NBN The Labor Policy Voters Rejected So Whats Next?


Labour’s National Broadband plan which was touted as one of the key initiatives of the Labour Party is facing the chop if the Coalition gets the numbers to form a Federal Government.

Never, has a technology issue got so much publicity during a Federal Election campaign as the issue of the NBN and fast broadband and it is now clear from the total rejection of thebroadband Labor policy that the average consumer is more concerned about cost and a potential $50 Billion dollar debt than getting blisteringly fast broadband to their home.
Coalition leader Tony Abbott may lack technology nous, but it’s clear he’s got better political skills than Labor leader Julia Gillard and Broadband and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
Fast broadband was a policy that Labor genuinely believed would win the party votes. The reality is that it lost them votes in spades.
So where does that leave Australia and fast broadband?
Abbott is a skilled leader, he has around him a team of highly skilled individuals who I believe can deliver a fast broadband policy that will benefit Australia as a nation.
High on Abbott’s list of Ministers should be Malcolm Turnbull who should be tasked with pulling together a team of broadband and communication experts from both business and technology circles. 
Turnbull knows how to raise private capital; he understands technology and believes in the benefits that a fast broadband network can deliver for Australia. High on his list should be a priority to get fast broadband into schools, hospitals and business, an issue that Labor lost trying to woo voters based on a policy of fast broadband to 97% of Australian homes. 
What is needed immediately is a two or three day forum to discuss the whole issue of fast broadband, from the technology to the cost to the involvement of private enterprise to the long term returns that Australia could expect from such a large capital investment. 

I am confident that with a properly structured plan that some of the world’s largest investors including Superannuation funds would be prepared to invest in fast broadband for Australia.
What Labor engaged in was gimmick publicity in an effort to woo voters who knew little about technology and in most cases were happy with the speeds they were already getting.
Fibre is not the be all and end all of delivering fast broadband, it is expensive and as the Australian newspaper pointed out at the weekend every household in Australia faced the prospect of an additional $3,000 bill to move the fast fibre broadband from the street to a household as well as a monthly bill of around $75 a household for the most basic of fast broadband. 
Cities like Melbourne and parts of Sydney and Brisbane already have fibre in the ground. Telstra is already delivering 1Gbs per second to some businesses and they are confident that this could be rapidly expanded to a lot of inner city schools, business and medical institutions over the next few years. A second priority should be getting fast broadband to tier two locations such as schools hospitals and business outside of the main capital cities and into select rural locations.
The benefit of fast broadband to Australia is not in delivering blisteringly fast speeds to household for entertainment purposes. While it sounds nice it should be a secondary priority, and not one that could create a nation of fibre “Norms” glued to TV’s watching IPTV Services over a fast broadband network.
The politics associated with the National Broadband issue has clouded a lot of fundamentals. Blatant political announcements made by Mike Quigley the CEO of the NAB Co such as announcing that the proposed fibre network is capable of delivering 1Gbs instead of the much touted 100Gbs on the very day that Conroy and Gillard were attending a NBN event in Tasmania was quite deliberate.
Now Quigley and his board face the axe if a Coalition Government gets power and rightly so. He knew way before the election was called that the NBN was capable of faster speeds than the 100Gbs.

Then there is the issue of the $320 Million that was signed off by the Labor Federal Government after the election was called. Conroy, who is desperate to get the network over the line with no regard for cost failed to publicise the allocate of money during his election campaign.
The issue of cost and the liability that the proposed Labor broadband debt would inflicted on Australia was not only from the building of the network but the ongoing servicing of the debt going forward due to limited revenue streams.
The Australian newspaper said that if the NBN had been built it would pass more than 10 million premises. If every premise spent an average of $500 on bandwidth distribution equipment, the extra cost to the nation beyond the $43bn price tag for the network would be $5bn.
The bottom line is that we need fast broadband now, we also need consultation with potential equity investors as well as a plan that benefits Australia now and in the future as new broadband technology evolves.
Let’s remember we didn’t have 3D TV’s or the iPad two years ago nor was an Ethernet connection standard on a TV or Hi Fi receiver. We didn’t have Core 7 processors and Cloud computing was in its infancy for the SMB and home markets. 
Technology development happens every day of every week and it never goes backwards. In eight years time, technology will be radically different from what we know today.
Remember 2002, when the dotcom era was just starting to take off. Computer had megabytes of memory instead of Gigabytes and a Terabyte hard drive cost $4,300.
In 2002 AOL and Time Warner looked to be in trouble. In March, the company wrote off US$54bn which is the proposed cost of the NBN.
Google was on the way up and the iPhone and Android were just dreams.
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