The sad, sad story of the NBN

The High Court’s decision on the citizenship woes of several members of our federal parliament came out too late for this week, so I’ll have time to work through the Court’s reasoning. In any case, I had spent some time looking at the NBN, a burden to us all, whether we are connected to it or not.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has reappeared to the public gaze in the past ten days, as stories of an astonishing level of complaints about the service have been aired in televised news and in Parliament. These stories have at once produced a familiar blame game in Australian politics: ‘It was your idea, and it was crap,’ says the current Government. To which the former Government’s responds: ‘It was a great idea, and you have mucked it up completely.’ There are similar games in which the States and the Commonwealth blame each other for inadequacies in health and education.

In trying to set out as clearly as I can the sad story of the NBN I have to confess at once that there will be almost as many abbreviations in this essay as there were in last week’s essay about our inadequate energy policy. And I do have a declaration of interest: I don’t want the NBN anywhere near me, and I do have, courtesy of the enterprising Canberra company long ago who set it up, a FTTH service (fibre-to-the-household, sometimes, FTTP, with the ‘p’ standing for ‘premises’).

The NBN seems to have been a Kevin Rudd idea, and he used it effectively in his 2007 election campaign. It sounded good, too, as a lot of early Kevin did. Australia’s huge area, and the need to connect particularly people outside the main urban areas, meant that a national plan was needed. There were references to its being the digital equivalent of the postal service, which connects everyone at the same price, no matter where they live. Mr Rudd was good at visionary plans, but not at all good at implementing them. I don’t know to whom he listened at the time, but I would expect that those people urging caution, cost-benefit analyses and the need-to-get-the-details-right-before-rolling-the-system-out were brushed aside. He was good at brushing aside people who didn’t see the great merits of his plans. He pointed out the NBN was the sort of visionary plan Australia needed, and it would be bigger than the Snowy scheme. Last week he was back in the fray, saying that his blood was boiling at the incredible mess the Turnbull Government had made of his vision.

The original vision was three-fold: the system was to be FTTH (see above), it was to be funded by the taxpayer, and to be wholly government-owned. No cost-benefit analysis was undertaken. The important criteria seem to have been roll-out cost and time-to-market — get it done quickly, in short. The assumption was that in time the national company would be paying a lovely dividend to the Australian Government, of six to seven per cent a year.

What went wrong? A good first source is a long article in the Australian Financial Review that is now four years old. It is important because it was able to look at what had happened since the vision was articulated, and before the system we now have was firmly in place. There seems to have been no single cause. The estimated cost of the NBN, at $43 billion in 2011, kept growing. Some years ago the Coalition, then in Opposition, estimated it at $94 billion. The truth is that nobody knows. What we now know is that roll-out has been much slower than expected, and that there have been hundreds of thousands of complaints from those who have been connected.

When in Government the Coalition ordered a cost-benefit analysis, whose message was that the original idea was in effect the Rolls-Royce version, and wildly extravagant. It would be cheaper and faster to go down the path of a mixed mode, that is, fibre to a node somewhere near your house and then the old copper wires to your premises, or FTTN (fibre-to-the-node). If the FTTH strategy had been continued, the final year of roll-out was expected to be around 2028 or 2029. That was too far away. Mixed mode was chosen, and it is what is happening.

There were other problems, too, reminiscent of the pink batts and school-halls response to the global financial crisis. Here, too. the villain was haste. We start with the actual construction of the network, which means in large part ripping up streets and laying fibre. After a year of negotiating with the big construction companies the NBN company withdrew its tender proposal, fearing that it would not get a reasonable price. A lot seems to have been done by ‘mum-and-dad’ companies that didn’t have the capital to survive if cash flow became a problem. Many went broke. Things went from bad to worse. Four years ago NBN missed its mid-year target by 42 per cent. Our current Prime Minister was the NBN’s most severe critic when in Opposition, and he doubtless thinks he knows best. The trouble is that the revised methodology doesn’t seem to be doing much better. The AFR critique points to too many things happening much too quickly, and an absence of detailed knowledge of what was involved. The current CEO says there is no chance of the NBN’s ever paying a dividend.

The situation now is that the revised mixed-mode scheme is behind schedule, and is unlikely to reach its proposed 2020 completion date. It is hard to work out all the costs so far, but the mixed mode scheme was to cost a little under $30 billion, and may now cost $60 billion. How much was spent on the Rudd scheme is not clear to me. One current proposal is to write off the original Rudd costs, said to be $30 billion, so that the NBN company can actually make a profit. I read somewhere that Mr Abbott as PM had proposed simply scrapping the Rudd NBN, and letting the market sort it all out. Mr Turnbull, at that time his Minister for Communications, argued that the best option was a revised scheme that would be operational more quickly, even if it was not as powerful.

However you look at it, the NBN is a terrible mess, both financially and as a system supposed to provide everyone with powerful digital access to the world. We seem never to learn from past mistakes, but a few lessons emerge from the NBN mess. First, a vision is a great thing, but it needs to be tested through ample argument and advice, not patted on the back and told to get to work, quickly. Mr Rudd’s vision was certainly part of the technological possibility of the time, and New Zealand, for example, has implemented a FTTH system that appears to work, and hasn’t cost too many arms and legs. Australia has distance problems that New Zealand does not possess, but we might learn something by a serious study of what worked across the Tasman, and what went wrong there (no major project is free from problems).

Second, any serious reading in this area shows how difficult it is for incoming governments to change, let alone to end, major projects started by their opponents when they were in government. The NDIS is another example, as is the Gonski plan in school education. Both of these schemes were visionary too. Labor made it difficult for the Opposition not to support these visions, and one hopes that those presently in Government recognise what they did wrong then. It would be nice if Labor did some soul-searching about it all too. Australia could not have afforded all three schemes. I think I wrote so at the time.

You could argue that once Labor had started down the NBN path there was no good policy available to an incoming Coalition government. Scrap it, and you seem to have wasted billions. Continue it, and you cop all the flak from those disappointed (most people) that it hasn’t come. Water it down, and you cop all the flak from people who say that the earlier one was better, even though it was extraordinarily expensive.

Third, there is intense and partisan argument in the media about the whole thing, and it is most difficult for someone with no real horse in the race, like myself, to get past the claims and counter-claims, the various estimated costs, and the conflicting technological arguments which require real knowledge to understand. I know something about it, but the details are everything, and people simply disagree about them.  I await a decent book-length essay or two from people who were involved so that I can make my own assessment.

In the meantime, to repeat, I want what I have left alone. It works, and provides me with what I want. I do not look forward to any letter from the NBN telling me that they are coming. In fact, I used the Internet to find out what was planned for my suburb, and was told that nothing was planned at this time. Let’s keep it that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the discussion 38 Comments

  • bb says:

    Well Don I have a long IT experience and have used the existing infrastructure for a very long time probably starting in the early 80s. I have my own hardwired network in the house and use the Internet to a large degree. So you would think I would be very approving but I think it is a damn disaster. My earliest use was a terminal to control a computer system I was in charge of from home. I used one of these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_700 which ran at 300 baud that is about 30 bytes a second. As time got on faster and faster speeds became possible over the existing phone lines. There was much debate about just how fast it could go. Over the years it increased to a point where today I get more than 16,000 kilo bits per second. In practical terms this means if I download a movie or a large piece of software I can get about a megabyte per second which is quite fast enough to actually view a movie over the Internet. With the ADSL system I am fortunate and I realise a lot of people are less fortunate than I in this regard. But how many of those want to do what I do? When I travel for someone like me to be separated from the Internet connection is painful. My answer to this is a pre-paid mobile wireless modem. It sits in my hand and delivers an Internet connection 99% of the time which is in excess of what I’m getting by a long shot and quite a bit better then the bottom bandwidth for the NBN. I used this on a trip by road from Canberra to Perth by the Nullarbor and back. Only once was there no access and that was a place called Fraser range on the other side of the Nullarbor.

    I was somewhat amazed when the proposals of the NBN came on because here was a proposal to deliver Internet to all without knowing who wanted it and as it came to pass would also destroy the existing system. I have two relatives who are being forced to get rid of their existing phone connection in order to join the NBN. Neither of these people have an interest in the Internet and I would think there are many in that situation. My neighbour has only just purchased an Internet connection. The old Telecom was sold and became a private company called Telstra and then later on from the bright ideas department the government of the day came up with the idea to build a Rolls-Royce competitive system for all. If a private company had done this they would have been sued by Telstra. Telstra was asked to build it and they offered a one-page tender saying they could do it for 3 billion, no commercial interest offered a reasonable proposal in the government’s estimation. The alarm bells would have run for any sane organisation but not so equity and equality rule the day. It reminded me of a stage show called “stop the world I want to get off” a politician called little chap makes a brilliant speech in which everyone will be provided says with free false teeth whether they want them or not.

    From my perspective much of what you hear in the media about the NBN is Bullshit posturing. For instance four Corners recently did the NBN. Their argument appears to be that people who want to get into the online gaming industry are being disadvantaged by the current government not supplying fibre to the home. Instructive was the case of a young man in Dubbo who was getting a much lower band with than people across the road and had fibre to the home and he wanted to do computer games. The response from the NBN was well for $2000 this can be done but this was to dear wasn’t it. One thing that is never mentioned is that Internet is a two-way street I can have a system that will take in a billion bits a second makes no difference if those I am communicating with our using the original terminal I used at 30 characters a second. The status of the NBN at the moment is we’re getting nearly pass the midway point and those people that have it available only half of those are using it. I would be curious just how many people are using the bandwidth available or is it in the main those that are forced to after 18 months. Personally I will wait until I am forced to change and would look for alternatives which unfortunately are not available in my area but are in others not that far away. Telstra wireless is far better and is available but it is the cost that concerns me. Last thing do you have a back to base alarm system? They will not consider the NBN also my aged aunt has a thing called vita call which was changed to wireless a long time ago. This was an ideal thing for the free market to decide but by government interference we have built a shopping centre in the middle of the Simpson Desert.

  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    I’m neither an electronics engineer nor an IT practitioner but I’m a significant user of the internet, mostly for business purposes. Telstra provides us with a copper coax cable service running at an average speed of 36 mbps. This costs my company $80 per month with a 200Gb data limit, standard fixed line phone service (for our back to base security system) plus the option of three free monthly “boosts” which effectively doubles the data limit. We toyed with the idea of connecting ADSL2 about 10 years ago but for some mysterious technical reasons it wouldn’t work in our premises due to interference of some sort. Anyway, it didn’t matter, we stuck to the coax.

    The NBN contractors have been in my neighbourhood of Mount Ommaney (Brisbane) for almost 2 weeks. This is the second time this year that NBN have been doing pit work in my locality. As is my want, I had a kerbside chat with the contractor’s team this week enquiring as to what they were doing and when will FTTP be available to my premises. There is nothing like talking to the horse when you want to know the truth, and they were more than happy to show me exactly what “cable” they were installing. It wasn’t fibre. And the reason given was that NBN is only installing coax. Cost cutting and (wait for it….) the existing conduit is too small a gauge for pulling through fibre. NBN will not pay to retrench installing new large gauge conduit.

    Telstra installed FTTN about 15 years ago (pre-NBN) as part of its, then, national program of upgrading aged infrastructure and ran coax to all pits and to subscriber homes in my neck of the woods. So NBN is doing nothing more than duplicating the existing Telstra coax. Go figure.

    NBN and its spruikers (aka retailers) are filling our letterboxes with dire messages about the copper wires being switched off in the next couple of years and we now need to changeover to the NBN or we will be cut-off. Mmmm. The NBN product offerings vary but if I switch over to NBN now, I can expect to pay roughly the same subscription per month for 12 mbps and a fixed line phone service. Speed and monthly costs scale up from there. Basically, to get anywhere near my current 99.9% reliable, 36 mbps service, I will need to outlay significantly more money for a service which, by all accounts, is plagued with reliability issues with no commercially acceptable speed guarantee.

    My Telstra mobile service (courtesy of ALDI for less than cost of a round of drinks per month) runs at 4G and a data speed of around 7-8 mbps which is not far off the amazing 12 mbps on offer from NBN should I wish to change over. Mmmmm, decisions, decisions. And I see this week the CEO of NBN is proposing to the geniuses in Canberra’s Capitol Hill to apply a levy to wireless services to help shore up the costs of NBN. This must surely be incontrovertible proof that those living outside Canberra live in a parallel universe. God give me strength.

  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    Don, just out of interest, who is your service provider, what is the usual/normal speed being delivered to your premises and what’s the monthly cost of the service?

    I was visiting a business colleague in Isaacs last month and he was bemoaning the fact that his ADSL2 service runs, at best, at around 3-5 mbps and there appeared to be no plans in the foreseeable future of either coax or fibre coming to his neck of the woods. The level of frustration is magnified in his case because he’s an electronics/electrical engineer and IT specialist (retired) who held senior management positions in the old ACT Electricity Authority and ACMA. In other words, he knows his stuff. I was pleased to be able to use his telecoms expertise in back in 2006/07 advising on installation of FTTP for a 2,000 lot land development with which I was involved at the time.

    • bb says:

      Hi Peter I think I can answer for Don well enough for the information you want. I am in Flynn ACT and fortunately for me on top of a copper node. If I look at the details of my modem I am getting 16 Mb per second but if I run a net speed test I get 13.5 Mb a second download and 0.68 Mb second upload. The Internet is a two-way street for you to get data someone has to upload it so you are dependent on the other end for speed as well as your own connection. The architect of this mess Conroy used to tout he could deliver a 1000 Mb a second and I used to fall about the floor laughing, logically he would fit a jet engine to his car to get to the shops absolute rubbish. My ISP is Exetel and my base charge for 50 GB per month at peak times is $43 for ADSL 2+. I know two people in McKellar who get 4 Mb a second. One is reasonably happy because the main thing is email usage the other not so because they want to stream video and audio entertainment over the network.

      • Peter Trandafilovic says:

        Thanks for that input BB and your earlier long posting, most of which rings pretty true. So the snail-paced Isaacs internet service is far more widespread in the ACT than I realised.

        Many moons ago I lived in Farrer before going to greener pastures. You know, I somehow I always imagined that Canberra would be one of the first locations for NBN Co. to build the you-beaut Conroy inter-galactic, stellar system. But no, they headed off to Tasmania as I recall. Not sure why Tasmania had such a pressing need for the super-duper inter-galactic highway other than naked politics to maximise a Labor vote. And the latter strategy really worked out well for KRudd – Jacquie (“how are they hanging”) Lambie got a guernsey with the financial assistance of “Cloive” Palmer.

        Certainly, in economic, demographic, geographic or (dare I say) cultural terms (not sure what that might be apart from eating and drinking), starting in Tassie made about as much sense as kick-starting the network at, say, Mawson (I mean the other one in Antarctica). And to add to the insanity the NBN has become, we’ve since learnt that some connections in Tassie were at eye-watering cost levels running up tens of thousands of dollars per connection. But as a long-suffering contributor to Treasury’s coffers, I take comfort in the knowledge that those Tasmanians who want an NBN connection, are able to enjoy you-beaut speeds above 3-4mbps, if they can afford it.

        There is so much more which one could say about the folly of government intervention in the telecommunications market; the lack of business and political judgement; the inadequacy of strategic planning and cost/benefit analysis; the failure to understand market needs vs socialist ideals; the blundering bureaucracy and, the now, almost endless blame game. This monumental infrastructure disaster is with us now and nobody in the Canberra political elite has either the brains or the balls to stop the senseless waste and cost imposition on the community.

        Unlike Don, NBN has arrived at a pit on my nature strip along with the numerous bits of unsolicited NBN junk mail. I’d have preferred they didn’t come. As I said in my main posting, we currently have an excellent, reliable and affordable service superior to most in Australia. So why would we change?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Peter,
      I can’t answer all those questions right at the moment. I have a bundle of phones, Internet and email for which I pay about $80 a month. I don’t know what speed comes in, since I have never had a problem with speed and have never looked. I ought to add that I am a text person, not a downloader of much visual material. Iinet is the current provider. It started out as Transact.

      • Peter Trandafilovic says:

        Don, I suspect your internet service is ADSL2+. Go to http://speedtest.telstra.com in your browser and start the speed test. It would be interesting to know what speed you actually have.

        • Peter Trandafilovic says:

          Disregard my note earlier…just saw the note about your VDSL connection. At those speeds you should be a happy chappy, indeed.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Interesting. My lap-top, powered by Telstra, provides 5.0 Mbps and 3.3 Mbps (download/upload), which isn’t much. But I only use it for emails and occasionally for sending essays to the website. I’m not a big user of visual. material

  • spangled drongo says:

    As with Don and Peter, if NBN left us alone we would be better off.

    Our internet and landline phone connection comes via a Telstra 2 pair copper cable with a steel tension wire strung up between trees through very steep country to our house which I repair if a tree or a branch falls and breaks it and I understand that NBN will not change this except that the phone will no longer work during a power outage as it now does.

    Great to have these “improvements” after spending billions.

    It’s hard to believe that it was so essential to murder this money.

    Like desal plants, half-baked renewable power and the rest of the multi-trillion lefty progressive lunacy.

    From the proponents of “sustainable” living.

    Dear oh dear.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Thanks Don, the best summary of the whole story that I have read. Your brain is in excellent shape. Two quick comments of a different nature. First, when you say that … “Mr Turnbull, at that time his Minister for Communications, argued that the best option was a revised scheme that would be operational more quickly, even if it was not as powerful”. … only tells me that MT has no nation-building credentials and that his mind is still stuck in his previous ‘legal/financial’ world. Not what we want in a leader. Secondly, I had a letter to say that NBN would be in my street in December and I intend to ask what the consequences would be if I stay with my ADSL2 system which works for me. I have also since heard that an emergency alarm systems activated from a neck pendant (which my wife wears) to some gadget at the end of our landline, may not be compatible (initially I assume) in the NBN world.

    • bb says:

      My aunt in Bowral New South Wales has Vita call which sound similar to what your wife is using. It was a concern to her as to what would happen when the crunch came with NBN. On checking I found they had installed a wireless connection already so she will be unaffected. Check with your supplier as to what you are in fact you do have. Talk to Mike about it next time you see him. It is interesting that the providers of this service and also of back to base alarm systems are avoiding the NBN.

  • Chris Warren says:

    If you want to live in a capitalist system then you get the NBN you deserve because this is a service that can be monopolised to some extent. Under capitalism, goods and services are only sold at the maximum prices the market can bear, and costs will be minimised. This means that capitalists enjoying at least some degree of monopoly or restriction on entry, can boost revenue some 38% over costs. This is the rate of surplus (EBITDA) recently extracted by TPG detailed here:

    http://www.afr.com/business/telecommunications/tpg-beats-expectations-as-firsthalf-profit-climbs-11pc-to-224-million-20170320-gv2k6v

    Little wonder that there are areas that cannot even get decent ADSL.

    ADSL2 in favourable areas seems quite adequate for most people.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “If you want to live in a capitalist system then you get the NBN you deserve…”

      When it comes to wrong conclusions, it’s hard to beat our blith.

      He is impervious and obtuse to the logic that the first thing any private enterprise would do in advance of investing these sort of billions is multiple cost/benefits and comparison studies that would take in every aspect of the chance of success as well as necessity in order to be assured of the long term profitability and therefore sustainability of a project such as this.

      IOW, invest their own money wisely bearing in mind that better competition will always follow.

      Instead of making some pointless knee-jerk decision as KRUDD did here and we all got lumbered with.

      Would you like to buy a desal plant, blith?

      • Chris Warren says:

        Confused nutter …

        Private enterprise is very different to capitalist enterprise.

        • spangled drongo says:

          As I said, it’s hard to beat our blith when it comes to getting things wrong.

          Capitalist enterprise IS private enterprise, blith.

          As in non govt funded enterprise.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Just to hold the hand and assist the impervious and obtuse blith:

          What is ‘Capitalism’

          “Capitalism is an economic system in which capital goods are owned by private individuals or businesses. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market”

          Read more: Capitalism http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/capitalism.asp#ixzz4wnEArpm7
          Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

          • Chris Warren says:

            Please post your propaganda somewhere else.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Stop blithering, blith, and justify your stupid claim that “Private enterprise is very different to capitalist enterprise.”

            More facts for you:

            http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/private-enterprise.html

            “Basis of a free market capitalist system, it is a business unit established, owned, and operated by private individuals for profit, instead of by or for any government or its agencies.”

          • Chris Warren says:

            Confused nutter …..

            capitalist private enterprise is not different to capitalism

            non-capitalist private and cooperative enterprise is very different to capitalist enterprise.

            But the distinction is only for grown-ups.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “But the distinction is only for grown-ups.”

            Is that like your quantification of ACO2 warming distinction, blith?

            You know, the one that is fixed in your little mind that you also can’t explain.

            Stop with your self-harming, blith.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “Private enterprise is very different to capitalist enterprise.”

            The marxist term “capitalist” is used by marxists like blith to falsely portray private enterprise as the villain when it is simply private money as opposed to govt money.

            When it is risk money as opposed to indulgence money.

            Marxists like our blith love to make out that these providers of the capital required to allow a business to be formed so that goods or services can be provided through the employment of labour are somehow always exploiters of that labour.

            And are too obtuse to see they are the vital part of the free market system that the ROW wants to move to the west to enjoy the fruits of.

            Because it just happens to be better than all the other tried-and-miserably-failed systems.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Now, blith, about that desal plant;

          I know of a couple you could buy at well below replacement cost and if you hurry you could complete the transaction before they rust away altogether.

    • bb says:

      To deliver a service such as the NBN requires capital, private enterprise will assess risk and the market. Unless they do this properly financial ruin will result. Government will deliver a service according to ideology so the market doesn’t matter as to how many people will use the service or need it. The NBN was used to win votes without assessing how many people will actually use it. At the moment the NBN is at the midway point and only half of those households have been connected. I would like to know how many of those are a forced connection brought on when the copper is cut off. Commercial interest in the NBN building is absent they assessed the risk and the market and decided it was not viable. NBNco employs small companies to do the work and pays them directly on a contractual basis such is what it has become. Government will build things for all as it must do when it is not needed for all and then charge the populace for that. You talk about the cost Chris in terms of how much a free market system will charge but the costs of government enterprise are vastly more but it is hidden well from useful idiots. You buy votes with welfare and then tax the hell out of everyone. My analogy that government would build a shopping centre in the middle of the Simpson desert for a small nomad community in practice seems about right.

  • David says:

    Don
    Your historical account needs to go back a little further

    1. I blame Howard. He decided it would be a good idea to sell of the poles and wires when the coalition privatised Telstra. Who can forget the Telstra floats, T1, T2 & T3? What a disaster! That was like the ACT govt. deciding to throw in the roads and footpaths if they decided to privatise the buses. Sure enough only, a few years later the NBN was going cap in hand to Telstra to get access to the now privatised network so they could install the NBN.

    2. In the lead up to the 2007 Helen Coonan, was the Telecommunications minister who was proposing to spend just $1 billion on internet infrastructure for their NBN-light to match Rudd’s then $45 billion proposal? That was woeful. The Coalition was lazy! And they were caught with their pants down. Imagine if we still had the Coalition’s 2006 plan. We would a still all be on dial up.

    3. Once Rudd was elected, Turnbull became Shadow Telecommunications minister. Then in short, succession the Coalition promised $6 billion, $13 billion before settling on about $22 billion for their proposed NBN. Mind you not a cost benefit analysis in sight.

    4. And who can forget Abbott’s moronic comment “…that you do not need the NBN to send an email.”

    5. If Conservative governments in NZ can roll out FTP, why can’t our clueless Conservative governments in Australia manage the same?

    But not to worry, the Coalition is going to lose the next election. Shorten will be elected PM and the ALP will finish FTP.

  • bb says:

    I have just been doing some research on the touted gigabyte Internet connection in Dunedin that the ABC praised. What they didn’t tell us typical of the damn ABC is that it is run by private companies with some government involvement being under $2 billion to the government. It does not displace the existing systems and is supplied to any premises on request. It appears looking at my deceased brother’s house in Dunedin that the means of delivery is cable on the telegraph poles. There is a story of a major cable being exposed by flooding which makes one wonder how secure their system is but never mind damage can always be fixed. I don’t know what the charge is for a gigabyte connection but as far as I can find the typical connection is double the price I am paying for my ADSL that is $100 New Zealand per month. I think the difference is that it was driven by someone that was not a maniac ideologue.

  • chrisl says:

    Think about it. You want to connect every house and business in Australia to every other house in Australia. Even if they don’t even use the internet.
    It is a very big country. Think about driving from Melbourne to Brisbane , then think about laying fibre all that way.
    My anecdote: A friend contracted to the NBN to lay the fibre from the street to the house If he managed to thread it through the existing Telstra conduit he received $100 Mostly he couldn’t do it in which case he had to bore from the street to the house for which he received $300 . He was lucky to do 2 in a day which didn’t cover costs. Quite often he encountered an obstacle (tree. concrete etc) and the site had to be abandoned. And then he had to wait for his money!

  • beththeserf says:

    We’re from the guvuhmint and we’re not here to help you.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Maybe the people at Iinet read my website. But I have just received a message from the Chief Operating Officer, to this effect:

    ‘Hi Don,

    You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the NBN™ lately, so we thought we’d help clear a few thing up.

    The NBN™ will not be replacing the network which powers your current VDSL2 broadband service.
    That’s because our VDSL2 network is already delivering reliable, high-speed internet with download speeds between 20Mbps & 80Mbps*.

    This means that you can keep your current VDSL2 broadband for as long as you’d like. You don’t have to switch to the NBN™.’

    So there you are.

  • Ken Nielsen says:

    I have a house on the Central Coast of NSW, about 40 k direct from Sydney. It has no mobile coverage which means that with the NBN FTTN my back to base security system does not work as the landline goes through the NBN and is incompatible. Also when the mains power drops out, as it does fairly frequently there, I lose the phone. There is no scope for a backup battery.
    So I am significantly worse off with the NBN.

    • Peter Trandafilovic says:

      Ken, a very common problem up here in Brisbane where people have taken up the NBN. It’s really unbelievable.

  • John says:

    If someone knows how NBN sets priorities I would be interested to learn more. I seem to remember it was going to generate jobs in Tasmania as all the IT savvy Tasmanians languishing without jobs would be able to hook into the world. It seems, however, that the take-up rate was very low in Tasmania. Not good for NBN’s ability to fund further expansion. Why is it all so shrouded in mystery? If it is for commercial reasons (to prevent ISP from some how seeking commercial advantage) it seems unlikely that they would not find out.

    • Peter Trandafilovic says:

      John, my son, it’s government. The same geniuses who signed a deal for 10 (?) diesel electric submarines for delivery after you’re dead for the you beaut special price of $50 billion plus (soon to be $80 billion) to be build in….wait for it…..South Australia! In some circles, that is what they call “a joke”. In Australia, that’s what’s called government.

  • Peter Trandafilovic says:

    To sum up, if you’re happy with your ISP, keep your fingers crossed that the NBN doesn’t get to a telecom pit outside your home some time soon.

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