Paul Fletcher, former Optus executive turned Liberal MP, has slammed what he calls the “Rudd Gillard” Government attitude that consumers will sign up to the NBN because it delivers superior speeds to what is currently available. He said that forcing consumers to sign up was not the way to go.Paul Fletcher, former Optus executive turned Liberal MP has slammed what he calls the “Rudd-Gillard” attitude that consumers will sign up to the NBN because it delivers superior speeds to what is currently available.
Speaking at the Kickstart technology Conference in Queensland, Fletcher said that in Countries where there is already faster broadband than what is currently being offered in Australia consumers have not flocked to the service, he cites Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the UK as examples.
Fletcher told SmartHouse that what Australia needs is a better “return on investment strategy where more risk is taken by private businesses who believe they can make a profit from selling a new generation of broadband services” as opposed to creating “billions in debt” that Australians will have to pay for at the expense of health, education and other infrastructure projects.
Fletcher said that the Rudd-Gillard Government has already locked in a lot of costs associated with the NBN that a coalition government would have to honour. He also said that his Government would not rip up existing fibre.
He claims any attempt to force consumers to sign onto the NBN “is doomed”.
He said the Rudd-Gilliard Government has violated at least 10 hard lessons learned from past experiences; one of them being that you cannot mandate the taking up of the NBN.
He told Smarthouse that the current NBN strategy was asking to give every Australian a Ferrari when for many a medium priced car would do the job.
He also said that the recent $680M expenditure on a new satellite service for a few people in remote areas was “overkill”.
“The big bang approach being taken by the NBN was doomed for failure” he said, citing $18B failure in Great Britain when they canned their electronic health records project after years of trying to get the project to work as an example.
“The Government is trying to build a brand new network with a brand new company, then force 10 million households off the existing network, implement a brand new billing system and that’s high risk,” Fletcher said.
“The goal is not to install a new network but to change people’s behaviour. The Government is trying to tell us that we need the NBN for the Square Kilometre Array (telescope) project – but it turns out you only need 512kbps. You can lose a lot of money of implementing new tech projects.”