Q&A with Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

What the Coalition will do with the NBN if it takes power, its alternative and plans for 2011

ARN's David Ramli interviews Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

ARN's David Ramli interviews Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, speaks with ARN about what the Coalition would do with the NBN if it took power and how he’ll attack the issue in 2011.

David Ramli (DR): You had successful year last year compared to your predecessor’s in terms of fighting the NBN in the mainstream media. But I’ve spoken to a few analysts who say the Government’s taken back some of the momentum and that it’s getting its message across to people.

Malcolm Turnbull (MT): I don’t think the Government’s getting any message across at all on the NBN. I actually think there’s growing scepticism about it and I think as it is rolled out assuming it is rolled out that the scepticism will grow. When they start overbuilding areas where they already have fast broadband people will not be able to tell the difference and they’ll be sceptical about it.

Because the world is increasingly heading towards wireless Internet access, there is an enormous amount of work that is going to go into better compression technology because you’re not going to have the whole world fibred to the home.

DR: But isn’t it a little dangerous to rely on future developments that haven’t taken place?

MT:You’re missing my point, with respect. What I’m saying is that we’re better off identifying the deficiencies we have at the moment and addressing them in the most cost-effective way.

They’re saying that having fibre to the home future proofs us; that having spent that money we don’t have to spend any more. But the truth is what people are increasingly seeking is the convenience and functionality of mobility.

We will end up spending $50 billion or whatever it is in expenditure on the NBN and there will still be billions or tens of billions of dollars to be spent on wireless networks because that’s where the demand is going to come from.

DR: Some estimates claim the NBN will be 12-13 per cent complete by the time the next election comes around. At what percentage does the NBN become impossible to stop?

MT: You would have to assess it at the time. The thing I don’t know is what areas they’re going to do first. It really is going to be a matter of identifying the facts on or in the ground at the time. And the other thing is we don’t believe the Government should own this company.

(If we win) we would seek to ensure the separated customer access network company is separately owned and that it becomes the provider of fibre that last mile infrastructure.

We would stop the construction of the NBN, quickly conduct a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, identify those elements in the NBN infrastructure that should be maintained and integrated perhaps into the new separated network company and identify the areas that are deficient in terms of connectivity and prioritise them and make sure they are addressed.

I think in terms of those people who have got poor Internet access now getting better internet access under my approach, they’d get it much more quickly than under the NBN.

DR: Would there ever be a potential situation where the NBN would be continued because it got rolled out too far?

MT: No. If an independent network company believes it can make a return out of rolling out fibre to the home, then fine. I’m not against fibre to the home or any particular technology. The question is should the Government be using taxpayer dollars to subsidise it.

This is the point you can’t sidestep – when you look at the applications people say require that sort of connectivity they are invariably talking about video entertainment or some form of video interactive gaming.

DR: Video surgery?

MT: Yeah, but that is such rubbish. If (brain surgeon) Charlie Teo is giving advice to somebody in the other part of Australia on brain surgery they’re not going to be in a home. They’re going to be in a hospital. Of course you need high bandwidth, high definition and connectivity in a hospital and many businesses. But you’re not going to be doing brain surgery or any kind of surgery on the kitchen table – we hope!

DR: Business leaders in the tech and other industries desperately want to see the Coalition’s alternative (to the NBN).

MT: Well I’ve explained the alternative; I’ll go through it again. And I can only describe the alternatives as they stand today, if there’s a change of Government in two or three years time and the NBN is partly built then we’ll have to take that into account.

The approach I would take is identify those areas that do not have satisfactory broadband now, which is a combination of blackspots in the cities and rural and regional areas, and ensure that all of those areas have access to the Internet at speeds comparable to the best speeds in the city, eg ADSL 2+. I guess it’s about 12Mbps or something of that order.

DR: When can we expect a detailed policy document?

MT: Well it’ll be more detailed closer to the election but the mathematics and financial arithmetic of it is fairly straightforward. There’s going to have to be a subsidy to enable that sort of connectivity to reach regional areas and that was part of our policy in 2007. The technologies will be a combination of fixed wireless and satellite. In the cities there really shouldn’t need to be a Government subsidy. If any it’d be a very small amount of money compared to the NBN. The figure for rectifying the underserved areas subject to pair gains systems and RIMs – old network architecture made when they weren’t thinking about the Internet – will need about $1-2 billion to upgrade.

We support the structural separation of Telstra’s customer access network. Whether it would require any support to do the work in the city is doubtful, I think all they’d need is the security of a pricing regime that would enable them to get a reasonable return on their capital investment.

DR: So do you have a dollar figure you can put on your alternative at this point?

MT: No, no I wouldn’t put a dollar figure on it at the moment but there are some numbers that were set out in the election policy. But the critical point is I don’t want to fall into the same trap that Labor has. My approach is to have the most cost-effective solution.

DR: Do you really think that’s enough detail for businesses to start planning in case you win the next election?

MT: Yes, I think business knows that the approach I’ve described is one that most business people have said they would undertake if they were in our position. It’s the common sense approach. The Government’s approach is really one that is only suitable if money is no object. That’s fine, but it’s fiendishly expensive.

DR: Are you surprised that a right-faction politician like Senator Stephen Conroy would come out with something that’s almost left-wing in its approach?

MT: I don’t think it’s left or right-wing, I just think it’s crazy. It’s extravagant. It’s just so reckless and there’s never been an attempt to stack this up. In any other area of investment be it business or the public sector, generally people identify what the policy objective is and then work out the most cost-effective way of doing it.

DR: Isn’t it hard to do for roads, highways and the like?

MT: Oh heavens no, in highways and railways there is a huge amount of work and complicated software to choose the most cost effective route and if you decide to build a railway from A to B you don’t just draw a straight line between them.

DR: Tony Abbott said you don’t renovate your bathroom when your roof has been blown off in terms of redirecting NBN funds to Queensland’s flood appeal. Is that an approach you’d support?

MT: Well Tony has really said no more than what we’ve all been saying, which is that the NBN is the most expensive way of doing it.

DR: But in terms of the idea that if a major disaster strikes luxury policies like the NBN can go on the back burner, is that something you’d support?

MT: Well they can be, sure. The problem is Conroy is stitching us up with so many contracts with the NBN. As time goes on he makes it harder and harder and more expensive to stop the rollout.

DR: How much of a natural disaster would it take for your multi-billion dollar broadband plan to be stopped and put on the backburner?

MT: I think you’re hypothesising. Governments have got to assess priorities all the time and that’s why the cost-benefit analysis is so important. Governments are constantly assessing priorities and when you’re in Government sitting in cabinet you are constantly weighing a series of good proposals. There are very few really bad ideas that get to cabinet but you’ve got to decide which ones you can afford.

DR: You pushed for a business case and Conroy said no. The independents came in, demanded it and it was delivered. Does that mean they’re doing a good job of holding the Government accountable?

MT: No, not at all. There was always going to be a business case published and the quality is a matter for debate. The thing that is more important is a cost-benefit analysis. The business case looks at the economics of the NBN as a business and makes a number of assumptions that are very optimistic.

But what it doesn’t do is ask what we’re trying to achieve. If what we’re trying to achieve is universal and affordable broadband then the question is how do we get there and that’s never been asked.

The proposition that universal fibre to the home is the answer is one that’s been criticised by many people. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address has a focus on universal wireless access. That’s a debate, an analysis, a body of work that’s never been done here. (Obama) is not an idiot, the United States is the home of Internet access, they do understand technology.

DR: But they also have a much higher level of existing fibre, HFC and various other networks in place as well.

MT: Yes, they do have a very high degree of HFC because of the history of cable TV, that’s true. And that’s why I’m not suggesting this is a black or white question. But I’m saying that is the analysis that should be done and there are geographies and areas where one technology is superior to another. You don’t need to have one size fits all.

DR: So what’s your plan for 2011? Are you going to be doing things differently this year?

MT: I think there are a lot of issues in the communications area but the NBN remains the big one and we’ll continue to argue there should be a cost-benefit analysis of the project and we will continue to hold the Government to account over it. I think that’s the most important thing.

DR: Do you think the Government can last the whole year?

MT: I think it can, but will it? It’s hard to say. They’ve got a wafer-thin majority so they are by definition subject to one of the independents changing their mind, they’re subject to deaths, resignation, misadventure and all that stuff. They haven’t gotten off to a good start and this flood levy is a very poor policy.

It’s obvious they could easily pay for this by cutting back on other programs.

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Tags Shadow Communications MinisterMalcolm TurnbullNetworkingNational Broadband Network (NBN)Senator Stephen ConroyinternetTelecommunications

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What Mr Turnbull is saying is that we should NEVER build anything, because something better could come around the corner in 6-12-24-36-72 months.

So folks, back into your caves, all of you!

And as always, continuously drone on about just that one thing the opposing party refuses to give to you upon demand, as if his human rights had been contravened... lol

And then Malcolm accuses DR of hypothesising!!!!!!

Double-standards anyone? Mal and Tony have been hypothesising about the NBN ad nauseum and beyond....

Politics101... >;))

Lord Rocker


Mr Turnbull, you just don't get it do you? It's not all about your theoretical 12 Mbit speed from your ADSL2+ or wireless. It is also in many ways your upload speed! Your 1Mbit speed just does not cut it and the NBN solves this issue.

You once said that most Schools have Highspeed broadband! Which schools (in Queensland) are they? Be careful with this answer as I do work in IT for DET. I'll answer this for you. Many schools have 1.5Mbit net connection others have a 8Mbit connection and some are stuck on Sat. How do you expect an entire school to run under these conditions? And to add to this, how do IT staff expect to remote in during the day to fix IT issues?

Here is another example of your theoretical 12 MBit speed. The suburb of 'Cashmere' in Brisbane Northside where many people can't get Wireless (unless you want Dial Up), Sat is a waste of time and ADSL (if you can get it, no ports available) is stuck on ADSL1 getting max speeds of 4Mbit. Mansfield (Brisbane Southside) you can't get faster then 3.5Mbit. The point I'm getting to is 'HOW' do you expect to get around these limitations?



@lord_rocker I agree with you. I work in IT at a school in NSW and fortunately we upgraded to a 10/10Mbps connection with 1:1 contention last month.... but we had 10/1Mbps ADSL before that and the internet just kept on choking. If I tried to vpn in, the connection would choke, if a few people tried to access the 'portal', the internet would choke.

If Liberal could offer 12/12Mbps with 1:1 contention as a bare minimum, then we could start talking, but until then they are wasting our time. Even though the NBN plans for now are asynchronous, they are much better than what adsl offers (in terms of distance limitations, maximum capacity and future proofing)

The same strand of fibre can offer anything between ~64Kbps and > 2Tbps - much better than the same pair of copper.



Are we really going to let Turnbull take us back to the stone age?
Please stop talking and let the NBN and the future of Australia go on.



MT "... As time goes on he makes it harder and harder and more expensive to stop the rollout".

Well then this is the green light for Conroy to keep going and sign so many contracts that the NBN cannot be stopped at all, unless it results in MASSIVE financial penalties for the Government to do so. That sort of situation would basically secure the future of the NBN it would appear and crush the Coalition's plan to scrap the NBN.

One can only hope that this is exactly what is going through Conroy's head and that is why he is signing so many contracts for the NBN in the first place.

Malcolm TurnBULL is seriously caught up in his own little world where he believes that the sole use for the NBN will be IPTV and online gaming. Ultimately the reasons why people want the NBN has nothing to do with Malcolm TurnBULL. We want what we want for our own reasons and who is Malcolm TurnBULL and the Coalition to tell us that we have to tolerate substandard broadband because they feel that 4Mbps is a satisfactory speed.

I'm glad to see a number of comments here from industry workers and their poor experiences with our current broadband setup.

Turnbull Fail


Cant believe how out of touch this guy is..... Does he even understand what the net is ? let alone how much of an impact its making at every level of society ???? F-No!!!

The ease of communication is giving people more power and opening up the world... anyone that can attach a PDF to an email can see this.




I couldn't agree more. Just as NSW Labor did for ethics classes, I hope Conroy and Co lock the NBN into the vast majority of the rollout before the next election. Maybe he can legislate it, which will make it impossible to stop without Senate support.

Even as the rollout goes on, Turnbull keeps trotting out the old "no-one needs more than 12Mbps", and "we're going wireless" crap.

I am banging my head on the wall when I think of the backward policy of Turnbull and his party on this issue. If they get in in 2013 and the NBN stops, it will be looked back on by future generations as the most stupid political decision of the 21st century.

Lord Rocker


"I actually think there’s growing scepticism about it and I think as it is rolled out assuming it is rolled out that the scepticism will grow."

This is more of the opposite Mr Turnbull. The more NBN is built the more the negative ones will know they are wrong. Abbott himself is scared of the NBN being rolled out....not because of cost but because the Libs will never be back in for decades because of it's real world success.

"identifying the deficiencies we have at the moment and addressing them in the most cost-effective way."

Nope, we are not missing the point at all. The deficiencies at the moment is the entire system and it needs to be replaced not patched. It's like owning an old car and repairing it over and over. Is it cheaper to keep repairing it or buying a new one in the end?

"and there will still be billions or tens of billions of dollars to be spent on wireless networks"

So the wireless network the Libs costed at 6 Billion is a lie then? Maybe we should take a page out of yours and Abbotts book and let the open market take care of this.

"The approach I would take is identify those areas that do not have satisfactory broadband now....etc"

That's not a plan, that is just saying alot but saying nothing. Deal with it, you just don't have one!

Not again


Once again you Labor-nuts are out in force. You may well have plenty of IT experience, but here's a blast from the real world - it costs TOO MUCH MONEY!

Nothing needs to cost the amount that this plans to. It's rediculous! The funds would be better spent in a million other ways such as helping FLOOD VICTIMS!

Our taxes and credit ratings can be pooled into a limited number of projects - getting the world's most expensive and extensive fibre program at a time when the world is suffering from a horrible and unpredictable GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS is not worth the money!



Yes I agree with you 'Not again', these IT heads can't see past the nose on their faces but tell them they have to stick their hand in their pockets and pay for it and you will get a whole different argument. User pays is the old adage! Turnbulls spot on in saying let's fix the dud spots first and keep a close eye on technology. I went wireless with Telstra and 2 weeks later they brought out a faster service now hitting 20mbps and I have heard from some techos at Telstra that 100mbps is not far away. But if you want 100mbps or more then go pay for it, I am happy with what I've got without bankrupting the country for a system which is an overkill and a waste of money.



No Not again and Russell, it is the both of you that are wrong.

Feel free to boycott the NBN, feel free to go onto wireless only, for ADSL and POTS won't be there for you once the NBN is commissioned in your areas. Telstra are more then happy to decommission their copper network in turn for access to a fibre network in which they won't have to pay once cent to maintain. So what is that telling you if a private company as large as Telstra is willing to simply decommission a product in which they have a monopoly over?

Russell you are absolutely dreaming if you think for one moment that wireless is ever going to take the place of fixed assets such as fibre. In fact I'd like you to tell me how often you achieve the proclaimed 20Mbps that Telstra supposedly deliver. I have a number of friends on the exact plan you are talking about, not because they think that wireless is the answer or that it is this white knight you claim it to be. They are on it because in the year 2011 they still can't get ADSL, all thanks to 12 years of Coalition rule and no investment in our IC&T industry. They aren't on wireless because it is cheaper or because it offers value for money, in fact it is the opposite as it costs more then ADSL, has higher latency and you have far lower data limits.

Not again might be happy to have all of his taxpayer money spent in QLD and claim that we are still in the grips of the GFC, but that is exactly the backward thinking that we have all come to expect from the Coalition supporters, which is why the Coalition have so many backward ideas.

The only thing the Coalition can claim they did whilst they were in government was to introduce the GST, which was widely condemned, as well as sell of the controlling share of Telstra. You add both of those two together and of course you are going to be able to achieve a budget surplus, especially when you strip money out of hospitals as Fony Tony did as the Health Minister.

We NBN supporters aren't all Labor voters as you Coalition supporters would like to think we are. We are voters who pick the best policies during the election and the Coalition's policy on our IC&T services in Australia was just sub-par. In fact they won't even commit to a policy right now. Malcolm TurnBULL dodged the question about the Coalition's policy and stated that they would release their policy closer to the next election. Wow, what a surprise from TurnBULL and the Coalition, to say something but actually say nothing. That gives the Coalition another 1 - 2 years to actually come up with a policy on the NBN, of which they have nothing and that is quite clear. They also have not compiled a cost benefit analysis on their proposed NBN, but they want the Labor Government to do exactly what they haven't.



@ Not Again & Russell: $36Bill over the planned 10 year investment span is an averaged $3.6Bill per annum.

Basing some fundamental maths on the 2010 GDP of over $1.2Billion, and let's base this on an inflation and GDP growth rate over this period that balances out.

That gives us a spend level of 0.30% of the GDP per annum. Not too much money mate.

Basing returns over this period, and only the ignorant or willfully misleading would attempt to base returns on such a project on the first 2-5 year returns, there will be a modest 7% bottom line profitability over the total period, with the end of period profitability naturally always being higher.

That is fundamental telecoms infrastructure investment, funding and returns economics for projects of this scope.

On top of the 7% profitability levels, there will be efficiency and productivity gains, that are in all reality not limited to faster movie downloads and faster WoW or email usage.

BTW, if that is the limit of your understanding of what the Internet is used for today then my apologies and ignore 95% of the discussions around the NBN for they do not apply to you. But I am guessing you will understand more than that...

These efficiency and productivity gains are the hardest to measure exactly, due to human behaviour patterns, so the cynics and those idealogically opposed to the ALP and Conroy choose to ignore them competely, again demonstrating a pretty bottomless ignorance of modern economics or simply showing the nature of the rant animal mentality.

So over that investment period there will be a minimum 7% profitability return, a 10% to 20% telecoms efficiency and productivity gains retrun and an xx% competitive positioning return.

Again, those who discount or ignore global competitive positioning factors are either ignorant of dynamic market factors, naively obtuse or just exercising the animal rant options once more.

Whilst Russell has heard from some mythical Telstra techos (???) that 100Mbps wireless is not far away and is currently enjoying his 20Mbps service, apparently as the only user in Australia actually getting and maintaining that access level, the whole efforts of the national wireless industry has not been able to create or maintain it on a scalable basis at all or even near that...

I still have a 56K modem sitting in a box in my garage, and remember sweetly the words of folks proclaiming that the upgrades to higher speed was unwarranted and would send the industry broke... Many were convinced that we would NEVER need higher speeds or capacity...

Russell: Try a bit of telecoms market history mate, and while you are at it study the outcomes of the UnWired wimax spin-off results in Perth. Unmitigtaed disatsre of a wireless network at high speeds. Have fun.



@ Not again & Russell, you are farting against thunder. Just do what any person with common sense will do - use your vote wisely at the next election.

Unfortunately, when the school kids and uni students who blindly support Conroy's excesses eventually have to pay for them, it may well be too late. Don't forget what-his-name's pink batts and Gillard's $600 000 tuckshops next time round.

Lord Rocker


@Russell, Sorry not Lib Or Lab. Quite honestly I don't care for politics.

@ Russell -> "I am happy with what I've got without bankrupting the country"

Just love this line from people, 3.6 Billion a year. Now go and compare this to this website.


Feel silly now? You should! 111 Billion for Social Security? 51 Billion for Health? 21 Billion for Defence? and people like yourself think 3.6 Billion a year is going to bankrupt the country. The NBN will pay for it'self over time unlike the ones I listed above.



I agree with "Not again" and "Russell". The prior comments seem to focus on one side and are clearly missing the other part of the discussion being the cost. I agree it would be great to have a fantastically fast internet with the ability to do almost anything, but it all comes at a cost. If someone offers you a Ferrari for free of course it would be great, but someone still has to pay for the Ferrari and in the case of the NBN we do through more taxs becuase we are not getting it for free. The current "flood levy" is a clear example as we would not need the levy if the Labor government was not spending so much on the NBN.

Further I think MT offers a valid point in the discussion on wireless and the desire of the customer for mobility. Laying fibre does not solve my desire to use my laptop at the same speed as what the NBN proposes on the train, in a car, at the coffee shop. The NBN fails on this. If wireless were to become the major focus of internet use in the future then the NBN would clearly have been a waste of money.



Soz @James however your statements are misleading...

How does the NBN fail at wireless? The infrastructure for wireless will still be more tomorrow than today, it is now being decreased.

You still ignore the reality that there is a physical limit to the available wireless spectrum, just as VividWireless discovered in Perth...

You can lay multiple fibre threads and increase available bandwidth capacities, we cannot however increase the physical limits of spectrum capacities...

Case done mate by the laws of physics...

The NBN is not a Ferrari by any means, what a naive comparison. And it is not being offered for free either. Another naive and misleading comparison.

A Ferrari comparison would be 1Gbps - 1Tbps on wireless connections. Anyone out there suggesting wireless connectivity nationally can reach the scalability and performance of fibre networks at the same costs to the national economy and GDP aspects?

Those are your Ferrari sales guys James.

Assuming that telecoms infrastructure such as the NBN will not make profitable revenues is yet another mind-boggling furphy and close to a downright dishonest misrepresentation James.

Also demonstrates a total lack of understanding of current telecoms markets.

The simple reality is that wireless is physically not capable of scaling at the same levels as fibre roll-outs. Never was, never will be and cannot be.

You can run exactly the same TDM signals down 100 fibre strands over massive distances, yet you can run just one identical signal across airwaves. Even with multiple mod/demod. Physical laws.



@Not again & @Russell & @James... you are all throwing an error! It's called an ID10T error and your total and complete lack of knowledge in this area is abundantly clear!

This is the truth - http://www.ato.gov.au/budget/2009-10/content/overview/html/overview_40.htm

You should take a hard look at these figures and recognise that this life changing national infrastructure effort will not only revolutionise this country in ways that you cannot fathom given your backward and IT illiterate views, but it will eventually pay for itself as Lord_Rocker most eloquently put it.

I too am neither Labor not Liberal aligned but the NBN is a great step forward for this country and will propel us into the future with a scalable and robust fibre network.

Bring on the NBN and I feel like the Libs anti-NBN smear team here on this thread should pull their heads out the sand and realise that it already got passed you suckers and is being rolled out as we speak! You don't like it... too bad!



One wonders whether this kind of debate was raging when the copper phone network was originally rolled out, at a time when it was 100% government owned.



Whenever Malcolm talks about the NBN, I get this nagging feeling that he actually loves the idea of the NBN for the country, but Tony has given him the job of disrupting it and the exceptional lawyer in him is attacking it in the most effective way possible.



copper dabate!! who needs copper when 2 baked bean tins connected by string will work fine!



There is a lack of understanding that needs to be cleared. Some education on this whole thing would help clear up some myths.

The existing copper network running all over Australia is not being utilised to its potential. Mid band ethernet can deliver speeds of up to 40Mbps over copper at a 1:1 contention ratio - delivering a service much like 'Michael' described at his school.

The issue is that there are VAST areas (especially business and industrial zones) that have been fenced off by Telstra in Rims and Pair Gain. Fix those issues and all of a sudden you create a competitive market where other providers can thrive and consumers benefit.

Laying fibre to the home nationally is ludicrously expensive (try 30-40k for 80-100m) and its simply not needed.

I'm not saying areas with ADSL 1 etc shouldnt be addressed - what I am saying is that a national fibre rollout is far from financially sensible. Its like putting your whole body in plaster when you have a broken arm.



@Andrew I am sorry but you don't seem to understand the copper network. The already in place copper network would have been able to when first installed but no longer can.

Also to fix the monopoly Telstra has you have two options those being: The government with emergency powers dissolving Telstra's control of the copper network and the other method is bypassing the copper network with another system ie: fiber or wireless

As some have said wireless technology has problems in it's operation such as but not limited to: Signal loss, packet loss, taking up the frequency spectrum, security problems and interference from natural causes such as thunderstorms. Ask any company who uses wireless and they will list their problems with it.

Fiber's downside is in it's initial cost when putting it in the ground which as has been explained can be paid back over a period of time while still gaining revenue for the economy in it's use. Fiber is light speed so unless either Einstein is wrong and we find something faster then light or if we start using a form of teleportation then it is unlikely we are going to get faster then fiber.

Just for the sake of numbers have a rough calculation. If we have a population of 21,874,900 (world bank) and 67.6% (Australian bureau of statistics 2009) are working and they pay an additional $15 of tax then it will take around 13.54 years to pay off the NBN now factor in the fact that the NBN will provide jobs for people as well as income for Australia and considering the growing population who pay tax will just be increasing then you will pay it back in far less of a time period.

Just one other thought that is more based on lib's attitude towards business. If we have a spectrum allocated to wireless is the government going to auction it off to the highest bidder and create another telstra monopoly? Even if they don't the wireless system will limit the number of isp's and promotes telstra's monopoly.

In the end none of us on this page are going to change each others minds we have chosen what we stand by and it is a futile effort to think we can change the other sides mind. I just wanted to put in my 2 cents anyway. But some food for thought is that while my opinion is worth 2 cents both intel and google have both supported the NBN. Just to debunk something the Lib supporters are saying studies have shown 75% of Australia supports the NBN, the people speaking out against it are a vocal minority who don't seem to understand technology.

Richard Ure


What’s all this talk about mobility when more people “prefer” to drive (Tony’s view) than use public transport. Seen the M2 lately? It’s a car park and it is not the only toll road that is like that. And how do you consume digital data when driving which people are spending more time doing. It gets worse each year, till the time when people spend more time behind the wheel than at their desks?

What we need is less mobility not more if greenhouse gases are a concern. Not to mention the unmentioned cost of transport upgrades to handle all this incredible extra mobility. Most data consumed away from your desk is likely to be through WiFi powered by fibre. In the US unlimited mobile plans are being capped as the networks prove unable to handle the traffic.

As to Malcolm’s targeted 12 meg, what percentage of the time does he plan on delivering that? At less than 1 km from the exchange I was getting 13 meg and hour ago and now less than 9. Do the Libs have even a ballpark figure on what percentage of homes need attention before suggesting the problem has been overstated.

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