Welcome to a special Coalition Broadband Plan edition of What Happened With The NBN This Week!
Details started leaking out early about the Coalition's long-awaited broadband plan. Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, roped the Daily Telegraph in to act as his press office for the week, distributing information through them first.
First it was the claim that the NBN under the Coalition would cost $90 billion, a claim that still hasn't really been tested adequately by people who don't belong to the Liberal National Party. Leaks continued, with Turnbull finally promising to come out with a fully-costed fibre to the node policy.
Then the press conference started. Held at Fox News Studios, the announcement was co-hosted by Turnbull and Leader of the Coalition, Tony Abbott, who has been famously quoted as saying "he's no Bill Gates". I don't think Bill Gates is even "Bill Gates" anymore, Mr Abbott.
Regardless, it was full of graphs and grand promises, all built around fibre to the node.
Fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) sees fibre run to boxes or nodes around a neighbourhood so that customers can start hooking their copper lines to the service, increasing the down and uplink speeds. It differs to the government’s NBN strategy which instead opts for fibre-to-the-home (FTTH). That’s a more expensive option and requires fibre-optic cable to pass every home and business in Australia, of which the government predicts is about 12.1 million premises.
As of June, the National Broadband Network Company plans to have 190,000 to 220,000 homes passed by the fibre network — a target that was arrived at >after being revised down due to construction delays and contractor dramas.
The government plans on passing those 12.1 million total premises by 2021 at a capital cost of $37.4 billion. The Coalition plans to roll out its alternative, which will use a mix of technologies including fibre, wireless and satellite services to deliver a network that costs only $29 billion to build and aims to be completed by 2019.
Turnbull tells the Telegraph — his publication of choice this week — that the Coalition’s high-speed broadband network would deliver speeds of between 25Mbps and 50Mbps by 2016, increasing to 50Mbps and 100Mbps by the completion date in 2019.
The Coalition also promises that Australians will pay less for their broadband. It’s predicting that we’ll pay $66 per month by 2021, rather than the $90 predicted by the government.
Then the trash talk started.
It's no secret that Turnbull dislikes Mike Quigley, head of NBN Co, but he didn't have to come out and say it in public. Turnbull came out and said that if (read: when) the Coalition comes to power, Mike Quigley would be out of a job.
He said that Mike Quigley is flat out “the wrong person for the job”, adding that his skill set is wrong for someone building a massive telecoms network. Quigley is just the start, though. Turnbull wants to shake up the whole NBN Co leadership team:
He [Turnbull] said he expected “there will be considerable changes in the management level. As far as the board is concerned, I think you can assume there will be very considerable changes there.”
Interestingly, while all this was going on, the Australian Bureau of Statistics outed a few stats about how we use our internet. Well worth a read.
What did you think of the Coalition's broadband policy?