It all started over the weekend when the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development announced it believed the NBN may not be the most cost-effective strategy to get the benefits the NBN would provide. Their biggest beef seems to be with the idea of shutting down Telstra's old copper network once the NBN is in place. Not sure how that will make the NBN cheaper, but competition is always welcome, so long as it doesn't restrict the rollout of fibre. Unsurprisingly, on Monday the PM and Conroy were doing their best to counter the criticism from the OECD.
Monday also saw the Tasmanian State government begin the process of making the NBN mandatory, introducing "op-out" legislation putting the onus on homeowners to decide that they don't want the NBN. Given the amount of FUD the coalition are sprouting, this is a really good idea. People generally have an aversion to change - especially change they don't understand.
In further proof that politicians are generally useless, ARN reported on Monday that Federal Labor MP Laura Smyth claimed fibre would be obsolete in about 12-16 years. Wow. Don't these people have minders? At least when you read stupid comments from people like Andrew Bolt, you sort of expect it (BTW - Crikey had a great rebuttal to Bolt's arguments here).
Tuesday saw the beginning of the media onslaught about the NBN business plan. Delivered to Stephen Conroy last week, the Opposition and the Greens wanted to get their hands on it. Senator Ludlam from the Greens took the aggressive direction of trying to force Conroy to provide it using some political finishing move.
But Conroy has some kind of weird super powers, and Wednesday saw him announce that the business plan would be kept under wraps until next month, after parliament has finished for the year. That pissed off some people - namely the opposition, who reacted by proposing a bill calling for the NBN to be sent to the productivity commission. Despite gaining a 74-71 majority vote, it needed 76 votes to be passed, and so the Government will return to their lair in the basement of Parliament House to plot the NBN's business plan in private.
Considering that the politicians are being asked to vote on the NBN before they actually see the NBN business plan, you can actually understand their frustration here. But of course, we all know Conroy can be a douche.
There were a few other interesting NBN issues this week: NBNCo will be spending $12 million on Cisco data centres, the Unions want more money and the draft legislation forcing the seperation of Telstra's wholesale arm has been passed by the House of Reps. All in all, a huge week for broadband...
(Hopefully Ludlam's finishing move next week is a little more Mortal Kombat...)