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Aug 9, 2012

Despite delays and blowouts, NBN remains broadly on track

The NBN is experiencing rollout delays and cost blowouts now, but as the project develops and efficiencies kick in these will be almost immaterial by the end of the 10-year project -- assuming it survives.

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Given the delays and the changes to its original plan for the national broadband network, yesterday’s revised NBN Co corporate plan was always going to look significantly different to the one it released last year. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of it is that the NBN remains broadly on track.

It is behind schedule because NBN Co lost nine months between signing a definitive deal with Telstra last year and gaining Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval for it. It also lost time because the federal government changed the scope of the rollout to include greenfields developments and the ACCC insisted on 121 points of interconnect for the network rather than NBN Co’s preferred 14.

It is also somewhat over budget, with increases in both the forecast capital and operating costs, some of which relate to the delays, the changes in the scope and nature of the network and the $800 million deal with Optus which will lead to the closure of its HFC network.

Neither the delays nor the increased costs, however, are particularly material in the context of such a large project with a decade-long construction timeline.

The delay, NBN Co’s Mike Quigley says, can be whittled back to an over-run of only six months by the time construction ends in June 2021 rather than at the end of 2020 as originally envisaged.

Capital expenditure is forecast to increase by $1.4 billion, or 3.9%, to $37.4 billion and operating costs by $3.2 billion to $26.4 billion. Some of that increase, however, relates to the Optus deal which will increase both capital and operating costs during the rollout phase but bring forward increased revenues.

NBN Co also gained access to more of Telstra’s infrastructure than it originally planned, which generates increased operating costs but lower capital expenditures while changes to the way customer connections are managed will also increase capital costs in the near term but generate longer term efficiencies.

As expected, NBN Co has also experienced some increase in construction costs but also some offsetting reductions in equipment costs.

Overall, one could conclude that in “net, net” terms, NBN Co is managing to stay more or less in line with its original game plan. Indeed, it is now forecasting a minute increase in the return it will eventually generate, from 7% to 7.1%, assuming the NBN rollout as NBN Co and the Gillard government envisage it is ever completed. Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull may well determine that.

If the NBN is completed on the revised forecasts, the taxpayers’ equity commitment to the project will have risen from the original $27.5 billion to $30.4 billion because of the increased costs. The total estimated funding requirement for the NBN has been increased from $41 billion to $44 billion.

The delays mean that, as NBN Co disclosed when it released its three-year stage on rollout plans in March, the deployment of fibre is way behind the original schedule. By the end of this year it expects to have started or completed construction that passes 750,000 premises, compared with the original estimate of 1.72 million.

In fact very few premises will actually be passed or connected until the NBN starts gathering real momentum in 2014 — by the end of this financial year only 661,000 homes will have been passed and NBN Co is forecasting that only 92,000 of them will be connected with active services. By 2015, however, by which point the rollout would be running at its peak scale, it expects to pass about 3.7 million premises and have 1.6 million of them connected with active services. Today there about 13,500 premises connected to the network.

That would suggest that if the opposition wins next year’s election they would be able to halt the rollout and shift to their preferred fibre-to-the-node model, supplemented by alternate broadband technologies. By the time they would be in a position to do that, of course, there will be a lot of fibre and dollars sunk into the network.

Whatever type of network is ultimately built, there is more growth occurring in broadband generally and in fixed line broadband than NBN Co had originally assumed and its initial experience has been that customers have taken up services faster than it had expected. If those trends continue, it says they might enable it to reduce wholesale pricing earlier than it had anticipated.

The broad message from NBN Co’s updated corporate plan is that it is broadly on track despite some of the unexpected changes to the business plan. That is, it is on track unless or until it is derailed by the Coalition.

*This article was originally published at Business Spectator

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147 comments

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147 thoughts on “Despite delays and blowouts, NBN remains broadly on track

  1. Edward James

    By the way Peter Freewater showed good political judgement when he resigned from the Greens to become an independent. Not that it matters now as he has quit politics. At my request he stood up in Gosford City Council last year and asked how is it possible for Mr James to identify by name both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor in print and go on to call them liars without something being done about it? While I understand the truth is not always a defense against a defamation action, or injurious language. I believe Edmund Burke once wrote something to the effect, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Edward James

  2. Edward James

    There were nine people committed to run with the Central Coast Alliance. {;-( There are still forty one candidates asking voters to support their nomination for Gosford City Council. I am not aware of any overt actions, by any one of these political allsorts. To call publicly for political action to address the often published allegations of abuse of power and systemic corruption. Which includes the very serious allegations supported with photographic evidence surrounding the wrongful deaths of five people in Piles Creek at Somersby. The ten people on the Labor ticket includes two lawyers one had failed as a Liberal councilor on Gosford Council, then failed to attract enough votes as an independent and now runs with Labor. Labor have a dam hide to be out asking for our votes when they continue to accommodate the political sins which I have worked to expose on radio television in the msm and our local papers during the last twelve years. I know some of those independents who were on the Central Coast Alliance, I had given them a cheque just before they missed the 12 30 cut off time. I am very disappointed CCA missed the cut off time. I am publishing another series of 26 full page paid announcements. It is clearly not enough, but it is all I can do! Edward James

  3. izatso?

    Hey, Shepmyster, where you at ? 100mbps ! I’ll have to come by and hotspot you with my wirel …. oh, right

  4. izatso?

    sorry Edward, don’t take it to heart, mate, and save some fer later …… k ?

  5. shepmyster

    Forgot to mention the price $60 per month. that’s just as good if not better than any ADSL2 plan.
    Looks like some here have become second class citizens already!

  6. Suzanne Blake

    Hi Edward

    Please give us your recommendatiosn for thr Council elections. Laughable that the Green Freewater missed the deadlines due to screwed up paperwork!!!

  7. shepmyster

    Given this is a major piece of infrastructure You would expect delays. Given that it’s been started from scratch, the consensus seems to be it’s surprising the project is generally on track. The amount of people connected so far aren’t relevant for two reasons. Where connections are available but have not been used is there haven’t been houses built yet (would you buy a block of land that wasn’t connected?). The second, most are as yet completely ignorant to its benefits. I’ve got a coax connection at 100 mbps that’s about 30 times faster. Friends with ADSL2 are amazed at my download speeds and quickly change to cable once they have experienced the benefits (if they can). That about it in a nutshell. for whatever reason, people can’t see the benefit and that’s a failure of our media, not of NBN.CO

  8. Edward James

    IZATSO?
    Posted Monday, 13 August 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink
    He is Drunk, in charge of a keyboard, uh oh!!!
    what is your problem? I able to afford afford access to Crikey and I have an opinion. What have you got ??? Edward James

  9. Edward James

    JOHN BENNETTS
    Posted Monday, 13 August 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink what have you got to offer taxpayers ?

  10. Edward James

    Oh dear ‘he” is a drunk challenges the up take of the NBN. How close are we to five hundred thousand consumers? ISATSO . You all may ring the bell and question.

  11. izatso?

    He is Drunk, in charge of a keyboard, uh oh

  12. Edward James

    by Stephen Bartholomeusz
    Given the delays and the changes your Crikey report is joke ! Edward James

  13. Edward James

    Edward James 0243419140 !

  14. Edward James

    How many consumers have hooked up to the National Broad band networrk ntweork

  15. drsmithy

    Cause its the latest technology, ready to be supceded by wireless, like EVERY technology.

    This is another lie. There is not a wireless technology – real or hypothesised – that can touch proven fibre speed, capacity and reliability.

    If you *do* know of such a technology, then you should get it to market and make billions.

  16. izatso?

    Enhanced ! Lovely ! Good for All ! …… and *!!!!*

  17. John Bennetts

    SB: And your latest is connected to this topic how?

    Indeed, one is left wondering whether it is connected to reality.

    Note: Again, no citation. No surprise there, either.

    Still, it must give a great feeling of power to some to spray around big numbers ($150 m), cliches (spin doctors) and emotive language (spin, waste).

    Meanwhile, back at the NBN Ranch, where real optical fibre lasts for many decades and the nation’s future is being enhanced…

  18. izatso?

    and the children in the press gallery playground work in the normal level playing field containment, ie, our overbalanced msn, natch.

  19. Suzanne Blake

    Did you see today, Gillards wastes $150 m a year on her spin doctors

    They out number the Canberra Press Gallery 4 to 1.

  20. John Bennetts

    @SB.

    As I said, no citation – no credibility.

    Your evasive non-answer was expected, because it is all you ever provide.

    Here’s a citation proving just what a useless waste of space your contributions are. Rest assured that during the past 5 years, the projected in-service 60 year cable life and 1000-year fibre lifetime projected under ideal conditions has been further increased.

    (add the WWW stuff here) sterlitetechnologies.com/pdf/KnowledgeCenter/AN0001%20-%20Optical%20Fiber%20Lifetime.pdf

    So, it is clear that SB did not do her homework and has consequently been caught out spouting nonsense. Again.

    This demonstrates what serves in lieu of facts when rusted-on conservatives are forming their opinions and policies.

  21. Patriot

    Worth noting.

  22. Patriot

    Worth nothing also that I’d never pay for a subscription to read this pro Big Government tripe.

  23. Patriot

    Shpemyster, it was a comment on all forms of media publication, not just print. Demand for print will continue to decline across the board, but that decline is and will remain faster for left-leaning publishers. News will be around long after the last left-leaning Fairfax content is consigned to history.

    Far-left publishers like this one here won’t be stealing the print medias audience to any significant extent, thought. They’ll just continue to bump along the bottom, preaching to their tiny, loyal following of fringe-dwellers – and and a handful of the disdainful and morbidly curious, like me.

  24. Suzanne Blake

    @ mikeb

    What do you expect NBN and Companies supplying cable to say? That will will only last a short time?

  25. shepmyster

    Suzanne you really are out of your depth. I think your last comments high light what little understanding of this you have. Your concerns are no longer worth replying to, because there not serious concerns

  26. izatso?

    …. more B.S. from S.B. …….. the Sad SaBoteur …… the NBN and All its Innovations will outlast your pathetic negativity. Put your conflating head back in the sand, little one……

  27. shepmyster

    Susan I accept that extreme weather conditions will reduce the life of the fibre as it will copper and at a far greater rate. Generally speaking though, Australia just doesn’t have the extreme conditions your speaking of.
    Patriot I won’t except the far left comment however I will agree with your attempting to compete but not that they suck at it. You only have to look at the decline in readership of the major newspapers. Where do you think those readers are going and why are you here.

  28. Suzanne Blake

    @ drsmithy

    If fibre is so fragile, one has to wonder why every telecoms company across the globe (be they public or private) is replacing copper with it whenever they have the opportunity..

    Cause its the latest technology, ready to be supceded by wireless, like EVERY technology. Everything is superceded, are you still using a PC with two floopy drives, you still using the RJ r/w/y jacks in your TV or the HDMI, you using USB 1 or 2 with your remote hard disk.

    Wake up

    we are spending $50 billion on a white elephant, when there are better options that will last much longer and get better and cheaper

  29. drsmithy

    The Fibre Glass does not last . 25 years max in normal environments, 5 years in the extreme North hot climates.

    This is, of course, a lie.

    (If fibre is so fragile, one has to wonder why every telecoms company across the globe (be they public or private) is replacing copper with it whenever they have the opportunity.)

  30. Patriot

    despite the denials of SB and PATRIOT, you are correct in saying that entrepreneurial internet based media are providing that competition.

    Hamis, I said that alternative, far-left internet publishers are attempting to compete. They just suck at it. There’s no genuine impediment to them reaching the same audience as successful publications, just a prevailing disdain for what they have to say that prevents growth through commercial success – or any other kind of success for that matter.

  31. Suzanne Blake

    @ John Bennetts

    There are so many , just enter “fibre optic cable lifespan” into google

    Forget the NBN / Nortel spin, what do you expect them to say.

  32. John Bennetts

    SB, it is you, not Mike B or anybody else who is making the claims of reduced life expectancy and industrial sabotage.

    It is you who should do the research and cite sources.

    No citation => no credibility.

    Put up or shut up.

    In the language of a forensic accountant, which you have claimed to be, give us an audit trail if you want to be believed.

  33. mikeb

    @sb – yet again. Do your research – and that does not include Bolt’s blog. The link below attempts to address this often pedalled hoax, but I guess it will make no difference to the naysayers as they won’t believe anything unlkess it matches their own ideas anyway.

    http://nbnexplained.org/wordpress/technical-points/the-lifespan-of-fibre/

    And from Sterlite Technologies which is a “leading global provider of transmission solutions for the power and telecom industries.”

    http://www.sterlitetechnologies.com/pdf/KnowledgeCenter/AN0001%20-%20Optical%20Fiber%20Lifetime.pdf

    And if you like just google (as I just did) and there are scores of links returned – none of which that I looked at had 25 years as a “max” or “5 years” in the north. Don’t be confused (difficult I know) in life expectancy and economic life (or depreciable life). They are completely different things. Just like copper has to be repaired due to misadventure, poor installation, old age – so will optic fibre. All other things being equal however optic has a longer life than copper – full stop.

  34. izatso?

    ah, yes, the sabotage angle …… best business practice…… a contract is a …..

  35. Suzanne Blake

    @ MikeB

    Do some research on it. It does not last anywhere near the time.

    They are using the cheaper cable to save money as well, a sthey are massively overblown in costs

  36. mikeb

    @sb – I really don’t know where you get your info from but it sure isn’t from reliable sources. I suggest research before making comments – and that doesn’t count listening to ignoramuses like Abbott or Alan Jones. Just like the earlier Sth Korea v Tasmania comments your life expectancy estimates of optic fibre are way off. Fibre optic actually has a longer life than copper & the 25 years you are quoting is probably based on depreciation rates which is based on more than physical longetivity but includes economic return and acounting standards. I’m guessing the Queensland reference is due to UV affecting glass fibres? Well yes it does – which is why the cable is shielded. Cold will also affect an unshielded cable. A pure glass fibre is not susceptable to heat as heat is not absorbed. So in short glass fibre is a far better medium than the old & trusty copper network which is now at the end of it’s useful life.

  37. izatso?

    Don’t bother. Two people happy to advocate keeping other people in the dark, to facilitate theft and promote ignorance, cannot expect to share in society’s benevolence……. well, ok you expect it, but, ha ! You surely do not deserve it .

  38. izatso?

    @SferB …….what’s with the ‘we’ stuff ? It won’t be going in your door, will it ….. ? You’ll refuse to have it, no?

  39. Suzanne Blake

    @ Andrew

    The Fibre Glass does not last . 25 years max in normal environments, 5 years in the extreme North hot climates.

    Then what, we relay again?

  40. Andrew ( )

    Yes, the NBN has been a winner for Labor. I hope the Libs keep knocking it. Makes them look like visionless leaders, which they are.
    As another poster mentioned, one fibre has 20,000 times more capacity than the entire radio spectrum. Some ask do we need this? Not at the moment, but in 10 years time we probably will need large capacity.
    One application that does need high data capacity is holographic imaging. Just imagine a Bruce Springsteen concert in your loungeroom. Or you might prefer a night at the opera. Perhaps even turning your bedroom into an aquarium!
    It will be possible.
    Then we could go all futuristic and consider the reconstructing of matter from atoms via a data link to control such a machine. Might be able to get a pizza delivered on line? Actually it is theoretically possible.
    But on a more down to earth note, optic fibre cable has the advantage of being immune to electromagnetic interference. One of the reasons copper lines are being removed in areas of high lightning activity. Also optic fibre is harder to eavesdrop (tap) particulary if light spinning techniques are employed. Light spinning also allows the data capacity to be increased by a factor of at least 20. Research is still quite young regarding this breakthrough.
    Since the copper network has reached its use by date and would need to be replaced anyway it makes sense to go with glass, a material that has a long life span and no capacity restrictions.

  41. Hamis Hill

    Yes SHEPMYSTER, Schumpeter’s creative destruction provides the motive for Mudorc’s attempts to destroy the NBN and rid himself of competition. But despite the denials of SB and PATRIOT, you are correct in saying that entrepreneurial internet based media are providing that competition.
    Case in point, detected some actual debate from SB and PATRIOT which also defeats John2066 complaints.
    Some businesses are reported to be considering legal action should the NBN, on which they have based their business investments, be shut down by the Conserevatives.
    Schumpeter’s “Creative Destruction” of monopolies like Mudorc’s provides the motive and Abbott and company provide the opportunity for such a “crime” as might be being attempted.
    Many in the MSM might be dragged in to a tort for damages, which may be why they are probably moving away from Abbott. They might not have any choice.
    Remember toppling the minority government at any moment would have delivered the destruction of the NBN. Did not happen and now they must retreat leaving Abbott crying for a horse. (RichardIII)
    Same tortured soul. Rave, rave. SB and PATRIOT are just”useful idiots” in all this.

  42. shepmyster

    Pretty apathetic response John2066, thanks for inviting comment, here’s my pre thought out response. I’m quite prepared to change my mind if someone can present a strong enough argument. I am interested in what people write here, I’m looking for a strong argument that’s why I read them. Having done that I find a lot of knowledgeable people who give informed, accurate responses to complex questions. The yes argument for the NBN to be maintained in it’s current form is compelling, the case for a watered down version is weak. If you agree or disagree with me doesn’t matter. Here your free to disagree with me , in the Murdoch newspapers most views here would never be aired. In his publications I see only sensational headlines designed to cause fear amongst people who haven’t got the time to give it serious thought. They rely on newspapers to give them the information they need. With a Murdoch publication your only getting one side of the argument. Considering he owns 70% of the Australian print media and that probably 90% of people who read newspapers read his. That’s a major concern!

  43. izatso?

    No, JOHN2066, you must at least be sincere about your old rubbish. Fake sincerity, admirable in certain quarters as it is, aint good fer yer heart. End up like certain fascists, promotin’ untramelled greed all over certain media. Been doing a job on that for thirty years, giving all and sundry the idea they can all be runaway capitalists. Only so much room fer that tight little mob. they’re not giving an inch. So, knowing we cannot all be thieves and pirates, we have to steal back the stolen ground. Workin’on that. Any old rubbish ? mudroch et fils, do that well …..

  44. john2066

    Hey I’ve figured it out about comments.

    Nobody actually listens.

    Nobody is interested in the slightest about reading anyone elses comment, but just use it as a jumping off point for their own rubbish. Other people’s comments are just a blunt stimulus, like being jabbed with a stick; they simply invite a pre thought out response.

    And nobody ever changes their mind, or admits they were wrong, or even admits to the possibility of contradictory information.

    You can write any old rubbish here and it just doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

  45. shepmyster

    People could go to the ABC and other forms of media, that’s not the point Patriot. The Age isn’t the only newspaper haemorrhaging money or losing readers at an alarming rate. I think the loss of trust is a big reason not just because people are moving to the digital form. At this point in time It’ s still where most people go for their information.
    The difference between a Murdoch publication and something like Crikey besides Crikey giving us relevant information is that it never hides who the main players are and what their particular interests are. If there are alternative views (like yours Patriot) you will read about them here. This in stark contrast to say The Herald Sun and Andrew Bolt’s Blog who refuse to allow the views of anyone’s but their own to be aired, as probably many here would attest. So much for free speech hey Patriot and if my view means I’m a leftist ideologue then I guess I can wear that tag.

  46. izatso?

    Groucho. and Leo.

  47. floorer

    Your boxing yourself in Patriot.

  48. Patriot

    I’ve a better idea actually. Why don’t you spend your Friday night tapping out a treatise that refutes any comparison.

  49. Patriot

    In 15 minutes? No, I told you I have plans. Just do some googling of Marx, lazy.

  50. drsmithy

    You vision of the NBN reminds me of Marx’s view of the future.

    Oh, do elaborate on how. I could do with a good laugh.

  51. Suzanne Blake

    @ floorer

    Typical lefty bully just like your Union mates and the Communist Countries that manipulate their people

  52. Patriot

    There are days when it actually is, floorer, but not many. If you want to tell me how fantstic the NBN will be some more you’ve only about half an hour. I do have plans tonight.

    You vision of the NBN reminds me of Marx’s view of the future.

  53. floorer

    Patriot, I think you’re a lonely person sitting at home and this is your only form of interaction.

  54. Patriot

    No, Drsmithy, that particular policy isn’t radically left of center. Just risky and of questionable merit.

  55. Patriot

    I’ve just been using the free trial at the Australian. I’m thinking I should probably pay for a subscription.

  56. drsmithy

    The problem is simply that people aren’t sympathetic to the radical left/socialist view.

    Is the NBN your measure of “the radical left/socialist view” ?

  57. Suzanne Blake

    The SMH paywall will fail as well, just like it has for the Australian.

  58. Patriot

    Exactly right, Suzanne Blake. It’s obvious what will happen to any new leftist media publisher – exactly the same thing that’s happening to Fairfax media – they’ll go belly-up. It’s hard to see any publisher or prospective publisher looking at the fall of Fairfax and saying to themselves “Hey, let’s publish a left leaning paper in Australia.” People just aren’t interested.

  59. Suzanne Blake

    @ Patriot

    Look at what happened to SMH, dramatic leap to the left and people have left in droves. I cancelled my subscription after 27 years, the person on the phone asked my why and I told him, and he said that its a common reason.

  60. Patriot

    Shepmyster,

    People could read Fairfax, ABC, Crikey or even The Green Left and form their opinions based on that. There is no lack of extreme left views, nor any difficulty accessing them. The problem is simply that people aren’t sympathetic to the radical left/socialist view. Getting rid of existing conservative/libertarian/right media wouldn’t even achieve anything. Readers would simply look to replace it with more of the same, because it’s what people want. Emerging publishers would look to publish more of the same, because it’s what people want.

    To achieve what the extreme left want you would need laws that force people to agree with you and to believe what you believe – you would need to legislate against thought-crime.

  61. shepmyster

    Public opinion in Australia are generated by the print media, not in places like this one unfortunately. It’s hard if not impossible to represent your view when other agenda’s are distorting the discussion.
    The Murdoch press represent a crisis in Australian media. I think most would agree the best decisions are made with accurate information. People just aren’t getting that from the major newspapers and where all suffering because of it.

  62. floorer

    Thanks Karen, you may have noted but just to be sure the summary is taken from the NBN website.

  63. Karen

    Enjoyed the article and the informative thread. There are some knowledgeable tech heads here who have provided great insights highlighting the differences between fibre optic technology and the comparative short-comings of wireless.

    Floorer, great summary of some of the potential uses of the NBN. This sort of information should be hammered through the MSN to a still unknowledgeable and undiscerning public.

    The future prosperity of our nation depends on an excellent communications network, which the NBN can be assured of delivering – bring it on!

  64. Hamis Hill

    SB and PATRIOT set out to be annoying and they succeed it seems.
    They are not actually debating anything are they?
    Probably a reflection of what happens in the Realm of Abbott.
    Wouldn’t be much debate there either.
    They are probably some sort of “debate refugees” who haven’t worked out how to get into
    Debate land yet but probably do recognise the benefits. Democracy is the common word for it.

  65. izatso?

    Mudroch’s Empire is bleeding millions, he is famously spending millions to shore up Print, he is prepared to spend big to protect his interests. Firewalled and distanced will be no shortage of desperates willing to embrace large piles of spare offshore cash for the pleasure of sociopathic outcomes. Truely faceless threats realised only too late. Some quite legal, others on the boundries, more knowingly illegal. Paranoid, you say ? I wish. Intelligent Bastardry planning ahead with funding covered will with malice and vindictiveness, trump my poor anticipation to the nth, and this post could be construed as provocation/instigation, taken out of context/paraphrased ……

  66. john2066

    – Many businesses, mine included, want the NBN and recognize the loss that will bec caused if its nobbled.

    – Its clear the leading opposition to it is the murdoch press (with the coalition doing its bidding as usual).

    – Accordingly, I’ve actually heard from quite a few people about taking legal action against individual murdoch journalists and editors if the NBN is blocked, and business is hurt. Such action could either be individual or on a class action basis.

    This is quite tantalizing, and could be extended to legal action against coalition politicians as well. Perhaps these people should think twice about this before they keep writing columns about how we should just be happy watching Rupert’s foxtel?

    Food for thought.

  67. Edward James

    Some one said we could have a better cheaper service across Australia with wireless! I just hope voters like me in NSW put Labor last. http://gosfordcouncil.tripod.com/ Edward James

  68. izatso?

    their ‘work’ need not stand scrutiny, it is sufficient just to stand, distract, annoy, contradict. they do not stay to absorb, just long enough to leave a bad odour. they are frustrated thieves and they seeth.

  69. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Actually, John Bennetts, I’d like Suzanne Blake to quit the throwaway lines (“You have to be joking”) and address the issue. Suzanne, you are concerned and bewildered by the cost of the NBN to Australians. I am too, but I’m comfortable with the explanations I have so far. In South Korea, apparently, they are spending $26 billion just upgrading. In that tiny country with that large, dense population, an upgrade costs all that money. Yet in Australia, with our wide open spaces and sparse population we can do the same job for similar money. Doesn’t that suggest we’re on to something? You say space and distance is a problem but the Korean example says it is not.

  70. John Bennetts

    Benefits from fast internet connection are not only for the future. A friend’s baby has multiple issues which affect his health and development. He needs to see his pediatric surgeon often.

    The sugeon is three hours’ drive away, so he has arranged a high quality link from his office to the child’s home. This cost the family only a few dollars for a better camera and microphone for the video – about $200. The doctor covers his own end of this.

    About half of the consultations now take place electronically.

    How good is that?

    Because NBN and 4G technologies are not available and adequate over most of Australia, so any argument that is based on the premise that the benefits of NBN lie only in the future are specious. The fact is, that by not having NBN, we, the great majority of Australians, are demonstrably handicapped right here and right now.

    So, please stop the crap about fast internet speeds being valueless today – it is already changing lives where it is available.

    I’m looking at you, SB. And Patriot. You are both denying reality yet you vainly persist, apparently for reasons other than the subject at hand. You two are clearly committed to destruction of Australia in order to save it, which is the central theme of Abbott’s relentless, brain-dead, irresponsible, Tea Party negativism. I’m OK about differences of opinion based on logic and fact, but you two have associated yourselves with an Opposition which has demonstrated to the world the depths to which politics can sink.

    As I have said before, Crikey needs some policy regarding posting in order to restrain posters who offer no content but who splatter their inane campaigns across whole site. I suggest 4 posts per thread over the life of the thread and ten posts per day aggregated across all threads per contributor. Of course, individuals can self-censor. SB, isn’t there some real work that you should be doing?

  71. mikeb

    ….and to be even more pedantic the pop diff is more like 2 1/4 – but then who’s counting?

  72. mikeb

    @SB Sorry to be a pedant but SK is around 50% larger than Tas. Yes it is small but they think big – unlike some on this forum.

  73. Suzanne Blake

    Thats 2 1/2 times AUSTRALIAs population

  74. Suzanne Blake

    @ Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    The size of South Korea is smaller than Tasmania with 2 1/2 time the population.

    You have to be joking

  75. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Suzanne Blake, you entered this discussion with a contribution about the cost of the NBN (“The cost blow out will be tens of billions…”). So for you the amount of money being spent is the big issue. You came back with another point that it would be “better and cheaper” to use wireless – so it’s not only the cost it’s the technology that you have doubts about. Now you have been confronted with some facts about South Korea (which I have to accept on face value, I have no idea if they are true facts) which indicate that that country is spending a motza ‘upgrading’ its already installed NBN – a concept completely alien to your argument. Obviously, South Korea’s NBN budget was inadequate but hey – they know what they want and are prepared to spend more than Australia (acre for acre) to get it. But of course you think that South Korea is too small to have Australia’s issues. What is your problem? An NBN costs lots of money but is absolutely essential. Everyone wants one but most can’t afford it. South Korea can afford it and they are doing what we are doing. Can’t you just accept that fibre-to-the-node is the gold standard, we are getting the gold standard, we can afford it, we can and will pay for it and no one will regret it.
    I can’t believe how blinkered Patriot is about the internet. Twenty five years ago Patriot saw computers in special rooms inside special buildings. In 25 years time we will all have computers, of infinitely greater capacity and flexibility, in our skin, powered by our biology. Connected through a global NBN. Bring it on!

  76. Hamis Hill

    Opposition to the NBN kept the the opposition in opposition.
    Continuing opposition to the NBN will continue to keep the opposition in opposition.
    Malcom is doing his best with Tone’s poisoned chalice but must revolt at some time betweewn now and the next election.
    And Abbott’s faustian contract with News to halt the Schumpeter Creative Destruction of the print medium by the internet (with all that media bias to the opposition by way of consideration) has come to nought.
    Turnbull, the audacious outsider, was given these latrine duties to prove his team spirit and obtain proper leadership credentials.
    The “never earned a private sector dollar in their lives” liberal hacks demand this as the price of their support.
    Turnbull could make it from the back bench, time to move Malcolm.
    Come on, Patriot, SB agrees!

  77. Ben N

    I feel sorry for Mr. Turnbull. He’s the only liberal with any sense that I know of and he’s been lumbered with the job of proposing an alternative to the best possible solution by his Tea Party replacement.

    Not one report I have read (real reports, not the ones drafted by the opposition) has proposed a better system. Fibre to the node sounds okay in principle until you look into it and find it is the true waste of money, not delivering speed OR reliability as it still depends on strands of old decrepit copper which were intended to carry sounds, not data. Wireless? others have thoroughly debunked that already.

    The costs, while a critical eye should certainly be kept on them, are irrelevant. This isn’t a company, it’s a government. What IS important is what benefits it brings the Australian people. On top of that, they are responsible for ALL Australians, not just the ones in the city. The opposition have been quite irresponsible by focusing on trying to fault the technology rather than keeping a close eye on the arrangements between contractors and major telcos selling us their sub-par infrastructure.

    The single biggest boon I can see the NBN bringing is medical services to rural areas. Doctors don’t want to move to these towns, so we have to offer them obscene amounts of money – up to $200,000 p.a. to do the job, or treat them like indentured slaves and force them. This way, they can do some cursory consultation and/or examination, via HD video link, weeding out the 95% who are just after a doctors certificate and some placebo’s for their virus. This can be followed by a weekly on-site examination as flying them out on an as-needed basis is far cheaper to the taxpayer than supplying them with sub-par doctors at the highest price.

    On top of this, there will be massive gains for companies, especially those operating in the online world – the kind you will probably never notice other than the on-shoring of IT companies keen to take advantage of this world-leading network.

    Ambitious? Yep. Irresponsible? Hardly.

  78. mikeb

    @Patriot.

    It’s hopefully not you or a loved one one day relying on a “colour, low-res, low frame rate, silent CCTV, which is perfectly adequate for the purpose” video link when the paramedic is consulting a trauma specialist back at the hospital.

  79. drsmithy

    Not quite. I’m not going to go into detail on the physical security of the recorded footage, but I’ll say that it’s formidable, and that it would take longer for an intruder to find it and either damage or remove it than it would for me or security to get there. Physical security will always be essential whether you have fibre to your premises or not. Once again, it’s more cost effective too.

    Once again, I can see it’s pointless trying to explain how things could be better to someone mired in contemporary adequacy.

    Thankfully people like you aren’t running the show, or we’d probably still be sending “adequate” telegrams to friends in other countries rather than instant message and videoconferencing.

    I have simply made the point that no compelling case has been made for state intervention in highspeed broadband provision.

    The point is that telecoms infrastructure is a fundamental service and a natural monopoly. “The state” _should_ be “interfering”.

    Nor for the need for fibre to the premises on the scale proposed by the NBN.

    The point is ADSL copper has limits that are already being hit.

  80. klewso

    The sort of pap refrain of that “Gregorian Chant of Reasonableness”, that “Father Superior” (“St. Malcolm of the Immaculate Misconception”) gets around repeating to too little media scrutiny, (that shrinks as he does – on those rare occasions he is inquisitioned) in his efforts to unseat “Abbott Torquemada”.
    But even then, if he did get to pull on that ring again, he so treasures to distraction, he’d still be leading a band of “alterbuoys and orcwards” including Abetz, Pyne, Brandis, Ruddock, Andrews, Mirrabella, Bernardi, “The Twisted Bishops” and Joyce.

  81. CHRISTOPHER DUNNE

    A few percent of GDP for a major bit of national infrastructure which will operate for 50yrs is ‘gambling’?

    Hard pleasing some people.

    Partisan politics aside, the NBN will transform telecommunications and restore equity to everyone regardless of where they live. People in the bush, or anyone not in a major capital will join the rest, something the monopoly of Telstra never accomplished.

    Bring it on.

  82. shepmyster

    Julia Gillards quip the other day that if Tony Abbott had been put in charge of the Sydney Harbour Bridge it would have been lucky to have had one lane, I thought it was a pretty good analogy. Watching old film of its opening days in 1933 (in the middle of a depression) it struck me what a small amount traffic there was on it. Obviously someone using reason thought ahead and envisaged the future needs of Sydney. Just imagine it now if the government of the time hadn’t shown the foresight it did!

  83. shepmyster

    Everyone’s entitled to an opinion Patriot, your’s may be that it’s irresponsible , mine would be in line with the opinions of those I think that matter. Like Vince Cerf, Larry Smarr pioneers who see it as visionary and who can comprehend the necessity of it.
    I’m connected by coaxial cable at 100 mbps. The service is fast and reliable . I wonder why I bother with foxtel sometimes. The internet is becoming more relevant to peoples lives on an almost daily basis. It may include sitting on my couch consulting with my doctor instead of waiting for an hour in his surgery. That requires an enormous amount of data transfer and the wireless network just doesn’t have the capacity. If Abbott tries to dismantle this scheme the ones screaming the loudest will be business. They know how disadvantaged & uncompetitive they will become without it When people start to think seriously of the possibilities they will realize they’re endless, that this is an opportunity we can afford and one that shouldn’t be missed.

  84. Patriot

    You mean the locally recorded footage that’s trivially easy for someone to find and destroy, when it could be uploading live to a remote server ?

    LOL. Not quite. I’m not going to go into detail on the physical security of the recorded footage, but I’ll say that it’s formidable, and that it would take longer for an intruder to find it and either damage or remove it than it would for me or security to get there. Physical security will always be essential whether you have fibre to your premises or not. Once again, it’s more cost effective too.

    Your implicit argument is that current ADSL2+ speeds are “perfectly adequate for the purpose”, that anything capable of greater performance is wasteful and pointless. Given it’s easy to see how ADSL2+ is inadequate, the question about whether we should have proper high-speed infrastructure vs no improvement is exactly the argument you are making.

    Again, that is a misstatement of my argument. I’ve got nothing against fibre. I have simply made the point that no compelling case has been made for state intervention in highspeed broadband provision. Nor for the need for fibre to the premises on the scale proposed by the NBN. Nor for cross-subsidisation. I described ADSL 2+ as adequate only for a specific application that was raised, not all applications.

  85. drsmithy

    To be clear, I was only describing the output for remote viewing over copper and 3G. The locally recorded footage is high resolution and rather high frame rate for CCTV.

    You mean the locally recorded footage that’s trivially easy for someone to find and destroy, when it could be uploading live to a remote server ?

    I asked no such thing.

    Yes you are. Your implicit argument is that current ADSL2+ speeds are “perfectly adequate for the purpose”, that anything capable of greater performance is wasteful and pointless. Given it’s easy to see how ADSL2+ is inadequate, the question about whether we should have proper high-speed infrastructure vs no improvement is exactly the argument you are making.

    I’m still waiting to hear about these fantastic applications that absolutely must have fibre to here, there and everywhere to be realised. All I’ve heard so far is virtual ballet classes.

    Like I said, there’s plenty of examples out there but it’s clearly pointless trying to highlight them, since you’ll merely say they’re not “needed”.

  86. floorer

    I’m still waiting to hear about these fantastic applications : come back tomorrow when the mods show up.

  87. drsmithy

    To be clear, I was only describing the output for remote viewing over copper and 3G. The locally recorded footage is high resolution and rather high frame rate for CCTV.

    You mean the locally recorded footage that’s trivially easy for someone to find and destroy, when it could be uploading live to a remote server ?

    I asked no such thing.

    Yes you are. Your implicit argument is that current ADSL2+ speeds are “perfectly adequate for the purpose”, that anything capable of greater performance is wasteful and pointless. Given it’s easy to see how ADSL2+ is inadequate, the question about whether we should have proper high-speed infrastructure vs no improvement is exactly the argument you are making.

  88. floorer

    From the NBN website. 1. Telehealth

    You may not need it now, but you could some day – or know someone who will. Some health services already let nurses check in on patients in their homes using existing phone lines, performance is sketchy and functionality limited. Nurses and doctors will use the NBN to conduct natural video consults with remote patients, monitor life-sustaining medical equipment in patients’ homes, and run live therapy and exercise sessions with rural patients who will no longer have to travel hundreds of kilometres to capital-city specialists.

    2. Remote learning

    Many schools have fibre connections, but sharing them amongst 1,000 or more users means glacial-speed internet that often leaves teachers struggling to access online resources – and then giving up. The NBN will speed overall school performance and let students participate in faraway classes using interactive whiteboarding and videoconferencing from their homes. This may sound like a luxury in city areas, but in rural areas – where small schools can’t offer many essential classes because they don’t have enough students to justify a teacher – virtual classes will link students across large geographical distances and make otherwise unviable classes possible.

    3. Videoconferencing

    Naysayers inevitably like to talk about how well Skype offers video over the internet, and for free. But quality and bandwidth varies online, and those depending too heavily on Skype are often disappointed. On the NBN, increased bandwidth and guaranteed quality of service will ensure a better-quality result all around – whether you’re running Skype or using videoconferencing as part of other services. This opens up tremendous possibilities: communicate with loved ones; learn a new language with a native speaker; conduct corporate board meetings without the cost and bother of travelling to a central location.

    4. Gaming

    If you’re into online gaming, you already know how bad ping times can affect your performance. It may seem like a frivolous application for the NBN, but around 1 million Australian households are signed up to the PlayStation Network alone. With gaming a multi billion-dollar market, improved ping times, speed and reliability will give your gaming a new lease of life. Ditto in-game voice and video chats, which the NBN will handle without flinching.

    5. Smart Homes

    They won’t be here overnight, but smart meters – those much-discussed, expensive boxes that will track your energy usage in real time – will also be permanent links to the outside world. Remote-controlled dishwashers and off-peak washing machines are too far-fetched to care about, but how about logging into your home’s security system to watch your dog while you’re interstate, review video of the guy who just made off with your jewellery, or just turn off the lights and iron you left on in the rush out the door? The NBN’s ubiquitous connectivity will make these sorts of uses commonplace and easy.

    6. Working from Home

    It may be tricky if you’re a bricklayer by trade, but people in more and more jobs are finding that adequate broadband helps them take their work home with them – and participate in team meetings via videoconferencing as if they were at the office. Whether you’re staying home to look after a sick child, or just can’t be bothered getting out of your PJs, the NBN will let you be at work even when you can’t be at work.

    7. Media & Entertainment

    So we already know that IPTV will bring services like Foxtel and FetchTV to all Australians – but that’s not the end of the entertainment-related bonanza the network will deliver. Say goodbye to video stores: on-demand movie services will let you stream HD movies to your TV in real time. Use better upload speeds to push content to your smartphone in high quality. Hosted music services will stream and play any song, anywhere. Play massively multiplayer online games hosted on remote servers. Share videos with family and friends without having to wait hours while they upload. Bandwidth will, simply, no longer be an obstacle.

    8. Faster two-way internet

    The NBN, of course, will make your internet services more reliable and, in most cases, faster than what you are already using. This not only improves your internet experience significantly, but lets you bring more services into your home at the same time. Equally important are increased upload speeds: there’s no point having fast download speeds if the people at the other end can’t send you data quickly. The NBN will raise the bar and improve the online experience for everyone.

    9. Interactive shopping

    Imagine standing in front of your computer, with a Microsoft Kinect-like camera on you and reading your movements to control an on-screen avatar. Adjust your avatar with your own real measurements, then take it to your favourite online store and try on different combinations of clothes to your heart’s content. Online merchants may have a long way to go still, but – as Second Life showed so well – creating virtual worlds, and shopping in them, is more than possible when you have heaps and heaps of bandwidth.

    10. Reach Out & Touch Someone

    The NBN’s low latency lets you interact with someone far away like they’re in front of you, whether you’re playing guitar with a mate or watching your grandchildren open the presents you sent them for their birthday. Researchers are adding new dimensions to these experiences by building ‘haptic’ systems that transmit touch and movement over the NBN. Squeeze a haptic controller, for example, and your physiotherapist on the other end of the session will feel your grip from far away.

    Faster upload speeds will enable a two-way internet and the many things that become possible when you’ve got it.

  89. Patriot

    Anti-government? Yes, and proud of it. But populist? I thought there was majority support for the NBN. I accept that I’m in the minority in thinking it’s probably not be good value.

    I’m still waiting to hear about these fantastic applications that absolutely must have fibre to here, there and everywhere to be realised. All I’ve heard so far is virtual ballet classes.

  90. Captain Planet

    I am seeing a pattern here…..

    Those in favour of the NBN:-

    Delivering comprehensive, sensible arguments, based on sound and incontrovertible knowledge of the subject matter. Interested primarily in the opportunities the NBN offers to all Australians, homes, businesses and organisations.

    Those speaking against the NBN:-

    Delivering inaccurate rhetoric, with zero basis in fact and originating solely and entirely from an ideological, anti – Labor government bias. No interest in the facts or a rational assessment of the considerable benefits of the NBN, just a mean – spirited predilection for populist assertions with a very clear anti – government agenda.

    Just watching the debate from the sidelines…..

  91. Patriot

    Floorer, looking forward to the next big thing is fine. Asking taxpayers to buy it for you right this second is not, in my opinion. I don’t think either of us is going to change the others mind.

  92. Patriot

    Here’s the thing. You’re asking whether roads should be dirt or bitumen, when the real question is how many lanes wide should the highways be.

    I asked no such thing. You’re simply creating a strawman now, which is disappointing.

    You do realise that they used to say 1 fps black & white CCTV you could barely discern people’s heads from their shoulders on was “perfectly adequate for the purpose”, right ? How many of them do you think stuck with their old systems once the new ones were available ?

    To be clear, I was only describing the output for remote viewing over copper and 3G. The locally recorded footage is high resolution and rather high frame rate for CCTV. It’s been used as evidence in a successful prosecution.

  93. floorer

    Patriot, there seems to me something innately contradictory about your position. Most of us who are interested in tech are always looking for the next big thing.

  94. drsmithy

    Sure, but just how high speeds and capacity is a question that was never investigated before our money was committed.

    Based on what ?

    We might as well not be arguing about whether or not we need an electrical grid, or roads, but, again, what capacity electrical grid and roads are appropriate for our budget and needs.

    Here’s the thing. You’re asking whether roads should be dirt or bitumen, when the real question is how many lanes wide should the highways be.

    Do you think anyone else in the world is rolling out copper *DSL lines instead of fibre for the telecoms infrastructure to carry them through this century ?

    Colour, low-res, low frame rate, silent CCTV, which is perfectly adequate for the purpose.

    You do realise that they used to say 1 fps black & white CCTV you could barely discern people’s heads from their shoulders on was “perfectly adequate for the purpose”, right ? How many of them do you think stuck with their old systems once the new ones were available ?

    If you can’t see any benefit whatsoever from a 60fps 1080p feed with the kind of things you want CCTV for, then like I said, it’s pointless even trying to have a discussion. You’re too mired in the past to think about what might be possible in the future.

  95. Patriot

    Colour, low-res, low frame rate, silent CCTV, which is perfectly adequate for the purpose.

  96. Patriot

    The need for high speed, high capacity, national telecoms infrastructure in the future is self-evident.

    Sure, but just how high speeds and capacity is a question that was never investigated before our money was committed. Like I said right at the start, that is terribly irresponsible and risky.

    We might as well not be arguing about whether or not we need an electrical grid, or roads, but, again, what capacity electrical grid and roads are appropriate for our budget and needs. Don’t think so? Then give JuIia a blast for questioning the level of spending on power infrastructure the other day.

  97. Aphra

    Suzanne Blake – I’m surprised that you don’t know that South Korea is THE international standard which other countries are jealously hoping to emulate.

    While data travels fast and essentially unobstructed through the glass of fibre-optic cables, the same is not true of wireless. Every obstruction along the way obstructs wireless data. From buildings, to hills, to trees, to rain. Even the air itself slows the effective speeds we can achieve wirelessly. These are unassailable limitations of the technology and they are one of the major reasons why “42Mbps” wireless networks usually operate at a tiny fraction of that speed.

    For the foreseeable future, there is no hope for wireless to offer speeds approaching current fibre-optic technology, let alone fibre speeds which are under development. Fibre optic technology is easily up-graded. The spectrum for wireless is finite and already almost over- used by numerous other services, such as radio and television broadcasting and other radio traffic, which reduces the amount that can be allocated to wireless broadband services. However, a single strand of fibre-optic cable can carry 20,000 times more data than the entire radio frequency spectrum combined. Ask the physicists, not the loudmouthed commentators.

    No other country of comparable size is doing this? They would if they could, or even afford it. America is in great trouble with its radio spectrum with iPhones alone contributing greatly to immediate problems with regular fall-outs in financial centres like New York being particularly frequent and worrisome.

    Broadband industry leaders around the world are looking enviously to Australia. Vince Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the Internet recently said: “I continue to feel a great deal of envy because in the US our broadband infrastructure is nothing like what Australia has planned. The investment in fibre capacity will pay for itself over and over as new applications are developed that take advantage of it.”

    Rod Tucker from Melbourne University (in The Drum) recently reported what Larry Smarr, another US-based Internet pioneer recently said: “Obama’s push for improved wireless broadband access will be of great benefit to rural communities in the US. It is a step forward, but lacks the vision of the Australian NBN. By using an appropriate combination of wireless and fibre access, Australia will become the envy of the broadband world.

    Two things: I don’t think that you understand anything about this really, or that fibre optics and radio (in a few specific insances) will work in tandem, and that you’re agin this purely on the grounds that Labor has taken the initiative and is building this new, vital infrastructure. It is a feather in Australia’s cap, and if we’re the first, you should be proud of it.

  98. drsmithy

    I could do that right now on ADSL 2+. I have network attached CCTV, alarm and home automation systems at my home which I monitor and control from work and on my phone using an ADSL 2+ connection and 3G.

    Really ? You can put out multiple (or, heck, even one) high quality, high definition, audio-included CCTV streams over your ADSL2+ connection ?

    Or are you talking about black and white, low-res, silent CCTV ?

  99. Patriot

    I could do that right now on ADSL 2+. I have network attached CCTV, alarm and home automation systems at my home which I monitor and control from work and on my phone using an ADSL 2+ connection and 3G.

  100. drsmithy

    You’re demanding $68 billion of taxpayers money for this thing.

    Uh, no. The majority of people in the country are doing that.

    You’re going to need something better than virtual ballet classes.

    Plenty of examples have been given over the years. Education, medical support, home businesses, collaboration. Nothing I can say here will add more.

    The need for high speed, high capacity, national telecoms infrastructure in the future is self-evident. There’s really no other way to say it. We might as well be arguing about whether or not we need an electrical grid, or roads.

  101. floorer

    I don’t think you’re taking into account how much this will benefit you Patriot.With the NBN you’ll be able to go live face to face with DrSmithy.

  102. Patriot

    Fair is fair, DrSmithy. You’re demanding $68 billion of taxpayers money for this thing. You’re going to need something better than virtual ballet classes.

  103. floorer

    Persuade you? Why do I need to do that?

  104. klewso

    “The Gospel According to St. Malcolm”

  105. drsmithy

    Hell, you don’t even need a state funded inter-school drama collaboration in the first place.

    I see discussion is pointless. Any examples offered are simply going to be dismissed with “you don’t even need [that] in the first place”.

  106. Patriot

    Floorer, that isn’t persuasive in the least. The NBN proposes to install fibre to the premises for over 90% of the population. You don’t need that to have an inter-school drama collaboration. Hell, you don’t even need a state funded inter-school drama collaboration in the first place.

  107. Patriot

    No-one has yet presented a sound case that it can.

    LOL. That isn’t how public expenditure works. The case must be made in favour of expenditure. The burden of proof falls upon those with their hand out for taxpayers money.
    So please, tell me about some of these essential applications that absolutely can’t run without fibre to the premises.

  108. floorer

    Re worthwhile application,this is an article from todays AdelaideNow. WILLUNGA High drama students in Adelaide’s south work with the nation’s best acting troupes, direct from the Sydney Opera House, without leaving their classroom.

    The students were among the first to test out a program using the NBN where a workshop with the Bell Shakespeare Company was conducted via video link.

    Deputy Principal Cathy Trenouth said, as the first mainland school connected to the NBN, it was excited to take part in a range of pilot programs.

    The school is also partnered with Monash University to develop a science program for senior students linking in specialist areas such as nano technology, and holds viticulture classes where students are given pruning instructions from a vineyard while they work with a piece of vine in class, she said.

    Federal School Education, Early Childhood and Youth Minister Peter Garrett yesterday announced the government would fund 12 projects, including the Opera House’s project using the NBN to deliver classes in drama, dance and music to students living in remote and rural Australia.

    Mr Garrett said these were examples of how students would benefit from the NBN, which will provide access to digital learning through the high-speed connectivity.

  109. drsmithy

    Uncertainty is precisely that, idiot. Do you know that there will be any worthwhile application or demand for the bandwidth we’re getting?

    Yes.

    Do you know that our needs can’t be met with less expense? No, you do not!

    No-one has yet presented a sound case that it can.

  110. Patriot

    Uncertainty is precisely that, idiot. Do you know that there will be any worthwhile application or demand for the bandwidth we’re getting? No, you do not! Do you know that our needs can’t be met with less expense? No, you do not!

  111. floorer

    “There is significant uncertainty regarding both our future bandwidth requirements” Yep so lets go the whole hog and get it right from the off.

  112. drsmithy

    There is significant uncertainty regarding both our future bandwidth requirements, and the suitability and value of various transmission mediums and schemes.

    What “uncertainty” was that, exactly ?

  113. Patriot

    There is significant uncertainty regarding both our future bandwidth requirements, and the suitability and value of various transmission mediums and schemes. Those are the issues that were not properly investigated. It is gambling, not investment.

  114. zut alors

    Patriot: ‘ There was no thorough cost-benefit anaIysis and no risk-return anaIysis.’

    What’s that reminiscent of? Ah yes, got it – defence spending.

  115. floorer

    ” The correct description would be gambling.” Yeah ‘cos we all know the internet is going nowhere.

  116. Patriot

    I’m sick of the NBN being referred to as an investment. There was no thorough cost-benefit anaIysis and no risk-return anaIysis. The correct description would be gambling.

  117. Suzanne Blake

    @ Aphra

    South Korea is tiny compared to Australia in land mass.

    No country the size of Australia or even half the size, with the sparse population we have doing it.

    its all being done as Labor have overcommitted and cannot afford another cancellation like Grocery watch, Fuel Watchm Cash for Clunkers, East Timor solution and the hundreds of others.

    No wonder Labor Federal MP are leaving the Labor logo off their flyers as reported on left ABC News tonight

  118. Aphra

    Suzanne Blake – please advise, despite what you have read and heard from clueless commentators, what single country or telecommunications company anywhere in the world is attempting to replace fixed networks with wireless in urban areas, or even planning to do so in the future.

    Wireless is a great complementary technology for deployment alongside fast fixed networks, and is also useful for delivering broadband to a small number of users in remote areas. But it is incapable of doing so in densely populated urban areas.

    South Korea, a country that already has a 100Mbps fibre-optic NBN, has already announced that they are spending $US26bn upgrading their fibre network to a speed of 1Gbps, to compliment their WiMax (4G) wireless broadband networks.

    If you want to quote DIDO, it’s currently pie in the sky. There are no technical specifications, detailed explanations or independent tests of the technology, outside a self-published and elementary report,”tested” by a mere 10 people inside and 3 outside, and the US regulator has so-far refused to grant even an experimental licence for the technology, despite the United States Federal Communications Commission chairman stating that wireless broadband is already “in peril” due to spectrum shortages, and will be in ‘crisis’ by 2013. And all these warnings are just assuming wireless broadband remains as a low volume complement to fixed broadband, not as a replacement for it. Even if additional spectrum is allocated to wireless broadband services, there simply isn’t enough radio spectrum in existence for wireless to approach fibre-optics.

    The answer to how many towers would be needed for wireless broadband – a conservative 75,000.

    All of this information is freely available to those who are interested in understanding, not just parrotting something which those with a political agenda claim.

  119. Lord Barry Bonkton

    S.B , I am no Tech head but what is “Rollod ” ? I have adsl2 with UPTO 20 , but really only get around 7-8 on speedtest. I am about 2 kms from my exchange . My friend on wireless ( DoDo ) less than 1 km away , drops out all the time when ringing on Skype and has to cut video . The more people that get on the copper or wireless buses , the slower it runs. NBN will be like a Drag Bus , pulling 7 second runs with 5 trailers on the back. I am paying for a Super-bike , but are getting a Chinese scooter. This is how they should explain to the bogans and westies , what a Abbott govt. will do to the internet speeds of Australia , so slow that they cannot download Porn and not play any online games , due to copper and wireless breakdowns .

  120. Hamis Hill

    Yes GAVIN MOODIE, I accept your rebuke, it was a market economy and of course people had to be able to count, and divide by ten in the case of tithes, or be severely punished, so it is indeed an insult to their memory to suggest they were the same as people who take a 4% increase in costs for a 10% extension of service as a BLOW OUT. They would probably be as contemptuous as I am of such innumeracy. My preferred neologism is “numberdunce” a characterisation certain literati wear as a proud mark of distinction from numerate “Nerds”.
    As for the literacy, private schools catering to the children of successful merchants, and usually run by successful merchants might have increased the ability to read, which was again a necessity for such people. As for the masses of people the five centuries of the Middle ages were as dark as the previous five. Peasants who were able to read routinely had their toungues cut out, so as to supress dissent.
    Don’tcha Know!

  121. Gavin Moodie

    I object to HAMIS HILL’s sledge that ‘We seem, in the midst of all this, to have reverted to a Medieval era of illiteracy and innumeracy’. While literacy rates in the Middle Ages seem to have been modest by contemporary standards, say 30% in urban areas of prosperous European countries, people were generally not innumerate.

  122. Recalcitrant.Rick

    Abbott is already pulling the old school of the air pedal wireless’s out of storage for all you regressives to use. There’s probably one available for Suze and Scott and the others, it’s about their speed. What a bunch of visionaries (not) and seemingly proud of it! Sad!

  123. Merve

    You will never get all the new the towers up for wireless. People wouldn’t stand for it, and would demand fibre instead.

  124. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Suzanne Blake, thanks for your reply. Whilst I appreciate your opinion that “we could get a better, cheaper outcome with wireless….”, I don’t accept it as useful. In fact you could be wrong and it might not be better. I listened years ago to Commonwealth ministers explaining why some second hand helicopters and old stock American tanks would be “better and cheaper” for Australia and thought, “Fair enough; you’re the government, you can spin that to me and I’ll just have to wear it.” It was then and is now a crock but I still accept that the government can do that.
    Similarly, you will just have to accept for now that the NBN, as proposed by the Labor government in its election platform, is the system Australia is getting. In my opinion you are wrong about ‘wireless’ being “better” in a technical sense, even if it is cheaper or easier to install. But it doesn’t matter what I think. Australia is getting the NBN and you will just have to suck it up.

  125. floorer

    Analogy of wireless’s problem I read somewhere is two people in a room one each end. They can talk and hear each other okay then as the room fills up with more talking people and gets crowded it gets harder and harder to hear each other till they can hardly converse at all.

  126. John Bennetts

    Zut and SB:

    My experience, having been forced by Telstra onto wireless due to failing unmaintained copper and distance from the nearest exchange, is exactly that which Zut presents.

    There is only a certain wireless bandwidth into which all users must cram. Usage peaks are bound to slow speeds back to dial-up numbers. This can’t and won’t happen with fibre.

    Unfortunately, I am probably never going to have a fibre connection , but at least I can look forward to a time when those who have fibre will leave me with adequate speed on the wireless to at least carry an audio signal. Video is entirely out of the question, even with so-called 4G at peak periods. I would, however, like to be able to speak with my daughter who has emigrated to Canada, via Skype.

    Sad to say, speeds adequate for even audio Skype are not always available on 4G, so blathering and blundering posturing by dolts such as Abbott and SB on this subject are entirely without substance.

    If only I had the choice, as Zut had, of good copper, wireless or cable. Heaven!

    One other unpublicised issue I have found with 4G wireless is the tendency to simply dump my connection when the system becomes congested. Nothing at all gets through till a re-start. Wireless is now a joke and is doomed to become worse, not better, as time goes by. By all means, criticise the NBN, but do not come to me with suggestions that an acceptable alternative is 4G. It ain’t.

  127. Merve

    My local shopping center had a notice proudly telling everyone that they had stopped the installation of a new phone tower. How many towers is wireless broadband going to need again?

  128. Merve

    Abbott had better be careful. The word is spreading about how good the NBN is.

    I was out in the country and new customers love it, the new satellite technology is very fast, and cheap.

  129. mikeb

    Every time someone suggests that we can do it cheaper with wireless blah blah blah I just shake my head. Honestly – if you don’t know what you are talking about then say nothing, Just because Abbott says so & you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true. If the Labor Govt had committed to a wireless strategy then Abbott would have attacked that at well. He basically disagrees with everything put up by the Government.
    Wireless needs a backbone & that backbone is optic fibre – until something better comes along. Anyone sharing wireless broadband now will know the limitations. One user of wireless is fine. Put a hundred users on and you have a problem. Optic fibre does not have that limitation.
    As for the “blowout” – it’s well within normal business risk margins. Also as already noted in earlier comments this expenditure is an investment for generations to come. With the mentality of critics like SB the railway would never have crossed America and copper wire would never have linked nearly every Australian.

  130. drsmithy

    we could get a better, cheaper outcome with wireless.

    No we couldn’t. Not now and almost certainly not ever.

    There is no way the NBN can be rollod out to the home in rural and regional Australia

    Nor is anyone saying it will be.

  131. zut alors

    I have subscribed to optic fibre for six months now, it’s excellent. I have a bundle deal which actually works out cheaper than the old deal which incorporated broadband – and the new usage allowance is higher. A neighbour opted to stick with wireless – she has abysmal speeds and sometimes no connection between 3 – 5pm when school children are busy on Facebook.

    So the whingers should think twice about the joys of an alternative government which intends depriving them of a vastly improved communication system.

  132. rachel612

    I think it’s worth putting this announcement in the context of another big network rollout – Telstra’s NextG network. That went way over budget, and ran late, and led to serious monstering of some contractors to get it back on the rails. Now that it’s running, it’s a huge success, and if you ask people who use it, is the only mobile network to be on.

    But it wasn’t easy to get there.

    By contrast the NBN is a lot more complex and has a much bigger remit. All large IT&T projects run over budget or over time. The NBN is – so far – doing very well on these figures.

    And Suzanne Blake, re wireless, I am reminded of Inigo Montoya’s line: “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  133. MJPC

    Despite the doom and gloom in every LNP announcement, todays SMH said it all with a report from users of the NBN in Kiama Downs, NSW. The user has been using the sytem for several months and stated it’s fantastic, relaible and constantly fast.
    The other interesting comment is that the speed is at least 10- times faster than existing broadband and it costs half as much as the user was paying before.
    Yes, it’s going to cost more. Infrastructure projects often do when they stretch over an extended period of construction.
    At least the Government is investing in future technological infrastructure which will benefit all australians.
    Of course Tony Abbott will find the carbon tax somewhere in there but that is to be expected, isn’t it.

  134. lykurgus

    SB might be thinking of the pedal-powered transceivers once used to call the Flying Doctor hubs

  135. WTF

    Hugh (Charlie) McColl, “fantastic renewable resource that will underpin the entire Australian economy and society”? Nothing less!

    And there lays the biggest problem I have with the BBN and all other left wing nut-jobs, it is thought up and supported by people who are completely of their collective rockers! Stop saving the universe people and come down to earth just for a single minute to smell the roses. No such thing as a free lunch, some poor bastard will pay through the nose for this, these are real billions being burned not just monopoly money. The NBN defines not physics but basic simple economics. The OPEX of the NBN excludes all retail margins. WTF will that money come from physics geniuses, from the sick, old and disabled?????

  136. wilful

    we could get a better, cheaper outcome with wireless.

    There is no way the NBN can be rolled out to the home in rural and regional Australia

    Gosh we have been paying attention haven’t we?

    As any person with a clue will tell you, no, we cannot do better with wireless. We can do cheaper sure. We can do cheaper with copper too.

    And NBN Co.’s position on regional Australia is quite explicitly well known. 93% will get fibre to the home, 4% will get WiMax at 12Gbit, and 3% will get satellite. This has been public knowledge for several years.

  137. Ronson Dalby

    “we could get a better, cheaper outcome with wireless.”

    You didn’t do physics in high school, did you, SB?

  138. Hamis Hill

    @SB The NBN lost you the last election. It will lose you the next. Just keep opposing what the people want like the NDIS.

  139. Suzanne Blake

    @ Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    we could get a better, cheaper outcome with wireless.

    There is no way the NBN can be rollod out to the home in rural and regional Australia

  140. Hamis Hill

    Don’t the Stooges realise that they lost the last election because of their Scheisegrupenfuhrer’s opposition to the NBN. No they don’t. What a sad lot of losers they are!

  141. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    WTF, I love the way you lay vaste to Labor’s economic philosophy but I don’t get the “other people’s money” part of it. “Taxpayers'” money is paying for the NBN. Just like the Natural Heritage Trust (“burning” the Telstra sale money, a Howard era initiative), the NBN is ours and it is for us. We are the beneficiaries (well, 13,500 so far!), not some mysterious alien elite, resident who knows where. Think about the amount of money Australia will spend on Defense in the same nine years leading up to 2021. What will we have to show for it when that day comes?
    The NBN, even costing the unbelievable motza that it is, will be a fantastic renewable resource that will underpin the entire Australian economy and society. That’s nation-building isn’t it?

  142. Hamis Hill

    A ten percent extension of services results in a four percent increase in costs and this is a “Blow Out”.
    We seem, in the midst of all this, to have reverted to a Medieval era of illiteracy and innumeracy.
    All learning of the part five centuries seems to be burning at the stake.
    With SB and company warming themselves in the heat. Ain’t that so Suzy?
    Not really Liberal is it. Have the real Liberals gone extinct?
    Leaving us all in Stooge World?

  143. Suzanne Blake

    The cost blow out will be tens of billions, if it completes.

    Conroy FAIL, following a plan hatched by Rudd on the back of a coaster

  144. WTF

    Given that broadly speaking the aim of all Labor initiatives is to burn wast wads of other people’s money, I have to agree, it is broadly right on track.

  145. Oscar Jones

    I’ve yet to find a businessman who doesn’t want the NBN yet to get them to go on the record is impossible.

    Critics of the NBN probably would have moaned about the laying of electric and telephone cables. Criticism of the NBN is a prime example of Tony Abbott’s inability to present any positive policies and his crazy habit of opposing every and anything.

  146. Scott

    That’s a 13.8% increase in operating costs….
    Ignore the return on capital of 7.1%….its a rubbish figure, based on 30 year projections. They couldn’t even get projections right for connections a couple of years in the future so i would say this figure is rubbery at best.
    The only people who will be making money out of this thing are the vendors doing the rollout.

  147. floorer

    Anybody got any ideas / first hand knowledge of why it might be hard for the LNP to derail the NBN? Contract with Telstra etc? Presuming they win of course, better throw that in.

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