When talking about what he faced as the minister responsible for NBN, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was fond of recalling a joke about asking for directions from a pub in Ireland and being told "I wouldn't start from here". It is a jab at what he believed to be the deficiencies of the former Labor government's broadband policy, but telecommunications policy has been a problem for governments dating back even to the Hawke era.

One of the most popular theories around why the Coalition was opposed to fibre-to-the-premises (aka fibre-to-the-home, or FTTH) for the National Broadband Network is that it would render the Foxtel pay TV network obsolete. While it is probably a bit much to blame only Foxtel for the change in NBN policy after the last election, pay television's link to Australia's broadband woes goes back a long way.