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  1. Dominique M says:
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  3. October 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm
  4. > Good morning and thank you to Grahame Lynch and Commsday for the chance to speak today.
  5.  
  6. Here we go again.
  7.  
  8. > In truth I’d rather talk about something other than the NBN this morning.
  9.  
  10. And I’d rather talk about something other than the NBN this evening.
  11.  
  12. > Last night I gave a talk about free speech, and my concern over the current Government’s habitual willingness to sacrifice this freedom for other objectives.
  13.  
  14. And it was an awesome speech.
  15.  
  16. > Rapid structural change in the media, and what it means for journalism and democracy;
  17.  
  18. It’s time for a leadership spill. Your NBN policy is a turd, but far truer is the fact that there is no way Tony Abbott is fit to lead the Liberal party. Go for it, and if you win it, ask him to apologise, not Alan Jones style, by 12pm or he’ll be shown the door. If you don’t win, go independent. Their irrational conservatism isn’t worth the effort, and it’s an anchor weighing it down. Go liberal, except for infrastructure and education. Anyway, wishful thinking.
  19.  
  20. > The second is that broadband was pivotal in the past two Federal elections – as one of a handful of policies where Labor delineated itself from John Howard in 2007, and because the NBN’s appeal in regional areas where broadband is often deplorable, helped keep Labor in office in 2010. We in the Coalition believe the NBN will again be an important election issue in 2013.
  21.  
  22. Yes. It will. The whole reason we’ve got a hung parliament is because your last NBN policy was crap. I’m still not sure what the difference this time is meant to be. It seems like pretty much the same plan.
  23.  
  24. > While Labor’s NBN is not how the Coalition would have gone about upgrading broadband if we were starting from scratch, there is no doubt that many Australians support the concept – that’s has been true ever since Labor launched the policy five and a half years ago.
  25.  
  26. The policy was mostly the same as the coalition’s. Until April 2009. Three and a half years ago.
  27.  
  28. > How enduring will that popularity prove to be, I wonder? Since 2007 these supporters of Labor’s NBN have no doubt seen slick brochures, various TV commercials, maybe even the NBN truck. They’ve watched news footage from points around the country of Stephen Conroy ceremoniously pushing big flashing buttons that aren’t in truth actually connected to anything.
  29.  
  30. Well, it’s been enduring for more than five years.
  31.  
  32. > But in most cases they haven’t seen any sign of the NBN itself. Even if they live in a housing development with which the NBN Co has a contract to connect, they probably haven’t seen it –they certainly didn’t see it when they hoped to see it.
  33.  
  34. It’s nice to see that, when you’re at Commsday, you don’t assume that the audience can be misled by your statements, unlike when you go to these housing developments to promise broadband in no time at all.
  35.  
  36. > And incredibly, even if they live in suburbs or towns with utterly inadequate broadband services, many find they are not on the NBN’s three-year rollout plan. In other words, having done next to nothing tangible to alleviate their situation in the past five years, Labor is also saying to these people that they won’t be helped in the period to 2015.
  37.  
  38. And FTTN wouldn’t be rolled out to them either by 2015. Labor is slow, we get it. The reason why they’re slow is in great part because they stuck to what is pretty much the coalition plan now. If they were willing to set back progress two years because of FTTH, then maybe FTTH is worth considering? Doesn’t that speak, rather than of a delay, of how superior FTTH really is?
  39.  
  40. Furthermore, what about the 2011 headline “Telstra 4G makes NBN unviable: Turnbull”? In attacking the NBN’s rollout, there’s nothing tangible to replace it. In attacking the NBN’s finances, Telstra 4G makes them unviable. In fact, many of those in suburbs and towns, 4G will outpace the NBN’s FTTH rollout, according to Joe Hockey’s comments.
  41.  
  42. So, you don’t get to pick both things.
  43.  
  44. > After all, as Michael Quigley frankly admitted at Senate Estimates in October 2011, NBN Co chose the areas which get its fibre network first based on the availability of Telstra dark fibre and exchanges, and agreements with its civil contractors – not on how urgently communities need access to better broadband. [2]
  45.  
  46. That’s the way to build the network. He knows how to build networks, and that decision shows it. Since 4G is supposedly enough, by your own front bench’s statements, to compete with fibre for a while at least, then surely that urgency can’t be as severe as that.
  47.  
  48. No one, when rolling out a copper network, would also have proposed rolling it out first to those in rural areas, to those who were far away from any exchange. No one, when rolling out an electricity network, would have advocated hooking up a few houses in an area, and running a cable kilometres and kilometres from a power station. It may be slower, but it’s the right way to build a network.
  49.  
  50. The NBN is not a peer-to-peer network, but a network designed around points of interconnect. The decision to have 121 points of interconnect has already been criticised.
  51.  
  52. > I consider NBN Co’s failure to give those areas in most urgent need of improved service first priority to be utterly unacceptable and, frankly, something of a scandal given the resources that are being pumped into this project.
  53.  
  54. Maybe, by 2015, it is quite possible that NBN Co will have the infrastructure to connect those areas in most urgent need fairly quickly? The peak rollout will be by 2016… and at that time, there’s no real harm to the network infrastructure in prioritising areas with the most urgent need.
  55.  
  56. > If we win the next election our first concern will be to give priority to upgrading these areas.
  57.  
  58. The priority is to doom 18 million Australians to slower Internet than Romania had in 2008, by 2018, in order to get some measure of broadband to 2 million Australians? Instead of, the current plan, giving 20 million Australians super-fast broadband by early-ish 2021?
  59.  
  60. Some priority.
  61.  
  62. > Over 13,000 people have responded so far, and it is available for another six weeks.
  63.  
  64. And just as many complained because their Internet connection wasn’t fast enough and the download/upload test didn’t complete properly. If only Ookla was ready to help… and if only they had a massive wad of data… Oh, look: http://netindex.com/source-data/
  65.  
  66. It’s not sorted by suburb or whatnot. But if only some more Australian company had this kind of data… Oh, look: http://www.tpg.com.au/maps/
  67.  
  68. > Already we’ve identified areas not on the NBN three-year rollout plan which clearly should have been.
  69.  
  70. 13,000 data points over 8 million premises, near enough, is about 600 premises per data point.
  71.  
  72. Now, the problem with that is that a) I’m guessing most people that did that survey already have an Internet connection that the coalition wouldn’t consider an area to be prioritised, let’s say three quarters. And b) at about two-to-three-ish thousand premises per data point, then I’m not sure how it’s possible to identify areas reliably.
  73.  
  74. One of the reasons the FTTH rollout is delayed because the address data they had was insufficient. Surely, if you capture one out of every 600 premises, i.e. one six-hundredth of the data, then you can’t draw sufficient conclusions.
  75.  
  76. Furthermore, there is that promise that you would take care of communities with about 500 premises with inadequate broadband. If you capture these kinds of situations at a few thousand premises per data point, you’re still an order or an order of a half away from making any kind of conclusion.
  77.  
  78. Because of one data point in a survey, you would have to assume something about the condition of broadband across thousands of premises with no degree of confidence.
  79.  
  80. > We encourage everyone in Australia – but especially anyone with poor quality broadband – to do the survey, which can be found at: http://www.fasterbroadband.com.au
  81.  
  82. “especially anyone with poor quality broadband”. And that’s where the sampling bias comes in. Well done. Your results are invalid, and this is neither a study nor a conscionably sufficient survey. It’s a complaint form. That’s it.
  83.  
  84. > The Gillard Government has instead unveiled a deluge of spending: new dental care, more money for schools, the disabilities insurance scheme, all worthy but none of it cheap.
  85.  
  86. Here’s where Julie Bishop may disagree. She was on Alan Jones’ (ugh) program earlier today. When Alan Jones said that these things basically where the Labor government going on a spending spree or that we can’t pay for them, she didn’t seem to complain. The message across the coalition just isn’t the same. Nor did she speak up when he suggested that the UN seat cost $3 billion. Because we increased our foreign aid budget. It was at 0.29% of GDP in 2009. The UN Millenium Project, and the promise in 1970 by the UN, suggested 0.7%. Above us are many nations, such as Canada, France, Finland, the UK, Denmark (0.82%), Norway and Sweden (0.99%). But apparently that’s throwing money down the drain, in Alan Jones’ words. Turns out that part of that money is used in supporting anti-sexism in politics in Pacific countries.
  87.  
  88. This: https://www.oxfam.org.au/media/2012/08/boost-for-womens-rights-in-the-pacific-will-improve-lives-of-many-2/
  89.  
  90. That’s part of that $3 billion dollars, but apparently that’s money either wasted on a security council seat and thrown down the drain. Goes to show how much Alan Jones’ comments about supporting women politicians really mean, when he calls it money down the drain when the government does it. Worse than that, Julie Bishop, and somewhat relevantly here was complicit in that statement.
  91.  
  92. > We’re assured the Budget will be in surplus, but the harsher conditions and tougher choices which very likely to lie ahead are never discussed. Rather than an urgent national focus on bolder reforms, broader-based growth and higher productivity, we still hear rhetoric about “spreading the benefits of the boom”.
  93.  
  94. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. One can establish a sovereign wealth fund or pad the Future Fund or implement the Gonski plan, while doing reforms, growth across more sectors and higher productivity. In fact, those things make it possible to reform an economy and develop a broader base.
  95.  
  96. > You’d think that the sight of NBN Co spending like Louis XVI and showing just about as much respect for the needs and wishes of Australian taxpayers as Louis did for his was all part of the masterplan. Although the Bourbons never to my knowledge ordered their subjects to wear red underpants on their heads.
  97.  
  98. Except that that statement was made in relation to spectrum auctions and meant to illustrate how much power the government had over the process. Sure, it wasn’t a good analogy, but it was a correct one.
  99.  
  100. > Fact: When the Labor Party won office in 2007 there were on the order of 2 million Australian households and businesses which could not get fixed line broadband service capable of playing a YouTube video. [4]
  101.  
  102. And that statistic relies on the false premise that ADSL is the only thing that can play a YouTube video.
  103.  
  104. > Fact: Five years later, there are still about 2 million households and businesses in this situation.
  105.  
  106. And I think it’s funny how the above has a reference, but this one doesn’t. If you love the private market so much, why not, as a member representing your constituents, tell Telstra that they should use some of its record profits to invest in premises in your electorate that don’t get adequate broadband? You could have done so in 2004, or even earlier. In fact, this was between T2 and T3, so Telstra was still somewhat under government control. Could it have been a part of T3? Or any agreement with the ACCC on anti-competitive behaviour? Naaaah, that just wouldn’t happen under 12 years of Liberal. It’s pretty disturbing to reflect upon one aspect of this whole saga. Telstra kept, artificially, ADSL speeds down to 1.5 Mbps until 2007. Until mere months before Labor would come to power. They played you like fools and the entire coalition was complicit.
  107.  
  108. > And even if the NBN projections are met, there will also be 2 million at the time of the next election. To the extent there’s been any tangible reduction in this number up to now due to improved fixed line service, it has been the result of Telstra’s deployment of its Top Hat devices – not of any action by Labor or the NBN Co.
  109.  
  110. Excellent. Telstra is doing stuff. There is nothing wrong with that. I thought, in fact, that’s how the free market you’re advocating is supposed to work. They are doing this despite the NBN being on the horizon, so it’s obvious that the free market is picking up the slack. The money Telstra is getting for its ducts and moving customers across will only continue to help. That entire assumption of 2 million premises not being able to play YouTube videos is based around NBN being responsible for 100% of broadband. It’s not. The corporate plan doesn’t even assume so, far from it.
  111.  
  112. > Fact: As of mid-2013 the NBN Co now says there will be 54,000 premises connected to the NBN Co’s fibre. This is one tenth of the forecast eighteen months ago by NBN Co and the Government. A further 38,000 premises – a third less than originally forecast – will allegedly be connected to the interim satellite or fixed wireless networks.
  113.  
  114. Again, the negotiations with Telstra, among a bunch of other things, delayed the rollout. Furthermore, the wireless network will be finished 2015-ish.
  115.  
  116. > Fact: Since the first premise was connected to the fibre network two years ago, the NBN Co has connected premises at the rate of 6 per day. In order to meet its forecast it will have to increase that rate of connection to 6,800 per day.
  117.  
  118. I’m not sure you can average numbers like that. It’s a bit like someone saying that average Internet speeds since 1969 has been, let’s say, 32 kbps, and in order to keep up with demands, we need to have speeds of 12 Mbps this year.
  119.  
  120. > Fact: As of mid-2013 about $8.6 billion in equity will have been committed to NBN Co. If we consider the forecast 92,000 connections at that date (only 54,000 of which are on fibre) , the capital subscribed per connection achieved works out to be about $90,000.
  121.  
  122. It’s funny because it assumes that $8.6 billion is only spent on premises with an activated connection. Here’s yet another analogy. Running a piece of my software may cost me $1000.95. $1000 for the computer, $0.95 for the software, and thus I’ll conclude that the software in question is hideously expensive. Sure, I exaggerate the point, but only because it works so well.
  123.  
  124. > Fact: From November 2007 until December 2010, Labor was in government but its NBN had no workable, properly costed, publicly released business plan – a fact not once acknowledged by those who are loudest and most insistent in their demands for the Coalition in opposition to publicly release a fully costed alternative plan without access to any of the NBN Co’s contractual or technical information.
  125.  
  126. NBN Co wasn’t around until April 2009. If we’re going to demand properly costed, publicly released business plans for businesses that don’t exist and strategies that aren’t either of viable or fully mature yet, then I guess we can only expect to see a business plan from Malcolm Turnbull any day now.
  127.  
  128. > Fact: The NBN Co refuses to tell us what its fibre network is costing per premise to roll out – Michael Quigley claims the figure is too commercially sensitive to reveal. [5] Curiously I have had no difficulty learning the average cost of passing and connecting premises from telcos in other parts of the world – only in Australia is this basic information a State secret.
  129.  
  130. And this is where your research has led you: FTTN is $300 per premise in Germany. You also say that FTTH twice as much or three times as much as FTTN. And then you claim that France is doing FTTH for $237 per premise.
  131.  
  132. The possibility occurs that someone halfway around the world is going to misinterpret those figures. Also, NBN Co is a commercial business, so it’s not a state secret, but I guess it’s a nice enough flourish to end the sentence on.
  133.  
  134. > But if we simply divide through the $2.2 billion in accumulated capital expenditure on the FTTP local and transit network projected by mid-2013 by the 341,000 premises passed by fibre projected by mid-2013, the cost per premise is $6,400. That is more than twice as high as any previous high-volume fibre rollout anywhere in the world. It is almost three times the NBN Co’s estimated budget.
  135.  
  136. But aren’t we not allowed to use the premises passed measurement because it doesn’t mean anything? I remember your berating people on Twitter for that. Also, again, it’s a statement leading to the conclusion of the $1000.95 piece of software.
  137.  
  138. > Is this metric unfair, given it lumps together transit and local access capital expenditure? Possibly.
  139.  
  140. Yes. And, actually, it lumps together a few other things too.
  141.  
  142. And, furthermore, there is a certain focus on connecting greenfield properties. Which incur a higher per-premise expense than brownfields, if there isn’t a backhaul or any infrastructure yet. You can’t complain about the per premise cost of greenfields being high, and then complain about greenfields not being connected, and, as you’re complaining as well, complain about brownfields not being connected. You need to choose between some of them.
  143.  
  144. > But if you don’t like it, then here is a suggestion: tell me precisely how we should instead measure NBN Co’s performance and cost structure. Tell me how the taxpayers of Australia should obtain more complete and more accurate information about these matters, given Michael Quigley has refused to provide it to Parliament. Tell me exactly what basis you have for any alternative judgement you may have reached about the efficacy of NBN Co’s fibre rollout.
  145.  
  146. Well, clearly it was done on the back of a napkin or on some flight between Canberra and Sydney or whatever the myth is, so surely it would be possible to get some kind of… telecommunications industry insider… who also has banking experience… or someone like that… to do some back of the envelope calculation and go to the public, or Mr. Quigley with them. But if it’s anything like the numbers above, then I just don’t know if that will do it.
  147.  
  148. In any case. The efficacy of the fibre rollout is based on something very simple. The more points of interconnect and bits of backhaul there are, the lower the per-premise cost will be. People who want faster speeds will finance, disproportionately, the capital cost. Furthermore, lower maintenance costs for FTTH over copper. Those three points are a basis for an alternative judgment. Now go, and bring us the holy Excel spreadsheet that includes these things.
  149.  
  150. > But if you want to assert that Versailles is in fact being built on a shoestring, on a budget so frugal it actually renders fibre to premises economically viable without massive implicit subsidies, yet you can’t provide detailed, logical responses grounded in empirical evidence to these questions, then you will understand why we find your assertions unpersuasive.
  151.  
  152. Here is what Renai LeMay had to say on not quite this, but it’s still telling enough: “Quigley even had the grace to publicly invite Turnbull to a private briefing with him to discuss the technical aspects of the Coalition’s preferred fibre to the node technology; an invitation Turnbull never took up, to my knowledge.”
  153.  
  154. Seeing your dislike of Mike Quigley rise to what in Renai’s opinion amounted to slander, it’s not really sure that invitation would ever be taken up on, if there’s any truth to it. There’s certainly the statement that: “he was not the right choice for NBN Co because he hadn’t previously managed either the deployment or day-to-day operation of a telecommunications network,”
  155.  
  156. > Because contributions to the debate based on conjecture, hope, self-interest and blind faith in the heroic forecasts of an organization yet to meet a single one of its own deadlines are not good enough.
  157.  
  158. I’ll just leave this here: http://www.nbnco.com.au/getting-connected/service-providers/sau.html
  159.  
  160. And this in particular: http://www.nbnco.com.au/assets/documents/analysys-mason-report.pdf
  161.  
  162. Analysys-Mason, previously cited by yourself, seems to be calling many different aspects “prudent”.
  163.  
  164. > The hopelessly delayed schedule is not the only place where sheer unreality coloured by partisan theology has become a feature of the NBN debate.
  165.  
  166. You’re forgetting the Greens and the independents. They’ve been part of this sheer unreality coloured by theology too. Also most Australians, I guess. It must be something in the water. Or in the fact that they promised the moon and Australians seem to think they can deliver it.
  167.  
  168. > Mr Quigley has not worked for a telecommunications carrier. He hasn’t ever been responsible for a network rollout, or an operating telecommunications business. Nor as it happens have any of the current Directors of NBN Co – there, we have five former bankers, two former McKinsey consultants, two former equipment vendors, but no former telecom executives.
  169.  
  170. Mr Turnbull has not worked for a government. He hasn’t ever been responsible for legislation, or an operating government department. Also, despite experts in finance, in technology and in business, two infrastructure experts, never mind someone from the Productivity Commission, what Malcolm Turnbull thinks we need is a Sol Trujillo, because that’s just what was missing from this mix.
  171.  
  172. I, on the other hand, would just like to tell Mr. Trujillo or anyone else like him, that they may stay where they are and may the not inflict Australia with their presence.
  173.  
  174. > The most recent appointment, Dr Kerry Schott, is probably the best qualified of the lot, as she has run a large public utility and overseen the construction of several large projects, but it was a water company, not a telco.
  175.  
  176. What you will find is that NBN Co is in the infrastructure business, albeit in the field of telecommunications. It’s not a vertically integrated telco one.
  177.  
  178. > In my view this has contributed to NBN Co setting for itself milestone after unrealistic milestone that it has abjectly failed to achieve.
  179.  
  180. OK, if we’re blaming that then I’ll blame Telstra and the coalition, which privatised Telstra and made this whole thing necessary in the first place.
  181.  
  182. > It has contributed to NBN Co’s culture of gold-plating and excessive spending, because if capital is no constraint and those supervising the enterprise are not directly familiar with its task, the safest option is to choose the most costly option, and the easiest way to deal with mounting pressure and slipping schedules is to throw money at them.
  183.  
  184. [citation needed] on the first part.
  185.  
  186. Furthermore, it’s fairly obvious, reading the corporate plans, both of them, that NBN Co seems to have some idea of the risks involved. However, it’s refreshing that you’re calling FTTH the safest option now, and FTTN, seemingly, one very much less safer. And that there is a concern of risk that needs to be addressed before FTTN can proceed.
  187.  
  188. Thank you for acknowledging that.
  189.  
  190. > As though the stipulation that NBN be only used to refer to an FTTP network was handed down on tablets of stone from the mountain.
  191.  
  192. And thus I named my dog Malcolm Turnbull. Nowhere does it say that Malcolm Turnbull should refer to the shadow minister for broadband stuff. And, furthermore, I would hereby like to address that there is, once again, the misconception, that the NBN is fibre only. And again, it’s not.
  193.  
  194. > As though there was no other NBN in the world, and the two years during which Labor’s NBN was also committed to a FTTN rollout never happened.
  195.  
  196. You will find that if you have a trademark in a different industry, you’re perfectly able to keep that name. NBN in Newcastle is a perfect example. However, if you use the same word in the same industry, then it becomes a problem. In any case, it’s perfectly valid for the coalition to use the term “NBN”. Just don’t get upset when people call you out on it not being the NBN everyone has been hearing about for five years. Because it’s just not, for those not getting FTTH.
  197.  
  198. > A third example of fantasy triumphing over fact is the tired refrain we constantly hear from the pro-NBN participants in the debate that by utilizing parts of the copper network, the Coalition’s proposed changes to the NBN will ‘lock in’ high copper maintenance costs. As I’ve pointed out countless times, Senator Conroy has already locked in a fair chunk of these costs in – for the next 20 years at least, thanks to the contract for the USO he signed with Telstra earlier this year. Let me quote Grahame Lynch on this matter: “Witness this week’s debate about the allegedly high maintenance costs of FTTN compared to FTTH, sparked by BIS Schrapnel and fanned by business commentator Alan Kohler. Under the current NBN plan, the most expensive part of the copper network—that in rural and remote Australia—will be retained and funded by industry levies amounting to nearly $300m annually—nearly half the alleged cost of maintaining the entire national copper network today.
  199.  
  200. What isn’t said is that locked in are $50 million until 2014 and $100 million thereafter. Sure, there will be more funding on top of that. Furthermore, the cost of maintaining the network, as said by Telstra, has exceeded $1 billion already in some years. TUSMA also, by the way, covers things other than the USO, such as payphones, 000, the National Relay Service and making sure people don’t get dropped in the transition to the NBN.
  201.  
  202. > And of course, under FTTN, the most fault prone parts of the copper network—the bundles of copper that feed into exchanges, not individual access lines—would be replaced by fibre.” [7]
  203.  
  204. Most numerous doesn’t imply most fault-prone in faults per pair of copper.
  205.  
  206. > “The Telstra submission revealed that it now planned for an FTTN network which used VDSL, not ADSL2+…It could deliver a target downstream speed of 25 Mbps and a maximum downstream speed of 100 Mbps, much faster than its original proposal. The copper lengths would be a maximum of 800 metres (not the 1.5 kilometres of its November 2005 proposal)…” [8]
  207.  
  208. It’s funny that you don’t mention the wholesale prices Telstra put on that. It was disgusting, and a cheap ploy to get competitors’ DSLAMs out of the local exchange. State the wholesale price for that. I dare you.
  209.  
  210. > In May 2008 Telstra’s then-CEO suggested the total cost of such a network running to 98 per cent of premises would be approximately $15 billion – or roughly three times the funding from taxpayers proposed by Labor. It is instructive to note that the cost of FTTN is estimated by most industry figures with expertise in this area to have fallen substantially since 2008 – by between 10 and 20 per cent. This reflects the large share of FTTN costs accounted for by electronics, falling prices for many of these components, and the strengthening of the Australian dollar.
  211.  
  212. That’s not an argument for FTTN. Surely those electronics, components and whatnot would just as well apply to FTTP.
  213.  
  214. > In contrast the cost of FTTP is largely driven by the expense of hiring and managing contract labour needed for civil works. In Australia, at least, the cost advantage of FTTN has widened significantly over the past five years.
  215.  
  216. Telstra uses, in its finances, a depreciation time of 15 years for copper. Fibre would be 25 years. Those are massive underestimates, both of them, for financial gain, but the point is still clear. Fibre doesn’t just need less maintenance, it lasts longer. Furthermore, it’s labour that would be needed eventually anyway.
  217.  
  218. > First of all, the NBN or other next-generation access networks will be rolled out or underway in some areas (although many fewer than we may have hoped). The million most remote premises in Australia will be served by fixed wireless and satellite, a strategy which the Coalition has always supported (but under Labor’s NBN delivered in the most expensive possible way by contracts which are likely to be inflexible and in place).
  219.  
  220. Please don’t call it “the NBN” when it’s a different plan. It gives everyone with the slightest clue an allergic reaction. Justified or not, it just does.
  221.  
  222. > Secondly, technology is constantly advancing and evolving – so the exact costs and exact nodes will be quite different to those proposed five years ago.
  223.  
  224. This is where the higher risk for FTTN comes in, right?
  225.  
  226. > Thirdly, we cannot be precise over the terms under which we may obtain access to the D-side copper from Telstra. While Telstra has made several public remarks which indicate it will approach this matter in a way which makes a mutually beneficial outcome reachable, we cannot negotiate such an agreement from Opposition.
  227.  
  228. But you said that it wasn’t a problem renogotiating that deal. “As far as Telstra is concerned a move to FTTN does not require major revisions to the deal with NBN Co (other than securing access to the D side copper) and would advantage Telstra because more customers would be switched over to the NBN network sooner and so the payments to Telstra would be accelerated with a consequent higher NPV.”
  229.  
  230. Oh, right. I forgot. The audience was Commsday. Sorry. My fault.
  231.  
  232. > Fourthly and perhaps most importantly,, we do not know what contractual commitments we will inherit or how these may be varied to suit a changed design. And given Senator Conroy’s extravagant rhetoric about ‘locking in” Labor’s NBN, we have every reason to be cautious on this front – although it is our very strong expectation that the Department of Finance, which is a 50 per cent shareholder in NBN Co, will have properly and comprehensively protected the interests of Australian taxpayers and Australian democracy in this matter.
  233.  
  234. Hooray for trusting Wayne Swan
  235.  
  236. > The thorough inquiry we will hold into the management and governance of the NBN Co will put all of these matters beyond doubt.
  237.  
  238. Oh, that will go over really well just after an election where the coalition may have won. “We’re about to have an NBN inquiry.” Now that will cheer people up about getting not-fibre sooner immensely.
  239.  
  240. > The one thing we do know, and all you know here, is that FTTN is substantially faster and cheaper to deploy than FTTP. That is why so many telcos around the world are deploying it.
  241.  
  242. Yes, “faster” and “cheaper”.
  243.  
  244. > One of the more depressing aspects of the technology commentariat here is how little curiosity they show in what is actually going on in other jurisdictions or understanding the different circumstances in each market. In one major European market for example because of the very generous duct infrastructure it has been possible to pass more than 2 million premises with fibre with only ten per cent of the build requiring any civil works – well you would do FTTP wouldn’t you?
  245.  
  246. And if the coalition had made sure that Telstra had been properly privatised, or these things had been thought of in 1997, then surely Telstra would have found it easier to FTTP, since they own all the ducts. Like the telcos you’re talking about.
  247.  
  248. > So there you have it – the facts. Not all of them are what we might hope or wish. But denying them adds nothing to the debate, and does nothing to actually address the broadband challenges the nation has been confronting for some years, which Labor’s policies have done so little to alleviate.
  249.  
  250. Yeah, that’s true. I suppose I’m just a zealot.
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