“Mongrel network”: Waleed Aly consigns Turnbull’s MTM NBN to the trash


news The outspoken host of Ten TV show The Project has taken a pickaxe to the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN, consigning the model to the rubbish box in a lengthy segment which also included appearances by founding NBN chief executive Mike Quigley.

In a segment on last night’s episode of The Project, Aly said that the broadband plan which then-Opposition Leader Tont Abbott had branded as “strong and credible” before the 2013 Federal Election “mightn’t be as amazing as Tony would have us believe”.

Delimiter recommends readers click here to watch the full segment online. It starts at about the 22:30 mark.

Aly pointed out that the estimated cost of the Coalition’s version of the NBN, as well as its projected completion deadlines, had slipped out substantially from the initial estimates given by then-Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull prior to the 2013 Federal Election.

The segment included part of a speech which Greens Deputy Leader Scott Ludlam gave in the Senate in February this year, in which Ludlam stated:

“Instead of futureproofing the country with an end-to-end fibre network we would use a bit of copper, a bit of HFC, some satellites, some wireless towers—we would have this mongrel network big parts of which would be obsolete on the day they are built and will need to be torn up and replaced with the kind of end-to-end fibre network that this parliament legislated for.”

In addition, the segment included quotes from founding NBN chief executive Mike Quigley who told The Project that the good thing about a “fibre-based NBN” was that it had “enormous amounts of capacity”, unlike a “copper-based” NBN.

“It’s just such a pity that we’re no longer building such a network,” Quigley said.

Quigley and Aly acknowledged that Labor’s previous, Fibre to the Premises-based NBN had its problems, with the former NBN chief executive stating that it had been running about 12 months behind schedule under his watch, but Quigley denied that the project’s costs had blown out by anywhere near the $90 billion estimates publicised by Turnbull prior to the election.

“By turning the NBN into a political football, Australia’s global rankings for Internet speed has slipped, from 30th a few years ago, to this week 60th in the world,” concluded Aly.

“So if you’re watching this right now on the Internet, and you had to wait for even a second for this video to buffer, you know who to blame: Tony Abbott, and the guy who he says invented the Internet.”

Image credit: Still from The Project, believed to be OK to use under fair dealing


  1. Waleed hit the nail on the head. He put the basics of the problem into language that most people can understand, which is what he excels at.
    Good to see Turnbulls mess getting mainstream coverage. It makes a big difference, because Waleed’s segment has been shared all over Facebook now as well. Hopefully more mainstream news outlets will stop ignoring the waste of taxpayers money and numerous problems associated with Turnbulls MTM.
    Abbott’s buffering problem was good for a laugh as well :)

    • I thought Abbotts brain fart at the time came across as LOADING…PLEASE WAIT…

      Good to see someone else did as well :)

    • Waleed for the Gold Logie!

      On a serious note though, the kind of backwater opponents that decry improvements to tech infrastructure that will last to the end of the century, are the same people that would label Waleed Aly as anything but a Walkley Award winning journalists, basing their opinion instead on his name, appearance and religion.

  2. Waleed completely nailed it, especially the section where he showed that national infrastructure is supposed to be built with the long term in mind eg Sydney Harbour Bridge, Snowy Hydro etc!

  3. As I mentioned in the other article he destroyed the coalition clowns quite easily. Quite right too, I mean Australia really should have taken Abbott’s buffering issues as a warning sign of things to come…

    • Im asking all my FaceBook friends & family and Twitter followers to re-share this video with their networks – I reckon if everyone does this we can make sure Aussies know how badly Malcolm TurnCoat has shafted us and it will help kick him out by showing he’s not fit to lead!

      • Now I’ve seen it, same here. In the greater scenario, its a good demonstration of how the Liberals are doing business. In an election year, its worth looking back at everything they promised leading into the 2013 election, and seeing how each one panned out.

        Its not a pretty picture, and this is a single subject summary of that shitstorm.

  4. As NBN spew out propaganda about what speeds their mongrel network might achieve in some magical future, the real world is starting to see the shambles it has become.

  5. We still have people in denial over the truths stated by this man. They really are short sighted. The hate for future proof telecoms is real O.O

    • I think its more they don’t want their tax $ spent on what they consider frivolous.

      Heck I had a former boss who was in the gold plating crowd …. now the business ran a national help desk with remote support being our preferred method as it kept costs way down (vs someone on site to fix it in person) … talking 1000’s of customers across Australia (including in remote areas). ~50% of our customers had bad internet and ~5% would’ve been on basically dialup and some we flat out had no connection too (esp remote sites).

      The concept of everyone being on a guaranteed and stable infrastructure was lost on em it was gold plating and that was it. Rolls Royce marketing got through, stating those large $billion figures stuck with folk despite the fact that over 20 years that larger number shrinks to something much smaller per year. The fact it was an investment and not permanent expense didn’t register either :/

      • Late reply :P. They probably never thought of the cheapo network having to be replaced very soon and cost billions more making it more expensive. Cutting costs does not always save money, especially in infrastructure projects.

        • Indeed, short term thinking is what got us into this mess. Our pollies rarely think beyond the next election.

        • That’s right. I don’t believe the Libs’ cost benefit analysis considered that the network would require upgrades.

  6. Meanwhile on the same night, Bill Morrow was spinning away as usual to what is hopefully a better informed 730 audience.

    “PETER MCCUTCHEON: Is there a danger we’re being pennywise and pound foolish and end up paying more in the longer term?

    BILL MORROW: I think that is the very question on it. It’s all really what you believe of how fast you think that demand is gonna come in to which network we should be building. All evidence suggests today what we’re doing is the right way. But I’m not Nostradamus.”

    Surely having some Nostradamus skills are part of the job description.

    • I remember Ziggy say in the senate that they would not have predicted the demand now a decade ago.

      But you missed his other quote “NBN is good enough to meet current needs”. But will it meet the needs in 4 years time.

    • “All evidence…” is such a blatant lie. There is a great deal of evidence that it is working, and a great deal of evidence that it is not. Only if you are wearing horse blinders can Libs put you in charge of a multibillion dollar waste of a three word slogan.

  7. Hopefully facebook helps inform all the younger audience now we need to inform the older audience that still vote liberal. Great to see MTM NBN is getting the coverage it deserves.

  8. Take a look at the demand growth chart from the past 20 years and show me where it has ever gone backwards. Where do they find these idiots? It’s blatantly obvious that demand will continue on it’s current trajectory for, well, forever.

    • Someone a few weeks ago tried to convince me that because demand ‘only’ went up 40% last year, that it was going backwards. Couldnt see that there were ceilings being hit, or that 40% more of a truckload is a much bigger truckload, just that the rate of increase had slowed from a 50% increase to 40% (or something like that) which meant it was negative growth.

      I walked away.

      • This is what I see when people try to claim Nielsen’s law is “wrong” and then dispute that anyones data requirements could double every 2 years….

        Using logic like “I had 1.5Mbit 5 years ago and now I have 4Mbit, thus the prediction is wrong!” despite the fact the 4Mbit they have now is limited by the technology and not limited by their usage.

          • That would be “nil” considering you need 25Mbps for a 4k stream from netflix ;o)

  9. [Rubs hands together gleefully] It’s a very-long-awaited dose of mainstream media medicine.

    You don’t know how glad I am that they got the capacity point in from Quigley. When you’re spending massive amounts of money and taking years to put something in the ground, it must be something that provides capacity for a long time into the future without spending billions more. [End bleeding obvious]

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