"Turnbull's challenge is now to deliver faster broadband speeds more quickly than almost any other developed country."To give new Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull credit where it's due, the Coalition plan does have the potential to deliver at least some significant broadband speed increase sooner to those in most need, but there's some significant challenges too -- even apart from having to create an entirely new board for NBN Co. The FTTN network still requires the installation of tens of thousands of nodes -- that is, the roadside cabinets where the optical fibre is connected to the existing copper network -- and that means talking once more to all those cooperative people in local government. There are still many unknowns about the state of the copper network. How much of it needs to be replaced anyway? And there are many contracts to be re-negotiated. Then there's the fact that he's starting from behind. Australia is now well behind the pace when compared to other countries, and Labor can't take all of the blame. In the mid-1990s, Australia had the third-best internet infrastructure in the world, after the US and Finland, whether measured in terms of percentage of households connected, or total internet bandwidth per capita. By the time Kevin Rudd replaced John Howard as prime minister in 2007, we'd dropped out of the top 10 completely, and we were arguing about whether we were still in the top 15. The latest global State of Broadband Report was released by the United Nations' Broadband Commission over the weekend. Australia's ranking is now down to 29th place in terms of fixed broadband penetration, and 22nd place in terms of the percentage of the population that using the internet. While we're sixth place when it comes to mobile broadband penetration, we need to remember that it's the fixed connections that do the heavy lifting -- now, and for as long as physics operates. Turnbull's challenge is now to deliver faster broadband speeds more quickly than almost any other developed country. It's a big ask.
NBN Co board refuses to drink the poisoned chalice
It's no surprise the entire NBN Co board has resigned. The Coalition doesn't want NBN Co to succeed, and the technological and political challenge ahead is mighty.