Turnbull gives mixed messages on NBN cost/benefit


news Malcolm Turnbull has over the past several weeks given several conflicting messages on how the cost/benefit analysis into Australia’s future broadband needs that the Coalition has promised to conduct upon taking government would actually be carried out, with at least three separate approaches being cited by the Shadow Communications Minister at different times.

One of the key planks of the Coalition’s rival policy regarding the National Broadband Network has been that it has always maintained that the project should have been subject to a formal cost/benefit analysis by a government body such as the Productivity Commission before it was commenced. Over the past several years, Turnbull has repeatedly pledged to commission such a study, which would examine all of the infrastructure options for Australia’s future broadband needs, if the Coalition wins the upcoming Federal Election, due to be held in September this year.

However, in several press conferences and interviews given over the past several weeks, Turnbull appeared to flag plans to vary this approach significantly. For example, in a press conference at the Kickstart Conference on the Gold Coast several weeks ago (the complete transcription is available here), Turnbull appeared to state that at least three separate studies could be conducted into Australia’s future broadband needs if the Coalition took power.

“What we will do as soon as we get in – we will get a cost-benefit analysis done by the Productivity Commission as we have promised,” Turnbull told journalists at the conference. “But we will, very, very quickly, ensure that there is produced by the NBN Co – because they are in the best position to do it – a fully transparent, you know with all the assumptions, analysis of what it is really going to cost in terms of dollars and time to complete the build on the current plan.”

“And then we will publish a similar analysis which shows what the savings – in both time and money would be – by variations. Especially along the lines of what I’m doing about doing FTTN for much of the brownfield areas.  Or indeed, for not taking fibre into every apartment.”

This approach appears to be at odds with the previous plan Turnbull had laid out — where an independent group such as the Productivity Commission would conduct one single study into Australia’s future broadband needs, considering all the options simultaneously, and with regard to the current NBN rollout.

In a separate interview held with 2GB this week, the transcript for which is also available online, Turnbull appeared to vary the Coalition’s promise on the issue again.

“The very, very first thing we’re going to do is tell the truth about the NBN,” he said. “The NBN has not been forthcoming in the way it’s published information about its activities, they won’t tell you for example how much it’s costing to pass each premise, they won’t tell you how much it’s costing to connect a premise. These are basis, essential items of information, we know less about the NBN which the taxpayer owns one hundred per cent of than we do about Telstra.”

“So what we will do is immediately we will have done a thorough piece of analysis which will show how much it’s going to cost in dollars and time to complete the project on the current strategy. And then we will publish at the same time an analysis which shows what are the savings in dollars and years by making changes to the technology that is deployed. And we’re going to lay that all out, every step we take with the NBN is going to be justified through putting the facts to the people.”

The news comes as Turnbull has recently rejected a call by NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley for the telecommunications industry, in the form of representative group the Communications Alliance, to conduct its own independent study into the future of broadband in Australia, with reference to the various fibre to the premise, fibre to the node, HFC cable and other options.

Having that debate was a “good thing”, Quigley said. “The choices we make about our nation’s underlying telecommunications infrastructure will have an impact on how we live, work and compete.” Quigley noted that telco industry representative body the Communications Alliance was currently considering whether to embark on a study of the different options for broadband in Australia, and added that this might represent an opportunity for the industry to have its say on the matter.

However, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull instantly rejected Quigley’s comments, in a fiery statement published late on Friday. Turnbull believes such a study would be more properly carried about by the Productivity Commission. “This is the most bizarre twist yet in the debate over broadband policy. Even more bizarre because Mr Quigley has made the announcement without obtaining the agreement of the Communications Alliance to commission the inquiry,” Turnbull said.

“For almost four years, ever since Labor’s $50 billion fibre to the premises NBN was announced in April 2009, the Coalition and many others have called for an independent, transparent review of the options for delivering fast broadband to all Australians. These calls were motivated by our concern that Labor had chosen the slowest and most expensive way of achieving such an upgrade.”

“We noted that Kevin Rudd had gone to the 2007 election pledging that no major infrastructure project would be funded by the Commonwealth without a rigorous cost benefit analysis and we urged Labor to honor that pledge with the NBN – the largest infrastructure project in our country’s history. Throughout this period Mr Quigley and the Government repeatedly and scornfully dismissed such calls. And Labor’s NBN plodded onward, consuming vast amounts of taxpayers’ cash but providing broadband to only a tiny fraction of the 2 million or so Australian premises with inadequate service.”

“Now, just months from an election, Mr Quigley suddenly wants a review – but a hazily conceived and nebulous review on his terms and timing. This isn’t policy on the run; it’s policy chaos.”

Communications analyst Paul Budde commented, following Turnbull’s rejection of Quigley’s suggestion, that both sides of politics should welcome the kind of study Quigley was suggesting, if they were confident about the strength of their respective policies.

I have been quite disturbed by Turnbull’s statements over the past several weeks on the issue of a cost/benefit analysis into the NBN. Turnbull has always stated that such a study would be carried out by the Productivity Commission and independently examine all the options.

Now, suddenly that promise has morphed into some form of study by the Productivity Commission, as well as some kind of study by NBN Co itself and what looks very much to be a rebuttal by a Coalition Government with its own analysis. This doesn’t feel in any way ‘independent’, and it doesn’t feel scientific and rational. It feels like Turnbull is trying to set up the process to engender a certain outcome before the Productivity Commission can fairly have its examination of the issue.

Of course, it could be that I’m looking at this the wrong way, and that Turnbull is (as some people have suggested to me privately over the past few weeks) giving a Coalition Government an ‘out’ to avoid canning the NBN project, if enough analysis shows that the project is the right way to go ahead after all. I’d like to think that Turnbull is keeping this option in the back of his mind. Being truly objective would mean going with whatever option the Productivity Commission found to be the best one — regardless of what policy the Coalition had taken to the election on the issue. However, at the moment, the Coalition has slammed the NBN so many times that I would have a hard time believing that it could progress with the project, no matter what the Productivity Commission found.

Such a move would be precisely the kind of backdown which the Coalition has long accused the Gillard Labor administration of, in examples such as the Carbon Tax, after all.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. The NBN will not use FttH under the Coalition even if the cost was 50% cheaper they would not do it!

    FttN is the religion for Turnbull now it is pathetic.

    • “FttN is the religion for Turnbull now it is pathetic.”

      Indeed. The big problem for religions is they rely on faith and you have to have a lot to expect the copper to provide anything useful at this stage. I think Turnbull realises this though since his overseas investments in fibre rollouts certainly are not putting any faith into FttN. So in his case he falls into an entirely different class when it comes to religious zealotry. We call it hypocrisy.

      • It’s doubtful whether FTTN is a religion for Turnbull.

        While he has certainly been promoting it with religious fervour, it seems hard to avoid the impression that his devotion may be based more on ‘anything but FTTP’ than on any objective national OR technical assessment.

        He is a very skillful old politician, lawyer, journalist and merchant banker, which is probably all that needs to be said. :)

  2. The scenario of Turnbull secretly giving the Coalition an out to continue a fibre deployment is interesting and may be true but it is not a good way to conduct a modern democracy. The state of Australia is a country where too many vested interests have already gotten used to having too much influence over government and a political class that happily serves them.

    Turnbull is a very capable person and it is a shame that he has become a very capable politician just like most of the rest – maybe even more so.

  3. I’d like to ask Turnbull which network will need upgrading again sooner once complete? FTTN or FTTH ……….. oops!

    • Turnbull will probably reply that FTTN/B will only not need upgrading on a line by line basis, when requested by the property owner. That FTTN/B is futureproof, in that the property owner will pay for the upgrade of their FTTN service to FTTP only if and when they need FTTP to their property.

      • Right so FTTN is really never complete? Great! We have a hodge-podge network that is constantly needing money pumped into it. I wish I could talk with a straight face about future-proofing the nation when a term or 2 is all they are interested in.

      • The correct answer is both.

        FTTN will require upgrading to FTTP at some point. It is likely the upgrade will be to direct fibre connection (Google fibre model).

        PON FTTP will require upgrading to GPON10 as data volumes grow, and eventually direct fibre.

        • @Matthew

          FTTN->FTTH (PTP or otherwise) will cost billions of dollars

          GPON->XPON and then 10XPON and then XLG-PON costs millions of dollars

          Both produce the same result. Currently, PTP Allows 10Gbits per user. XLG-PON, already prototyped and tested:


          Allows 40Gbits per user. PTP ALSO requires complex management as each Line is essentially terminated with a whole card (in essence) requiring much more rack space, power and, obviously, fibre.

          The ONLY difference, is not, contrary to popular belief, contention. It is where the contention LIES. In XLG-PON it is at the FDH. In PTP it is at the FAN (or similar). The contention still exists.

          Predictions show high end residential usage will not surpass 1Gbps before between 2025 and 2030. By then, it is feasible XLG-PON or similar may be up to 100Gbits per user. And Average usage is likely to still be below 500Mbps.

          PTP is simply a different way of managing a fibre network. It is not necessarily better or more robust. Just different. And, whether we like it or not, residential usage WILL eventually plateau. Already we are seeing algorithms for 4K and 8K that keep streaming usage under 100Mbits per channel. Even in the LARGEST of households, that will be 1Gbps maximum. Sure, virtual reality and real-time game streaming could conceivably bump that to 10Gbps. But that’s STILL well within PON’s capability.

          The fact is Matthew, what you are pushing makes no technical difference to what residential users could potential receive and USE in bandwidth. And it could cost BILLIONS to implement in the meantime. Certainly not in the next 2-3 decades at the minimum.

  4. they won’t tell you for example how much it’s costing to pass each premise

    Is it just me, or did Quigley not answer that question after it was asked….TWICE???

    Is this not just a straight out lie?

    they won’t tell you how much it’s costing to connect a premise.

    THIS is the only part they haven’t done. Probably because they haven’t connected enough fibre premises yet to get a good average. But nonetheless, they haven’t answered. The first question though is, as far as I can see, an outright lie.

    • I can give you a rough estimate of the cost to connect each premise.
      Assuming it costs $40Billion and Australia only has 10Million premises.

      $40 Billion / 10 million premises = $4000 ea

      This also includes all the main lines etc. and I think satellites

      • @Bpat

        Actually, it’s closer to $2500 for fibre, which is what the committee were asking. Once you remove $4 Billion for sat and wireless and about $6 billion for startups and other bits and pieces, you’re talking between $2500 and $2700 per premises.

        But that’s what it’s SUPPOSED to cost. No what it IS actually costing.

  5. The LNP has spent so much time criticizing the NBN that they could not continue with it in its current form if elected. So, every Australian for at least the next 50 years should tolerate bad infrastructure just so that the LNP can save face on one issue? Gotta love politics.

    Interesting to note that MT is using a wired connection for his laptop… I guess wireless is fine for us plebs to rely on.

  6. “…These calls were motivated by our concern that Labor had chosen the slowest and most expensive way of achieving such an upgrade.”
    Cost. Time. Quality.
    You can only have 2, Malcolm.

  7. Shorter Turnbull:

    “We will seek a Productivity Commission report, which we’ll set the terms of, but we will also ask the NBNco to provide the ‘real’ figures for the cost.”

    In other words, any Commission report is merely a formality; NBNco will be charged with finding a ‘cheap’ alternative; this will then form the ‘out’ Turnbull needs.

    This is in-line with the automatic dismissal of any review carried out prior to the election; it would be highly unlikely to match Turnbull’s vision.

    Make no mistake, this is an admission that the Coalition will still seek to demolish the NBN as it currently stands; that’s not the same message as “honour existing commitments”.

  8. Reality is the Libs plan to secretly scrap the entire NBN if elected into government. They will not spend a single dime more, they’ll try to have contracts scrapped or re-negotiated, they’ll sell of all current infrastructure currently built (probably to telstra!).


    This is the sad reality folks, vote for Labor if you want the NBN it’s that simple.
    Only under Labor will the NBN be built and finished.

    Time for the truth.

    • I agree with you Dino, i believe they will do what Tony Abbott first brain fart inspired him to say a while back that they will simply stop the NBN.. This flip flopping by Mal is only a diversionary tactic to try and grab votes from the poor unsuspecting people that dont know/dont care about the NBN.

    • “LNP = No NBN EVER ! BELIEVE IT !!!

      This is the sad reality folks, vote for Labor if you want the NBN it’s that simple.
      Only under Labor will the NBN be built and finished.”

      I’m worried your right mate, and with the ways the polls look these days, I think the chance of Australia finally getting good, fair and ubiquitous internet access, no matter who you are, is basically zero :(

  9. It is delusional to think the Opposition when they gain power in September, which they will, will be looking for a way out of going FTTN.
    I hope they do nothing, so when Labor gets back in they can redo the FTTP without the waste of FTTN.
    If they ever get back in before the 2020s.

    • I hope they do nothing too. Forking out a heap of money for FTTN and doing whatever they need to do to get the copper cheap could lock Australia on to a path where the eventual goal of getting FTTH is made much harder and much more expensive that if they had just done nothing.

    • And it’s delusional to think LNP will spend another dime towards bettering broadband in Australia, there so called cost analysis which may take years! will discover the NBN is not justifiable and it’ll be scrapped after waiting a long time , during which the entire NBN would of been halted and nothing more would of been built since winning power. NOTHING is all you’ll get with the Libs

      But know nothing is for sure, if enough voters vote for the NBN it could cause another major upset but they’ll also need to put KEV back in as the current leader was never voted by the people into power.

      Time will reveal the truth, lets hope we never find out.

      • @DinoTerrific: Enough with the “the current leader was never voted by the people into power” crap, please. That kind of rhetoric belongs on the shock-jock talkback shows.

        In Australia, we don’t have presidential elections. ‘The people’ NEVER vote the Prime Minister into power (much as the tabloid media encourages them to think so). We vote for candidates who represent a party (or independent). The party (or coalition) that wins enough votes to enable it to form government selects their leader, who is then duly appointed by the Governor-General.

        Seizing power by extending one’s power base is a part of the political process (for better or worse). It’s happened countless times in the past. We seem to be disproportionately focused on condemning it when done by a woman.

        • Nicely enunciated itgrrl. And absolutely spot on the money.
          Shame that the MSM and the ABC haven’t figured out how our Political System works yet, as they just keep getting so, so wrong and that is even with those “so called” Experts they have. Maybe they are trying to trick Australian’s into thinking it works in a different way?
          I wonder why they would try to do that?

        • Also. She was the leader during the last election.

          She was only even remotely “unelected” shortly before the 2010 election. After that, she was the one able to swing the votes to get elected. (ie turn the independents).

          And if that isn’t elected; then there was no way at all that anyone could BE elected at the 2010 election. Because no one had a clear cut majority.

    • I have to agree, we may be in a better position to move forward later by stoping the roll out completely rather than swapping to a FTTN / HFC mix.

      Sad but the cost of upgrading twice will be a political suicide pill

    • Some comments on a FttN NBN;
      The Coalition system will need to install many more nodes to service the same number of premises, FttN nodes typically support 300-400 premises, whereas the current NBN Nodes provide up to 3,456 fibres for premises. This limitation along with the distance issues of xDSL will mean the Coalitions plan will require 6 to 9 times as many nodes, optimally in a 3 by 3 matrix to service the same area as one of the current NBN Fibre nodes which supports distances of 1km from node to premises.

      Given this requirement alone there is no reason to believe that Coalition FttN roll-out could be any faster or cheaper than the current FttP build. NBN Nodes are purely optical with no need for power making them highly reliable and resilient to failure modes. The FttN proposition of the Coalition cost structure gets worse still due to the nodes now containing DSLAMs electronic equipment needed to convert the Fibre signal to Copper.

      These FttN nodes need to have a power connection from the local power provider adding time and cost. To suit our Australian climate the electronics will need active cooling and since this is providing phone service for emergency usage will require battery backed UPS system. These requirement dramatically increase the maintenance cost of the nodes by an order of magnitude. Overall these nodes will cost at least twice as much and there will be around five times as many, up to 40,000 in total.

      The Power requirement for 40,000 nodes consuming 3kw/h for 8,766 hours in a year is 1,051,920,000 kW/h at the current average price of 25c kW/h is $262.98 Million a year. Ten years power with the expected increases would cost well over $3 billion in real terms.

      If each of the Node Cabernet’s cost around $150,000 to purchase and install, 40,000 will cost at least $6 billion, and then that much again for maintenance and replacement over a decade. That will be a total of around $12 Billion, the current NBN FttH rollout cost in total is $12 billion including everything.

      Maintaining the copper over 10 years will cost 5 to 10 Billion. 8 Million vDSL2 Modems will cost $2 Billion at $250 a device, they are currently several times this. This total cost over 10 years including power is now looking to be a minimum of well over $30 Billion. This does not include any natural disasters effecting the equipment en mass, or insurance.

      So how is Turdbull’s FttN going to be cheaper, simple maths proves it can’t be.

  10. FTTN may have been faster to build a few years ago before the NBN got underway, given how long it took to negotiate with Telstra for access to their ducts and transfer of their customers to the NBN, you can only imagine it will take atleast that long, probably longer to negotiate access to their copper network as well as terminating the original agreement, thats assuming you can get them to the table at all, given the current agreement is a pretty good deal for Telstra.

    FTTN is only cheaper if it is being built by Telstra since it requires you to own a copper network, to buy the network from Telstra would be crazy expensive.

    FTTN cannot even come close to the quality offered by FTTP and certainly doesn’t provide a clear upgrade path, except to replace the copper portion with fibre.

    Any analysis regardless of who is doing it should show this, therefore the only real option should be to continue with the current NBN as planned.

  11. Turnbull is being his usual deceptive self. If he were serious about a CBA, and its value, he would have it done before he determines his policy, and say to taxpayers “This is how we are doing our NBN because…..”
    Instead he is doing an audit of NBN Co, and then some “study” on his plan to show that its cheaper to rollout. Any fool knows cheaper isnt better. There are far more factors that should be considered in an infrastrucutre rolllout, that will provide infrastructure that should last us for decades, than simply cost today.
    It would appear Turnbulls studies and audits are not going to address longer term ramifications.

    Its just another illustration that Turnbull was never serious about his truth in politics rant. He hasnt gone anywhere near close to backing up that talk with action since he made the speech.

    Turnbull is not doing a CBA, he his creating a politicking tool. No more, no less. It will be a pile of paper he can wave at a doorstop, and say “See, I told you we would do one!”. It wont be worth the paper its written on.

    • Matt, that was ages ago he said that, the story from him has changed atleast 30 times since then…

  12. “The NBN has not been forthcoming in the way it’s published information about its activities, they won’t tell you for example how much it’s costing to pass each premise, they won’t tell you how much it’s costing to connect a premise.”

    This might be an example of a wrong question, for two reasons:

    * Each premises is different. Some jobs are easier than others. You can take an average, but this still varies suburb to suburb
    * The whole rollout uses shared infrastructure

    If you want a “cost per premises”, you need to take an average of the work done on an individual premises, an average of the share of per-street fibre, an average of the share per FSAM, etc. This number is going to start out high (while eg. they are first building the FSAMs) and drop off once all the shared stuff is built and they’re only doing the per-premises work. If NBNCo releases these figures now, they will seem artificially high, and every major paper will claim costs have blown out.

  13. This would be the same Malcolm Turnbull who announced in August 2012 that his cheaper, faster alternative project was now fully costed and would be released soon.

    The coalition lost an unloseable election in 2010 by doing exactly what they are doing now.

    They are presuming that the electorate hates Labor enough to change the government, but they are preparing to hand the 2013 election to the cross benches again by fielding candidates who will distinguish themselves by being anti-fibre. Deja vu all over again. Heaven help us.

    • There are a few liberal state governments who are doing their best to claim some of the hate for themselves some of it will transfer over to their fed counterparts.

  14. The proposition that Turnbull is leaving an option open to avoid canning the NBN is farcical. Opinion polls have consistently shown a majority in favour of the Govt policy and supporting this would garner the Liberals far more votes than the Non NBN he is currently pushing. So why?

    I suspect the suggestion of an ‘open door’ is nothing more than attempt to con some into thinking it’s a possibility and to diffuse and confuse the opposition to their ridiculous policy. In addition it would mean backpedaling on one of the election issues, doing an about face on 4 1/2 yrs of opposition. It simply won’t happen. There will be ‘NO’ NBN under a Liberal Govt.

  15. Turnbull appeared to vary the Coalition’s promise on the issue again.

    “The very, very first thing we’re going to do is tell the truth about the NBN,” he said.

    Since when did Turnbull and any coalition MP decide to tell the truth?

    So after this statement, it’s clear that Turnbull suggests that what he and the Coalition MPs have been saying is all lies.

    Thanks for clearing this up Mal! Good to see you’re sticking to your bullshit lawyer form.

    A way you can save $ is to remove doors and just leave a small crack for you and your Coalition mates to ooze under.

    • “A way you can save $ is to remove doors and just leave a small crack for you and your Coalition mates to ooze under.”

      I like it mate, im gunna use that in future :)

  16. Australia has been so unsuccessful in maintaining business and industry in this Country.

    For the LNP to go to the next election threatening to delay/dismantle/downgrade the NBN – one of the few long term beneficial projects Australia has seen in years- is despicable…I would call it treason. Blind Freddy knows about the tyranny of distance and the advantages of high volume, high speed internet. Too bad Turnbull, Abbott and co. can’t grasp it and if so can’t admit it.

    • The problem is once you step away from headlines, the model Labor have chosen for the NBN is predicted by NBNCo to deliver the similar performance to HFC / FTTN. If Labor actually understood the technology and that fibre can only be justified when it delivers better than FTTN for everyone, not the tiny 5% who are predicted to have 1Gbps in 2028.

      • No, no it doesn’t.

        If you step away from the headlines you start to get away from “headline speed”, which you are focused on here. Headline speed is actually the last performance metric you should be basing a nationwide rollout on. Before that most consumers will actually be, directly or indirectly, concerned with:

        – Ubiquity: Can the technology deliver consistent performance within a reasonable margin of error to users.
        – Flexiblity: Can the technology provide a reasonable amount of product options in order to facilitate cross subsidisation, meaning that low income users can still afford to connect.
        – Maintainablity: Can the network be easily maintained and quickly recover from faults.
        – Upgradablity: Can the technology provide a reasonable upgrade path for the technology.
        – Cost: What will it cost to access the technology.

        Now with that in mind, let us break down the options, from what we know of Turnbull’s Plan at what we know of the NBN, I will include the “speed” mertric as well if you insist:

        UBIQUITY: NBN FTTP performance does not vary over distance, the only performance affecting factor is backhaul provision. The proposed FTTN does vary over distance, and HFC is usually oversubscribed compared to both the NBN and proposed FTTN. Therefore NBN wins on this count.

        FLEXIBITY: Both technologies are equally matched in this area.

        MAINTAINALITY: Copper has been reported to be more expensive to maintain than fibre, therefore the NBN wins in this count.

        UPGRADABITY: FTTN is difficult to upgrade without transitioning to full FTTP. The NBN, already rolling out FTTP to 93%, does not have this problem. Therefore the NBN wins.

        SPEED: The proposed FTTN and NBN FTTP plans, on average, will probably deliver equal performance, however if and when demand increases the NBN can better respond to increases in demand. I will call this one about equal, as the ability to respond comes more under Upgradablity than Speed.

        COST: Without reliable figures from Turnbull we have no data to answer this question.

        Therefore, stepping away from the headlines, and headline speed, the NBN is actually far better than what has been tabled by Turnbull thus far in terms of performance experienced by end users. Please Mathew, stop focusing on headline speed. By doing so you’re drawing false comparsions between the two technology options.

        In effect you’re saying “Well, there’s no benefit to going to FTTH, so why bother?” Now, we’re both smart enough to know that isn’t what you mean here, but it is what the general population will understand you to mean. That is counter productive.

        What you should be doing is trying to say the following: I think the estimated minimum speed of 12Mbps that NBNCo is flawed, they would be better of making the minimum X so that lower income families can better take advantage of the technology.

        See what I did there? I didn’t compare the NBN to the proposed FTTN, and still stated exactly the same problem you did. Now what action can you expect from my statement?

        I would expect a response of “Well, why don’t we raise the minimum, can we do this without adding costs?” as opposed to the “Why are we bothering with FTTH then?”

        I strongly expect you don’t want FTTN over FTTH, assuming you could take full advantage of both technologies, am I correct?

      • “the model Labor have chosen for the NBN is predicted by NBNCo to deliver the similar performance to HFC / FTTN.”

        False. All the speedtests I have seen are hitting close to the 100/40mbps mark as indicated on the package and there in no reason why higher speed plans won’t do the same. If you have real evidence that suggests otherwise you should post it since the Delimiter comments policy (http://delimiter.com.au/comments-policy/) clearly takes exception to “Comments which inject demonstrably false information into the debate”

        • True Hubert, and I’ve seen several that are actually faster than 100Mbps (114 is the fastest I’ve personally seen so far).

      • @Matthew

        The problem is once you step away from headlines, the model Labor have chosen for the NBN is predicted by NBNCo to deliver the similar performance to HFC / FTTN.

        I’m sorry, did I miss something? I’m well aware of NBNCo’s predictions on FTTH tier uptake. Far be it from me to remind you AGAIN, real world figures are ALREADY showing, at around 65Mbits on average, it is already FAR above what FTTN could supply to the majority. But also, did I miss NBNCo. doing a study on what predictions they have for FTTN tier uptake? Or even what the tiers would be? Cause there WILL be tiers, you’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. FTTN will likely cost about the same as FTTH to the end user, but the SPEED will be LOWER, therefore, FTTN CANNOT produce the same average network speed, even if people WANTED that speed, that FTTH gives.

        Your argument is flawed and irrational. And yet you still push it…..some would consider whether you believe your own words or are mindlessly pushing them for the sake of opposition to the NBN on any possible front.

    • Business loves the Libs because they give them handouts, but they are actually harming business in Australia because they spend nothing on infrastructure.

      that might make a few businesses richer in the short term, but all that happens in the long run is they weaken Australian business in the world market and then we have to put up with Gerry whining on TV all the time :/

  17. Read Malcolm’s statements carefully. He is not talking about comparing CBAs. He is talking about comparing the cost of apples and the cost of oranges. There is no benefit comparison because he says there is no need for the most of whatever technical (speed) benefit there is. This lies at the heart of his peremptory bagging of Quigley’s suggested study of the benefits. Is this an oversight or is it intentional? Whichever, Malcolm’s study is a futile, time wasting activity. We KNOW the cost of apples is not the same as the cost of oranges.

    Coalition type don’t need excuses to back flip on policies: cf Barry O’Farrell on double deckers promised for the North West Rail link but no longer, planning powers returned to local government and crawling out from the hold of property developers. No sign of either.

    Having struggled with stop start traffic for hours in the rain today today, the advantages of transmitting data instead of people become more obvious. Not that it is much better when it is dry. Let’s just get on with it.

    Incidentally, did he ever answer the questions his office promised he was going to answer?

  18. I think the only real option for the Coalition is to come up with a different name for the NBN and FTTH then they can continue to build it without breaking a promise, like they’d love to do with workchoices

  19. “Of course, it could be that I’m looking at this the wrong way, and that Turnbull is (as some people have suggested to me privately over the past few weeks) giving a Coalition Government an ‘out’ to avoid canning the NBN project, if enough analysis shows that the project is the right way to go ahead after all.”

    I thought that early on, but I’ve changed my mind on it since. If he/they were truly looking for an “out”, then the one by the CA would be perfect (independent and based in industry in question).

    He’s been whining on and on for a CBA/review/report for ages now, and yet when one is suggested, it’s “a cheap stunt”. it’s not a cheap stunt, he doesn’t want anyone else framing the reference for the report.

    IMHO, this indicates that he wants the frame of reference to be something specific and not necessarily one looking for benefits to the country, industry and/or over multiple decades.

    • renai goes out of his way to be charitable in his thinking about idiots and buffoons. he was wrong for months about turnbull despite everyone telling him that he was wrong and heonly finally worked out that turnbulls plan was bad when it was going to affect him. So many months of being wrong.

      it looks like renai is making the same mistake again. Dont do it! MT has proven himself and has already burned you before. Wake up!

  20. This is my (rough) take on the process of things to date from memory so things might be a bit out of order

    Labor: We are going to build the NBN!

    Business/IT: This seems like a good idea on paper.

    Abbot: No, i will destroy the NBN!

    Turnbull: We can use wireless technology instead?

    Engineer: Wont work long term, its not scalable. Stick with fibre

    Abbot: Destroy the NBN!

    Business/IT: We like the NBN!

    Turnbull: A technologically agnostic approach is needed, lets be wise and use what we have

    Business/IT: Err ok, what do you have in mind?

    Turnbull: FTTN looks like a good idea

    Engineer: Copper is in pretty bad shape

    Telstra: Yeah, we dont want to touch the copper network

    Abbot: Destroy the NBN!

    Turnbull: My way will be cheaper and faster, see, they did it cheap overseas

    Business/IT: Ok, where is your evidence?

    Turnbull: We err have a fully costed plan for FTTN…. which we will release err later!

    Engineer: Looking into FTTN, australia is very different to overseas and there are all sorts of technological reasons FTTN would be a bad idea

    Abbot: Destroy the NBN!

    Business/IT: Well we like the NBN its a good idea. Great for australias future and will create lots of opportunity for our economy

    Turnbull: We can do it cheaper and faster

    Engineer: Actually the NBN is already well under way and it would probably be cheaper and faster than changing to FTTN in the long run

    Abbot: Destroy the NBN!

    Turnbull: Overseas do it cheaper and faster

    Business/IT: Well what about that costed plan? We want to form an informed opinion

    Turnbull: Actually, i have started doing research into FTTN and we have to exclude HFC area’s. Besides HFC area’s already have super fast speeds.

    Engineer: Err, HFC are some of the worst area’s for speed and access.

    Abbot: Just destroy the NBN!

    Turnbull: Fine, lets just destroy the NBN!

    I think of abbots voice as a darlek.. EXTERMINATE

  21. As far as I can tell what Turnbull is proposing is three steps …

    – the NBNCo comes up with the fully documented costs of the current NBN
    – the Productivity Commission does a CBA for all options, using the NBNCo’s costs for that option
    – the Coalition publishes the findings of the CBA

    The first step allows Turnbull to challenge the forecast cost of the current NBN, which could give him a bigger capex saving for FTTN.

    The second step is the CBA he’s been talking about all along.

    The third step is making the information from the CBA public, which avoids the secrecy he claims surrounds the current NBN.

    If that’s the case then he’s doing what he’s claimed he will do and doing it transparently. I could be wrong of course.

  22. A CBA only knows what you ask it, it doesn’t how input the correct questions to the equally right or wrong answers.. and you may not like the answers you get either, case in point is Turnbulls whinge rhetoric..

  23. I thought he was being quite clear on his intentions. A Liberal party will do a full analysis of the NBN. They will then go on to complete it at a much lower cost, thus allowing us to spend more money on infrastucture that is actually necessary like roads and ports. We will still get high speed internet. FTTN is the wat to go.

    • You just repeated verbatim what Turnbull has been pushing.

      The problem is Turnbull has not costed his policy, so the industry has serious doubts on his ability to deliver it cheaper.

      He seems to be trying to make it cheaper by excluding certain areas like those with HFC and giving the contract to Telstra. Both things the industry seems to disagree with.

      Further, technologically speaking, FTTN is nothing more than an interim measure designed to extend the life of a POTS twisted pair network to reduce the capital investment required by an incumbent provider. Given the state of our copper network compared to others in the world it doesn’t wise to extend its life further.

      These questions have been asked of Turnbull repeatedly and he has resorted to ad hominem attacks of the media instead of addressing the issues.

      Renai is right to criticise him for lack of clarity on his position.

    • The LNP FTTN solution will require billions in direct subsidies to Telcos, basically Telstra.

      The NBNCo FTTH solution requires loans from the government that are paid back after the NBN is finished, from the profits of the NBN.

      If you want more roads and ports, you want NBNCo FTTH.

      The reason the FTTH NBN is doomed is not for any technical reason. It is purely to ensure that the future billions in profits from wholesale broadband go straight to the big end of town.

    • Jesus H Christ. How many times does it need to be said? “Saving” money on the NBN will not make one single dollar available to spend on anything else. Not one!

      The whole argument of cost savings is fundamentally dishonest and designed to mislead people.

  24. Great article. Anyone who has ever designed or maintained a network will tell you that the more circuits = more points of failure.

    I am getting sick of the continual story of churn and burn in the basket case that is the Australian IT industry. As a former employee of two now defunct pioneering companies (Jtec Telecommunications and Scitec ) having worked for Telstra and Consulted privately, politicisation has seen the industry regress instead of progress. We are back to groundhog day in a circle of political incompetence. If you propose and need a Ferrari, it will be legislated into a Unicycle. We need to build a VFT high speed train and the opposition in politically advantageous policy envy is proposing restoring a steam engine.

    The NBN is not getting the political bipartisanship it deserves as a nation building exercise.

    At some point we need to just bite the bullet give the accountants a sedative and tell them to chill out and build.

    My thoughts from my blog from January.


  25. I’m 1k from the exchange, I get a speed for download of 9Mbs on a really good day when it’s not raining’ sometimes during wet periods speed can drop to 256Kbs and during daytime peaks it can drop to 5Mbs. Telstra have just repaired lines, I have had no internet or telephone for 3 weeks and had to ring my local member and Mr Conroy’s office to get Telstra to rectify problems with wet cables. This is an almost annual event.
    Nobody ever mentions the “UPLOAD SPEED” on ADSL which NEVER exceeds 500Kbs on my line (it’s about 5% of the download speed) so even at the very best technical speeds of ADSL2+ it’s never going to exceed 1.2 Mbs, far to slow for even 720p video, it’s going to make online medical or university useless. It’s why video uploads to YouTube are so slow.
    Fibre offers high speeds in both directions, it’s huge flaw in ADSL that is NEVER MENTIONED especially by Malcolm Turnbull.

    Malcolm Turnbull is trying to turn communications policy into “RUGBY” “always behind New Zealand”
    Is Malcolm Turnbull going to pay for the rectification or replacement of defective Telstra cable? No Mention of this either!
    To say Malcolm’s policy is incoherent is an understatement!

  26. I’ll say it once and say it again “TURNBULL IS AN IDIOT” and should be put on notice having portfolio he shouldn’t actually have is a big no no…

    TURNBULL your last mile of service is A FALLACY average Nodes have a min trunk line of radius of 7-8 miles add another 250-500 meters from pit to point you plug your modem into modem, you’ll likely have have a minimum end point of 15-16 miles..
    this kind of puts a kink in the last mile crap you preach for a fttn conclusion on a already 3km node..

    reality at 1.5km to end point would likely see me at 8/1mb per adsl and ndsl service, bonding i’d see 16/2, vdsl i might see 30/5, though given line degradation i may only see 18/2 with line replacement every 2-4 years, under adsl and ndsl 4-5 years replacement policy in node to pit cable..

    the reality is i’m up for a cable replacement within the next 2 years, so sticking us on fttn might work as a interim solution fact is by 2020 we’re up for a minimum of 2-3 trunk replacements on adsl tech and even less on vdsl tech..

    while FTTN is practical in some point reality is you will still have the have’s and the have nots when it comes to service..

    given what i’ve seen at my serviced node on the corner of Fisher and fullham streets in the last 3-4 weeks FTTN isn’t a solution worth installing as there just isn’t enough copper in the can to service the new connections required, FTTN in this isn’t a interim solution ftth with either more single or double pairs is needed to cater for the excess of connections required, fibre in the situation is the only solution,,,

    playing with copper is just bottlenecking the services..

  27. Are you sure that quote is correct, and he didn’t say “The very, very last thing we’re going to do is tell the truth about the NBN”?

  28. Gotta make you laugh, quoting The Idiot of Turnbull of The Wally, hook, line and stinker..

    Though still to the actual point no pricing model has ever been put forward for the FTTN model which by the way it is looking is going to be a boxco + tophat delivery method that telstra is currently doing as a shortfall to add adsl in area’s currently in short of xdsl tech..

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