Despite Labor woes, Turnbull mum on costs

Despite Labor woes, Turnbull mum on costs

Summary: As Kevin Rudd prepares to challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the Labor leadership on Monday, the Coalition is calling for an election as soon as possible, but Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is still holding out on releasing costings for the alternative broadband plan he would take to the election.

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As Kevin Rudd prepares to challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the Labor leadership on Monday, the Coalition is calling for an election as soon as possible, but Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is still holding out on releasing costings for the alternative broadband plan he would take to the election.

Malcolm Turnbull

(Credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull)

The Federal Labor caucus will hold a ballot at 10am on Monday to determine the leadership of the Labor party.

A number of ministers have lined up to support the Prime Minister in her bid to keep the top job, including Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon.

Meanwhile, at the Broadcasting 2012 summit in Sydney today, Turnbull devoted a good portion of his speech to mocking the leadership spectacle between Rudd and Gillard, joking that the most pressing matter for the Australian Communications and Media Authority was to determine whether the leadership battle would be classified as "Australian drama content".

Turnbull shrugged off suggestions from Independent MP Rob Oakeshott this morning that Turnbull should have another run at the Liberal party leadership — instead saying that voters wanted another election. Yet, he would not say whether the Coalition had a broadband policy costed and ready for a pending election.

"I'm not going to be trapped into picking a particular figure like that. We would not have gone about this in the way they have done, but ... we have got to make the best of the mess they have left us with."

However, Turnbull was ready to provide an estimate that will scale back the fibre deployment in brownfields areas to fibre to the cabinet 500 metres or a kilometre from the home, which would save about a third of the costs of the NBN roll-out.

"If you can reduce the civil works through not overbuilding infrastructure that is capable of providing effective high-speed broadband and using legacy infrastructure where you can, particularly in the last kilometre or 500 metres or so, in a way that does not compromise your broadband objective, you can dramatically reduce costs," he told journalists at a press conference after the speech.

"It depends on the geography, but the best ballpark figure I can give you is overall, in terms of averages, a fibre-to-the-cabinet approach in brownfield areas is about a third of the cost of fibre to the premises."

Turnbull again promised to deliver fast broadband quicker than the NBN, and at a more affordable price for consumers, but he said that, should the Coalition get into power, as communications minister he wouldn't "rip up the NBN" or bring an end to NBN Co.

"We can't turn the clock back," he said. "We're stuck with NBN Co and we're stuck with the NBN."

Depending on the outcome of Monday's ballot, Conroy's future as the communications minister is unclear. Should Rudd regain leadership, given Conroy's strong public comments against his former leader yesterday, it is unlikely he would remain in the Cabinet.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU

About

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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22 comments
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  • Why would Mr Turnbull or any member of the Coalition say anything to anyone whilst Labor is busy infighting and destroying any last image of competancy?
    Knowledge Expert
    • Maybe because Australians deserve an answer? Or is it your logic that because Labor are fighting amongst themselves we don’t deserve one? Considering the coalition clowns want to win power in 2013 it's the least they can do. Just remember this is a party who has whined about "waste" for the last 3 years so we should know exactly how much they are planning to waste considering we'll have to upgrade their patchwork mess in 5 years anyway.

      As for Turnbull what a pıssweak joke. His plan is to "deliver fast broadband quicker" that's great. As I said on Delimiter I'll be expecting MY connection regardless of medium used to achieve at least 101/41mbps in 2016. So he thinks a cabinet 500 -1000 meters from my house can manage that? That's their promise if they don’t deliver it will be considered a failure... and yes since Turnbull was deliberately vague and neglected to define "fast" and "quicker" I'll define them by what I, NBNco and the rest of the world consider fast.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • You seemed to have changed your song book. I think I recall you making statements along the lines of " nothing but fibre" is acceptable for your personal connection.
        Knowledge Expert
        • I haven’t changed my "song book" at all but you wont find anywhere where I've said "nothing but fibre" I suspect that one is just part of your imagination. I endorse a FTTH network because currently that is the best option. If something better comes along like that magical wireless star trek subspace technology the Turnbull/FTTN patchwork plan apologists have been dreaming of then I’m ready to listen. That’s the difference between me and the Luddites, I’m ready to listen to alternative plans you and your type have this adamant “anything but fibre” attitude all for political and emotional reasons, I am not emotionally attached to fibre the way you and others are emotionally attached to redundant copper networks… So the coalition wants to be "technology agnostic" right? So tell us which technology is capable of delivering 100/40mbps consistently to the majority of premises in 2012 and which technology is capable of delivering 1000/400mbps consistently to the majority of premises in 2021+. If the answer is fibre then continue NBN rollout.
          Hubert Cumberdale
          • I cannot help think thou protests too much. However it is of little importance.
            Just as we all pour scorn of the fellow who said to the effect very few computers will be needed, I hesitate to say the end all is fibre, quite simply we don't know. I did read whilst in Hong Kong last week about significant advances in wireless technology. looking around me I saw many young people with some type of smart phone. I just wonder if these people will drive technology.
            Knowledge Expert
          • "I hesitate to say the end all is fibre, quite simply we don't know."

            So explain your solution if we "don't know", are we to twiddle our thumbs all day long waiting for the unknown or get on with the job with a proven technology we have.




            "I did read whilst in Hong Kong last week about significant advances in wireless technology."

            If those advances in wireless technology can keep up with advances in optical fibre technology then you may have a point.



            "looking around me I saw many young people with some type of smart phone."

            That must have been very disconcerting for you...




            "I just wonder if these people will drive technology."

            We'll it's certainly not going to be Tony Abbott and his zoo crew chums.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • That's the point Hubes, I don't know what is best and yes something had to be done. One should keep an open mind and consider options.
            Let's not forget the genesis of this broadband, it was the back of envelope stuff, but hey it could be the solution, albeit rather expensive.
            Knowledge Expert
        • The only one who changes the songbook is Doubt.

          One day pragmatically saying the NBN is what is needed let's just get on with it and the next, back slapping, those of the white elephant, socialist monopolist persuasion.

          But then what do they say about women and their prerogatives?
          Beta-9f71a
          • Yes I agree I am capable of listening, and learning. I will accept new ideas and views and not stick my head in the sand and preach a redundant perspective.

            Perhaps you could consider your views especially about women. I don't think your last sentence was particually appropriate!
            Knowledge Expert
  • Developers know that NBN fibre is already on every greenfield homebuyer's wishlist. British Rail built steam locomotives right up to 1960 which had a 25-year useful life, despite commencing a rail modernisation program in 1955. From 1965, it began scrapping those near-new steam locomotives. FTTN cabinets need fibre feeds, electricity supply and cooling fans for their switches, in order to deliver a signal on 1950s-style copper to every premises. In five years they will be obsolete. Then who will run new fibre strands from exchange to premises? Turnbull would create a nation of housing estates trapped on a RIM-like cheapskate infrastructure, with no-one to pay for the fibre that should have happened now.
    umbria
    • Funny though that BT has rolled out exactly what you are critising.
      Knowledge Expert
      • Funny indeed, because you think they would have learnt, eh? But...
        Beta-9f71a
      • Funny that BT has an entirely different copper network to here in Australia, with far more houses packed into the same area we have down under.
        Especially considering NZ has abandoned their FTTN (with all that money into nodes wasted) and is moving to FTTH.
        An old saying, only a rich man can afford cheap shoes. Why? Because by the time you replace your cheap thing a few times, you've wasted far more than you'd have spend buying quality straight up.
        DamianR1
        • When you consider our major cities, many people live in high density housing, maybe in those situations some form of aggregation would make sense. It doesn't need to be one size fits all.
          Knowledge Expert
          • Agreed - and there are already commercially avaialbe copper systems offering 500Mbps. Talk of upcoming 1G in the sidelines. Will probably see a slow migration to fiber though but be that as it may be - would hate to see us painted in a corner with current fibre biased thinking where we go a build a white elephant not even compatible with future fiber advances. It is still early days for fiber technology.
            Rossyduck
          • "would hate to see us painted in a corner with current fibre biased thinking where we go a build a white elephant not even compatible with future fiber advances."

            I'm guessing you have no understanding of how fibre works then.
            To upgrade fibre, you replace the bits of equipment on each end (a very easy and cheap upgrade), the fibre in the ground remains exactly the same. And putting the fibre in the ground is the single most expensive part of the project, thanks to labor costs mainly.

            Check out this link to discover the reality of the situation.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a2ne1WKxek&feature=related

            "It is still early days for fiber technology."

            Fibre has been used for communications at least 40 years. Hardly early days.
            DamianR1
          • +1
            Beta-9f71a
    • I think telephone services have been delivered by copper cable earlier than the 1950's. You do bring up a good point. The engineers who designed ADSL are really clever people. After all the telephone cable was designed for DC signaling and bandwidth of 300 - 3.4 KHz. They have managed to gain respectable digital broadband across those copper wires. Not enough for future needs but pretty good interim services.
      Knowledge Expert
      • Indeed.

        As I have said before what we have is a PSTN (you do know what the T stands for?) and it has been ok (I even used the word interim, thanks for taking notes).

        But now copper is well and truly obsolete, time to move. It's not really that hard to understand eh?
        Beta-9f71a
        • I am not sure of the point you are attempting to make in this post. Perhaps you could educate me on the meaning of the letter T?
          Knowledge Expert