blog If you believe much of the hype around News Corp’s ongoing attacks on the National Broadband Network, much of the rationale behind them comes from the fear that the NBN could prove to be the catalyst which will unlock real competition to Foxtel, the subscription TV joint venture between News Corp and Telstra. However, according to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, the topic has never come up in talks with Murdoch. The Australian newspaper reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Tony Abbott says he has never discussed the National Broadband Network with News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch or any of his senior executives.”
We also have similar comments from Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, on radio 2UE:
“In terms of talking to Murdoch about it, I don’t recall discussing the NBN with Murdoch but I have to say that the view that he’s put in the public domain is pretty much the same as everybody else in the business community has taken which is: How on earth can the Government justify embarking on such a gigantic project with so little consideration, no cost-benefit analysis, no limit on the costs, no realistic understanding on how long it’s going to take.
The whole thing looks thoroughly unbusiness-like and reckless. So Murdoch I’m sure has some original opinions on some things but on the NBN he’s just expressing the standard view you’d find from pretty much every business person I talk to around the country.”
Opinions currently vary wildly as to whether the NBN, in either iteration, poses a thread to Foxtel. Personally, as I wrote yesterday, I don’t think it does. But there’s also a wider issue here, in terms of the claims being made. There just isn’t a lot of evidence at the moment that News Limited’s anti-NBN coverage has been aimed at shoring up Foxtel’s future, and not just targeted at an obvious problem project of the Labor Government. It’ll be interesting to see if we get more evidence on this issue as the election campaign progresses.