Saturday, May 1, 2010

Terry McCrann on the Kevin Rudd's next disaster - the National Broadband Network

The NBN wont make money "for 30 years?" My brain hurts. I wonder if it will even be that soon.

In some respects, I think Kevin Rudd is a man of the past, not the future.

He's still living in the first half (especially) of the previous century.

Back then was a time when the pace of change was slow enough to justify governments setting out on grand schemes to deliver the latest technology to the nation.

The copper wire telephone network that was built by the old Post Master General's department (the precursor of the privatised Telstra) made sense at the time.

A justified exercise in nation building because the basic technology still hasn't changed, all these years later. Our landline phone system still runs on the copper wire laid down decades ago.

But not now.

The pace of change in telecommunications is faster than ever.

As soon as a creeking government bureaucracy commits to choosing one technological solution it is already out of date.

Other players in the telecommunications industry are already talking about internet speeds far in excess of 100Mbps. There are even suggestions now that the old copper wire network may be able to deliver an equivalent speed.

So the question remains concerning this thought-bubble inspired likely white elephant - who is going to be mad enough to sign up to it as a paying customer?

Those who want even faster speeds and who have the money to pay for it are almost certainly going to use something else especially given that, as Terry McCrann points out below, by 2020 when the NBN will be widely available there will be technologies that will provide internet speeds up to ten times greater than the fibre-optic cable system the government is going to spend $43 billion on.

Yes, I know, the government says it is going to be seeking investment from industry to help finance the project, but you'd have to say that there must be substantial questions as to whether any business would see this as a viable money making proposition.
Terry McCrann on the Kevin Rudd’s next disaster, and probably his greatest - the National Broadband Network:
In an exercise that looks increasingly… as classic Rudd-spin-on-the-run, a year ago the government dumped its $12bn FTTN—fibre-to-the-node—network, because it didn’t make any sense; only to embrace the even grander, even more senseless, and obviously more expensive, $43 billion FTTH—fibre-to-the-home—network.

So, whether you wanted it ot not, whether you would ever conceiveably use the 100Mbps that FTTH promised—the “Rolls-Royce”, at RR-type cost to the nation, mind you—you would get it clamped to your house. Well, actually, most houses. The FTTH started out as going to over 90 per cent of premises, with the remainder “filled in”, mostly by wireless. But that was always going to be “qualified” (down) over time.

In any event, by the time we got the fixed FTTH 100Mbps speed, around 2020, that most of us didn’t want now or then, those of us that did want faster were probably going to be able to get 10 or more times that speed from competing technology. While the rest that were happy with slower would be more than likely getting it from the more convenient wireless…

(B)oth the technological reality and any rational allocation of our resources demanded that the NBN should be done by building out the Telstra network. In very simple terms, Telstra has the ducts down which the NBN’s fibre should, even has to, go… Unless the Telstra network and its customers are incorporated in the NBN, it will make the sheer waste of Kevin Rudd’s insulation fiasco look like petty cash.

(NBN boss Mike) Quigley let some of the cat out of the bag a couple of weeks ago, when he said the NBN wouldn’t make money “for 30 years”.
And, of course, Telstra threatens to build out its existing network to compete with Rudd’s white elephant in the biggest markets - delivering 100Mbps to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

As I said, my brain hurts.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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