Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The ALP "arms-length" direction of NBN Co. and the NBN tender

These comments, republished with permission, are from an I.T. consultant and small business owner. They are exactly the sort of person that should be in the Liberal heartland and a vigorous supporter of the Coalition NBN. Minor edits and added emphasis.
... while the ALP did frame the parameters, they only did so as a result of expert advice; the politicians and bureaucrats had zero input on actual cost estimates or technical targets, all they did was choose to take the expert advice they had paid for.
Plenty of governments have been criticised by the opposition for performing an enquiry and then ignoring the recommendations, so why does the LNP have such a huge problem with the advice of experts qualified in the area?
In fact, the LNP have heavily leaned on their FTTN choice when that decision does appear to have been chosen by politicians and their advisors in absence of actual professional advice. 
Otherwise, they would be waving around their own enquiry/professional investigations where actual experts (not partisan "know it alls" who barely understand the debate) have done a thorough analysis of the engineering, costs, time line and finance involved and recommended FTTN as the best, most economically sensible solution for Australia's telecommunications needs. 
Show me the engineers and infrastructure designers who would sign off on that and I'll show you someone who has just ruined their future career prospects...
I'd add that the "Kevin '07" campaign promised $4.7 billion, the 2005 figure requested by Telstra, would be given to the preferred tenderer, a direct cost to the taxpayer with NO returns. The non-political evaluation committee rejected the Telstra bid as it was "non-compliant", then rejected all others as "commercially unviable". Without Telstra involved, any FTTN project was doomed to failure, a situation that hasn't changed, only worsened.

The expert committee, including Economic and Business experts, advised the Government a) an FTTN without Telstra was doomed to failure as having to rent the Copper from Telstra would make it unviable commercially and b) investing in a stop-gap solution and improving an asset they didn't own was a gross waste of taxpayer money.

Contrary to the LNP assertion that the FTTP plan was worked out on a coaster or napkin on a plane trip, it resulted from detailed analysis and advice from a team of relevant, cross-disciplinary experts. It certainly came as a surprise to the LNP and electorate.


  1. Hey Stevej, greate read. Would you be able to link us to any detailed reports, reviews, plans, etc that these experts created? Would love to be able to read these and/or us them as ammo in discussions about the NBN. I'm sure it would empower a lot of people to contact relevant powers that be if they actually had proof of these reports and such.

    I think to win this FTTH vs FTTN argument, it's going to end up experts challenging the "findings" of Turnbull's report(s). That's only going to work if people start circulating the proper investigation and reports that were generated originally that won Labor over.

    1. Beau,

      Thanks for comment.

      Links: http://bit.ly/18rKgpU

      Search for: "NBN expert panel" "Reg Coutts" waste
      you could try: "NBN expert panel" "Reg Coutts" FTTN
      as well.


    2. Breif summary can be found here: http://www.couttscommunications.com/Expertise.html

      With video from the above site: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2537662.htm

      Major events in the timeline of the NBN's inception; http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/conroy/media/media_releases/2008/government_announces_panel_of_experts_to_assess_national_broadband_network_proposals



      As you can read in the media release from 11 March 2008, the panel of experts were asked review both FTTN and FTTP options (ALP favouring FTTN at the time).

    3. Yonz,

      Wow, great summary + links.

      Thanks very much for that, very much appreciated.



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