NBN laws make roll back tough: Turnbull

NBN laws make roll back tough: Turnbull

Summary: The passing of laws and signing of contracts will make the National Broadband Network (NBN) difficult to roll back, but the Coalition would still be unlikely to continue the fibre-to-the-home project, according to Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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The passing of laws and signing of contracts will make the National Broadband Network (NBN) difficult to roll back, but the Coalition would still be unlikely to continue the fibre-to-the-home project, according to Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"It is not going to be easy. By legislation and by contract with Telstra, [Labor is] creating a very complex Gordian knot of contract and legislation and regulation that will be very hard to unpick. But that is going to be a question of the means and practicality," he told the Communications Day Summit in Sydney today.

Turnbull flagged that the new laws also made any future sell off of the NBN more complex.

"The legislation makes it — and this is quite deliberate — extremely difficult, one would say close to impossible, for the NBN to be sold," he said. "Under statute it cannot be sold until the network is complete. That date will pass the lifespan of many of us I expect."

"Selling the NBN will be harder than privatising Telstra was," he added.

Turnbull went on to outline the Coalition policy for broadband if it wins office, stating that the party would conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the project, but said that he doubted a fibre-to-the-home policy would remain.

"I imagine that will involve a very significant change to the NBN strategy, I imagine there will be many areas where you will see fibre-to-the-node, no doubt some areas where there will be at least to the basement, but I don't believe that there will be a fibre-to-the-home network. I just don't think that will be justified economically," he said.

While supporting the structural separation of Telstra, Turnbull said he didn't believe in placing any restrictions on competition for network operators, such as that dictated by the NBN Bill's anti-cherry-picking provisions.

"We do not believe there should be any inhibitions on facility-based competition. If somebody want to roll out a fibre RIM to service a densely settled residential area, then let them do so," he said. "Why would you prevent that from occurring?"

Turnbull said that, assuming the hybrid-fibre coaxial networks were not shut down as Telstra's would be under the $11 billion deal with NBN Co, he would also "liberate" them so they could compete with other fixed networks. He said the Coalition were for fast broadband for all Australians as Labor was, but at a price affordable to taxpayers.

"A lot will depend on, of course, if and when there is a change of government. But I hope we will be able to work with all of you in the years and months ahead to come to the best outcome, so we can get this vitally important industry on track to deliver the services to all Australians but to do so in a way that promotes the competition that we know is going to be the driver of excellence, better services and innovation."

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, Telcos, Telstra, NBN

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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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Talkback

16 comments
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  • Best would be to sell the **** organisation off to some punters who think it would be a good buy, if they came into government. In next 2-3 years, they would have blown a fair bit of the money, but better to stop it early than later as we would just keep going backwards.

    Competitive infrastructure is what we need, and yes letting the others keep their HFC and other assets to compete would be the best way.
    Theguy-bbb4a
  • "Under statute it cannot be sold until the network is complete. That date will pass the lifespan of many of us I expect."

    You perhaps, but we are not building this FTTH network for your generation, we are building it for mine and the ones that come after.

    "Selling the NBN will be harder than privatising Telstra was"

    I dont understand the problem Mr Turnbull.

    "I imagine there will be many areas where you will see fibre-to-the-node, no doubt some areas where there will be at least to the basement"

    Basement? What???

    "but I don't believe that there will be a fibre-to-the-home network. I just don't think that will be justified economically"

    Good thing your retarded Luddite infested party isn't in power then. Hopefully it'll stay that way, the last thing Australia needs is to be taken back into the dark ages by Mr Rabbit and the rest of his zoo crew chums.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • and it hasnt occured to you that what the nbn is wasting billions of dollars on will be superceded in the next 3 years, yet alone a generation. the reason malcom has money is because he is considerably smarter than morons like you.
      airtime-91356
      • Speaking of morons... 3 years...LOL!
        RS-ef540
      • "be superceded in the next 3 years"

        Superceded by what? You been watching too much Star Treks?
        Hubert Cumberdale
      • unlike the previous comments I think you are quite correct. The problem that face many who post on these forums is the lack of indepth knowledge of emerging technologies. Fibre is old technology and advances in O2 technologies will make it seem like a model T.
        Knowledge Expert
        • Bob Katter said it best when describing the opposition (and others apparently) -

          "They think we should wait for some science fiction fantasy to jump out from behind a bush, (but) we’ve got an offer on the table, and we’re going to take it.’…
          RS-ef540
        • "emerging technologies"

          What are these emerging technologies?

          "Fibre is old technology and advances in O2 technologies will make it seem like a model T."

          So this emerging technology you speak of will guarantee me a low latency connection with a guaranteed 40mbps upload capacity in 3 years?!??!! What is it? Link? Source?
          Hubert Cumberdale
          • I am not about to spoon feed you details of technology advances. I suggest instead of abusing people you undertake research yourself.
            Knowledge Expert
          • Asking for details is "abusing people"? It's a simple question, I'm just asking for a link to back up your claim. Just saying "emerging technologies" doesn't mean much and is no proof at all.
            Hubert Cumberdale
  • Oh boo hoo I said something disparaging about a political party in Australia now we have a bunch of crybabies all cut up about it. btw if the NBN never happens as you say (you seem to a have a magical crystal ball that conveniently distorts facts too) we all know whos fault it will be... yeah tunnel vision indeed lol.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • A very pragmatic approach from Mr Turnbull. Unfortunately the focus on rolling the NBN into these smaller regional communities means that by the time the labor government is dispatched much money would have been wasted. A better approach would have been to roll out the NBN into Melbourne, Brisbane & Sydney.
    Knowledge Expert
    • I think, Mr Doubt, you miss the entire point of what the NBN (and even "government") is actually about...
      Tinman_au
      • Fool! The NBN as proposed by this government is a "feel nice" socalist mind control project.
        The NBN should really be about making money, improving worker output and hours of work. The people live in the cities (well the smart ones) so that is where the broadband should be placed.
        Knowledge Expert
  • Once the fibre is installed in the bush then the cities get their turn, so what is wrong with that.
    Putting the cable underground in the bush is far less complicated than in the cities. --- The people doing the job will be experienced by the time they get to the big centers and thus do the job more quickly.
    Thus it becomes a win win situation the way it is being done.
    Rod Bridges
    • Silly statement, the young and bright move to the cities, put the technology where it can best be used. That is not in some backwater.
      Knowledge Expert