Stop blindly believing in NBN: Turnbull

Stop blindly believing in NBN: Turnbull

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night said that National Broadband Network (NBN) enthusiasts need to demonstrate what applications will actually need the fibre network's massively enhanced speeds, telling futurist Mark Pesce that he should "lay off the Kool-Aid" with respect to the technology.

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TOPICS: NBN, Broadband
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Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night said that National Broadband Network (NBN) enthusiasts need to demonstrate what applications will actually need the fibre network's massively enhanced speeds, telling futurist Mark Pesce that he should "lay off the Kool-Aid" with respect to the technology.

Pesce is an Australian inventor and futurist best known for his work on the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) as well as his media appearances and commentary on technology matters. Last night the commentator said on the ABC's The Drum program that the nation would need faster broadband for as yet undiscovered applications in the future. He noted that mainstream technologies like BitTorrent hadn't been invented until faster broadband came along.

"You've really got to lay off the kool-aid," Turnbull retorted. The Liberal MP said that it's "nuts" that even a "notorious, self-proclaimed futurist" like Pesce isn't able to name the applications that the NBN would fuel in the future. "Speed in and of itself is an abstraction," said Turnbull. "It doesn't do anything for you, unless you have applications you can use."

The comments came as Turnbull and a number of other Liberal parliamentarians have intensified the party's attack on the NBN project over the past few days.

"If anything, our criticisms of the NBN are more intense now than they were eight months ago," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said on Tamworth's Radio 2TM late last week. Abbott said that the recent collapse of NBN Co's construction tender process demonstrated that "there is no way on God's Earth that they are going to be able to build this thing for the amount they are talking about."

"This is school halls on steroids," he added. "This is going to be an absolute rip-off of the taxpayer. This is not going to work. We know that this mob can't be trusted with money. We know they are incompetent when it comes to delivery, and the collapse of the tender process is, I very much predict, a sign of things to come."

In addition, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, one of the chief Coalition Senators responsible for questioning the NBN in the Senate's communications committee, last week issued a media release slamming the Federal Government for refusing to comply with a number of requests for further information on the NBN by a Senate Estimates Committee. Birmingham had received a letter from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy stating it couldn't meet agreed timelines to answer "hundreds of questions" about the NBN.

"Labor's latest attempt to shield its NBN from public scrutiny is an outrageous attack on Australian taxpayers' right to know how billions of dollars of their money is being spent," Birmingham said in a statement.

"Timelines for answering estimates questions were agreed to by all Senators, including Labor Senators. To describe the effort required to answer the questions as 'unreasonable' is an insult to the Parliament and taxpayers alike.

"Clearly the government's paranoia and secrecy are only increasing as the NBN descends further into chaos," he said. "The government is desperately trying to stop any level of scrutiny of its NBN. What else is it trying to hide? Is the NBN unravelling at the seams?"

Topics: NBN, Broadband

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71 comments
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  • At the moment ebay uses images to display items on sale to give the end user a better idea of what they're selling. It would be great though to be able to view these items as a 3D model (or HD video) to get an even better idea about the product. This would be an advantage for businesses because it could convince the customer into buying the product. With an NBN every business in Austrlalia could impliment this and this is why an NBN is necessary. I would love Abbott or Turnbull to approach any business owner and explain to them that the NBN is capable of this but they don't need it. Advertisment is worth millions and any edge you can get to explain your product better is worth even more. The Coalitions view is short sighted at best.
    omega-b9c3d
    • only 100% FTTP will give all businesses that capability,12mbps wireless/satelite wont,(packet crunch and all that),the regional or remote purchasers wont have the bandwidth especially with the kids wacthing tv and the missus on the ph to her mum.
      100%ftth the only wat to future proof our national comms,cost should not be an issue
      pete196600
    • 3D views of items... what a great idea.

      In fact, look at most car manufacturer showroom websites... they already do it... and it's downloadable and viewable with existing technologies.

      Still looking for that killer NBN app..... where oh where can it be.
      FiberLover
      • Now tell us how wireless is taking over and everyone will soon be wireless, to bag the NBN...

        Then within minutes, go to another thread and tell us all about your wonderful new FIXED Optus contract (to again bag the NBN)... just as you did previously.

        Seems not only FUD but contradictory FUD, is a prerequisite for being a FUDster, eh FUDster?
        RS-ef540
        • Ahhh ... the Conroy Office Muppet having an empty swipe again... manning (girling?) the battlements against those that may question the efficacy of digging up the gardens of ~10,000,000 homes for something they don't (and may never) need. What a vote winner. What an exercise in futility.

          Re: the alternatives to NBN FTTH... I use them.... often, 'coz they work well.
          FiberLover
          • Yes you use FIXED and hypocritically say wireless is the only eh tiger...LOL!

            It's probably best if you stick to what you do best... being Abbott's speedo adjuster... and leave the important stuff to us..ok tiger?
            RS-ef540
  • wow, talking about short-sightedness...
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • Some people do blindly believe in NBN. This is understandable, in view of the space age applications being dished out by Conroy, some of which are even possible now without the NBN. But they lose sight of the Quantum in the shape of $50,000,000,000.

    The Government is intent on catering for the minority, by deploying ultra fast Fibre broadband to the lounge of each home in this vast Island Continent.

    Ultra fast fibre broadband is essential for Hospitals, learning institutions, Essential Services and the like but homes, which will erode a big portion of the much needed capital, is a luxury we can certainly do without.
    Vasso Massonic
    • Please don't mention the word "we", i know you can do without. But others are not as lucky as you are to have broadband. Stop being so selfish. It's not about you.
      Salami Chujillo
      • 'We' in this context is a figure of speech.
        Vasso Massonic
        • This 'We' in this context is a figure of speech. - Nice try, not!

          That is not true, that is NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming), i.e. an attempt to brain wash the reader
          harry@...
    • Including yourself Vasso?? You have in the past praised a FTTN network so your comment here is quite hypocritical. And recent findings suggest that if the government did attempt this the compensation to Telstra would have been a complete waste of money.. The NBN will not only be a luxury in the home but also a valuable tool for businesses to sell their products, which I believe you also support? I could go on...
      omega-b9c3d
      • Big difference between FTTN (for domestic use) and FTTB (for business including Hospitals, learning institutions, Essential Services and the like) would save you $ billions
        Vasso Massonic
        • It seems you have a problem with the price. Lets try and put it into context. There is an international company operating in our country that is digging up our resources and selling them to China. This company has just posted a $10,000,000,000 half yearly profit. The government wants to invest in a state of the art communications network for the entire country for approx four times this much over 10 years. According to BHP's profit forcasts they will continue to grow annually. So by the time the NBN is built, BHP's annual profit will be close to the entire cost of the NBN... Surely something should come from this?
          omega-b9c3d
          • You raise a very good point there. If all our exported materials were charged to China at the same rate we have to pay locally, BHP could pay for the NBN in one year.
            Treknology
        • Curiously you supported Telstra FTTN but opposed the G9/TERRiA FTTN.

          Now the fact that you supported Telstra FTTN... are a Telstra shareholder, an active Telstra supporter, was interviewed on NWAT (so you have behind the scenes contact with Telstra's PR department) and was the #1 poster (by almost 3x to the next, Sydney) ...

          Hasn't got anything to do with it, purely coincidence...I'm sure!
          RS-ef540
          • The above was of course directed to Mr. Massonic...!
            RS-ef540
    • "The Government is intent on catering for the minority"

      Who are you trying to fool? Are you quite sure it's a minority?

      "by deploying ultra fast Fibre broadband to the lounge of each home in this vast Island Continent."

      You wont win any points with this kind of emotive crap.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • If you have not viewed 4 Corners, you are missing the gist of my comment
        Vasso Massonic
      • The "minority" who live in the lounge room of "each home" in this vast island continent...perhaps?

        Dear oh dear, contradictions are essential to being a FUDster eh?

        Once again VasMas, fibre IS NOT going to each home, how many times do you need to be told?
        RS-ef540