back to article Fibre broadband is good for you, Conroy tells Aussies

If anyone thought for even a moment that Australia’s beleaguered communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, would be treading more lightly after an election in which his policies came in for strong criticism, especially on the proposed internet filter, think again! In the month or so since the Labor re-administration was re- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mmmmh titles, drool

    Don't those fiber portals have much more space for them spams and scams to fit through?

  2. Anonymous Coward


    A friend here in Aus was recently taken to hospital with a burst stomach tumour. The local hospital had no blood of her type.

    She was taken to the next nearest hospital - 55km away - but they only had one bag. They filled her up with that and then drove her for 90 minutes to the next nearest place.

    They had ten bags and used them all on her. They then declared that they didn't have the know-how to do any more so transferred her to a fourth hospital, about 350km back in the opposite direction. She finally got the required treatment there.

    I guess a fast network would be great but there are some things that may need a spare billion or so first.

    1. mariushm

      Donate blood

      When was the last time YOU donated some blood then ? It's not like blood grows on trees.

      Sure, it couldn't hurt to spend some money on blood donation campaigns and help for hospitals but a good network also helps a lot, by making that country more attractive to companies which would also bring money and invest it, therefore the state should then have more money to spend on hospitals.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I call bollocks

      There are phone numbers that are used to call ahead and there are plenty of emergency blood deliveries. They don't take the patient to the blood, the blood goes to the place of treatment.

      The hospitals and the people who work in them are not keystone kopesque idiots as you would paint them. Not in Australia at least. They are very organised despite the struggle for funding and especially with the delivery of blood. Even the police will pitch in and deliver the blood.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I guess you must live in a city

        Those that live in Aussie cities have little understanding of how things are in the bush.

        The case was escalated from a small hospital up to the third, a base hospital. They didn't have anyone there that could operate on this lady so they shipped her back down the coast to a better staffed place. That is no reflection on the hospitals or the people that work in them but it is a sad commentary on the funding.

        Any Keystone Kopness in the system is amply demonstrated by this recent news story which, by no coincidence, features the third hospital above:

        Care to apologise now?

  3. Not Fred31

    Conroy is a fruitcake

    Nutty as...

    End of...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Conroy is a fruitcake

      Quite possibly, but that is irrelevant to the specific issue about fibre broadband...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    The facts

    "Finally, contributing a statement today to Business Spectator's debate about the economics of the national broadband network, Stephen Conroy makes it clear that although he welcomes the debate, he would much rather Malcolm Turnbull sticks to the facts."

    Conroy may or may not be right in his assessment but he obviously welcomes debate as long as everyone agrees with him.

    I must admit to be being quite surprised at Conroy's stance on this issue. Surely faster Internet access means proportionately more porn?

  5. The FunkeyGibbon

    I wish....

    That we'd try this in the UK. A digitally connected society is the only way forward.

  6. Chad H.

    Conroy calling Abbott a Luddite

    I guess it really does take one to know one...

  7. Tom 35


    Once they filter out all the porn, small boobies, and stuff they don't like people could use dialup.

  8. Lionel Baden

    nice idea

    but no use for that kind of infrastructure.

    cant see hundreds of It companies flocking there, simply because they are on the wrong side of the planet.

    And cooling datacenters will be somewhat difficult !!

    1. c 1

      east west

      hmmm - Aus is hardly the wrong side of the planet. it is in the same time zone as the fastest growing economies of the world - only a few hours flight from them as well. And to kill the stereotype it does get rather cold down here in winter as well.

      1. Lionel Baden


        Never got bloody cold when i was there !!!

        i think cold is a relative matter :P

        try the uk in december and then lets see how you would rate your assie winters ;)

      2. Mark 65


        Yep, it is on the wrong side of the planet - whether you're talking left to right or top to bottom. It's an 8 hour flight from Brisbane to those big economies and that's the northernmost place (i.e. closest) you could get away with describing as a city. With regards it also getting quite cold - with the exception of Tasmania those "cold" places such as Adelaide and Melbourne also hit 40 in summer.

        Afraid the "arse-end of nowhere" descriptor has no chance of dying anytime soon and that's how other people who live here also describe it.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    All that upstream bandwidth

    Handy for when we install the cameras in every room.

    For your security of course.


    S. Con-roy.

  10. Bozz
    Thumb Down

    No Idea Conroy

    While the rest of the work is purchasing IPads, Tablets and Android wireless device and Telco's are rolling out anywhere anytime Wireless Internet Labor wants to spend 43Billion plus on a cabled network. Labor wants to keeps up on Desktop PC's connected to a cable in the wall! They need a Giga Byte network so they can waste it on there Internet filter which my 8 year old could get around in a few minutes, more wasted billions. Stephen Conroy is a waste of space breathing good air.

    1. Chad H.

      To be fair to Conroy

      He's actually right on the network. Even if you're going to have wireless access, you need the fibre everywhere else in the network

      In addition, look at the some of the jiustifcation being used - One great example is Telepresence surgery. Try getting something that's going to be latency intensive like that, such as FP gaming to work on on Mobile Broadband - With latency like that it's just not safe - I don't want my Cyber Surgon to have to deal with Major lag thank you.

      Wireless Access points can always be added on top. Get the foundation right, and you only have to build it once.

      As for Censoring the Net... Well as he pointed out (but incorrectly claimed was 100% effective) almost all of the UK's internet connections are censored by the Internet watch foundation. Most users don't know, and except that time when it blocked wikipedia, most don't care. Is it still wrong, yes, but its not the big deal we all like to think it is.

      1. Il Midga di Macaroni
        Paris Hilton

        Right theory, wrong conclusion

        Conroy's plan is for fibre to the home - every home is to be connected to the fibre optic network. That's why it's $43bn.

        I'd have no problem with a high speed backbone and a good network of wireless towers. That's pretty much what the Opposition's plan is, actually...

        Conroy because... I mean, Paris because she has $43bn to blow (sic) on white elephants.

      2. frankieh

        not like the UK

        yes, but does the UK block a whole heap of sites that are not kiddie porn (or even normal porn) and not tell you how or why.. only that they know what is best for us? Remember, Australia is the same place that doesn't have an adult category for games despite it being common knowledge to the decision makers that the average gamer over here is over 30 years old. As a result we have to illegally import such games as Manhunt and left for dead 2..

        It's wrong for a guy who talks like he can't set the clock on his Betamax decide what the digital economy or the digital morality needs. He clearly doesn't have a clue.

        The Labor party completely shut up about the filter over the election, because it would have cost them power. Had they been honest about it, the Liberals would be running the show now. They managed to make the NBN an election winner despite the fact that in less than 10 years it will be sold (probably to Telstra) for a fraction of what it cost us. The fact that Labor shut up about it during the election shows they thought it would be a deal breaker. So they actually KNOW it isn't mandated by the majority.

        Sadly most Australia's are ignorant sheep who will consistently put their nose in the same hand regardless of how many times it slaps them.

      3. Mark 65

        @Chad H.

        On the TV just last night not only did he make the 100% effective claim (although he did caveat it that it's 100% effective at blocking a url you give it, not the general material) but he also claimed that the filtering technology has absolutely no noticeable effect on the network speed. If he reckons he can filter 1Gb/s connections upstream with no noticeable bottleneck I think someone should "tell him he's dreamin"

        Regarding justifications - for $43bn you could get a lot more surgeons and have omnipresent surgery rather than telepresence surgery.

        1. Chad H.


          The point though is, although you could have more surgeons, Is assigning a surgeon to the average bush nursing hospital a good idea - there isn't enough work for them for them to keep current - do you want a surgeon who's last operation was yesterday, or not for a few months (I know it's a TV show, but the docs on Country Practice ran a GP surgery in addition to their hospital duties because there wasn't enough work to do - 've lived in oz towns where the "hospital" doesn't always have doctors so it's not just TV.

          When the network capacity isn't being used to save lives, it can be used for other things like replacing terrestrial tv and assigning that capacity to devices that don't just sit in one place all the time. A surgeon at WoopWoop hospital isn't nearly as entertaining.

  11. Cameron12345

    Conroy, STFU

    How does Conroy have the balls to ask people to listen to him when he has covered his ears and said "LA LA LA" while the entire nation has objected to just about everything he's said over the last few years?

    Step down Conroy, you're the worst and least qualified communications minister since the positions inception.

    1. Chad H.

      Again to be fair to Conroy.

      Richard Alston was worse. He really was a "Where's the Any key" kinda guy.

    2. Goat Jam
      Big Brother

      To Be Fair

      you appear to be forgetting one of Conroys predeccessors.

      The Right Honourable Senator Richard Alston, aka "The Worlds Biggest Luddite"

      Having said that Conroy is an arse who spends his time prancing around in some sort of fantasy world. Only recently his first term government came withing a whisker of being put out on it's arse and only managed to retain government by enlisting the support of a handful of independents.

      Yet despite this clear message of discontent from the voters, Conroy was at the vanguard of the Labor Spin Brigade, loudly proclaiming to anybody who would listen that the trouncing his party had just received was nothing to do with voter dissatisfaction and everything to do with a less than perfectly managed campaign. Yes, that's right, a government who had been riding at record popularity levels a mere few months earlier was nearly kicked out during it's first term not because of the Super Mining Tax, not because of the internet filter, not because of internal factional squabbling and the resultant backstabbing of leaders, no it was all just a bit of a mix up in the campaign.

      The main is an expert denialist and a fruitcake to boot.

  12. Tim Bates

    I agree with Conroy - in part

    I completely agree with him... Fibre is the best option.

    Where I disagree is:

    a) business case - they haven't looked into it at all

    b) the rollout schedule - they're hitting it too fast and disorganised, while still seemingly doing it so slow it's not funny.

    c) filtering the damn thing! - WHY. What good is 1gbps if you're then treated like a baby/criminal on it?

  13. frankieh

    pot meet kettle.

    Thus far we only know that Turnbul seems well versed in IT technology, he has not said anything that wasn't true/sensible.

    Then we have Conroy, who has a whole section on youtube about dumbass things he has said in interviews that show what a Luddite he really is. Spams and scams coming in though the portal is the funiest, but it's a long way from the only one.

  14. k d


    Conroy is not a luddite, the internet filter is just politics. I bet any of you any money, that in 6 months time, when the new senators take their seats in government, and Steve Fielding no longer holds the balance of power, that the internet filter will suddenly disappear as a Labor party policy.

    The NBN is great policy, and will set Australia up for decades, for the mere price of ~$2k for each person in the country. Wireless hotspots will become fast, plentiful, and cheap, and will crap all over 3G/4G etc. It will be used in ways we haven't even thought of yet. It is a bargain, and the opposition is on a dead set loser trying to oppose it. As it rolls out and is switched on in each country town, it will win vote after vote.

    1. Mark 65


      "Wireless hotspots will become fast, plentiful, and cheap, and will crap all over 3G/4G etc."

      Cheap? You sir have obviously never been to Australia. Don't do anything for cheap when you can absolutely f*ck the customer.

      1. k d

        @Mark 65

        I, Sir, have lived in Oz all my life. The reason we don't have much in the way of wireless hotspots at the moment, is because there are no Unlimited plans, so people can't leave their wireless routers open for fear of some bugger using up all their download limit. I also understand that the NBN will in no way automatically negate this, but am making a bold prediction that the NBN will change the whole dynamic around all this for a number of reasons, which I will leave up to your own imagination to arrive at. Regardless of that particular bold prediction, I stand by my post, and I think most of you will be eating your words in a few short years.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Cynical, and sick of the Con that is the Australian Government

    Eleven posts, one say fibre is a good idea. Most knocking Conroy. The thing that stopped a Liberal (Think Torries) government was the idea of the NBN.

    Whats the odds that there is some critical piece on NBN legislation developed that just has to pass, to provide the full funding of the project, and it gets blocked in the senate. Once the Greens and Independents realise they've been conned by Gillard and Co, and very few of their projects are adopted, there will be an allmighty fight and an election.

    Labour will say, they've tried their best, but the greens, indep's just made it too hard and the oposition just wreaked everything. Not our fault. Oh and ohh look if you want faster porn and movies well you'd better make sure we get in, with a good majority, cause Liberal will just wreak it all. Oh and look we've a good few billion extra to thow around, as it wasnt spent on the NBN,gosh and doesn't my office look good now after the refurbishment.

    Cynical me? I didn't suggest that they'd dump the last PM and put Gillard in, to get re-elected from the 'first woman PM' and the 'Gillard may have been part of the Kitchen cabinet (4 people who ran the country), but didnt have anything to do with the running of the this last term'

    Oh thats right I did, well before it happened...

    Bloody stupid Goldfish (Australian Voters)

    Anonymous coward. (Around here, Hell yes!)

  16. Winkypop Silver badge

    One thing's true though...

    ...Abbott and Turnbull ARE Luddites.

  17. bugalugs
    Thumb Up

    titles, take 'em or leave 'em

    it has been so long since any political party had a worthwhile infrastructural vision in any aspect of life here that Conroy could be simultaneously promulgating 6 o'clock closing and we wouldn't care ! when labour announced their plans for the NBN all the techies I know announced allegiance and remain so, TTBOMK, on the strength of that policy alone. no-one here ( regional, granted ) seems to get more than 10-20% of their rated ( and paid for ) speed and wireless is an over-crowded, under-resourced and mightily expensive joke ( and difficult to secure due to telco apathy and firmware lockdowns ).

    whilst we seem to be unable to run trains anymore ( 300+ million on country track refurbs that sank into the mud ) we can still do tall ( stationary ) buildings, wool, wheat, meat pies, oh ! and cable stringing.

    exasperated observers of oz politics are familiar with the childish antics of our politicians and their parties. ( u 2 ? ). the new paradigm of minority government is only increasing said familiarity.

    this aussie is hoping that the automatic nay-saying of the opposition does not put the moz on the best ( didn't say the cheapest ) infrastructure development seen here in a very long while.

    don't give a thumbs-up in greece !

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Great network, but..

    .. I'm sure a large part of the costs are to get the fibre from the neighbourhood street cabinets to actual houses. Cut out this bit, making it an optional add-on for say $500 for those people who want it. I'm sure there's a lot of households out there who are happy on ADSL+ and will not require full fibre. That would probably save about $20B.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ...aerial fibre to every building in Oz is going to work really well....NOT!

  20. Eddie Johnson

    Once they Filter the Porn from Internet

    All you'll need is 56K dialup. Seriously.

    Do they really think people can afford to pay for enough content to fill a fiber link? If you're filling a home broadband link you're only doing it with free content. No one can afford to fill it with purchased content.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A note on customer pricing to Aussies.

    I used to work for a UK mfg supplying something used by certain councils in Australia.

    We shipped a container load of this stuff about once a quarter.

    I could never understand how a fairly low tech product (which could absolutely be made in Aus) could be shipped half way round the world and still undercut the local hardware.

    I don't believe it's possible. But I do believe some of the customers representatives got a few drinks at Christmas.

    Anon because names will not be named.

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