A Mess Of Destruction



It has been some time since I’ve written on the NBN. Not because there’s no news, there’s been plenty. From ABC’s seemingly deliberate attempts to stymie debate, to Bill Morrow being named in a civil suit in the US, to ex-News Corp CFO, Stephen Rue, coming on-board, there’s definitely a lot happening. The thing is, it all really doesn’t matter.

‘What’s that?’ I hear you say. ‘Are you really saying this doesn’t matter? Why?’

With Turnbull now in full swing destroying the NBN, a task he’s relished since becoming Shadow Communications Minister, there’s little to be said by me. I can go through the technical aspects as to why the NBN is being destroyed, but I had already done this before the election.

It seems almost every prediction I made prior to the election has come true, and nary a demand for Turnbull’s scalp from the same media that lambasted Conroy for years. In any business, if such failures to deliver after such big promises occurred, contracts would be cancelled, heads would roll, and investigations into failures would ensue.

Unfortunately, because this is government – not just a government, but THIS government – Turnbull is safe from the axe. If a Minister for Immigration can have multiple people die while directly under their care, the deliberate stalling, clearly political appointment of directors, and reneging on promises surely will go unpunished.

Turnbull spent years pointing to waste and delays, being echoed by our useless media, yet now there is not a word to be said. It’s nine months in and not a single cabinet is live, the fibre rollout is passing less than 20 premises some weeks, and decisions being made before the fabled Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) has been completed.

To add insult to injury, Turnbull has reneged on the initial speed guarantees, and more recently, on the date we’ll get them. Say goodbye to “between 25 and 100Mbps by 2016″, there won’t even be 25Mbps by 2016. Meanwhile the rest of the world is getting on with the job of upgrading their existing FTTN to 100Mbps+, or moving to FTTP to deliver 1Gbps services.

One thing Turnbull didn’t bank on was Telstra’s desire to screw NBN Co, again. Back when the “pit and pipe remediation” deal was on the table, Telstra stalled for nine months. Whether a petty game of deliberate delays, or a reasonable amount of time for all the lawyering to happen, nine months is time that Turnbull does not have. With estimates being put at ‘sometime around October’ for the Telstra deal to be inked, we’re still unsure of the costs involved.

Could it be the $30b as predicted by the senate way back in 2009? Or will it be a slow boil deal where Telstra are paid yearly for the leasing of the copper? One can only assume that Telstra’s revenue last financial year of over $7 billion for their fixed line business is a good starting point.

There’s little wiggle room when Turnbull has sacked then stacked NBN Co’s board and upper management with ex-Telstra executives/employees, and now an ex-News Corp executive. The winners out of any deal will not be taxpayers, that’s a certainty.

No executive could surely argue that paying for a copper network is a wise investment, but this team are. The “cost savings” (which aren’t really costs, but investments) for deploying a copper based network are instantly blown out of the water when we consider the cost of buying and maintaining the copper and HFC networks.

FTTP vs MTMWith just $15b difference in peak funding, there is no chance of the Multi-Technology Mix scenario coming in cheaper than FTTP. The cost of the HFC networks are as big an unknown as the cost of the copper network, yet the same tired feckless arguments are repeated by Turnbull, and now backbench MPs, both inside and outside parliament.

The assumption that these networks will cost $0 is laughable, and Turnbull knows it. He, as much as anyone, should know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

There is no way to get the NBN back on track so long as Turnbull is determined to destroy the NBN. It’s clear the destruction is almost complete with the appointment of ex-News Corp executives to the board. There is no logic to doing this, especially since News Corp have been the biggest opponents to the NBN, publishing article after article filled with fallacious arguments and outright lies regarding the NBN prior to the election.

There was little questioning of Turnbull’s policy prior to the election by our media organisations, they assumed that when Turnbull made claims he could actually deliver. It was immediately obvious to many in the tech world, including myself, that there was no way Turnbull could deliver on any of his promises.

It’s sad that our political system is run and reported on by liars and buffoons. Maybe we don’t deserve better, seeing as the Liberal & National Party coalition did win the election. The screams of “they lied to us” fall on deaf ears here, and I don’t feel sorry, but disgusted by those who fell for it.

A simple examination of facts, even a partially working bullshit detection, and a determination to not be spoon fed rhetoric would have made it clear: this Liberal party were never going to follow through on any promises.

Who can we blame other than those who are unwilling to switch off the latest episode of Masterchef or The Block to read even a single policy? It was all there, in black and white, no matter what Turnbull said at press conferences, in interviews, or posted on his blog.

The sad thing is, if these people were running a business they’d be fined for deceptive trade practices, we’d all be able to get our money back, and maybe, just maybe, get a broadband network that will last longer than 5 years.

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  • Andrew Thaler

    Appears to me like they have even worn even you down… bullshit seems to certainly have the upper hand these days. As you say, more fool us. :(

    • sortius

      It’s hard not to just throw my hands in the air and say “fuck it”.

      • Andrew Thaler

        That, my new electronic friend, is the problem soooo very f’n many of us now face. The simple things of life have been eroded in this incessant money-grab. Many days I want to say the same thing.. but I then consider is it fair to my 3 kidlets and our community to deprive the world of my acquired skills and abilities. Why did I bother acquiring them? The NBN as your particular case-in-point deals with is a tool of mass personal empowerment and widely desired around the world. Our Govt can’t see the the public value against the hard $$z they stand to personally earn if they keep it within their mates. Against that kind of thinking it is very hard for us.

  • andrewfaith

    I really do despair at what the NBN has become. I live in the upper Blue Mountains and we regularly lose phone and internet when it rains and it seems that will continue with the bullshit that is the LNP NBN. I was looking forward to getting the same speeds that people in the city, who already have access to higher speed ADSL and cable, were getting, but that is not to be. Not to mention that a lot of the city folk were getting it long before those of us well outside were going to see it.

    On another note, I changed my ADSL provider recently from Telstra to iiNet – this involved just switching providers as it’s all Telstra equipment in my local exchange. With the switch my ADSL speed went from an average 6.1Mb/s to 16.4Mb/s. How? Does Telstra deliberately throttle speeds regardless? The explanation from their Twitter team is that there may be a lot of people getting ADSL from Telstra as a provider and that’s why speed was slower – I may be mistaken, but I didn’t think that was the way it worked. Besides, in essence, I haven’t gone off the Telstra network, just using someone else to bill me…

    • Andrew Thaler

      As far as I understand you would still be plugged into the same ADSL port via a ‘DSlam’ thingy… and yes, same equip, same fibre backhaul, same everything just different billing Company. Therefore a speed difference is illogical. It does need some investigating but the TIO/ACCC are useless.

  • antman70

    This just gets more depressing each week. Even if your not interested in the NBN, each new development looks more and more like this government is looking after it’s financial backers rather than the interests of the nation.

    Renai made the comment some time ago it looked like they were about to offload the assets to Telstra/Foxtel, and as time goes by every event has reinforced this observation. They’re assembled a bloody great Trojan Horse, while we helplessly watch.

    I’d love a Federal ICAC to show where all the dirty money trails lead, but I’m not holding my breath…

  • fehowarth

    One thing for sure, the rate that Turnbull is not or us acting, could see much not being done, allow Labor to pick up where they left off.
    Maybe the incompetence of Turnbull and this government l mean, no lasting damage. Just delay a world class scheme.

    • antman70

      That’s what I used to think.

      Now it looks like it will be back out of reach, in private hands by the next election. Then maybe another 20 years to fix it it, while we become the largest exporter of bananas.

      • olddavey

        Banana fritters for Mal’s mate Clive more like it.

  • Jason kentwell

    From the looks of it now they will prob try and cook the books to show that the new deal with Telstra doesn’t cost anymore than the current deal

    • sortius

      Turnbull is already trying to do this by saying the Telstra deal was “tens of billions of dollars”. Which is total bullshit, & he knows it.

      • Jason kentwell

        I know it’s a pity that MSM not picking him up on it as well as why we aren’t haveing an investigating into the Murdoch press like England and US over the phone tapping scandals. They can’t say they havnt done it here when they have done it there.

  • Sean Reynolds

    We all know the story? That Rupert Murdoch regularly had lunch with TA, and TA came out swinging against the NBN the day after one of these lunches. Basically Rupert offered him a deal — completely biased coverage in his working class newspapers for 6 months prior to the election in exchange for nobbling the NBN. Murdoch’s papers don’t make much money for him any more, Foxtel is one of his major cashcows, and the FTTH NBN would have destroyed Foxtel profits — everywhere in the US where FTTH has come in, cable TV companies have died. Why pay Murdoch $100 pm for fixed programming broadcast cable channels when you can get on demand Netflix for $8 pm streamed over gigabit fibre to the home? So TA and MT HAVE to nobble the NBN to pay Murdoch back for his ridiculous coverage for months savaging Gillard, Rudd, Conroy (comms minister!) etc. Those guys would do anything to seize power, bottom line, including screwing the entire country for Murdoch, to get elected.