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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian: more blah on the NBN « Previous | |Next »
November 23, 2010

The Australian is having yet another go at the national broadband network (NBN) in its Labor should go back to basics on carbon and NBN. It is more on its standard line---'common sense says that the NBN is flawed and costly'--- and it says little that is new.


In fact, the editorial is so caught up in its own rhetoric that it fails to address the substantive policy issues that are currently being addressed by Parliament. Nor is there any indication in the editorial that they are even interested in these policy issues.

What we can infer from this is that The Australian is about politics not policy, and that it will use anything to attack the NBN as a way of undermining the Gillard Government. It is the publicity machine of the Coalition.

The editorial says:

The unseemly rush to a National Broadband Network says more about the government's political problems than about adding to national value. Indeed, the NBN is being forced through parliament this week not because we necessarily need it but because Julia Gillard does. Australians deserve more open discussion on the NBN and on the other issue preoccupying Canberra, the question of whether we need a cap-and-trade carbon market.Both policies have a common flaw: they offer a 100 per cent "solution" to challenges. The NBN is a Rolls-Royce answer to communication needs when a Holden might do just as well....Even if the NBN delivered a top-of-the-line service rather than becoming an expensive white elephant, as some fear, the government has failed to explain why $43bn should be spent on broadband rather than on schools, hospitals, indigenous housing or other essential infrastructure and services.

The editorial refers to the legislation before the Senate-- the government is going soft on privatisation or trying to cajole the crossbenchers into confidential briefings--but not once does it mention the actual content of the legislation----the structural separation of Telstra's retail and wholesale arms, which even Telstra supports and wants passed as quickly as possible.

Telstra is not even mentioned! The elephant in the room that has bedevilled the telecommunications industry for a decade of more is ignored. The editorial continues:

Good government is about setting the right priorities and making hard-headed decisions about funding, not stubbornly clinging to policies when they patently need review. The government is in a fix over the NBN: it is deeply committed to a project that is already being rolled out and its very existence relies on independents who backed Labor in large part because of the promise of the network. We are not troglodytes on broadband or climate change, but we will continue to challenge policy that is driven by politics rather than the public good.

Well the hard decisions have been made--Telstra's structural separation which the Liberals failed to do when they privatised Telstra---in order to ensure competition in the marketplace. There is nothing in the editorial about the need for increased competition in telecommunications.

The politics is everything and the lack of understanding of the issues around the NBN shown by old white men at The Australian indicates that the paper's default position is a Luddite one---let's smash these newfangled machines and stay with copper. The debate has moved on and the old white media men increasingly sound like a voice in the wilderness.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:56 AM | | Comments (15)


Niki Savva in Smarten up, PM, and do not wear green in The Australian says that Gillard

needs an agenda: something politicians usually acquire in order to attain leadership. She had no time to do that and ever since she became Prime Minister, she's done little else but pick over Kevin Rudd's leftovers and whatever the Greens toss her way.

No agenda? What is the NBN then? A Rudd leftover? It is a substantive reform that will make a difference to how Australian's work and play.

There is more here in Julia Gillard runs ruler over National Broadband Network where
Hepworth and Wilson imply that it is wrong that parliament should decide whether the NBN is privatised or not.

There is more guff about the NBN as a wholesale monopoly with the assumption that natural monopolies are bad by definition. There is no mention of the national electricity grid as a natural monopoly being bad though.

Niki Savva makes a bitchy attack on Gillard in her Smarten up, PM, and do not wear green in The Australian.

She criticizes Gillard's hair, her clothes and her body image. So much for Savva as the 'thinking conservative'---she's just another Murdoch hack

The odd thing is that the Oz is shredding it's own credibility before putting up the paywall.

On the other hand, Oz loyalists seem to think it /is/ reasonable for some reason, and almost can't believe it when the indies sided with the ALP post-election - they hadn't seen anything about what made the indies do that in the preceding weeks. (Did it raise questions in readers about the utility of the Oz as a news source? No. They merely assumed the indies were totally irrational.)

This brings us to how Oz readers are understanding the NBN issues in particular. It's like trusting Microsoft to give accurate reviews of Linux capabilities.

And, like Microsoft, unfortunately the Oz will probably be successful with it's readers.

Let's hope enough of the Oz readership also read Fin.

So... given what I imagine is a large group who read both, and will have plummeting confidence in the Oz... what is the Oz hoping to gain?

And a bunch of journalistic hacks, writing in support of Rupert Murdoch's fast-diminishing hold over the media via a rampant broadband future, know more about the value to the country of the NBN than impartial commentators like Paul Budde? Give me a break! I'm laughing so hard at tThe Australian's pomposity, tears are rolling onto my keyboard.
Bring it on! Bring on the NBN ASAP and smash these miscreant wreckers from Ltd News into the stratosphere.

Senator Xenophon has managed to get Gillard and Conroy to release a summary of the business plan for the NBN. So the bill for the separation of Telstra's wholesale and retail arms will no pass the Senate. Finally.

Hillbilly Skeleton--now that a summary of the NBN's business plan has been made public, let us see what The Australian's hacks will do. They will have to change their criticism. Demand the full document? Call for a cost benefit analysis.

Passing the Telstra separation legislation and the decommissioning of its copper and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) networks and infrastructure usage; will begin the transformation of the Australian telecommunications market--it paves the way for a faster, cheaper, more efficient rollout of the National Broadband Network.

News Ltd appears to think that it can continue with the old product on a new delivery platform. However, the NBN will further erode the development of niche media markets, and this will limit the power and influence of News Ltd's mass circulation newspapers.

So Telstra will become a customer of the NBN--just like ever other ISP Yeah.

A lot of the Australian's appeal is base on people not agreeing with what is written in it. Those are the people that make up a large percentage of its readership.
A bit like wanting to watch Wendal Sailor play footy because you hate him. Or similarly Shane Warne's once appeal was similar.
The Australian plays this kind of marketting well.

Hmmm. And now it's going to be $7 billion cheaper. Wonder how their mantra of $43 billion will sound now? Hollow? Or? Shock! Horror! $36 billion! It's still an awful lot of taxpayers' money!?
Probably, as like the Opposition, which they are the publicity arm of, they only want to wreck it.

I read all the comments in the articles on the NBN in The Australian. They say its going to send the country broke, they don't need it, its just used for downloading movies and porn, there is no business case, its going costs thousands to connect, the money is best spend on other services etc etc

In other words the conservative base repeats the Australian's viewpoint. The comments that disagree and provide factual information as opposed to fiction, are in the minority and are never responded to.

It's an endlessly repeating echo chamber -- or a white noise machine.

What was released as a business case is pretty empty --a 36 page marketing document. It is it is devoid of any pricing information, any estimates of revenue or of service take-up doesn't a profit and loss statement, a cash flow statement, or balance sheet.

What is clear is that NBN Co's business case is heavily dependent on the Telstra deal being consummated according to the timetable indicated by Telstra CFO John Stanhope at last week's AGM; namely signing of definitive and binding agreements by the end of 2010 and satisfying of all conditions precedent by June 30 2011.

What it doesy include is a detailed timeline for product releases and the types of products offered through the NBN.

Hillbilly Skeleton,
They'll increase the amount to make the point that it will send the country broke. Ie. $35.7 billion build cost + $13.8 billion to Telstra = total build cost of $49.5 billion


Yes it is constant isnt it.
It is possible to with any story of controvercy to find a view point in that story that maximises the reader input and this can be mapped by the feedback that story gets. The little opposing views that you mention are like little spot fires in a bush fire that keep the story/fire sparking and burning.
I dont get too caught up in what side a particular publication takes for this reason.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010 is being voted on today in the Senate in spite of the entrenched opposition from the Coalition to the NBN.

The Coalition raves on about the government's NBN propaganda, and they are putting every procedural obstacle they can devise to prevent the Telstra bill from being passed. It is division after division on motion after motion from the Coalition Senator's to delay passing the bill.

The Coalition loses each division by 2, (30 -28) as Fielding and Xenophon consistently vote with Labor + the Greens. The Coalition is isolated. The Coalition is pulling every stunt possible to delay a vote it knew it would lose.

This is opposition for its own sake, as there is both broad support for the NBN, which will be seen as a historic nation building project, and the NBN train having already left the station with some in Tasmania on board. The first mainland user will board in April next year.

The bill is finally passed.