Conroy serves it up to Turnbull over NBN - yet again

Conroy serves it up to Turnbull over NBN - yet again

'Answer all these questions, if you can, Malcolm'

The great National Broadband Network (NBN) debate between the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Opposition shadow minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has reached a new level of lengthy press release and sleep-inducing politicking with Conroy's latest serve.

In it Conroy demands satisfaction from Turnbull.

He states: Australians deserve to know:

  • How much does the Coalition’s broadband plan cost?
  • What speed can Mr Turnbull guarantee?
  • What is the coverage of the Coalition’s broadband footprint?
  • Is Mr Turnbull proposing to build a government-owned monopoly?

“Last month Mr Turnbull asserted he has a fully costed broadband policy ready to go, but he has provided next to no detail,” Senator Conroy said.

“There are simple parts of his policy that he needs to explain to the Australian people.

“Does he accept that he is proposing to build a government-owned monopoly, like he told the American Chamber of Commerce on 10 August?

“What speed can he genuinely guarantee to Australian consumers with his fibre to the node plan?

“Does he accept that speeds of up to 80 Mbps are unachievable if his nodes are up to 1000 metres from the customer?"

Conroy has even had his minders prove they can count. He said: “After 1093 tweets, 31 media releases and 14 public speeches in 2012 Mr Turnbull has not provided any detail on his policy or answers to any of the questions that are being asked of him.”

Now is he really sure that they didn't miss a tweet?

On it's own this would be enough for a normal day in the Conroy/Turnbull bout but this is obviously not a normal day because Conroy also included policy questions for Turnbull.

In the interest of keeping you fully informed here is Conroy's question list.


  • Does he accept that his FTTN network is a government monopoly network?
  • Will Mr Turnbull’s network be on budget or off budget? How much will his policy cost the budget?
  • Is Mr Turnbull really going to buy back the deteriorating copper network and its expensive maintenance costs? Will he also buy the Telstra ducts? Does he stand by his media release of 17 May 2011 that acquiring use of the copper would be “more billions out the door”?
  • Will he guarantee the structural separation of Telstra? Has it been agreed by shadow cabinet?


  • What upload and download capacity will Mr Turnbull guarantee?
  • Which of his previous statements does Mr Turnbull stand by when it comes to what speeds Australians need:
    (1) In August 2010, he said he could do everything he needed with 3.5 Mbps download.
    (2) In October 2010, he said 12 Mbps is enough for anybody.
    (3) In May 2012 he said residential customers need no more than 25 Mbps
  • Will FTTN be built in areas where there is HFC? Who will pay to make the HFC open access, enter multi-dwelling units or provide a business grade service? Does Mr Turnbull accept that the upload capacity of HFC is limited to 2 Mbps? Will Telstra be required to divest the HFC assets?
  • How many FTTN nodes does he plan to build? What percentage of premises connected to each cabinet will be able to benefit from speeds of 80 Mbps?
  • How many more premises will be connected using wireless than under the Government’s NBN plans?


  • What price will be charged in country areas without the cross subsidy? What will regional users be charged before Mr Turnbull’s on budget “vouchers”? How much will the vouchers be and how many will be issued?
  • Has shadow cabinet formally rejected the National Party policy that fibre to the home should be built to at least 50 per cent per cent of premises in regional Australia?
  • Does Mr Turnbull stand by his claim that his FTTN network will be required to generate a 7 per cent return as claimed in his Op Ed in the Tele on 23 August?


  • How will he select the private network providers for the few areas he plans to build any new infrastructure?
  • Will he guarantee his new broadband policy will start within 12 months, despite his promise of a Productivity Committee review and tender for a private sector network provider?

We now wait with bated breath for Turnbull's response. Or for him to just ignore Conroy as usual.

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