Monday, 24 September 2012

NBN: Coalition cannot cost its proposal

Malcolm Turnbull has finally addressed just what he meant by "sooner, cheaper" in an ABC radio interview and an article based on the interview. [Update: 7:30 Report Interview, Coalition B'band Survey]
TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Opposition says it won't be able to provide a fully costed broadband policy by the next election but its plan will be cheaper and completed sooner that the Government's National Broadband Network.

The Opposition's communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says information from a survey to be launched today will help a future Coalition government decide which areas to prioritise for faster broadband services.

NAOMI WOODLEY: How long will it take for the Coalition network to be rolled out? NBN Co's timeframe is around 10 years. Yours is sooner, can you say how sooner?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well it will be a lot sooner. But let me just first say that NBN Co says its target is 10 years. There are many people in the industry very close to the NBN who believe it is more likely to take 20 years.

The approach that we will take in most of the built-up areas of what's called fibre to the cabinet or fibre to the node, the experience around the world is that takes around a third of the time of fibre to the premises, sometimes even less.

The prioritisation of roll-out based on a self-selected consumer survey is something new, and might give us some new information.

Otherwise, it's only more Political Spin, akin to "Trust me".

There is the Iron Law of Project Management: "Cheaper, Sooner, Better: choose any two".

Mr Turnbull can't both deliver fast broadband cheaper and sooner - unless he's banking on the FTTN to be radically cheaper (the 2005 Telstra figures of ~$4B for 6.5M connections @ 12Mbps, 20,000 nodes).

The flaw in that plan, the one that sunk the Rudd/Conroy tender for an FTTN, is buying or leasing the copper Customer Access Network (CAN) from Telstra. In 2008, that was estimated at $11B, IIRC.

After the Structural Separation Undertaking (not a demerger) by Telstra, they announced they were "spectacularly" agnostic about which Party's plan was used to roll-out an NBN. They are prepared for Mr Turnbull and his FTTN.

Not only is his ADSL2/FTTN solution a not on-ramp to The Information Superhighway, but a Dead-end, it's going to send Rivers of Gold to Telstra leasing their copper.

He's winding the clock back to 2008 and reissuing the Rudd/Conroy FTTN invitation, only this time Telstra have an unbreakable advantage.
Not only will he build a solution to be thrown away well before its "use-by" date, it's going to cost significantly more per megabyte, to use, because of the Access Tax to be paid to Telstra.

Mr Turnbull's claim of "more affordable to users" will only be true if they sign-on for the lowest speed services. That guaranteed 12Mbps will be a tad more expensive that the FTTP-NBN, where 12Mbps is the entry point, not the premium service.

Saying, "but real customers/subscribers don't want more than 12Mbps" is tosh.
Right now, possibly true. But in a decade or two's time, definitely not so.

Why didn't Howard/Coonan demerger Telstra when they had the chance before the "T3" float at the end of 2006? If they had, none of the current brouhaha would be happening.

Should Mr Turnbull fess up that he's been screwed over by the failure of vision of the last Coalition Government?

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