back to article Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has issued no specific guidance on how NBN Co, the company charged with building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), should target broadband blackspots. In response to questions from The Register, the Department of Communications sent us the following statement it …


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  1. Knoydart


    It just seems that the NBN 1.0 was cost overrun and NBN 2.0 (sorry rebooted) is just a fibre under run. I feel for those across the ditch up won't be getting fibre this side of the next millennium. Though the G-Fast and VDSL copper gives decent speed, the Telstra shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank. They might as well get the keys to the Australian Federal Treasury now with those sorts of numbers over the next few years.

    I can see why certain companies are going in to cherry pick customers left on 50 year old copper, just going to be tweaked for years to come with the poor tax payer and consumer picking up the tab in a number of different ways.

  2. John Tserkezis

    I'm not convinced they're even looking at the bottlenecked backbone, which at this point is probably of higher importance then theoretical speeds one might get to their home.

    1. dan1980

      @ John

      Not convinced?

      How are you even somewhat uncertain about it?

      They most definitely don't care about the backbone. So far as I can tell, they don't actually care about the project at all and would much rather it didn't exist. Simply saying "we'll stop the NBN" wouldn't have been a popular election promise so instead they made out that they really did want it but the current plan was wasteful so they would come in and make it better, fast, cheaper.

      So, they're somewhat committed to rolling this out but they don't really want to.

      I think of it like the Sydney rail system.

      What we need is a second harbor crossing. It'll be expensive but it is necessary. Anyone who travels in from the west in the morning knows that it is absurd - you slow and stall and stop the whole darned way because the capacity just isn't there. But hey - they've changed the name from 'City Rail' to 'Sydney Trains', given everyone new uniforms and renamed the lines - that's gotta count for something!!!

      The solution to congestion is apparently to remove seats from stations and rebrand the network.

      The problem is that governments don't want a future government to get credit for anything they start, thus the push is for big announcements with unclear or unattained goals or for smaller, get in and get out projects - which explains the fondness for buses. (No time-consuming infrastructure needed - just paint a lane red here and there.)

      I'm bitter but I'm also pretty sick of our only choices being between governments doing nothing and governments rushing through publicity stunts and poorly thought-out band-aid 'fixes' addressing only the top layers of any problem. In doing so, they almost always create more problems requiring more band-aid fixes.

      Not enough public transport to the city? More buses! City too congested because there are too many buses clogging all the lanes? Congestion tax!


  3. Mark 65

    Surely it's cheaper to just buy Telstra and take what you want?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making it up as they go...

    The Government is not really interested in the NBN, hell, they don't even have a science minister.

    Abbott has landed Turnbull with a piece of crap to stop him becoming leader again.

    Oh, and Uncle Rupert is dead chuffed too.

  5. dan1980

    Another perfect loaf straight from the Abbott & Co. Half Bakery.

    I can't even be angry any more - it's just so disheartening what they have done and continue to do. Everyone with even an ounce of technical knowledge or telco/ISP experience knows that full fibre replacement was the only way to build a network for the next 50 years.

    This cut-down plan of theirs is not based on technologic merit.

    The worst bit, however, is that it's not even based on financial merit - it's an ideological decision. Don't you know - expecting a reliable and capable communications infrastructure is just part of the thinking of this terrible 'age of entitlement' that Abbot and Fat Joe have thankfully come to save the economy from.

    I hear Abbott and his other mate, Truss have now smugly stepped in and airported it up for an area neither of them live in or even near. Their mates, in SAC, will reap huge profits while hundreds of thousands in the surrounding areas will see their lifestyles and land values destroyed.

    But it's okay - there'll be new roads! I have no doubt they'll be toll roads with nice, fat contracts, complete with concessions and guarantees for the operators (paid for by the public) and kick-backs for the (equally fat) pollies. No talk of a rail line of course.

    This is the government voted in by a population distracted by show, led by parroted rhetoric and unable to focus on any issue of real substance.

    The Labor party was - and still is - a shambles; torn by far-too-public infighting and pulled left and right (see what I did there) by power struggles.

    Standing against them was a party with a comparatively united front and clear message. Unfortunately, that front was united behind a policy of selling our assets and welfare to the highest bidders.

    Taxes up, wages down, public assets out.

    Actually, no, I am still angry. Damned angry.

    1. david 12

      Everyone knows...

      >Everyone with even an ounce of technical knowledge or telco/ISP experience knows that full fibre replacement was the only way to build a network for the next 50 years

      I have both, and I know that FTTN was sold to the Aus electorate as Business, Health, and Education. Which was BS from the very start. It was always going to be the replacement for FTA analog TV. And the pricing was BS as well.

      A system that couldn't honestly be justified on Price or Content, and you're angry, dammed angry? You should be angry about being made a fool of in the first place.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Everyone knows...

        The policy of only rolling out services where it is 'commercially feasible' is the reason these 'black spots' exist in the first place.

        The point of publicly-funded stuff in a social democracy is so that people everywhere get access to services, be they health, transport, education or even communication services.

        Providing these services to people in more remote or less-densely populated areas or those on lower incomes involves the rest of the population effectively subsidising them. That is what it means to be in a social democracy.

        That is where the ideological divide* comes in.

        The ALP, just as the Republicans in the US, subscribe to the theory that services should be provided to the public by the private sector and that 'market forces' will somehow magically make everything fair and efficient, providing choice and competition and driving down prices.

        If the current policy of rolling out network upgrades where they are most commercially advantageous was working then we wouldn't need such a country-wide project.

        I believe that communication and the ability to interact the the wider world is an economic necessity and, increasingly (as more and more services move online), of great importance to the health and happiness of the public.

        There are flow-on effects to all of this, allowing businesses in remote areas to access modern 'cloud-based' services and enable workers to telecommute. That enables them to exist and make use of the same efficiencies that larger or more urban businesses can. That allows them to employee people and provide goods and services where they are needed.

        It's not fanciful - I have personally seen businesses hold onto old, inefficient systems simply because the did not have access to modern Internet connections, remaining little islands of personnel and data.

        I digress.

        The short version is that believe communication is a great benefit to society and it is the raison d'etre of a social democracy to provide such benefits to as broad a section of the population as possible.

        Perhaps that is</em. a foolish notion.

        * - <em>Though it's only a short hop from one side to the other these days . . .

        1. dan1980

          Re: Everyone knows...

          Apologies for all the glaring mistakes in that post - I was in a bit of a hurry.

    2. Goat Jam

      "Everyone with even an ounce of technical knowledge or telco/ISP experience knows that full fibre replacement was the only way to build a network for the next 50 years."

      Everyone who is not a budding socialist / technology utopian understands that investing $8.4B for 166,000 connected users is an unsustainable business model.

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