Editor’s note: Steve Jenkin is a geek who wants to make the NBN tech stuff accessible to all. He has agreed to be a @NoFibs contributor. so feel free to ask your NBN questions as a comment.
By Steve Jenkin
April 29, 2013
The volume of words written and spoken about the NBN must startle many, producing far more heat than light. Is this a case of the “Bike Shed Effect” where trivial decisions dominate the discussion and the biggest decisions seems like an after-thought?
It’s complex, but we shouldn’t be having this debate at all: Frank Blount, Telstra CEO 1992-1999, forecast the customer network would be all Fibre by 2010. What happened on the way to the Future?
What should’ve been a Commercial decision, balancing technical and financial issues, has become political. We can’t unring that bell. As a nation, we now have to figure a path through the combined political, technical and financial/funding maze that will be good value and politically possible.
This three-way tussle is at the heart of the problem: Telecommunications is highly regulated in Australia because it has to be with single large player, Telstra, that can commercially block anyone else, as we saw with cable TV. For the ALP to pursue its broadband policy, it had to first deal with Telstra, deal fairly with its shareholders and create an environment where Telstra was happy and unable to block the new initiative.
There is a huge irony in this debate, each side of politics feels like the other is setting the agenda and dictating terms of debate while the commentariat vigorously defends their personal favourites from the sidelines.
Labor has defined the technical needs debate, “Fibre or not?” forcing the Coalition to respond on those terms with its policy. Read the rest of this entry »