The Inside Track: History repeating: How the Govt will privatise NBN Co


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  1. Given that upgrading to full fibre from MTM is going to be required, the breakup would seriously complicate that.

    • I would go so far as to say that if the NBN is sold off before 2025, we will be unlikely to see a full fibre upgrade from MTM for another decade or more.

      • And this makes me so fucking mad I’m going to stop commenting before I get banned for excessive foul language!

      • “we will be unlikely to see a full fibre upgrade from MTM for another decade or more.”

        I would not hesitate to say we will never ever see a full upgrade to fibre.

        The private sector got us into the shit we are currently in, left to their own devices i can only see more of the same contempt in the future as they have shown us in the past.

  2. “And yet none of this information made its way into Infrastructure Australia’s 15 year plan released yesterday, which merely stated that the NBN company should be privatized”

    Australia should be sold. Because.

      • Thank god Delimiter exists otherwise nbn transparency would be zero to nothing.
        You must be a real pain in the backside for the Liberal government / NBN right now Renai!
        and We wouldn’t have it any other way!
        Looking forward to The Frustrated State chapters also :)

          • Small L liberals Renai.
            Big difference between liberals and Liberals.
            The former are against big government/intervention, the later are about entrenching the power of the top 0.1% of the population

      • Considering he was with the Victorian Libs for 20 odd years, there probably isn’t a paper trail, they usually collude such things over dinners and lunches in exclusive clubs, don’t they?

  3. “Delimiter has been told that there were indeed staff within the Government who were tasked with providing Infrastructure Australia with key insights into the NBN project — including the strengths of Labor’s previous Fibre to the Premises model for the NBN.”

    So was this done ,or was it just talk? If it was indeed done, than it should be pursued under the FIO.

    • it explains a lot why the whole thing reads off like an IPA wishlist.

      its a bit circular… govt staff instructed to report to IA who reports the same stuff back to the government. its an underhanded way of legitimising what they want.

      • The thing I hate about government reports is the way that they get drafted, then handed to the government for approval. In my view, the reports should be publicly released before the politicians get a chance to get their hands on them and substantially modify them before release.

        • You mean like it took close to six months for Labor to release each edition of the NBN Corporate Plan and how the 2013 plan was never publically released?

          Or in terms of sanitation, how some of the contradictory information (e.g. predicted speed profiles versus what applications required) was removed from later editions of the NBN Corporate Plan?

          • It’s amazing how you can turn any single comment thread into a debate about how much speed people “truly” need.

            You’re certainly a Level 1 Certified LibTroll.

    • I have been told it was done. I got the information after I filed the FOI, however.

      I will see what comes back from this initial FOI request — then I may try and go after this document specifically later on, if it doesn’t come through as part of this request.

    • Very interesting. I have to say, I don’t approve of someone with that detailed a Liberal history being the chairman of a government agency.

      • I thought it was common knowledge that IA was nothing more than an LNP thinktank?

        • initially i was wondering if i was confusing Infrastructure Australia with Institute of Public Affairs.

          but given the Birrell bio, i can now see they are cut from the same cloth. i had never looked into IA previously, hence my confusion.

        • I thought it was common knowledge that IA was nothing more than an LNP thinktank?

          Nah, I thought thed play fair like when the John Howard put Mark Scott in charge of the ABC ( and kept under Julia Gillard in 2010).

        • You guys are confused, IA is a gov organisation, the IPA is Murdoch’s policy dev unit for the LNP.

  4. “…as it smacks of a communist approach…”

    …or the Aussie fair go. This is what sticks in my claw, our national psyche is bound around mate-ship, sacrifice, community spirit, endless plains to share, etc, but we have the LNP that stands for none of that. Their policy position on everything is “Go f*ck yourself.”

  5. If the private sector was to own a national broadband network they can damn well build it themselves. I also think if they want to own a tollway or tunnel they can damn well build it themselves also. Right now now the tax payer is taking on all the risk for these projects (and under the current NBN we have taken on increasing risks) yet we’re seeing very little of the benefits.

    Do we want to be like Norway who take on the risks then see the benefits and have the budget surplus to match, or do we want to be like the US who take on the risk and hand out the benefits to big businesses.

    The LNP talk a lot about cutting benefits but where it will really matter.

    • That’s the hypocrisy of the Conservative – it’s all about ‘small government’ and unencumbered free markets and cutting expenses such as health care and social benefits, but they’re perfectly happy to use it as a vehicle to extract taxpayer dollars, build a &#@*ing great piece of infrastructure the private sector wouldn’t be wiling to even approach, then sell the completed infrastructure into private hands at a small fraction of what it cost to construct, the tax payers picking up the tab. And then having to pay through the nose to a monopoly supplier for a piece of infrastructure *they* paid for in the first place.

      There should be a constitutional law that states infrastructure cannot be sold/privatised etc unless the government is compensated for the expense incurred in construction as a bare minimum, indexed for inflation. And if it’s a natural monopoly, it must be run by a not-for-profit until such time as an equal competitor exists. Otherwise it is nothing but theft by another name.

      • That’s the hypocrisy of the Conservative – it’s all about ‘small government’ and unencumbered free markets

        That’s just a dog whistle for “privatise everything worthwhile” so we can gouge it.

    • This is where voting actually matters.

      We’ve been sold by both parties that our vote doesn’t matter, and it actually does. Actually take a look at the policies next election, not at who you parents voted for, or who you “think” you align with ideologically.

      If enough people actually look at things, and vote accordingly, we can actually start to get change.

  6. ‘Competition’ by splitting up along geographical lines? Yeah. That worked *so* well in the US, didn’t it, where three decades on, something like half of the US has access to precisely one provider of telecommunications services, and pay monopoly rents for the privilege (when I worked in Detroit some years back, the cost of a call from there to Aus was *twenty-six times* the cost of a call from Australia to the US…)

      • Ars Technica have covered the US telco landscape several times that i know of, and every time i have come away shaking my head hoping – please dont let us go their way.

        and here we are in 2016 with the LNP doing their damnedest to reproduce all the worst facets of infrastructure ‘competition’ in the US! a shemozzle is the kindest you could call it, and the MTM certainly has exceeded that in what its done to the telco landscape to date. let alone what they can achieve before the election, or should they win another term.

        • Yeah, I read a lot on Ars and it horrifies me that were heading down that path, even gleefully by folks like Richard.

          The USA is not a country to be pointing to as a success, though there are even those there fighting it (nod to Google Fibre).

          • Yeah, that must be the ONLY option they sell right? Everyone all has to sign up to the 10Gbit service and pay $300 a month, they wouldn’t sell any slower connections for resident customers and offer 10Gbit for businesses or anything.

            It isn’t like they have a 100Mbit ($57.99) plan, a 1Gbit ($69.99) plan or a 10Gbit ($299.00) plan… Nope. Nothing like that AT all.

          • for about $300 a month.


            What, you’re going to do a Mathew and say they should all be on 10gps for free?


  7. It’s time we take back our Counrty and Democracy Ladies and Gentalmen! This corruption needs to be stamped out.

  8. I fail to see why this is considered significant news. Privatisation of NBNCo was Labor’s plan from day dot.

    Of course many people chose to ignore that along with others like 50% connecting at 12Mbps, the steep increase in ARPU required to deliver the ROI and issues with the build.

    • Because Matty, this mtm is unsalable. It’s only worth half what it cost to build it. Mostly due to insisting on using copper. The lower speeds result in lower roi. In fact the roi is also half that of fttp. Yes the previous govt gave an “option” to sell Nbn, but it wasn’t mandatory. Had the fttp model kept rolling out, it would be very valuable after completion. Especially since it was so really easy to upgrade to multiple GB speeds. Oh, and did I mention ubiquity, , Something that a broken up mtm can’t possibly achieve. You don’t seem to be concerned with losing ,$29b of taxpayers money on Loss making investment worth half completion. Then sold off into various technology packets, ?

      • > The lower speeds result in lower roi. In fact the roi is also half that of fttp.

        It depends on what assumptions you make on demand. Currently assumptions that Labor made about speed demand have been shown to be overly optimistic. Those people who can afford the top speeds will most likely have the budget for FoD or choose to move.

        > Especially since it was so really easy to upgrade to multiple GB speeds.

        Lets be serious here. 1Gbps speeds aren’t viable under the financial model Labor constructed, and you want to talk about multi-GB speeds? Labor predicted <1% on 1Gbps in 2026. Currently 79% on fibre are connected at 25Mbps or slower. If the Liberals instructed NBNCo to remove the speed tiers on FTTN because of variable performance issues, then almost certainly 100% of the 79% would have faster speeds than a FTTP solution.

        By focusing on speed you are missing the point that Labor's plan for NBNCo revenue growth is via data (CVC). While some data growth is attributable to higher speeds, it is more influenced by the applications. Streaming TV will work comfortably on 25Mbps.

        • Lets be serious here. 1Gbps speeds aren’t viable under the financial model Labor constructed

          Jesus, you people really do live in fantasy land…

          • In the real world zero RSPs are offering speeds faster than 100Mbps when NBNCo have been offering 1Gbps since December 2013.

            If the service was financially viable don’t you think at least one RSP would be offering 1Gbps? The first RSP to offer 1Gbps should expect to attract the early adopter high-value customers making it harder for other RSPs to reach the critical mass necessary to provide 1Gbps at a reasonable price.

            Can you give another reason for RSPs choosing not to offer 1Gbps?

          • “In the real world zero RSPs are offering speeds faster than 100Mbps when NBNCo have been offering 1Gbps since December 2013.”
            You mean the new board went ahead and advertised that they were offering a certain product and then purposefully priced it out of the market??? That completely goes against everything they’ve stood for since election /s

            Please cite where nbn advertise that Gbps speeds are available to be used by the public. Their website doesn’t advertise more than 100/40. I wonder why that could be…

        • ” If the Liberals instructed NBNCo to remove the speed tiers on FTTN because of variable performance issues, then almost certainly 100% of the 79% would have faster speeds than a FTTP solution.”

          I saw you using this false logic on another site too.

          Of course customers would get more speed if they removed speed tiers…. But that would also be true for FTTP.

          You’re comparing apples and oranges and then saying “SEE HOW ORANGES ARE BETTER!”.

        • @Matthew

          The RSP aren’t offering 100mbps let alone 1,000mbps.

          What they’re offering is extremely deceptive and misleading, inconsistent and almost outright theft.

          They are offering you a tail, in industry parlance, that is capable of up to 100mbps of throughput.

          In reality what you’re receiving is a highly contented and inconsistent service.

          I’ve calculated per my previous post on the subject contention ratios of upwards of at least 400:1, and more then likely 1,000:1 (1,000mbps of customer bandwidth to 1mbps of wholesale backhaul).

          The inconsistency is the big problem. The congestion ratios change depending on your geography to your RSP megapop, the services in the carrier room of the megapop (i.e. Netflix CDN interconnect with your RSP).

          The NBN is a huge fraud. Be it FTTP or FTTN/MTM it doesn’t matter what the end-mile was. The ALP and Liberals full well understand that the entire network has to be extremely contended in order to protect the the telcos huge rip off of the government, corporate and SME customer segments.

          See if the NBN operated in the way the hyperbole suggested then you’d find all of these highly profitable sectors flooding to buy cheap NBN tails.

          The NBN is crippled to ensure rich people become even more disgustingly richer then they already are.

          • Show me a commercial network that is affordable for the customer that isn’t running contention ratios like that….

    • Originally it was to be sold 5 years after an 8 year build. In 2010 this was thankfully watered down after a push by the Greens, in return for their support for the splitting up of Telstra.

      While privatisation is always possible, it’s not the automatic outcome it once was, and can be prevented by either house of parliament. Therefore, the negotiated previous policy for NBN Co was not to privatise it.

  9. At first I thought “sewn” was a typo, but considering it’s a stitch up, it’s more appropriate.

    “Telstra was negotiating to pick up the NBN company for a mere $20 billion?”
    Sounds a bit like the Dick Smith deal, initial price of 20 up front, but 10 (11) in the bank, so really half the price.

  10. This will be a text book example of a Govt supporting free market philosophies while throwing the welfare of the nation and it’s citizens to the corporate wolves, who’s only interest is profit.
    And it will cost the nation and it’s citizens dearly.
    The seeds are being sown to justify selling the NBN at a loss, all at the taxpayers expense, to look after the LNP’S mates. Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.
    In fact, manipulate the market so that there is a transfer of taxpayers funds and assets to the private sector. The LNP philosophy.

    Next time you hear a free market advocate, think long and hard as to their motivation and self interest.

      • To true mate, the best gov we’ve had in years was the labor-green gov because thev greens acted as the alp’s conscience and helped keep the big money corporations influence in check. Although they failed to keep the pokies clubs influence check unfortunately.

  11. There won’t be a float until the stock market improves and the NBN is profitable concern that is at approaching peak growth.

    We’re still at least 4-5 years away, which means per the election cycles, the ALP will be running the country. It won’t be at leats until 2027-30 when the liberals are running the country that they’ll even consider selling the NBN.

    • no sane Telco is going to invest in purchasing HFC at anything other than bargain basement prices. If for no other reason then the other Fttx types can simply cherry pick and over build the parts they wanted to etc.

      If you’re going to be spending $Billions you only do so with fibre. Show me anywhere that someone other than the Aussie taxpayer is buying up old copper networks!?

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