‘Superceded’: Hadley joins Jones in wireless NBN attack


news Radio shockjock Ray Hadley has joined fellow 2GB commentator Alan Jones in attacking Labor’s National Broadband Network project for using fibre technology to upgrade Australia’s broadband infrastructure, with Hadley claiming the fibre could be superceded over the next two decades by “something we don’t even know about”.

Last week, Jones used an article published by The Australian newspaper to argue that the NBN had admitted facing competition from wireless networks, and asked how “dumb” “these people” and the Government were, as “everybody” has known for years that wireless is the way of the future. Jones added that the Government was spending borrowed and taxpayer money to roll out the NBN, which was going to be “obsolete” before it was finished, and said the Government should be sacked on the basis of the NBN project alone.

Jones’ comments aren’t the first time he has claimed that wireless broadband represents the future of Internet access in Australia; he initially made the claim in October last year. Later on Thursday last week, Hadley — broadcasting on the same station as Jones — added his comments to the fray, using the same story in The Australian as the basis for his attack on the NBN. You can listen to Hadley’s comments here — the NBN segment starts after the 1 hour, 24 minute mark.

Hadley pointed out that when he started broadcasting on radio back in 1982, mobile phones did not exist, and radio newsreaders read out printed news bulletins on air.

“Now you can present a bulletin without touching a typewriter … it’s just there on the computer system, you don’t need a reel to reel tape recorder. I’ve got a touchscreen in front of me. Back then I had a big cartridge deck,” Hadley said. “Can you imagine the advances in technology in the next 26 years? I can’t. I can’t comprehend it. By the time they finish the NBN, it could be superceded. By something we don’t even know about.”

“Currently wireless-only premises sit at about 10 percent, by the way,” Hadley said, noting that NBN Co had noted that under certain conditions — if it increased its broadband prices to the maximum over a sustained period — Australian premises using wireless options could rise to 30 percent by 2039.

“A senior NBN executive has reportedly said wireless networks have the potential to offer a substitute for the NBN. Thank you, scoop,” he said.

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, the global telecommunications industry is currently almost universally in agreement that in every country, telecommunications needs will continue to be served by a mix of fixed and wireless infrastructure.

In Australia, for example,, 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.

Secondly, the comments by Jones and Hadley that the NBN will be obsolete before it is built is also incorrect. The fibre technology while will constitute the vast majority of the NBN rollout contains the potential to be upgraded to deliver 1Gbps speeds to premises and potentially higher speeds in future; the deployment of this technology universally around Australia is expected to place Australia amongst the global leading countries when it comes to telecommunications. It is expected that this technology will be in use for multiple decades – at least between 30 to 50 years.

It’s not the first time that Hadley has sharply criticised the NBN. In April 2012, for example, NBN Co shifted some of its radio advertising away from 2GB after Hadley and another presenter standing in for his colleague Alan Jones criticised the project on air, directly before reading paid advertising for NBN Co which factually explained details of the rollout.

In general terms, the evolution of the global telecommunications industry is seen not as a pure technology upgrade issue — similar to the way PCs and mobile phones are upgraded — but is more approached as an infrastructure issue, similar to the way roads are upgraded into highways and electricity power lines are upgraded. This means that telecommunications infrastructure is extremely long-lived. The copper network currently owned by Telstra has been in place for much of the past century, and its upgrade path has been well-understood for many years.

Even mobile broadband networks, which are broadly seen as being easier to deploy than comparable fixed broadband infrastructure such as the NBN, are still seen within the telecommunications sector as being long-term infrastructure developments rather than pure technology deployments. For example, Telstra first deployed its current Next G network from 2005. It has taken seven to eight years of continuous development for the network to reach its current level of 4G speeds — and those speeds are not yet universally available around Australia.

I can understand how radio commentators such as Jones and Hadley can make the mistake of assuming that technology in the telecommunications sector behaves the same way as consumer technology such as mobile phones, desktop PCs or tablets, for example. From the perspective of an outsider to the industry, it must seem like ‘technology’ per se is not predictable, and that today’s fixed broadband technology could easily become obsolete as wireless technology comes to the fore.

However, the truth is that technological development in the telecommunications industry is actually more along infrastructure lines rather than being similar to consumer technology; and it requires very long-term thinking — on the scale of multiple decades (usually 30 to 50 years).

In pushing the view that wireless technology could make the NBN’s fibre to the premise rollout (or even the Coalition’s fibre to the node rollout) obsolete, Hadley and his colleague Jones are just flat out wrong. The NBN’s fibre will not be made obsolete for the forseeable future. Humanity has found no other technology than fibre (whether it’s FTTP, FTTN or even HFC cable) that can deliver the broadband speeds which Australians are increasingly demanding. And that’s something which even Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull would have to agree with.

Image credit: Website of Ray Hadley


  1. Hadley claiming the fibre could be superceded over the next two decades by “something we don’t even know about”
    I figure we should wait till Universal Teleportation is available before wasting money on Rail and Roads that will become obsolete.

    • yep, if anyone was ever wondering exactly what it was that makes us not take these mental midgets seriously when it comes to the greater NBN debate it’s statements like this from Hadley and Jones. The big question now is just which one of them is the bigger fool. One minute these twits are complaining about the slow NBN rollout and the next they want us to wait an age for a magical wireless Star Trek technology nerds love… the agenda is much too blatant, only their bogan listeners would be fooled by such hollow promises… I do wonder how they feel about FttN though, perhaps they should remind Turnbull to avoid it should there be a coalition win at the next election.

      • “…these mental midgets”

        Now now, don’t speak ill of the brain dead.

        I expect Jones, Hadley & co to sprout ignorant ideas, (you are what you sprout) ,
        But Mr Turnbull, co-founder of OzEmail one of the original ISP in this country, should know better then to ride on the coattails of misinformation.

        Vodafone & Optus networks are great examples of what happens to overloaded wireless infrastructure. Customers of these networks are lucky to get a 10th of the rated speeds.

        • Craig, If you look at the vote which replaced Turnbull with Abbott, you might find out that his support of the NBN was a contributing factor – sad but true.

    • ‘with Hadley claiming the fibre could be superceded over the next two decades by “something we don’t even know about”.’

      Funny, Copper was superceded by something WE ACTUALLY KNEW about over a decade and a half ago. Didn’t see him calling out for a change then.

    • Hang on, wasn’t one of the features of the NBN marketed as “we wil use this high speed internet to deliver things we haven’t even thought of yet” ?

      What’s the difference between that and Hadley’s assertion ?

      • Hadley assumes the development of a technology that will render the NBN obsolete. The marketing material you refer to assumes the NBN can be used to develop different technology that would otherwise be impractical.

        Hadley’s assertion isn’t consistent with history in this regard, the marketing material is. It’s like suggesting that something will replace the automobile as opposed to suggesting someone will improve the automobile.

    • We should always respect the possibility of something completely unforeseen coming to light over the next couple of decades.

      Like the possibility of shock jocks developing vestigal intelligence and common sense.

    • I will be slower than regular wireless broadband and you would only be able to browse a pre-approved set of sites but it will come in a nice package be “easy” to use and cost more.

  2. So we shouldn’t spend money on roads either because you know flying cars might happen in the next 2 decades. I’ve seen pictures. Head meet desk.

  3. Hadley works in radio broadcasting. It’s WIRELESS! And it works for him so it must work for everyone and everything else.


  4. hadley is caught up in an infinite un-upgrade loop.

    it works like this:

    there’s something good coming out and i want it.
    but i heard that something better will be out just after it, and i want that too.
    but i don’t want to pay for both of them.
    i think it’s better if i just wait the second item.
    the second item is just about to be released and i want it.
    but i heard that something better will be out just after it, and i want that too.
    but i don’t want to pay for both of them.

    also, i wonder if anyone has suggested to hadley that the unimaginable technological advanced that are coming in the next 25 years will make his touchscreen obsolete so the company he works for shouldn’t have upgraded to them and instead waited for that future tech.

    • The only upgrade Hadley is interested in is a change of government.

      Truth and reality fall far behind that.

      • +1, although it should read “the only upgrade Macquarie Radio Network are interested in is a change of government.”

        Otherwise, your damn straight about that.

    • You’re right about the infinite loop, but

      ” i wonder if anyone has suggested to hadley that the unimaginable technological advanced that are coming in the next 25 years will make his touchscreen obsolete so the company he works for shouldn’t have upgraded to them and instead waited for that future tech.”

      I think his “logic” there was that 25 years is to far away and we shouldn’t be spending $xx billions on something we might need in a few years, rather we should be spending a tenth of that on stuff we know we need now.

      But of course the fault in that logic is in thinking that national infrastructure can be upgraded annually or every 3 years like regular IT hardware is. In reality national infrastructure NEEDS to be planned decades in advance.

  5. If they want to know what’s coming then they need to look in the labs and in telecommunication journals – that’s where all the next generation of technology comes from. Any ideas that actually make it will take 10 years to be developed.

    • I think a lot of the innovation that we see today was previously written about in Sci-Fi books and comics. So that is where I would suggest they start looking for what is coming in the future.

  6. If we all thought like this guy does we’d still be stuck with two cans and a piece of string.

    Thankfully no one takes these idiots seriously…

    • Yes they do, unfortunately. The father inlaw is a prime example. Oh and he still believes everything he reads in the Tele. My god!

    • Oh, and on Good Friday, he was trying to tell me that the Telstra shop told him it would cost him $350 to get the NBN on. I think he has been listening to Hadley etal and reading the Tele toooooo much.

      I told him to wait till it is available in his area and I will look into (knowing full well it is free, he wouldn’t believe me! aaarrrgghhh). I have even ofered to show him the policy but no, aparently the Telstra shop know best. I would say they are trying to gouge him, being a pensioner but I would say he hasn’t been in to see them and is just going on what he has heard.

      Bloody frustrating.

  7. Hearts and stomachs will be a thing of the past once we develop something in the future, and you can quote me on that because I’m not a doctor or have anything to do with the industry…. :|

  8. Hadley said “could” be superceded.

    You say he claimed it “would” be superceded, and build a whole article on “proving” he is wrong.

    That is the quality of Renai’s excuse for journalism.

    You clearly can’t argue with the facts of what he said, so you misquote him.

    Grow up, Renai.

    • Hadley is suggesting a course of events that contradicts almost all known professional commentary on the subject, and you are arguing against Renai because his retort has a semantic inconsistency?

      Allow me Renai:

      Your comment is invalid.

    • Radio shockjock Ray Hadley has joined fellow 2GB commentator Alan Jones in attacking Labor’s National Broadband Network project for using fibre technology to upgrade Australia’s broadband infrastructure, with Hadley claiming the fibre could be superceded over the next two decades by “something we don’t even know about”.

      I rest my case.

    • You need to read the article again. Nowhere in that article did Renai claim on behalf of Ray Hadley that it “would” be superceded.

      His (Renai’s) argument is against that old “just because there might be a new technology around the corner” we should wait, or do nothing. In which case you inevitably do nothing, forever!

      The problem is that private enterprise and previous governments have been “waiting” forever and a day. We’ve finally got a government who is getting on with it in an attempt to reconcile the failures and both Ray Hadley and Alan Jones are spouting uninformed and uneducated rubbish to a legion of (now ill informed) sheep.

  9. The only plausible thing that could replace fibre is something coming from quantum physics.

    I’m talking about two possibilities.

    1) particle accelerators aimed through the earth. There could be about 6-10 of these (one per continent/large region). They would need to be in relatively remote areas to prevent people being fried.
    This would cut the latency between continents quite a lot. Though the power requirements would be enormous and bandwidth would probably be lower than you’d expect. I’d expect the middle of Australia and the Sahara desert to be some of the first testing grounds (because they’re almost literally on the opposite side of the world) which would bring Europe to around 150ms away. (Around half).

    2) Quantum entangled routers. Similarly, these would be ridiculously expensive and limited to a small number. Each router would require a paired router at the other end. Maintaining the entanglement is probably not impossible, but doesnt sound easy. I’d expect fewer than 20 of these to exist globally if and when they exist. The up side is any computer in the world would be no more than 50ms away.

    • and that sort of commercial big iron hardware wont happen for 50 years. if Quantum transmission is even proved efficacious in the first place. we’re aware that quantum effects might do certain things for us but it might be completely impractical for anything larger than a lab table, let alone continent to continent. have a look at some of the work trying for error correction, lifespan of a qubit (its not got a very long life atm) – there are a LOT of problems to be solved. assuming they are, then you have to take time building commercial hardware and having it validated for use.

      i will be stunned if ‘something’ ‘could’ supersede* it in Hadleys 20 y timeframe.

      *from the Latin super-sedere, meaning to desist.

    • Only problem with your quantum entangled routers is that QM specifically forbids the transfer of information by quantum entangled particle pairs. Ergo there’s no way it can be used for this unless you’ve got a Nobel winning idea.

      The current uses of QE for data transfer are to add qpackets to data transfer streams as a security device – if the stream has been intercepted then the quantum packet will have de-cohered prior to its arrival.

      Now if we could do wireless by neutrino then you’d have a system that worked at the speed of light. Current tech would require a fission reactor as source, a massive installation kilometres beneath the earths surface as an antenna and packet loss in about the 99.999999999% range. So plenty of scope for improvement and innovation there ;-)

      • One more thing I should add is that current quantum entangled particles in networking are all photons. So they have to be sent by – you guessed it – fibre!

    • The beauty of Quantum entangled routers is the zero latency regardless of the distance between them, so yes we should definitely wait for their invention and just spend untold $millions on the copper for the last mile in the mean time.
      Anyone who can’t see that is the future is an idiot.

  10. just shows how out of touch with reality these people are.
    No wonder why the world is going down the crapper.
    The unfortunate part about this is that some people believe the crud that flows from these gas bags.
    They probably think babies come by stalks dropped down the chimney.

  11. If wireless is “all that” then why does this bozo and his mate Alan Jones, promote thinkers like the ones from this article

    It sounds like they are more against any form of advance to anything except the size of their salaries!

  12. “video killed the radio star”
    Can I throw a VHS tape at them, i have a collection.

    But they are right we need to invest in wireless and I believe the ACMA need to take step one in the process immediately; which would be to represses all the wasted RF space between 87.5mhz and 108mhz. plus that space in the 526.5khz-1800khz to free up the bandwidth.

    • You make a good point. If we got rid of the Am/Fm radio stations around the country, we’d need a lot less mobile towers and probably have enough bandwidth to go fully wireless.

  13. Why wouldn’t they just use Fibre to the Node now a the coalition suggest. It more than halves the costs of the roll-out and they’ll finish much sooner. A little more feasible.

    Use VDSL on copper wires as long as they work and configure 1Gpbs 802.11ac wireless access points at the nodes?

    So the fibre infrastructure is there and then the comments are not that outrageous in that other technologies may develop for access to the premises. If it doesn’t then charge consumers to delivery fibre to premises, stage it gradually then spending all the time and money now while we can’t see through the looking glass.

    • Go and do some research on the topic and then come back you could start with the range of Wifi, wireless contention and vdsl dropoff over distance.

      drop by after that ;)

      Your suggestion that we roll out 3 overlapping (Wireless, Copper and Fiber) networks simultaneously sounds hideously expensive maybe look into that to.

    • And you know that will cost less over the whole project? Turnbull is pushing a pay for it if you want it construction idea but many years ago insurers tried that approach with their own fire brigades. The idea did not catch on.

      In fact, the current thinking is a levy on council rates to contribute to fire brigade costs for those with no fire insurance.

    • The current copper system that was installed in the 60’s has 5 to 10 years left until the copper starts to fail through corrosion breakdown ( yes it’s lifespan is about done ).

      Why on earth would you want to connect brand new fibre optic’s to it ?
      That’s like trying to blend a modern jet fighter with the wright brothers plane while it falls apart through old age.

  14. Jones and Hadley will reject anything the Labor Party want to introduce. They actively and openly support the Liberal Party.

    I’d be interested to also find out who are there advertisers/Sponsors. Is Telstra a advertiser/sponsor?


  15. I’d be curious to know what portion of the “about 10 percent” of wireless-only premises are wireless only because they aren’t in a position to get a viable fixed line connection. Presumably this includes people outside the ADSL footprint, or people living on short term leases. I personally know people in the latter category, I’m just curious how far it extends.

    • Based on Telstras numbers they added 200 000 ADSL customers from areas where is was not previously available in the last financial year most of those would have used wireless with telstra. Based on the total number of Telstra ADSL connections that is approximately 5% who have moved to ADSL and many more would like to.

      In my area mobile phone data is now usable in peak time for the first time in 2 years thanks to people transferring to ADSL

  16. Since Hadley and Jones are such low credibility presenters, why does anyone buy advertising on their programs?

  17. Like all technology, wireless has limitations. Fibre optics has grown faster and faster which exceeds any speeds that wireless can produce in the prefect condition. Anyone that works on networks should be able to tell Hadley and Jones this if they would listen.

    Wireless has its place in the NBN but is not the answer. Fibre is best medium we have today and in 20 or 30 years fibre speeds will increase. Wireless will clog up just as others have mentioned plus you would need a tower near by to get the best speeds and little usage by other users.

    Let the network engineers do their business and design a NBN that will take Australia forward not these political people that know little about it but welling to give their opinion.

  18. If I was raving mad, I could not listen to Hadley and Jones when I’m interstate or abroad. But I can listen to was passes for their wisdom anywhere in the world on the internet. Do those two geniuses ask themselves: why is it so?

  19. Ray Hadley is just upset that his medium of talkback radio has been superceded by internet forums, blogs, forwarded emails, twitter, youtube as well as the classic ranting-on-street-corners.

  20. Don’t be too harsh on Jones and Hadley…

    It is obvious they have both had their heads jammed into too many scrums :(

  21. I am glad Hadley and Jones weren’t on Radio in the 1960s when the government paid for the copper rollout. We may have never got it because “it could be superceded over the next two decades by something we don’t even know about.”. Did that happen? No, it did not, and if we had waited another 2 decades to rollout copper, it would have cost us enormously.

    • Or for that matter….. the Sydney Harbour Bridge. How dare the government of the day build a bridge too big for the age gone by.


  22. … while I find the opinions, and they are nothing but opinions at best, misinformed, intolerant and often just plain stupid, the scary bit is that 50% or more of the population listens to & adores these fools.

  23. Hmmm…NBN speed vs 3G speed?
    Now think – NBN speed vs overcrowded and under specced 3G network speed.


  24. Its hated by Jones and Hadley because its Labor policy, they are after regime change.

    The issue with the NBN is not the technology. Its the cost and time of roll out.

  25. Can radio presenters who don’t have any knowledge of how technology works please stop commenting about the NBN?

    Seriously, for someone to just state rubbish publicly shows that he or she doesn’t know much when it comes to the subject..

    To state “By the time they finish the NBN, it could be superseded. By something we don’t even know about” is a straw man argument. Its the same argument stating, “oh who knows, by then we could have ADSL3 and get 1000Mbps connections”.

    Its like trying to basically say “Lets build something now, but wait, its not out yet, it may never come out, but thats the plan!”

    Its utter rubbish. These people should not be allowed to state their incorrect opinion to others who are listening and don’t have a clue either and believe the radio host because of their reputation or comments.

    All the radio hosts basically think is;

    Oh look at my lovely iPad, I can view the internet at work. This is the future. Lets build an entire nation on a wireless network. Its so ridiculous.

  26. it was only a matter of time before the third village idiot struck. The three village idiots Tony Abbott, Alan (Gloria) Jones and Alan Hadley. ….. Or should we call them Larry, Curly and Moe. Not a technological clue or factually accurate statement on broadband between them.

    When are other sections of the media finally going to have the guts to take these complete idiots head on and show the general public what twonks they really are.

    The Liberal NBN bought to you by Larry Curly and Moe.

  27. Sixty something comments, and still no mention of the Atomic Banana…

    No real point commenting more, others have posted my feelings on Hadley’s ridiculous views already.

    Just wanted to give a shoutout to the atomic banana :)

  28. There was a test done in Sweden a few months ago using a single fibre optic strand.
    They used a software program that allowed 10X yes 10X, more data to travel through.

    Not hard to realize how great the NBN would be once this technology has been added.

  29. The Allies would have lost WWII if they had postponed developing the Spitfire because it would be superseded by the drone. As for the time the NBN will take to be delivered to all households, how long will it take, under a Coalition Government, to deliver higher speeds exactly? Have they even calculated it? And what happens if wireless is superseded by something the Coalition, H&J and their supporters “don’t know about”? (Do H&J know anything?) Where will the Coalition and its MSM propaganda machine be then?

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