[clug] [OT] The Register is trying to crowfund $100-$250K for indep study on NBN

Michael Cohen scudette at gmail.com
Sun Jun 23 03:45:39 MDT 2013

You dont need a study to look past the politicking with the NBN - its
actually a very interesting case in free markets and government

The entire project was estimated to cost about $46B at a current
population of 22 million this would cost about $2k per person upfront.
For example, our household might pay $10k for that. Now I am a
technology professional and probably would be able to utilize and
justify this, but my elderly retired family are unlikely to justify
spending this kind of money on a service which, to them, is only
slightly better than their current ADSL, HSDPE or LTE service which
then can get for much less than the $100 per month the NBN is
projected to cost. This just does not make sense.

So this is the way free markets work - if a company thought there were
enough people who would pay $10k for fiber to the home, they would
offer it. Of course if they are wrong about this assumption they would
go out of business - thats perfectly fine - they would make big bucks
if they were right but lose everything if not.

Here comes the government, which thinks they can make this decision
for most people. You wont voluntarily pay $10k? You dont think iptv is
the really worth the hassle? thats no problem, we will coerce this out
of you in due course. You, the citizen, have no idea what you want
anyway. This attitude basically requires the commissioning of no
studies - after all what does it matter what the study says? Its not
like a company might go broke if they invest in the wrong technology,
there is endless supply of money a government can just coerce from the
people. If they pick the wrong technology to start with, they will
just buy a new one later.

It is actually very interesting to see how the NBN affects the telco
market. Before the NBN we had competitive infrastructure deployment by
many telcos - telstra, optus etc were laying cables etc. Once the NBN
was announced  - it stops anyone else from laying infrastructure - you
can not compete with a government player with infinite pockets who can
just make people use their service (or at least pay for it).

At that point competitive instructure stopped - this virtually
guarantees that Australia will never compete at internat access with
the rest of the world. It is almost certain IMHO that the NBN will be
stopped midway because of its shaky economics and then we will be left
with a chronic lack of investment in those areas which are not

At the same time, the telcos can not compete on the fixed line
business - they are competing in the wireless arena instead. Deploying
3g, lte and other technologies make these internet access modes much
more attractive.

Technology has a way of surprising us - we can never anticipate what
will happen. When the NBN was conceived a few years ago, the main
issue was fiber to the home. Well guess what.. now it looks like
nobody will really care about that in a few years. Everyone has smart
phones and tablets and all of a sudden most people want to get
wireless access to the internet and dont really care about speed all
that much. Looks like telstra was in the right place at the right time
- sell off the old technology to the government at a premium and
invest in the growth technology of the future. Quite entertaining to
see the government getting beat at the marketplace - that is as long
as you are not a tax payer.


On 22 June 2013 05:00, steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> wrote:
> steve jenkin wrote on 20/06/13 2:08 PM:
>> Rephrased on 'Pozible' site as:
>> We want to address that with an independent study to answer three big
>> NBN questions:
>> * What do we REALLY NEED?
>> * What's the BEST TECHNOLOGY to build with?
>> * What happens AFTER we build the NBN?
> Off list, I had correspondence where someone, very rightly IMO, asserted
> that if real data didn't exist, then logic dictates the government would
> either release them or commission such reports.
> This is NOT the case, hence, love or hate their Technical writing, El
> Reg is looking to fund some basic studies.
> My answer follows:
> That's the thing, the basic data DO NOT exist, at least not in the
> public domain.
>  As I've said, I've _looked_ very hard over many months, even taken
> apart and analysed in detail things like the NBN Co plan for implicit
> numbers and models.
> _Both_ sides of Politics are being amazingly cynical and opportunistic
> in treating the NBN as a political plaything and the mainstream media
> plays along because it sounds like a story.
> Answering the logic in your question,
>  if any, let alone good, public domain knowledge existed on costs of
> deploying the NBN, how could Turnbull get away without being challenged
> when he _claimed_
>  1) that the NBN Co project whole funding (incl losses) would blow-out
> from $44B to $94B,
>  2) also claiming that he could shave 10% of input costs and nearly
> halve the Capital expenditure (save $17B off $39.5B)
>  3) _and_ not transfer costs to OpEx, like leasing, but reduce
> operational costs by 25% as well?
> There is NO public data or studies available to country this absolutely
> impossible position. Party because they also withheld their assumptions
> and workings...
> On the other hand, where is the Government response to this rubbish?
> There is NONE!
> Conroy is as bad as Turnbull, worst. He's gagged Quigley on any number
> of important questions.
> I wrote to Paul Budde, who is very familiar with both sides and with all
> the senior players and asked him if Conroy _would_ ever consider
> commissioning _exactly_ the report you're suggesting.
> Not only haven't they, they _won't_, because Conroy doesn't consider
> there is any need for them.
> I really was hoping you had some data I could use, this lack of real
> data has stymied my efforts at producing a reasoned and usable analysis
> of both plans since January.
> cheers
> steve
> --
> Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
> 0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
> PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA
> sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin
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