Friday, 30 August 2013

NBN: Despite News Ltd, Turnbull WILL kill NBN, if he wants.

News Ltd ran a cock-and-bull story today "NBN here to stay, no matter who wins" that is provably false, claiming:
This means that whoever wins the election, there will be an NBN and structural separation of Telstra, and the only differences will be in style, not substance.
Turnbull, on-record to an unnamed MHR, has unequivocally stated [Point 9]:
The Coalition has not 'settled' on FTTN. 
This does NOT commit the Coalition to any version of an NBN. Turnbull is not on record anywhere as giving a firm commitment to completing an NBN. You might think he's said that, but he and the Coalition have crafted their words very carefully. In the letter to the MHR, Turnbull fails to make this simple statement, one which would've taken no effort and an issue he would've been acutely aware of when crafting his long-delayed response. Failing to saying anything leaves the door open to "I didn't say that" refutations later, a favourite ploy of Turnbull.

To say that any options about the NBN under the Coalition are firm is a deliberate misstatement. News Ltd, in my opinion, is making a deliberately incorrect claim in this piece.

The Coalition clearly states it will undertake 3 'reviews' of NBN/NBN Co within its first 60 days. To pre-empt the results of these reviews is incorrect and deliberately misleading.

Until the three scheduled reviews are complete, and remember a Coalition government is not bound to act on the recommendations of any external report/review, nobody, not even Rupert Murdoch, can say "the NBN is here to stay". Even then, they still have a full term to cancel the project. They're in control of the Federal Budget and get to decide where every cent goes, or doesn't go.

There are many, many ways for Turnbull to fulfil his mission to "Destroy the NBN", not limited to cancelling it outright.

If the Coalition intends to a) finish the NBN, b) to substantially the current coverage and timetable and c) keep ownership of NBN Co well past its first term, it needs to go on record saying so unequivocally.

Otherwise, we can infer from the evasive, obfuscated, complex, incomplete and ill-detailed plan with tortuous language around these topics, that the completing the NBN is not "a Core Promise" and they will actively seek ways to "Destroy the NBN", or prevent the rollout of a competitive & desirable broadband network, as has been their position since 2005 when Sol Trujillo first floated it.

There's a simple test:
Has Turnbull or anyone in the Coalition ever offered a reason for why they now committed to rolling out an NBN sooner than the full FTTP build?
We all understand "cheaper" in the context of "Good Economic Managers", but why is "sooner" a priority at all after 10+ years of inaction and implacable opposition?

What changed their minds? They've never said, so why would anyone think they have?

Many commentators would have us believe Turnbull worked some powerful magic within the LNP to reverse a decade long position. Where's the evidence for that? I've seen none given. What I do see is a Plan that cannot be brought to successful commercial & profitable operation, is full of errors of fact. logic and substance and is littered with convenient "out's".

If Turnbull was really committed to building an NBN, why has he crafted a "plan" that is so complex and so riddled with omissions that the Parliamentary Budget Office cannot cost it?

If Turnbull, as a master and experienced investor, wanted to present a plan that the PBO could cost, he would've released his full 2012-2040 spreadsheets and matching critical full-period charts for funding etc derived from his forecasting model that NBN Co released in their 2012 Corporate Plan. Turnbull is either incompetent, which I don't believe, or working very hard to hide some very unpalatable facts.

From pg 12/13 of the Coalition NBN Policy:

Review of NBN strategy/policy process and NBN governance/industry matters
The australian people deserve the facts about labor’s NBN and its lessons for the public policy process should be studied to help avert similar episodes in the future. NBN Co must also be scrutinised, both to ensure it can be repurposed as a vehicle for a more rational policy and to learn from any past missteps. if elected the Coalition will initiate three reviews, each with a specific focus and reporting horizon. 
NBN Co strategic review
This review will be a rapid but rigorous business review of NBN Co’s rollout progress and costs, structure, internal capabilities, commercial prospects and strategic options. 
Independent audit into broadband policy and NBN Co’s governance
This review will be a separate independent audit to examine the public policy process which led to the NBN and NBN Co’s governance. it will have the objective of ensuring policy process or governance lessons arising from recent broadband policy are captured and made public. 
Independent cost-benefit analysis and review of regulation
This review will analyse the economic and social costs and benefits (including both direct and indirect effects) arising from the availability of broadband of differing properties via various technologies, and to make recommendations on the role of government support and a number of other longer-term industry matters. The study (which will be conducted at arms-length from any previous NBN activities)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.