back to article Australia's coalition launches new broadband policy

In Sydney's Fox Sports broadcast facility, a building supporting multi-gigabit connectivity, immediately following a demonstration of 3D television capabilities, and on the same day that the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced year-on-year Australian download growth of more than 63 percent, Australia's opposition announced …


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  1. VoodooForce
    Thumb Down

    Turnbull is Abbott's Bitch

    Sort of feel sorry for him after the knifing in the back and then been given the job of attacking a proposal (NBN) that I think he belives in but that does not retract from the Title.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Downloading 63% more year on year?

      Now that's a lot of porn, how about they start making it themselves and leave a bit of bandwidth for the rest of us?

    2. Peter Murphy

      Re: Turnbull is Abbott's Bitch

      I don't feel sorry for him at all. If he thinks the policy sucks, he should never have become the shadow minister responsible for announcing the policy. He should have become a backbencher instead, or better still, a crossbencher.

      Politicians supporting policies they privately think are rubbish: that's one of the things that pisses me off about politics. I've lost a lot of respect for Malcolm over his fraudband policy. Seriously, I'd had more respect for him if he'd stolen ALP policy, changed a few names and labels, and announced it as his own. At the end of the day, it would be policy that is actually working now - because the NBN is already in operation in several areas.

      Instead, he's making shit up about $90 BN blowouts in the existing plan that have no basis in fact. And the Coalition's plan is a bastartised ADSL that relies on a private monopoly (Telstra) to deliver the goods over copper over the last mile or km. It's a disgrace.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would not be a sensible proposal

    if NBN Co hadn't so emphatically screwed the pooch. As it is, it will never meet its deadlines, and will cost far more than the current government claims - thus creating an opening for the opposition to step in with a cheaper alternative that will actually deliver within people's lifetimes.

  3. Shane 4

    Coalition has no idea


    Lost a vote, A lot of people including myself have had 100mb/s connections for the past few years here and they are talking about NBN alternative of 25mb/s, What century are you living in? The whole point of NBN isn't just to provide CURRENT needs but allows FUTURE proofing for all the upcoming HD content in the future as well as enabling business's to utilise teleconferencing and other high bandwidth features, 25mb/s won't cut it for 4k TV's when that comes out but fibre will easily get to 1gb/s speeds which will be what the next generation will need and want.

    Coalition has their heads up their asses and is just after a cheaper quick fix, All that will happen is their version will end up costing the same or more later on when they have to go back and upgrade, Better off to spend the money now and do it properly, I don't regard the huge cost as a waste when it is part of a countries infrastructure, Do it right the first time! Rather have my tax dollars being used for this so that everyone will get the option to use it rather than see it pissed against the wall with stupid baby bonuses or first home buyers grants that only a few will benefit from.

  4. Shane 4

    No idea

    What's worse is at the start coalition said wireless was the future and a better option than fibre, Just goes to show exactly how little they know about how it all works. Wireless base stations what are they plugged into, yeah that's right, cable/fibre, Coalition seems to think wireless just works on magic and faeries. NBN would actually make wireless better by having more bandwidth to go around.

    No way in hell I am voting for Liberal next election they have no idea what they are talking about on this subject. Give it up and find another subject to attack Liberal cause on the NBN subject you are just making a complete assclown out of yourself.

  5. Ross K Silver badge

    Speaking Of Australian ISPs

    What's the story with internet censorship down there at the minute?

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: Speaking Of Australian ISPs

      Sorry, we can't say...

    2. Chris 155

      Re: Speaking Of Australian ISPs

      The censorship policy was abandoned sometime last year after being essentially dead in the water for the previous 3. Personally I think the policy was just an attempt to get Stephen Fielding's vote in the first place, but serious or not it's officially dead.

      That said there's still some concerning data retention stuff going on, but the Greens are against it and the Coalition are against anything that Labor is for so not a whole lot happening there either.Part of the whole minority government deal, Tony Abbott would rather cut off his own leg than support anything Labor wants to do so everything has to pass through the cross bench to get anywhere so most idiotic policies end up on the cutting room floor.

  6. acidack
    Thumb Up


    I like Turnbull and to be honest, this is not the worst idea in the world by far! The problem is the budget has blown out from 40 billion to 90 billion and growing.. That is ridiculous. I pay a fukload of taxes and there needs to be some sense. Not everyone needs fibre tomorrow, or even 2190! I agree that may need to extend the fibre-to-node areas to more metropolitan residential areas, but the idea isn't half as bad. It's easy for everyone to jump on the I hate Coalition bandwagon, but when you are paying the taxes, 100mbit to watch some porn on tv for a budget that's grown 2 or 3 times more, is ridiculous..

    1. Roger Jenkins

      Re: Hmmm

      I really can't see where you have plucked the figure of 90 billion and growing, I follow the NBN saga pretty closely and I havn't seen any such figure, in fact, I've seen no figure apart from NBN naysayers' postings.

      On a related note, a couple of posters have referred to their tax paying for NBN, not true, NBN is funded by loans backed by the government, those loans are to be paid back when NBN becomes a money spinner, with a return to government as well, 7% is the figure.

      So, no tax dollars have been or will be spent on NBN.

      Many of us are concerned about the state of the existing copper here in Australia, it looks like since Telstra have privatised they have not spent much in keeping the copper up to scratch, FTTN relies on last mile copper and that could turn out very expensive given that the above report says that residences with rotten copper will get fibre. If I understand correctly, patching fibre into a FTTN network is a bit tricky, I'm wondering if, once the project of FTTN is started whether it will be found that a very high proportion of homes will need fibre, if so, it may have been cheaper to have just done them all in the first place.

      Just my thoughts.

    2. Urh

      Re: Hmmm

      Ugh, I can't believe you actually swallowed that piece of Liberal Party propaganda. The 90 billion estimate that the Liberals are throwing around requires ALL FOUR of the following assumptions to be true:

      1. Revenue (ARPU) growth is to be significantly lower than NBNCo projections (for their estimates, they assume that ARPU growth is only 3.5% per annum).

      2. There has to be a minimum 40% cost blow-out in the average per-premise cost of FTTP installation across the duration of the project.

      3. There has to be insufficient take-up of fixed line services (i.e. a significant portion of households have to go "all wireless").

      4. The project is completed by 2025 rather than 2021.

      While I admit that number 4 is a remote possibility (NBNCo is already 3 months behind schedule), number 3 is ludicrous (a significant portion of wireless users in Australia are on wireless simply because their fixed line service is useless), there is currently no evidence to suggest that blowouts on such a scale will occur, and statistics on NBN seem to suggest that NBNCo may have underestimated ARPU growth.

      Also, the NBN isn't being paid for with taxes - it's being paid for with government bonds. Considering that Australia has a AAA credit rating, borrowing for an essential public infrastructure project that will create a profitable national asset is hardly irresponsible - in fact it's a sound investment. On the other hand, assuming that our existing copper network can still be used as meet our future needs is highly irresponsible. Just remember this - in 2003, Telstra told a Senate inquiry that the copper network would need replacing in 15 years. The Coalition wants to keep using this same copper well past 2019.

      1. Urh

        Re: Hmmm

        Let's also take a look at the Coalition's claim that their network will be delivered quicker and cheaper. Let's start with cheaper - Turnbull has explicitly stated that they expect Telstra to grant them access to the copper for the same compensation that they're presently getting as part of the SAU. This is just preposterous, as the current SAU calls for the decommissioning of the copper and the migration of customers to FTTP. Telstra will almost certainly demand more money in exchange for such a radical change of the terms. How much will Telstra ask? However much they bloody well feel like, and there is nothing the Coalition can do about it. So right off the bat the coalition estimate fails to account for the possibility of billions more in payments to Telstra. Furthermore, since FTTN is reliant on the last mile of copper, the potential for cost blowouts due to repairs is far greater. So will the Coalition's plan deliver cost savings? It *might* save a few billion in the short term, but, in the long term it will end up costing more as it will merely delay and complicate the eventual upgrade to FTTP. There's also the increased OPEX associated with FTTN to consider.

        Will the Coalition's plan be quicker to deploy? Their 2019 completion date assumes full scale deployment of FTTN commences in late 2013. So once elected, the coalition will have about a year to renegotiate with Telstra, get regulatory approval, negotiate new contracts for FTTN equipment and construction and do pilot scale deployments. So right off the bat their quicker promise all depends on a herculean effort.

        In conclusion it can be said that the coalition's proposal is technologically inferior, will eventually cost more money, and will probably take just as long as FTTP. This has hardly won me over.

    3. bep

      Re: Hmmm

      Not everyone needs high speed internet, that is true. Unfortunately, if you want to sell your house and I'm interested in buying your house and your area isn't wired for speed then we are both screwed. Putting it everywhere makes sense, the coalition's policy is just what the existing telcos were doing anyway. Especially for a country like Australia, with a relatively small population spread over a vast area, the NBN makes sense in giving us a comparative advantage, or at least not leaving us at a grave disadvantage versus the rest of the developed world.

  7. ChrisInAStrangeLand

    If no tax dollars have or will be spent on NBN, and we're ripping up the coax and copper to prevent competition, how is this boondoggle being funded? Reduced service quality and monopoly rents?

    Oh that's it isn't it, NBN is the Telstra model. Reduced quality and monopoly rents.

  8. hungee

    malcolm turnbull is an idiot.

    Nbn IS NOT THE TELSTRA MODEL. Telstra is a wholesaler AND a retailer. Which creates conflict

    it is a wholesaler with various agreements on quality assurance.

    The coalitions policy is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

    haven't they ever heard the axiom "do it right the first time".

    Using copper for the last mile is like saying.. Bitumen on a side road. Bah! Gravel has done the job since the Romans why do we need fancy bitumen. This is a short fix which hides the fact he is going to have to place fttp eventually. Just not now, and for more money. There are excellent articles that prove unequivocally that the coalitions policy costs more cover time. They are just hiding the numbers. This is a vast abdication of forethought and future proofing, for a cheap headline. By changing the policy the coalition virtually wipes out the benefits of the nbn because 25mbps is just not the same as 100mbps.

    Lastly, with Google rolling out gigabit fibre successfully this kind of bullshit is shown for what it is. Shortsighted and ignorant.

    1. FlatEarther

      Re: malcolm turnbull is an idiot.

      This this is just an extension of the complete screw-up of communications policy that John Howard presided over in his 10 years of government. The key tenets are

      - under no circumstances try to discover what end users want

      - ensure that large corporations benefit most. Oligopolies where your mates end up with high paid managerial positions are best

      - extract all possible funds to use for other government purposes

      - do not try to understand the technology

      - do not plan for the future


      - if the solution allows reading e-mail via tablet on Sydney's North shore, it must be sufficient for the rest of the plebs.

    2. John Angelico

      Re: malcolm turnbull is an idiot.

      This is not the model you were looking for....

      The Telstra model the OP referred to was pre-competition.

      The NBN is the re-monopolised telecomms network beloved of Mr Rudd and Mr Conroy and their union heavies.

      Now I agree that the corporatisation of Telstra was a mess - the exchanges, backbone and CAN should never have left public ownership - that's infrastructure, like the roads, railways, gas pipes, water pipes and power lines. It is only logical to have one set of cables running down the streets, one set of exchanges and one set of mobile towers.

      But the NBN as developed by the ALP was an even bigger mess, for a huge pile of money. Firstly, it was an idea soley dreamed up by Rudd andConroy to come up with a number to trump the then-government policy costed at 4.7Bn. They came up with 42Bn, and cast about for some grand "nation-building idea" to put behind it, with a public infrastructure component of 27Bn (IIRC).

      The construction phase is way behind, pricing is terrible, take up has been woeful, and the financial success is in serious doubt because of the government policy to roll out more remote (sparsely populated areas) first. So those government guarantees backing the loans might eventually be called in and who would foot the bill, but us taxpayers (to be precise Thomson, our grandchildren. Indeed Thompson, our grandchildren!)?

      The much vaunted speeds of FTTP would only apply if the end-to-end connections were wholly within Aust. and not always then. A 100Mbit connection at my end is not going to get me 100Mb/s download if the far end server only has a choked 12Mb/s pipe, or if some intermediate pathway is clogged, or throttled to 1Mb/s. And the same applies pari passu to the international connections.

      I live about half a km from an eight-lane freeway but I do not have eight lanes at my front driveway. I have access to that freeway via two lanes in my street, and four lanes on the arterials connecting to the freeway ramps. BUT even if I did have eight lanes, I would not get a B-double with three TEUs over from Europe any faster than a ship could sail the oceans. And it wouldn't matter that the ship had the biggest marine diesel engine in the world, with 48 cylinders. Just get over the technology, for pete's sake!

      PS: to whoever said Sean Howard started Oz-email, don't forget who helped to finance it with a half mill in shares in 1994 (before it went public), and who was sometime chairman.

      1. Chris 155

        Re: malcolm turnbull is an idiot.

        We want a monopoly on the wholesale side, we should never have gotten rid of the monopoly on the wholesale side because having two companies lay down heinously expensive infrastructure is a gigantic waste of everyone's money.

        Selling Telstra Wholesale along with Retail is why we're in this mess in the first place. If Howard had kept the wholesale branch of Telstra and spent some of that mining dosh he threw away in tax cuts and middle class welfare upgrading the network we could have had a nice orderly move from copper through to FTTN through to FTTP over the course of about 20 years comparatively cheaply, but that's not what happened, we sold all of Telstra then regulated the hell out of it which meant that Telstra retail was effectively crippled and Telstra wholesale was still a monopoly, but a private one this time. No one won when Telstra was sold this way, not the government, not the people, not even Telstra.

        The coalition's plan wouldn't be a bad plan. IF the copper network hadn't been allowed to degrade so badly and IF it weren't going to need to be upgraded to FTTP almost immediately. The issue is that that's not true. The last mile of Telstra copper in large parts of Australia is horribly degraded and the speeds they're advertising while plenty for 2013 are going to be too little for 2019 when they finish it. Fundamentally the coalition are going to end up doing far more FTTP than they've budgeted for as part of the initial roll out and then almost immediately start a second roll out of FTTP.

        TLDR; Competition on wholesale doesn't work, and the coalition are going to roll out exactly the same plan as Labor except they're going to pay for it twice, take 5-10 years longer and make you prove to them that your copper is crap and needs replacing. That's what makes their plan such an epic failure.

  9. Martin Budden Silver badge

    It's all John Howard's fault.

    He should not have sold *our* Telstra. National infrastructure should be nationally owned. If Howard hadn't sold Telstra there would be no need to buy anything back from Telstra to make the NBN work (this applies to either party's version of the NBN).

    1. Urh
      Paris Hilton

      Re: It's all John Howard's fault.

      Every time my mum (a devout Liberal supporter) complains about slow internet speeds, I always make it a point to blame John Howard.

      Paris because she needs fat pipes too.

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