NBN’s future

At this time the future of our NBN  is very murky and will remain so until the coalition completes its strategic review, appoints a new board and no doubt uncover the flaws in the ALP existing roll out. Be assured dirty laundry will be discovered and aired, legitimate or not. The strategic review to my understanding will only look at the LNP policy of FTTN therefore exclude any opportunities for the possible advantages of FTTP to be measured and considered.

So with little detail of the ultimate NBNCo structure or even existence let’s consider what may happen. Perhaps the LNP see the insertion of competition to the NBN as desirable. This would inject capital from private enterprise, reducing what is perceived as public spending of tax payers money on the roll out. This assumption fails to recognise that the current NBN model will eventually be self funded and in fact produce a small profit. it is also promoted as a good deal for consumers as the injection of competition automatically reduces prices. Or does it?

Let us assume that ISPs or carriers are allowed into the market to compete against NBN. What form or level of entry will take place? If it is laissez faire then cherry picking will take place. There will be over builds as such took place in the carrier markets of recent years. For example most CBDs in Australia are serviced by numerous carriers all with their own fibre networks. So where one cable system would serve we have several. The resultant congestion of our sidewalks has been a nightmare for councils to administer. And no one should think that the consumer has benefitted from this. Each roll out cost Is passed on to the customers.

Can the parcel be divided geographically? Sure, but economically? Let’s assume the Coalition divide the country simplistically into local council based packages. These are then put out to tender for broadband provision and the lowest bidder wins. So what does the consumer get? A mini monopoly in his patch where the owner dictates your ISP provider. So much for competition. And this ignores all the back haul required and ownership of this part of a NBN.

So what does the current ALP NBN offer. A big reduction in the total rollout of fibre, one company one network. No competitive overlapping roll outs with subsequent construction impediments and costs. But the competition remains albeit at a different level. Your current ISP may be your choice, or you can move to another that may offer a better deal. Mr Murdoch could even compete here. I’m sure he regrets to this day not entering the ISP market. Probably where he should be. Instead he wants entry at a higher level. And a bigger monopoly.

Now let’s get one other thing clear. The copper network use is still not proven. Telstra are trialling it now. If as Turnbull says it is a proven technology why the trials? And I will not even get started on the street cabinets. Just imagine them though if two or more competing providers are allowed down your street. Yet more cabinets.

How many of us now consider the privatisation of Telstra a raging success? We seemed to stumble from decision to decision with no clear plan.  I recall Ziggy Zwitkowski had a finger in Telstra’s pie at some stage. 

What should have been a showcase modern technology project benefitting all Australians is now in peril of being a much hated national disgrace that we will be ashamed of. I blame Malcolm Turnbull for obsequiously pandering to Abbott’s hatred of any ALP initiatives.

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