Fifield misleads Senate on Labor’s NBN policy history


news Communications Minister Mitch Fifield appears to have this afternoon inadvertently misled the Senate regarding the history of the Labor Party’s National Broadband Network policy, falsely alleging that the party had not considered re-using existing network infrastructure during the development of the policy.

This afternoon in Senate Question Time, Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds asked Fifield a ‘dorothy dixer’ question — a question designed to highlight the Government’s positive response to an issue. The issue appeared to be designed to allow Fifield to respond to a leaked document yesterday which appeared to show that Optus’ HFC cable network was unfit for use as part of the National Broadband Network.

In his response, Fifield said that before then-Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had embarked on what he described as the Labor Senator’s “fibre-only fantasy” (Labor’s FTTP version of the NBN), he had “failed to look around the world at what the broadband trends were”.

“He completely ignored the cost savings that were available from appropriately using existing infrastructure,” said Fifield.

The Minister alleged that Labor had completely “missed” what he said was a tech trend globally for using HFC cable networks to provide high-speed broadband. “They completely ignored the US, the world’s biggest cable broadband market, which boasts over $50 million subscribers and a growth rate that saw one million new subscriptions for the first quarter of 2015,” said Fifield.

The Liberal Senator said Conroy had only examined National Broadband Network policy in terms of “theology” rather than “technology”, implying that as Communications Minister, Conroy had been wedded to a vision for the NBN where only a Fibre to the Premises model would be acceptable.

“Senator Conroy has a belief system, and if he is the high priest of that belief system then I’m worried,” said Fifield.

However, Fifield’s comments appear to be at least partially inaccurate.

The NBN policy was initially conceived in mid-2007 as a policy explicitly re-using the copper network owned by Telstra. When Conroy became Communications Minister under the first Rudd administration in late November 2007, the Rudd administration started enacting a Fibre to the Node strategy for the NBN based on re-using Telstra’s existing infrastructure.

That model saw a number of major companies and conglomerates respond to an expressions of interest process to build the network. The mainstream industry discussion at the time focused around two network upgrade proposals — one from Telstra, and one from a group of rival telcos known as the ‘G9’.

However, at the time an expert panel found that none of the respondents were able to deliver on the plan. The key sticking point was Telstra, which filed a non-complying bid for the process.

At the time, Conroy had attempted to work with Telstra’s chief executive, Sol Trujillo and chairman Donald McGauchie. However, the Telstra management team proved extremely hostile to the Labor Government of the day and declined to move forward with an upgrade of its copper network due to the fact that the Government would have forced Telstra to open the network to wholesale access by its rivals.

At the time, Telstra only proceeded with the flagship ‘Next G’ upgrade of its mobile network because that upgrade would not be opened to wholesale competitive access.

In addition, at the time, HFC cable networks of the style owned by Telstra and Optus were not seen in the local or global industry as viable long-term infrastructure assets which could be opened to wholesale access and developed into high-speed broadband platforms that would be used over the long term. Global debate focused on the upgrade of copper-based networks to either Fibre to the Node or Fibre to the Premises.

Technological changes since that point have changed the discussion somewhat and generated renewed interest in HFC cable technology.

Further, as with its copper network, it is not clear that Telstra under Sol Trujillo would have allowed the Government to re-use its HFC cable infrastructure in an open access model.

Telstra’s hostility to the Government’s policy effectively forced the Rudd administration’s hand, leading to the Labor Government to attempt from 2009 — two years after it took office — to forcibly structurally separate Telstra’s retail and wholesale operations by overbuilding its copper network with a Fibre to the Premises model. This FTTP model was recommended by the Government’s panel of experts at the time.

Telstra’s attitude to the Government changed markedly under Trujillo and McGauchie’s successors, CEO David Thodey and Chair Catherine Livingstone. The company currently takes a highly cooperative approach to working with the Government — Coalition or Labor — that was not evident at all during Trujillo’s time leading Telstra.

Optus HFC cable
Separately, responding to the HFC cable issue, Fifield ridiculed what he said was the “fool’s gold” which Conroy and Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare were “peddling” in their promotion of the leaked NBN document yesterday.

Fifield said the document only represented “the sort of planning that commercial organisations do, the sort of war gaming that they do, the sort of scenario testing which they do, which is entirely appropriate for an organisation”.

“They do this to look at worst case scenarios, best case scenarios and those in between,” he said. “That’s what that document represented.”

This is also the statement which has been made by the NBN company in relation to the document.

However, it is not clear at this point whether this is strictly accurate, with a number of senior NBN executives having put their names to the document, warning that the Optus HFC network had substantial problems which would lead to a blowout in costs if it was to be used for the NBN. The document also noted that the NBN company may need to overbuild large portions of the Optus network, due to its poor condition.

“HFC is very capable high-speed broadband technology,” said Fifield today. “Contrary to what those opposite have said, Optus is continuing to invest in its HFC assets in advance of the handover to NBN. NBN will invest further in HFC, with new technologies such as DOCSIS 3.1, which will allow for gigabit speeds.”

“We stand by our plan, we stand by NBN’s approach.”

Not many people recall that Labor was pro-FTTN for the first two years of the Rudd administration, or that then-CEO Sol Trujillo flatly forced Conroy and Rudd’s hands in refusing to upgrade its copper network. But I do. I was a journalist throughout that time — here’s my 2007 article on Labor’s first, $4.7 billion FTTN NBN policy. I would encourage today’s politicians to recall that Telstra was not always the meek kitten it appears to be today … and that it may also not be as compliant in future as the government of the day may wish.


  1. “alleging that the party had not considered re-using existing network infrastructure.”
    Hey Fifield, ask the PM who coined the term ‘fraudband’, and what that was all about, eh?

  2. I haven’t forgotten the true history of the NBN project either Renai. It’s hard to forget the nationals and libs labeling FTTN #FraudBand…. Oh the irony. *groans*

    I’m just so sick of the constant dishonesty from all coalition pollies, I know the alp aren’t perfect and are prone to frequent exaggeration, however the lnp are absolutely blatantly lying to the Australian public about pretty much everything they are doing our plan to do. I’m sick off it!

    Lying to the Australian public should be a capital crime!

      • Indeed Renai.

        I recall vividly also, and…

        I still believe Telstra and the G9/Terria, never wanted improvement…

        Telstra had two opportunities and first time they pulled out of negotiations with the ACCC at the (quoted by ACCC) 11th hour. Then when presented with a gift from Conroy, they submitted a non-compliant RFP bid.

        Of course then we had the other ISP’s united as G9/TERRiA, who said we will build it… but didn’t even submit a bid re:RFP.

        As such I still believe to this day, whilst Telstra and their wholesalers, in public, chastised each other, e.g. Telstra calling their wholesalers “leeches” and the wholesalers calling Telstra a “monopolistic 800lb gorilla”… behind closed doors they were back slapping each other.


        Because Telstra were happy to keep wringing the $B’s in copper profits by charging us the consumer, exorbitant fees for a sub-standard product and the wholesalers were just as happy to access Telstra’s copper and not have to invest large amounts of capital, whilst marginally undercutting Telstra, to say, hey we are the good guys here…

        All the while they were all laughing all the way to the bank at our expense…

        The only saving grace was the original NBN, which took the power from Telstra and made them all actually compete on a retail basis…whilst supplying Australia with a world class network for now and the future…

        But alas…. that was all skittled by the current government who wanted to protect their multi-national backers interests at the expense of Australian’s such as you and I…

        So here we are now IMO, with the retrograde MTM fraudband fuck up…

        What a shame :(

        • It’s also a shame Conroy who said he would show Telstra who was boss and was going to structurally separate Telstra had six years to do it but never did.

          All bluff and bluster, much like the FTTP rollout, a rollout Conroy stated after they lost the 2013 election was too ambitious.

          Hopefully the electorate come 2016 will remember the BS Labor promised re the NBN and Telstra and in six years of Government what little was actually achieved.

          • Wow, really struggling today arent we Alain!

            Good job ignoring the fact that Telstra didnt need to be separated simply because NBN co was replacing them as the national wholesale only fixed line network operator!

          • Alain, you need to start each of your comments with “once upon a time”, because frankly your view of comms history and current occurrences is pure fairy tale.

  3. Obviously Mal found the most technology clueless MP he could and immediately made him Minister of Comms, simply to make his hopeless predecessor look good ;)

      • Fair enough Renai you’d know…

        But is he technologically competent was my point, because it appears not…?

        I note too you didn’t mention his predecessors competency… LOL.

        Keep up the good work, love the return of Delimiter :)

      • It was a ‘dorothy dixer’ question which means he would have known it was coming.
        A ‘oversight’ in the answers means he is either incompetent or lying to the senate and should be referred to the parliamentary privileges committee.

      • an “oversight” Renai ? You are being far too generous.
        Everything you quoted in this article from Fifield is absolute nonsense. It is a fantasy created to sell the party line. Just like Tony and Malcolm, Fifield doesn’t care one iota whether what he is saying is true, false or bears any relation to reality at all.

  4. The trouble is not what we have not forgotten, but rather what others did not know in the first place. Let us also not forget that the term “Fraudband” was originally coined by Fiona Nash (of the Nationals) to describe Labor’s FTTN policy during the initial years that you speak.

    The question is, why was “Fraudband” a waste of money when it was Labor’s idea, but the bees knees now that it is Liberal policy?

    • I’m guessing it’s something to do with upload speeds? Wait, no,… wait,.. yes lol!!

    • Perhaps it’s because Nash wasn’t Communications Minister then or now, and the current Coalition MTM policy was formulated mainly by Turnbull.

      To pin any hope on a change to Coalition policy just by simplisticly labeling FTTN as ‘fraudband’ is ludicrous.

      • And again for all the dummies, who refuse to accept let alone concede the facts of FRAUDBAND, alain…

        Nash wasn’t Comms Minister… but Helen Coonan was shadow Comms Minister/Comms Minister (iirc) and guess what she called FttN – (hint begins with F and end in raudband).

        Need another hint?

        But you know all of this as I have educated you previously (and you chose Plan A – run and hide, rather than replying and thanking me). Sad that your cause is so emphatically warped that facts are perpetually ignored and the same lies spread over and over…

        You’re welcome “again”.

  5. So “Fraudband” must have referred to FTTP, years before it was even considered.

    Did anyone challenge Fifield on this?

  6. (I suspect this mistake was an oversight.) hear we go again, what are we to do with you Renai, don’t you remember defending Two Tongue Turnbull now your giving Mr Potato Head benefit of the doubt. But you are partly correct, (he is very smart and competent) liar.

    • hence him slipping and being caught out by a well orchestrated move on Labor’s part is an oversight on Fifields part. Turnbull in the lower house either got warned just in time or saw the move for what it was and adjusted to it.

  7. An interesting take on history of the NBN, an alternative…

    True Conroy’s $4.9b (not a cent more) NBN policy was in tatters after his request for proposals (RFP) for a FTTN network was treated with contempt by Telstra (imo a reflection of the telco’s distain for Conroy; an experience to be repeated throughout his period as Minister).

    Conroy’s hand pick panel of experts found none of the proposal were fully developed and all required access to Telstra’s copper network (duh!). We don’t know exactly what the so-called experts found, the “transparency” of the time (today lauded on this site) meant the full report was never made public.

    An pathetic extract of the panel’s recommendations can be found here:

    We do know the panel made recommendations to the govt (also unreleased) and NBNCo was born to deliver 90% FTTH, 10% LTE & Satellite (later fibre upped to 93%). Perhaps Fifield has read the full report, Renai should argue for its release (commercial restrictions would no longer be relevant today)

    In their response to the panel’s report the ACCC made their views on the new direction painfully clear:
    “A Proposal that seeks a statutory monopoly in respect of the NBN is less likely to meet the evaluation criteria and Commonwealth’s objectives, in particular the objective of continuing to promote the long-term interests of end-users.”

    Ah, but who cares about them. Spooked by the GFC (that avoided all mining economies) Rudd was throwing cash around.

    Conroy (and the cabinet of four; none with any commercial experience) pushed ahead with their GBE; of course they could start and run a telco. Clearly their policy and its execution underestimated the difficulty, cost and time to rollout their concocted NBN fantasy.

    It is clear from the extract neither HFC or other multi-technology mix, nor competitive wholesale networks were considered. Fifield is accurate in his statement.

    It is true Trujillo would have been difficult for any govt to work with. However we’d had already said adios, Thodey had replaced him before the formation of NBNCo.

    Telstra management follows the BT lead several years later. As had happened in with the change of leadership at BT in the UK, Thodey expressed his willingness to work with the govt from day one.

    The effectiveness of the high speed upgrades in the UK vs AUS is stark, as is the relative failure of Conroy’s policy.

    Conroy had many options, he failed to pursue anything other than his one. It would appear his inability to negotiated (as opposed to bully) his undoing. His $11b in compensation alone to migrate customers / non-compete a testament to his capacity as Minister and his business acumen.

    I disagree with Renai’s assertion that a wholesale network couldn’t be provisioned utilising HFC technology at the time. The required technology’s DOCSIS Service Streams (CM > CMTS), and RSP end point authentication (typically using PPPoX) have been part of the standard since 1.1.

    Improvements in copper and cable technologies were entirely predictable at the time (as are continual future improvements). The risks of committing to a particular technology for a 10+ year deployment (by a govt monopoly) pointed out at the time.

    This policy folly has a long way to play out, losses continue to grow. Failure predicted from the beginning, shouted down by the fanboys.

    • Oh good, Mr free markets will solve they
      very problems they created is here to set the record straight.

      On ya Richo!

      • Its mentalities like Richards that have stopped me commenting on the NBN.

        Just cant be bothered smashing my head against that brick wall any more, and as I have 100/40 FttP, I dont have to care.

        The stupidity of building or relying on 20 year old technology hasnt changed, but they just cant see it.

        • Only if you don’t own it and its paid itself off already many times over.

          Buying it + Upgrading it that’s a lot of $$ you have to recover which takes time. Given the tech requires replacing as soon as its finished there isn’t enough time imho to make that return a +ve one.

          • I’ve said similar too many times in the past, and gotten ridiculous arguments in return. I dont want to get dragged back into this debate, I’m less frustrated just sitting on the sidelines now, but yeah, the chance of getting the return on investment isnt great.

            Just sick of debating it. My own career, and family members that lecture and research in this field. tell a vastly different story to what Richard and alain/Reality would want us to believe.

            So rather than keep fighting, I’m just sitting on the side eating popcorn now, commenting every now and again.

    • Firstly Richard are you trying to say MTM is more transparent than NBN Co? You know you like quoting Quigleys failures to meet targets how is it you know those figures I wonder? We laud NBN Co because back then even whilst not what we wanted it was vastly more information than the ‘transparent’ govt of today provides. What we get now is more like a marketing brochure than a document with anything decent in it.

      “non-compete” sigh. Go and read the wording. Its been done to death when that first saw the light of day. It means Telstra and Optus cannot tout/market 3G/4G/LTE etc as a direct replacement or equivalent to a fixed line (NBN) connection. If there was a non-compete then how is it TPG are doing what they are?

      The only reason Telstra isn’t competing is they would have to open that network to wholesale customers and they’re only interested in doing it if its a monopoly (given the ROI for wholesale networks their funds are far better spent on mobile tech … which returns about double that of fixed line wholesale networks and keeps the shareholders happy).

      “Improvements in copper and cable technologies were entirely predictable at the time (as are continual future improvements). The risks of committing to a particular technology for a 10+ year deployment (by a govt monopoly) pointed out at the time.”

      IF the one company that could because they owned the asset then sure this would have been by far the better option (because it’d be done now and we’d be upgrading to fibre). Sadly they wanted a monopoly so you could only get it from Telstra retail.

      If you don’t own it and have to buy it its going to take longer to get those funds back which ultimately delays the upgrade which given labour is so expensive (and keeps going up) just makes the endgame that much more expensive!

      its not a matter of 1+1+1 = 3 (ADSL+FTTN+FTTP) its a 1+1+1*(x)=6 because the time its taken to get there!

      “This policy folly has a long way to play out, losses continue to grow. Failure predicted from the beginning, shouted down by the fanboys.”

      So far the current FttP,FW and satellite work has all been under budget. So far the ARPU/returns expected have been above their aggressive estimates for P/FW/Sat.

      If you’d said it was behind schedule you’d be right (even account for just under years worth of delays) it was taking its sweet time to kick into gear but all the MTM documents have what its cost now and what its earnt now (future predictions mean squat since its never going to occur now) are below and above respectively.

      • @sm yes new mgmt is more transparent; rollout updates, detail/risks in CP, actuals in AR. Old mgmt typically talked estimates (rather than actuals), denied failing performance with the little they actually released (my disclosure took considerable effort to compile; dismissed by the fanboys).

        TPG weren’t part of the largese, nor others such a opennetworks. Not only were the competing technologies restricted, upgrades like Telstra’s proposed HFC threatened by the Minister. So your claim Telstra was going to compete with HFC demonstratively false.

        We don’t know what could have been negotiated, Conroy didn’t.

        Your under budget claim for FTTH & FW are false. Spend was under budget due to the failure to rollout, however CPP far higher (the important metric). The actuals released since (and the reviews), finally confirmed by Quigley, show costs far greater than budgeted.

        • When it comes to CPP all ‘Back to 2013 FTTP’ fans blink furiously at brownfields FTTP CPP and pretend it doesn’t exist, and magic happens and the FTTP CPP turns into a FTTN or HFC equivalence.

          Another piece of magic also takes place, despite practical overseas evidence to the contrary Australia has this unique amazing FTTP that is faster to deploy than either FTTN or upgrading HFC.

          • We must reuse existing infrastructure.. We shouldn’t overbuild or shutdown networks…like NBNCo (add Conjob for emphasis *sigh*) were wastefully going to, say the 1950’s copper throwbacks.

            But some of the copper is no good?

            “Ok, so we will need to replace existing copper… with err, copper.”

            And Optus’ HFC isn’t fit for use.

            Ok we”ll simply overbuild and switch it off.

            It’s like a whose on first comedy skit, missed with acrobats, listening to you comedians contradictions and ridiculous hypocrisy…

          • Australia has this unique amazing FTTP that is faster to deploy than either FTTN or upgrading HFC.
            Let’s see, a 2 year delay for the old FTTP estimations vs a 4 year delay and ever rising for the MTM shambles.

            By gum, you appear to right about something!

    • What a lovely story.

      Telstra decided it wanted a true monopoly by building FTTN and wanted exemptions in regulations. It would have stranded competitors assets (just as they were starting to expand out builds).

      This was wisely rejected by both the government and the ACCC. Trujilio then lost his shit and went on a massive bullshit crusade. Anyone remember “now we are talking” – I do.

      Meanwhile, the government then sought from the market a solution. The market couldn’t stop laughing long enough to actually realise this was a genuine request (from Coonan). Enter Telstra who decided to tell the government to get fucked, and G9/ Terria who couldn’t stop arguing amongst themselves long enough to actually take advantage of the situation.

      Opel finally is selected (for a mini FTTN build, no less) and that was then (very rightly) deep-sixed by the incoming government, for the fact that it was simply too little too late and half the country was ignored.

      Conroy then decides enough of this horse shit; if you want something done right, do it yourself and initially raised a request for input on a plausible solution. In the time this was occurring, Telstra’s board was no doubt under duress over Trujilio self-aggrandised Bolshevik calls for retribution and that (now notorious) non-compliant bid^^. The times, they were a-changing.

      Liberal opposition gleefully got stuck in regarding this fraudband that was initially selected – but eventually after consultation, it was identified that FTTN was just too much a bag of hurt and it became a new fibre network instead.

      Balls to the wall kids, yes it will cost some billions but we get a wicked fast network that can do some cool stuff and most folks will get it unless you’re out in the sticks and we’ll sort out some wireless or spin a bird overhead. All good? Okay chaps, gotta zip.

      This broke the camels back and unsurprisingly a business that was haemorrhaging customers and business tossed the American over the cliff, and sent him and his cronies packing. Enter Telsta 2.0 – lets be friends and have nice conversations and oh here’s a deal you can’t refuse.

      Finally, we get to a point where in a decision was made, in what can only be described as an LSD trip, or plausibly the entire ACCC had a stroke, and actually considered over 120+ POI was an acceptable middle ground, competition wise. This immediately sealed the fate of any number of ISPs who realised, “well fuck. we’re screwed now” and they feeding frenzy started in earnest.

      Then just as the work commenced (unsurprisingly some of the first round contractors deciding to do very silly things) on what was, reasonably clearly not a very efficient rollout strategy and having paid the toll required to Telstra to stop cable wars 2.0 — granted Telstra didn’t have much choice due to Conroy holding spectrum to ransom — marched on with FTTH (which had none-the-less hopped back on the rails).

      This was cut short by a new minister and his snappy leather jacket. Hang on son, he says – lets talk about some ideas I have. I’ve seen this new fangled FTTN thing, look it isn’t fraudband stop calling it that, it’s actually pretty sweet. Really, please stop calling it fraudband it’s our network now and I won’t stand for it. Maybe with a little bit of this, a little bit of that we can make things happen faster and cheaper, what do you say?

      Everyone else had moved on and was quite confused by the new ministers take. But sure enough yes we can do that but we’ll need to more than just onboard customers – we need to make HFC work too.

      Now let’s get a report on how feasible it is. Oh shit, yes it will work but its actually a bag of hurt after-all. Fuck it lets do it anyway. Can’t turn back now; inks dry on the new Telstra deal.

      I hear Telstra and Optus have some stuff you can buy and maintain minister? it says. Should be sweet as. Hell, you can always overbuild it if it’s a bit crap. But I can’t imagine that’d be required. Surely. Nah, should be sweet as bro.

      Having tossed Trujilio overboard, a new retail and customer driven Telstra was all too happy to offload it’s CAN a second time. Besides, it was raking it in from mobile and wireless networks, so go right ahead. Hell, we can use the new network anyway. Win-win.

      [Across the ditch the kiwis are watching and going what the fuck bru? You’re beeched az.]

      So now here we are. Watching the inevitable cluster fuck that is making a patchwork network function, pouring money into a series of networks that will eventually have to be replaced.

      You would think by now successive government’s could get a handle on the thing. But it’s pretty evident they don’t.

      So yes, Richard, continue to blame the last labor minister – but understand there is considerable history and example to show that such short-sighted vision is, well, why we are here.

      How ironic.

      ^^ Anyone who still believes this wasn’t a purposeful, giant “fuck you” to the ACCC and government, is apparently mentally deficient. Telstra has one of the best legal teams regards comms legislation money can buy; they don’t make mistakes like that. ever.

    • Absolute Tripe Richard.

      Private industry fails at shit just as much as the public industry. The ONLY difference is that in the Public arena, you have the backing of the government to pay for the fuck up. In Private industry the company absorbs it or just fails. (Except where government comes to the rescue)

      Free Market is a fantastic Ideal. But guess what. Just like socialism, theocracy, Capitalism, democracy, and every other “ideal” it doesn’t work. Why. Because as soon as you add humans we cheat lie and take advantage of ANY ideal. Hence you must have regulation to reduce this.

      As long as Corporate entities are beholden only to money, then government regulation MUST exist to ensure said corporate entities don’t pillage Society. History is proof of this.

      • @w private sector delivers far better than the public sector. Internet upgrades around the workd demonstrate it.

        A purely free market is a theoretical construct, this is accepted. However capital ownership in the hands of individuals and competive markets have demonstrated their value, crushing all aternatives.

        How exactly does regulation alone reduce anything?

        It is govt and their rent seekers who pillages society. Demanding their ransom for ever diminishing quality of service and extraordinary waste. NBNCo a perfect example, you’re welcome to compare with any other private sector driven policy internationally.

        • Regulation alone is just as absurd an idea in your head as free-markets alone: are you on the crack pipe buddy?

        • Internet upgrades around the world. What like the ones that are performed by government approved incumbents?

          Capital Ownership and Competitive markets are exactly what you need to spur innovation and growth. Do you understand why? Because Competition pushes cost down, and drives innovation for the purpose of competitive advantage. This causes a lowering in the cost of living, allowing society to improve and spend more resources on everything else, which of course includes the economy.
          BUT What happens when you don’t have competition? You get a monopoly control. This pushes costs of living UP.

          Show me an example of a working society that has survived without being forced to use government regulations to break a monopoly/duopoly?

          Or Safety laws, or minimum wages, or copyright, or a whole raft of other elements.

          Guess what, they DON’T EXIST.

          What you are proposing is anarchy. Survival of the fittest. Surely if that worked, they would be the dominant society today wouldn’t they?

          Oh wait. That doesn’t work. Why, well lets look at history. Any time a concern (government, business, tribe, etc etc etc) does something to the exclusion of any other considerations, the society collapses. Why, the reasons are many. Either the People rise up in revolt, or the resources get exhausted and they can no longer grow.
          Go and read up on your history. Nothing is different here, the concept of capitalism is as old as the hills. Oh sure some of the particulars are different, but the results are the same.

    • (later fibre upped to 93%)

      A misleading statement.

      It would appear his inability to negotiated (as opposed to bully) his undoing. His $11b in compensation alone to migrate customers / non-compete a testament to his capacity as Minister and his business acumen.

      Doesn’t really say much for the coalition clowns negotiation skills who will still end up forking out $11 billion for second hand products without knowing the condition AND with use by dates rapidly approaching. Apparently one has already turned sour…

      Improvements in copper and cable technologies were entirely predictable at the time (as are continual future improvements).

      All of which involve pushing fibre further (for speeds were told we don’t need (25mbps is enough for anyone… no wait, 50mbps is good enough…)) if they had any merit pushing that fibre further would not be needed at all.

      Failure predicted from the beginning

      Failure of MTM predicted by myself and others NOT you. YOU endorsed the failure. The failure you predicted was of a different policy that is no longer being rolled out. Nice try though, everyone who reads your revisionist nonsense already knows the score.

    • “Failure predicted from the beginning…”

      More BS and narcissism …

      You can’t say, “I could have been commissioned to write it (MTM – look at me)” as it does everything I have said…

      But when it totally fucks up like WE (HC and I) TOLD YOU it would, now do a backflip.

      Plus… the only part of the current NBN which is doing well and currently being trumpeted by the government is (wait for it)… FttP…

      The part you actually did claim “would fail” but didn’t/hasn’t… Yes it was behind Quigley’s own aggressive targets but nothing like the MTM hold up debacle we now face.

      So Richard, if you would ever like to risk leaving the plastic bubble/ginger bread house, the rad cons all reside in, to live here in the “real world” with the rest of us, you’d be most welcome.

      But just a tip if you did ever decide to put a toe in the water (of reality) so to speak… you’d need to open that “eye” of yours…

      You’re welcome

      • @rizz, hc One post where I’ve claimed any version of NBN policy will be successful? Just one. Any post were I’ve not been critical of the coalitions buy in to the policy folly. Any post where I’ve claimed costs (all policies) won’t increase above budget.

        In the very link HC provided I repeated govt out. I long argued for reusing existing infrastructure arguing it is both cheaper and faster to rollout (still true today). The less of two evils.

        Fanboys doth speak a lot of unsubstantiated bile.

        • In the very link HC provided I repeated govt out.

          And somehow you think this one bullet point excuses you from everything else you said. It doesn’t. What you wrote on Zdnet speaks volumes. The plan you could been commissioned to write is a disaster and a stinky turd. A really bad one. We know the current government and GimpCo are incompetent when it comes to communications infrastructure (we knew this before they turned it into GimpCo actually) and now we know you are too :-(

          • @hc it wasn’t one bullet, repeating a consistent line of arguement. You attack strawmen of your own construction.

            NBNCo failures consistently pointed out to fanboy bile. A dozen of posts refuting the absurb proposition $800m spent to acquire Optus HFC network.

            Of the hundreds of post not one to support your claim. We should not be surprised.

            Conroy nor his panel of so called experts evaluated nor negotiated the alternatives. His NBN policy an expensive waste failing to deliver on targets they themselves set. Fanboy countinue bleating in the knowledge few will earn enough to contribute to the debt.

          • It’s all on Zdnet for all to see. Your own idiocy exposed. Tying to weasel out of it now changes nothing. No wonder you had a hissy fit when I posted the link. Clearly an embarrassment. You’d much rather continue to blame the previous government for GimpCo’s current fuck ups and failures that are ALL their own (that you endorsed) than admit you were wrong. Pathetic.

          • I’m really getting sick of this. Richard et al choose to spend their lives spouting misinformation, probably because they’re being paid, but if they’re not they must have a typing speed in the triple digits to write everything they do in their spare time, and it is up to others to disprove their toxic lies, because the alternative is leaving their nonsense unchecked where it might confuse or even mislead some poor unsuspecting reader. The kicker is that these astroturfers either utterly ignore inconvenient arguments and evidence or disappear from conversations, only to reappear in the next article rewriting the same disingenuous dross.

            None of this would be necessary were their comments to be deleted and their accounts banned. It’s not like Renai is above such practices – I’ve seen it first hand and been in contact with someone who has been permabanned because Renai doesn’t like them. But then, contentious arguments drive page clicks – it’s in Renai’s interests to allow these frustratingly circular, demonstrably false arguments from these trolls to continue.

            Personally I’m finding my disillusionment meter reading in the red zone, and it’s not political frustration. It is maddening that there is a comments policy that only seems to apply to those who criticise misinformation campaigns and the editor of this website…

            Get in quick and screenshot it for posterity – this post (and probably my account) now has a very short expiration life.

          • strange I thought I thanked you for the link

            You also bitched about it relentlessly.

            Of course no link from HC

            What? I’ve already linked to the Zdnet article highlighting your idiocy previously do you really need it again? here you go: Enjoy!

            Here’s some from 5 min googling:

            What does this prove exactly? You saying that is not in dispute. At all. What you have to come to terms with is that like I said previously that one bullet point does not excuse your endorsement of the coalition clowns failure. Please continue to embarrass yourself if it makes you feel better though, I’ll just eat some popcorn while you do…

            Also you keep going on about this “Brisbane line” post of Abels (which you finally provided a link to, how many weeks did that take?) but I’m still not really sure what it has to do any of this. Maybe you should take it up with him or provide information that clarifies what you are trying to communicate.

          • @hc so no link supporting your position? No hissy fit? Where is the coalitions failure endorsed (specifically stating impentations failures will be called out and have)? Your very link continues to demonstrate my point; whilst you’re constructing strawmen fulltime.

            I’ve not linked to brisbane line post. Abel’s post of this absurd theory (completely discredited at the time, continues to be repeated by some today speaks volumes) very revealing. Your response as revealing.

          • hc so no link supporting your position?

            Amazing. Here it is YET again:


            My first post after the announcement started “Govt should be out of broadband”! The Liberal policy document includes everything I’ve been posting about for years; use of existing infrastructure, priority for areas where market failed, access to infrastructure for competition, review of NBNCo past activities, CBA, etc It is almost as if they commissioned me to write it;-)If they fail to deliver expect me to be as vocal as I have about the massive disaster that we’ve witnessed with Labor’s attempt, and you’ve apologized for, all this time.

            Simply saying “Govt should be out of broadband” stands on it’s own and does not stop your statement from being an endorsement of their policy. It’s like you want to place a bet each way after you’ve seen the results! Amazing. Nice job being vocal about their failure too. All you’ve done so far is blame the previous management and government and a few odd empty statements. At what point will you actually hold them TRULY accountable? (Hint: Is rhetorical question, I know it’s most likely never going to happen)

            I’ve not linked to brisbane line post.


            Abel’s post of this absurd theory (completely discredited at the time, continues to be repeated by some today speaks volumes) very revealing.

            I still don’t know what you are trying to communicate. I don’t think it has anything to do with this article so I’m going to ignore your insane ramblings here from now on. Regardless I’m sure it has nothing to do with me. Take it up with Abel.

            Your response as revealing.

            What was my response?

          • Interesting side note from one who is claiming govt. out of broadband and speaking of (more) each way bets HC…

            “priority for areas where market failed”…

            I know this statement may go over the heads of the 1950’s copper throwbacks… so I’ll spell it out.

            These are the same people saying “where markets failed” who suggest no govt. in broadband, because markets will come to the rescue (i.e the markets haven/t/won’t fail).


          • These are the same people saying “where markets failed” who suggest no govt.

            They are full of contradictions Rizz. It is a way of life for them. Check this one out:

            Richard 24th September 2012: technology future over such long timelines too uncertain.

            Richard 26th November 2015: Improvements in copper and cable technologies were entirely predictable at the time (as are continual future improvements).


          • HC that’s such a great example of the Right Wing’s paradoxical mindset, it’d be pretty hilarious if these dinosaurs weren’t ruining the country!

        • “…One post where I’ve claimed any version of NBN policy will be successful? Just one.”

          So as we said MTM would be (i.e. a complete fuck up) you now say you always knew you had written an MTM lemon… in relation to the MTM plan “you could have been commissioned to write”?


          • Richard, let’s get this right…

            You demand HC post the link to your “would be commissioned writing of MTM statement” AGAIN, but continue to talk about another person who, and issue which, has absolutely nothing to do with this comment or the 3 of us who were involved in this initial comment (i.e. your fateful claim of MTM writing).


            So when HC says, right oh, since you keep raving like a lunatic about another person/issue, so as to try to make some point, then please post the link and shows us just WTF you are on about, so that we can therefore acknowledge if there is actually anything to acknowledge…

            And you’re answer… NO…?

            How convenient.

      • I had a good laugh, thanks Rizz. (you’d need to open that “eye” of yours) priceless.

  8. I remember parts of that period, to make Telstra behave didn’t Conroy slapped them down and threatened them, that if they didn’t cooperate he wouldn’t sell them any more mobile spectrum. From a tiger to a putty tat they became. Sol Trujillo’s days were numbered when Conroy took away his mojo.

    • Yes, pretty well was when T$ ditched Sol and brought in Thodey. Telstra have been since then pretty well backing away from the CAN (one way or another its soon to be obsolete etc) and started putting that government boon into investing in their mobile infrastructure (and doing a half reasonable job of getting out in front of its comp in that arena too as a result).

  9. So, let me get this right? As I’m an existing Telstra cable customer. I will never have access to the fibre based NBN services?

    Does that mean i’m stuck at 1-2mb upload speeds forever? The current upload limits imposed on me by the technology?

    • They’re promising to have much more than 1-2mb upload speeds at completion. It would not be the same old cable network, it would be brought up to date and have much more *capacity* (capacity is the key word). Search for former Internode CEO and now NBN Co board member Simon Hackett’s blog. I will certainly trust him as far as I can throw him.

      It’s just a matter of whether that plan can be implemented on the ground. Wait and see.

  10. I remember absolutely everything about the events of the previous decade, including back to the full sale of a vertically integrated Telstra, which was a blunder on the part of the Howard government that is, to this day, without peer.

    Most of us think less of the major parties who use the NBN as an instrument for the sole purpose of bagging “the members opposite” while giving consumers and the changing, sheepish economy something that is ultimately mediocre. It’s taken them this long to even start putting *something* in the ground and they chop and change based on politics.

    The lie that there is no demand for higher speeds is based on nothing but high plan pricing that forces consumers to *settle for* lower speeds. All previous consumer behaviour showed that people eagerly take up new services when pricing becomes reasonable. The beat-up of and DOCSIS 3.1 shatters credibility.

    • The lie that there is no demand for higher speeds is based on nothing but high plan pricing that forces consumers to *settle for* lower speeds. All previous consumer behaviour showed that people eagerly take up new services when pricing becomes reasonable. The beat-up of and DOCSIS 3.1 shatters credibility.

      Brilliant comment Martin +1.

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