4G “far superior” to the NBN, claims Joe Hockey


news Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has inaccurately claimed that 4G mobile broadband has the potential to be “far superior” to the fibre technology which Labor’s National Broadband Network policy features, in a controversial interview in which he also claimed that it could cost Australians up to $1,000 to connect to the NBN.

The claims were made in a radio interview which Hockey gave with the ABC’s Statewide Mornings show on ABC 936 in a visit to Tasmania last week. The host, Leon Compton, asked Hockey a number of questions about the Coalition’s own approach to the NBN. In one segment of the interview, Hockey spoke extensively about the potential of wireless technologies to serve the nation’s future broadband needs.

“… there is a great deal of irony in the fact that when the Government did a deal with Telstra for the National Broadband Network, I understand part of that deal identified that Telstra was not allowed to sell its new 4G technology as a competitor to the NBN because 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the NBN,” said Hockey. “So what does the Government do? It says, well, you’re not allowed to market it, as a competitor.”

“And what – you know, I don’t know about you but I use an iPad. The iPad I carry around in the car, I don’t have a cable dragging behind the car. I use wireless technology and I think that’s the way that functionality is going.”

The idea that Australia’s broadband needs could be served in future by wireless technology — especially 4G mobile broadband is not a new one. It has been raised repeatedly by the Coalition over the past several years as an alternative to the fixed FTTH-style rollout which predominantly features in the NBN. The case for wireless as a future broadband replacement for fixed infrastructure has been strengthened by the huge growth in uptake of 3G and 4G mobile broadband services in Australia, with telcos like Telstra adding on more than a million new customers a year.

However, Hockey’s statement that 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the NBN is factually inaccurate. So far, real-world 4G networks such as the 4G component of Telstra’s Next G network, which is one of the leading 4G networks globally, have shown real-world download speeds so far limited to around 35Mbps, in testing by Delimiter and other media outlets.

The speed of 4G technology is rapidly advancing, but it is not believed that these 4G speeds will come close in the foreseeable future to the gigabit per second (1000Mbps) speeds which the NBN’s fibre to the home network will offer in the near future. In addition, the NBN’s gigabit speeds will suffer far less than 4G speeds from congestion as additional users are added to the network, and latency (responsiveness) is vastly improved on fibre networks — between 15ms and 25ms, compared to latency of around 85ms or higher on Telstra’s 4G network.

In addition, commentators such as Telstra CEO David Thodey have consistently stated that they expect Australians to buy both mobile and fixed broadband packages in future, as they serve differing needs; fixed broadband to supply homes with powerful connections to facilitate big downloads such as video, and mobile broadband when outside the home, for access to services which typically require lesser capacity. In addition, mobile towers typically also require their own fibre connections to funnel data back from wireless connections to the major fixed-line telecommunications networks.

In the interview, Hockey also claimed the cost of the NBN was exorbitant for consumers. “At the moment to connect from your home to the NBN and wire your home and go through the process can cost a thousand dollars, can cost a lot more, and people haven’t got that discretionary sum available,” he said. This claim is inaccurate. For the overwhelming majority of consumers, it will cost very little to connect to the NBN, with the infrastructure being laid to their premises and connected free of charge. Internal wiring costs to support fixed broadband are negligible.

Hockey also made a claim about a controversial issue affecting several communities in early stage rollout zones in Tasmania, highlighting the fact that communities such as Sorell would need to have their NBN termination units replaced, as they were part of the early stage rollout of the NBN and didn’t support the whole gigabit speeds which the NBN will offer.

“I understand that in Sorell where it has been laid out, the technology is obsolete at the moment – and I understand this came out in Senate estimates recently – because it was installed before the deal was done between the NBN and Telstra,” said Hockey “… Which means that the NBN in Sorell is certainly not going to be – it’s going to be at the back of the list, not at the front of the list, in relation to the NBN.”

However, again, Hockey is factually inaccurate in his claim that certain Tasmanian communities will be at the back of the list in terms of the NBN. These communities already have access to NBN infrastructure at speeds of up to 100Mbps, the same speeds as the rest of Australia will have when the NBN is rolled out there. The upgrade of these termination units in Tasmania — which will affect only 700 premises — will be finished by the end of the year. In fact, currently, Tasmania is far ahead of the rest of Australia when it comes to the NBN deployment, as the entire state was targeted as an early stage rollout zone for the NBN.

Hockey further claimed in the interview that with respect to the NBN infrastructure, “people aren’t taking it up”.

The Liberal MP is correct in that there is some evidence that NBN take-up rates in some areas in Tasmania have not been as strong as in some areas in the rest of Australia. However, in general, Australia-wide, NBN take-up rates have been very strong. In fact, in communities such as Willunga in South Australia and Kiama in New South Wales, the take-up rate in the short time the NBN has been active in those areas has been north of 30 percent. This rate is expected to accelerate as Telstra’s competing copper cable is shut down in areas where the NBN has been rolled out, forcing Australians to migrate onto the NBN fibre.

In addition, NBN Co recently revealed that where Australians had taken up the NBN, they had taken up much higher speed plans than previously anticipated.

If you look at NBN Co’s corporate plan published in December 2010 (PDF), the company has previously been predicting that in the early years of its fibre rollout, the majority (52%) of customers who signed up for its fibre services would have picked the entry level speed tier it’s offering — a 12Mbps service which is slower even than current theoretical ADSL2+ speeds. The remainder would be split largely between the next speed tranches of 25Mbps (17%) ad 50Mbps (23%), with only a small number (8%) taking the highest speed 100Mbps plans.

However, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley told a Senate Committee last month, when it came to the actual uptake experienced by NBN Co in the real world so far, this graphic had been somewhat inverted. “Overall, 38 percent of active services on our fibre network have been on the fastest speed tier, which is 100Mbps down,” he said. “Only 16 percent of the active services on our fibre network are for the entry-level speed tier of 12Mbps.” For the month of April, Quigley said, the trend was “even stronger”, with almost half of new customers signing up for the highest speed tier of 100Mbps.

Ironically, Hockey claimed in the interview that Australians had not been told the truth about the NBN process. “I think people were misled about the benefits of the NBN. And if you look at the connection rates in Tasmania, that would be confirmed,” he said.

The Shadow Treasurer’s statements about the NBN represent only the latest time which a high-profile member of the Coalition has made a factually inaccurate claim about the project over the past several years.

In late May, for example, the Federal Leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss, made a major factually incorrect public statement with regards to the NBN, inaccurately stating that no resident in his electorate would be able to connect to the infrastructure until “at least the latter part of this decade”. In mid-May, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott misrepresented the cost of connecting to the NBN, in comments which the Government claimed represented a deliberate attempt to mislead the Australian public on the issue. Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull similarly made a number of factually incorrect statements on the NBN throughout March, and in January Abbott got quite a few facts about the NBN wrong in a radio interview.

To be honest, I am getting really tired of the Coalition misleading the Australian public about the NBN. Many Delimiter readers will know that I personally have my own reservations about the project, including the fact that it will wind back telecommunications infrastructure competition in Australia. However, increasingly, the constant flood of misinformation that the Coalition is projecting about the project is forcing journalists such as myself into a combative stance with the Coalition, just to ensure the truth is heard on the matter.

I simply cannot believe that our democracy allows senior politicians such as Joe Hockey to make factually inaccurate claims such as the idea that 4G mobile broadband has the potential to exceed the capacity of fibre, or that connecting to the NBN will cost Australians up to $1,000.

In order to ensure that there is some form of accountability within Australia’s political system, I feel that we need some sort of official fact-checking organisation to follow politicians around and check whether what they are saying is actually true. The press is supposed to fulfil this purpose, but I don’t feel as though it’s doing a very good job. By and large, the Coalition’s pure horseshit on the NBN is going unchecked.

Now, I don’t want to imply that all of what the Coalition is saying about the NBN is untrue. Quite a lot of it — especially analysis by Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull — is accurate, and often useful. The Coalition does often contribute in a positive way to the NBN debate. In addition, the Government is also guilty on occasion of misleading Australia when it comes to sensitive issues; take Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s attempt to mislead the nation on the implementation of the Internet filter, for example, or the constant attempts by the Attorney-General’s Department to block public access to secret talks being held about Internet piracy.

However, what the Coalition is doing with respect to the NBN is a travesty. The statements which the Coalition is making are so blatantly false, that any rational individual hearing them has to call into question whether such inaccuracies are being told deliberately. It feels as though the case that they are is increasing every day.

Image credit: Office of Joe Hockey


  1. Ever heard of latency Joe Hockey?

    The scary part is, these guys will be in power next election and it makes me a sad panda that they truely believe 4G > FTTH.

    My gaming days are numbered. The apocolypse approaches. Might as well end it now.

    • Oh Daniel Myles, you got picked up on by Joe in his fail response:

      You apparently have a fervent sense of entitlement!

      • It is apparent that Mr Hockey, one who claimed to be taken out of context has done the same to others. He chose to focus on that one sentence while ignoring the overall concern about latency, he further misuses this to go on a tangent about video.

      • Quote Joe Hockey “The sense of entitlement that we see among some of the most fervent supporters of Labor’s NBN is well-captured by the first commenter on your story on Delimiter. His/her response to
        the possibility that the Coalition might seek to spend less on the NBN?” “My gaming days are numbered. The apocolypse approaches. Might as well end it now.”

        Lolz!!!!! Yes, clearly the expectation of latency on par with my current ADSL2 service is unrealistic. I’m a fervent supporter of Labor’s NBN now? Umm no, I’m a fervent supporter of technology that doesn’t go backwards in terms of latency and congestion. Clearly my expectations are way too unrealistic. Sense of entitlement, pffff. Nice cherry picking there Joe!!

        I wonder if I’d replaced ‘Gaming’ with ‘High speed work related video streaming’ he still would of used my comment as an example?

        Sorry Joe, my /fail and /facepalm still applies.

    • Saying it is superior is not the same as saying it is faster. Other aspects such as the ability to use it anywhere may be what he is referring to. It’s like saying laptops are better than desktops. Depending on the purpose, it can be correct even if the processing power is not as much.

      I don’t like any of our politicians, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant and so there shouldn’t be a problem with it.

  2. It really gripes me that so many of the Coalition can so blatantly and continuously lie about the NBN, while it is our PM that is subjected to being called “Juliar” based on one broken promise. If politicians are to be held accountable for their words, they ALL should be.

  3. Relax, Renai, its just the Coalition letting T$ write their media statements and policy positions….again. I guess it kind of shows that Coalition really think they are going to win the next election so they think they better start playing nice with T$ again.

    Can I pose a question, to you Renai, to contemplate? I wonder if the NBN is the first major policy position where there are detailed technological facts that can’t be denied, such as bandwidth performance across different media, installating costs, etc.? Do these Politicos realise that there is now a large percentage of the voting population that can find technical facts involved and discuss it easily and instantly through social media. Worse, is this the first major policy issue that this large majority actually understand all the issues involved, deeply? I can’t think of any other social policy where such a large group have such an in depth understanding of the technical facts!

    When will the Coalition (or Governments in general – esp. here in SA) adapt to a policy future much more tightly integrated with technology, where it won’t be possible to spread disinformation or spin easily obtained technical facts? I think the days of easily “honestly presenting dishonest information” are going to get much harder.

  4. “To be honest, I am getting really tired of the Coalition misleading the Australian public about the NBN. “

    And yet, where is the same dogged reporting and scruitiny that has been leveled against Labor’s NBN plan, and the NBNco’s actions?

    I find great irony in this. Despite the No-alition having virtually no plan apart from re-centering Telstra as the Monopoly broadband provider, they seem to be left in favor of lamentations over the NBN.

    I’m sure 4G will be great for latency sensitive, bandwidth heavy applications. Right? It’s always been exception in that space.

    4G, like 3G before it, and EDGE before that, has the mobile market squared away. It’s the right sort of technology for the ‘sidekick’ role. Suggesting that it’s the only way forward shows, yet again, that the L/NP is out of touch.

  5. I should not that my comment isn’t levelled at Renai; it’s more the (rather obvious) trolling from the broader press whom are a bit blinded to the broader picture.

    There’s still a general belief that the Coalition somehow has a better offering, yet can’t seem to quite hold a defined line; or the protestations from the local L/NP party members whom are breaking ranks and openly demanding a better NBNco effort in rollout.

    None of that seems to get traction. Which means the greater public end up as sheep, following the press as though they actually have a salient point (which has been long lost).

    I’d love to see someone pin down Turnbull and put the screws on over their lack of broadband policy.

    • Like most, I’m suspicious of the Lib’s policy until I see it, but in reality it wont take much to be ‘better’. There ARE holes in Labor’s program, and ways to make the program better. It doesnt take much to think of ways to speed up the process (contract for MDU’s for example), or provide a simple footprint in an area (initially roll fibre down Main Street where you can, and branch from that), and so on.

      The current NBN plan has a clear objective, but if your’e realistic about it, there are areas that can be improved quite easily, especially if you’re not tied into it like Labor is.

    • From what I understand of the Libs policy it can be summarised in 2 points –

      1. it is not allocatively efficient to discard existing network assets before their due depreciation date or before providing a demanded service over fibre makes economic sense. This is an eminently sensible position.

      2. The build should be left to the private sector. This is the shaky part. It seems few of our politicians when trumping the power of the market place can see the complete pigs-arse that has been made of the market by public sector regulations, licensing and general money grubbing. It is my view that local NBN’s should have been built by councils with some government support (either by themselves or in partnership with private providers) – much as they build roads and lay pipes. Fibre could have been prioritised over other infrastructure per this wishes of their ratepayers. But of course that is not possible under federal government network licensing laws, nor are the wiretap and other regulatory requirements easily doable on a large number of smaller networks.

      The coalition policy should be fix the public sector and the rest will fix itself. Sadly, the coalition policy appears to be support the ever greater intrusions of the surveillance state and hope people don’t notice they don’t know much about anything else.

  6. LOL Joe Hockey you crazy guy.

    “I understand that in Sorell where it has been laid out, the technology is obsolete at the moment ”

    The technology is obsolete at the moment. Let that sink in for a moment. The technology used is limited to 100mbit and now Hockey says this is actually obsolete practically arguing that speeds greater than 100mbit are in fact needed after all. He then goes on to say “it’s going to be at the back of the list, not at the front of the list, in relation to the NBN” that’s right anyone with a 100mbit NBN box is “at the back of the list” So where does this leave those stuck on ADSL2+ and more importantly where does this leave those that would be stuck on obsolete an FttN network under a coalition plan? Also do the rest of the Liberal party know Hockey is endorsing the NBNcos 250/100mbps, 500/200mbps and 1000/400mbps plans and is arguing we need these speeds sooner rather than later?

  7. I listened to Hockey speaking and my anger levels were rising at each word. It was one of the most dishonest interviews I have heard. There was almost nothing in the interview that was based in fact – and the inept ABC interviewer let them all pass through to the keeper. Honestly, if you are going to ask a politician a question on something like the NBN, do some basic research so you can confront any BS directly.

  8. They just don’t get it. The emphasis is almost invariably on download speeds. Some of us rely on upload for our income. I had a hell of a day yesterday trying to upload video files for a conference in Scotland. Finally had to be outsourced at high cost.

    • Why do some posters like the above have blue names on my ipad, I get why Renaissance gets the yellow background.

  9. The blind leading the blind… Typical of a conservative mind; lacking in critIcal reasoning.

    Most small suburban backstreets have less traffic than freeways — but it doesn’t mean they are better roads or carry more cars than freeways. Joe Hockey’s argument is analogous to saying ‘freeways are expensive to build and I don’t know about you but I spend most of my time on suburban back roads…’

  10. Renai – thanks for continuing to post these rebuttals to the misinformation about the NBN. Please keep it up.

  11. >> “By and large, the Coalition’s pure horseshit on the NBN is going unchecked.”


    Indeed the fact that the Coalition is misleading / misrepresenting / lying about the NBN simply demonstrates that the Coalition *is* worried about the NBN.

    The NBN is a popular project and does enjoy a majority of community support.

  12. I wonder which snippets of information someone like Newscorp would conveniently leave out if they ran this story? Oh that’s right, everything proving Hockey wrong. But hey, why let factual reporting get in the way of swaying voters in the direction that they want?

    Top job Renai, but (asides from a few people I see commenting here), this will only be read by those who already understand the lack of understanding in the Liberals stance on the NBN.

    How many different users browse Delimiter out of interest? To some people this is an important issue. To others they hear that the Liberals can do the same thing as the NBN (WE know it won’t be the same thing but the technologically impaired voter may not) for cheaper, and lets face it, atm in Australia, people are more inclined to believe the Liberals over Labour. And another lets face it, the Liberals will keep on bleating whatever they think will get them into power, whether they know it to be incorrect or not. As much as people correct them on what they say about the NBN, they’ll carry on preaching their non-policy on the NBN as long as people like Newscorp will only put their side of the argument into print

  13. Hockey is a twit. He clearly doesnt realise that his iPad doesnt even support 4G. Not to mention all the other inaccuracies.

    Renai, how come you never get to do one on one interviews with Conroy, Turnbull, Hockey, Abbott, et. al. like the other publications? It would eb good to see an interviewer with a clue interview these guys, and pull them up on their misleading claims in the interview, and ask some hard questions of them.
    The media have been failing in this area for a long time, and the politicians getting too many free passes, and the big loser is the misinformed Australian public.

    • I think you answered your own question there Truth…

      They dont WANT tough questions, they want leading ones that lead them to their propaganda of the day. Both sides are guilty of that.

      Conroy wouldnt want to sit down to an interview where he’s hammered about things that have gone wrong, or pestered about not using existing technology to its maximum (read: TransACT and HFC), just as Turnbull wouldnt want to sit down and be hammered on the mistakes he’s made.

      Both parties have their soundbites pre-prepared, and thats how they like it. Going to be hard to get someone truly independant into that bubble.

    • “Renai, how come you never get to do one on one interviews with Conroy, Turnbull, Hockey, Abbott, et. al. like the other publications? It would eb good to see an interviewer with a clue interview these guys, and pull them up on their misleading claims in the interview, and ask some hard questions of them.”

      I wonder too if this is possible Renai or is it that senior politicians like Conroy, Turnbull, Hockey, Abbott just plainly/flat out refuse to accept invitations on sites like Delimiter knowing full well the interviewer WILL challenge any inaccuracies that said politician tries to palm off to the audience as fact.

      It really breaks my heart that this type of behaviour is allowed to be gotten away with by mainly the Coalition on something as hugely important as this NBN infrastructure project. And I will most likely be one of the “lucky ones” to still get an NBN connection being in the 3 year rollout plan (March 2014). I can’t imagine all the ones outside of the 3 year plan feeling even more dismayed/worried (then me if that’s possible) that Tony Abbott’s Coalition will do almost anything to make sure that Labor’s NBN does not reach it’s full completion as it’s meant to be.

      This what the Coalition is doing is NOT DEMOCRACY, It’s bordering on TREASON all for the sake of POLITICAL IDEOLOGY. It sometimes makes me ashamed to be an Australian frankly.

  14. “… I understand part of that deal identified that Telstra was not allowed to sell its new 4G technology as a competitor to the NBN because 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the NBN,” said Hockey…

    “And what – you know, I don’t know about you but I use an iPad. The iPad I carry around in the car, I don’t have a cable dragging behind the car. I use wireless technology and I think that’s the way that functionality is going.”

    Joe of course left out the critical point that Telstra can and is marketing 4G, just not as a replacement for the NBN. That aside I always found this restriction disingenuous – the ACCC would come down hard on anyone marketing 4G as NBN capable because even comparing NBN 4G wireless to regular 4G is comparing apples with oranges and would be open for challenge.

    • Of course Hockey is ignoring the fact that Apple has been fined by the ACCC for claiming their products work with 4G as well.

  15. I am more concerned than I have ever been. I believe the Coalition had stepped away from their Wireless farce, however, this statement just shows how incompetent Mr Hockey is. If only there was a organisation within parliament that not only fact checked but upon consistent breaches on the same topic forced politicians to lose their parliamentary privileges and their positions.

    I can only hope.

  16. $1000 WTF?? Perhaps you can convince the ministers office to provide you with some leads you can investigate to shed some light on this inconceivable waste from this incompetent Labor government!


  17. Renai,
    Why do you persist using the politically polite term “factually inaccurate” ? Lets call a spade a spade, the bastards are quiet simply lying in a deliberate and somewhat successful attempt to mislead the Australian public.

          • Lol.. that comment made me go wtf at first.. until it clicked that ‘Liberal’ here means something different than the rest of the world… as a foreigner, I just find it funny that here the world ‘liberal’ is used to refer to the conservative party.. with the world itself meaning ‘Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values’

          • It just shows what a bunch of liers they are as they cant even tell the truth about themselves!!! (nothing liberal about them!)

          • we’re getting OT, but as an aside, i actually think it means Liberal in the sense towards lassiez faire, as in “let the free market work it all out!”

            and yes, whatever the LNP think it means it is (to me) a corruption of the usual understanding of the word. they are the conservative party, yes. as ive said before, even William Buckley admitted ““a conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling ‘stop!’” its never been a more apt description of the LNP than it has the last few years.

    • I also find Renai too polite,

      That being said I suppose it is not inaccurate, just too bloody nice. His opinion/analysis was spot on though.

    • I can think of two plausible reasons for saying “factually incorrect” instead of “lying”: one is that it may reduce possible legal problems concerning libel.
      The second is that a Liberal voter who begins to read any such article might keep reading to find out why the party mouthpiece may be accused of being factually incorrect, whereas saying that the mouthpiece is lying will cause them to knee jerk their way out of the page because of a perceived attack and bias, and learn nothing at all.

  18. OMG Joe Hockey. The Coalition is already looking good to win government. Why would you start spouting off complete BS and make yourself look that stupid. I guess since he carries an iPad everywhere he feels qualified to determine our future comms infrastructure needs……

    4G is cool, but there’s no way in hell I’m using it for our small office of 5 people. Actually there’s no way in hell I’m using it as my primary/only connection.

    I hope Turnbull pulled Hockey aside and whacked him in the back of the head for that mess.

    • Turnbull whacks Abbott, Abbott whacks Hockey, Hockey whacks Turnbull..
      Reminds me of the 3 Stooges.

      • Pity there is no such thing as a 4G iPad… Apple were fined by the ACCC for falsely claiming so.

  19. Humm, I actually kinda agree with him, its abit of a troll article I think that probably has joe getting a bit muddled up on some of his facts. But ultimately in some respects from a cost / coverage perspective 4g probably would be better, and latency isnt that bad but I agree upload is where the issue will be, but if you need that sort of upload you should probably be using a commercial link not expecting commercial quality from domestic links where the norm is upload is mostly irrelevent.

    The cost of the NBN is pretty stupid but no one seems to care about that, they are happy with 500 execs getting paid a small fortune to do nothing but sit on endless meetings..

    Anyway just my two cents worth..

    • Some users will pick 4g over fixed line. They’ll get a product that’s fast some/most of the time depending on where they are and the time of day.

      On volume of traffic they’ll pay much more than fixed line. That will be ok for light data users.

      Ignoring upload completely throttles business and social opportunities compared to ubiquitous fixed national network.

      On the infrastructure cost… yes it’s a lot. Just being costly doesn’t make it stupid though. Lots of worthwhile things cost a lot of money.

      The Coalition is also likely to commit a lot of money to a NBN (in a different form). They may well be leaving a patchwork legacy that a near future government will need to fix up with an extra pile of cash.

      Another expensive infrastructure which is worth doing is roads maintenance. Nationally we will likely spend as much as the NBN every single decade.
      http://www.jr.net.au/NLRDS/NPI3.asp (old data. Was $3.2bn per year in 2006. Likely to be much higher now)

    • Actually, Upload on 4G is fine.
      Latency on 4G is fine.
      Download speed on 4G? fine.
      Upload/Latency/Download when 10 years from now everyone has a 4G phone? Good luck with that.
      Download quotas? not fine.

      Future capabilities? Limited.

      4G is fine, it just not the future of telecommunications (for the home user through to the business user). It is mobile broadband, a companion technology, just like now, just like the next 30+ years.

  20. Hockey: “because 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the NBN”

    Context is not in terms of technical definition of network capacity but more in general terms of functional use. And yes, mobile 4G networks has advantages in some respects in functional use over NBN (aka, its mobile).

    Hockey is making a call that the functional advantage of mobile 4G will beat fixed NBN in so that investment is more appropriately placed in mobile 4G tech.

    I’d like to believe that fixed line networks would remain the mainstay of end-user access, but honestly thats not as easy a call to make as say 5 years ago. 5 years ago, I would’ve never believed that the ‘PC’ is being supplanted by tablets/smartphones.. and yet its fairly clear its happening

    • And those devices when used at home connect to fixed line. Apple don’t even allow large downloads on 3G (<20MB I think currently)

      • 50MB is the new artificial Apple limit.

        Food for thought, NBN’s fixed 4G wireless plans is $40 a month for 40GB.

        It would not surprise me if by next year when all Optus/Voda/Optus has widespread 4G networks, we’ll see multi-SIM mobile 4G plans for possibly $40/month for 20GB or so data.

        20GB I think is roughly the threshold when it starts to be practical for maybe 50% of households for general Internet use.

        At 2GB current general 3G limit, its functionally limited to light/medium web browsing only.

        • “20GB I think is roughly the threshold when it starts to be practical for maybe 50% of households for general Internet use.”

          I’d beg to differ Thrawn. The average Australian quota USE is 7GB…..each. So for a household of 4, thats 28Gb straight away.


          It’s certainly true 4G will be a welcome companion to many, myself included, but we’re already using much more quota than is offered at a reasonable price and it’s growing at a rate the price and the networks will likely not keep up with. ie. it’s great to say 50% of households can do with 20Gb now (or 28Gb) but that will more than double in the next 5 years.

          Now we’re talking 50 or 60 Gb (I think rather more with VOD still only emerging in the Australian market) and you’re saying 20Gb for $40? So that would mean $120 for 60Gb…..AND the network has to handle that data on limited spectrum….sorry it doesn’t add up.

          There’s no question 4G will be vitally important in our lives AND become more widely adopted everyday. But the quota it can provide is simply not enough for a reasonable price, partly because the network is expensive in the first place, partly because the network upgrades to keep UP with the data is expensive and partly because networks use quota limits to REDUCE the level of user data on congested networks- hence, 2Gb on 3G being so expensive.

  21. Internal wiring costs to support fixed broadband are negligible.???? Bulls**t

    Only if you choose to go with wireless inside or buy some cable (but not patch leads from Harvey Norman) and run it through your hallway.

    Otherwise internal wiring costs could be staggering. Upwards of 600 bucks if you want a port in 3 or so rooms throughout the premises.

      • I have 3 rooms in my house cabled with Cat6, everything thing else uses WiFi from my BB router!

    • And it’s exactly the same cost as wiring your house for ADSL2. All the cost to wire your home is FUD. You will use whatever you used for your old broadband and only have to pay more if you choose to.

      • Exactly, cost me about $1,000 to cable 3 of my rooms with 4x Cat6 ports in each – funnily enuf these ports will continue to work great under the NBN!

      • It’s exactly the same cost as wiring your home for DIALUP! You don’t NEED to wire anything.. the cost of wiring your home tells you that people will simply look to alternatives such as Wifi or Powerline networking. The sky is falling the fky is falling..

    • “Internal wiring costs to support fixed broadband are negligible.???? Bulls**t”

      Max, what new wiring do you think you need to get the NBN connected to whatever residential network you have today? Assuming you have DSL/HFC today just replace your DSL modem with your NBN router and use your current wiring/network as is. Internal wiring costs: zero.

      You need to explain what *additional* internal wiring *has* to be done to support fixed broadband delivered by the NBN. Preferably the sort of wiring that doesn’t need to be done with any other form of broadband delivery.

    • You’ve got full speed at the NTU so everyone can get the full available speed from at least 1 PC without spending any extra. Beyond that you could spend money on internal cabling.

      As others have pointed out though, it’s not just a NBN problem. I know people who have had cabling done for ADSL2+.

      I know about 5 people who have cabled several rooms for streaming from a media server.
      I have a MythTV HTPC in the lounge room + Netgear NAS with 8TB storage. Cheap network media player in all of the other rooms. Capable of several rooms playing HD 5.1 surround content at once.

      Even for smaller setups than that, wifi or EoP doesn’t cut it for high quality media streaming, especially to multiple rooms simultaneously.

      Plenty of people will have had a reason to cable their house before the NBN reaches their street.

    • The real answer to that is, how much does 3 4G modems + plans cost your user (over say; a 24 month contract period) vs wiring up 3 rooms to the NBN.

      • “The real answer to that is, how much does 3 4G modems + plans cost your user (over THE LIFE OF YOUR HOME) vs wiring up 3 rooms to the NBN.”

        Thats a much better comparison IMHO since an NBN wiring is meant to last over the lifetime of your home. As opposed to having to rely on 4G over the life of your home due to supposedly incompatible wiring.

        • Telstra: “We did not find any plans within your price range that meet your usage need. Here are the highest plans in your price range.”

          The highest 4G plan is only 15GB/month. For $99/month. So for our usage we’d need 10 of those plans: We generally use 150GB/month – mostly streaming various video sites for my family. That’s $990/month! Yes, this is more affordable than the $70/month NBN I’d like to go on. Or the ADSL2+ plan I’m on now for about the same cost, albeit at a sixteenth of the speed of that NBN plan.

          Oh wait, if I restrict it to 120GB I can get a business 4G plan for $600/month. But then there’s excess of $50/GB, so we’d have to be careful not to go over.

          The only place where 4G is “far superior” is the fact you can use it outside your wifi range. So it is a companion to your fixed line. I’ve been a 3G netbook for years, and it has been really handy on the train and out and about. And talking about 4G, I’d get no LTE coverage in my house, my work or anywhere on the commute, so 4G is no more useful to me than current 3G!

  22. And the so called “major news organisations” fail at journalism again letting the LNP (Literally No Policies) retards continue their free ride to our countries detriment!!!!!!

    So F’n over the partisan media in the country!

    PS, cant believe I used to think voting Lib was a good idea! #iFail

  23. “They just don’t get it. The emphasis is almost invariably on download speeds. ”

    There’s also no discussion on actually having a data limit suitable for more than checking your email/facebook. The difference between ADSL and 3G is somewhere between 10x and 100x in this regard.

    It doesnt matter how fast wireless technologies are if we can’t actually use them. I’d love to see an investigative piece on this world-wide: is there anywhere in the world that you can get over, say, 100GB of data over 3G for less AU$100 a month?

  24. The NBN debate has become so one dimensional, people seem to have forgotten where the biggest growths are in broadband uptake and innovation are.

    People are so keen to tell us that to poo-poo FTTH is to lack vision when we are seeing a transformation from expensive fixed broadband to having the freedom to use it anywhere.

    I don’t think anyone disputes that fibre is faster than wireless, but considering emerging trends and that there is no killer application that justifies the reduced latency (and I’m comparing 4G, not single-cell 3G) and significantly higher speeds at the expense of still having the problem of having poorly performing (but improving) wireless, you can almost consider it a VHS/Betamax or Bluray/HD-DVD debate.

    To me, it adds a lot of weight to improving wireless ahead of fibre and replacing copper with fibre when it reaches its end of useful life.

    • @JT, so you are going to buy a 4G sim for every net anabled device in your house are you?


        • Judging by your posts to date you might be wealthy/mad enuf to!

          FWIW I live 15mins south of Adelaide and have tried running my house on Dual-band Telstra 3G via a BB Wifi Router and the the fail was epic – my house has a steel frame and colour-bond roof and I had 2 bars of signal, this was ok as long as only one device at a time was trying to access it. In fact If I ran speed test it was faster than my DSL (3G 7mbps, DSL 4.5mbps) however my VoIP wouldnt work at all and most things we tried thru it just ground to a halt as soon as a second person tried to do something!

          Add to that it was effing expensive – we only did it for 3 weeks because we were without DSL after moving house. So my point, sharing wireless BB is pointless, get yourself a decent fixed line connection and share that!

    • “…replacing copper with fibre when it reaches its end of useful life…”

      In 10 years from now – (when the NBN would/will be completed) – that will have arrived.

      Why spend $17b – (the independent costing of Malcolm’s FTTN plan) – on a stop-gap measure, then spend upwards of $26b to $35b to replace the copper with fibre later?

      That’s $43b, which we could spend less now doing the fibre in the first instance.

      Abbottnomics at work.

      • While this site has been on a crusade to highlight the worst of the copper network, there will be parts of the network that do have longer than ten years to them, while there are other parts that need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

        Let’s not limit ourselves to the PSTN – existing DOCSIS 3.0 HFC networks still have plenty of life in them and are more than capable of exceeding by an order of magnitude NBNCo’s baseline of 12Mbps.

        • Optus has confirmed that it has zero intentions of upgrading its HFC network. Given that Telstra’s HFC network covers not much past bugger all – upgrading HFC is a moot point.

          • neither of the cable operators have that many customers on it either, iirc. the figures came up recently – i think Optus was a half mil? considering how many houses are passed, in the order of 2.5mil, and the fact it will never be extended, and then tack on the maintenance costs….if it werent for the paytv i rather suspect one of the cable nets would have been binned by now. upgrading HFC is really not the way i would go for a network build.

            just by the bye, im wondering what sort of power draw the HFC cables use. i bet its a not inconsiderable sum. if Optus has 500K customers on 2.5-7 mil lines, say, keeping the lot lit for 1/5 takeup has got to hurt. thats one cost NBNco largely doesnt have to wear, and theres no chance they will wind up with 1/5 takeup with the deals that have been done for copper retirement. i think the reality is that HFC is a poor option to keep alive, DOCSIS 3 notwithstanding.

          • Pretty close nonny.

            I don’t have the figures here, I’m on my phone, but if memory serves, 487 000 on the cable total, of which 60 000 odd are PayTv only.

            The power requirements are very interesting actually, particularly in light of the carbon tax. It would be a not insubstantial amount of power and under a carbon tax, Telstra and Optus would likely pass that on through retail prices. Sure, you’re only talking probably tens of cents per user if that, but the point of the carbon tax is to discourage high electricity use, or move to green providers.

            I’m certainly no expert on this stuff, although I did materials science at Uni, but I dare say the amount of power a fibre exchange needs could have a significant portion supplied by a solar panel on the roof of the exchange. Maybe even 20% or so.

        • “existing DOCSIS 3.0 HFC networks still have plenty of life in them and are more than capable of exceeding by an order of magnitude NBNCo’s baseline of 12Mbps.”

          Not really, for a start people choosing the 12/1mbps plan on the NBN are in a minority, it is the least popular plan. The most popular one is the 100/40mbps plan. Impossible on HFC. 2mbps is not an “order of magnitude” above 1mbps either. 40mbps and 20mbps are. 67% on the NBN have chosen the 100/40mbps or 50/20mbps plans. HFC loses, it’s no contest.

          • DOCSIS does have the capacity to offer much higher upload speed, it’s just Telstra and Optus don’t allow it. I know people in the USA with 50/20 cable, etc. Telstra hates customers having fast upload speeds: See ADSL 8000/384 speed limit! And the old “512/512” was more expensive than 1500/256.

        • 82% of all NBN users have chosen higher speed tiers than 12Mbps, including 37% having chosen 100Mbps.

          Wireless or HFC will not deliver the 1000Mbps/1000Mbps services that will be available as business grade packages within a couple of years on the NBN.

          Wireless and HFC is a shared medium – meaning the more users you put on them, the slower they go. Fibre is not a shared medium.

          If you’re gonna argue, know what you’re arguing about.

    • “when we are seeing a transformation from expensive fixed broadband”

      You must be misinformed. Fixed broadband isn’t expensive at all.

    • “People are so keen to tell us that to poo-poo FTTH is to lack vision when we are seeing a transformation from expensive fixed broadband to having the freedom to use it anywhere.”

      Actually there is very little evidence of fixed to mobile substitution. There is evidence that Australians are buying mobile broadband in addition to fixed broadband, but not instead of it.

      “I don’t think anyone disputes that fibre is faster than wireless”

      Apparently Joe Hockey does.

      “but considering emerging trends and that there is no killer application that justifies the reduced latency (and I’m comparing 4G, not single-cell 3G) and significantly higher speeds at the expense of still having the problem of having poorly performing (but improving) wireless”

      Um … you mean the emerging trends that are seeing required bandwidth increasing exponentially and constantly? And killer applications such as HD video streaming, which requires a constant level of bandwidth not possible on shared 3G/4G cells? I’d say there is plenty of evidence for increasing usage of fixed broadband.

      To sum up, your comment is invalid and makes absolutely no sense. All of the experts agree that mobile and fixed broadband are complementary, not competitive.

  25. None of the Oppositions statements are ever disputed by the press and when they’re proven to be nonsense nothing is said of that.

    They don’t accept the science of climate change either and the fact that their response to it (Direct Action) will be more expensive and ineffective is also ignored by the press.

    The mainstream press is often worthless nowadays.
    Thank goodness for the Internet allowing small publishers to reach a larger audience.

    • That’s because the vast majority of journalists are as clueless as the vast majority of politicians. The only journos/writers that are capable of holding the politicians to account are ones like Renai who have the necessary technical knowledge.

      As far as pollies who know enough to talk accurately about IT issues, you could count them on one hand. Turnbull, Conroy (who has grown into the role, he was hopeless to begin with), Lundy and Ludlum come to mind.

  26. I’d be happy if the interviewer had knowledge of the topic at hand (in this case NBN) so the interview was based on facts.

  27. The only thing that Joe Hockey is an expert on is where the nearest all you can eat buffet is.

    The guy is full of S$&@t yet the media are happy to let him sprout his rubbish so long as the liberal party keeps them on their payroll

  28. Ridiculous claims by Hockey.
    Latency: Fibre to the home> 4G LTE

    Download Speeds: Fibre to the home> 4G LTE.
    Fibre to the home on the NBNco’s network will initially have plans up to 100mbp/s down/ 40mbp/s up. Mike Quigley has proposed upgrade to1Gbp/s. Future upgrades to Fibre network is possible for even more bandwidth. Telstra claims up to 40mbp/s on their 4G LTE network. Lifehacker has received a maximum of 26mbps down and 13mbp/s up in their own real world testing. And commented on the decline in speeds as more customers connect to Testras 4G network leading to network congestion.

    Download/Upload Quota: Fibre to the home> 4G LTE

    Portability: 4G LTE> Fibre to the home
    Wireless technology is great with your smartphone and pocket wifi device. 4G is suited to updating you facebook status while on the road. Checking prices online of items while in-store. Attaching photos/videos and sending emails etc.

  29. All I evere see is “how fast is the internet speed going to be” you all “do not get it” if you think like that. The NBN is not the new internet system its the new telecomunications network I can see more data flowing through it that is not internet traffic, outside broadcast traffic will go onto it from radio and tv stations, links to transmitters will end up on it, data networks for utilities will be on it, live lectures from universities will be there plus many other data links because it will be cheap and avaliable everywhere.

  30. My concerns are that we were on another were discussing the possibility of the NBN continuing in a somewhat similar form, considering that Turnbull and by inference the coalition appeared to be shifting stance.
    TA is the future PM and JH Treasurer.
    They decide the fate of our infrastructure, not MT

    Second concern. Apart from all the ubiquity standardisation and building a network for 50 years plus. One of the major reasons is to shed load off wireless to ensure it stays a valuable option and is actually useable. To turn the NBN into a wireless network completely loses that aspect.

    Yes there are holes with the NBN and they can be addressed , maybe in time but it is more and more imperative to install as much as possible, if rural areas or councils want to play funny buggars, don’t waste time with them, install where wanted and let the max get the best, coz I think the rest are in for a rude shock.
    The subservient Puppies must obey Rupe. Heard part of an interview with Tony Blair this morning (early) on a station. don’t know which. in relation to Rupe and Rupe demanding a policy be changed, threats were made and as Rupe had his Heavies with him Tony, Britains pm was in actual fear of his life from the godfather to one of his children, a person he had considered his friend. Even Blairs family had threats and are still having a hard time and the media turned against him.

    So get that fibre in and even the wireless asap, coz that will be all there is my friends

  31. Oh god… go away on holiday, and come back for this to be the first thing I see…
    Should have fraking stayed away!

  32. Well it’s hard for our cluess gits in office like this cretin to be held accountable for either being deluded, just plain dim, or deliberately lying about the facts by the media, because the majority of journalists in this country allowed near them by their minders are also clueless, dim idiots being used to push their propaganda.

    The more I listen to Turnball and Hockey share their expertise on the NBN, the more it’s making me vote labor simply so idiots like Hockey are not forming legislation based on cluelessness and lies.

    • That is the scary thing, ignorant Buffoons such as Joe and TA write and enact legislation, pass the laws and regulations and are responsible for our Nation and our future.

      Listen to the wisdom of our future Treasurer, then listen to the wisdom of our future Prime minister, gives me nightmares

  33. Man, how can anyone state 4G is better than Fiber Optics.

    Sure, you’ll use 4G for you’re wireless devices when you’re not at home, and its fine for that, but its not fine for your HOME, where it is shared between varies computers, wireless devices, gaming consoles, TV’s, video on demand services.

    Here’s a tip Joe.

    Install fiber optic to the home. Only the end points need to be replaced to increase the speed, not the fiber optic itself. By the time it is build, 1000Mbps will be available with low latency and high data limits.

    4G has its use, and that is for being able to have an internet connection away from home, but do not suggest using it for home use/the entire nation. Wireless is a shared network, the more users, the slower the speeds, it also has high latency, and poor data limits.

    Liberals stance on the NBN is a joke, and I thought Joe would be better than this.

  34. The comments made so far by the Coalition in regards to the NBN are – holistically misleading and a complete joke to those that understand the NBN Project.

    Broad sweeping statements such as 4G > FTTH are meant to mislead the uninformed Australian public and its disgraceful.

    In my opinion alot of the election will come down to the NBN Project – its the most ambitious infrastructure project in the history of Australia and it is a Service Enabler – not just a Service Provider as so many have stated.

    Mr Hockey – i find it outstanding that you utilise an iPad for mobile broadband. Your a consumer who uses mobile broadband for portal wifi – which alot of Australians are going to do. The 4G competition market will be addressed by market competition where as the NBN addresses a much more fundamental concern – we live in a Capitalist society where a Cost vs Benefit analysis is conducted for every single thing – and if theres no money in it – we dont do it.

    Call some constituents in rural Australia still stuck on Dialup or mediocre ADSL 1.5MB – ask how they manage to watch streaming TV shows online, backup their important business data to a remote site, or have a video conference with family around the country.

    The fact is mate – FTTH needs to be done. Its very similar to Copper in the sense that no Private firm is ever going to see the Cost Benefit of deploying fibre to 500 people in a township in the sticks (rural australia). Overall its going to improve reliability, stability and cost of Broadband services in Australia.

    Stop flouting bullshit and actually come the table for a discussion – i am sick and tired of seeing the rhetoric going back and forth when the basis of the argument is flawed (NBN will cost thousands for consumers to connect – what a joke).

    I find it funny that Technical people take one look at the Wireless vs fixed fibre argument and laugh – politicians are the only ones arguing the “One or the other” point – rather than the “lets have both”.

    Perhaps its time you accepted the fact that “You dont know what you dont know” and start listening to the people that do.

    Surely there must be some authority which prevents factually incorrect information from being tossed around in order to win some political points ?

  35. I hate it when dumb politicians try to be geeks, always an enormous failure.

    Someone tell the jerk that the NBN Fixed Wireless offering is ……. wait for it….. 4G!!!!!

  36. When you mention the liberal party village idiot you understand quite well that we mean Tony Abbott, however based on Joe Hockey’s outright lies and ignorance of the NBN, its apparent that he is running a very close second.

    It absolutely horrifies me that unless some one intelligent in the liberal party challenges, that these two tecnological $%#@wits will be running the country.

  37. Most of what needs to be said, has been.

    I’m utterly bewildered at the fact that the Coalition gets away with this. Because the public at large do not understand technical details, nothing ever gets rebutted. Herein lies the danger. These lies are what people will believe, because no mainstream media will correct them.

    It is fantastic that Renai on Delimiter and similar technology sites constantly hound these lies for what they are but the fact is, unless we, the ones who understand, get out to the public at large somehow and show these liars for what they are, it will all pass us by whether we want it or not.

    Make noise people. Or Joe Hockey’s “Broadband to the People” policy will be issuing 4G incompatible, KIRF iPad’s to low income earners to use on a network that is so congested you may as well dust off your 56K modem….

  38. Sloppy Joe….very sloppy!

    Just as well Julia is starting to get her funk on……can she stop the inevitable trainwreck which will be the Noalition clowns with their hands on the levers of power in our great nation???

    Let’s start with a complete cleanout of the Govt’s communications department and put in some real professionals.

    You know, like, ppl who can actually explain a message and *sell* a message successfully.

    What a nice change that would be.

    Roll on NBN…

    • Dia.
      Doesn’t matter what they do or say, it has to get past the media filter. You get to hear what Rupe allows. They are trying with their advertising/information campaign which the media tries to sabotage

  39. I was screaming at my computer last night tying to book a bloody hotel room with my unreliable overcapacity 3G connection Joe. Joe your wonderful FUD wireless world could barely get me surfing a bloody webpage. As for the media they make up half the bull crap out there so you can’t expect them to actually understand what’s actual fact or fiction coming from these politicians especially if media outlets become politically biased.

  40. hey everyone,

    FYI we have received an extensive (several pages) response from Joe Hockey directly on this issue — I’ll post it tomorrow morning in full. I think it’s safe to say he disagrees with aspects of our initial article ;)



    • Oooo, sounds squirmingly exciting Renai…

      Can hardly wait for his ‘response’ :D

      • Maybe he doesn’t think 4G is that expensive. He could be like the accountant at work. 70 years old, his parents were rich and he has been with the company so long he must be getting a huge salary. Discusing salary sacrifice for laptops at lunch time. “Say if your wage was 20K a month you could sacrifice a quarter of that to buy a laptop”. Everyone nearly chokes on their lunch. One asks “Who do you think here gets that sort of money”. Accountant “I mean gross salary, not after tax”. “Umm, try lower” Accountant “OK, well say a wage like 10K a month” More choking…

  41. Mr Joe Hockey,

    How about if 4g is as good as NBN, your office your staff, and your home life all use wireleess only for the next 3 months. No fixed connections at all. Put your actions where your mouth is.

    Your village idiot mate refused to take up the challenge. He didnt have the guts to lead by example, nor put his actions where his mouth is.

    Lets see how Good 4G is after 2 to 3 months of droputs.

  42. You can find his ridiculous attempt at defending his incredibly backwards views on his twitter. I wonder if he used his magical 4G iPad to post it.

  43. Comments from Joe Hockey’s reply to delimiters article, read in full here:


    “The transcript shows that this is a deliberate distortion of my use of the word ‘capacity’. I made no claim whatsoever about the ‘capacity’ of either fibre or 4G wireless in terms of bandwidth. Rather I stated – and absolutely stand by my view that – wireless technology such as 4G has the capacity to be far superior to a fixed broadband service such as Labor’s NBN.”

    Firstly I would state Mr Hockey if you wanted to be taken as you intended please clarify your statements, ambiguity makes it difficult to discern your full meaning, capacity can very well mean speed and quota, two areas where the NBN is superior to wireless alternatives.

    “Telstra was not allowed to sell its new 4G technology as a competitor to the NBN because 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the NBN”

    The clause in question ironically deals with misleading and deceptive conduct, while there are legislated ways to enforce penalties against this kind of conduct it is often easier and quicker to gain a remedy through contractual law. The clause itself specifically dealt with the advertising of 4G as a replacement for fibre based services, some that can be considered misleading. Unless of course Mr Hockey truly believes that wireless alternatives can deliver like for like with speed, quota and reliability. However, I do agree it is probably better to leave this squarely in the domain of the ACCC, this issue has now been rectified and I fail to see how it implies that NBN Co. wished to stifle the mobile industry or how the NBN has not adequately predicted the impact of wireless only users.

    Considering that even your own party admits that your wireless policy lost you the election would it not make sense that there is a strict bias away from wireless to do the ‘heavy lifting’.

    “the iPad I carry around in the car. I don’t have a cable dragging behind the car. I use wireless technology and I think that is the way functionality is going.””

    Wireless is a great technology, nobody denies this. However Mr Hockey I doubt that most people will find it sufficient for any kind of recurring use beyond light mobile browsing. Considering that quota’s on Wireless plans are abysmal I see no reason why Wireless has the capacity to outperform fixed line for a substantial amount of people for a majority of their use. You may have made a more compelling statement if you said that you used your iPad for all of your parliamentary duties and personal responsibilities completely negating the need for a fixed line connection of any kind. However I seriously doubt you do this. Now your comments as others have repeatedly said show how the technologies are complementary rather than adversarial.

    “For many households wireless broadband has the capacity to be superior to fibre to the premises (FTTP) in the broader sense of value for money, convenience, nearness of availability/deployment and many of the numerous other attributes that a consumer might consider when weighing these alternatives”

    I would be very surprised if mobile broadband created value for money considering the limitations it has per $ per GB. For example Telstra charge $19.95 for 1GB a month, that is abysmally small and would find the best use for light users as a complementary service to fixed line. For here the plans scale up to a measly 15GB a month for $79.95 a month. Please Mr Hockey, tell me how this is value for money whatsoever.

    You mention VividWireless in your statement later. As a user who had to use the service for 9 months I can emphatically say that it is not a substitute for fixed line services due to several reasons.

    1. Latency
    2. Speed, I initially started with a 8 Mbps / 0.5 Mbps service and over the 9 months this degraded to 2 Mbps / 0.5 Mbps.
    3. Reliability – Frequent drop outs occurred making it very difficult to count of this connection for any serious work that need to be done.

    “Wireless technology additionally offers mobility, portability and convenience for the end user.”

    I am really nit picking here but mobility and portability are very close in definition that I am lead to think that you are just trying to add a benefit here to make it seem like a better option. Furthermore these benefits are exactly what makes it a complementary service, this type of connection fixes the issues listed while suffering from obvious speed/quota pitfalls.

    “While take up rates for fixed broadband have been relatively flat for the past year or two, the
    booming take up rates of wireless technology suggest that Australians see utility in portability
    and mobility.”

    Now you are being disingenuous Mr Hockey. The fixed line broadband market is likely at close to full penetration. One reason for this is likely the lack of infrastructure available to support further broadband connections. It is disingenuous to assume this is because of the dominance of wireless devices. Furthermore may I remind you that fixed line connections are counted on a per premises basis, unlike mobile devices where people can have multiple and an entire household can certainly have more than one, so it is not unexpected that this trend has occurred. This in no way devalues the need for strong fixed line infrastructure.

    “If these costs are going to be covered by NBN Co, then supporters should point to exactly
    where they are covered in its $28 billion capex estimate for the FTTP part of the rollout.
    NBN Co has never clarified whether or not this is the case.”

    To me it makes sense that the payments made to Telstra for the transfer of customers take into account the actual cost in physical labor. I mean it is widely understood that Telstra is being paid $3000 per connection so it would make logical sense this is where the cost you are referring to is coming from. This assumes that you are in fact correct that it would cost this amount to fully transfer customers, Considering that these networks will for a short time be run in tandem I fail to see how much physical cut-over would be required. I simple stopping of the copper service would suit for immediate needs. Remember once the NBN is ready the consumer can immediately order a service which require the installation of an ONT only.

    Furthermore I Commend you on stating the correct figure, even if it is slightly of by 500million (close enough for the Coalition), can you please explain why Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull have consistently said $50bn? Is there a divide with the party line here?

    “In my comments I was highlighting the reality that for consumers to make use of the claimed capacity of the network, in many cases they will need to pay for internal wiring inside the home. For example, if the ONT is at the front of the house but the office or lounge room is at the back of the house, then to take advantage of the speeds that fibre offers it will often be necessary to install new internal wiring in the home (depending on how old the home is and what standard of internal wiring it currently has.) ”

    Not necessary at all, with newer Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11n and 802.11ac speeds of 600Mbps and 1Gbps can be achieved with MIMO configurations. Furthermore I believe that Ethernet over power may be compatible with FTTH, I am not 100% certain on this so I am happy to be correct. Alternatively you could do what I did and just run a long cable (not everyone’s cup of tea, but I kinda demanded it). So their are certainly optiuons are your suggestion of 1k to wire while possible is certainly avoidable.

    “Last month, at Budget estimates NBN Co officials confirmed that around 700 NEC boxes in Tasmanian premises would have to be replaced with new Alcatel equipment. Over 300 boxes in Midway Point, 200 in Smithton and 150 in Scottsdale will have to be replaced in order to standardise the NBN technology platform with the FTTP rollout elsewhere. Until this change takes place, Telstra has said that it cannot offer a commercial service to customers in the three trial towns.”

    Mike Quigley went on the record to state that the reason for Telstra not offering Tasmanian services was not at all to do with the NEC devices, Telstra did release a clarification that apparently your office missed. I am surprised you missed this considering you talk about the senate estimates hearing. Furthermore other companies do offer full services to these areas so it is evident that the impact of the NEC devices is minimal.

    Furthermore according to ITWire Telstra has started offering services over the NBN in Tasmania.

    “Neither I nor my colleagues have ever supported a ‘wireless only’ model of fast broadband for Australia. The only place this model exists is in the fevered imaginations and distortions of Coalition statements about broadband we see among some supporters of Labor’s NBN”

    I am sorry but did I imagine the 2010 election campaign. You explicitly stated your main technology to improve broadband services would be Wireless. Your most recent comments seem to support this previously hoped for revised policy. If the electorate is to have any confidence in your ability can you please clarify why your previous wireless policy failed and why wireless should still feature prominently in your new policy.

    “We have said we are going to have a mix of technologies rather than rolling out cable outside everyone’s home. We are going to have a mix of technologies, including wireless and satellite and cable that is going to be much cheaper but it going to give people the functionality that they want.”

    You are also lying straight up here Joe Hockey. NBN Co. is not only using FTTP, in some areas it is non viable to do this. it these situations it is also using fixed wireless and satellite solutions, so frankly your policy is nothing new. Unless of course you are stating you wish to expand the footprints of these past the 7%. If this is the case how do you propose.

    “I have absolutely no issue with the use of fast broadband for gaming, video-on-demand or the delivery of hundreds of channels of television (Cisco in June 2011 forecast that video in its various forms will account for 91 per cent of all consumer use of bandwidth in 2015). But it should be recognised that much use of a FTTP NBN will not contribute to economic productivity, and that running fibre into every one of 12.2 million homes and businesses is not the only way to achieve what we assume was Labor’s implicit – but never publicly stated – policy objective: to provide all Australians with fast broadband.”

    You may be correct that video will accelerate to consume a majority of the content over the internet. May I ask you one thing Mr Hockey, what is the problem with this. Considering that business’s seeks to fulfill two things, our basic needs and our wants. Our wants are responsible for a majority of the resource usage in our economy, it is what drives business growth and employment. This is basic economics, something as the shadow treasurer you should know all about.

    However, even ignoring this you cannot ignore the straight economic benefits of having ubiquitous high speed broadband which indlude E – Health, E – government participation, E – education and increased productivity for business’s. Add to the direct cost savings this will bring over traditional private fibre links and you can see where this will benefit business’s in a more direct manner. Why when considering a good majority of countries have decided to go FTTH has the Coalition sided with a single country that has been lambasted over its poor communications policy.

    Remember that business’s are not suppose to be self serving entities, they are a means to efficiently distribute resources by providing goods and services, something that will be enhanced with the NBN.

    Also Mr Hockey you are deluding yourself if by saying Labor has not made it an explicit objective to deliver super fast broadband, even if it has not been verbally confirmed (it has) then the actions of the current government should make that abundantly clear.

    “The sense of entitlement that we see among some of the most fervent supporters of Labor’s NBN is well-captured by the first commenter on your story on Delimiter. His/her response to the possibility that the Coalition might seek to spend less on the NBN? “My gaming days are numbered. The apocolypse approaches. Might as well end it now.”

    There are two tangential ways I can go with this.

    1. Are you saying your method will stifle the gaming industry?

    2. If this is not the case than is it not possible the first comment was in jest?

    The fact is Mr Hockey your plan in order to cut costs specifically seeks to limit future growth in the demands for broadband. Considering that your plan offers 1Mbps more than the currently achievable max of ADSL2+ and 15 Mbps more than the average your plan can easily be said to lack vision. Out of curiosity does the Coalition see this as a long term investment, or merely a stopgap. If a stop gap do you see it lasting long enough to recoup the investment?

    • Wow talk about a rant I did there, I hope it was mostly coherent. Maybe I should have dealt with this in the morning rather than 3 o’clock on minimal sleep.

      • Im totally insulted that I’ve “got a sense of entitlement” because i want FTTH over FTTN. I’ve got no such sense of entitlement, Id have to be able to GET ADSL to have one.

    • Hockey just shoots himself in the foot from the outset with his reply. The govt never stopped Telstra selling 4G in competition to the NBN. All they rightly did was ban it from being advertised as an equivalent replacement to the NBN. Thats just ensuring Telstra tell the truth – particulalry given its very poor history of misleading advertising. The govt was simply ensuring truth in advertising, not limiting competition. Thodey acknowledged that, he wasnt worried by the clause at all. Hockey is still peddling BS in his “correction”

      • What a pile of horseshit.

        “Telstra Structural Separation Undertaking — Attachment B – Questions Regarding DAs”

        10: Have the parties considered whether provisions in the CCA regarding misleading and deceptive conduct would sufficiently prohibit Telstra from marketing wireless services as substitutable for fibre services?

        The parties’ agreement concerning the restriction on Telstra promoting wireless services as substitutable for fibre services was not struck in light of the CCA provisions regarding misleading and deceptive conduct. That agreement was considered to be appropriate by the parties in the context of structuring the transaction as a disconnection arrangement.

        12: Could NBN Co provide the ACCC with any additional supporting material regarding the rationale for the inclusion of the wireless restraints?

        Given that Telstra has at least 50% of the fixed line market and therefore a good chance of influencing the migration choice of most of those customers, it would not have been commercially acceptable for NBN Co to agree with Telstra to a payment for disconnection model without commercial incentives to discourage the substitution of fibre services with wireless services.

        In short, NBNco was trying to bribe Telstra into distorting the market, which is why the ACCC rejected the “wireless clause”.

        NBNco’s brain-dead cheerleaders are the biggest spreaders of anti-Liberal FUD and lies.

        • “In short, NBNco was trying to bribe Telstra into distorting the market, which is why the ACCC rejected the “wireless clause”

          NBNco’s brain-dead cheerleaders are the biggest spreaders of anti-Liberal FUD and lies.”

          Do you truly believe Telstra HAS to distort the market? They already have over 50% of the mobile market and more like 70% of the fixed line market. The market IS distorted. By Telstra.

          Any consumer with 2 brain cells to rub together can add up the differences between quota on wireless and quota on fixed line and see the value is in fixed line for even medium data usage. And certainly for anyone with a family. What NBNCo. were trying to do was ensure Telstra did not try and purposely market 4G as faster, more stable or more reliable than fibre, none of which is true. They were trying to put iron clad guarantees in place thar Telstra WOULDN’T do this rather than rely on current legislation because Telstra have a record as long as the proverbial that show they are willing to bend (or break) every rule in the book to gain customers. Even at the expense of properly serving those customers.

          The fact is, the ACCC denied it, NBNCo. accepted the ruling and moved on. It was not hidden. They did not harp on or appeal, they accepted what they’d have to deal with and dealt with it.

          Please, when you have something sensible to debate over rather than rhetoric over “Pro-NBN arguments are all FUD!” with nothing to back it up, by all means, we’re listening.

          • <<<with nothing to back it up

            You, sir, are a [censored by Renai].

            (Actually) read my [beeped out] post. l gave you what NBNco’s own interpretation of the wireless clause is. It has nothing to do with “misleading conduct”. It is all about impeding competition from wireless which is why the ACCC blasted it to smithereens.

            . . . as opposed to your habitual, unrestrained “wall of text” rants where you continually shift the goal posts and demonstrate your [censored]

          • “You, sir, are a [censored by Renai].
            (Actually) read my [beeped out] post. l gave you what NBNco’s own interpretation of the wireless clause is. It has nothing to do with “misleading conduct”. It is all about impeding competition from wireless which is why the ACCC blasted it to smithereens.
            . . . as opposed to your habitual, unrestrained “wall of text” rants where you continually shift the goal posts and demonstrate your [censored].”

            I have a hard head and don’t particularly care what names you call me, however I might point you to the rules of conduct for Delimiter comments:


            However, on your point of impeding competition:

            – Telstra impede competition currently. So your point is a bit rich there
            – NBNCo. will PAY Telstra to switch these customers to the fibre NBN network. Why WOULDN’T it be reasonable for NBNCo. then to expect these customers to be running on it as opposed to being offered Telstra 4G services??

            This argument comes back to the same argument many of us have made about the Optus deal being too much money. It IS alot of money, but the requirement for as many people as possible to be on the network, thereby making the business case as viable as possible, which is required in this ridiculous political climate. The NBN will RADICALLY alter the shape of Australia as a whole. THAT alone should be enough for the money to be spent, yet the Coalition would use their short-sighted view pointing out all the money that was being spent and how there was no “real economic benefit” to Australians. If people will excuse my french: BULLSHIT. The economic gains of fast, reliable, ubiquitous broadband speak for themselves in many other countries. The Uniform National Pricing structure will save businesses MILLIONS of dollars a year for their internet services (and pay for the NBN JUST with theses savings alone) and will not ONLY save consumers money, but allow better health, liesure and business services for ALL Australians. This is NOT random rhetoric, it is backed up by Cisco, one of the most respected networking companies and best forecasters of growth in IT there is:


            The competition for people who WISH to be on wireless only is not relevant; those people will go on 4G if they want to anyway. What NBNCo. were TRYING to do was ensure Telstra did not try and sell them 4G INSTEAD of fibre, using their 4G service as an “alternative” to boost their OWN commercial gain as a result of copper switch off, AFTER entering into a commercial agreement with NBNCo. to ensure as many people as possible are on the NBN.

            If you have any rebuttal to this, may I request you don’t insult me first. I may be more willing to listen to your argument then.

          • Seeya ‘Roll on the Federal Elections’. A commenter with the URL of “www.cleanoutlaborcronies.com” has no place commenting on Delimiter — we aim for rational, level-headed debate, thank you very much, not mindless vitriol. It doesn’t matter what political persuasion you are — as long as you don’t apply those views rudely and mindlessly.

  44. Joe has a fine grasp of technology – well compared to Tony Abbott at any rate.

  45. “I understand that in Sorell where it has been laid out, the technology is obsolete at the moment”

    Not only is his information inaccurate he has the wrong suburb. Sorell, which has been live for only two weeks and has only a handful of connections, will be getting the newer equipment (I confirmed this by harassing a NBN Co. tech in the street) it’s Midway point that has the equipment that needs replacing.

    • “There is so much blatant dishonesty, disingenuousness and nasty abuse on the part of cheerleaders of Labor’s NBN.

      Frankly, the only “E-” that matters from now on is the impending “E-lection”.”

      Thankyou. Thankyou for that well researched, factual analysis of the debate. I truly hope your convincing arguments will continue to grace this forum.

    • “There is so much blatant dishonesty, disingenuousness and nasty abuse on the part of cheerleaders of Labor’s NBN.”

      I’m sure what you actually meant to say was:

      “There is so much blatant dishonesty, disingenuousness and nasty abuse on the part of the anti-NBN zealots.”

      hmmm, that makes much more sense. Thanks for stopping by.

  46. Sigh….

    Big mouthed fool. I don’t warm to the idea of trusting THIS GUY with the nation’s finances, let alone his Liberal Dogma soapboxing.

    More FUD.

  47. I had a conversation with JH last year about how the NBN would assist in areas of population health management, particularly once we apply a systematised nomenclature and a numerical based health taxonomy to health and related data. This would allow us to develop real time meta data sets and automate data interrogation. This in turn would give us the tools to develop feedback loops to measure the impact both good and bad of changes in public health management. The US CDC is already doing this (after a fashion) and saving millions of lives and billions of dollars.
    The potential benefits in both health outcomes and sound financial management of the health budget cannot be over stated. As you can gather I am a bit on the evangelical side on this. Joe’s reaction was to say that when he was Minister for community services, he used to hear about harmonising health, genome, lifestyle and other data but it made no sense to him and he doubted if it would ever get off the ground.
    I am not sure if JH is being deliberately deceitful or inately stupid, sadly there is no cure for stupid!
    As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts”

  48. I don;t give a toss about the politics but I do object to a politician telling porkies. This is what Hockey said on ABC 936 Hobart last week.

    “We want broadband for the nation, but we want to make sure it is sustainable
    broadband for the nation and there is a great deal of irony in the fact that when the
    Government did a deal with Telstra for the National Broadband network I understand
    part of that deal identified that Telstra was not allowed to sell its new 4G technology
    as a competitor to the NBN because 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the
    NBN. So what does the Government do? It says well you are not allowed to market it
    as a competitor, I don’t know about you, but I use an iPad – the iPad I carry around
    in the car. I don’t have a cable dragging behind the car. I use wireless technology and
    I think that is the way functionality is going.”
    (Source: Joe Hockey, Interview with Leon Compton, ABC Tasmania, 8 June 2012)

    It’s not hard to spot the porky!

  49. Missing one big point fault of Hockey’s statements: 4G is wireless, and the speed, quality and reliability are subject to reception (location) and congestion issues, which mean you could get anywhere between great and zero speeds. I use a 4G Telstra modem, it is not great all the time, never will be, cannot be. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself if you ever get bad mobile phone call reception. Especially moving around, e.g. on the train, the connection speed goes up and down, and fails at times. And when I’m at my friend’s house, I get terrible speeds, cause the reception is poor there.

  50. Everytime I hear Joe Hockey on any topic my bullshit detector goes off and when I hear him blatantly lying about the NBN i see RED. I been in the comms industry for about 17 years not to mention my interest in it as I grew up as a child, I am so disgusted that I think its about time these polititians should be held accountable for all the lies they tell in the media, anyone else/ individual would be taken to court for slander if and when they did the same. Unfortunatly uneducated people that dont have a clue about telecommunications and how it works will no doubt believe them which is a trevesty. The internet gamers have allot of clues to why they can’t play their shoot them up games affectivly, due to the latency and all the slow server hopping they have to do in the experiance. When the NBN is built, 90% of all bottlenecks will be gone and consumers will be able to do what they need and not be held up or delayed or have to deal with running out of data. The worst thing is the data caps and the less then dial up speed caps that are enforced on you to be the same as a 1980’s experience on a bulletin board service. I live in an area where Telstra was never going to upgrade us to have ADSL and be stuck on satellite or 3g service then aventually 4g and paying a huge fortune for less than usable data keeping us all like one wud call “country hicks” which is not bloody well good enough. Thank GOD the NBN Tower has been erected and the plans are awesome, I been advised I am 1 month away from connection, and I KNOW FOR A FACT it will be better then the old ADSL service when I lived closer to the city. The NBN will launch Australia 200 years in the future, and I have no doubt that many millions will experiance it like that too.

  51. It’s 2016 now and not only are these tools in power but they’ve ruined the NBN and instead of replacing copper with fibre, we are replacing old copper with new copper as a solution to improving the infrastructure of the the Internet network across the country. If someone told me in 2012 that this was going to happen I’d laugh them. Now all we can do is cry.

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