NBN is not “mission accomplished”

The Morrison Government has declared “mission accomplished” on the National Broadband Network (NBN), with Minister for communications, cyber safety and the arts Paul Fletcher claiming the NBN is “built and fully operational”.

However, The SMH reports that 35,000 premises are still waiting to be connected to the NBN.

ItNews also reports that 238,000 premises unable to get 25Mbps speeds – the benchmark speed deemed to represent “broadband” in Australia.

For mine, the NBN won’t be “mission accomplished” until it provides speeds near the top of global rankings. At present, Australia’s fixed broadband is ranked an abysmal 60th in the world according to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index:

According to The AFR, the formal declaration of completion opens the way for the NBN to be privatised:

The announcement was necessary under the National Broadband Network Companies Act 2011, which requires the government to declare the network should be “treated as built and fully operational” by December 31, 2020, or formally extend the deadline.

The declaration is the first of four hurdles to allow the $57 billion government-owned infrastructure asset to be privatised.

The next step would be a Productivity Commission inquiry on the sale. This would then need to examined by a Parliamentary joint committee, and would finally need to be signed off by the Finance Minister.

Mr Fletcher said this process would take “some time” and repeated the government’s previous statement that it would not look to privatise the NBN in the current term of Parliament, which will likely run until mid-2022.

Telstra has positioned itself as the likely acquirer, which would effectively return it to the vertically integrated monopoly that existed following privatisation by the Howard Government in the 1990s.

The Coalition must not make the same mistake twice. Creating another vertically integrated monopoly would damage competition, taxpayers and end-users.

The NBN must remain in public hands.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Mission accomplished, nope just took hrs to set up mill, set XYZ on DRO, one slight turn of the handle the wrong way and bingo, moved job out of alignment, bent the tool, in frustration dropped the metal handle on foot, luckily not a direct hit. While calculating the depth thought I’d drop a line. Too much stress for the one foot in grave elderly, now back to it.

    • Yah, been there. Then again working angry focusses the mind at times…. Just don’t interrupt the mission then Oo.

  2. happy valleyMEMBER

    Pfft. The LNP gubmint spruiking again, with lightweight Fletcher (unfortunately, my local member) sent out on ScoMo’s Xmas errand.

  3. in order for them to make ‘the same mistake again’ the first clusterf#ck would have had to be a mistake.

    in order for that to have been a mistake, they would have had to be trying to accomplish a different outcome to the one that happened. It was a travesty for Australian telecommunications BUT it was exactly the outcome they intended at the time.

  4. Why not list it on the stock market? Like Chorus is in NZ. As an independent commercial company it may actually get its sh1t together and sort its issues out. Remaining Govt owned, or back as part of Telstra, will mean there will be little improvement.

    • Merry Christmas! I’ve read this site on and off for a while and recognize your name – thanks for the comments.

      I don’t think the idea is for the NBN to sort its issues out. The idea is more likely for the government to sell it, and to do so at a discount to its actual value.

      As to how exactly that’s used, I would be unsurprised to see NBN partially repurposed to increase 5G cell density, and for that to then trigger a future government to need a whole new access regime. I realize that will sound a bit random here on MB, but I think is a natural conclusion from where the physics and the standards (3GPPr16) point. At least, that’s what I’d be doing.

      It remains to be seen how the anticompetitive threat of NBN 5G will be played down, but I’d start looking for articles doing exactly that if I were wanting to study the influence of media in in Australia in the lead up to an election (and with mates to keep happy).

  5. Half the reason we rank so low is that those are real speed tests and we use a pay-for-speed pricing/service model.

    You’re never going to rise in the ranks when everyone’s only willing to pay for 50mbit.

    Aside from the 250k <25mbit, and probably double that that can't top 50 – let's call it a million of about 10 million – the rest are likely capable of close to 100mbit they just don't want to pay for it.

    There are many things wrong with the NBN, but these speed rankings need to be considered in context.

    Unfortunately, their data isn't granular.

    https://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/about-nbn-co/updates/dashboard-november-2020

    All they say is that there's a roughly 70/30 split of 50 mbit and <=25mbit