I am becoming confident (this may sound idealistic) that some-time in the near future we may be able to talk less about plumbing, and focus more on how the communications sector and broader economy need to adapt and change to make the most of ubiquitous high speed broadband.
Malcolm Turnbull, CommsDay 09/04/2014
Nary a more fallacious statement on technology has been made. We are through the looking glass now, where up is down, down is sideways, and Turnbull is the Queen of Hearts, dictating what is and what isn’t a fact. “Off with their heads!” is the cry from the Earl of Wentworth’s throne room.
The statement is not only confusing, but clearly wrong as the comms sector is all about the plumbing, without the right plumbing, they can never grow, as a company, or as a network.
Let’s stay with Mal’s analogy: if you install plumbing that’s too small, what happens when you flush the toilet? What happens when you turn on your washing machine? What happens when there’s a huge downpour? Shit backs up.
The same could be said of poor “piping” in the internet, something that many providers have found out both in a last-mile sense, and a backhaul sense.
It’s statements like the one quoted that betray how little Malcolm Turnbull understands about both communications technology and the industry. The knowledge gap was on show for Turnbull’s Lateline interview, not only did he refuse to accept that 1Gbps services are the definition of “fast broadband” in the US, but attempted to claim that 1Gbps is “much faster than anyone would need”.
I’m sorry, I did you miss the part where the ABS released statistics showing exponential growth in data use? The same as they do every six months. The trend is there, as is the trend toward higher speed services, with 24Mbps and above services growing by 17%, and 8Mbps to 24Mbps services by 4%, all other categories DECREASED in subscriber numbers.
Looking at the statistics, 8Mbps or above services is where the bulk of subscribers sit, showing people’s desire for higher speed services. In just four years the industry has turned on its head, with the bulk shifting from 8Mbps or below, to 8Mbps or above.
Even if we count 24Mbps (ADSL2) as the “average” service need, not necessarily what people get mind you, that’s almost 800Mbps need by 2020. So much for the “much faster than anyone would need”.
Aside from this, in the US there are multiple cities with 1Gbps services from both Google Fibre and AT&T, with more areas being announced almost weekly (yes, that link did drop into my inbox today). Telling such bald faced lies, especially after having visited Google while on a ‘tech tour’ of the US.
That Mal Feeling
Of a major concern for me at this stage is Turnbull’s utter contempt for the National Broadband Network. Not content with destroying it, as ordered by Tony Abbott, Turnbull is incessantly trying to convince us it was a bad idea to begin with.
No. Look, this – the NBN is not a commercial project. It is the most – the single most expensive, irrational project of the Labor government. It should never have been undertaken in the way it is. It is completely non-commercial.
Malcolm Turnbull, Lateline 10/04/2014
It’s clear that Malcolm Turnbull is moving from the “I’m nice, I’ll finish the NBN” to, “look people, the NBN is shit and you should hate it so I can shut it down”. There’s no logic behind this other than kowtowing to the corporate interests of Telstra and Murdoch.
The last thing both Foxtel needs is an ubiquitous high speed network, let alone a full fibre NBN. We’re already seeing Foxtel cry rivers over piracy in Australia during ‘Game of Thrones season’. I wonder why that is? Maybe because they have Australian content locked down, maybe because their services are so grossly overpriced, or maybe it’s because people have no respect for rights holders using predatory practices to shut down other content providers’ access to TV shows.
There is clearly a reason why Turnbull has changed course toward the reef of insanity, it’s clear he is trying to lower public opinion of the NBN. Whether it’s at the behest of Murdoch/Telstra, or of his own volition, one can’t help but question the validity of his position as Communications Minister while he defecates all over one of the most important infrastructure projects Australia has ever seen.
This Is The End
Turnbull’s CommsDay speech, then his subsequent Lateline interview have given me much food for thought. It’s starting to become clear what the end game is, and I think I predicted this many moons ago. There is no intention of “finishing” the NBN in any sense of the word. There is an intention to spend big on networks that we don’t need to line the pockets of people who don’t care about comms.
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the “Telstra negotiations” aren’t so much about buying the network, as handing a fat sack of cash to Telstra to do what they will with while retaining ownership of the network. Why would NBN Co executives with shares in Telstra want to devalue the company?
This is gross negligence at best from Turnbull, but it’s becoming clear there is a definite hostility toward the comms sector, technologists, geeks, and anyone else who understands what the future holds.
Only an uninformed child would ever claim we ‘don’t know what the future holds’ regarding technology in one breath, then proclaim in the next that we ‘won’t need 1Gbps services’. Google begs to differ, NTT begs to differ, So-Net begs to differ, Telkom Akses begs to differ, well, you get the picture.
The crux of Turnbull’s arguments focus on politicising and utilising good old FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) to sway public opinion. Unfortunately for Turnbull, people are already well aware of the implications of slow internet, we are already aware of how bad the copper is: Telstra techs have been telling us for decades when they visit to “fix” our phone or internet service.
There’s no clarity to Turnbull’s talking points, they are designed to muddy the waters and deflect blame to Senator Conroy, even though the network is being hacked apart by Ziggy the Barbarian at Turnbull’s own behest.
To watch this happen breaks my heart, not for my own needs, but for the lost opportunity. In one fell swoop Turnbull has ripped billions out of regional investment scheduled for the next few years, stymied technology startups’ ability to leverage high speed internet, and most of all, lied to voters repeatedly before the election.
If there ever was a time to scream blue murder over a politician lying, this is it. This was intentional, this was deliberate, this was the plan.
I am not one to mince words, so I’ll put it like this: these acts are risking our futures, our children’s futures, and their children’s future. We are talking about a 50 year plan being destroyed, because, let’s face it: would you be ok with another $50b being spent to fix Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess?
Honestly, I could write for hours on this, but I grow weary of repeating the same things over and over. It’s clear most of our media, both tech and mainstream, have little interest in holding Turnbull to account, and neither does Labor.
This is why we’re in the position we are. I was so hopeful for Jason Clare, but unfortunately he understands as little about the NBN as Turnbull does. Focusing on a promise broken in December, rather than the wholesale destruction of the NBN. This, I feel, is worse than destroying the NBN itself.
The blame for Mal’s arrogant attitude toward both the destruction of the NBN, and technology in general, lands squarely at the feet of journalists unwilling to challenge any of his clear falsehoods. Instead of doing their job, many have resorted to copying press releases almost word for word, ignoring facts, and printing bald faced lies.
This needs to stop, and we have clear evidence of why. Instead of building infrastructure of the future, our “Infrastructure PM” is destroying it. Instead of dealing with the underlying problems of our communications network, they are going to be exacerbated. Instead of being journalists, we have hacks.
I know many become upset when I dismiss a whole profession with such words, but I am beyond caring these days. We have lost an opportunity all because of carelessness and bone idleness.
Don’t forget, almost all of Malcolm Turnbull’s actions since the election were spelt out in the fine print of his policies. Either journalists didn’t understand it, or they didn’t care. Something that should be concerning to readers and editors alike.