It’s time to depoliticise the NBN – Let’s focus on building it? – EFTM
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It’s time to depoliticise the NBN – Let’s focus on building it?

Everyone has an agenda - everyone.

The NBN is a great hot-button issue, it fires up people who think it’s a waste of taxpayers money, and fires up those who want it sooner or better in their home.  But is it really right, or possible to say “who’s to blame”?

That’s the question asked by Waleed Aly on The Project tonight on Channel 10.  A very slick, well researched piece on the NBN today, where it came from, what has changed.

But in fitting all that info into a short TV spot like this, some corners have to be cut, but also – to make it juicy and sharable, some opinion had to be thrown in.  It’s the very end I have the biggest issue with.

Aly says “If you’re watching this right now on the internet, and you had to wait for even a second for this video to buffer, you know who to blame – Tony Abbott and the guy who he says invented the internet.” – referring of course to Malcolm Turnbull.

Here’s the segment:

#WhoToBlameWaleed talks about #WhoToBlame for the NBN #TheProjectTVWritten by Waleed & Tom Whitty (@twhittyer)

Posted by The Project on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

You see the issue is this – if you “had to wait even a second” we’re assuming you don’t have the NBN.  So if we’re blaming Abbot and Turnbull for that, are we to assume that by now each and every Australian would have the NBN if the Coalition had not won government?

No, they wouldn’t.  I’m not even going to speculate on how many would have it.  Because under the original Fibre to the Home (FTTH) NBN roll-out, the schedule was not being met.  There were delays.  There were also cost blow-outs.

Yep, my political leanings have been pretty clear for some time, I’d take the Coalition over Labor any day.  But I also fought quite hard before the election to say we were best served by a FTTH network – but that we really don’t know the genuine cost.  I’m a realist.

At the time of the election the Coalition were trying to speculate that it could cost $80billion.  Fact is, we’ll never know.  Because we scrapped that plan.  We will never  – ever – know what the true and final cost of rolling out a FTTH NBN network would cost.  Don’t let Senator Stephen Conroy’s condescending attitude in Senate Estimates toward the NBNCo CEO Bill Morrow fool you – he’s just dirty he lost government.  Deep down he knows that it’s impossible – literally impossible to know what the FTTH roll out would have cost overall once complete – or what progress would have been made to this date on the roll out.

NBN_Co_QLD_SiteVisit (35)

Ask yourself this – Which was the last government infrastructure project that was completed on time and on-budget.  It doesn’t happen – and certainly not with a project that must touch each and every single home in Australia.

The Labor party lost the election.  The Labor party lost government.  FTTH was lost with that election.

Yes, FTTH is the best possible long-term solution to our broadband internet needs.

No, no government could have survived spending excessive billions on trying to roll it out – there is not an appetite in widespread mainstream Australia for that kind of infrastructure spending on “The Internet”.

NBN_Co_QLD_SiteVisit (28)

Yes, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbot stopped the NBN roll out and put the NBNCo’s focus onto a different solution.  But surely any reasonable person can see that not digging up every street, and every front yard of every home in every town in Australia is going to save time and money – it’s common sense.

No, we won’t get 1Gbps speeds via most of the “Multi-Technology Mix” solutions being rolled out under the current NBN.

Yes, the speeds being offered are vastly superior to those being offered today via ADSL to most Australian homes.

No, the NBN is not spending $56billion of taxpayers funds as The Project might have you believe, the Government contribution is capped at $29.5billion – because the current government installed an astute businessman in Bill Morrow to lead the NBN he has a plan to finance and raise the additional funds required to build the entire NBN.

NBN-Full-Year-Results-Presentation-02-hr

Yes, the NBN under the current government is taking longer than they said it would prior to the election – just continues to reinforce the fact that nothing governments ever do happens on-time.

No, Constant scrutiny and gamesmanship let along politicking isn’t helping at all – the NBN executive have to sit through ridiculous politicking in Senate Estimates watching Senators in a pissing contest while wasting the time of the highly paid executives sitting in front of them.

Yes, we all wish we could have Fibre to the Home.  It would be great.  But it would take a ridiculous amount of time to complete, and heaven help our debt levels when it is.

NBN_Co_QLD_SiteVisit (6)

Until the “MTM” NBN is complete we’ll just have to wait – perhaps if we just pay a little attention and realise that right now there is a plan in place with dates or timeframes for almost every home in Australia – and actually focus our efforts on benchmarking the NBNCo against that – instead of constantly bickering about something that cannot be changed – that being who won the election and “which” NBN is being implemented – we’d get some real action.

Let’s hold the NBN team to account for their current plan – the dates they’ve set.  That’s really all we should be focussed on.

If you’re at all interested in the actual NBN today, and the MTM concept – here’s some details:)

 

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Opinion

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
2 Comments on this post.
  • Robert Rigby
    7 April 2016 at 10:38 am
    Leave a Reply

    I noticed that some comments, particularly on Facebook were attempting to convey that the Project story was balanced in that they did include acknowledgement that the Labor plan would probably have suffered cost blowouts. But those concessions from Waleed Aly only came as a throwaway at the end of the piece after they had already painted a picture in the viewer’s minds with graphs outlining that the Coalition plan was “much, much slower” and costing $11 million more. Of course we all want FTTH but can we afford it just now?

  • Robert Rigby
    7 April 2016 at 1:33 pm
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    Sorry… $11 BILLION

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