"This is not a religious issue. It is a question of being business-like and getting the balance right, as I said. The problem with this debate is that it is proceeding in some quarters as a quasi-religious debate.""The argument against fibre-to-the-node is that it doesn't deliver the same performance as fibre-to-the-premises. That's the argument," he said this morning. Questions of costs and the time it takes to build are ignored. Yet, as I've argued at ZDNet, Turnbull is effectively running a quasi-religious debate himself. He's asking us to take at face value statements such as being able to build FTTN for a quarter the price of FTTP, or his potentially powerful arguments involving opportunity costs and the relative value for money spent now versus money spent in the future. So why can't we see the spreadsheets that would convince us? Turnbull says that's because we'd need NBN Co's figures. "If the NBN were to say, 'well, we're going to sit down with you and work with you on this scenario B', we could come up with some much more robust numbers," he said. "Really, the NBN Co should be an open book. It doesn't have any competition, it belongs to the taxpayers. You can find more about what Telstra's doing as a public listed company than you can about the NBN Co." There's no reason why NBN Co couldn't report monthly the details of premises passed, premises activated and the cost of doing that, he says. Turnbull repeated the Coalition's commitment that, if elected, they will "very, very quickly" conduct a transparent analysis of the NBN's current FTTP network rollout and a similar analysis of variations thereof -- including FTTN in brownfield rollouts -- to determine the potential savings in money and time. But there have been estimates, Turnbull noted, including Telstra's rejected 2009 tender, which quoted for a FTTN NBN built from ground zero at around $15 billion. Since then labour costs have risen but equipment costs have dropped. Why couldn't the Coalition start putting out at least rough estimates for their plan, using whatever figures were available? "If I put out a set of financials, I want them to be right," he said.
Turnbull and the barking mad NBN debate: numbers needed
Malcolm Turnbull has offered a defence of the Coalition's broadband internet strategy, but claims he needs more numbers from NBN Co. We'd settle for rough estimates ahead of the election.