NBN for broadcasting, not broadband: Libs

NBN for broadcasting, not broadband: Libs

Summary: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has labelled the National Broadband Network as the "Nationalised Broadcasting Network", and said the business case did not make the NBN a better investment in a press conference in Sydney today.


Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has labelled the National Broadband Network (NBN) as the "Nationalised Broadcasting Network", and said its business case did not make it a better investment.

Turnbull and Abbott

(Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

"[It] should probably be called the Nationalised Broadcasting Network given the information we now have. It's pretty obvious that the main usage for the NBN is going to be internet-based television, video entertainment and gaming," Abbott said in a press conference in Sydney today.

"Now as far as the Coalition is concerned, there's nothing wrong with any of this but given all of the infrastructure needs facing Australia … it's far from clear that this is really a sensible investment."

Abbott said that Telstra and Optus already pass more homes than the 1.7 million NBN Co promised would be connected by 2013 in the document. He said the broadband access costs were comparable to what was already available and that in 10 years only one third of households would be using applications that require 1Gb speeds.

He noted there were also no provisions in the document for customers who only want a basic telephone service, and no internet connection.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull noted that the taxpayer contribution had risen from $26 billion to $27.5 billion. He said the network would be "burning cash well into the 2020s" while not offering prices to consumers lower than what is available today.

"This is no Nirvana of cheaper broadband for Australians," Turnbull said.

He said that areas in regional Australia with inadequate broadband would have broadband now available to them under the Coalition's cancelled OPEL plan if the Coalition had been re-elected in 2010, and estimated that metropolitan blackspots could have been rectified in just one year, not the nine years it would take for NBN Co to roll-out broadband across the country.

Turnbull said the document released today was "not really a business plan".

"This has just got summary financials. The business plan was 400 pages, this has got 160. It has assumed that there are going to be very solid cash flows in 2040," he said. "You're going to have to wait decades for this business to throw off serious cash."

Abbott and Turnbull used the conference to again call for a cost-benefit analysis for the network.

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, 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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  • How anyone can still take these two super Luddites seriously anymore is beyond me AND they are still trying to peddle their dismal OPEL plan. lol.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • Horse and carriages... that's all the infrastructure we'll be left with with Libs. Smoke signals would cost extra. But we'll be rich with zero debt. Any takers ?
    Azizi Khan
  • Farout the Coalition are insane! talk about Luddites, basically a perfect definition of the word. They got what they asked for, a business case and whats more it works. By the looks of things its going to work just great. wake up guys :-)
  • Well my friends (Hubert, Fred9999 and aforce) you three better get used to living with luddites and fred you should by yourself a saddle. As sure as God made little apples Gillard and Conroy are history - the only issue is when. Mid-2011 I'm guessing. NSW will be an absolute disaster for Labor in March 2011 and the Labor feds will soon follow. You guys just do not get it - the bulk of the Aussie electorate does not want or need 100Mbs. As I keep repeating in these posts the US have a universal target of 4Mbs and the UK 2Mbs - of course those trivial countries are also luddites. As as for the Gillard government managing the roll out of an NBN - well that really does cause one to lol.
  • I am waiting for the rollout to be named "building the NBN revolution"
    Blank Look
  • Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull do not know what they are talking about, it seems. When They were in government the conservatives steadfastly refused to accept the Telstra and their own stupid policies were reducing Australia to a third world country. I tried to get them to change their approach and failed - ten years ago, when I proposed a scheme similar to the NBN that then would have cost $6 billion. Thanks to their lack of imagination and foresight, we now have to pay a lot more - but it is still worth it...and more! Better today than tomorrow...or never, if Abbott becomes PM!!
  • The only one who doesn't get it is YOU. Citing whatever the US or UK targets are is demonstrable proof of that. Go back to whirlpool dummy.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • First they scream for the busines scase and whne thye get it. Find nothing they can fault it on, except rhetoric....

    "....said the network would be "burning cash well into the 2020s" while not offering prices to consumers lower than what is available today..."

    Point one, you cant get these speeds, much less this pricing in the bush at all. I would kill for these speeds and pricing in Dandenong, Port Hedland or Warwick.

    Point two, @brianab "..the bulk of the Aussie electorate does not want or need 100Mbs...." I work in an industry that requires, NEEDS, regional bandwidth for our operations. You don't speak for me, my industry, or the thousands of Australians who would love to live regionally rather than pay city pricing on their housing and other ammenities.

    But then you already know this, because you're obviously working through a reasonable broadbank link your self? Or perhaps still using dialup?
  • Dear PJ - I am well aware that I do not speak for your industry or, for that matter, any other Aussie except myself. FYI I have ADSL2 running at wellover 5Mbs all the time and a Telstra broadband wireless MODEM running over 3Mbs.

    I do not dispute that high speed fibre is needed in all regional centres and country towns. My whole arguement is based on the thesis that you do NOT need to run fibre past every house in every back street! That's where the bulk of the $36B is - digging trenches and hanging cables off trees. Of course local goverment, police, hospitals, business ect ect needs high speed fibre but Joe Blow at No 34 Back St Anywhere does not! In fact he does not even own a computer. All the propeller heads who want high speed bandwidth so they can play their games and download movies can have it - and pay for it! Why should all the Aussie taxpayers have to pay for something they will not use and don't want?
  • Brian you said -

    "I am well aware that I do not speak for your industry or, for that matter, any other Aussie except myself".

    Then went on to say...

    "Why should all the Aussie taxpayers have to pay for something they will not use and don't want"?


    How regrettable (with 2 t's) eh?
  • It would seem among the "Joe Blows" you mention, you need to include Abbott & Turnbull...both seem to be prospective purchasers for C-64's once they grasp the basics.

    Games & movies???
    Would be great to be able to do some important research online without having to wait 3 mins for each webpage to load + regular drop-outs as I'm compelled to suffer on Telstra's anchient copper at present.
  • Ah RS - methinks you clutch at straws. Why not answer the substance of my post?

    Should we really run fibre down every back street of Australia?
    Do private home owners really need 100Mbs?
    If our proposed NBN is so great at 100Mbs why is the USA and UK so lacking in ambition with their national universal standards?
    What if at the expiration of 10 years (or 20 years) the wonderful NBN is finally rolled out at God only knows what cost if it then transpires that other technologies have completely swamped fibre fixed line comms what then about Quigley's ROI?

    Answer those questions if you will.

    I have not checked this post for either grammar or spelling - trust I have not offended your sensibilites.

  • This is not even a business case, it would only pass as toilet paper

    There isn't any substantial modelling/costings, whatsoever, to give a basis for the figures which NBNCo could have just as easily pulled out of its arse. All thats in the plan is more "sales pitch and evaluating long term goals" plus the figures that they pulled out of thing air

    The original business case was 400 pages, this one is 160. So either 60% of the business case is CIC material, or Conroy is hiding something or both.

    Furthermore no business case would sanely give a figure of ~7% ROI over a 30 year term period as being "likely". Most business cases would be careful to make predictions over 5-10 years, 30 is laughable. I mean in 30 years any of this could happen

    - Labor voted out of power
    - Critical legislation does not get passed (due to Independents like Xenophon) or gets heavily delayed
    - Telstra shareholders disapprove the deal
    - Telstra moveover gets delayed by a long amount of time
    - State governments turning to liberals (who will keep it as opt in) will seriously undermine the ability for NBNCo to achieve its 70% takeup rate
  • - Further improvements in DSL/HFC undermine takeup rate
    - CAN depreciates in value even further then currently, making the current ADSL2+ services much cheaper then NBN for lower priced plans
    - Wireless grows faster then predicted by NBNCo, further undermining takeup rate
    - ACCC does further impedes the NBN
    - Gets no private investment (highly likely with such a shitty ROI over a long period of time on a risky project)

    The 7% ROI figure is on a knifes edge, if at least a couple of the above happened (and they are all very likely) then the whole financials of the NBN goes down the toilet

    The NBN is going to be completed in 13 years since Labor announced it (2007), its build time already got increased from 8 years to 9.5 years, and its capex cost also got increased before the next stage even started. Due to the stupid outwards-in system they are doing due to political pork barelling, if it gets cancelled then there is going to be an extreme minority of fiber with the rest of Australia stuck on CAN due to the government wasting all the money on a FTTH whos cost in such areas exceeds $5000 per premise. At least if they did the metro areas quickly and fast, they could easily cover something like 40-60% of Australia in a few years and get much better ROI (i.e. cheaper cost for NBN) instead of covering like 5% of the country in 3 years

    If coalition was in power I would already have 12mbit by now, or in the next year and so would all the rural people
  • grump3, why not visit the library instead, get you out of the house and amongst people. maybe lighten the mood a bit???
    Blank Look
  • deteego, great to see you are finally awakening from hibernation…and understanding the topic at last!

    Apart from the typical FUD (yes FUD) which is incessantly contained within each and every one of your comments, in your latest, you actually said something of interest (probably a happy accident) for a change.

    Anything can happen in 30 years…!

    Yes it can and will, which is exactly why people like me say, the demands of any government (Labor or Coalition) and/or NBN Co to supply itemised and exacting documentation for a project which will take the best part of 10 years and whose benefits may take years to actually quantify, is utter nonsense – politicking!

    Glad you are finally switching on.

    Ooh, and just for old time sake, please supply your per head/household rubbery figures and tell us again how the Senate determines the government.

    I love those two gems of yours…!
  • deteego...

    After 11 years of Howard government (who I voted for too) in comms, we got SFA. So do you really think OPEL was going to deliver? Seriously...!

    And even if they did (rurally) Telstra would have then been handed another (this time FTTN) monopoly in the urban areas and would still have the stranglehold on the last mile...and still with the conflict of interest in being both supplier and seller! And of course, also, had Sol not been such a ....

    In which case we would both probably be here arguing alongside each other not against...!

    Ah... but this is why you hold a grudge against the NBN, simply because you believe you would have received OPEL by now...LOL!!!!
  • Well one of us is certainly, “contradictorily”, clutching at straws…and trying to hide his embarrassing faux pas (psst - that'd be you)!

    The one who said “he doesn’t speak on behalf of other Aussies” and by the end of his short impassioned plea, then had the audacity to do exactly that (and WRONGLY) A G A I N!

    Dear oh dear…!

    And did you say you were a lawyer? The operative word obviously being…”were”!

    YES - the plan for the NBN including fibre in most areas, not down every back street – enough lies and FUD (or is that simply further misguided party loyalty) and wireless/satellite in the remaining areas, is required.

    Satisfied... wow eh?

    Unlike your FUDulent friends who contradict them selves (just as you did above) I have nothing to hide and no comment to dodge and weave from.

    And… good I’m glad you checked your post, because if you remember correctly, it wasn’t I who was being pedantic in relation to spelling/grammar. It was you who was being a rank, smart **se, chastising someone else, who’s topical and otherwise educated comment, had you stumped. So you took the easy way out.

    Funny thing was, you were suggesting the other person was inferior and not worth listening to, solely because they had misspelled words. Then you “regrettably” misspelled the word “regrettable”, LOL!

    It was most juicily ironic, then and again now, as your sarcasm once more comes back to bite you…!

    So how about getting up off Abbott’s knee, removing his arm from your back (that is his arm and it is your back, isn’t it?) and let’s see if you can still state your narrow, uneducated, parrot fashion comms views, while Tony is drinking a glass of water?
  • I work in health. A standard x-ray is 100mb. A breast screen xray is 300 mb. We use 1Tb/s backhaul networks in the capital city to 3 hospitals. Smaller hospitals outside of metropolitan areas are getting the capability to store x-rays etc to send to metropolitan specialists for review etc. Ask anyone rural how much it costs and how long it takes to go to their metropolis for a specialist appointment. What the benefits are for a aging population is access to those services from a local clinic.
    Even now, video conferenced specialist consultations are being trialled.

    Having access to high-speed networks is exactly like having excellent four and six lane highways being built out of the metropoli. Do the denizens of the metroplis complain about the billions sunk into these?

    Communications will lift our productivity. This is essential if we're to maintain our living standards without importing more and more immigrants to make our economies grow. Lets face it. Without access to primary industry cash like Queensland and Western Australia, NSW and Victoria will stagnate. Their economies need productivity gains, and access to high quality telecommunications will be a basic tenet for a higher order economy that doesn't rely on more and more people to grow. From education to health, business to leisure, networked people will be able to contribute more.