Doing Things Wrong The Right Way

824063-malcolm-turnbullFor years I have argued that FTTP is the right way to do a National Broadband Network, so I thought I’d write an article on how to do things wrong the right way.

With comms, it’s easy to get things wrong, even with the best intentions. Ambition is the main driver behind getting things wrong, & while the NBN was the right tech, the ambition of driving a new technology sector was too much for our substandard construction companies to handle.

So how can changing the technology speed up a deployment when it’s the construction companies that are the problem? It can’t. If anything, changing technology now will slow the rollout down. Changing to FTTN adds new layers of complexity to an already highly complex system, this is something that has been spoken about at great length in the tech community, but seems to have been ignored by & large by many non-tech journalists.

With this in mind, we can see that any claim of a “sooner” NBN is dwindling. As of today, NBN Co needs to deploy almost 8000 services a day, & this number is going up every day the deployment is delayed.

Don’t forget, this is only to hook up 65% of Turnbull’s 8 698 000 services “by 2016″ (whatever that means), the remaining 35% will not be completed until 2019.

So we’ve established that Turnbull is doing things wrong the wrong way. He has changed technology & done nothing to alleviate the construction shortfall. There are unverified reports that NBN Co has come to a grinding halt, & with the news that NBN Co’s head of Network Operations, Leisel Ramjoo, has resigned, things are looking dire for the project.

What Turnbull has done over the last 50 days is to throw a spanner in NBN Co’s works, slowing the rollout to crawl, & prompting (more demanding) mass resignations since the election. The reviews are being conducted by Turnbull’s mates, showing a massive conflict of interest.

What could Turnbull do to make this better? For a start, don’t slow the rollout down. Ramp up the FTTP deployment while you do your reviews, it’s pretty simple, & what Turnbull claimed he was doing.

The next thing to do is have open reviews, not these private enterprise reviews that are set up to find in favour of a hacked together plan designed to “destroy the NBN”. Actually get some telecoms professionals in to do the review, rather than ex-Telstra executives who are also your best mates.

Finally, listen to voters. Sure, you won an election, but you didn’t win it on the back of your policies. In fact, more people voted for pro-FTTP parties than pro-FTTN/inaction parties. If anything, you can’t count parties that think the NBN should be cancelled toward the pro-FTTN camp, as they don’t want either. This further diminishes any mandate Turnbull has to deploy FTTN.

While Turnbull reiterates that he is “technology agnostic”, it’s clear that’s not the party line. Tony Abbott has made this clear in his interview with Washington Post journalist Lally Weymouth. When asked what he thought of the FTTP plan from the previous ALP government, the reply was quite clear:

Welcome to the wonderful, wacko world of the former government.

For the Liberal party, it seems, FTTP is a wacko idea. Not exactly the language of a government committed to being “technology agnostic”, or that has even admitted to the growing reality that FTTP will be needed in as little as 5 years.

There’s no walking away from the reality that the Liberal party are telling half truths when it comes to being open to FTTP, if anything this casts doubt on any CBA, review, or audit of NBN Co being fair & independent. The conclusion has already been made & the government is paying their mates to find in favour of the predetermined outcomes.

The only saving grace of the NBN is if Ziggy “I don’t deploy stuff” Switkowski remembers his executive team’s comments from 10 years ago:

I think it is right to suggest that ADSL is an interim technology. It is probably the last sweating, if you like, of the old copper network assets. In copper years, if you like, we are at a sort of transition – we are at five minutes to midnight. – Tony Warren

And because the Liberal party likes context, here’s Bill Scales, from the same senate committee during the Howard government:

The only point of clarification, just so that there is no misunderstanding, is that when we think about the copper network, we are still thinking about 10 years out. So five minutes to midnight in this context – Bill Scales

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