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The Australian's war on the NBN « Previous | |Next »
October 22, 2010

Senator Conroy is quite right. The Australian is waging war against both the national broadband network (NBN) and the Gillard Government. On last Wednesdays Lateline Conroy said:

I think it's fair to say that the campaigning that they're doing against the NBN doesn't meet any journalistic balance, it doesn't meet any journalistic accountability, if you were to look at the actual factual substance of the story. And it's very disappointing to see a newspaper losing its way in this way. And they have been maintaining this campaign to try and create uncertainty, to create falsehoods about the NBN and they are knowingly doing it ... You can only come to the conclusion that they are determined to destroy the NBN in the eyes of Australians because it was an important factor in us winning government. And you've seen the tantrum they threw after the election, and this just is part of an ongoing tantrum by The Australian newspaper about the outcome of the election.

The stories on the NBN are largely beatups, designed as weapons in a political campaign.

In today's edition one story says that only about one in 10 of the first Australians to be offered high-speed internet services under the National Broadband Network have taken up the offer. This reference to Tasmania ignores that it is a test site and that the first sites in each mainland state have take-ups that are averaging around 77%.

Another story, which refers back to The Australian's claims that broadband would cost householders $3000 to rewire the house, says that it is $400 per room. Reading the story about an individual in the Adelaide hills indicates that is not the cost of broadband (ie., the optical network terminal) we are talking about. It is the cost of rewiring with Cat 6 cable in order access IPTV services on a set-top box for each television.It cost the individual $4000 to wire up his home.

How many of us want to wire up our homes? Maybe the ones who've spent big on home cinemas already. The rest of us will use a decent router to get better speeds than what ADSL 2+ connections deliver now.

The comments to the various stories indicate the purpose of the beatups.They are designed as meat to its conservative base to continue the campaign to bash the ALP. Neither the conservative base or The Australian have any interest in exploring or debating the policy issues around a national broadband network. The aim is to discredit the network.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:24 AM | | Comments (9)


Then- why- has- he- not- do-something- about- the ABC and SBS- to- restore- balance- (staff member on board)????????

The Australian is fighting wars on many fronts---on Labor, the ABC, bloggers, the Greens, inner city elites and professionals and the NBN.

The stories today in The Australian are an angry reaction to being called out on its political campaign by Stephen Conroy. The Australian does not like being exposed for what it is --a right wing partisan broadsheet seeking to undermine a democratically elected government.

It was Piers Ackerman in the Daily Telegraph who pushed the obvious lie that the national broadband network would cost households between $6000-$10000 And that’s just the beginning he says.

Ackerman never details how or why it will cost this much in his column. If you criticize Ackerman on his blog the right winger commentators who hang out dismiss you as a leftie on the dole! It's so obvious to them!

Akerman is referring to those customers who want to distribute bandwidth-hungry services such as high-definition internet television to multiple screens around the house. They will need an ethernet cable connected between the optical network terminal on the wall and each screen in each room.

How many people want multiple high-definition internet television screens around the house?

The Australian is actively nurturing the division and anger in the (rightwing) electorate as a potent political fuel.

There is lots of anger, fear and resentment out there in the electorate --eg., last night's community meeting in the Adelaide Hills town of Inverbrackie/Woodside about the Federal Government's plans to house detained asylum seekers in 80 vacant defence houses near the Woodside Army Barracks at Inverbrackie.

I'm impressed with Conroy in this "Lateline" interview.
Responding to the bullshit from the OO.
Long may it continue.

Paul Walter it is a little o/t but since you mentioned it, Conroy has done everything in his power to restore balance to both boards short of just sacking all the Howard political appointments.

It has taken time but independently appointed board members will soon have the balance at the ABC and the final zombies will have left by about June next year. (Including Scott, whose time is then up)

The only halt to a staff member is the refusal of the coalition to pass legislation that will allow it.

Give him a break I think he has done quite well on this score!

The Australian sure is sensitive to criticism of its negative stories on the NBN---rarely does it explore the social and economic benefits of the NBN, and it reruns claims about householders faced thousands of dollars in expenses to wire their homes to take full advantage of the NBN, when these have been refuted by the government and NBN Co .

The Weekend Australian editorial says:

This newspaper is embracing the digital age and is at the forefront of developing new platforms for journalism. We have long supported the structural separation of Telstra and recognise that high-speed internet has the potential to lift productivity. But we wonder whether the immense investment to connect fibre to every dwelling is essential, or whether wireless can handle the short journey from street-side network to in-home connection, at a drop in download speed most people will not notice.

Why target fibre to the premises and so defend fibre to the node? The editorial says:
And we wonder whether everybody actually wants high-speed internet at home. Many Tasmanians don't. The NBN is rolling out in their state but only 11 per cent of home owners are taking it up, and the government will not reveal the proportion of this minority interested in the full-speed 100-megabits-per-second option, which costs about $100 a month, three times the price of a base package. That the state government, the NBN's partner, requires consumers to opt out or have the network automatically installed, says a lot about its confidence in the popularity of the product. After all, people who want to watch new movies already have a price-competitive alternative -- it's called pay-TV. And anybody who remembers the way having that installed was expensive and inconvenient will wonder whether everybody will want technicians drilling holes in their walls, which will inevitably cost consumers up to $3000, according to independent experts.

So The Australian is defending pay -TV; that is Foxtel (at $70per month) not the pay TV that is beginning to be delivered over the internet-- IPTV (at $30 per month).

Therein lies the commercial self-interest of News Ltd. It is opposing competition in the pay -TV market and defending a monopoly--Foxtel. The NBN poses a threat to Rupert Murdoch's interests in Australia.

Now the Australian's Jennifer Hewitt is trying to imply that because only a quarter of households at the moment want the full 100 megabits per second available via the NBN, the NBN is a failure.

Hewitt acknowledges that The McKinsey study:

predicts about two-thirds of the 80 per cent will only be willing to pay for the basic broadband package of about 20Mbps - for which it proposed wholesale pricing of about $30-$35 a month.

How is that a problem? It's much better than what we have now.

Even the entry level NBN speeds are better than what the majority of the population has access to with current broadband services.

Jennifer Hewitt does go on and on about the "flaws" of the NBN It must be her job in The Australian. What she writes is rubbish.

In her Most households won't pay the price of a high-speed broadband network she says that Gillard Labor is pushing ahead with the NBN:

despite the fact that most big businesses and schools and hospitals already have fibre connections and that many households, especially in inner-metropolitan areas, already have access to speeds that are adequate for their current needs via technologies such as wireless, copper and cable. Conroy says that allowing this situation to continue will only exacerbate "the digital divide" and that every household should have equal access.The catch is that the Gillard government can never concede that it is backing the NBN primarily as a nation-building investment using taxpayer funds to "future proof" the economy.

What Hewitt ignores with her "we already have access to speeds that are adequate for their current needs" is our future needs--e medicine, e-education, e-business etc

Hewitt's other claim, that the Gillard government "can never concede that it is backing the NBN primarily as a nation-building investment using taxpayer funds to "future proof" the economy", is false. The Gillard government justifies backing the NBN primarily because it is a nation-building investment.