Not a fan of the new multi-technology mix NBN design? Neither is Malcolm Rodrigues. He's the co-founder of a Singapore-based ISP called MyRepublic. Rodrigues has today detailed plans of an Australian launch next year for fast, unlimited broadband plans, but at the same time has started a war of words with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the nation's "shit" National Broadband Network.
Speaking exclusively with Fairfax Media in what is a very robust chat, Rodrigues details his extensive concerns with the National Broadband Network.
Rodrigues was once bullish about the NBN thanks to its Fibre-to-the-Home design. Millions of homes would have had their own fibre links, with minimum speeds starting at 100Mbps down for customers.
As we all know, the plan changed when the Coalition came to power. The NBN became a "multi-technology mix" deployment, favouring Fibre-to-the-Node as opposed to Fibre-to-the-Home. The FTTN plan would see fibre delivered to street cabinets, with old copper wires making up the last mile between the cabinet and the home. It's slower, but the Coalition says it's cheaper and would get slightly faster internet (25Mbps down) connections to people with almost no internet to speak of, faster.
Despite the excuses, MyRepublic co-founder Rodrigues isn't having any of it. He tells Fairfax that the Coalition has "completely stuffed it" with the NBN.
He complains that MyRepublic will offer 100Mbps to its customers, but will be forced to apologise when it can only deliver a maximum throughput of 30Mbps due to the design of the FTTN/MTM NBN. He warned that Australia will fall behind if the nation doesn't have access to 50Mbps speeds by 2020.
Rodrigues also said that the Government had rushed the NBN, adding that the build should have been extended to a period of 20 years, rather than the 10 years that currently forms the backbone of the plan.
The MyRepublic plans sound compelling: Rodrigues It's so compelling in fact that when former Telstra chief David Thodey left his post at the helm of the telco giant, he said that MyRepublic was a company to keep an eye out for in the Australian market. MyRepublic markets fast plans with unlimited data and cheap monthly costs, hence his interest in a fast NBN.
Malcolm Turnbull has used his blog to hit back at Rodrigues this afternoon, saying that his comments need to be "put into perspective".
Turnbull wrote on his blog this afternoon that the NBN Co wouldn't be offering 100Mbps speeds to customers who can't get them, making his complaint about 30Mbps down irrelevant, but added that early trials were showing speeds of over 90Mbps down "over a variety of loop lengths".
Finally, Turnbull threw a bit of his own shade back, saying that Rodrigues hadn't spent enough time in the Australian market to be preaching about extended build times:
Just as importantly, were the Government to take his advice, it would mean that many Australians with no or very poor broadband will not get an upgrade to superfast speeds within the next few years but rather would have to wait, as he recommends, for another decade. When his company has spent a little more time in this market, he will find out how little appeal his twenty year timetable would have to Australians.
You should go and read the full interview over at Fairfax.