A broadband compromise is a good thing

A broadband compromise is a good thing

Summary: Last week the electorate had to choose between two broadband plans. This week, independent MP Rob Oakeshott says it's not a choice between rock or paper, there can also be scissors.


Last week the electorate had to choose between two broadband plans. This week, independent MP Rob Oakeshott says it's not a choice between rock or paper, there can also be scissors.

So what would a third plan look like? There's plenty of merit in considering a hybrid of the Labor and Coalition approach to broadband. The Coalition wants to reduce government investment while still seeing the need for faster, ubiquitous broadband. Labor's National Broadband Network policy has shifted over the last term of office, so what makes them certain they have the ideal plan now? The opportunity for a bipartisan evaluation of where we are headed could be a good thing.

For a start, it might be a chance to cast off the shackles of defending a business case that might not stack up commercially but provides a strong payback to the economy. It might also be an opportunity to look at interim strategies, making best use of available technologies while still heading to a fibre future.

Both major parties have been at loggerheads over the last few years. Across a number of portfolios an idea from the other side was, by default, a bad idea. Maybe this new political future is exactly what the National Broadband Network needed.

On today's Twisted Wire, Paul Budde joins the discussion, along with some sound grabs from other media over the last few days.

Running time: 31 minutes, 46 seconds

Topics: Broadband, Government AU, NBN


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • Blackspots can be fixed in most cases by DSL repeaters. You don't need to "whip" the copper out... There are so many options there.
  • Excellent, the only thing you missed is the argument that building a NBN now reduces waste, but otherwise i'm very impressed.
  • There is a business model that will deliver a much lower cost of public investment necessary, as well as deliver investment from the private sector. This model requires people with rational thinking who are not trying to create another monopoly or ego boost but a will to deliver a true operational platform for the country's good and this will drive economic benefits, social benefits and without sending the country broke. It will protect all the private companies who have already invested in core telecommunications infrastructure without the need to over build or put these companies out of business which seems to be the attitude of the current NBNCo. There is both a hybrid model and economic model that will deliver results of equity of access and equity of pricing across all of Australia and this can be done today with todays technology and in a potentially faster time scale than the NBNCo's. I believe that the NBNCo have selected technology which is currently not able to deliver the true open access platform and the touted speeds required on the hope that the technology supplier may get it right within the next year or 2 with little or no penalties for the supplier for non delivery. There is an alternative and middle ground to the current two political extremes and NBNCo does not have it right and will waste significant public funds. Happy to meet with the Independents and Greens and give them the end to end solution.
  • Wow, a bussiness model that does all that, and faster as well? How did everyone miss it!

    Did you factor in the additional years of discussion for this magic plan, that you didn't link to?
    Paul Krueger
  • Wow. Sounds almost like the magic pudding. Now all we need is for a few people to be able to look at this plan. But wait, it's so secret there is no link to this plan, no real name to the contributor.

    Can just imagine how everyone will be clamouring for this anonymous, secret magic pudding answer to be revealed a.s.a.p
  • Well it at least any discussion at all will be better than the current 'magic plan' the NBN which was suddenly announced by Labor without any prior discussion at all, it was not even on their platform when Rudd won the last election.
  • I'm all for accountability, but if you think the Coalition's (one side who supported the NBN and the other against) Broadband (not so magic) plan announced a few days before the election was any better thought out, well... once again you are showing your blind political bias at a forum meant for tech issues, advocate.

    Oh and don't forget - http://www.zdnet.com.au/could-election-stalemate-revive-fttn-nbn-339305427.htm
  • Well at least the Coalition plan was announced BEFORE the election unlike the NBN policy which was announced AFTER the last election when the announced Labor FTTN policy fell on its head.

    Australia has voted and if you take a hung parliament from August 21st as the first indicator of what communications policy Australians prefer it is split 50-50.

    As for your throwaway comment about political bias obviously what you mean is that anyone who dares to disagree with the NBN rollout is showing 'political bias, supporting the Labor NBN on the other hand is 'different' eh?
  • Oh look the standard answer, but, but, but...

    However, still no answer or any proof here - http://www.zdnet.com.au/could-election-stalemate-revive-fttn-nbn-339305427.htm

    Again I say, put up or shut up...!

    Also, had you read others comments and actually taken onboard what they said, you would already know, that prior to the election and post the coalition's filtering announcement, I congratulated the Coalition and said if they now came up with a decent NBN alternative (which they didn't, imo) they will have won me and surely, most IT people/enthusiasts vote.

    Missed that one eh? Perhaps you were too busy folding those how to vote Liberal papers!

    So, in relation to the NBN, rest assured if the Coalition wanted to build an NBN and Labor didn't I would be here supporting the coalition and bagging labor. And...

    Strangely, I bet you'd be here agreeing with me and hear hearing my copy/paste (as per the above URL). Yes the one, under the opposite circumstances, you are so desperately trying to avoid...!
  • Unfortunately the facts speak for themselves 50% of Australia do not want the NBN irrespective what all the 'experts' think we should have, and as the headline indicates a compromise is the only alternative, what this means in the final washup is guess work.

    The only 'decent alternative' won't necessarily be the NBN in its present form.
  • LOL......!

    You asked for proof, you received that proof and instead of either accepting the "experts (yes experts) proof" or showing us contrary proof as to why you incessantly kept bagging the NBN, you come up with a typical Abbott argument. You say, well... 50% don't want it anyway, LOL...!

    Well 50% do! Now what????? Argument A G A I N shot down in flames due to your ridiculous bias. Why should the 50% who don't count more than the 50% who do?

    However, in fact, last time I saw the numbers (and it may have changed) 50.67% wanted it (voted Labor/Greens) and 49.33% didn't. Then when you factor both Tasmania's (state) Libs and the Nationals supported an NBN, the number of NBN supporters who wanted an NBN but voted coalition regardless, could swell significantly! Then how many who voted for the independents actually want an NBN, too?

    We could therefore well surmise it's closer to 60% for 40% against, imho...!

    Gee, if you were a decent person sans ego getting in the way, you would have simply accepted the World Banks/OECD's views and moved on wiser for knowing the "actuals".

    But no you had to argue and still have to, argue, so here we are still.

    LOL... 50% = an overwhelming majority in Liberal eyes, LOL!!!

    Please don't stop, you keep us all sooooo amused. As such, I look forward to more lame excuses..... NOW!
  • Actually I apologise, that wasn't called for...!
  • Actually I apologise, that wasn't called for...!
  • And twice apparently, lol!
  • The situation concerning the Government and the NBN project is in a state of disarray and to some extent will not be able to be resolved until it is known which political Party forms Government.

    It would seem that Mr Abbott will become Prime Minister very soon and that will have serious consequences for the NBN Co. roll-out. Consideration for every player in the Industry will need to happen with the possibility of Telstra maintaining its dominant position and playing a major role in the dispensation of better services to Australians.

    Those with the poorest Internet and Communication services (people who live in areas outside the cities) should be given priority when planning the upgrade. Consideration should be given to a FTTN network as an improved service system until money becomes available for a full FTTP delivery.

    It has been agreed that the cost of deploying several competing systems would not be economically possible, so the fact is that Telstra must be the backbone of the operation, and supplier of finance and technological knowledge, and this would be a good foundation for a solution that the Prime Minister must soon provide.
  • Gee fancy that... Sydney wants another (further) Telstra monopoly... what a surprise!
  • The NBN Co will also be a monopoly overseen by the ACCC just like Telstra is today and has been for 13 years.

    But the NBN Co will be a more 'friendly monopoly' because err it just will be, any company that doesn't have any competitors is always friendly and benign!
  • No ua usual... Bee Bah. That's the incorrect buzzer again advocate. At least you are consistent.

    Even you would understand that the NBN is retail, whereas Telstra is err, both retailer and wholesaler, which brings in conflict of interest.

    Had Telstra been separated prior to the sale, we would have rid ourselves of a lot of the problems. But then your hero, wouldn't have recieved as much for Telstra, so...
  • If you are going to respond at least get your facts right, the NBN is not retail as you stated it is wholesale only, you also ignore the fact that Telstra Wholesale does at least have wholesale ADSL competitors, the NBN Co fixed line monopoly will not, you buy your FTTH plan off the NBN Co or as a ISP you don't retail fixed line BB at all.