Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

National Broadband Network looks good « Previous | |Next »
May 6, 2010

I've always been very sceptical of the right wing media's attack on the National Broadband Network. I've suspected that the case has been long on hostility, short on logical argument, and extreme in its claims about the expense to consumers and viability in relation to wireless broadband.

One example is Colless's big claim in The Australian that:

it is clear the federal government must reshape its strategy for a national broadband superhighway if it wants to prevent this policy dream turning into a financial and logistical nightmare.

Clear? How so? Why? There has been a marked failure---and a notable lack of interest---from the anti-NBN crowd in the Murdoch press to assess how the NBN as an long-term infrastructure investment would transform business, government and everyday life. What seems to matter is that the NBN has to be attacked in principle --there is not even a mention of the need to address the backhaul problems for the regions. Wireless, apparently, will solve everything.

The NBN Implementation Study, written by McKinsey-KPMG, states that entry-level broadband prices would be set at $20-$30 per month of a basic broadband service of 20Mbps, $30-$35 per month for broadband and voice, around $50 per month for a higher speed broadband service. It also stated that fibre-to-the-premise was the "optimal future-proof technology", with wireless only considered to hold a complementary role in providing broadband.

That kind of access to a fast fibre broadband network looks pretty good news in relation to what we have now.

Another finding was that the $43 billion was a conservative estimate for how much the network could cost to build. The peak investment required by the government was considered to be $26 billion by the end of the seventh year of the roll-out, with $18.3 billion to be found over the next four years, which the government will make "appropriate provision" in the 2010/2011 budget.

Thirdly, the government could build the NBN without the involvement of Telstra and would reap a modest return on its investment within 15 years of 6 to 7 percent.

So what is the right wing media --eg., The Australian--- up to in its attacks on the NBN? Ignorance? Defending the Coalition's rejection of a national broadband network? Attacking it because it is being built by the government and not private enterprise? The Coalition stands alone in waging war on the NBN as the carriers came out to praise the NBN Implementation Study findings. Spinning for Telstra? For what purpose? Telstra will be structurally split and they don't care about the public good. Or is it just another plank in the the Murdoch Press's general attack on the Rudd Government?

What has changed is that the government initially said that private telecommunications companies would be keen to take an equity share in NBN Co. The implementation study has recommended there will be no private-sector involvement in the ownership of NBN Co for at least 15 years.

Some say---eg. Jennifer Hewett in The Australian--- that Telstra has a plan B ready to go that would see it upgrade its cable network and immediately slash its prices on broadband for high-value, high-user customers in a price war. Alan Kohler says that Telstra's goose is cooked--- it cannot compete:

The only reason to stick with a copper access network with a limited life would be to milk it for cash; the purpose of a price war is exactly the opposite – to build market share at a loss for future returns. But there is no future for copper in a nation that has 93 per cent fibre to the home.

Telstra’s only viable option is to take whatever it can get for renting its underground ducts and backhaul fibre to the NBN, and get on with a new corporate strategy based on using a third party fibre access network and gradually shutting down its copper.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:20 AM | | Comments (3)


the Australian's journos repeat the hysterical claims advanced by Telstra shills.

whilst we have from Abbott and the Coalition a knee-jerk opposition to the NBN and everything it stands for.

Malcolm Colless is at it again in The Australian --attacking the NBN yet again:

the social engineering in Conroy's vision for a brave new world would encourage a more sedentary population dependent on services supplied through the umbilical cord of his broadband cable, rather than following the trend towards mobility of communication services.

Now the NBN is linked to obesity! No good can come of the NBN for The Australian.