NBN alert

Radio National’s Background Briefing is about to take a look at Turnbull’s NBN.

The program will go to air on Sunday, November 1 at 8am, repeated Tuesday, November 3 at 9pm. It will also be repeated on NewsRadio at 1pm on Sunday.

RN’s Breakfast had a foretaste on Friday, the transcript of which is available here.

You can take your pick as to who you believe, the stories appear incompatible.

My understanding is that the original fibre to the premises was going to replace the existing creaky network, which was to be decommissioned. Fibre to the node (FTTN) has meant retaining and upgrading the last link from the node to the home/premises. This has cost more and take more time than expected, and yield a patchy but overall poor result.

There is an expectation that the Government may announce a plan to bring fibre to the kerb, but it seems the original plan of doing it once, doing it right, doing it fibre is lost forever.

My own interim view, until I hear the whole program, is that the original vision was best. We would have ended up with a world-class digital highway network, with universality and equity. The rich and the heavy users would have cross-subsidised the rest. A government-owned corporatised monopoly was the best solution in this case. It would have taken us a while to get there, but then we would have been competitive with elsewhere in the world. Turnbull’s way will take us longer to catch up.

Turnbull has denied us that possibility for basically ideological reasons.

On costs, the big numbers frighten people, but they are not so large in this kind of league. We’ve just been told that we are likely to spend more than $130 billion on Australia’s electricity networks between 2010 and 2020.

3 thoughts on “NBN alert”

  1. Yep. $130 billion on upgrades most of which will not be needed because of the growth in solar and batteries.
    Upgrades where the grid owners are guaranteed a profit on their investment no matter whether the investment is justified or a good decision for the country.
    There is/has been a case for guaranteed profit to ensure that the long lead in time work required to give us a reliable grid with enough capacity is done. However, we are now in a position where we can use very low lead in time options like targetted rooftop solar and battery storage to avoid the need for many grid upgrades.

  2. The program had more detail, but the story in the preview had the guts of it. Turnbull has created a bugger’s muddle, which will eventually be set aside for fibre to the kerb, at greater expense.

    Given that Abbott wanted to junk the NBN entirely, I suppose he deserves credit for rescuing something. I think he’s smart enough to know that the original concept was right, but plays politics along with the rest of them.

  3. See Paul Budde:

    Is the NBN business model off the rails?

    ‘If you abandon national FttH (fibre to the home) you also undermine the infrastructure required by the new economy. … The MTM [multi technology mix] leads to the Balkanisation of infrastructure in Australia and will favour companies such as Telstra and TPG. … The NBN Co will remain bleak from a financial position. … All of this becomes an even sadder story day by day, as at the same time it becomes clear that the trumped up costs of an FttH-based NBN were wrong. … The second rate roll out is going to cost roughly the same as the original FttH rollout.’

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