With the Coalition broadband policy now on the table following Malcolm Turnbull's points-winning launch yesterday, the questions at the core of the NBN debate are:

  • How much broadband speed do Australians need to ensure the nation's future prosperity, in the widest sense of that word?
  • How close is that future? That is, how soon will we need that speed?
  • How much are willing to pay, both personally and from the collective government purse?
  • What is the best way to achieve that goal, given we're starting from a real-world position that includes a commenced-but-not-much-more fibre to the premises (FTTP) access network and a bunch of related contracts?
  • Both sides are making statements about technology choices, capabilities and prices, as well as business models. How can we be certain their proposed answers to the third and fourth questions will indeed deliver what's needed to match our preferred answers to the first two?

The Coalition's policy and the accompanying 36-page backgrounder present a coherent and powerful argument. Most of it will be broadly familiar to anyone who's been paying attention to what Turnbull has been saying for the last three years -- as opposed to just whining that he doesn't get that FTTP is technically superior. He knows it is, but his argument is that technical superiority is not the only factor that needs to be considered.