Friday, 26 July 2013

NBN: many outstanding questions

"Delimiter" regularly creates a maelstrom of comment from their loyal readers on NBN issues, yesterday was no exception. Is there a message there? For the author perhaps, but not my post, so not for me to say.

As is their wont, Delimiter turned comments off. Part of the lead up left me incredulous:
all of the points you’ve raised have been analysed to death, on Delimiter and other sites. The Coalition policy has been analysed to death. [emphasis added]
This is patently wrong:

  • Why is Alan Kohler hosting a (paid) business lunch on 1-August, interviewing Mr Turnbull, if not exactly because there are many unanswered questions?
  • Why did The Register try to raise cash, $250,000, to fund an independent, expert review of the Coalition Broadband Plan, if not because there are serious unanswered questions?
  • Where is any independent expert review of the Coalition Broadband Plan? The numbers are widely quoted, but have never been contested by Labor, or verified.
  • Where is the explanation of the Financial Miracle that is the Coalition Broadband Plan?
    • Can or will, the Coalition's proposal ever fulfil its primary mission, as an investment, and pay off its debt then go onto to produce a reasonable return on that money?
    • By 2021, the Coalition plan incurs 50% higher losses ($9 vs $6 billion). Why?
    • With an inferior service, lower revenues, higher costs (and increasing), growth capped at 3.5% (real), how can an Fibre to the Node network ever generate reasonable profits, more than depreciation, let alone break-even by paying off all its debt?
I respectfully disagree with Delimiter's assertion that the Coalition Broadband plan "has been analysed to death". Every time I turn over a new rock, ask a new question, it raises many more.


  1. I think part of the problem is that Renai LeMay desperately appears to want to believe in the LNP proposal being somehow equivalent to the current NBN. He constantly claims he deals in 'facts and evidence' but when presented with such precious little 'facts and evidence' as exists about the FTTN proposal, he becomes increasingly irritated and spits the dummy. It has become more and more apparent that factual evidence of the inability of the proposal to provide for the future is something of a furphy for him. It it doesn't fit within his - apparently predefined - frame of reference, he discards it. It really is a great shame, as he clearly is essentially a good, honest journalist, and I think I speak for many, many people when I say that.

  2. Good work Steve, for the record here are the 3 questions I asked that promoted the "done to death" response:

    *Cost to buy Telstra’s copper network – MT claims it’ll be free when it was clearly not included in the current contract and for Telstra to give it away will result in legal action by shareholders and possible criminal charges for breaching the corporations act for failing this in legal duty: “Duty to act in good faith and not to act contrary to the interest of the company”. lets just say it cost 5 Billion extra for the last mile copper, that’s now $34 Billion the LNP needs to find to fund their network.

    *time taken to get the 1st node installed – likely scenario is an FTTN rollout will have barely started by 2016. Changing all the FTTP related contracts, negotiating a new deal with Telstra and then ACCC approvals will take time (years, not months and the LNP has nothing to threaten Telstra with, Conroy had the 4G spectrum as leverage). Not to mention at least 6 months worth of reviews they have promised.

    *What is the real life useful lifetime of an FTTN network? – lets compare realistic average speeds provided over up to 600m max line lengths (to be generous) – lets take 50Mbps as the average speed (VDSL/2 @ 300m) and work out just how long it will be before the entire network will be outgrown by Australian residential and business users? So the question is can an FTTN network can realistically pay for itself and earn an ROI?


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