NBN must face govt razors: Biz Council

NBN must face govt razors: Biz Council

Summary: The Federal Government should not rule out stalling the National Broadband Network (NBN) to fund the multibillion-dollar rebuilding efforts for flood-affected Queensland and Victoria, according to the Business Council of Australia.

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TOPICS: NBN, Broadband, Telcos
42

The Federal Government should not rule out stalling the National Broadband Network (NBN) to fund the multibillion-dollar rebuilding efforts for flood-affected Queensland and Victoria, according to the Business Council of Australia.

Straight razor

(8803 image by Avery, CC BY-ND 2.0)

The government plans to invest $27.5 billion in the NBN, which will deliver high-speed fibre internet access to 93 per cent of Australian homes and had already commenced the roll-out.

But council chief Graham Bradley told ABC Radio that the network is a large public spend that should not be exempt from government razor gangs.

"The NBN is just one of the infrastructure projects that will have a demand on public funding over the next three, four, five years," Bradley said.

"Everything should be considered."

Economists have warned that the flood repair bill will add to inflation.

Bradley's comments follow suggestions from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott that the government should scrap the NBN to fund the flood rebuild.

"It is time for the government to stop spending on unnecessary projects so that it can start spending on unavoidable projects such as the reconstruction that will be needed in Queensland," Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

"The National Broadband Network is a luxury that Australia cannot now afford. The one thing you don't do is redo your bathroom when your roof has just been blown off."

However, Andrew Connor, spokesperson for telecommunications consumer group Digital Tasmania, has lashed-out at Abbott for rubbishing the NBN and "politicising" the Queensland floods.

"This is just something that should never be politicised," Connor said. "I don't wish to [politicise] the floods myself, but this shows opportunism."

He said there is a "high chance" the NBN, should it have been implemented during the floods, would have been more resilient than the current copper network.

Damaged copper network infrastructure should be replaced with fibre, Connor said, even in areas not yet marked for deployment as per the NBN roll-out timeline.

Connor rejected claims that the NBN deployment should be scrapped or frozen to fund the rebuild, and said the two could be deployed in concert.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said earlier this year that the floods would not affect the roll-out of the NBN.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Telcos

Darren Pauli

About Darren Pauli

Darren Pauli has been writing about technology for almost five years, he covers a gamut of news with a special focus on security, keeping readers informed about the world of cyber criminals and the safety measures needed to thwart them.

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Talkback

42 comments
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  • An obvious option is to build the NBN at a slower rate. The current timeframe for completion is purely political. Why not replace only the least serviceable parts of the Telstra network and spread out the investment!
    jfry777
  • "This is just something that should never be politicised," Connor said. "I don't wish to [politicise] the floods myself, but this shows opportunism."

    Then you go ahead and polticise it even more than Abbott did, with this 'if then maybe could be' spin.

    "He said there is a "high chance" the NBN, should it have been implemented during the floods, would have been more resilient than the current copper network."

    Really? - tell us how could you roll out FTTH during a flood?

    Nice one.
    advocate-d95d7
  • Umm, but Mr Abbott is a politician alain/advocate, Mr Connor isn't a politician, he's from a consumer group.

    So again try to put 2 + 2 together and equal four... not FUD, in relation to actual, politicising!

    Also whilst you're trying to add, try to comprehend too, from Connor... "He said there is a "high chance" the NBN, should it have been implemented during the floods, would have been more resilient than the current copper network"{END}.

    Obviously to anyone but a biased FUDster, this would mean "had the NBN already been implemented prior to the floods, that... during the floods....etc"!

    My you are getting even more pedantically desperate, LOL!!

    Also as astutely pointed out at Delimiter, by another poster, Abbott said that due to the floods -"The National Broadband Network is a luxury that Australia cannot now afford" {END}!

    Cannot NOW afford? A clear admission that all his previous talk of debt, ROI, wastage etc was all BS, because the NBN WAS affordable, but NOW isn't... LOL!!!!!

    And I thought you and alain were twins! Seems You, alain and Abbott are triplets!
    RS-ef540
  • SMBs need the NBN.

    The Business council of Australia probably doesn't represent them, but those big businesses that have always been able to afford very, very high-speed broadband with huge GB allowances.
    Patanjali
  • Yes, the floods are tragic and my heart goes out to those families who have lost a loved ones, however the reality is that Brisbane is built on a flood plain for one of the biggest rivers in Australia. Floods in Brisbane have happened before and will happen again. Queensland needs to build in to their economy a way of paying for the periodic flood damage. Queensland (and WA) economies are going gangbusters, why should the other states pay for the rebuilding of Brisbane (particularly those poorly planned, designed and constructed buildings in flood risk areas) stimulating their economy even more?
    As for the floods in the Darling and Murray catchment areas, perhaps if they hadn't filled all their water storages to capacity last year and left some capacity for flood mitigation, the flood peaks may have been somewhat lower! I wonder if SA could sue the eastern states for damage due to the higher than necessary flood peak which it will receive in a couple of months time?
    The eastern states won't even let SA increase the quotas for SA Riverland irrigators from the current 68% in the middle of a flood even though SA is the only state who have not overallocated licences and are using water in a sustainable way!!^*^#!!!
    mcquade-3306a
  • I completely agre with Abbott and Co. on this one, the NBN is a massive spend that even before the floods was debatable as to wether it was really beneficial or not. With the flood damage, 20 billion dollar + rebuild cost, the NBN really needs to come under more scrutiny, delayed or cancelled so that a proper job can be done in QLD - fibre and wireless services are not ging to put a roof over people heads!
    bdinnerv@...
  • The hypocrisy is breathtaking, if you use the floods in the context of any criticism of NBN funding the howls of protest are loud and long "how dare they politicise etc etc ".

    But when the floods are used to promote the NBN , then that's ok.
    advocate-d95d7
  • I dont mean to offend, but this is probably the best time for NBN to be deploying a network. The floods have basically a turned QLD into greenfield.

    Please have a think people - why would you spend money to replace and repair copper infrastructure when it costs almost the same putting in fibre. The amount of severed and corroded copper cables will cost just as much to replace.

    In such an event we should be looking to improve the infrastructure for QLD with the lessons learnt from a diaster so they will be better prepared for any future diasters.
    powderboy
  • FFS, get some context please

    The floods did hardly any damage to the actual copper last mile, the main damage it did was to the exchanges, ducts and fiber backhaul
    deteego
  • Its that right deteego? is that why the QLD government is approaching many telecommunication services companies other than the usual Telstra and Optus for help to restore service? I can guarantee there will be if there isnt already an huge influx of customer access network line faults at the premises and in the last mile. Ask any telecommunication technician or linesmen, rain brings faults, the volume is dependant on how hard its rained.
    powderboy
  • Whilst I'm not for the NBN in its current form, why should they only axe the NBN budget? Given that the repair bill will be 20+ Billion, a 5% reduction in all government spending over two years would pay for the repairs to infrastructure. I don't see why defense, education should be treated differently.
    mwil19-a34f7
  • "NBN must face govt razors: Biz Council". Do I take it that the Australian Business Council is now running Australia and not the Labor Government along with the Independents and the Greens? If not they sure have a lot to say for themselves. There are more people in Australia than just the business community, and it bis about time they woke up to this.
    Trevor C
  • Jeff, there's a host of permutations that sane people would apply to the costly NBN exercise in futility. Albeit, if the current deployment goes ahead regardless, as a Telstra shareholder I stand to benefit but in our National Interest I would rather prefer a cheaper solution to the dilemma.

    In case you missed a remark I made on the on 02/01/2011 (see below). Since my remark, our illustrious Telecommunications Minister only said "Queensland floods will not impede the roll out of the NBN" or words to that effect!!

    "In the final analysis, can Australia afford to commit forty to fifty billion dollars on a terrestrial network heading for diminishing demand as evidenced by the flood of modern mobile devices.

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/2010-the-devices-you-wanted-339308203.htm

    Speaking of floods. Parts of Queensland, the size of France and Germany put together, are inundated and will require billions of tax dollars to restore urgently, this in addition to much needed funding for Health ( due to aging population), Education (to counter the aging process), vital infrastructure and much more.

    It dos not matter what laymen are currently at the helm, some sanity must prevail in 2011.

    Vasso Massonic
    January 2nd, 2011 "

    PS. We can now, sadly, add: Northern NSW, parts of Victoria and Tassie.
    Vasso Massonic
  • All these figures flying around makes your head spin...
    The costs for the NBN are over a fairly long period (8 years?), it's not an upfront cost now whereas much of the repair bill will be.
    As for the 20+ billion, surely not all of that will come out of the government coffers, many businesses and households are going to have to absorb much of it, so whilst it may impact on GDP, it's not just a 20 billion dollar invoice to the government.
    Nimos-92373
  • An upgraded road from Sydney to Brisbane is not going to put a roof over peoples heads either, should we stop building that or delay that as well?
    Nimos-92373
  • LOL... says he who intentionally FUDges the NBN figures and doesn't even know the basics of parliament... BUT will cluelessly argue that he is always right...

    FFS...
    RS-ef540
  • Sane people do not live in 2005 quoting NWAT lies and BS, as factual, to support their portfolios!.
    RS-ef540
  • CHILD, speak when spoken to.
    Vasso Massonic
  • Oh methuselah, everyone is a child to you, even centurions!

    Sad those TLS shares have made you lose sense all of reality, though!
    RS-ef540
  • But the floods "aren't" being used by the pro-NBNers, the floods are despicably only being used by the nay-sayers.

    One might say these tragic floods have disgracefully (for political gain by Abbott and his mindless minions) become the "FUD floods"...
    RS-ef540