Any NBN is a threat to Foxtel

Any NBN is a threat to Foxtel

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that the Coalition's NBN policy is just as much of a threat to Foxtel as Labor's NBN.


Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has sought to dismiss a "conspiracy theory" suggesting that Rupert Murdoch has set his media outlets in Australia against the Labor government because the AU$37.4 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) is a perceived threat to Foxtel.

The theory, which has been floated on Twitter and a number of blogs for several months, made its way into the Sunday Herald yesterday, with columnist Paul Sheehan suggesting that the NBN is "a threat to the business model" of Foxtel, which is jointly owned by Telstra and News Corporation.

Sheehan said that the Coalition's alternative, which would scale back the fibre-to-the-premises network to a majority fibre-to-the-node network, is preferred by Murdoch.

Turnbull struck back in a blog post yesterday, labelling Sheehan's article as "quite misconceived", and saying that the threat the internet poses to Foxtel depends on access to fast broadband, something that he claimed the Coalition would be able to deliver to all Australians by 2016, well before Labor's proposed completion date of June 2021.

He said that Foxtel's greatest threat, Netflix, would only require 6Mbps speeds in order to stream HD video, significantly less than the 25Mbps minimum the Coalition is promising under its policy.

"[Murdoch] would be better off backing Labor's NBN, because he knows that not only will the day of ubiquitous very fast broadband be delayed for many years, even decades, it will also be available at a much higher cost," Turnbull said.

"The Coalition's plan for the NBN will bring the day of reckoning much sooner."

The theory also counters Foxtel's recent efforts to get into IPTV. Last week, the company launched its IPTV service Foxtel Play, which allows customers to subscribe to the service on a month-to-month basis, and access it through their PC, Mac, Xbox 360, or Samsung smart TV.

Foxtel's director of product Michael Ivanchenko told ZDNet that the company is even holding off on offering HD streams until broadband speeds in Australia have improved.

Topic: NBN


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Mal missing the point as usual and nobody calls him on it

    The strategic threat to foxtel is that the higher uploads using fiber potentially make it easier for everybody a content producer, over time chipping away at foxtels monopoly... less people watching crap cable and more people spending time on youtube = less money for Mr Murdoch.

    That he's sitting there, rattling on about how everybody can still watch Foxtel IPTV on FTTN perfectly showcases either his disingenuous electioneering or the loose grasp on the issues at hand- take your pick, although I suspect it's the former, rather than the latter.
    • Why are content creators materially affected?

      It's not like they'll be streaming content from home. Don't worry you'll continue to get your hamster stares from YouTube (the little that it's worth).

      Sheehan's article and the twitter universe are a laugh; highlighting unprecedented govt incompetency is now evidence of a deeper conspiracy.
      Richard Flude
      • Losing a monopoly position?

        "Why are content creators materially affected?"

        I honestly don't believe they would be, and the NBN has the potential to be hugely useful for them, but they're less than willing to embrace a future where they're not monopolising the distribution medium.

        "Highlighting unprecedented govt incompetency is now evidence of a deeper conspiracy."

        The report's taking issue with the amount of highlighting being done, not the fact it's being highlighted. The same information has been in other publications, just not reported quite as hysterically as in the Murdoch media (or by yourself).
      • you still have to upload it somewhere

        The issue i have with the coalitions FTTN is they've stated a download speed, but i really need better upload bandwidth and thats still an unknown.

        Also The idea that you only need 6Mbps for video is great in theory, but if the FTTN has issues regarding copper this could slow down. Also you need to look at it from the point of view, that someone might want to be working from home, while one child is watching a movie, their partner could also be watching something else. It soon stacks up and this is how everything will be delivered in the future.

        I'm more than happy to say the Labours NBN rollout is not great, but the liberals FTTN plan has too many unknowns. I just hope if they win the election, they'll keep the FTTP plan and just do it better. Somehow though I feel the FTTN plan will happen and it too will take too long due to all sorts of unforseen issues. I have no faith in either political party right now.
        Justin Watson
  • Movies over corroded copper?

    Come on Mal, nobody's fooled by your BS!
  • NBN

    The NBN will not affect foxtell cause half of the common people of the Australian population can barely even use a computer and are to addicted to smoking in front of the TV
    Rupert Murdoch is just and power hungry little old man who cant see the bigger picture only his bank book.
    The NBN is vital and must go ahead in the present form without delay by the demand for more smart phones and tablets and there dependence on the internet to be smart. For social media and even for everyday banking all i can say is get with the times.
    • AFR (Fairfax) joins the conspiracy

      "As the money runs out, Australians are now paying the price for the lack of productivity-enhancing economic reforms since John Howard’s 2000 GST tax reform. Worse, Labor has taken Australia backwards in key areas of economic regulation, such as the job market, as it has governed for the trade union powerbrokers who run the party (and removed Mr Rudd from office three years ago). Under Mr Rudd and former treasurer Wayne Swan, Labor bungled tax reform, ambushed the mining industry with an extreme resource rent tax and descended into divisive class warfare rhetoric. And, after removing Mr Rudd, Ms Gillard indulged the politics of minority government by breaking her no-carbon-tax promise and saddling business with one of the highest carbon taxes in the world."

      Rupert's reach is simply amazing;-)
      Richard Flude
      • Yes it is

        Do you know why the AFR has shifted stance?. A clue - management changes in the last couple of years
        Abel Adamski
        • Not management, but editorial

          Few of us continued to read the leftoid rubbish AFR was spewing before Michael Stutchbury was brought back across to save it. Fairfax would do well to get a few more opinions other than groupthink in their other broadsheets before they all go broke.
          Richard Flude
  • Australian NBN

    Richard, nice trolling, I mean anyone that praises Murdoch's "reach" clearly is unappreciative of the fact that a corporation is dictating your thinking. You carry on as if the Liberal and Greens Party are saints.... Balance it by reading some Independent Australia, might make you a better person

    Back to the
    • The greens?

      Funniest post ever, taken the prize from RS obsolete one. Good work.

      Oops, I didn't get approval from my corporate masters before posting;-)
      Richard Flude
  • Disagree

    There is a massive difference.
    The FTTP and FTTN OFFERS Video on demand as a data stream which will be part of the data cap (except maybe Telstra/Foxtel)
    The FTTP will offer a multicast product
    Consider a major event being broadcast in HD, 6Mb x 1Million viewers on data stream alone concurrent discrete streams.
    Compared with that same 6Mb stream multicast to most of that 1Mill.

    What impact on the National Network.

    Note the discussion on limiting "abuse" by the OTT downloaders saturating the network, with Telstra trialing DPI - competition enhanced.?
    Abel Adamski
    • Any IP network can support multicast

      It isn't restricted to FTTH
      Richard Flude
      • True Lib, not the same thing, but good try

        The FTTH version has the multicast as an element of the data stream (the currently 2.5 Gb to be upgraded to 10 then 40Gb) as each NTD looks at the entire available spectrum per node the Multicast can be separately decoded to one of the 4 Ports leaving the capped broadband service unaffected.
        The FTTN version has the same potential capability at the active equipment in the node, however it is provided to the customer over the VDSL as part of their usage. Considering many will have maybe only 25Mb and that this would mean either RSP having to have equiment in each active cabinet (How many?, maybe 50,000+ cabinets to do 50Mb min), or have switching control over the NBN's active equipment on the NODE.
        Abel Adamski
        • RSP wouldn't have to locate equipment in node

          Just multicast would need to be enabled at the wholesale network level. The fibre to the node and backhaul can have the same capacity as FTTH. True fewer multicast streams will be possible to the end user given the bandwidth constraints of copper vs fibre (but what capacity is required?).

          In regards to bandwidth consumption vs pricing multicast data could be separately accounted for trivially in the network.

          Yes FTTN will not have the four data - 2 voice ports of NBNCo current model (bizarre model anyway) but similar functionality can be provided at a software rather than hardware level (including virtual circuits, traffic prioritisation, QOS, etc). We do it on ip networks all the time.
          Richard Flude
  • Murdochracy is government by organized crime!

    You expect me to believe after 4 years of endless tirades against the NBN in his newspapers from it’s commencement that he is “opposing the NBN” in our national interest.
    It’s quite clear that without his monopoly on the distribution system his business model is broken, what kinda moron want’s to buy a hundred channels of home shopping and endless repeats and sports they aren’t interested in watching just to get Game Of Thrones.
    The way of the future is program on demand with no ads minus all the stuff nobody want to watch. No ads no Murdochracy business model.
    To say the NBN is no threat to Murdoch is clearly baloney.
    If Murdoch truly thought the NBN was a great idea why then isn’t he supporting it, there are after all many other ways to attack the labor government considering the public largely supports this project?
    Is there any great certainty that Mal’s NBN is going to proceed? Tony has repeatedly stated over the years that wireless is the big thing and that any NBN is a white elephant!

    Tony today is now stating after being questioned about revenue to balance his spending proposals is promising a Tax and spending revue after the election.

    What happens when after the election Tony decides due to the “huge hidden expenditures of the Labor Government and their creation of a deteriorating economy and a massive deficit” the Liberal Government has now decided that any expenditure into any NBN is “unaffordable” and is a white elephant anyway because wireless is the future, the NBN assets will be “given to Telstra and no more of the $11Bd will be paid out. All telecommunications infrastructure would now be privately funded and built with the government having no role at all.

    Are we all going to jump around at furious demonstrations with Alan Jones and the Rooty Hill RSL mob and scream Tonyliar.
    Kevin Cobley
  • Why has the NBN menu Button dissappeared fom the top of the Znet page?

    All those huge titles of real tasty media interest like "BYOD", "SMB", "CXO" but what's happened to NBN?
    Kevin Cobley
  • Perspective

    Especially read the comments
    Abel Adamski