NBN should be top Abbott priority: Poll



news An online poll taken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this week has shown Australians overwhelmingly believe focusing on the National Broadband Network should be Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott’s highest priority in his first 100 days in office, eclipsing issues such as education, the carbon tax, border protection and the environment.

The poll asked some 4,166 Australians visiting the ABC’s website what they thought Abbott’s number one priority for his first 100 days in office should be. The NBN was rated as the most popular response, with some 546 respondents supporting the project as Abbott’s highest priority. A further 287 respondents demanded that Abbott focus on keeping Labor’s fibre to the premises-based NBN policy intact, instead of shifting to the Coalition’s less ambitious fibre to the node rollout style.

Other important national issues, such as education, health, the carbon tax, the environment and border protection, rated less popular than the NBN as an issue with Australians.

The news comes as dissent regarding the Coalition’s plans to substantially modify the NBN continues to grow, with other signs of the will of the Australian population on the issue being the creation of a fast-growing petition and the publication of a landmark article by the ABC on the issue.

A petition placed on popular website Change.org on the issue following the election, demanding the Coalition reconsider the FTTN technology and focus on the superior FTTP option, has already garnered in excess of 193,000 signatures, with tens of thousands more Australians putting their names to the issue every day.

“As currently proposed,” the petition states, “the Coalition’s FTTN solution relies on the existing copper lines to supply individual premises access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) over the last mile or so. However, copper wiring solutions are rapidly approaching a century of implementation, with its inception dating back to the 1920’s. As such, its technological limits as well as associated weaknesses are rapidly developing … I and many Australians urge you to reconsider your proposal of a FTTN NBN in favour of a superior FTTH NBN. As your policy currently stands it is merely patch-work; a short term solution to a long term problem.”

Dozens of comments have been placed on the Change.org petition supporting its argument. In addition, the petition is only one of many such petitions placed on the site over the past year which demand the Coalition support Labor’s NBN project. The petition’s author Nick Paine has pledged to forward the petition to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, as well as Turnbull.

Another indication of the likely ongoing strength of support which Labor’s NBN policy will continue to enjoy came on Monday in an extensive article published by Lateline presenter Emma Alberici, who hosted a debate on the NBN issue during the election between Turnbull and then-Communications Minister Anthony Albanese.

The widely respected journalist and commentator argued strongly that the Coalition was “brushing off” the need for faster broadband speeds with its technically inferior policy.

“The World Wide Web was all but ignored when it was unveiled by the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. Those who did react were sceptical that the web would ever entangle more than a few academics across the world and few could imagine that anyone would ever read their news on a computer,” wrote Alberici.

“Mr Turnbull is adamant that it’s “very unlikely” Australians will need 1 gigabit of download speeds. That’s what they said about the World Wide Web.”

The article attracted 412 comments, the vast majority of which were hostile to the Coalition’s NBN plan and supported Labor’s, although many commenters also acknowledged Labor had done a poor job of implementing its policy.

The ongoing support for Labor’s NBN policy — despite the fact that Labor lost the election on Saturday — is consistent with the policy’s high levels of support in the electorate over time. For example, an informal online poll taken by the ABC after the Coalition’s rival policy was unveiled in April showed voters had quickly rejected the policy, with 78 percent of some 5,700 readers noting that they didn’t support it. A subsequent poll showed the Coalition’s NBN policy had boosted support amongst some Coalition voters, but confirmed that Australians en-masse still overwhelmingly supported Labor’s version of the policy.

The dissent train against the Coalition’s plans to substantially reform the NBN just keeps on growing. As I wrote earlier this week:

“Well, well. Looks like the Australian electorate isn’t going to just take this one lying down. From here, it’s relatively clear what is going to happen. Given that the Australian electorate has always been staunchly behind the NBN, it is very likely that Turnbull, and the Coalition in general, are going to face an ongoing and high level of antagonism from the public as they attempt to radically modify Labor’s NBN project into a FTTN-based alternative. And the only thing which will dull this criticism is extremely fast delivery of the Coalition’s FTTN infrastructure. The more delayed the Coalition’s own rollout becomes, the more frustrated the Australian population will become with the situation.

Turnbull, in particular, has just one chance to get this right. If the incoming Communications Minister is not able to kick the Coalition’s FTTN project into gear and get it deliverying very quickly, he is rapidly going to become public enemy #1; the politician who not only tore down Labor’s NBN vision, but also proved incapable of delivering on his own vision. Because the public angst on this issue is just not going to go away.”


  1. I find the petition a bit misleading. I don’t think most people realise the concessions nbnco has already made to the original fttp plan to meet budget constraints.

        • “NBN Co chief executive has flatly rejected as “wrong” a report by the Financial Review newspaper last week which claimed that the company was facing a $5 billion blowout in its construction costs, stating that he expected the NBN project to deliver within its existing cost structure.” from your link, that is the first line.

          The quote from inside the article is referencing a “5 billion dollar hold”. I don’t understand that language, and hope someone can clarify what that means in a business context for me.

  2. No sympathy form me. Everyone was warned.

    As I said on Zdnet if this guy with the petition really wanted to make a difference he should have been making noise long before the election. Now he only has himself to blame when GimpCo rolls around his town. He signed a petition when he voted for them. You’ll take your FttN and like it and you’ll get the substandard network you deserve.

    1205 days to go!

          • eh, that’s odd. If you insist on silencing me I will comply and adjust my comments as not to offend with a sig. There’s only 1205 days to go after all, I think I can survive without a sig for that long.

          • If this petition guy wanted an FTTH why didn’t he just vote Labor.
            Hey Hubert, did your 1205 days to go signature include leap years.

          • “If this petition guy wanted an FTTH why didn’t he just vote Labor.”

            Exactly my point. If he really felt so strongly about it that is one thing he should have done. At least his petition would be more sincere this way.

            “Hey Hubert, did your 1205 days to go signature include leap years”

            Most likely. I was simply taking the number from the timanddate.com website. I’m sure they’ve already accounted for leap years.

          • I voted for FTTH! I never wanted, and never want FTTN. I have never understood why this was even a political issue, except modern politics says if one party wants green, the other party must have red not because it better it’s because neither side is allowed to agree with the other any more. The Coalition should have said, FTTH is a much better system. The Coalition hasn’t even costed FTTN so their claim “It’ll be cheaper”, is not based in reality. Their whole approach to this issue, and I believe others, has been FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) all along.

          • I was just thinking, there most be heaps of gullible Coalition votes out there who thought that after the election the Coalition wouldn’t be stupid enough to roll out their retarded FTTN system. I roughly worked it out that the Coalition have 7 years to roll out 60000+ FTTN noods, that’s works out about 23.5 noods per day. (excluding leap years) There been in government for 6 days and already there -141 noods behind schedule, talk about incompetence.

          • Actually Mike K,

            The plan appears to look like doing FTTP until end 2014 and FTTN progressively from there.

            So, from my rough calculations (using similar numbers that NBNCo. use for working days of 250 a year) they have roughly 500 days from beginning 2015 to end 2016 (which I might add is after any election to be held) and in that time they must provide approx. 30 000 nodes to the 4.3 million in the 41% required before 2017. That’s over 60 nodes and 9000 premises per day from beginning 2015.

            For reference, NBNCo’s highest premises passing for FTTH, 6500 from 2017-2022, requires approx. 35 “nodes” (FDHs) a day. But, NBNCo. of course also have to run the last mile for FDHs to premises, which they would not have to do in FTTN. They would, however, contrary to belief, still have to visit the home from the information we’ve been given. And test all lines when before installing the node to determine what, if any, remediation or line replacement is required.

          • Thanks for the heads up seven tech, mind you my post was just a bit of tongue in cheek, we have had to put up with years of crap from the Coalition so now its payback time.

    • Yes because that’s helpful.

      I am disappointed as well. However you play the cards as they are dealt. We can’t go back and change it, so now you work with it. Start pushing the agenda again. At least now you can argue that it doesn’t matter who is elected it is the best plan for Australia. So the automatic anti-labor naysayers should be less adamant.

      If enough people make themselves known, then there is a chance. If no one says anything, then its done.

    • Hubert’s comment seems to have got lost in the din about signatures, but it bears repeating. Nick Paine, who started the petition, stated he voted Liberal. Like so many others, he made his choice in the full knowledge of the LNP policy, but apparently did not believe they meant it.

      How many times did we see these poor, deluded people write on Delimiter, and other forums, statements about how they expected Abbott and Turnbull to realise the error of pushing FttN, and to ‘see the light’ once in power. It was never going to happen. We warned them it could not happen because Murdoch, a major party backer, did not want it to happen.

      So they ignored us and voted Liberal anyway. Foolish, foolish people.

  3. It’s a bit late now. The entire notion is flawed.

    Prior to the election, was the time to make it clear, to gain the groundswell and to make it important enough to influence voting choices. The thing is, most people do not care. It’s less important than punishing “that woman” and then “that man”.

    We now have a Coalition-led Government. Congratulations. The best that we can do, is shine the same intense spotlight on the Coalition policy as Turnbull demanded on the previous Government’s attempts.

    What goes around, comes around, Mr Turnbull. You have had the luxury of not having to defend an active policy, and instead make vapid comments regarding your own, whilst attacking both Labor policy, and NBNco directly.

    Now it’s your turn. Have nice day.

  4. Also, I have to say it’s good to see Renai continuing to ask questions.

    Given it (Coalition policy) will soon to be written into action, we’ll need folks to keep asking the same questions.

    Just because it’s now the Coalitions responsibility, doesn’t make it any less relevant and important to our, and indeed Australia’s future.

  5. haha the petition with 193K sigs has NO checks and balances, probably
    190K ghost accounts
    1K delimiter members
    2K whingepool members

    theres ya 193k

    • @Nobby6

      Change.org actually said in a statement about that petition to SMH that they have several checks and balances in it to ensure people cannot sign twice and that real addresses are required.

      Just because you think it’s pointless, doesn’t mean some 1-2% of Australians don’t agree with you.

    • The signature doesn’t stand unless you click on a verification email in your inbox. I voted Labor by the way and look where it got me.

  6. @Renai,

    Did you secretly want Turnbull to win? as I think you are looking quite forward to keep him inline and honest.

    Instead of carrying a flag, your carrying a piece of fibre optic cabling :p

    Keep up the good work!

    • “Did you secretly want Turnbull to win?”

      I had had enough of both the Coalition and Labor, frankly; I didn’t really care which major side won. I voted for the Greens. I will enjoy keeping Turnbull honest, but then I enjoyed keeping Conroy honest as well.

      At the moment I’m mainly hoping Scott Ludlam keeps his Senate seat so we can keep the Attorney-General’s Department honest.

      • +1

        Being a WA voter, I did get a ‘1’ next to Senator Ludlams name! (along with the arduous task of numbering every other senate box in the process.)

        • Probably not as arduous as the task of data entering the many thousands of ballot papers like yours, though… ;)


          On that note, I’m predicting a good result for Scott Ludlam over Labor’s second Senate candidate. In order for the Labor candidate to win the senate seat, they’d need a very significant swing to them (and only them! every other party appears to have preferenced the Greens ahead of Labor) in the remaining count. I’m certain that’s not going to happen, either with the remaining ATL votes or the BTL votes.

          Having said that, it’s not impossible that there could be a major upset and NEITHER party wins that last seat. But I think that’s even less likely, considering the numbers we’re looking at here.

  7. There are a large number of NBN enthuasists that are very upset over the coalition plan.

    At this point in time I would put any online petition or poll with a grain of salt…. I would not trust these enthuasists (or a subset of them) to not skew the results in their favour…

  8. Online Poll ?

    Of course the nerdy geeks wasting tjheir life responding want to spend more money on this White Elephant.

    Don’t worry, about jobs, helath or aged pensioners- we need faster Broadband when most of us already have ADSL2+.

    Selfish and greedy geeks.

    • There will always be those without jobs, those with health issues and pensioners among us. Why build new roads then?, why build new buildings? why do anything infact as there will always be so many other things to be concerned with.

      With your logic sir, we’ll still be using horse and carts, yet to realise any form of communication beyond that of a tin can and string and living in mud brick houses and huts.

    • I know you are trolling.

      But you do understand that

      1 – The monies spent on NBN come out of an investment bucket, and can’t be spent on those things because you know they don’t make money.

      2 – Faster Broadband is like better roads in todays economy. Improving them improves the trade that flows over them.

      3 – The evidence suggests that the FTTN policy is going to cost more in the long term than the FTTP policy ever would.

      4 – Broadband use doubles roughly every 2 years, so if dsl2 is fine now, it won’t be long until it isn’t fine.

    • Jobs you ask?
      How many jobs will have been made over the years of rolling out the FTTH?
      With the LNP policy, not as many jobs, and they finish earlier.:(

      With all these FTTH jobs, how much income tax does the government collect?

      IMO Labor’s policy was better for jobs.

      • You also have to remember, FTTN involves buying lots of electronics from overseas. FTTH involves lots of labour costs, which are directly taxable in Australia. It might be cheaper to spend 30 billion dollars in labour, when you take out the tax payed, then 20 billion in overseas electronics.

    • Gee Jon J,

      Fancy you, yes you, commenting here with all the selfish geeks…

      Who would ever have thunk it :/

    • Jon Jones you merely demonstrate just how little you comprehend on the subject. Why not start by reading Steve Jenkin’s excellent post today demonstrating many of the discrepancies between the two plans. Educated yourself and maybe people will be interested in your opinion.

    • Good thing none of the funds spent on it (either plan really) get in the way of aged pensions, help generate jobs (the new and knowledge economy and all that).

      Finally, who says we are being greedy? I’m not, I genuinely want everyone in the country to have the best value for money the government can temporarily borrow the money to pay for.

      I am within 300meters of my telephone exchange, which means I am 100% getting 100 megabit VDSL, much faster than most (no node needed for me! they just need to upgrade my exchange). So under the coalition I get high speed internet faster than I do under the Labor plan. So if I were being greedy I would have voted coalition.
      But the real jobs and opportunities are created by this network when the greatest number of people have access to the same (and the best) network capabilities. If everyone has access to gigabit fibre, then new businesses, business models and functions can be developed. Not because they need everyone, but because the size of the market for these businesses is the biggest it can be.

      But; you are just a drive-by troll spouting the same drive-by troll one liners, and you probably wont even read this response.

    • Not attacking your personal belief but I fail to see how sacking 12k public servants, reducing health spending and not increasing the pension is evidence that the coalition govt is worrying about these things….
      Simply saying “we will fix the economy” or “we will create more jobs” doesn’t actually mean they will or can….
      (That’s directed at both major parties there)
      Ah politics… No one reads what the policies actually are… Just which side proposed the policy, which makes it right or wrong…

      • Andrew you must know something we do not, they have sacked nobody, they can’t, they are not a Government yet, not until the Governor General signs them in.

        But if you have ESP, and it turns out they do, then clearly those 12K jobs were not needed, nobody likes waste, if it was a private company, those 12K jobs would not have been filled in the first place, people in employment anywhere need to prove they are needed, if not, well reminds me of that Dire Straits song, “Money for Nothing”

        • @Nobby6

          But if you have ESP, and it turns out they do, then clearly those 12K jobs were not needed

          If you truly believe that anyone who loses their job and isn’t replaced was not needed….I don’t think there’s much I can hope for impartiality from yourself in the coming NBN reviews…

          • haha fancy @seven_tech using the woid NBN and impartiality in the same sentance

            oh and as for:
            “If you truly believe that anyone who loses their job and isn’t replaced was not needed.”
            25 years mostly in management has shown me that’s true, same work still gets done, just means the bludgers who piss off for 10 mins every hour for a smoke have to make up that time, less time for blugers to spend on facebook or twitter, or *ahem* blogs, all on company time… bugger hey, they will just have to do what they are actually PAID to DO :)

          • Sounds like you have a problem with keeping your employees engaged. Ineffective management style?

  9. Could Malcolm turn around and can the NBN altogether? I mean, is this an option and for him to say it’s not viable and just cut it off completely or he has to finish it in some way shape or form.
    I’m doubtful that his bragging about doing it quicker will actually happen. I tend to think he will drag it out as long as possible. They know they won the election not on the NBN so what’s the pressure in them even rushing in to get anything done in the next four years.
    Do you really believe that the NBN will influence the results at the next election if it didn’t this time around??

  10. As much as I want my Labor NBN, I don’t necessarily agree with this. I reckon government have slightly bigger fish to fry at the moment.

  11. ABC polls like this discredit the ABC. Its just made a fool of itself.

    ABC’s Vote Compass or whatever it was called published a whole lot of results based on people who visited that site. For example that “70% of Australians want recognition of Aboriginals in the Constitution”. It said polling experts could adjust for bad samples. If there are two few coalition voters then they just adjust the result to compensate. But ABC web sites, by definition, attract ABC viewers, who whether they are Liberal, Labor, Green or whatever voters are disproportionally on the left of that party. Just as an Alan Jones web site would attract the right of whatever the party they were in. That just can’t be adjusted for.

    An ABC site by definition can’t give a result that can be relied on because it disproportionately attracts people with particular set of views. That’s what ABC’s audience is.

    • And had the ABC said the NBN isn’t a priority, you’d be here completely agreeing with the ABC? Of course…

      Why is the chronic NBN detractors can never take anything NBN positive on face value and must argue at all costs (even post election and now the NBN is dead)…

      *rolls eyes*

      • These kinds of comments you always get from the opposite side of politics.

        I have seen articles in the ABC with comments claiming the ABC has become a coalition stooge.
        I have seen articles in the ABC with comments claiming the ABC are diehard Labor supporters.

        I don’t doubt that on the balance of all things they probably lean toward Labor, but fact is, like all the media you can’t make that judgement off just one article, and you certainly can’t make it off just one topic.

        The Age in Vic is a good example, if you tried to judge its political leanings based on the average of its NBN articles, you’d probably think they were a right-wing news paper, but they are generally considered to be a left-leaning news outlet.
        But don’t worry; someone will always write off the entire agency as one side or the other based off a single article. All the while not even bothering to look at the By-Line.


    does anyone else how pointless the results are?

  13. You don’t need a petition its pointless. The NBN is already Liberals top priority. They will make sure the NBN is viable in its current form. To ensure the continuation of the roll-out so all Australian get internet we need to ensure it wont run over budget like other labor reforms such as the schools halls program where it ended up costing 5X the market value of the building.

    Anyway as it goes its unlikely Labor will be voted in next term. So your counter is 3 years off. We usually give a party 2 terms to prove their worth, unless they screw up big time. As far as, the labor party is concerned, we currently have those responsible for overthrowing Rudd last election and being key proponents in breaking the NO carbon tax promise, looking for a go a helm. I must admit its exactly the same brand of labor we wont miss. See you in at least 6 years time. I don’t know whether Kevin Rudd needs to step down from parliament, I would say several Labor ministers have lost their chance to be the opposition leader. Its quite unfortunate but there are repercussions for participating in back stabbing and lies.. that is you have lost the trust of the Australian people.

  14. Well the simple way forward on this, is for every person who signed the petition, is to also write a letter to your local MP. Especially if your MP is now Liberal, and cite your concerns about implementing a FTTN NBN, and how you believe it affects you and your family.

    217,000 letters to MPs? I’m sure local MP’s will start to sit up and listen at that point.

    I’m certainly concerned that there hasn’t been a proper design on how a basic FTTN topology will be established, especially in the light of establishing minimum of 25Mbps in the first wave, and then 50Mbps for the last.
    The only way I see this happening, is they are deploying only half the nodes in the first wave, only getting enough coverage to get that 25Mbps. Before doubling the Nodes to get that final speed. But do they (LNP) understand how this will be accomplished in terms of connecting the copper? It means that 75% of the copper will – have to be re-pulled through the ducts and trenches, or re-spliced to someone else’s copper. 25% of it will be done twice over to get the necessary speed.
    And installing 31 cabinets a day? (35,000 over 3 years estimate.) Does Telstra have enough staff to do that sort of work, or are they going to be relying on 457s?

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