What Happened With The NBN This Week?

What Happened With The NBN This Week?

What will the Coalition actually do with the NBN if it’s elected? Has the NBN damaged the local cloud industry? Will it really take 600 years to complete?

The future of the NBN under the Coalition remains a hot topic, if only because it’s so insanely frustrating that the Coalition is vague about its NBN plans beyond “FTTN, Faster, Cheaper, Better, but we won’t specify how or when precisely”. A report out this week suggests that Optus and Telstra could end up co-owners of a reworked NBN utilising HFC, wireless and satellite coverage, with only 83 per cent covered by some kind of fixed broadband solution. The report also suggests that a fully costed Liberal policy is unlikely until after an election victory, although more details may emerge in coming weeks. Interesting thinking, but I’m unsure how that’s going to be built faster or for that matter much cheaper. It certainly wouldn’t make high speed broadband near-ubiqutious.

Not that Malcolm Turnbull expects better from the existing NBN Co plan, however, telling parliament that he understands NBN Co won’t meet its June 2013 target for premises passed, stating that at this rate, it “could take in excess of 20 years to complete this network.”. NBN Co took a leaf straight out of the Apple playbook, stating that it wouldn’t comment on rumour or speculation.

Mind you, Turnbull’s practically an NBN cheerleader compared to opposition senator Brett Mason, who asked in Parliament whether it would “take the government 600 years to connect all the secondary schools to the NBN” based on the current number of connected schools. Yes, it’s a silly, headline-grabbing question that — like so many things NBN — is far more about political point scoring than anything else.

Speaking of ubiquity, the NBN should enable cloud-based services, what with both fast uploads and downloads available, but cloud provider Bitcloud came out this week stating that the development of the NBN has stifled local cloud development, because as soon as it was announced, the local telcos all stopped rolling out their own networks. I get the theory — if we had the NBN rolled out by now, cloud would be easier — but especially in the case of regional areas, it’s not as though the telco powers that be were rushing to provide access everywhere, which is surely what you need for a full cloud strategy, no?

Coverage of NBN issues within the media reached an apex when MediaWatch covered the whole grubby Nick Ross/Turnbull/The Australian issue. For what it’s worth (disclaimer: I also write for the ABC, if you care), I thought it was a pretty even-handed assessment of the media issues surrounding NBN coverage.