John Menadue. The ‘claytons’ NBN

In his statement on innovation, Malcolm Turnbull said ‘the internet and the technology it enables means we are now part of the truly global market place. It means there are few barriers to entry for Australian businesses, no matter where they are located, right across Australia and they can sell their products and services to just about every corner of the globe.’ 

The internet is the bedrock for innovation today. But unfortunately, Malcolm Turnbull, as our former Minister for Commerce, damaged the internet. He introduced an internet censorship scheme at the instigation of the copyright cartel. He presided over a pervasive data retention scheme that has imposed a heavy burden on the whole communications sector.

But the biggest problem is the ‘claytons’ NBN.

In this blog on 10 September 2015, Rod Tucker, Laureate Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne, commented ‘The NBN; why it’s slow, expensive and obsolete’.

In The Conversation five days later Rod Tucker commented further ‘Under Turnbull the NBN budget has blown out as much as $A18 b. and on current projections is four years behind the original schedule.’ 

Paul Budde in his blog BuddeBlog on 29 September 2015 said ‘When the NBN was launched in 2009 one of the goals was to get the country into the top ten of the international ladder. Now in 2015 we have dropped to 42nd position.’

In this blog on 2 November 2015, Mark Gregory, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT University said ‘The decision by the Coalition government that was implemented by Turnbull in 2013 to adopt the obsolete FTTN technology for a significant percentage of the NBN will, in future years, be seen as economic madness. … The NBN is likely to be the most expensive lemon in Australian history. … ‘

For further elaboration of these comments, see ‘Malcolm Turnbull and the NBN mess’ in this blog on 3 November 2015.

And the criticism of Malcolm Turnbull’s stewardship of the NBN is gathering pace.

In the SMH on 11 December 2015, under the heading ‘Malcolm’s mess: how the Coalition’s NBN came unstuck’, Hannah Francis describes the mess that we now have with the NBN.

Malcolm Turnbull is right that the internet is the key technology that enables us to be part of the global market. But the high cost, slow and second-rate NBN which is now being rolled out is going to be a major handicap.

But there may be more to come. In the AFR on 4 December 2015, Andrew Clark said ‘the Turnbull government is in discussions with large telecommunications companies about selling large chunks of the government-owned NBN, including its huge hybrid fibre cable, copper and fixed line networks. A combination of the government’s dire fiscal position and criticism of the progress of NBN is fuelling the decision to engage in what would in effect be the biggest privatisation since the Howard government offloaded Telstra.’

Could this be an attempt to bury the NBN debacle before the final bills come in?

Godwin Gretch was an error of judgement without serious national consequences But the errors of judgement on the NBN have profound national consequences.

In all this sorry mess Jason Clare has gone missing in action.




John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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2 Responses to John Menadue. The ‘claytons’ NBN

  1. Avatar LJPatton says:

    Not sure I agree that Jason Clare has gone missing in action. Like Internet Australia and others, the opposition has consistently drawn attention to NBN issues, including the fact that we are way down the list of broadband enabled countries (average connection speeds are currently 7.8Mbps which sees Australia sitting at 46th position on global rankings in the third quarter this year). The problem is that ‘big business’ either doesn’t get it or hasn’t wanted to rock the boat by telling the Coalition (especially Tony Abbott) that we need fast ubiquitous broadband ASAP. We’ve never argued over the cost of providing other essential services such as roads, rail, water and power, so why are we doing it over this piece of critical 21 Century infrastructure?

  2. Avatar michael says:

    thank you for your recent excellent analyses of the nbn fiasco. do please continue to draw attention to what might well be the biggest scandal of government mismanagement in australian history. there must be more transparency, debate and awareness on thus key piece of infrastructure for the future compeititiveness and innovation of the australian economy. the government must not be allowed to bury this by making a financial windfall gift of this public asset to its dubious budget fiscal politics and to its financial private sector cronies. somehow the nbn needs to be turned around so that australia can get the digital age infrastructure it so badly lacks….

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