Policymaking should be about evidence-based improvement, not just leaving swathes of destruction around you. Yet, as the Coalition tries to ramrod data retention into existence, the real costs of policy self-obsession are once again becoming clear.
A view from the trenches of Australian telecommunications. As the name implies, it's a two-way conversation and we ask you not to pull any punches ... we won't.
As large as the US mainland but with a smaller population than Texas, Australia relies on ICT innovation to maintain its position as a first-world democracy and a role model for the developing Asia-Pacific region. Award-winning journalist David Braue has covered Australia’s IT and telecoms sectors since 1995 – and he’s as quick to draw lessons from their failures as to laud their successes.
Freed from competition by a single-minded government, NBN Co is free to cherry pick to its heart's content, drip feeding its fibre-to-the-basement services to Australia's wealthiest areas. Yet, with so many concessions made to Telstra and so much about the NBN still up in the air, there is still more lost than gained.
It's hard to know which is more interesting: That the NBN Co 2014-17 Corporate Plan readily admits that we still know almost nothing concrete about this government's multi-technology mix rollout, or that a leaked final version of the never-released 2013-16 plan suggests the previous government was indeed getting its act together.
An unreleased September 2013 draft of NBN Co's 2013-16 Corporate Plan suggests the previous board adjusted for rollout difficulties.
The Australian government expects the telecoms industry to passively wait while regulations are reworked to enable its multi-technology mix NBN, but this process has created new opportunities for market disruption. One of the biggest lies in the future of the Optus HFC network — and there is a strong argument for TPG to buy it.
Look beyond the call for an NBN Co split detailed in the latest instalment of the Vertigan review into the NBN, and you see a blueprint for a weaker telco regulator appear.
It wasn't too long ago that the Coalition was claiming that it would cost AU$3,600 per premises to build an FttP NBN. With NBN Co savings dropping per-premises costs towards AU$1,000, there's a valid argument that the Strategic Review and cost-benefit analysis no longer represent FttP's costs correctly.
NBN Co reacted hysterically to the publication of an internal trial review that found that FttP could be rolled out 61 percent faster and 50 percent cheaper than in previous rollouts. Here's what the company's Melton deployment trial taught it about managing contractors better.
We will all watch Apple's big iPhone 6 / iWatch announcement with interest, but for those who have already defected to something with a bigger screen – and there are many of us – the deep gadget lust of yesteryear will have been replaced with a more detached curiosity.
The Vertigan cost-benefit analysis has further downgraded the role of fibre in the multi technology mix (MTM) model for the NBN - even though it also suggests that fibre isn't as relatively expensive as it used to be. What are we to make of this?
Labor-hating has become so popular that few bother remembering the real reason FttP was introduced without a CBA in the first place. But as the Coalition crows about a cost-benefit analysis justifying an FttN NBN 10 times costlier than Labor's own FttN policy, it's worth taking time out for a reality check.
Malcolm Turnbull would have been quietly relieved to preside over the unveiling of Australia's first FttN NBN customers. But the launch did nothing to clarify questions around the government's relationship with Telstra, the competitive stance of the Coalition's NBN, and the nagging suspicion that Turnbull is digging himself into a deep, deep hole.
Smug Liberals will embrace Scales' assessment of Labor's NBN as vindication of their own position – but they're ignoring the double disaster towards which Malcolm Turnbull is steering the effort.
You know the NBN is dead when not even the FttN haters bother to shellac Malcolm Turnbull's blogs. As Telstra reasserts control over the NBN and the Coalition government flounders, can we actually expect anything from the NBN anymore?
As the country waits for the results of the NBN cost-benefit analysis (CBA) it's worth looking back over the NBN Strategic Review – and reconsidering whether its assumptions about the long-term value of NBN Co aren't excessively optimistic.