NBN:

Carolyn Whybird writes: Re. “Turnbull v Conroy: how Coalition broadband plan stacks up” (28 October, item 3). I do not know where you get your info from but Turnbull’s telecommunications fix will NOT cost tens of billions — that’s what the NBN will cost.

My husband worked in telecommunications when they were using Morse code — not with Telstra. He developed the first microwave radio and was responsible for putting the first bit of fibre  in the ground in Australia.

He says that industry should pay for what they want to make the profit on and the government needs to pay for the rest – I think that’s what the Libs are doing. It is a slam dunk for him and I think he would know.

He has looked into this and feels very strongly that the NBN is terrible. Please, please put some pressure on this as it is a lot of money. Universities, hospitals and business need good speeds but most households will just speed up the time for youngsters to download movies etc.

We have ADSL2 and our 29 year old has just moved back home and says it downloads things so quickly so what more do we need? It will come in time but not by the government, surely.

Robert Clemesha writes: Re. Dave Horsfall (yesterday, comments) who wrote:

“[Crikey reader] Mark McDougall seems to think that copper telephones are powered by fairy-dust or something. They’re not; they are powered from the local exchange. When the earthquake hit, a major trunking exchange (Hamilton) went out, and 000 calls could not be made. I was there at the time, providing emergency radio communications to assist the SES in patrolling the streets looking for chimneys about to fall, etc.”

No need for “fairy-dust”; since inception POTS (plain old telephone service) has been powered by 48V batteries located at telephone exchanges, thus a catastrophic event that caused a city-wide power outage would not necessarily disrupt a telephone service IF the copper cables were not broken and the telephone exchange was still standing.

Unfortunately these days people like fancy phones with all sorts of features and a 240V plug-pack to power them, it pays to have a regular “no frills” telephone together with your torch for emergencies.

Andrew Dempster writes: Re. Andrew Stuart (yesterday, comments) who wrote:

“Why is The Australian newspaper carrying out such an unrelenting, constant negative attack on the NBN? Can Crikey please tackle this issue — no one else seems to be writing about it.”

In fact, could I suggest a broader investigation? There was at one point an analysis to see if the ABC was in fact “biased”, with a finding that it wasn’t. Is it possible for your army of students/interns, currently deployed on the “Brumby Dump”, to evaluate bias in the major dailies, and keep an indicator updated on the website?

We all know News is biased; it would be nice to have the figures to prove it. News is also the first to point the bias-accusing finger at others, especially the ABC, of which I was once again reminded as I caught up with a podcast of Q&A from two weeks ago where Jennifer Hewett (The Australian) robotically chanted Rupert’s opinions.

Keith Thomas writes: The NBN is being sold on the basis of the contribution it can make to improving education and the health sectors — two “motherhood” perennials. We know that many users in education and health already have sufficient high-speed connections for their purposes and the NBN is largely irrelevant to them.

Can we have an official estimate, please, of the extent to which the NBN — if implemented as planned — will be used by (a) gamers and (b) p-rn? I have nothing against these two sectors, I just find their absence from the publicised uses of the NBN to be a serious omission.

Melbourne Cup:

Peter Logan writes: Re. “The Cup carnival strikes up the brand” (yesterday, item 22). Adam Schwab’s article on the cup carnival shows Melbourne’s major events are only successful if the government does not run them!

The Grand Prix has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars – much more than the published losses, which are calculated after the government subsidies are paid in. Also, the Victoria Auditor-General’s economic study in 2007 (a proper cost benefit analysis) found it was an economic loser for Victoria.

These government announcements that lump all major events together are pure spin because the grand prix’s losses are hidden under the successful events that have honest attendance figures, honest TV ratings, are run by experts and are part of Melbourne’s sporting and arts culture.

It’s about time Victoria’s two major parties realised what the rest of us already know — the Grand Prix is a failed business model because of three things: Bernie Ecclestone’s secret contract, the annual temporary set up and pull down and the dishonesty.

All successful events are run in proper, well planned venues by competent and successful Melbournians, with little or no government subsidies.

Peter Fray

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