is clearly a result of political interference so that politicians across the political divide can pose for the media and their cameras and claim the brownie points and make the claim NBN now passes x zillion homes and businesses. They’re even now concentrating on overbuilding areas which have had broadband infrastructure provided by other interests. Why would they need to do this now as part of the roll out plan?

    • They’re even now concentrating on overbuilding areas which have had broadband infrastructure provided by other interests. Why would they need to do this now as part of the roll out plan?

      I believe it’s called “pork barrelling”…

  17. The Abbott government and Turnbull had an opportunity when elected to absolutely smash it and become national legends, heroes, written down in history, etc, etc.
    Everyone can agree whilst Labour had the right vision there were a lot of things they messed up along the way. When the Liberals came to power all they had to do was continue the project and do it right, fix the mistakes and they still could have got the job done sooner, faster and cheaper (or whatever MTs slogan was).
    But alas Abbott brought dirty lowdown gutter politics to Australia and it is that mentality that was never going to allow the right way to happen. Regardless of whether it was good or not if Labour was doing fibre Liberal had to do something completely different completely out of spite.
    Everything Abbott does is for Abbott, he does not give a sh%t about Australia or its people, it is all about Abbott. Abbott wanted to be PM at ANY cost and now he wants to stay there at ANY cost. He is already in election mode. The NBN is stuffed, the economy is stuffed, the deficit is doubled and stuffed, our climate will be stuffed, our Defence is stuffed, our public service is stuffed, our health system is stuffed, our digital economy is stuffed, our international reputation and standing is stuffed, our privacy is stuffed, everything is stuffed. But there is Abbott pressing Obama for us to help destroy the death cult, hinting at tax cuts, visiting aborigines in FNQ, just lies, lies and more lies. We cannot get rid of this moron and his cronies quick enough IMO.

  18. Here we go again arguing whether it’s a sandal or a shoe, lets cut to the chase,
    do you have confidence in Turnbull as Minister for Communications,
    IF NOT
    start demanding his resignation, and if you don’t get it from Abbott then at he next election resign the government. Labor and NBNCo may have been driving over the verge at times but they were on the right road. The Coalition and the NBN Mk2 left the road years ago, it wasn’t even a road it was a rabbit hole. Turnbull and Abbott are laughing at you, can’t you see, bullshit baffles brains.

  19. @Renai a serious question for you, handle it any way you like:

    If Turnbull was a major shareholder running a major publicly listed company and he had a number of blatantly dodgy reports written to support a change of direction which ultimately left the company with an obsolete asset they weren’t able properly do due diligence on prior to purchase and as a result the company found itself needing to spend almost double what he claimed to achieve a short term result instead of the original long term result.

    What regulatory bodies would investigate and likely prosecute him along with the company’s shareholders taking civil action?

    • He would have been sacked long ago.

      But here’s the thing: Politics is not corporate life. The knives are a thousand times sharper and there are a thousand times more enemies.

      And it’s very, very hard to sack politicians. People who have the powers to make laws to protect their own positions are very difficult to get rid of.

      I do, however, think that we have a reasonably effective political system, with its three aspects — the Parliament balancing out the Executive, and the Courts balancing out the Parliament. The Senate knocking the really terrible pieces of legislation back, and the Parliamentary Committees improving a lot of the pretty bad legislation. The media keeping an eye on everyone.

      Yes, of course, it’s still pretty bad, but as Churchill said, Democracy is the worst form of Government … except for all the other ones.

      • It’s pretty hard to sack a majority shareholder who’s stacked the board with his ppl.

        I do think we need some additional checks and balances to prevent pollies from destroying national projects that have broad public support but were started by the the other party.

        The libs in particular have form in this area. E.g. Medicare, sewerage systems in eastern states, snowy mountain scheme etc

    • “If Turnbull was a major shareholder” that’s pure fantasy. He wouldn’t put a cent into the POS he is creating. He’d put into FTTP rollouts that don’t suffer political interference from the likes of himself. And that’s exactly what he has done.

      • Well it is a hypothetical scenario to start with…

        Im just trying to highlight that if he did this in the commercial world, he would likely have ASIC and the company shareholders come down on him like a ton of bricks!

        • ASIC is lame, this kinda stuff happens all the time commercially, and ASIC does diddily-squat…

  20. Renai go and read Malcolm’s bio..

    The fact the idiot even has had a lot of shares both in the present and in the past when dealing with communications in general disqualifies him as a minister of communications, due to the conflict f interest he obviously has within the communications industry as a whole, note, go and read that leaked report stating he was going to sit on a moratorium, for atleast 3-4 years and wait for the next election to do anything assuming he still had the communications portfolio by then..

    Look at 3 of his appointees he put in charge ate nbn co all 3 were hatchet men at 1 stage or another whilst being employed by Telstra…

    Historically the LNP does nothing with the Comms portfolios once they come into power, we had 3-4 terms of Howard doing nothing..
    Reality is anything conscieved within the farce that the mtm policy delivers will be within trillions to deploy and maintain past 1.5 years if copper is left place outside the home/premises in active use.
    We will continue to service issues which have bad since the 1990’s for a basic phone service nevermind adding, fax, isdn, ADSL or vdsl codecs to the service lines.

    On deployment history any variation of the fibre to the interconnect a.k.a. Distribution area, node or fttc/fttn/fttdp or any other name variation you want to call it, has its deployment option no later the 1985, telecom Australia was kicking the around the idea of deployment back in 1973 at a bare minimum, it now 2015 and we are still shit kicking the idea fttx-copper deployment when copper as a deployment medium has been dead as a deployed solutions since 1993/4 the worst thing we ever did as a country was float our national telco on the stock exchange and look at the flipping mess we got today…

    I won’t trust Malcolm past his own farm gate…

    I suspect a lot of political heads will roll over this farce of Malcolm’s if ever a royal commission is called and I suspect treason charges can be laid and all nest eggs frozen and confiscated and it will hit both sides of politics, ts going to make the Burke royal commission into wa inc look like a child’s wetdream in comparison and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a qiuite a few media moguls and their staff getting done like a dinner in creation of this farce..

    Anyone and everyone playing both sides of the fence is going to felt hit harder by comparison , it’s make communism trials of the 50’s-70’s look like a child’s play toy… In comparison..

    Becaureful what you wish for because political alliances ain’t going to save your neck.. Regardless of what side of the fence you align yourself too as a media commentator…

  21. I love it. I spent a year working for the Greens and people still accuse me of being biased towards the Liberals :D

    People, once again, I’m not saying I agree with Turnbull’s MTM NBN policy. I don’t ;)

    All I’m saying is that the man isn’t stupid. He is just playing a different game, with different rules, and has different personal aims, than the rest of us.

    • You Liberal shill! /shakesfist “Get off my lawn”!


      I suspect they are just engaging in brinkmanship

    • It’s obvious Renai!

      You were working as an undercover agent of the Libs to get more info on the Greens! =P

  22. I have met and done some IT work for Paul in the past, and i hold him in high esteem and recognise his professionalism. He is passionate, but not political, in my experience. I do trust his judgements in this space he is well researched.

  23. I just can’t understand how the MTM will lead to PM Turnbull. It’s an expensive policy that appeals to no one. How is it helping his cause?

  24. What a expensive hole we dug.

    However this would not weigh in with NBN’s cost report more homes have got the NBN ending June/July”

    When we are all out of pocket thanks to the NBN, what then ?

    Copper has lasted us all this time, it may be aging, it may be slower than fiber, but at least its cost effective.. and it will last us 10 more years…. or more… easy.. Telstra techs just need not to taking shortcuts by using plastic bags to cover exposed wires, and do the job probably.

    There is no reason for a fiber network IF its going to be wrong cost effective in the end….

    NBN is also has its distance limitations too.. FTFN, while FTTP is faster… This is what u get in a mix-technology mix.

    • If they do the job “probably” (sic), then copper isn’t cost effective.

      Copper…fibre…they cost the same to lay. Malcom is gonna need a whole lot more nodes for FttN than they needed FSAM’s for FttP though…and that’s gonna cost ($15b+ more by the looks).

  25. Malcolm Turnbull has a background in financial investment in ICT which paid off bigtime. What I draw from this is that his sector knowledge is real, but relates to his financial acumen as much as tech literacy: he exploited a particular point in time and (investment) place to secure a significant gain. But technology, like finance has both sides of the boom-bust cycle and he is now facing the other side: the build out costs of capital investment in nation building are extreme.

    Malcolm Turnbull strikes me as somebody who is rational, and is rationally opposed to digging a big hole for the future. I’m on the other side of the fence: I think sunk capital in nation building projects pays back beyond the net present value of the money, and I think its worth doing. Same would go for de-carbonising power, or moving from road to rail, or building out Hospitals or social housing: I believe in that kind of investment.

    Turnbull doesn’t seem to believe in it to quite the same extent. He wants a shorter return on investment for less spend. Is he wrong? Am I wrong? Its kind-of moot: He has political power, and he is willing to work to achieve a low-bar investment outcome for $15b more than he said, but probably $30-$50b less than Labor was prepared to spend.

    I wanted the original NBN, even at its cost overruns. I think the financial modelling of benefits has gone wrong and I think the value of that huge investment in the future would have paid off over 40-50 years. What the Libs are now doing will pay back less, sooner, and suit the bankers, and the content owners just fine.

    So is he a tech guru? nope. Is he a financial wizard? nope. Is he tech illiterate? Nope. He just doesn’t want what I want, doesn’t believe in what I believe in.

    • “he exploited a particular point in time and (investment) place to secure a significant gain”

      Yes, and people laud him for that fair enough, he personally made a lot of money. Did he produce a good company? No. He just managed to flog off a failing money pit to some suckers before the dotcom bubble burst. The company, bankrupt in about a year. He primary work at ozemail was trying to sell ozemail at an inflated price, to rich celebrities mainly, as an investment, before ozemail went broke.

  26. If it takes 12 months to get the MTM “accurately costed”, why are we still expected to believe the bullshit politically motivated cost of FTTP?

    • You don’t have to, but at least previous NBN Co got their accounting externally audited. Also, there were faaaaaar less variables involved with the previous rollout, and they’d been getting to this stage for years. The MTM required more negotiations, and for assets that are still relative unknowns; basically, it required starting most the NBN process again.

      So, we are now getting more accurate costs of the MTM, because they are getting to the point where they can give them. It almost has nothing to do with the previous rollout.

  27. You do realise Malcolm’s last explanatory outburst was lifted word for word from a U.S. Telcos YouTube channel circa 1995 as a discriptive…

    Go and read Malcolm’s bio page and you will understand you can not be trusted..

    Given he owns telco stocks in other countries lends to the issue of major conflict of financial interest on his part..

    Malcolm may look a smart so why did the idiot polish a turd of failed policy from Howard first term in office which back then was to costly to deploy..

    It is not any cheaper to deploy it today apposed to 22+ years ago..

  28. BrandonMP what history have you looked at in regards to communcations policies????

    The 3 instalments at nbnco by Malcolm are former hatchet men from Telstra tot he point that accounting for all 3 was a secondary minor doctorate..

    Ziggy as early as 1993 was openly saying it was 5 min to midnight on the copper network..

    I have yet to see a valid CBA produced by Malcolm or co that has yet been a copy a paste from the 2010/11 prospectus report for the business case study..

    Sad to say at the next election I doubt there will be anyone in power to hold an minority government in place given the current stink in both the LNP and ALP nobody will have the political power in place to hold either the upper or lower Houses of Parliament in either state or federal elections given the the political fallout that will happen over the mess Malcolm’s political interferences have caused within a number of agencies its going make the wa inc scandals of the 80’s and 90’s look like a common joke, nobody will be left unscathed from the pending problems caused by this..

    This is going to be felt from local through to regional, through to state through to federal governments..

    Malcolm doesn’t help matters playing the time waster with playing blam games to win browny points here…

    • Ziggy as early as 1993 was openly saying it was 5 min to midnight on the copper network.

      I think he now thinks it’s 5 past midday….politics, the best way to repair copper!

  29. Even if it costs $100 billion to deploy FTTP it still would be cheaper than farce mtm could be facing a $20+ trillion debt on deployment and maintenance costs from the mtm fttn service options are to cost the Aussie tax payer …

    Turnbull might be a business savvy man though as politician he lacks commonsense and has major conflict of interest within the confine of the Comms spectrum…

  30. Turnbull’s “technical competence” is probably OK, …. for a lawyer. He’s far from having the technical expertise of an engineer. All of what he says is puff for the media. Yes, Turnbull is intelligent, …. for someone who did nothing more than Humanities at university. Standing next to Abbott would make anyone look good.

    The seeds of the present stuff up were sown when Alston (the Howard Government’s Comms Minister) sold not only Telstra as a business but all of the infrastructure as well. Therefore, the ducts needed to install the cables for the NBN had to be bought back at highly inflated price. Of course this was not on the political radar when Telstra was sold, the only agenda Alston had was the ideology of privatisation and to sell as much Government owned infrastructure as possible, as quickly as possible.

    The NBN is certainly political, especially when Abbott wanted to scrap it altogether like everything else that was a Labor initiative as part of his political crusade. Hence the dog’s breakfast we have now is to satisfy Abbott’s hatred for all things technology an scientific, this very much what this is all about. Abbott is enacting the wishes of Murdoch who would regard the NBN as a threat to his monopoly of media in Australia. Murdoch regards the NBN as too expensive to implement. Since when does an American media megalomaniac have any say in the running of internal affairs in Australia?

    Abbott’s idea of an economy is to de-industrialise with a scorched earth policy that will set Australia back decades.

    That is to be expected, Abbott is English after all and is nothing but a dead hand on the future of Australia.

    It’s a multi-mix NBN, that is definite.

  31. Turnbull has every clue what he’s doing – crippling the NBN on behalf of Foxtel, i.e. the Murdoch family business, in exchange for seizing power via the manipulation of the gullible masses… the Murdochs have been manipulating election outcomes in the Anglosphere for decades via their rags and outlets. Once you get that in your head, it all makes perfect sense. The LNP will stop at nothing to seize power, they would willingly nuke half the populace without blinking if that would work and they thought they could get away with it.

    • Yep, one thing has become increasingly obvious to any observant individual, is that the LNP seek power for power’s sake, they aren’t interested in making Australian society better for anyone other than the top 1% or so. For all their faults (and they have many), at least the ALP try to make Australia a better place for ordinary Aussies, eg NDIS, Gonski, Medicare, the real NBN and so on.

  32. And a note to those who think the original FTTH/FTTP model was going to be costlier – the teams rolling out fibre were finding much faster ways to do it as they progressed, so the labour cost would have come in under budget.

    The problem now will be installing large fridges on every street with expensive fan-cooled fibre to copper media media converters prone to failure which suck much more power than a simple fibre splitter. And sourcing the increasingly obsolescent technology and expertise to do so. And ditto for the aerial coax cable the NBN Co. just bought off both Foxtel and Optus last November, which is also contributing heavily to the $15 bn blowout.

    But previous posters are right, it was a huge mistake to sell off national infrastructure under John Howard, whether it was ideology or crony capitalism with offers of bribes is unknown. Even the IPO failed the anti-trust, anti-competitive test up front by not breaking up the organisation. What’s surprising is that most ignorant punters actually believe the LNP are some sort of enlightened business masters of the universe, whereas in fact they’re just stooges for the elites.

    And whichever idiot said copper will last a whole 10 years at much slower speeds – properties of media 101 – the same fibre could last 70 years without problems.

    • The libs reputation for economic management is built on two things, Murdoch propaganda and blind luck (mining boom number 1).

      Luckily for us the abbott gov is so incompetent that they have undone decades of Murdoch propaganda for us and should be a spent force electorally for at least 3 elections.

      • A spent force ? I doubt it, for different reasons Abbott is as effective a campaigner as Rudd, he could very well soar back up in the polls over the course of an election campaign, especially when Bill is so wishywashy and delivers speeches off key or tentatively. Even if Abbott lost the next election the Libs would be hard pressed to find a less popular leader unless they went for Dutton and then Shorten would become a one termer too.

        • You only need to see what John Olson did in SA, he destroyed the Libs reputation so well that the Libs have lost the last 4 SA elections. On top of that their former Leader, Martin Hamilton-Smith (a moderate), got so fed up with the nutter Right Wingers in the Libs that he quit the Liberal party and became an Independent minister* in the Weatherill government.

          *Minister for Investment and Trade, Defence Industries and Veterans’ Affairs

  33. It seems as though the question boils down to: is Malcolm Turnbull stupid (or hopelessly ignorant) or is he a scumbag who knows full well how bad his actions are.
    The premise that is presented in the article is that Malcolm Turnbull is intelligent, so he must be doing all of this damage deliberately.
    I don’t think this adequately captures the complexity of human psychology though. Intelligent people can become functionally retarded when they succumb to ideologies or other biases. I suspect that Turnbull suffers from enough bias through ideology, egotism, echo-chambers etc that he is, in this context, functionally retarded. This is how very smart people unwittingly do very stupid things.

  34. Email I sent to Malcolm Turnbull on 3rd September 2013, prior to the election:
    Dear Mr Turnbull,

    Firstly, I think you are doing a good job of holding the govt to account for delays and issues with the rollout of their NBN. Thankyou for your hard work on this.

    However, I have two questions regarding the LNP’s NBN plans:

    1) By way of contrasting with the speed of the ALP rollout, you have communicated the intention of having most people on 25mbps FTTN (or FTTP) by the end of 2016.

    Q. What is are your thoughts on the risks to achieving this aim? What chance it won’t happen?

    To me it seems that in order for this to happen, you will need to:
    a) get acclimatised to being in govt, get to know your department and NBN co.
    b) make departmental and nbn co personnel and program changes
    c) bring about a halt in existing NBN work
    d) Study, devise and make public a new business plan for the new NBN, including the studies you have publicised you will do on the existing NBN arrangements
    e) Renegotiate with telstra
    f) renegotiate (or establish new) contracts with other suppliers and installers of equipment, including tendering for the new work
    g) oversee the rollout of tens of thousands of nodes and a good deal of new cable, and troubleshoot the inevitable hiccoughs in the rollout, contract management etc.

    Given all this I am skeptical that you can deliver 25mbps by the end of 2016, and I think e), f) and g) might be especially time consuming. (On a personal note, I live 15min drive from the Sydney CBD, but have no cable access, and ADSL speed of only 5mbps). You have criticised the ALP for not effectively implementing their NBN vision. What is your confidence in your capacity to effectively implement your own vision?

    2) I have seen some commentators recently suggest that you haven’t actually committed to rollout an NBN, that your NBN plans have been carefully worded to diminish the distinction between the LNP and ALP on broadband issues for the election, without firmly committing to implement anything. Despite what these commentators have said (and I argued personally with one of them) my feeling is that the LNP *have* committed to an NBN, whether it is fttn, or fttp, and doing anything less than this will reflect horrifically on both the LNP and yourself. On top of that, from observing you in public life the last while, I am positive you understand the need for decent broadband in this country, and I doubt you would ditch the NBN. So, my second question is:
    a) what are the risks that your party might overrule you on the NBN, and jettison or at least delay the whole idea of an NBN?
    b) If your party does do this, what will your response to the party be?

    Best wishes for the election,

      • Even though I sent it before the election, the reply came after the election, and was drafted and sent by the public service, not Malcolm Turnbull or his office/staff.

        (received 1 November, 2013):

        “Thankyou for your email dated 3 September 2013 to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, concerning the implementation of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Minister has asked the department to respond on his behalf. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

        I note your concern about the implementation of the Australian Government’s NBN policy. The Australian Government is committed to completing the construction of the NBN and ensuring that all Australians have access to very fast broadband sooner, at less expense to taxpayers and more affordably for consumers.

        The Government’s aim is that all households and businesses should have access to broadband with download data rates of between 25 and 100 megabits per second (Mbps) by the end of 2016. By the end of 2019 the Government expects the NBN to be complete and download data rates between 50 and 100 Mbps to be available to at least eight out of ten Australians.

        In order to achieve these goals, the Government is examining ways to ensure the rollout is as efficient and cost-effective as possible. In the short term any changes will ensure the NBN’s current contractors do not have to lay-off staff and hence can continue to participate in the rollout.

        NBN Co has advised that under current plans it will pass up to 600,000 houses by 30 June 2014 – the same number as it estimated prior to the change of Government.

        On 24 September 2013, the Government provided NBN Co with an interim Statement of Expectations. The interim Statement will guide NBN Co’s construction and operational activities while a series of reviews of the NBN project are carried out. You can read more about this interim Statement on the Minister’s home page: http://www.minister.communications.gov.au/malcolm_turnbull

        The interim Statement instructs NBN Co to complete fibre construction to 300,000 premises nationwide. These are areas where design and remediation have been completed, and construction contracts have been signed – the steps required for the build to commence.

        Further information regarding the NBN rollout in your area will be published by the Government and NBN Co as soon as possible. NBN Co will publish this information at http://www.nbnco.com.au on its website.

        Thankyou for raising this matter. I trust this information will be of assistance.”

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