‘Partisan ideology’:
Turnbull blasts pro-NBN ‘media apologists’


news Shadow Communications Minister has taken a verbal pick axe to a number of ‘pro-NBN specialist commentators’ who he said were delivering a “partisan ideology” and helping “fantasy” triumph over fact in the ongoing national debate over the specific details of how Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network project should go ahead.

In a speech given this morning to an event held by industry newsletter Communications Day in Melbourne (the full text is available online), Turnbull outlined a number of areas in which he believed his arguments were not being addressed seriously by commentators who he said were in favour of the NBN.

Several weeks ago, Delimiter described comments which Turnbull had made about NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley as “slander” and “flatly offensive”, in an opinionated article arguing that Quigley had performed his role competently since being appointed to lead the national broadband effort in mid-2009, and that Turnbull was unfairly targeting the executive in ongoing personal attacks which had no basis in evidence.

“Two weeks ago I was accused of, and I quote, “slandering” Michael Quigley by expressing the opinion that, fine executive though he may be, he was not the right choice for NBN Co because he hadn’t previously managed either the deployment or day-to-day operation of a telecommunications network,” said Turnbull this morning.

“Mr Quigley’s career was spent at a vendor of networking equipment, where he was extremely successful. The fortunes of a networking vendor depend on designing, bringing to market and supporting excellent products that meet the needs of customers, and persuading carriers to buy them. Mr Quigley has not worked for a telecommunications carrier. He hasn’t ever been responsible for a network rollout, or an operating telecommunications business. Nor as it happens have any of the current Directors of NBN Co – there, we have five former bankers, two former McKinsey consultants, two former equipment vendors, but no former telecom executives.”

“In my view,” Turnbull added, “this has contributed to NBN Co setting for itself milestone after unrealistic milestone that it has abjectly failed to achieve. It has contributed to NBN Co’s culture of gold-plating and excessive spending, because if capital is no constraint and those supervising the enterprise are not directly familiar with its task, the safest option is to choose the most costly option, and the easiest way to deal with mounting pressure and slipping schedules is to throw money at them.”

In a second example, Turnbull said that he had been unfairly accused of “lying” for using the term “NBN” with respect to the Coalition’s rival broadband policy. In June the Liberal MP attracted criticism for giving what he described as a “solemn undertaking” that a Coalition Government would complete the NBN objective, with some commentators arguing at the time that Turnbull’s comments were misleading, given the fact that the Coalition is proposing to substantially modify the project, using lesser capacity fibre to the node technology, rather than the Federal Government’s fibre to the home-style deployment.

“For criticising Labor’s current version of the NBN and committing the Coalition to completing the NBN by changing the specifications (back, incidently to those which the NBN planned to use between 2007 and 2009) I am accused of ‘lying’ by using the very name ‘NBN’. As though NBN is a trademark owned by the Labor Party,” said Turnbull this morning.

“As though the stipulation that NBN be only used to refer to an FTTP network was handed down on tablets of stone from the mountain. As though there was no other NBN in the world, and the two years during which Labor’s NBN was also committed to a FTTN rollout never happened.”

In a third example of what Turnbull said was “fantasy triumphing over fact” was the “tired refrain” which “pro-NBN participants in the debate” were promulgating, that by continuing to use portions of Telstra’s existing copper network, the Coalition’s changes to the NBN would lock in high copper maintenance costs.
“As I’ve pointed out countless times, Senator Conroy has already locked in a fair chunk of these costs in – for the next 20 years at least, thanks to the contract for the [universal service obligation] he signed with Telstra earlier this year,” Turnbull said, referring to supporting commentary on the issue by Communications Day.

“I have never seen this point acknowleged by the likes of David Braue, Nick Ross, Renai Le May or the other so called specialist commentators in this space,” Turnbull said. “Or by Alan Kohler or John Durie.”
Lastly, Turnbull also attacked what he said was “a frequently heard canard” that the Coalition’s rival fibre to the node plan would be “a plunge into the unknown”, and devoid of any detail.

Turnbull has consistently declined to respond to a series of questions which Delimiter put to the Shadow Communications Minister regarding the FTTN policy. Those questions are:

  • What international examples of FTTN-style broadband deployments do you consider most pertinent to the Australian situation, and why?
  • How long do you estimate it would take, if the Coalition wins the next Federal Election, to deploy FTTN to more than 90 percent of the Australian population?
  • What, specifically, do you estimate would be the cost difference between deploying FTTN and FTTH as part of the NBN rollout?
  • Do you consider it possible to re-work the current Telstra/NBN contract to focus on FTTN instead of FTTH, and how long do you estimate this would take?
  • What broad details of this contract would need to change, and how long do you anticipate the ACCC would take to approve a modified version?
  • Do you have a long-term plan to upgrade a FTTN-style network to a FTTH-style network, or a medium-term plan to allow ad-hoc upgrades of this network to FTTH?

However, Turnbull said today that the claim that the Coalition’s FTTN proposal lacked detail was to a great extent, “nonsense”, given that a nationwide fibre to the node upgrade of Telstra’s copper network had been “painstakingly costed” and the associated logistics carefully analysed, “no less than eight times during the past eight years”.

“A series of evolving designs for such an upgrade were presented by Telstra to the Howard Government in November 2005, August 2006 and August 2007,” said Turnbull. He added that other groups such as the rival G9 consortium of telcos led by Optus, the respondents to Labor’s initial FTTN request for proposals process and others had put costed proposals forward regarding such an upgrade.

“In May 2008 Telstra’s then-CEO suggested the total cost of such a network running to 98 per cent of premises would be approximately $15 billion – or roughly three times the funding from taxpayers proposed by Labor,” said Turnbull. He added that the cost of FTTN deployment estimated by “most industry figures” with expertise in this area had fallen substantially since 2008 – by between ten and twenty percent. “So any proposition that the approached to upgraded broadband being proposed by the Coalition is a leap into the unknown is nonsense,” Turnbull said.

The Liberal MP added: “In short there’s a significant and growing gap between reality, the facts on the ground, and the political theatrics in Canberra. That gap, bluntly, reflects a refusal to acknowledge or take heed of the facts, much less adjust policy commitments or political narratives to be consistent with them.”

“Regrettably, the same disconnect – a heroic disregard for facts, evidence and accuracy – is increasingly a feature of the broadband debate. To hear Senator Conroy or media apologists for the NBN, you’d think the program is moving along swimmingly. You’d think nobody in Australia was in urgent need of a broadband upgrade, that nobody had been disadvantaged by the fact that after five years in office Labor had managed to connect a mere14,000 premises to its new fixed line and interim satellite networks.”

“You’d think that the sight of NBN Co spending like Louis XVI and showing just about as much respect for the needs and wishes of Australian taxpayers as Louis did for his was all part of the masterplan. Although the Bourbons never to my knowledge ordered their subjects to wear red underpants on their heads.”

In contrast with these arguments which Turnbull said were misleading, the Liberal MP put forward what he said were a number of “facts” which, he said, demonstrated that the NBN project was not on track.

These ranged from what Turnbull said was the fact that those Australians most in need of upgraded broadband speeds were not getting them, to the fact that the current number of connections to the NBN were one tenth of that forecast to have been connected by this point, to what Turnbull said was the fact that NBN Co is only connecting premises to its network at a rate of six per day.

In addition, Turnbull alleged that from November 2007 until December 2010, when it released NBN Co’s first formal corporate plan, the Government actually had no “workable, properly costed, publicly released business plan – a fact not once acknowledged by those who are loudest and most insistent in their demands for the Coalition in opposition to publicly release a fully costed alternative plan without access to any of the NBN Co’s contractual or technical information.”

Turnbull added that NBN Co was refusing to disclose what its fibre network was costing per premise to roll out, but his own estimates was showing that the company’s cost per premise was about $6,400, which he said was more than twice as high as any previous high-volume fibre rollout “anywhere in the world”.

In general, Turnbull said, the debate over the NBN was not based on realistic grounds. “ … if you want to assert that Versailles is in fact being built on a shoestring, on a budget so frugal it actually renders fibre to premises economically viable without massive implicit subsidies, yet you can’t provide detailed, logical responses grounded in empirical evidence to these questions, then you will understand why we find your assertions unpersuasive,” he said.

“Because contributions to the debate based on conjecture, hope, self-interest and blind faith in the heroic forecasts of an organization yet to meet a single one of its own deadlines are not good enough.”

Let me start with some commentary about the most important aspects of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech this morning.

Mr Turnbull, as a fellow ranter of many years’ standing, I feel it incumbent upon myself to congratulate you on one of the most epic, vitriolic, eloquent rants which anyone has every delivered regarding Labor’s National Broadband Network project. No, really. Your comments this morning went into so many different areas, with so much passion; from Mike Quigley to the NBN rollout speeds; from the financial picture to presumably biased journalists and everything in between. And there were liberal lashings of scorn and derision for those who don’t share your views on these issues.

I like to see people rant. When people express strong opinions, we get to see what they’re really made of. Do they have a burning fire in their chest for a certain topic? Do their opinions slant in a certain direction? To what extent do they understand the context of what they’re talking about, and what level of evidence do they put forward to support their views.

From Turnbull’s rant this morning we learn certain things. Firstly, the Shadow Communications Minister broadly feels as though his NBN arguments are not making headway with the media, and that this is because the media is not analytical enough and sufficiently evidence-based to examine the NBN situation with clarity.

Secondly, we learn that Turnbull is well-read and usually bases his arguments on evidence. Unlike previous Coalition Shadow Ministers in the Communications Portfolio, Turnbull actually knows what he is talking about when it comes to the industry, as is evidenced by his substantial knowledge of the economics of the NBN and how it matches up with the Coalition’s rival policy.

Lastly, from Turnbull’s comments this morning we also learn that the MP is a man of principles and convictions. Turnbull’s views on the competency and personal integrity of Mike Quigley have been shot down repeatedly over the past year; and he is broadly failing to make headway with his arguments that t the NBN project has gone off-track. Australia’s population remains overwhelmingly in favour of the project as a whole. However, Turnbull has not given up on commenting in these areas and has stuck to his guns. Some may argue that he’s shooting blanks, but you have to give him points for trying; Turnbull makes as many comments about telecommunications policy in any given month as most of the previous Shadow Communications Ministers (including Conroy himself) typically make over the period of a year.

In addition, Turnbull is correct in quite a few areas. The Coalition’s current NBN policy is substantially more advanced than Labor’s was before the 2007 Federal Election. NBN Co’s rollout has been substantially delayed. And he’s right that fibre to the node, like fibre to the home, is one viable and technically accepted path forward for Australia’s fixed telecommunications infrastructure.

However, in general reading Turnbull’s speech it feels as though there is a gap at the heart of his argument which he is not addressing.

As I wrote several months ago, Turnbull has consistently failed to demonstrate sufficient evidence for his claims that FTTN would be a better path forward for Australia’s future telecommunications needs than the current FTTH plan. He has consistently failed to demonstrate that the NBN is the train wreck which he describes it as. And he has consistently failed to produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate personal management failures by the highly regarded chief executive of NBN Co, Mike Quigley.

There is also the fact that many of these issues, as Turnbull himself pointed out today, have been being discussed in Australia for the better part of a decade now.

These two facts together amount to the fact that Turnbull has not injected enough new information into a very old debate to substantially shift that debate in the way he desires. He’s not making headway in convincing commentators such as yours truly because he simply has not provided enough evidence. I’ve been watching the NBN debate for the better part of a decade now, and like many others, I have seen many arguments come and go. The ones which have stuck around and stood the test of time are the ones which led to the current NBN strategy pushed by Labor. They are persuasive and popularly supported.

I really wish Malcolm Turnbull hadn’t delivered this NBN rant this morning. Last night, the Earl of Wentworth gave a sterling, intelligent and well-considered speech about Internet freedom which many of us admired. Then this morning he got up and gave an epic anti-NBN rant on topics we’ve heard a thousand times before, using well-worn arguments which have been threshed through many times already and broadly rejected. I find it hard to comprehend how these two speeches came from the same man.

This morning Turnbull admitted he would rather talk about other subjects than the NBN. In June 2009 Paul Keating said about Turnbull that he was brilliant and fearless, but that his character flaw was that he lacked judgment. Reading Turnbull’s impassioned anti-NBN rant this morning, it’s hard to disagree.


  1. Loved Keating… he was such a loveable arsehole.
    Following Turnbull is like trying to read the mind of a pair of thongs (flip, flop, flip, flop…)

  2. Hahaha, “partisan ideology”! Pot. Kettle. Who’s he talking to, Alan Jones’ listeners?

  3. ” I find it hard to comprehend how these two speeches came from the same man.”

    I wonder who could have predicted such a thing?

    “However, every time Turnbull gives speeches such as the one he gave last night for the Alfred Deakin lecture, we find ourselves willing to believe in the politician all over again.”

    And that’s how we know he’s a very effective liar. Have we already forgotten his very ‘commendable’ speech on parliamentary honesty? His words are sweet as honey, but are hollow and meaningless.


    I say again, he is an excellent liar. He give great moral speeches that one cannot disagree with, and then uses his high ground to continue his ‘factually incorrect’ positions.

    • FYI, you can use HTML tags in comments, and you will gain +1 internets \o/


      However, every time Turnbull gives speeches such as the one he gave last night for the Alfred Deakin lecture, we find ourselves willing to believe in the politician all over again.And that’s how we know he’s a very effective liar. Have we already forgotten his very ‘commendable’ speech on parliamentary honesty? His words are sweet as honey, but are hollow and meaningless.


      • If you have any documentation on the tags we can use I would love to post more detailed & intricate replies/comments, unfortunately the last time I started guessing what tags work & don’t work on a website comment box, I lost a good chunk of my post and decided to never again be so foolish.
        I don’t want to have to comment twice and look bad doing it or endlessly edit to fix.


        And on topic, yeah hes a politician, just a clever one who can actually think, which means when he decides to dig deep or personally and intellectually cares about something, such as the cornerstone of Liberal (the party and the Ideology) politics that is the fundamental concept of liberty (the concept) and being liberal (the ideology), then when these are met, we get an intelligent and deeply thought out series of words worthy of the time spent reading them. As opposed to his tow the line, do my job, party nonsense in the article here, where I found it hard to not start skimming as his words on this topic have all the substance of the sucking vacuum of deep space… thanks to the ‘missing heart’ as Renai mentioned.

  4. I’m starting to get the impression that Malcolm is the Duke of Wellington character from the Blackadder series…and this conversation between him and Blackadder

    Blackadder: Tell me, do you ever stop bullying and shouting at the lower orders?

    Wellington: NEVER! There’s only one way to win a campaign: shout, shout and shout

    Blackadder: You don’t think then that inspired leadership and tactical ability
    have anything to do with it?

    Wellington: NO! It’s all down to shouting. WAAGGHH!

  5. Just when a lot of intelligent comments come out of Turnbull’s mouth and are published in the media, I go onto Delimiter and all the respect I had gained for Mr Turnbull is lost only a few short hours later.

  6. “As though the stipulation that NBN be only used to refer to an FTTP network was handed down on tablets of stone from the mountain. As though there was no other NBN in the world, and the two years during which Labor’s NBN was also committed to a FTTN rollout never happened.”

    Dear Malcom

    Feel free to use the term NBN to refer to your gimped version of the NBN but you wont fool anyone. We know the proper NBN as what is currently in building now and we know should your zoo crew chums win the election there will be a substandard version of that NBN based on using a “mix of technologies” for the sake of using a “mix of technologies”… Calling it “The NBN” is disingenuous to say the least more so when you take into consideration this quote from your ‘great’ leader:

    “but certainly nationalised telecommunications is the way of the 1960′s, it’s not the way of the current century. We’ve said all along that we don’t need nationalised broadband, we need better national broadband, and we can get that using the private sector with a lot less government funding than the $50-odd billion the government has committed.”

    yeah, so you still want to call your “broadband” “plan” the NBN?

  7. He hasn’t ever been responsible for a network rollout, or an operating telecommunications business.

    By that logic, Tony Abbott would make an unfit Prime Minister, because he’s never been Prime Minister before.

    • Strangely enough, apparently Abbott was a solid Health Minister under Howard, according to David Marr’s recent investigation into his past. But I personally don’t think he’s representative enough of Australia to make a good PM.

      • I will dispute his “good record” as health minister based on personal experience. He cut funding severely.
        However he performed brilliantly as bag man and organiser along with Bishop Hockey and Co when they organised the false witness and framing of.Pauline Hansen who was imprisoned for a while as a resuylt

  8. I’ve decided to term this sort of rant Donut Politics. There is a lot of doughy substance to what he says (and there is), but at the end of the day there is still that hole in the middle that just keeps sticking around. You know the bits, they are the ones that deceptively move the audience away from the important parts, and blow minor issues out of context.

    Labor wants FttH, Lib’s want FttN. FttN rolled out to the masses as per what we know of the Liberal plan will still be a National Broadband Network. Thats the donut part. But at no time has MT ever addressed the issue we all see with this about how it is a technological step backwards.

    To take that step backwards, and still use the terminology that has become associated with FttH, the Liberals have introduced the hole part of the donut.

    Another example: NBN is behind its rollout schedule. Well, it is. Thats the donut again. What the statement never addresses is WHY its behind – the delayed negotiations with Telstra… Theres that hole again.

    It keeps happening, and it seems there are just enough people out there that enjoy the donut enough to not care about the bit missing from the middle.

    • Well, for a little while. Until it was shown to be inadequate for other than the short term then he will make an idiot of himself claiming 50Mb is enough for 20 years despite every big network company saying it’s on it’s way out in 2016 and dead in the water after 2020.

  9. Construction delays are obviously unwelcome, but they’re also quite common. Turnbull’s plan reduces delays by being far less ambitious, but this also means that the average service improvement is greatly diminished, so there will be some combination of a lower tolerance for delays and a ‘meh we could’ve had better’ i.e. reducing the scope is a largely thankless act.

    It would be interesting to know at what price Labor’s NBN becomes a bad idea. Obviously a higher price lengthens the payback period, but for such a long-term government-funded investment, when does the project become uneconomic at current wholesale prices, and what are the maximum wholesale prices the RSP market would entertain? It’s all well and good to say that the price will blow out, but there hasn’t been much discussion of how we’ll know when the project is in trouble. Does the Coalition think that the Internet will go out of fashion?

  10. I’ve noticed myself that Turnbull has a tendency to make a statement that sounds good one day, only to follow soon after with a statement that makes him sound like a fool. It seems to me that he has done so again.

    Perhaps one should give him credit for being persistent, but I don’t. Only a fool refuses to change his mind when reason and facts shows his position is bankrupt. I’ve heard it said that the definition of a fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts when he loses sight of his objective. Just being opposed to the NBN isn’t an objective; it’s a reaction, and not enough reason to keep traveling this path of resolute opposition, or to get narky at others for not journeying with him.

    If Turnbull could demonstrate that his mixed broadband delivery plan is better than the NBN, or that it really would be cheaper and faster and give all the capacity that is needed for years to come, or that the NBN shall be expensive to the taxpayer, or that Quigley is dishonest, he might have points worth hearing, but baseless assertions just don’t make the grade and have repeatedly been shown to be without foundation. Many of us get hung up over little things, like Facts, and we need to be satisfied that Malcolm has them before we will jump on his band wagon.

    Playing to people’s fears about the NBN (as the conservatives have always tended to do) is just more “Reds under the bed” and socialism fear-stirring from the past applied in a modern situation.

  11. There are, as Renai and others have correctly observed, two Malcolm Turnbulls.

    There is the Malcolm of soaring speeches, fine-turned phrases and well-bred geniality. We all like that Malcolm, not just because he’s erudite and able, but because he’s charming enough that he can pull it off without sounding like a prat.

    And then there’s the schoolboy-debater Malcolm, who sees nothing at all wrong in tossing principles and balance out the window if they stand in the way of his making a point. This is the Malcolm that huffs and pouts and places his rhetorical gifts at the service of whatever brief or case he is arguing, seemingly unaware that debaters’ tactics wear very, very thin outside the confines of the debate hall.

    • Perhaps there’s 3 MT’s…

      A third who we all wrongly assumed had an ICT brain…

    • Agreed. You can also see his two-face outside of the NBN debate. Apparently a potentially great leader, and the preferred liberall leader of non-Liberal voters. But his blunder over the Grech affair was monumental.

      The question is, which one is the “Real Malcolm”?

  12. Nobody picked him up on the fact that in the same speech he has both argued that “NBN” doesn’t only refer to Labor’s FttH rollout, and also used the term “NBN” for that exact purpose – ie. “pro-NBN participants in the debate”.

  13. Dear Malcolm

    I’m perfectly willing to consider your NBN plan….when you actually have something more than a “back of an envelope” sketch of it. Unfortunately, your plan is currently the “fantasy” one.

    I personally would _love_ to hear how you plan on giving Australian taxpayers a return on the investment like the NBNCo will be doing. For an initial outlay of $37b, Aussie battler tax payers will get a shiny, new, modern communications network PLUS $39b dollars back. How can your plan be cheaper when the current plan actually gives us $2b back? How can your plan be faster when it’s still using the crappy copper network? Hope can you plan be quicker when you’ll need many times more nodes than the NBN?

    Seriously man, YOU are the one with a fantasy plan currently.

    Waiting for you in reality,


  14. Just wondering.

    Does anyone else find it ironic that Turnbull is complaining about the “partisan ideology” of people who believe in the NBN, by employing his own “partisan ideology”?

  15. It seems the Earl of Wentworth may be just a little thin-skinned.

    And maybe with a glass jaw as well.

    Perhaps he could spend less time trying to put down other people’s well-informed opinions, and a bit more time studying the necessary background material in his shadow portfolio.

  16. Turnbull is simply trying to deflect scrutiny of the Liberal Party policy by making ad hominem attacks and criticisms of some sections of media. And with good reason. He continues to use selective facts, ignore others, and gives inaccurate misinformation. As such he should he should continue to be held to account – every statement, every claim, the inaccuracies highlighted, and the demands for more information made.

    In reality the Liberal NBN policy (happy Mal?) will provide a half arsed upgrade of and to an inferior technology and will then be forgotten about, it being left once again to the ‘market’ and private enterprise to take over future upgrades. Which begs the question, ‘If that plan is so good, then why are in the position we are now?’
    I’ll provide the answer …. Market Failure. And unless Malcolm Turnbull can demonstrate why things will be different after his ‘NBN’ is built, then the policy should be rejected outright.

  17. It seems that the fundimental differences in outcomes between the FTTH and FTTN are being overlooked by Malcom and under sold by Conroy..

    Most people i talk to are still shocked when i mention the copper will be disabled ~ 18months after fibre is rolled out to an area.. this is a huge selling point to the masses, once people realise its a replacement of the whole copper service; moving all services to digital fibre they generally accept the costs are not as excessive..

    If your selling the NBN as a internet only service some people are opposed to the expenditure, we can all accept that the huge increase in speeds for internet will be a major benefit , but Labour should consider lablling the NBN as a new Fibre communciations network.. and Push the message of IPTV , VOIP + internet etc to the greater public – as well as the structual seperation , although maybe that is a political poison pill when the Government sold Telstra to the same public?

  18. Seeing all the visionstream activity around Hobart suburbs at the moment is getting me all excited. I am particularly interested in seeing how much they can deliver in the next 6-12 months to get an appreciation of how fast the rollout can crank up to. Then, if NBNCo are allowed to, we might be able to start getting a factual report on the cost to date, and cost to complete, along with a time to complete. Then we can start to test Malcolm’s assertions regarding total cost ($100B+?) and time (20+years?). I am just happy a contract has been signed for all of Tassie to done in 3 years – don’t think they would dare to try and cancel this.

    Also, I suggest the biggest part of the hole in the donut is the Telstra issue – and structural separation. This is a bigger game changer imho than whether we have fttp or fttn…..I can’t seem to work out how the Opposition’s NBN is going to continue to achieve a level playing field – can anyone else?

    • As has been pointed out, the Coalition has had countless enquiries and commissions over Telecom infrastructure and did Nada Zip Nothing of any realistic consequence, just blind ideological faith in the private sector who legally only have one goal, shareholder interest/dividends and executive bonuses.

      The continuation of the anti NBN team rant and their incompetence and inexperience is to my mind a preparation for either giving it all over to the “experts” in Telstra or his “experienced Network Builders” and mates in Opticomm.

      The Gold plated is to deflect from the universally business capable and hi tech systems of the NBN which is built as a foundation for the Nation and the economy for decades to come, compared with his cheap and nasty network, what limited business capability will be thanks to the foresight and excellent design and structure of the core network thanks to the existing NBN team and Quigley

  19. Right on Renai. Malcolm is just jealous of us because deep down he knows we are right. I expect he will turn the heat up on us as the election nears because the only language he knows is the language of personal abuse. But we will not be thwarted.

  20. It’s all been said.

    This was a rant by a man who feels under siege by a media who apparently “don’t listen to facts”.

    I have news for you Malcolm- when Media don’t listen to facts, people report them and they are fined and must correct it. Like the Telegraph on the NBN. Or the Australian on the NBN. Or even several Liberal MPs on the NBN.

    And yet I’ve not seen any Pro-NBN media being reported and fined/retracting?….. (mind you, some spread too much FUD of their own)

    Mr Turnbull, perhaps you could spend a little less time whinging the media aren’t on your side….and produce an (even roughly) costed and detailed policy which might get them onside…..

    Labor might not have had any reports done on costings of the NBN before the KPMG report in 2010….but they still told us we’d get 90% FTTH for $43 billion and it turned out the reports put it at more than 90% and less than $43 Billion. Pretty decent performance I’d say. Maybe you could do the same and we’ll all be very chastised with you saying “I told you so” in 2014…..we can always hope….

  21. The trouble with digging holes is that they just keep getting deeper, then pretty soon you realise that your hole is sooo deep you can’t climb out.

    Shut up Malcolm, admit that the NBN is right, and that it’s what the country needs for the 21st century before you bury yourself…

  22. Malcolm also claims “Gold Plating” and unnecessary expenditure and overkill.
    My response on his website

    We have an NBN, designed to be ubiquitous and Business capable to the 93%, with all the support infrastructure and systems to make that possible. The FTTH Component costing approx $12Bill.
    We have the Coalitions NPN which is not truly ubiquitous as that depends on the location lottery, not truly business capable from any reasonable percentage of premises.

    The core infrastructure of the NBN, built to be the foundation platform for many decades for business and domestic volumes and providing services up to at this time 1G plus multicasting etc will be overkill for the coalitions pathetic play school cardboard cutout version which will have very limited data volume requirements.
    So from that perspective of a pathetic service not needing that level of core infrastructure he is correct , it would be gold plated overkill.

    It is in fact the first bit of unintentional honesty from MT in relation to the Coalition NBN as to how pathetic their NPN will be

  23. Pro NBN apologist apparently means anybody who doesn’t agree with MT and uses those pesky facts to back up their arguments.
    The 2 MTs appear to be the one that is hamstrung by Coalition “policy” aka “Do what Tony wants regardless of how ill informed you seem to look” and the other is the one that isn’t hamstrung by “the party” and MT is able to speak his true mind as he done with the Alfred Deakin lecture.

  24. So, one of my comments I made on his blog thing is still in moderation (even though I emailed them about it).

    Anyway, here’s a link to it, as I think it is entirely too long for Delimiter: http://pastebin.com/JHHfnrXr

  25. Uptake of the higher speeds is trending upwards…
    Corporate Plan (Dec 2010): 8/23/17/52 (100/50/25/12)
    Joint Committee (Apr 2012): 37/10/35/18
    CommsDay (Oct 2012): 44/7/34/15

    Obviously these are early-adopter numbers, but it will be interesting to see where the numbers are trending in 12 months time. 50Mbps appears unloved too – is this due to ISP pricing or consumer demand for 100 vs 25Mbps?

    • About a year ago, and about a year after launch, the take up in Tassie was running pretty much in line with the forecast in the first corporate plan. Does anyone have any recent take up statistics for Tassie.

  26. Quote1: “If Turnbull would just man up and release his policy, he wouldn’t seem like such a jackass”/

    Quote2: “Well, for a little while. Until it was shown to be inadequate…”.

    What Labor should do is release the coalitions NBN policy for them! It should be a detailed paper citing all the key, likely aspects of the coalition FTTN policy, from the technical to the funding costs and to the beneficiaries.

    This paper needs to be as realistic as possible, without taking unwarranted cheap shots. Post it on the gov’s website for all to see, so that on the day before the next election, when the coalition releases the details of its own policy, people will be able to compare it with Labor’s document and test for similarity. If they are similar (and they should be in broad terms, save for spin), then at least the electorate would have been well informed (for those who care) for months prior ro the election.

  27. Does anyone disagree with MT’s $6,400 unit cost figure ? Assuming not, who would be happy to personally pay for a connection at that price ? Of course, in reality the cost is to be spread out over a generation or two by means of borrowing (hopefully interest rates on the government’s borrowing program will remain reasonably low). But, it should be salutary to consider how much we would pay for something.

    Some of the “debate” reminds me of our roads network. Back when the first intercity roads were being built, there was a choice to start with a dual carriageway from the very beginning. The highway system would have then been ‘ready’ for demand when it came through. Clearly, either people decided against spending that much, they didn’t know about dual carriageways or they felt there would not be the demand for such highway capacity. What are the current estimates of broadband demand over the next 20 years or so ? [that is real estimates not those based on technologies not yet developed]

    A technical question: if all premises are connected at 100Mb, does that mean that the connections from the nodes to exchanges (or servers or whatever the word is) and between exchanges need to be an order of magnitude faster ? So, for example, what if all premises started using their connections at full capacity (or approaching it), would the ‘backbone’ etc. be able to cope ? I’ve been wondering whether the roads analogy applies – we have narrow streets near our houses and wider streets and dual carriageways etc on major trunk routes. I would guess that the NBN specs take it all into account but, I don’t know for sure.

    • From memory there’s 32 premises on a 2.4Gbps connection, so the assumption is that not everyone will be on 100Mbps. There’s also ISP contention ratios to consider further into the network. Obviously if everyone in an area wants a 1Gbps connection there’s a problem, but the upgrades to allow it are in a reasonably limited number of endpoints – the cables themselves should be fine for a long, long time.

      The roads analogy isn’t a bad one, including the point that over time the traffic will tend to expand to occupy the available space. There’s a bit less complexity in the flow-on effects of bottlenecks under the NBN design than the road system, thankfully.

      • Yes 32 connections “sharing” 2.4Gbps are the numbers I’ve heard mentioned earlier. This means that the fibre-network as provided by NBNco will support *every* connection sucking down 75Mbps SIMULTANEOUSLY.The only YMMV comes from the actual Service Provider (RSP) networks themselves.None of that mythical “up to” whatever megabits-per-second that a FTTN network will provide. PLUS on top of those numbers there’s “some” extra fibres (I forget how many per area) for dedicated actual gigabit connections as well.

    • @Garry

      Malcolm’s figure of $6400 comes from extrapolating the total funding applied to the NBN currently compared to how many premises have been passed. That is completely disingenuous- the startup requirements of the company and trials would be nearly if not more than half what NBNCo. has already spent. The figure is closer to $3000.

      On the Fibre Distribution Hub (the fibre ‘node’) to Fibre Access Node (FAN- which will be located in Telstra’s exchanges) distribution fibre is based on the current GPON requirements of the system. Currently, NBNCo. are working on the premise that not everyone will want 100Mbps, which is a very reasonable assumption. The current 2.5Gbps GPON is split over 32 premises giving a MINIMUM of 78Mbps each and a maximum of (soon to be) 1Gbps to a single premises. However, NBNCo. Have already said they will upgrade the GPON to 10GPON in the near future, meaning you will have 10Gbps between 32 users, meaning a minimum of 312Mbps. The distribution fibre that takes this to the FAN is supplied and calculated by NBNCo, the fibre isn’t in the ground. The beauty of fibre is, however, to get more capacity, you simply use more wavelengths (colours) of light. NBNCo. use 2 for the premises connections and up to 96 for the distribution fibre. It gives a capacity on the distribution fibre approximately 10 times what is required right now. And that is set o increase to around 100 times what is required now in the next few years.

      GPON is a future proof technology as far as is practicable. FTTN is a stop gap and a short change option to save money now but will save nothing in the long run.

      • I wouldn’t bother trying to explain it.

        Follow it to its logical conclusion. Let’s say that it will actually continue to cost $6400 per premises (12.2 million of them) in capex, based on NBNCo’s own plan. This would mean that the capex would be $78 billion. The corporate plan shows the capex being $37.4 billion.

        Why would NBNCo publish such contradictory figures?

        Anyone who thinks that each premise will continue to cost $6400 must therefore think that NBNCo is blatantly lying, or extremely stupid, or some combination of the two.

        If this was true, then Labor would have fired all of the management and replaced them, unless there is some kind of Labor conspiracy to cover it up. So, now we have dozens of highly qualified, respected people putting their careers on the line to help cover up a $40 billion lie that any member of the public could uncover.

        Totally plausible.

  28. Apparently, Turnbull doesn’t need a costed policy because Labor didn’t have a costed policy in 2007.

    Does that mean that voting for the Coalition takes us back five years?

  29. Note with interest that NBN is wuite happy with it’s contractors and is now moving to 4 Year contracts instead of the 2+1+1

    Interesting, any risk of course worn by NBN, with I am sure interesting breach or break clauses.

    Another Hissy Fit from poor old MT coming ?


    or the Tech site

    Malcolm where do you stand. Note Macquarie highlighting the need from non, CBD, Business/Industrial Park

  30. It’s OK GUYS. I’ve FIGURED IT OUT. Turnbulls policy for telecommunications is Labors 2007 policy.

    FASTER – CHEAPER and for the first time, introducing the newest advantage of Liberal technology policy: NOT WHAT THE OTHER GUYS WANT

    Yesterdays policy today. Vote [1] Liberal National Party.

  31. Apparently Turnbull & Co you want to lose the un-loseable election again, i know plenty of people who will vote Labor at the next election for their NBN policy. We don’t care for Abbott or Gillard, we care for fibre to our homes – Labors NBN.

  32. I was honoured to be mentioned in Turnbull’s speech, along with my fellow notorious left-wing firebrand Commie pinkos Nick and Renai. Honoured, because it shows that he is at least paying attention. Sort of.

    In fact, I was at the event and sitting at the same table, 2 metres from Turnbull. He did his best to not-really acknowledge my presence before skittering away to the airport 2 minutes after the speech was done so there would be no opportunity to be questioned in a doorstop.

    Follow-up emails to his media-relations person – including an invitation to discuss the issues he raised, and others – have gone unanswered, not for the first time. There was not even a courtesy email to say “we don’t respond to your kind around these parts”.

    I find it quite rich that Turnbull is complaining about how we “so called specialist commentators” are not responding to the issues he raises – when he has made a career out of not responding to the issues we have raised about his ever nastier and more desperate-sounding attempts to discredit the NBN.

    Read into all this what you will but Renai’s analysis is correct: there seemed to be quite a lot of whinging going on but horribly little explaining. Those that attended the event hoping for more clarity around Turnbull’s platform left with more of the usual.

    • PS Renai – Does this mean that you, Nick and I are now effectively a sort of NBN Axis of Evil?


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