Turnbull rejects NBN petition

Turnbull rejects NBN petition

Summary: Coalition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull has rejected an online petition with over 200,000 signatures calling for the Coalition to consider keeping the NBN design as is.


Liberal communications spokesperson and likely next Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded to a Change.org petition with over 200,000 signatures calling for the Coalition to retain the fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) design for the National Broadband Network (NBN), by stating that the electorate has made its choice to go with the Coalition's plan.

After the Coalition won the election on Saturday, a university student who has claimed to be a Liberal voter started an online petition calling for the Coalition to retain the FttP design of the NBN, rather than switching to a fibre-to-the-node (FttN) design for the vast majority of premises as the Coalition has long planned.

The petition has been the fastest-growing petition on Change.org in Australia, surpassing 200,000 signatures yesterday. Turnbull had initially responded to the petition on Twitter indicating that an election had been held on Saturday, and that the public had its chance to decide on the NBN policy at that election.

But last night, Turnbull went further, and in a blog post on his website stated that the NBN had been a prominent issue at the election, and that the Coalition's policy was well documented prior to the election.

"The promoters of this petition apparently believe that we should ignore the lengthy public debate on the NBN that preceded the election, and also ignore the election result. We should within days of the election walk away from one of our most well-debated, well-understood, and prominent policies. Democracy? I don't think so," he said.

Turnbull indicated that the Coalition is still open to fibre to the premises, but that the NBN has to be cost effective and completed quicker than the current project is being delivered.

"We will bring the public into our confidence. We will open the books of the NBN. There will be a strategic review conducted within the next 60 days, which will show how long it will take and how much it will cost to complete the NBN on the current specifications and what that means both to the taxpayer and to the consumers," he said.

"We will also set out what our options are to complete the project sooner and more cost effectively, and again what that means in terms of affordability and of course in service levels."

In a broadside to many NBN fans, Turnbull said that people in favour of FttP "at any cost" were "reckless".

"Many of the FttP supporters on Twitter and elsewhere say that they don't care what it costs or how long it takes — they want fibre to the home regardless. That point of view is reckless in the extreme. Every public infrastructure project has to be carefully and honestly analysed so that governments, and citizens, can weigh up the costs and benefits," he said.

"This study is vital for the public to be fully informed, and our redesign of the project will be informed by the result of those studies. The NBN debate is not over — but I am determined to ensure that from now on, it is at least fully informed."

Turnbull is widely expected to be the new minister for communications when Prime Minister-Elect Tony Abbott announces his new Cabinet next week. It is still unclear who will be the co-shareholder minister for the NBN, with many expecting Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos to take on the role of finance minister previously held by Penny Wong.

The new shadow ministry has also yet to be determined, with Labor still in the process of determining who will lead the party after Saturday's election defeat. Former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has indicated that he wants to return to the front bench, but has not given any indication that he would like to return to the communications portfolio.

The government's NBN advertisement website NBN.gov.au was pulled down this week as the incoming government reviews the NBN project. The Coalition had long been critical of the tens of millions of dollars the last government spent on advertising the NBN project.

NBN Co's own website remains up, but is still subject to caretaker conventions.

Topic: 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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  • Has something changed?

    Originally the LNP were going to do a CBA which would have had to look at the actual benefits of the two competing solutions. Assuming the terms of the CBA didn't pre-bake the outcome (unlikely) then the review MAY have highlighted that the FTTN was a waste of money. This review doesn't actually seem to take the usefullness of the finished product into account at all. Only how long and how much. So a 1 month and $1bill saving for an inferior product would be the reccomeneded solution from the new review.
    • I dont think anything has changed gr1f but it's obvious Turnbull has already made up his mind. A dilemma for Turnbull, he's been saying fibre is not needed and that FttN will do for so long he has to maintain this regardless. That "technology agnostic" line was worthless not that he ever understood what it meant to begin with anyway...

      Of course we know FttN will be a waste of money. Steve Jenkin confirms it in his excellent analysis here: http://stevej-on-nbn.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/voter-backlash-over-nbn-lite-or.html

      1204 days to go!
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Theyre Liberal.

        WE ARE .NOT. i repeat .NOT. going to get NBN under a liberal federal government.
        • I actually think the libs are quietly drop FTTN.

          Im not convinced about that. Its not really up to the government anymore. The contracts are signed and sealed, and the government doesnt actually own the copper and telstra simply wont hand it over for free because thats commercially an act of insanity (Any company that simply gives away 15-20 billion dollars worth of assets deserves to have its CEO arrested for shareholder fraud). The reality is, the libs plan was only a few billion dollars cheaper (Remember most of the NBN costs are bourne by the ISPs not the govt) and assumes its going to some how get its hands on an astronomically large amount of copper for free. If you factor in copper it becomes significantly MORE expensive than the NBN , comes with about 3-4 years in ugly legal battles with contractors that will probably end up with between 5-20 bil in compensation payouts to companies who have invested mega-infrastructure in this and thus deliver an inferior product much later and at a much higher price. Ultimately common sense is going to take hold that Turnbulls plan was smoke and mirrors to try to win the public with. Even hardcore liberal supporters dont like this plan.
  • Good news Malcom

    I'm a bit sick of Turnbull's critics inferring that FttN means no one gets FttP. It has been very clearly stated that schools, government, health facilities, etc. will all get FttP under the revised scheme, it's only homes and businesses that will get FttN and even then, if the copper is clapped out they'll get fibre.

    Critics also ignore that the current scheme is way behind schedule and way over budget. The NBN tried to justify its cost by estimating that an average household will spend $150 per month on internet access within 5 years. Really?

    Critics also don't say what an ordinary home owner is going to do with 1Gb, or even 100Mb, yet they want me to pay for it. Sorry, not interested.
    Fred Fredrickson
    • Do it right..

      Back when Australia was first laying the infrastructure for the current telephone lines they had the option of Tin (Cheaper) or Copper..They did it right the first time and now it has lasted 100 years (Or around, not sure).

      Australia will be paying more in the long run if they do this FTTN plan.
  • Uhm No

    Fred. YOU DO NOT PAY FOR IT. The Taxpayer is not funding the NBN. It is off budget, and is set up as a separate entity that will be profit generating. At best you can consider it a loan.

    Also, it's not the download speed that really counts. It's the upload that allows for real productivity and services such as e-health. It's the ubiquitous service levels that allow for new service creation.
    And i'm not even going to respond to your "hospitals and those that need it" comment as it's not worth my effort for someone who has obviousyl made up their mind.
    • "And i'm not even going to respond to your "hospitals and those that need it" comment as it's not worth my effort for someone who has obviousyl made up their mind."

      Indeed. These ill-informed arguments were gone over many times and debunked already. Stuck in the past a defining attribute of those opposed to the proper NBN.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Yet still not one example

        Requiring the bandwidth of FTTH to 93% of household. What about the other 7%?

        Labor's ehealth program another distaster.

        Skyping your doctor can be done today (not popular for obvious reasons), coalition's policy uploads offers improved bandwidth. Faster rollout ensures greater penetration earlier (as pointed out by media boss in article link to a couple if days ago). Lower cost ensures lower retail prices further pushing demand.

        Their only hope is some yet uninvented tech dream. Fanboys have nothing but Internet petitions.
        Richard Flude
        • Also no acknowledgement of NBNCo's failures

          The failed targets, the rising costs, the spin of "premises commenced" & and premises passed now including a third not ready for service, lack of contractors (huge numbers in head office), ...
          Richard Flude
        • "copper last mile our immediate future."

          This is a quote from you confirming copper is useless for our long term future.

          Coalitions clowns plan worthless for this and since you say immediate you must have some applications in mind beyond this point yourself? Yes? No? Maybe?

          Upload speeds so pathetic they wont even mention it (Very strange that you would).

          Faster rollout of paramount importance and apparently so urgent it requires wasting $30+billion to make use of obsolete copper because we all acknowledge faster than ADSL2+ speeds are important, magically the speeds you believe are required align perfectly with what copper is capable of... you just wont tell us what apps will be invented to make use of that extra speed. Apparently using your logic FttN is not needed either. Your idiocy exposed yet again.

          Lower cost does not ensure lower retail prices at all. Living in a dreamland if you believe this.

          Petitions a waste of time, I could have told you this. Oh wait I already did.

          Please don't bother addressing me until you have something more substantial to add to this debate.

          1204 days to go!
          Hubert Cumberdale
          • the Alex like failure to comprehend, then demand for silence

            Mesky's wireless claim corrected, immediate future because that is what's to used for the FTTN/HFC. Repeatedly said 100% fibre not inevitable.

            Plenty of applications requiring solid performing Internet, none requiring the bandwidth offered by FTTH. Faster rollout important because there are millions of Australians that are without high speed Internet, exactly the same number as when Labor came to power 6 years ago.

            Lower cost with the same IRR doesn't guarantee lower price? Another classic post. Wholesale prices quoted by MT already less than NBnCo.

            Being pedantic you should lookup paraphrasing, it doesn't mean what you think it does. See you keep using the destroyed claim at delimiter for the fanboy crowd. Nice inane sig by the way (and Renai's call on it).

            Any link yet to support your MT node claim?
            Richard Flude
          • "Plenty of applications requiring solid performing Internet"

            Name one that can't be done on ADSL2+.

            We all know what paraphrasing means. If you don't you should look it up.

            More whining about Delimiter. Nothing new. Yawn.

            The rest just more spin. I'm not interested, sell it to someone else. You still need more substance.

            1203 days to go!
            Hubert Cumberdale
        • blah bla

          > Requiring the bandwidth of FTTH to 93% of household. What about the other 7%?

          4G wireless+microwave. Actually plausible in this scenario as wifi bandwidth saturation isnt a problem in rural areas, somewhat ironically.

          And for an example of useage, heres one. Around the world infrastructure for 4K television is being deployed. you can go right now and buy a 4K television set, and in a month or two the set top boxes (mainly XBox1 and PS4s) will be available to stream it. This will be *impossible* on anything under than 2-300 mbit. NBN will be running at 1000mbit by end of year. Most people will never see anything about 15-20mbit on VHDSL due to line inductance. And no this is not a "better tech will be invented in the future thing. shannons law does not negotiate with mere mortals, physics is legislated by the gods my friend. however speeds of 1gbit are possible RIGHT NOW on THIS network, but it can easily be upgraded to 10gbit or even higher like the yanks are doing with their fibre networks.

          > Labor's ehealth program another distaster.

          Uh.... whatever.

          > Skyping your doctor can be done today (not popular for obvious reasons), coalition's policy uploads offers improved bandwidth.

          Thats not what this is about. Its about proper access to telemedicine resources, and things like MRI datasets and what not.

          > Faster rollout ensures greater penetration earlier (as pointed out by media boss in article link to a couple if days ago). Lower cost ensures lower retail prices further pushing demand.

          Demand pushes cost, not the other way around. Supply side economics is discredited junk. And its not going to hit the market earlier. The NBN is going to hit most targets in about 3-4 years. The legal battles over billions in cancelled contracts and the libs somewhat communist plan to sieze telstras copper for free will have this delayed for up to 5 years. Simply buying the conduits (not siezing as turnbull proposes to do to telstra) took $11bil in payments, 300 lawyers and 3 years to organize. And that was something that BENEFITS the industry. This is going to harm the IT industry, I highly doubt the industry is going to take this lying down.

          > Their only hope is some yet uninvented tech dream. Fanboys have nothing but Internet petitions.

          And pretty much every engineer , computer science, and telco in the country.

          And we also have contract law and a hung senate, so thats another thing. This fight is far from lost ;)
  • Yes, more bandwidth will become progressively more useful

    More bandwidth will become progressively more useful; to cramp on the technology now is to put a speed bump on the development of technology we need in order to stay competitive with the rest of the world.

    Now I'm sure you've heard that litany before, Fred, but I'm coming from a perspective of 45 years in the computer and network industry, and -- to quote Richard Bach's Donald Shimoda, if you argue for your limitations, then, sure enough, they're yours.

    There's a technology that's developing now that will use this bandwidth easily. At Monash they've demonstrated 3D printers that use stainless steel as the medium. 3D models will be even more data-intensive than your basic movie downloads are now. The rest of the world will be building this new technology into goods delivery as the years progress, and I'm thinking the 5-year mark might be about right.

    South Korea has way more bandwidth than we do, and a lot of artists, and they're no slouch when it comes to integrating technology into their business systems. Are we going to simply hand that advantage away, just to have another Hills Hoist or rotary mower story to tell our kids?

    This is just one place where bandwidth will become crucial to our economic health. I'm sure there are others -- teleoperations with haptic feedback, for example, given a few minutes I could offer more. Sales organisations who want to lower the cost and raise the quality of their presentations, such as the company I work for (an international auto maker) right on down to my wife's mail-order business, are all looking for faster delivery of information. This isn't a matter of downloading a movie in a minute, it's a matter of being able to deliver information that does stuff and makes money.

    FTTP is sound business, in my opinion, and I've heard "this amount of x should be enough for anyone" for closing on half a century. If I ever believed it then, I certainly do not do so now. Trust an old grey-hair on this one -- we need FTTP, and it would be better to wait for it to be right than to put FTTN speedbumps on the motorway.
    • +1

      Great post NefariousWheel, good to see more educated and well thought out responses, in the past there's been far too much copper fanboy & node nerd rants here.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Sure except

        3D printer CAD files don't require much bandwidth, data asymmetric (more consumption than production).

        FTTN doesn't cramp future data improvements, address immediate needs faster and more cheaply.

        Failure to identify a single productive benefit of South Korean fibre bandwidths; beyond kpop.

        "Teleoperations" unlikely to be performed at home, hospitals already guananteed fibre.

        Fibre delivery of information not faster, just more capacity. Of now value to his automaker or wife's home business. Hint we used servers in data centres.

        But then none of this matters; think of the children;-)
        Richard Flude
        • Interesting to note:

          On a TV interview the other night a Coalition member had ago at labor for not having any long term plans and every thing they did was rushed and done on the cheap.

          Hmmm, strange then how that's exactly what the coalitions NBN plan is, rushed and on the cheap! Long term planning is the way to go, get it right the first time and do it once! Imagine if the built the Sydney harbor bridge or the tunnels or in Melbourne the Westgate bridge based on that type of planning. Australia will just get further and further behind the rest of the world and Political voting and one eyed support for parties is one of the may reasons for it.

          Hang the country as long as my party gets elected! How can anyone who can't think out side party lines think themselves smart?

          "Education does not make a person smart"

    • 4K is the future!

      4K television I thinks going to be the big thing. With TV sets coming out with 4K capability, along with the ability to stream it baked in to the XBox1's and PS4s its clear the industry is rolling out infrastructure to make this a reality. Thats cinema quality at home, and not blueray cinema quality but ACTUAL cinema quality (its all shot in 4K these days, blueray is almost an order of magnitude worse). On a 70 inch this will look AMAZING.

      But with FTTN, we're going to be the vhs guys wondering what these shiny disks in the video store are, for the next 20 years!

      And yeah, this lib announcement probably means netflix etc are not even going to bother rolling out here.
  • don

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