Sunday, 1 September 2013

"NBN Lite" won't happen, but has served its purpose: took the NBN off the Election agenda

Update: Sortius did a better piece, and both pieces on NoFibs.

To win the NBN Debate, Turnbull, the Earl of Wentworth, only needed to convince the media that he had an NBN Plan that was acceptable to the great unwashed and was roughly the same as the Real NBN.

To support this, he had to cast serious doubt on the NBN Co budget and ability to execute, and to confuse/conflate the critical questions so media never asked them:
  • Lifetime on-budget spending of both Proposals.
  • Lifetime Rate of Return from Equity
  • Pay-back Period of Government Equity
  • Downside Risks
Turnbull succeeded on 10-April when Alan Kohler announced "How Turnbull Saved the NBN" summed up as:
Malcolm Turnbull, with the help of the polls, has turned the Liberals into an NBN party. His plan isn't perfect, but it's better than dismantling the whole thing, ...
After that, the mainstream media assumed that line and all "analyses" uncritically accepted the unverified, unchecked Coalition figures as truth.

The ALP failed to counter this strategy, even under Conroy. Noticeably, they failed to ask Turnbull the central questions above and have the media, and so the electorate, question the fate of an NBN under the Coalition. It's now too late for them to put the fate of the NBN back on the election agenda.

The only thing we can believe in everything that Turnbull has said and written is that they will commission three "reviews", to report within 60 days.

These will be headed by hand-picked high-profile Liberals, exactly as Peter Costello was brought in for Campbell Newman of Queensland's "Commission of Audit" (CoA).

Just like Newman's CoA, the three NBN "reviews" will produce NO surprises. They are designed to:
  • Underscore and 'prove' the "Worst Government Ever" rhetoric.
    • All intentional economic destruction resulting from Liberal actions will be blamed on Labor, and
    • as things get worse, even dire, the Liberals will trumpet "Labor put you in this hole, aren't you glad we're saving you! We came along in the nick of time!"
  • "Demonstrate" a complete failure of Governance under Labor.
  • Assign blame and considerable opprobrium to the individual Labor actors.
    • Following Slipper and Pauline Hansen, expect to see legal action against individuals.
  • Reinforce the "Great Big Useless White Elephant" view.
  • Make "official" the unsubstantiated claims "Will cost over $100 billion to finish", and
  • Concoct an 'official' "Cost Benefit Analysis" that 'proves'
    • a Fibre NBN is not "Cost Effective"
    • that the only NBN build that can provide an economic benefit is based on existing HFC & phone-line copper assets, with small amounts of "remediation", and
    • that as these assets are in private hands, that the NBN can only be built "Cost Effectively" by the private sector.
Turnbull can then be the Ultimate Wise Business Investor and "save us from a $100 billion disaster", by liquidating NBN Co and giving away it's assets to the private sector. He might run supply and construction contracts to completion, or invoke "force majeur" clauses, or just wind-up the company, leaving the creditors to duke it out [Telstra wins]

Telstra and Optus, as the major creditors, would trade their future contract payments "at a substantial discount", for the NBN Co assets. Optus may take a one-time payment from Telstra.

Telstra will abide by its Structural Separation Undertaking and keep NBN Co as a separate, but controlled, entity.

The ACCC won't have much to say because the legislation & regulations controlling it and the Telecommunications sector in particular, will be changed "to support consumer choice and diversity of suppliers, creating real competition".

Meaning, Telstra will once again control both the wholesale and retail markets and

Welcome to the Brave New World, brought to you by the Earl of Wentworth.

Does Turnbull, or anyone in the Liberal Party, regret this deliberate destruction of National assets.
Will they have any pangs or twinges of conscience over deliberately destroying Australian National Productivity and making Australian business internationally uncompetitive for the next 50 years.

No! He's a gun for hire and has "won the argument" as he was asked to do. The consequences are for others to suffer.


  1. Yeah they'll do something like that. Always do.

    I've wondered about what I've read about the wholesale prices of the nbn and the reductions planned over the years. I expect that's all out the window as well. No expectation of falling internet costs under Turnbull's plan. That would fit in with what you've outlined here.

    1. David,
      Thanks for the comment.

      I didn't think about pricing. The high-demand users can't be separated out, we get DSL-hell AND higher prices. Making 4G services very attractive for 50% of market.


  2. Wireless is hell only good for those that do jackshit online. Horrendous latency!

    1. kevin,

      Latency problems are not inherent to wireless. Until 1986, the majority of long-distrance telephony was carried around Australia on Microwave bearers. They started in the 60's as analogue, but were upgraded to Digital before 1985. They suffered no significant latency problems over coax-cable or direct copper pairs.

      The public carrier broadcast/mobile 4G networks do have very poor latency performance. This is well documented.

      I've seen no figures for the fixed point-point connections used by NBN Co, so I can't comment.

      They have a much lower contention ratio per radio segment. I'd hope that this means better latency.

      As an access network designed for fixed shared data, I expect the NBN Co engineers have done design work to limit latency issues.

      Great observation. thanks for the comment


  3. "Noticeably, they failed to ask Turnbull the central questions"?

    Turnbull just failed to answer them...much like LCP's delayed budget numbers. What does it say about the electorate if this behaviour is rewarded?


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