We don't need no NBN: Turnbull

We don't need no NBN: Turnbull

Summary: High-profile Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has slammed Labor's National Broadband Network policy in impassioned comments to a Sydney audience, describing it as "a gigantic torching of taxpayers' money" and claiming most of Australia doesn't want 100Mbps fibre internet.


High-profile Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has slammed Labor's National Broadband Network policy in impassioned comments to a Sydney audience, describing it as "a gigantic torching of taxpayers' money" and claiming most of Australia doesn't want 100Mbps fibre internet.

Malcolm Turnbull

Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull says most of Australia doesn't want 100Mbps fibre internet. (Credit: Liberal Party)

"The reality is, there simply isn't demand at the household and every small business level for internet at that speed, at a price which would make it even remotely financially viable," the former opposition leader told a forum he convened in Sydney on Saturday to discuss Labor's mandatory internet filter policy.

"You'll spend $40 billion plus, and you'll get an asset that's worth $10 billion," he said.

Describing the NBN as "a colossal white elephant", Turnbull said he was fundamentally a "free enterprise" person — believing the market would provide most services that consumers wanted, and the government should provide subsidies to aid the market where it could not provide needed services and make a return.

Turnbull said the market for universal 100Mbps fibre internet was not there, but there was explosive demand for wireless broadband, at which point he held up his Apple iPad device, on which he had been tweeting during the forum proceedings. "This requires a very different sort of architecture," Turnbull said of wireless broadband.

The Liberal MP said it was the Opposition's view that in terms of broadband, government policy should focus on areas, such as in rural Australia, where commercial services were never going to be able to provide broadband at an affordable price. He mentioned the former Howard Government's OPEL project as one which had the potential to improve services in this way, noting the Rudd Labor Government had "canned" the OPEL deal with Optus and Elders.

"I think that was a great pity," he said.

Liberal MP Paul Fletcher — formerly an Optus executive in charge of regulatory affairs before his ascension to the parliament — agreed with Turnbull. He argued the NBN policy was "dreamt up on the back of a beer coaster" by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in a plane flight.

"It's an attractive high-level vision," he said, but when you "dig into the practicalities, what is proposed has some problems".

"Yes, it would be wonderful if the surgeons at St Vincent's just down the road here could supervise brain surgery remotely in Alice Springs," said Turnbull. "But sitting in your apartment in Bondi, you are not going to want to be supervising brain surgery in Alice Springs, in all probability, and so in a sense, it's just totally over-engineered."

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, NBN

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  • I agree. Most of the cost of NBN is to rural areas where there is limited demand for these services. If there was, they would already have higher speed links in place.

    I think a better solution would be for the government to give grants to develop infrastructure in rural areas (as a combined partnership, where the govt retains ownership after x years). Then as markets create the demand it can be met.

    The infrastructure in large capital cities should still be split from any large carrier to ensure free competition.
  • I find this interesting Telstra wanted and did lay large amounts of Fiber for the home but wanted a single service monopoly over that, so they stopped. The economics are there the monoploy isn't this is why NBN is needed to make up for those that wish competitive advantage by size no small resellers. Malcom is purely from the big end of town and has a bigend town view.

    Guys the public would like it the price can't be too high, but you just can't leave it up to the two that control telcoms here. That is where gov comes in it needs to force new ground rules, and the duplication of services just puts the Australian nation further into debt be it gov or corporate it's a vehicle for aussies to be gouged buy the ever greedy creditors of the world. Sorry I can't support NBN because of the SC factor
  • The only reason there is demand for 3G is because people are not able to get ADSL or Cable connections to their home.

    Living in the Brisbane Metropolitan area you assume you can get these amenities, but this is not the case. Having applied to the major telcos (Telstra/Optus) both of which replied back we are unable to supply the service and have no timeframe when we can.

    Don't get me wrong 3G is a great technology as use it myself, but for the cost it comparable to landline technology. If I had a choice I would forgo 3G to get ADSL or Cable.
  • The only reason there is demand for 3G is because people are not able to get ADSL or Cable connections to their home.

    Living in the Brisbane Metropolitan area you assume you can get these amenities, but this is not the case. Having applied to the major telcos (Telstra/Optus) both of which replied back we are unable to supply the service and have no timeframe when we can.

    Don't get me wrong 3G is a great technology as use it myself, but for the cost it comparable to landline technology. If I had a choice I would forgo 3G to get ADSL or Cable.
  • I am Sorry But Turnbull has no Clue about Australians and I don't see him look two seconds in the Future, The NBN is needed and is perfect the way it is and we know the price is an over estimate.. Because we don't see the general public good for the future. potential. we seem to have discounted that. From an average guy, believing in the rights of an average australian to access basic luxury living.. The NBN needs to be supported.
  • Going by the logic that the Coalition is sprouting the Government has no place in building roads, water supplies or even defence. All of these services can be provided by private industry to those willing to pay for it. Just imagine if you will the Macquarie Bank Army. Wake up. All of these things are national infrastructure that need to be provided to all Australians. Living and working in regional NSW I can attest that a decent broadband network is essential for future growth and the long term viability of all regional economic activity and that 3G services or any other wireless networks I've seen to not work on a large scale in providing decent bandwidth as you are always sharing it with many others.

    The Nats have been exceedingly disappointing as it was long a platform of the party to get high speed internet to regional areas, but now they have rolled over to be butt-f&%#k by the Liberals and selling out their support base.
  • I happen to agree..... "You'll spend $40 billion plus, and you'll get an asset that's worth $10 billion,"

    One does not need an expensive sledge hammer to crack a nut.
    Vasso Massonic
  • Yes and I suppose Mr. Ozemail, who says we don't need an NBN, to tow the patry line just before an election, is now also a Monarchist after all too?

    They are going to bring back OPEL Vasso. Remeber the $1b going to Sinagapore you and uncy Syd complained about daily for months at NWAT.

    Better be careful how you vote, lol...
  • Good ol' Libs, still mired in their past failings. It's hard to take Turnbull seriously when he drags OPEL up as an example of comms policy. They talk about the NBN lacking commercial returns yet bang on about saddling the taxpayer with the expense of providing "barely there" comms for regional Aust while the incumbent private enterprise gets free reign over the profitable areas?

    How often does it need to be spelled out - the NBN isn't an unreasonable expense. Look at http://www.budget.gov.au/2010-11/content/overview/html/overview_37.htm and see how much more is spent on defence each year than infrastructure - and this of course is dwarfed by spending on govt services. When budget estimates allow more for guns and helicopters than they do for national infrastructure there's something wrong with policy.

    Or put another way, our 226 federal politicians cost us over a million each a year just in wages, entitlements and paying the people who figure out what that amount should be (it's crazy that it takes 350 people to manage pay and entitlements of 226 people). With estimates of $26B over 10 years in public expenditure for the NBN, a figure of $2.6B a year is only about 10 times more than paying that lot to argue. A recent study put potential savings from teleworking increasing to 10% from 6% due to the NBN at $1.9B a year. So factor that in and the NBN has an annual cost only 3 times higher than paying pollies their perks.

    Seems like a reasonable expense to me. At least the NBN has tangible benefits. Turnbull, still waiting to see what benefit he is. I won't hold my breath.
  • RS, makes no difference how one votes in Lane Cove. It's a fait accompli !

    Vasso Massonic
  • It's only guys like Malcolm that can afford 3g Broadband with it's lousy caps and per Mb charges once you go over, so no wonder they think it's great...
  • Sounds like this man been bought by the Liberal party.

    I use to be a supporter of Malcom Turnbell. And Now I will not be one.

    We need an NBN, because the Coalition Party Broadband Policy does not solve Regulate or Legislation in-regards to Competition and Monopoly. People on Whirlpool Fail to understand this as well. Since we the tax payers are changing the Industry (i.e. Forcing it) we need to give the telco and the ISP Industry something in return as well.
  • Yeah Malcom Turnbull and the Liberal Party..... Dirty deals with Telstra, to sell off a national asset, raise the income by removing staff and maintainence, then sell it off by conning all the mums and dads of Australia.... then the rot accelerates.

    Telstra starts to rip off everyone blind, at every scummy step of the way....and then sends us off to war against people who did not do anything to us, so Johnny Bumlicker Howard can get pats on the head from his alcoholic imbecile best buddy George W..

    George W.s buddies pull all these scam based tax payer funder wroughts and we get dragged into financing that.

    Turnbull and his cronies want to keep us ALL stuck with donkey cart (Telstra) telecommunications system - Turnbull bullshits his way through most things.

    And now we get a party that says "Being stuck on 100 year old copper wire system is no good any more - lets get national optical fiber".

    Getting a big steam train telecomminucations system?

    Nooooooooo go back to Turnbull and his bloody donkey carts - so he and all his liberal party stooges and their buddies can keep right on scamming us - every step of the way.
    Jahm Mittt
  • Actually, Raw Speed is only half the equation.
    There are many factors tied up with the upgrade that the politicians just don't get. The copper network is now about 100 years old. Fibre will last at least another 50 years

    The faster the network, the less processing needed at the receiving end. In other words, cheaper, lower spec computers can do the same job on the net (see the rise of 'net book computers).

    As demand for streaming music and videos rise, the current system will slow to a crawl, as there are volume constraints along with speed constraints with the current system - as volume increases speed decreases for the user. If you are not within a kilometer or so of an exchange you will find things actually slow down as others start using more data.

    Many live further from exchanges than this and on current speeds we cannot even watch the ABC i-View, let alone watch high-def movies (many computer screens have better definition than good TV sets).

    The proposed integrated high speed system will lead to price falls in data and services, while making many services possible for the first time. (why do you think real video-telephony has not yet taken off on the current system?).

    There are other issues, but faster, per-se is not the only story. Capacity and new uses is the other side as well. By the way, wireless services (as proposed by some) is not the answer. It not only cannot ever match the speeds obtainable by Fibre (basic physics) but will have worse degradation as more people try to use it. Not to mention that the spectrum it needs to work even a little bit like its proponents hope need to come from somewhere. From where would we take the spectrum? Maybe from TV services, the entertainment industry, the car and garage door openers, or maybe the Emergency Services radio systems?
  • I've 30 years IT experience, and am pro-technology but the NBN business case does NOT stack up. The major uses for high-speed internet in Japan and Korea are on-line gaming and video downloads - each of which have a negative correlation with national productivity!

    IFF the Feds had said they're doing 'common services trenching' in all suburban streets and power, water, reticulated (non-potable) water (where appropriate) and fibre will all share... then I'd agree love to see 20-year roll-out, as street poles would disappear.

    The discussion NBN proponents refuse to have is why not cut off at 85% or 90%... the returns are VERY NEGATIVE cabling to low-density town-fringe 2-10ac blocks to achieve 93%. McKinsey ought to have shown a true marginal/sensitivity analysis, not just overall average ROI for Conroy's preferred outcome. Cutting over to wireless at lower population densities presents a huge saving. And remote areas will always need satellite (as now). Alternatively, do the monopoly roll-out over 20 years, not 8, with outer semi-urban to be last scheduled (switching from wireless).

    The big issue is alternative spending opportunities. A far more compelling case is to switch our energy generation from coal to renewables, and $50b would go a long way, and stop NSW Labor's two newly-proposed coal-fired power plants. At a 50% matching-grant, companies/homeowners will put up another $50b. $50b would put a 1.5kw photovoltaic system on every freestanding house - second $50b would put equivalent megawatts over warehouse+factory roofs. New transmission line costs are low if solar and wind are widely distributed, including close to loads. Yes, we also need a DC link to WA's grid, to keep East Coast home fires burning after sundown in the East... but that can wait.

    We HAVE to change our energy system - though we could live with a slower change to fibre - eg 20 years. With an NBN causing little to be spent on renewables, we'll watch the world bake in HD-IPTV, wondering what else we could have done!

    Many spruik what great things we'll be able to do in the future with more bandwidth. I don't doubt that. However, because there are precious few curriculum items available electronically, Labor's 'NBN for the classroom' TV ad couldn't show any.. so the ad 'pretends' to open a door to another world. In NSW, only Maths has some electronic content, in the form of copyright CD-ROMs found inside the jacket of very expensive proprietary maths books for each year. However, the schools have no rights to even put this content on their servers, due to copyright. The wonderful 'First Australians' TV series was available on ABC TVs iView service, but has since been removed. We could productively spend 8 years getting the new national curriculum into e-Learning formats, suitable for distribution via ADSL2, before claiming higher bandwidth will solve any issues in schools!

    And I love all the 'wishful thinking' people wanting to telecommute. I work from home a lot, so I'm for telecommuting. But the question to ask yourself is "If the bandwidth is so good that I could 'appear' to be at work, yet actually be at home, what's to stop that job going to someone in Bangalore?" If you own the company, or are in the top 20% in your field, you're safe from outsourcing. But if what you do is support in nature and you can do it from home, then a guy in Bangalore can do it from his office just as well, for a tenth the price.

    When US dentists dictate to their clip-on microphone, that MP3 file is picked up in India and transcribed into text back into the patient's file. X-rays can be analysed overseas. A lot of what we think of as "local jobs" will go elsewhere, with truly high-speed internet. Will the ACTU be happy downstream with Labor pushing for the requisite tool for bosses to outsource so many of their jobs overseas? It helps national productivity to outsource such jobs, but it does cause significant job disruption locally. The question is whether we are really ready for all support services from Customer Support to HR to IT to go offshore in a huge rush. When you dial your internal extension to speak to your in-house HR person, you'll notice they're polite, but have a funny accent. Another extension will take you to your in-house product expert, and they too will be offshore. Even your telephonist will be in India, switching your VOIP calls! Lots of people will be working from home, but it may not be your home!

    And with people thinking they'll be telecommuting from a lovely house in the country, let's remember that true-rural will still be condemned to use satellite internet, under either party's plan. So you'll be able to see all the people in the next office online (ie the bandwidth can be improved) but you won't be able to join group discussions with anyone, as the latency inherent in moving packets (at the speed of light) to and from routers sitting in satellites in geostationary orbit adds an unacceptable delay.... eventually you'll decide to say "Over" at the end of every comment, so people don't all jump in to talk at the same time. Eventually your co-workers will get jack of it and note that your replacement in Bangalore does not use satellite, so your employer will decide to overcome the latency problem by outsourcing your job.

    I have Skype on both my city ADSL2 and country Optus satellite dish... but VOIP via satellite has unworkable latency issues, not fixed by any increase in bandwidth. Don't get me wrong, satellite is the right technology for those well over 20km from an exchange (ie true rural, not in-town) and it can deliver you news, email, markets etc but VOIP does not work on satellite... so telepresence does not work either.

    And for all those thinking you'll get a medical specialist from Sydney on the other end of a tele-medicine session, let's get real. The specialist will eventually be located offshore, at least while Australia still allows medical specialist groups to limit their own in-take numbers (implicit exemption from anti-collusion provisions of Trade Practices Act).

    But the satellite co-contribution pioneered by the National Party under Howard WAS a great plan for the bush. It was not government bureaucrats tying to plan and do everything, and it did not take on unnecessary public risk. It simply paid for about 85% of the cost of installing a satellite dish, provided the customer was prepared to contract to pay the c$50/month ISP usage fee. The difference with the roof insulation plan under Rudd was that the government would pay up to 130% of the cost of the market-price for the work, which invited shonks.

    The high-payback is to get the government off all paper. For just $50m, the government could own all of the official email addresses for all Australians, now and in the future. They could be allocated on a first-come basis (like any blog) or else be allocated (eg first six letters of surname, then first four of first name, then such digits as needed for uniqueness). And then force government at ALL levels, Fed, State, Local, through to all semi-government (land & pest boards, licensing authorities etc) to use ONLY that email for all government communications. Then each user could log in and stipulate what current day-to-day email address they would like such material forwarded to. However, even if such material is forwarded, you'd be able to go to your 'official' web-based email site and see ALL material sent for past seven years, even if you had deleted it in your active/daily email system. And pensioners could get an exemption, whereby a single print-out of all emails of month would be snail-mailed to them. The government would not DO anything with the system, but simply authorise it and let a contract for some email contractor to manage it on behalf of the government. Like the NBN, the monopoly would be owned by the people. Compared to the 7% return on the NBN, it would be a 300% return on getting all government to give up paperwork.

    So, let's plan an NBN. Let's link all commercial centres within two years, do high-density suburbs within 5 years, then low density suburbs by the tenth anniversary, and then take our time getting to 90% (outer semi-urban) by the twentieth anniversary. And in the meantime, let's do enough renewables so no politician talks of new coal-fired power plants. Changing the energy system over is the one that has some real time factors to it, whereas huge bandwidth at home is just less important.
  • Yes indeed Touche` Vasso...LOL!
  • In fact, I can't believe that none of the serious political journalists has pointed out that the NBN is the bone given to the dog to distract it from the real issue. If you are an ideologically-driven party, needing to be proud of some element of 'nation building' and you have given up on "the greatest moral challenge of our time", then you'd better have some 'alternative project' you can offer in the form of 'bread and circuses' to keep the populace distracted from your failure in the main game.

    That is why the NBN is such a 'major project' with such a 'do it all' approach, irrespective of rate of return. Everyone needs to see the NBN as Labor's alternative to renewables. Yes, higher bandwidth should slightly lessen commuter use of oil, but by no means as much as better public transport, electric vehicles and true renewable energy generating capacity. The NBN needs to be seen as a very poor second choice, in terms of retaining the biosphere in a form suitable for humans. As I said, we'll be able to watch the world bake in HD IPTV!!!
    Graeme Harrison (prof at-symbol post.harvard.edu)
  • harrison_graeme seems to have missed a few pertinent points.
    1) Out-Sourcing services to countries with low labour costs has been happening for well over 10 years. Closer to 20 in fact - long before we had anything faster than dial-up. If companies want to off-shore labor costs, they will, with or without the NBN.
    2) Latency on satellite systems can be reduced significantly with newer-generation hardware - We are only talking a "round-trip of about 200kn or so for signals for some satellites, but up to half a second for geostationary satellites. Many communications systems use low orbit satellites that "hand-over" the job to another unit as they move toward/away from the signal source/target. This is how phone communications work in most countries. Regardless of the latency, apart from Gaming, this is still better than no communications.
    3) Governments, of most persuasions, aren't going to take that money that they may not spend on the NBN and put it into something worthwhile. They should do this with money taken from the subsidies given to the, say, big polluting industries that we both decry, but probably won't. For example, the money wasted by the entire defense force each year on poorly conceived contracts, would pay for the NBN. The whole defense budget would pay for the NBN in 2 years - where is the business cost analysis for that?.
    4) I struggle to get decent VOIP and Skype on my network which averages less than 1Mb on ADSL2+ so video-phone, i-View and IPTV don't happen even though I live in an outer metropolitan suburb. 3G wireless broadband is not much faster here because of the terrain
    5) Medicare. That is the answer to the fear of offshore doctors. To consult with a doctor in this country they have to be certified & registered as an Australian doctor to qualify under the Health Insurance Commission to qualify for the Medicate rebate. Anyone can consult with a doctor or any other quack from anywhere if they don't want, or qualify for, the rebate, and many do now.
    6) As for email addresses, that has nothing to do with the NBN. Government departments do, in fact, have a cohesive system of email addresses and people do forward emails wherever they chose
    7) If textbooks were the only thing you put on the Net then dial-up would be fine, but what about rendered 3D engineering drawings, real-time control of remote systems, streaming radio and movies, large connected households sharing one connection? These applications need bandwidth and (consistent) speed. ADSL does not cut it and anyone over about 3Km from an exchange doesn't even get what you seem to cherish.

    As for only doing the initially lucrative parts of the network, that is a great way to create a divide in our society while not gaining the benefits of an integrated high speed network. And why shouldn't the majority of the population have access to the best possible service? Of course, if those in Toorak and Vaucluse don't think they need this service then we could use the money that was to be spent there and do more for the remote population areas. I think not, so the rest of the country deserves this too. 20 years? ADSL has only been around for about 10 years and speed demands are continuously increasing. 20 years ago, 1200b/s was about the best you could get, 10 yeaars ago we had got to 56Kb/s. Today we see about 1-20Mb/s. In 10 years, we should expect 20-200Mb/s - way more than ADSL in any flavour is likely to produce. 20 yrs? - well with such crap service as ADSL only gives, whole sections of our economy will be crippled.
  • @pilotyoda,
    Thanks for your input, but I would still beg to differ on a few of your points:
    1. OUTSOURCING: Yes, some outsourcing has been happening with only dial-up. So far it has only been certain types of industries (eg call centres and help desks) which can be 'remote' with as little connectivity as an analogue phone connection (even though many in fact use VOIP now). However, my point is that with tele-presence we could see a lot of 'hollowing out' of existing 'traditionally non-outsourced' operations. The guy in the desk next to you could be anywhere, once true telecommuting is possible. I stand by my comment that a major fibre roll-out (to business not necessarily homes) will enable far greater levels of outsourcing to offshore suppliers.

    2. SATELLITE LATENCY: Yes, it is the up to half-second latency that you mentioned that I complained. Per an ACS Special Interest Group on VOIP talk, an expert in VOIP advised that 150ms is the magic number that when exceeded causes confusion in a conversation... in other words, that it seems like you are not properly able to converse with the other person. To meet that goal is tough, given you have to sample analogue audio, packetise it with compression, send it via numerous routers, receive it at other end, allow for packets to arrive in non-linear sequence (due to alternative routing possibilities) and re-sequence, decompress and play audio. So there is a about 120ms taken up in 'normal' packet and local transmission overhead. As soon as you also send to and from a satellite, you break that 'naturalness' of speech 150ms by quite a bit... as you say up to 500ms. It is like when you get a 'bad line' when telephoning to the other side of the world... OK to talk to family overseas via Skype when you know it is for free, but too poor for business communications.

    3. ALTERNATIVE GOVERNMENT SPENDING: Unfortunately when you take a dollar out of your own pocket and spend it on something, it is a dollar less you could spend on something else. In Economics, it is the utility foregone of that other thing you could have spent the money on... Opportunity Cost. It is precisely the same with government spending. Every dollar spent on any government program is a dollar the government cannot spend on something else. Now, if the NBN had a 40% return, then you could argue that in subsequent years the government has the return of the already-passed years of implementation to spend on further roll-out. But in fact I bet that NBN+McKinsey already fully factored that in to determine the total amount required over the years to get to 93% deployment, with the earlier years being committed to the higher-return elements and only in the later years doing the fully-non-commercial elements. We'd all love to think that there is money in 'other pots' but it's either taxpayer money or it's not. Yes, let's fix the bad/expensive defence procurement, but that is a separate issue to the NBN.

    4. LOW-PERFORMANCE ADSL: OK, so you only get 1Mbps on your outer-urban ADSL. But you do get 3G wireless. And you'd like your video calls to be better. Even under the Coalition plan of $6b, they are promising to take you to at least 12Mbps. It seems that your desires are met by far less spending than $43b. Besides, not everyone wants every phone call to be video. Seeing a relative overseas on Skype is great for family connectedness... but if you are working from home in very casual attire and someone phones on work business, do you want them to see how you're dressed? Dressing casually is one of the major positives of telecommuting. My last three mobile phones have all had video call capability, but I've only used it once as a test. The vast majority of mobile-to-mobile calls are text, even though mobile-to-mobile supports video.

    5. TELE-MEDICINE: I was not suggesting that Medicare would not still control doctor licensing. I suggest that it will be the government itself that will let contracts to overseas-located doctors to meet the government's commitment to have 500 doctors sitting at terminals. The government of the day will explain that Australian doctors just don't want to do that - as they currently explain with why doctors can't be found for outback towns, which is the issue driving the need for GP tele-medicine. And US X-ray analysis is already done in India, with just a US MD 'signing off' on the final specialist letter. Some things can be outsourced, as long as someone local takes responsibility.

    6. GOVERNMENT DROPPING PAPER: I suggested that a higher-return than any NBN was getting rid of all public sector sending out of paper. You replied "Government departments do, in fact, have a cohesive system of email addresses". You must be in some parallel-universe Australia. My local council just came out with its new budget and it is a 4+ centimetre-thick bound volume. A copy went to each precinct, and any other interested parties. Heaven knows how many copies they produced. Each fortnight's Building Sub-committee report (dealing with DAs handled) is hundreds of pages, and again is produced in hard-copy, with copies for everyone. IMHO, the point we are now at in the cycle is that government accepts emails, but tends to produce and send paper.

    Even the banks' implementation of e-statements is flawed, in that they don't comply with the GST Act, which requires a supply to 'deliver' a tax invoice in respect of anything that has a GST component (upon demand). This is so that people can prove their GST credits. Most banks don't "deliver" an e-statement to you, but rather send you an email that says an e-statement exists, but it is on their systems. So you have to go through an elaborate log-in procedure to see it. They then keep your data for as little as 90 days (some banks current quieriable or CSV-downloadable transaction files) or a bit longer for PDFs of whole months (neither quieriable nor CSV-accessible)... but not the seven years required for ATO use, nor accessible if you change banks. And the banks wonder why people are slow to take-up their lame offerings. We have a long way to go.

    7. BANDWIDTH NEEDS: You suggest existing schooling can be done on lower bandwidth, but what about "rendered 3D engineering drawings, real-time control of remote systems, streaming radio and movies"? I can see a lot of households needing rendered 3D drawings, and I have proposed fibre to all business premises. The real use of fibre is in movies and IPTV. I can see a lot of remote video surveillance running on the NBN. We will all be able to move to the 'Seth Efrican' experience of having cameras adorning all of our house verandahs, as if we live in a high-risk environment. People will like to switch to it to see what is happening at home when they are at work... but I doubt that what they will pay for such a service will justify an NBN fibre to each house. In the UK, the original 3G mobile plans offered 'unlimited use' and the mobile phone companies found people were leaving their mobiles connected to their home phones on 'speaker' as a 'baby monitor' while out for the whole night... things people would not do at any per-use billing rate. And on the big users, video downloads and interactive gaming, I repeat my assertion that these are negatively correlated with national productivity.

    8. CUT-OFF POINT: I note your argument in reply "for only doing the initially lucrative parts of the network" boils down to a sense of inclusiveness. But it is like "No child living in poverty" or that everyone should be able to see a doctor whenever they want, or promising public transport to every house in Australia. The more you try to make things 'absolutely universal', the crazier the economics become of delivering upon that promise. Wanting the (by 2020) 40% of retirees or non-workers to have the same super-high bandwidth as the banks is expensive. I don't have a problem with a slower roll-out to something like 85-90%, provided we are FIRST converting our energy and transport systems to renewables at a fast rate. But for planning purposes we still need cut-offs, and for policy reasons, it should be fibre to villages of greater than 250-500 people and semi-urban cut-offs of population densities greater than 200 per square kilometre. What average cable-run-length do you suggest between potential subscribers before it is uneconomic? The less-dense areas can then be served by whatever is the best wireless systems available from time-to-time, and be based on actual usage in each wireless zone. With Laborites stacked within NBN, without fully-transparent cut-offs, the roll-out will be determined by back room deals on marginal electorates and other 'favours', like the council roads being sealed only so far as the councillors' houses! And the feedback from the trial roll-out sites must be used to adjust the model. So if McKinsey assumed a 50% take-up rate, then if the actual take-up rate in the trial sites is lower, then the minimum size of township and minimum population density (people per square km) need to be adjusted accordingly. If one does not do this, one is definitely building a white elephant, as the ROI will quickly go from +7% to -15%, and we all lose.