Truth: Yes, the Coalition will try to sell off the NBN


This article was originally published for Delimiter Members only. In late September 2016, Delimiter ceased publishing new articles. Because of a number of operational and other factors associated with this decision, we subsequently withdrew membership articles from publication. If you would like to see a copy of this article, please contact Delimiter directly with your request. Requests by Delimiter Members will be granted. We will consider all other requests on their merits.


  1. “If this seems like too much to support great Australian independent technology media, consider that a subscription to Communications Day or the Financial Review will cost you at least half a grand — and you still won’t get the whole story. Alternatively, you can pony up to fund Rupert Murdoch’s expansion plans for The Australian. Would you like your News Limited?”

    Financial Review costs $25 for the first month (~$300 a year). Australian costs $32 for the first month (~$400 a year). I can afford those. Delimiter costs $129 for the first month ($129 a year). I can’t afford that even though the yearly cost is much less. What’s with the restrictive pricing model? Fairfax calls me monthly trying to get me to spend $7.50 on their subscription and they throw in free paper deliveries too. Delimiter is great content, but putting half the article up for free and then a ‘Read the rest of the article by subscribing’ link which goes to a guilt-trip about spending money on News Limited supporting Rupert Murdoch? Honestly this process could be done a LOT better.

    • hey mate,

      apologies that you feel it’s too expensive and not the right approach.

      However, I should add that the model is working quite well for most people so far. We’ve got a Christmas special up today (15% off), and more than half of the limited stock of 30 memberships have already gone.

      I based the model on a careful survey of the market for similar publications, as well as on my previous experience running subscription site Delimiter 2.0.

      Let me know what I should be doing better specifically, and I’ll try and address your concerns!


      • So you’re saying that the monthly subscription model didn’t work for your D2 site?

        D2 cost me $9.95 per month, I happily paid it via some external service, TinyPass or something? I didn’t even want a refund when you closed the site down, I thought $9.95 was pretty cheap. I think $15 a month is a better price for your content. Fairfax charges $15 a month and has heaps of content, but most of it sucks. Your content is much better.

        $15 a month is $180 a year. You want $129 up front. I would happily pay $180 a year at $15 a month. Put in a monthly subscription option at $15 a month. It’s hardly going to lose you any money is it?

        Sure, it’s only $110 up front at the moment, I don’t really care, it’s still three figures I can’t take out of my bank account at once.

        Simply can’t believe that you don’t want my $15 a month…and probably a thousand other people……….

        • Thanks again for the feedback! I know a lot of people want a monthly plan …

          So a few things.

          1. The yearly plan was by far the most popular option for Delimiter 2.0. The monthly plan was popular at the start when it was the only option, but after I introduced the yearly plan, almost nobody took up the monthly plan, and some people on the monthly plan switched to the yearly plan.

          I’ve spoken to a half dozen publishers about this, and they have all seen the same trend.

          2. There is also a cost of administration. Monthly plans require monthly charging, meaning a new credit card cost each month. This eats into the margins of producing a site like and means customers pay more for the same product.

          3. The value equation doesn’t stack up. Again, multiple publishers (in Australia and overseas) have made the point to me that the volume of quality content I will be creating over a year-long period will be quite large, and it will take a lot of effort to create it (for example, hanging out physically in Parliament House for days on end).

          Real-world experience shows that if I offer a monthly plan, quite a lot of people will subscribe for one month, download a stack of content published over six months for a small one-month cost, and then unsubscribe. Then they will do it again down the track.

          The yearly plan avoids these issues while giving regular readers a huge amount of content over a year-long period. That’s why most sites like mine are shifting that way.

          I spent about 20-30 hours developing the model for this. It’s working very well so far. I know a lot of people want a monthly plan … but unfortunately all the experience in Australia and overseas shows it’s not a good option for the publisher.

          I apologise for any inconvenience. I hope this makes sense!

          • “Well, that sucks. I wish I had more money.”

            Heh money is certainly the perennial problem in this life. I think we all could do with a little more!

          • That depends who your gateway is. Some of them charge a flat % processing fee so you can do 12 monthly payments or 1 annual payment for the same price.

            I hear what you’re saying about downloading a heap of content. However, I wouldn’t go back and read old articles – they’re out of date :P

            While I’m here commenting on payment gateways, I might as well add my valuable 2 cents on the payment debate.

            I wouldn’t hesitate to pay $79 /year for your content. $99 / year would make me think twice, however, mentioning that it would be tax deductible would push me across the line.

            That said, I don’t value your content at $129 /year – I can afford it plus I don’t buy the “can’t afford it line”.

            That’s just me personally. You’re a good writer, but I’d like to see you stick it to the man *cough* I mean “hold them to account” if you want to see my money.

  2. So Renai here is your job when the 2016 election is announced: watch like a hawk for sneaky fine print that never gets to the public but can be retrofitted into a cynical “we did tell you that we were going to sell it…” hogwash.

  3. It’s a stupid idea

    This neatly sums up everything the the Libs have done or proposed to do with the NBN to late!

    Bunch of out of touch morons who can’t stand the idea that governments should own essential infrastructure when their rent seeking mates could instead be owning them and milking a captive public for every last cent!

  4. I don’t really care if they say there are no plans to sell NBN. They could mean there are no plans to sell nbn(tm), which would be completely true. You have to wonder if they changed the name of the company to the same name as the network in order to be able to obfuscate the truth like this.

  5. And yet, there is indeed a kernel of truth to this highly discredited AFR yarn. The story itself may have been grossly wrong — we have come to expect that from NBN stories in our major newspapers. And yet it is indeed very clear that a Turnbull Government will eventually try to sell off parts or all of the NBN.

    Pretty much my thoughts.

  6. We-e-e-elllll, the Libs have got to give the Mum&Dad Telstra shareholders something to make up for the T1-2-3 debacles…

  7. Holy s—. They’re going to give us the US scenario.

    “The Liberal Party, in Government, simply does not set up huge commercial enterprises to compete with the private sector.”

    The problem with that is, the list of companies that have built access networks in Australia is so short. In so many areas, there is no private sector to compete with. This ideology of theirs is damaging and stifling, especially in the context of this changing world.

    The problem of broadband in the “bush” will be perpetuated.

  8. well mr turnbull why dont you tell the truth about the nbn you are planing to sell it off to rupert murdoch and you know it there were two things that abbot had to do to get the backing from rupert murdoch is one set up a royal commission into the unions second one is to sell him our nbn rupert just set up his side on the nbn to foxtel because he built the nbn to fail so he could sell it to rupert that was his aim all along because of ruperts criminal activities in the uk he was forced to stop his purchase of skybsky in the uk after the levinsen enquiry branded him as unfit to buy it after the phone hacking scandel turnbull is no better then abbot only he is th quiet assasan this man and his incopetent ministers are now poking fun at disabled people yet under his stinking workchoices law i was being harrassed when i was working at service station i was doing the dog watch when i started i was determined to stamp out the violence and for that i was harrassed and threatened on a regular basis and i got so upset i had a stroke when i went to the poor excuse for a workplace ombudsman after waiting for months for them to tell me they couldnt help me here i was in hospital i couldnt work because i had to learn to walk again and today i see this new social services minister rubbishing the disabled the liberal party does not care for old people the disabled in any way what so ever and they expect us to vote for them and i know for certain that the lnp federal and state governments work for murdoch and a few wealthy elite morons who dont pay taxes they use government subsidies to make themselves richer because they dont pay taxes and they want to make their workers work for 10 dollars per hour and mr turnbull will sell off our nbn over our dead bodies

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