[AusNOG] Aust Govt will build National Broadband Network, no company will be awarded the tender.

Bevan Slattery Bevan.Slattery at staff.pipenetworks.com
Sun Apr 12 07:22:49 EST 2009


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matthew Moyle-Croft [mailto:mmc at internode.com.au] 
> Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:48 AM
> To: Bevan Slattery
> Cc: ausnog at ausnog.net
> Subject: Re: [AusNOG] Aust Govt will build National Broadband 
> Network,no company will be awarded the tender.
> > We currently have a price tag of $43B and a statement about 
> coverage 
> > (not even coverage areas).  I'm sorry Matthew but you are seriously 
> > deluded if you think that's a proposal.  That's a press release.
> >   
> That's putting words into my mouth Bevan and you know it.

I didn't think it was.

> I asked if you had an alternative to suggest.  You've not 
> offered one, just gone over how you think all the options are bad.

What the...?  Did you even read my email, particularly when I said:

"We have always said publicly that the first thing you need to do is fix
the backhaul problem.  Build a national backhaul network, set up
community access/exchange points in every town you go nearby.  Connect
libraries, schools and community sites.  While you are there build a
couple of big towers while you're at it.  That is phase 1 - the core and
distribution networks.  Initially let access make it's way.  The best
business case for each community should win.  Cheap backhaul means
Hutch/Voda and to an extent Optus don't blow tonnes of money on backhaul
and can deliver services more comprehensively (geographically) and
competitively in the access space using 3G. Open up spectrum, watch to
see Wimax, LTE/4G take hold.  Not in 8 years, but in 2 years.  All those
new subdivisions which are building FttH might actually have a fibre
backhaul network now rather than relying on a 6 hop unlicensed wireless
connection (no I'm not kidding).

Let competition and ingenuity in the access have a go.  Maybe the G9
might decide to get together and co-operatively rollout some DSLAM's or
even mid-span nodes?

I'll tell you a crazy idea, why don't we do a business case first?!
Let's see what consumers actually want and are prepared to pay for?  In
this era of 'sustainability' why don't we build an NBN that is proven to
be economically sustainable.  Might not be as comprehensive as the $43B
plan, but it will probably cost $41B less and derive probably about 75%
of the benefit to GDP."

I thought that was an alternative suggestion?  There was actually more
substance in that than in the Governments 'policy' thus far.  You should
be able to find our responses to public inquiries and Steve's various
presentations to ATUG and similar conferences over the years.

> Is the whole thing tied down?  Nup.   Is it commercially a 
> great idea?  
> Probably not (but if it was then TLS or someone would have done it by 
> now).   Is it a decent thing for the government to be doing 
> right now?  
> Most likely yes.

Not exactly a compelling argument there.  We actually don't know what
the true cost to build is, what the operating cost will be, what the
initial losses will be, what the breakeven point in terms of penetration
is.  Let's face it, we don't know much at all and I don't think it's
because the government is holding back, but because they don't know
either.  The bill could be much, much higher than $43B if you take these
matters into account.  I don't doubt it's well intended and like I said
previously, let's hope the backhaul component gets up.  I'll be
supporting that.  I could even support the FttP rollout too.  But sheesh
some level of open and transparent process this time, along with some
serious technical, industry and commercial consultation before the
taxpayer commits to writing the largest cheque for the largest
infrastructure project in the country's history.


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