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goodbye NBN « Previous | |Next »
September 23, 2013

The Coalition's return to power means the end of the National Broadband Network.

The Abbott government has flagged at least three examinations into broadband: an independent audit of NBN Co's books, a review of its commercial progress and a Productivity Commission inquiry into broadband policy.

PopeDNBNdeath.jpg David Pope

However, it doesn't mean that Australia's broadband future remains open to interpretation. We know that Labor’s nation-building, wholesale infrastructure model has been dumped in favour of the Coalition’s private sector-friendly, market-driven approach. There are two implications of this.

Firstly, the Coalition's policy is to change the current fibre-to-the-premises to a fibre-to-the-node model. The copper network represents the cornerstone of the Coalition's $30bn policy. So two-thirds of the connections to premises will be copper instead of fibre.

This will make the network cheaper to build the archaic, degraded copper technology will be a lot slower for consumers. The last-mile copper is in a bad state and therefore unsuitable for applications like Telehealth owing to reliability issues.

Secondly, that competition will happen in the provision of the broadband network: Telstra will be allowed to operate its hybrid fibre-coaxial cable in competition with the NBN and TPG Telecom will connect fibre to capital city apartment buildings and office blocks in inner urban areas. The implication is that a cut down NBN Co would take care of the unprofitable regional and remote areas, whilst the telcos would be free to build competing “open access” fibre networks in urban areas.

Admittedly, there will be delays as the current Senate is unlikely to support the government’s plans for change to the current NBN. So the status quo is likely to remain until the new Senate begins sitting in July 2014.

The broader consequence is that the drivers for a broadband-led shift away from an economy reliant on mining and agriculture to one that rests on a mixed commodities market, premised on innovation enabled by technological capabilities have been seriously undermined.

The Coalition does not accept that broadband is a critical utility for the future economic growth and social development of Australia. Their view is that the long-term economic health of the Australian economy is dependent on an unsustainable minerals boom; not on the the transition to a knowledge-based economy based on the nation's ability to become a country of highly-educated knowledge workers.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:28 AM | | Comments (25)


dig baby dig. That's Australia's future under the Coalition--remaining an extractive resource based economy.

The last "mile" of the network is so degraded due to severe lack of maintenance that it needs to be replaced either now or within the next 5 - 7 years.

I cannot see the Liberals doing the remediation work on the last mile of the copper network. It will too expensive due to cost blowout.

Telstra would be better off just ripping out its last mile of copper network and selling the metal for scrap.

Victor Harbor is going to miss out--things will stay as it is for a long time. There will be no fibre offered by competing firms, as there would be in Adelaide or Melbourne or Sydney.

No Bloody Need.

We need to break free of the notion that our economic fortune must inevitably be driven by the fluctuating demand for minerals and energy.

When the boom is over Australia is left with some large holes in the ground and idle ports and railways.

we need to treat natural resources as an opportunity to invest through a sovereign wealth fund or domestically in education and infrastructure.

We need to invest in human capital-- the form of ideas, skills and education, capacities to communicate and to work with others---since it is the knowledge worker who represents our future

At least Turnbull can argue he's only doing what he said in opposition. With regard to higher education, I see Pyne has already reneged on the undertakings he gave last June not to reinstitute caps. No doubt he will proceed on the Howard/Costello principle that academics all hate the Coalition anyway and the issues are too esoteric to concern most voters.

If we want Australia to be a technology exporter, we need Australia to put its high-speed infrastructure in place before other countries put theirs in place. The country with the higher speed is the one better placed to develop and export tech services.

herb says NBN = No Bloody Need.

Why isn't it needed herb? What 's your reason?

Turnbull did stipulate business as usual would continue where work is advanced and contracts are in place.

That is until the review of the NBN is completed.


If you think the NBN is needed then there is nothing I could say to change your opinion.
But for me. I live in a remote area and use a 4G wireless plug in to my laptop and have no trouble doing anything I want to do.
Turnbull raised a valid point of Labors waste in regards to to the node for apartment buildings.

Ken_L says:
"With regard to higher education, I see Pyne has already reneged on the undertakings he gave last June not to reinstitute caps."

The Coalition's agenda has always been one of making uni more restrictive and thus elitist. The strategy today is to do this---limit or cap those people from disadvantaged backgrounds--- under the guise of ensuring quality in higher education.

herb says "But for me. I live in a remote area and use a 4G wireless plug in to my laptop and have no trouble doing anything I want to do."

That implies you don't need fibre to the home and so its unnecessary.

But the NBN was alway based on remote areas of Australia only accessing wireless and/or satellite. The installation of fibre to remote areas was never part of its plan or brief.

a key part of US conservative ideology is simply to oppose most things that government does (at least, things that help the disadvantaged) in the name of minimal government---minimising government involvement in the economy.

Pauline you are right.
So is your service with Telsra in the city adequate for your needs?
Or are you one of these whiners that complain and use a dodgy provider like vodaphone or iinet?

no it is not. That must make me a whiner because my ISP is Internode which is now owned by IInet.

I cannot get ADSL2 and even though the exchange has been upgraded to ADSL2 and the connection becomes very, very slow when it rains--presumably the water leaks through the plastic bags around the connections on Telstra's copper wire.

Nor will the Telstra owned copper wiring from the exchange through the rims to the premises be upgraded under the Coalition.

Yes. As I suspected you are a habitual whiner.
But back to reality.

You may like to look at the ACMA communications report released nov 2012 and pay close attention to the increasing level of users accessing the internet from mobile phones. Combine this with the rapid increase in cheap large screen app phones. Factor in that the mobile phone numbers are reportedly about the same as the entire population of Australia.
My argument is Pauline that by the time your NBN is completed at a huge overblown cost 75% plus of all internet use will be done through hand held devices.
But I am sure you disagree.

Of course I disagree that mobile will be the way Australian's access the internet in the near future because I'm a habitual whiner.

Herb says "My argument is Pauline that by the time your NBN is completed at a huge overblown cost 75% plus of all internet use will be done through hand held devices."

So why is the Coalition bothering to spend billions on fibre to the node, then Herb?

Herb says "My argument is Pauline that by the time your NBN is completed at a huge overblown cost 75% plus of all internet use will be done through hand held devices."

So why has TPG Telecom announced plans to build its own fibre network in metro areas?

Tpg hasn't been able to provide a good reliable service yet so chances are it never will. But nothing like talking yourself up in the hope that people will believe you.
Dunno peter, perhaps they are mad. Perhaps they are just doing what Telstra wants. Perhaps they are just looking for a cheaper way because they promised the electorate they would finish it cheaper.
Old Ziggy will sort the bastards out. At least he is an experienced Telco Director.

The broadband issue is not just about technology or megabits per seconds or technology architectures. That is the telco view.

It is also, and more importantly, about innovation, as broadband is an enabling technology that provides opportunities and capabilities for net-based innovation, enterprise and productivity in an economy.

It is an enabler for creativity, new distribution and business models---generate new digital products and services.

and jobs