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As Australia shambles towards the next election – no longer guaranteed to be September 14, since that date was the responsibility of former prime minister Julia Gillard, not new-old prime minister Kevin Rudd – the country's telecommunications industry now has the certainty of a brand-new minister regardless of when the election …

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Anonymous Coward

We can't always have what we want

"I would rather an upgrade to the node to get my 3/0.8 Mbps ADSL link upgraded to >15Mbps sooner rather than waiting for another decade to get 50Mbps. Why remove 100Mbps hybrid fibre+coax (Optus/Telstra) and other existing 1Gbps+ capable FTTP (private/corporate/government) with another Fibre network (waste). Most metropolitan hospitals and schools already have FTTP. Large businesses with servers and data centres that need FTTP have FTTP. We need to fill in the gaps not replace existing like for like."

Indeed. I couldn't agree more, especially as our government has committed us to substantial unfunded recurrent expenditure in other areas that, it could be argued, are more important. The money will have to come from somewhere, and we are all out of magic puddings.

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Re: We can't always have what we want

The NBN is off-budget. The money for the NBN doesn't come from the budget, so cancelling it won't magically create more funds to be allocated to other areas. This has been covered time and time again.

The money spent on the NBN is recuperated through subscriptions, as well as the potential sale of the NBN Co. at the end of the rollout. ROI is (I believe, but will stand corrected if need be) ~7%. That's not taking into account the benefits of greater bandwidth, or the futureproofing of australia's network.

The most wasteful thing that can be done is to cancel what is being built now, and continue on with half-a-network that will need a further doubling of investment in order to be adequate in a further 10 years. Particularly when the majority of people will be on speeds near current networks in the first place.

I realise the "me, me, me" attutude of many is taking over, but I'd rather wait an extra couple of years if it meant having a *proper* 21st century network.

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Anonymous Coward

@Esskay

In theory, you are correct.

However, that 7.1% return is based on some optimistic assumptions, one of which is the continued use of fixed lines for telephones. In the US, research has shown that almost 36% of US households do not have a fixed line, and about 16% that do have a fixed line don't use it, preferring to make and receive calls on their mobiles. About 60 per cent of those aged between 25 and 29 years are wireless-only. This despite the rollouts of new fibre networks in the US, including Verizon’s fibre-to-the-premises network and Google’s experiment with ultra-high-speed (a gigabit per second) fibre. This tends to underscore the willingness of ordinary consumers to sacrifice speed for mobility.

If that pattern were to be replicated in Australia (and there is anecdotal evidence that it is), the prospects of NBN Co ever generating the optimistic 7.1% return that enables the government to keep the funding of the NBN off-budget would be remote. It is my view that at some stage the NBN will be heavily subsidised by the taxpayer.

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Re: @Esskay

The US is a weird kettle of mutated fish when it comes to telecommunications, though - it's a vastly different landscape compared to Australia, or any other country for that matter. No-one I know here in Oz (and I realise this is just anecdotal evidence, and to be taken with a grain of salt) has any desire for living a wireless-only life - they are hanging out for high speed fibre. It's also worth noting that Google fibre only announced pricing less than 12 months ago, and only for a select number of communities across the US - It's way too early to claim is/isn't indicative of demand for fibre.

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Silver badge

Does any member of the Australian Legislature ...

... actually understand how technology works?

Not from my perspective ...

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Silver badge

Re: Does any member of the Australian Legislature ...

or, in fact, any legislature on the planet?

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Holmes

Re: Does any member of the Australian Legislature ...

The UK Legislature taught them everything they know.

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Gold badge
Happy

I'll miss him.

If it hadn't been for Conroy, I might never have had an excuse to come up with this.

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Conroy and Whirlpool

Conroy didn't need to have a great grasp of technology, as he said, before bed each night he'd read Whirlpool forums. There he could get far better briefings and far better counter arguments than he would ever get from his public servants. Good on him for seeing the opportunity to tap into a resource and credit to him for having given credit not only to that source but by naming some of the individual contributors within Whirlpool at a Senate Enquiry.

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