Coalition entrenches NBN Monopoly

The Morrison Government continues to contradict itself on the National Broadband Network (NBN), simultaneously promising to enhance competition while also taxing competing internet services. From veteran telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde:

The Coalition Government is creating greater confusion about its telecoms strategy going forward. On several occasions, the new Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has indicated that he would like to stimulate more competition in the Australian telecommunications market. Fletcher has been quite cagey about how he intends to do that while at the same time, continuing to support the NBN Co monopoly.

On the one side, the Communications Minister launched a review of the ‘Telecommunications in new developments’ policy, which dates back to 2015. Again, he indicated that he doesn’t expect major changes, but wants to see if improvements are possible.

In the past, competing operators such as OptiComm have protested about what they saw as unfair competition from NBN Co…

But a week later, Fletcher announced the revival of the proposed broadband tax for users on competitive broadband networks — a whopping charge of $7 per month. This is clearly aimed at entrenching the NBN monopoly rather than creating competition. The tax is specifically aimed at companies such as OptiComm and Uniti. So much for a clear strategy on competition and on safeguarding competition.

Blind Freddy can see that the primary purpose of the $7 per month levy on competing services is to entrench the NBN as the monopoly internet provider for the nation.

Paul Fletcher disputes this claim, stating that the purpose of the levy is to “fund the losses NBN Co incurs in constructing and operating its fixed wireless and satellite networks, replacing the company’s opaque internal cross-subsidy from its fixed line networks”.

Even if that is true (which it isn’t), it goes against the Productivity Commission’s 2017 Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation report, which recommended against funding universal service obligations (USO) via levies:

RECOMMENDATION 8.2

The Australian Government should fund targeted measures to meet telecommunications universal service objectives principally through general government revenue rather than an industry levy. This would imply the ultimate removal of the Telecommunications Industry Levy.

Clearly, the Government is trying ensure the NBN meets its revenue targets, thus preventing its value from being written down and blowing a hole in the federal budget.

The fact that Australians will be charged excessive user fees for sub-standard service is a distant concern.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. A socialist state where the Government takes your freedom and forces to you pay for their bad programs.

    • Ah, you’ve noticed this too. Plenty more where that came from – tyranny, one step at a time.

      Still, not everyone will be unhappy – for people like drsmithy this cannot happen quickly enough: the State taking over his life, and yours and mine as well!

      Grab the popcorn – state approved, of course 😉

      • LOL.

        When you boys find your Libertarian Utopia where even the police and courts are privatised, and you’re ready to move there, let me know.

          • LOL.

            I know what people who call themselves Libertarians say.

            But that is usually convenient to whatever “point” the might be trying to make at the time, and inconsistent with either previous positions or supposed principles.

            Based on what they say, most Libertarians “don’t know Libertarianism” except as a convenient justification for why they should pay less tax.

  2. Josh MoorreesMEMBER

    I’m on the Telstra Velocity Fibre network which is significantly more expensive than NBN since they have no competition and a captive market. NBN refuses to absorb the network as we are considered “adequately served”. So we’ll just get slugged this on top of gouging prices, seems fair.

    • 5G is one of those little social tests, like people who drive Audi’s, think Bali is awesome and love Madonna. Traps for morons.

      Here are the basics of why 5G is absolute, unmitigated DISASTER.

      Its a VERY high frequency and as such it literally can not penetrate buildings, bricks, glass and even your hand. Yes – it will not work indoors almost at all without a base station (as you see in your video) It requires direct line of sight.

      Also and because its such a high frequency it has an incredibly poor range – absurdly poor and we will need a base station every 800 meters for reasonable coverage – great in the country hey !!

      But this insane number of towers required is great because the sharing capacity of each tower is a tiny fraction of even 4G which means the bandwidth is diminished with a much smaller number of people connected.

      And the best part – and this is not a joke – IT DOES NOT WORK IN THE RAIN.

      Finally the uptake of bandwidth capacity is a very well defined and accepted principal in that it will continue to expand at a rate faster than the possible rates allow. Since MOST OF THE PLANET is already now at 1gb / second upload and download (minimum, plenty of places are at 10) this means the usages of broad band will expand to meet this – already happening with 4k gaming and virtual offices requiring huge capacities.

      5G is already 95% SLOWER than what is required.

      Great – super awesome stuff. Keep it up, have fun in Bali.

  3. In Kentucky they laid gigabit fibre (sometimes with a mule named Old Bob!) and brought unemployment down from 16% to 5% in a rural area thanks to remote employment. Fibre internet means we don’t need to crowd into cities. The real cost of fibre over our copper NBN was the narcissistic treachery of Abbot. We’ve now spent as much on this mashup copper NBN as the fibre one was going to cost, but Turnbull and his consultants lied to the public to appease crazy Abbott.

    Here is one way how we should have done it:

    https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-one-traffic-light-town-with-some-of-the-fastest-internet-in-the-us

    …when it came time to upgrade infrastructure in parts of both counties, it made no sense to replace old copper wiring with new copper wires, which don’t have the capacity for broadband. “It’s no more difficult to build fibre than it is copper,” he said. “It was just a matter of money and time.”

  4. NBN is awful. Expensive, unreliable, does not even get close to stated speeds. When it rains it cuts out, but at least it doesn’t seem to rain anymore! My kids don’t even bother with it they stay on 4G because 4G works & is waaaaay cheaper. NBN = fee for no or poor service.