Hope…the damned thing worksReward…our mates at Foxtel
Opportunity…to look like we care
Kevin Rudd tweeted that it was last century’s technology. Some of it is older than that, dating back to original copper cables which were laid from 1880.
Assuming that the copper cables can cope with the volume of data and deliver the speeds required, the next hurdle is “FTTN” – Fibre to the Node. In laymanspeak, fibre will be used to transmit major distances, ending at a node, where the data is transferred to copper cabling (or wireless) to reach the homes or premises that feed from the node. In populated areas, there’ll be nodes every few hundred metres.
|Copper: pretty & antiquated|
When I read the Executive Summary for the policy, it struck me that the biggest consideration in the Coalition plan is not functionality, reliability, or longevity. It’s cost. There're little thought about the future, just a drive to convince us that in this case, cheaper is better.
At $29.5 billion dollars, it’s about $29.5 billion dollars overpriced if it doesn’t work, if it proves to be inadequate, if the copper cables fail, or if it’s obsolete. Technically, all of these options are more likely under the Coalition plan.
And then, Independent Queensland MP Rob Mitchell tweeted at about 1pm that the Liberal NBN page had failed. In fairness, that had nothing to do with broadband and everything to do with the public perception of the Liberal’s ability to understand and manage technology.
Twitter was brutal. Here are a few tweets from the #fraudband hashtag:
@conceravota Lucky Liberals were not in power when government put in pipe; we’d have ended up w/ a tap & dunny at end of every street. #fraudband@Picketer Please hang up the phone. Turnbull wants to use the interwebs. #NBN #fraudband
@byTonyWilson It must be a turkey. The nerds haven’t been this angry since Star Wars was recut. #fraudband #NBN
@peterjhinton Stop acting like #fraudband is a turning point! The people who will hand #2031election to #abbott think a torrent is heavy rain. #auspol
@geeksrulz LNP FRAUDBAND CAR CRASH. Turnbull has no estimate on how long copper will last. Thorough planning. #NBN #Auspol
This is the Liberal’s first major policy announcement in this election cycleTony Abbott has been avoiding the tough interviews
Malcolm Turnbull has a background in telecommunications
Firstly, the announcement was made in front of a banner with the word Foxtel emblazoned on it. That was a poor choice by the Liberals communications team, as Rupert Murdoch, who owns a slab of Foxtel, stands to benefit from the Liberal proposal, and lose from the current NBN. It looks dodgy.
"For me, broadband basically is about being able to send an email, receive an email," he said. For his daughters "it's about downloading movies, songs, all that kind of thing".
At that time, one of my key responsibilities was to work with rural and remote customers who were trying to use our transactional website, but in many cases, just didn’t have an internet connection to support it. A couple were still on dial-up. Those customers weren’t trying to download the latest Harry Potter movie or Sex and the City 2. They were trying to do business in the bush. That comment helped to ensure that when the situation arose, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor supported the ALP, because the ALP was committed to delivering fast broadband to the bush.
Incidentally, Mr Abbott should be careful of raising the issue of price rises. His policy document claims that the ALP NBN was originally costed at $44.1 billion, but has almost doubled to $94 billion. Almost doubled, eh? In 2010, Mr Abbott priced the Coalition NBN substitute at around $6 billion. The plan unveiled today is estimated at $29.5 billion – almost 5 times as much as the 2010 estimate. Yes Mr Abbott, costs and priorities change over time.
So what’s the outcome? It’s a cost/benefit judgment. It seems to come down to personal ethos: a bigger spend for a more robust, durable system, or a cheaper alternative for a cheaper result.
I want the one that works, and will keep working into the future. The rest of it, we manage.
Trending Hashtag: Fraudband. © @KRuddMP Update: 4 hours later, and #fraudband is still a very active hashtag. There are very few tweets in favour of the Liberal plan - but not everyone tweets. Those who have little contact with computers will probably prefer the cheaper option, so be cautious about taking the twitter preference as a sign.