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Australia's National Broadband Network Downgraded

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the can-you-use-it-to-buy-health-insurance dept.

Australia 122

RobHart writes "Following election promises to create a 'better, cheaper, sooner' National Broadband Network (NBN), the new Australian government has reneged, announcing instead the NBN will cost $12bn more and take four years longer. The critical change is that the new network is based on Telstra's aging and unreliable copper network rather than fiber to the home, as has already been delivered during the NBN roll out to date."

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Not sure which is news... (1)

Ignacio (1465) | about 8 months ago | (#45680277)

... that politicians lied or that government can't handle tech.

In between. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680459)

The answer lies in between. Politicians promise large projects [wikipedia.org] and underestimate their cost. They hire the lowest bidder, and the talent running the project is not cream of the crop because that would cost more. The government also has very little competition for large scale projects, so if the project isn't going well, we can't exactly bring in someone else to take it over, like an individual would if a plumber they hired was incompetent.

Public-Private Partnerships [wikipedia.org] seem to work address a lot of these issues. Expect to see more of them in the future.

Re: In between. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680559)

Well said.

Re:In between. (5, Insightful)

Pav (4298) | about 8 months ago | (#45680813)

I know someone who works for an Australian company. They put in a tender for part of the NBN project but IBM won the contract at almost twice the price. IBM then subcontracted the work back to the Australian company. It's strange - Australians seem to underestimate the abilities of their own technical community, and as slaves to community perception Australian governments are particularly bad for this bias. It seems to be part of the national psyche that we're only about agriculture and mining, and local tech comes a poor second to overseas offerings. It's no wonder we're judged an easy mark and regularly overcharged [dailytech.com] for software.

Re:In between. (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | about 8 months ago | (#45680961)

It also sounds like someone in government can't write a contract that specifically forbid IBM from subcontracting the whole thing!

Re:In between. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45681161)

I've seen better. A company put in a bid for some subcontracting work, only to realise it was a job that they already subcontracted out to a subcontractor. Australian Government purchasing is so inefficient, subcontracting loops can even form.

Re:In between. (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 8 months ago | (#45683549)

They hire the highest contributor, and the talent running the project is not cream of the crop because they've already spent the money for technical resources on lobbyists instead.

Would be more accurate.

Public-Private Partnerships [wikipedia.org] seem to work address a lot of these issues. Expect to see more of them in the future.

No, it makes it worse. Public-Private Partnerships is just a fancy Orwellian term for what used to be referred to as Musollini-style Fascism.

Re:In between. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 8 months ago | (#45683669)

That is an even worse solution. It is NOT a partnership when one party bribes the other to not do their job. Exclusive contractors may get great monopoly deals but it is easy to find who to blame and a competent media and citizenry have a better chance at keeping things legit. When you distribute the contractors as "partners" and have them collude with each other to corrupt the process it is much harder to debug and to regulate it.

Remember, government overhead cost $ but so does the profit overhead of efficient contractors. Having the government do it with occasional small minor contractors will be more effective. If your gov is so bad this process fails or is costly it won't be any better at handling the 3rd parties. At least politicians become directly responsible when they are doing it; which is yet another reason they love to outsource their responsibilities because it mitigates the risk to their career. In addition the contractors have incentive to bribe the politicians who have an incentive to take the bribes. Punishment is uncommon and not severe enough.

So you have incentives by medium to large private parties, the media they advertize with or own, and the corrupt or risk adverse politicians. It is no wonder why the public thinks the government can't do anything, all the propaganda has been one sided for generations.

People today wouldn't think the government couldn't do all the things it has done successfully in the past and continues to do today.

Re:In between. (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 months ago | (#45686001)

Long term government projects are more like two plumbers attempting to take the credit for unblocking the toilet and blaming each other for the mess on the floor. The new Oz government is just more vindictive towards it's political enemies than usual.

A brief history of the NBN:
Right wing make hay while the sun shines and stash away a $40b "nation building" fund. ($40B is a line item in the US budget but it's lot of money in a country of 20 million)
Left wing gov come up with NBN plan..
Academics and engineers nod approvingly.
Right wing opposition leader (Malcom) cautiously endorses the idea
Left wing gov cracks open the piggy bank and hands out contracts.
Right wing leader is deposed because he was negotiating in good faith with the left on carbon pricing, he is replaced by new leader (Tony).
Tony makes sure Malcom is not going to be a future problem by handing him the impossible job of attacking the plan he cautiously endorsed.
Malcom goes on TV and attempts not to look foolish while trying to convince the nation that FTTN is better that FTTH.
Tony wins election, merges the Science and Industry ministry and drops the position of Minister for Science. Malcom sacks NBN board and replaces it with Tony's business cronies.
Contractors sit around burning dollars waiting for someone to tell them WTF is going on.
Some time in the not too distant future the money is gone and we have half an NBN for twice the price. Democratic governments take market competition to the extreme and the inevitable result is infighting and waste. If anyone has a better idea I'm all ears, but please don't say "self-regulation", corporations have the same basic political machinations as governments, when left to their own devices they suffer the same distrust, infighting and waste, it's just easier to spot in democratic governments.

Re:In between. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687433)

You left out the step where Uncle Rupert, who owns every major paper and controls nearly every major conservative talking-head in the country, decided that the NBN was a threat to his share of the Foxtel network, and so brought in his US political campaigner to organise a nation-wide political campaign in favour of the party who promised to hurt NBN.

[Australia has ended up with a that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. And Rupert Murdoch is that man, and this is how he voted.]

Re:In between. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45686499)

The answer lies in between. Politicians promise large projects [wikipedia.org] and underestimate their cost. They hire the lowest bidder, and the talent running the project is not cream of the crop because that would cost more. The government also has very little competition for large scale projects, so if the project isn't going well, we can't exactly bring in someone else to take it over, like an individual would if a plumber they hired was incompetent.

Public-Private Partnerships [wikipedia.org] seem to work address a lot of these issues. Expect to see more of them in the future.

You're talking as if it wasn't a purely ideologically based decision designed to protect Rupert Murdoch. Which it is.

Re:In between. (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 8 months ago | (#45688313)

except the NBN co is a pubkic-private partnership.

and almost all of what you said is wrong.

nice modpointage though.

Re:Not sure which is news... (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 8 months ago | (#45680461)

Well, a lot of people and institutions can't handle tech...government being one of those. With competition, at least when one fails someone else could theoretically pick up the slack. Government solutions suffer from the same problem monopolistic solutions suffer. Sure, they can do it cheaper, but without any competition in place, how do you keep prices and quality in check, let alone know they are out-of-whack?

Re: Not sure which is news... (1, Interesting)

oztiks (921504) | about 8 months ago | (#45680545)

Speaking as an Aussie I dont really give a rats.

Look at American politics as a crystal ball in this case. We're damned if we do we're damned if we don't. At the moment Australians' are far too busy suing each other because we boast these horrid levels of self entitlement. All the meanwhile strangle our abilities to produce anything tangible because of ridiculous over regulation (hence why were so busy suing eachother over ludicrous shit, a biproduct of over regulation)

5 years from now we'll be feeling reallly sorry for ourselves because we let the Greens and Labor party put us in this mess and then we'll be selling our asses hoping the Libs and whatever other conservatives will help the people out. All the meantime they'll do exactly the opposite putting us in the same mess the Republicans and Democrats have done to the States.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1)

JabrTheHut (640719) | about 8 months ago | (#45685245)

You're not an Aussie, you're a pathetic troll who didn't even figure out which party was in power...

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45685613)

The NBN is a Labor initiative - work on it started in Tasmania in 2009, two years into Kevin Rudd's Prime Ministership. The conservative coalition (running on more toned down ideals of free-marketry than US Republicans, but certainly less interested in regulation than the Labor party/Greens) only took power in September of this year.

Whether or not I agree with the poster's contention that we're screwed re over-regulation, (s)he did refer correctly to the party (s)he sees as being responsible.

Re: Not sure which is news... (0)

oztiks (921504) | about 8 months ago | (#45685643)

We may of voted the Libs in but the ALP holds much of the sentate. Call me a Troll if you like. But ignoring the aching problems like a 2/3 reduction in mining growth projection for 2014 and Holden leaving Australia. Carbon tax mate. We are 128th (out of 140) most regulated countries when it comes to business regulation. Our unions. Our legislation in the workplace is making it untenable for people to want to do business in Australia.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45685863)

You mean like those American film companies who come over here to get away from their Unions? I think you need to pay more attention to reality instead of some far right "think tank". Our unions have very little say in anything these days let alone making things "untenable". Is anyone in your workplace even in a union? Apply a bit of critical thought instead of regurgitating a lack of it. You'll need it when you see unions reduced to almost zero relevance over the next few years but somehow those problems you blame on them will still be there.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1)

oztiks (921504) | about 8 months ago | (#45686487)

Bwahahahahahahaha see readers we have a nation full of this kind of attitude. Two words. Fair Work. Where we see things like this...

http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/272244/Employee+Benefits+Compensation/High+Court+says+injury+during+sex+on+a+work+trip+not+in+the+course+of+employment [mondaq.com]

So... what... our tax payer dollars facilitate this nonsense? How many of these do we see everyday? And at present the unions are presently sueing the last car manufacturer (Toyota) out of the country?

Sorry you're not only wholesomly wrong but your either seriously misinformed or delusional.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1)

skegg (666571) | about 8 months ago | (#45687205)

Bwahahahahahahaha yourself.

From this article [smh.com.au] :

Toyota is now in a fierce battle with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union over the attempt to reduce workers' conditions at the plant.

How DARE the union object to conditions being reduced! Perhaps you would also like to see the minimum wage scrapped?

Through creative accounting, large companies are very adept at crying poor to the government, while at the same time telling their shareholders that they're expecting bumper profits. You need to grow up, mate.

Re: Not sure which is news... (2)

oztiks (921504) | about 8 months ago | (#45687691)

Yes I need to grow up because I feel the need to not watch everything this nation once produced get offshored because the Unions STEAL. Yes STEAL. Whilst using the 'poor downtrodden worker' excuse to do so. We cannot muscle companies around just because we can. And in this case their is no need to look out for the little guy. Scrapping minimum wage is a bullshit statement towards me because your pulling my argument to an extreme rightist view just because you think you're cool for doing it.

Listen, I'm not wagering the Libs are any better. But I certainly wont overlook the atrocity we called the ALP and think for ANNNY second that Julia the massiah Gillard was any better. She's under investigation by the Victorian Police for these sorts of reasons. Union slush funds she used to renovate her house. This 'was' our leader?

My guess is your a younger person than me. Perhaps just out of uni and was fed all this bullshit while serving time at our nation's 'Social Sausage Machine'. As the saying goes. If you're under 30 and not vote Labor you have no heart. If youre over 30 and vote Labor. Then you're a fucking idiot.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1)

skegg (666571) | about 8 months ago | (#45687943)

For the record, I am not loyal to any party. Each election I review each party's policies and go with my gut. I think those who blindly follow a party have helped ruin this once fine country.

We cannot muscle companies around just because we can.

100% agree with you. However I believe unions have a role to play in society. Historically they have been critical to balancing the power between powerful industrialists and the lowly worker. (BTW: why is it that those who most adore free markets object to workers freely uniting?)

Also, it's worth noting that the real world isn't digital, it's analogue. And this is where politics resides. Should workers have more rights? Or fewer? There's no universal answer, just opinion.

FYI: Wrong, I ain't no whipper-snapper.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45688265)

Union slush funds she used to renovate her house

That Bolted on bullshit went the way of Godwin Gretch's Ute fraud how many years ago? Try living in reality and I'm sure you'll find something real to get angry with them about. Resorting to fantasy just makes people take you less seriously.

Re: Not sure which is news... (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45688233)

I give it two years at the most before you understand that I am not delusional, unless you choose to live under a rock.
Either way the NBN is dead and all that's left is for Ziggy and his mates to suck the corpse dry and blame it on Labor. Expect strange financial adventures in China that fail for no clear reason but result in a lot of money vanishing to nowhere that people can follow. That's one common way to launder public money when something goes semi-private. Telstra did it, state owned power utilities did it, and since Ziggy has form he's likely to do it again to what's left of the NBN. Expect the bones to be given to Telstra for either nothing or a fire sale price.

Australian politics is easy to understand. Labor go into debt to build infrastructure and the Libs have unneeded fire sales of the infrastructure before it has a chance to make a return then blame that on Labor. After the Libs sit on their arses doing nothing useful for a few years and the blame wears off enough people get pissed off to put Labor back in and the cycle continues. The Nats are mostly irrelevant, even in Queensland. Kevin Rudd showed that the Unions were mostly irrelevant, even in Labor, so you need to look for something else to blame.
Currently we are in the blame and selloff part of the cycle which is why we are seeing so much money getting wasted on pointless inquiries as if the Libs don't understand that they have won and there's no reason to kick a dead horse. The insulation scheme were dodgy bastards broke the rules and sent untrained kids to die was how many years ago - and what's the point of an inquiry to say to Labor "you should have stopped the dodgy bastards from breaking the rules"? Meanwhile the Libs want less tight workplace regulations while trying to insist Labor should have had draconian controls on the small businesses operating on the insulation scheme. It's all about throwing mud around since they don't really want such a nanny state.

Re: Not sure which is news... (1, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 8 months ago | (#45686523)

I assume you mean they are making the workplace untenable because they legislate safe working conditions, holiday and sick pay (quality of life issues), workers compensation for injuries caused by work, a living wage, how fucking dare they. Workers are there to be ruthlessly exploited, paid only enough not to starve cents\hour, when they are sick or injured tossed on a trash pile no different to a broken machine and be subject to verbal and physical abuse of the masters at a whim, as for paid time of the shear insanity of the idea.

Australia's NBN is being screwed up on purposed at the instruction of Rupert Murdoch and News corporation as straight up repayment for biased election propaganda masquerading as news. They haven't done nothing yet except talk about discussing the idea of designing an alternate system and, come up with a range of blatant bullshit to blame it all on the previous government. They have straight up stalled the NBN for months already and that is the sole goal and already indicated nothing absolutely nothing at all will actually be done about doing any NBN work until 2015. They haven't even designed the alternate hodgepodge network yet.

alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680619)

... that politicians lied or that government can't handle tech.

Is the AU government's handling this better or worse than (say) the telcos in the US?

Re:alternatives? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684737)

Is the AU government's handling this better or worse than (say) the telcos in the US?

Both. While the Labor party was in power, the handling was top notch. What you're seeing now is what happened after the Liberals got in. This may seem partisan, but it's actually more to do with who is currently in charge of the Liberal party, not the parties themselves.

Re:alternatives? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45685841)

http://delimiter.com.au/2013/12/12/please-accept-apologies-wrong-turnbull/ [delimiter.com.au] hints at the politics.
Better than the telcos in the US was going to be the optical to almost all homes with wireless towers and sat for some.
Every telco, isp would then be on the same network and have to offer real options to every person wanting telco/net/POTS (plain old telephone service)
National, international best effort vs dedicated, cost, data caps - but it would have cut out several 'Bell' like entities from the copper, HFC revenue streams and allow new media (HDTV, streaming) players into Australia.
The other option was to keep part of the copper and place many new cooled, powered optical nodes in suburbia and let the 'Bell' look after the copper, rent/sell HFC and keep any revenue streams and protect existing HDTV (pay tv).
http://delimiter.com.au/2013/12/12/delimiter-publishes-internal-nbn-co-fttn-analysis/ [delimiter.com.au]
In the end the costs of all the new cooled, powered optical nodes in suburbia added up in terms of telco/eletrical skill sets needed, speed was low due to low diameter, old, cut, long, shared copper lines.
Faults where fixed to making a voice call standard - can you dial emergency services, make a POTS call? Over time many quick fixes to an old copper network :)
With the new slow HFC, copper and token optical plan the 'Bell' like entities are now as safe as any in the USA and milking existing revenue streams with no real bandwidth for new HD media.
So HFC will be open to more telcos but at what cost, speed? When you pack in 'all' of the streets with new bandwidth needs on limited HFC - you get very 'old' problems of one shared link back to optical - just one line for many people in many homes with many new download and up load needs.
Australia is now as safe for existing media and telcos as the USA and without any upgrade vision to optical at a huge cost to buy/rent into very old limited networks.
All optical for many in Australia would have been paid back over decades with low repair costs. The upfront cost was not low but now Australia will be paying big for copper and HFC...

Re:alternatives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687645)

Short version, the previous government, the centre-left Labor Party, was very bad at being a good government. The current government, the right neo-con Liberal Party, is very good at being a bad government. The minor parties are funny/sad.

The former monopoly telecom and current partial monopoly, Telstra, is very good at being a bad phone company.

Re:Not sure which is news... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#45680651)

When politicians say "better, cheaper, sooner", you have to first translate it to everyday speech as "worse, costlier, delayed". See? If you had done that, this news couldn't possibly be news to you. It works every time!

Re:Not sure which is news... (2, Interesting)

Aquitaine (102097) | about 8 months ago | (#45680819)

While the parent here is certainly right about government projects, it's hard not to imagine that the Australian government didn't know this was coming from day one.

Ten minutes' study of Australia's geography and population can tell you that this would have been one of the lowest bang-for-the-buck national projects imaginable. Australia is the opposite of South Korea in this respect - it's a massive place with low population density. If running fiber all over it were easy, it would've been done by now.

It is telling that they didn't just say 'sorry, this will take a little longer' but rather 'this will take longer, cost more, and we're not even going to try to deliver what we promised.'

I am a free-market guy in general, but this is really tough. The free market can only 'sort it out' if the cost/benefit works out. I don't think it's even close here. The free market solution for a problem like Australia's is not 'let a bunch of companies bid on a hugely expensive monopoly project' but reward them with an innovative solution - come up with something that doesn't require them to dig up a whole continent to plug in towns of 1,000 people.

Re:Not sure which is news... (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#45682197)

The whole point of the NBN is that it's a government chartered corporation that leases access to everyone.

It was never about the "free-market".
Instead, the idea was to create a competitive market, on a government built foundation instead of the existing private monopoly/oligopoly.

Infrastructure investments are almost always worth it, even if the price explodes.

Re:Not sure which is news... (3, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | about 8 months ago | (#45682231)

Australia is the opposite of South Korea in this respect - it's a massive place with low population density.

Australia's a bit deceptive in this... there are massive areas where no one lives, which would not need any connections. I guess it's a little like Canada, in a way. If you just take the land area, and divide by the population, you get big numbers. However, those numbers aren't all that useful in figuring out how costly it would be to get broadband to a certain percentage of the population, since no one lives in 90% of the area.

Also, South Korea is only a little bit smaller than England, with a little bit smaller population. England's broadband is not close to South Korea, despite being a first world western nation.

Re:Not sure which is news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45685097)

Surprise surprise most Australians live in cities. We already have telephone networks all over the continent and cable networks all over the place in cities. Adding a fibre network is no different.

Re:Not sure which is news... (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45685913)

It's a very uneven distribution - most people live in a few cities and some narrow coridoors. Satellite was for the rest.

If running fiber all over it were easy, it would've been done by now.

Our telephone monopoly has been doing very little other than sitting on what they have since 1996. There is no "free market" here. There is only the monopoly that wins by doing nothing apart from stopping any other competition cropping up or a government doing an end run around that monopoly.

Re:Not sure which is news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45686513)

Bullcrap, australia has one of the most centralized populations of any nation. 92% of us live within 500kms of the eastern/SE coast.

Re:Not sure which is news... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45688149)

That is the point I was making. Concentrated (uneven) instead of spread out (even).

Re:Not sure which is news... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45685915)

Australia's population is packed into cities..... Optical could have been done to most of the city and other suburbs and regional centres as existing copper ducts and exchanges showed.
i.e. very much like South Korea in terms of an optical rollout that all telcos/isp can be selected from by the users.
The rest of the outer regions would have been offered dedicated wireless towers or sat - a vast improvement over some 'tower' or ~digital loop copper network with low adsl if lucky.
Australia is not tough for any optical skilled telco - you just need to map out suburbia and the cities, towns - all have existing ducts and exchanges.
Remote areas would have gotten a huge jump in services from existing sat, copper or shared wireless telco options.
"dig up a whole continent to plug in towns" is what was done in the past for copper and could have been redone for optical - once for generations with upgrades as needed. Very simple and pay back would been fine with less constant 'fix' up costs.
The only winners now are existing pay tv and telco networks - they keep their network and get paid for keeping new HD media out.

Re:Not sure which is news... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45685815)

The "plan" was a back on the envelope bit of bullshit done overnight by a Lawyer turned businessman turned politician anyway, and it was only designed to be credible enough look good in a short press release. Actual experts were ignored once they mentioned something in the other parties plan so it was left to a small group of political staffers and Turnbul. When questioned about it on morning radio after the announcement the answer to nearly every question was "we'll sort that out later".
So both.
Also the previous rollout has the previous government's name on it so has to be seen to fail or seen to be halted instead of being tweaked. It is all very petty.
Add in a "review" done by a guy that owns half a yacht with the new minister of communications (a review designed to make all work done to date look bad), and a nuclear scientist with a terrible business record brought in to swing the axe to get the full picture of doom. It's over apart from siphoning money out.

Stupid. All of them. (0)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 8 months ago | (#45680323)

The solution obviously is to let the free market sort it out. Obviously the free market wants there to be high speed internet all through Australia, including in the outback. So, government, butt out!

Perhaps they can get Steve Erwin to catch some kangaroos or something to drag the fiber out?

Steve Irwin died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680481)

The solution obviously is to let the free market sort it out. Obviously the free market wants there to be high speed internet all through Australia, including in the outback. So, government, butt out!

Perhaps they can get Steve Erwin to catch some kangaroos or something to drag the fiber out?

Steve Irwin died, you insensitive clod!

Re:Steve Irwin died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687569)

He died as he lived.

Annoying wildlife.

Re:Stupid. All of them. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680503)

I feel like this post would have worked better if not for the fact that Steve Irwin has been dead since 2006.

Re:Stupid. All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680597)

Jeeze, has it really been that long?

Re:Stupid. All of them. (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | about 8 months ago | (#45680883)

Oh, yeah. That'll work ever so well. Everybody will do things in a way that is completely inoperable with every other company and it will be left up to yet another party to integrate it. I mean, it worked great for the American telcos, didn't it?

Re:Stupid. All of them. (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 8 months ago | (#45683745)

Oh, yeah. That'll work ever so well. Everybody will do things in a way that is completely inoperable with every other company and it will be left up to yet another party to integrate it. I mean, it worked great for the American telcos, didn't it?

Actually, it wasn't as bad as what Australia is going through now, IIUC. There are issues with rural areas being woefully underserved, and there are many places where the costs are out of line (often because there is only ONE choice of broadband provider in the area), but overall most people have good broadband available.

I think South Korea has done things very well, and that was with heavy government control. But then South Korea's government is much more functional than either Australia's or the US.

Re:Stupid. All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684683)

"free markets" don't exist. Not where a Politician is induced to do something for a rich company. and that happens far to often. some companies want it, some don't.

the liberals (our rignt wing conservative nut jobs) are convinced if we trust big multinational companies and give them heaps of money. they will ship something nice back

Re:Stupid. All of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687599)

the liberals [...] are convinced if we trust big multinational companies and give them heaps of money. they will ship something nice back

Although, to be fair, if you are a high-ranking Liberal politician, the big multinats often do ship you back something nice.

please slashdot fix this story and help us nerds (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680453)

So the underlined text is completely the opposite. it will take less time and cost 20 billion less.

However id prefer it took longer, cost more but was FIBER TO THE HOME and not copper dsl

SLAHSHDOT YOU ARE HURTING US NERDS IN AUS COME ON PLEASE COMPLAIN PROPERLY

Murdoch got what he wanted... (4, Insightful)

Pav (4298) | about 8 months ago | (#45680457)

After abusing his control of Australian media [businessinsider.com.au] Murdoch got what he wanted - no NBN to challenge his cable interests.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 8 months ago | (#45683213)

While Murdoch is a prick. He can hardly be blamed for a labor governments incompetence of over promising and underdelivering.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 8 months ago | (#45684275)

He can hardly be blamed for a labor governments incompetence of over promising and underdelivering.

Your really going to go there... in 100 days the Libs have broken more election promises than labor did in 6 years.

It was Labors internal problems that bought them undone.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684811)

wrong the last labor was a great lump of lying turd, whilst moving its brown mouth up and dowm, only fart came out, as yesterday it is today

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 8 months ago | (#45687369)

I never claimed libs are better. Though it would truly be hard to do worse than the previous 6 years at this point. a new set of incompetence and neglect doesn't excuse the grouse mismanagement of the previous government.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 8 months ago | (#45687681)

What do you see as the worst things Labor did/didnt do, anything in particular you want to get off your chest ?

Re: Murdoch got what he wanted... (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | about 8 months ago | (#45684755)

Did you read that in Murdoch's newspapers?

Re: Murdoch got what he wanted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687659)

Did you here that from Alan Jones, who read the part of an article from Murdoch's tabloid newspapers highlighted by his researchers?

FTFY.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45685935)

90% of that seems to have been Telstra dragging their feet and not giving access. Funny about that since they are the biggest winner if the NBN is halted. Maybe you should take it up with the Liberal Party folks (and their wives like Janet A) who are on the Telstra board. They win too.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687941)

However, this can also be laid at Labor's feet. They should have bitten the bullet and re-nationalised Telstra's wholesale network.

Labor floated the idea behind the scenes, but Telstra quietly threatened to take the buy-out money and invest it in a competing FTTH network. So Labor just backed off and dropped the idea, being too dumb to outplay Telstra. This added to the impression amongst Canberra journalists that Labor would always fail at implementing its policies.

[The obvious solution being to re-nationalise the entire company again, split off the retail arm, then refloat just that part, with prior shareholders getting first-preference/discount rates as a little bit of vote-buying. That prevents the existing Telstra Corporation from using the buy-out money to compete with NBN, but keeps the Telstra shareholders happy(ish). The Canberra journo's then see Labor cleverly/trickily outplaying Telstra, this is echoed in their reporting, creating the impression of underlying competence going into the following election.]

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45688119)

They should have bitten the bullet and re-nationalised Telstra's wholesale network.

Never going to happen when 90% of the press would scream COMMIE if they even publicly suggested the idea. It's political suicide and whoever attempted it would be gone before the deed could be done.

Telstra's network is rapidly declining in value and utility anyway so replacing it made more sense - until the monopoly bullshit on ducts designed to drive up Telstra's share price bit and made the thing vastly more expensive than starting from scratch.

Re:Murdoch got what he wanted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684501)

Exactly. This is obvious yet 99% of Australians don't seem to realise it. The destruction of the NBN is just the Coalition closing the deal for Murdock who sponsored them into power.

One Step Forward ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680477)

One step forward and three steps back.

Continued investment in poor and aging infrastructure is not smart. Doing it at a greater expense is criminal. This should come at the expense of the jobs of the hacks who made these decisions.

Re:One Step Forward ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680625)

Well... The dolts that did the choosing are elected, so the voters will have to fire them the next time their seat comes up.

Re:One Step Forward ... (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 8 months ago | (#45683525)

It never ceases to amaze me. They're sitting on huge energy reserves, vast amounts of easily defensible space (an isolated continent of their own), have an enormous mining infrastructure--Australia, if it got its head out of its ass, could be a real world superpower, not a lapdog.

Re:One Step Forward ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684897)

Lapdog, superpower, what? A big military sweep up through asia sound like a good idea... Brilliant plan! NOT

Re:One Step Forward ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45685197)

You are almost right, Australia could be very rich and wealthy, except it's low on water. Despite a land mass close to the US, there's no way it could support 300 million.

I've heard estimates of around 50 million as the "ideal" population of Australia.

The racist majority just want to make sure it's not filled up with Asians.

The government literally started paying people (read, white majority people) to have more kids. Even "white trash" kids are white.

Re:One Step Forward ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45686821)

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/12/09/0431222/scientists-discover-huge-freshwater-reserves-beneath-the-ocean

"Scientists have discovered huge freshwater reserves beneath the seabed on continental shelves off the coast of Australia, North America, China and South Africa. 'The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we've extracted from the Earth's sub-surface in the past century since 1900"

Why bother (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 8 months ago | (#45680525)

12 billion more into a monopoly for the same useless copper? When full fiber to the home could mean divesting the service side of the network and the infrastructure? Sounds like a boondoggle to me.

The bush telegraph (1)

bazmail (764941) | about 8 months ago | (#45680667)

Time to chuck another shrimp on the barbee mate. GDAY!!!!!

The plutocrats prevailed (4, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 8 months ago | (#45680833)

The plutocrats prevailed.

Telstra snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and have not only managed to force everyone to pay (again) for their decaying copper network that they themselves ran into the ground, they've now weedled their white-shoe conservative mates in Canberra into letting them set up a tollroad for all Australians far into the future.

And Murdoch and his evil empire gets to maintain his complete and utter dominance of Australian TV, newspapers and cable.

Win-win-win all round for all the white shoe tory criminals.

Re:The plutocrats prevailed (2)

grunter (35840) | about 8 months ago | (#45682109)

This.

Murdoch has been seriously wounded in the UK, and cannot now command political power in the way that he previously enjoyed.

So now, despite not actually being Australian any more (he gave up his citizenship to become a US citizen), Australia is pretty much the only place left where he wields significant power, due to News Corp's ownership of the majority of the commercial media in this small market. So now Murdoch has crowned his victory (deposing a decent government whose main flaw was a megalomanical ex-leader after a 3 year smear campaign) by protecting News Corp's cable TV interests as well.

It was always too good to be true - a government program that would really empower people - in an age of neo-liberal so-called free market economics (what we really have is subsidies for corporates and plutocrats - not a "free market"). Once again, the wowsers have won, and Australia can go on with being the backwater dirt factory it has been told it should be.

A pox on Murdoch and the Coalition.

Re:The plutocrats prevailed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684951)

Keep licking that labor brown, its all over your chin, dribbling.

Re:The plutocrats prevailed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45683153)

Still bitter about loosing the election are we, The NBN Company would have had a complete monopoly on the infrastructure, which would have allowed them to do anything they liked with it as the government owned it (Internet filter anyone?). We have all seen what a monopoly will do with the infrastructure (hint no-one likes Telstra)

I'll never understand... (1)

michrech (468134) | about 8 months ago | (#45680857)

I don't understand how people like Simon Hackett can't get their ideas heard by their government (the same thing happens in the US government, unfortunately). I watched his video [simonhackett.com] a while back and it highlighted how much waste / over engineering was going into their NBN, and his ideas to simplify the service would considerably reduce the cost...

Re:I'll never understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45681363)

>and it highlighted how much waste / over engineering was going into their NBN, and his ideas to simplify the service would considerably >reduce the cost...

But then they'd have to find new ways to shovel that money to their mates.

Re:I'll never understand... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45685969)

A lot of the waste was bribing Telstra to let it be done in the first place and paying off a few other special interests. It's a ridiculous consequence of selling the thing off. I'm sure by now the Telstra sale has been a bigger drain on the taxpayer than gain.

Again? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45680911)

it seems like it was just days ago when they said they couldn't run fiber to the home and were going to use copper to the home:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/12/05/2025245/australias-44b-broadband-network-may-settle-for-fiber-near-the-home [slashdot.org]

What are they downgrading to now? A piece of string to the house?

Re:Again? (1)

Zuriel (1760072) | about 8 months ago | (#45681367)

Australian here. Many of us are currently connected to the internet using pieces of string which stop working when it rains and they get wet. That's why we're less than delighted that the new NBN plan calls for running fiber to the end of the street and using the existing pieces of string from there.

Re:Again? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45685987)

Now they are in the stage of trying to convince people it can't be done at all and shift the blame. So no string either, just a cancelled project they will blame on the other party.

Re:Again? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 8 months ago | (#45686685)

They didn't actually downgrade anything - headline is, as per usual, flamebait. They're using the same technology, they just expect to (surprise, surprise) go over-budget and behind schedule. The previous governments NBN's roll-out was also over-budget and behind schedule, so it's really nothing to do with the technology chosen - it's the tendency of politicians from both parties to over-promise and under-deliver.

Re:Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687555)

Incorrect, 30% of the nation will now get no FTTN or FTTH coverage at all, instead relying on old shared cable systems which are useless for businesses or peak hours. http://delimiter.com.au/2013/12/12/nbn-co-abandons-fttn-rollout-hfc-areas/

Re:Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687161)

What are they downgrading to now? A piece of string to the house?

Shit. Here I thought this would be an upgrade from what we got now.

Not bad for a government job (0)

mi (197448) | about 8 months ago | (#45681707)

Say, a government project delayed, over budget, and under-delivering... But it would bring health-insu..., errr, never mind, broadband to millions of the poor! Only a racist can object...

Re:Not bad for a government job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684687)

Actually, aside from problems with Telstra (aka the local incumbent monopolist) the NBN project was on budget, on time and delivering what it promised...

...Right up until a massive smear campaign finally convinced enough Australians to vote against their interests and elect the current incarnation of the Liberal party. Then they fucked it up. Massively.

Re:Not bad for a government job (1)

mi (197448) | about 8 months ago | (#45686417)

Actually, aside from problems with Telstra (aka the local incumbent monopolist)

Taking Telstra "aside" in this context is like attempting to calculate a helicopter's flight ignoring air-resistance...

Oh, and then one asks, who but the government has created the "local incumbent monopolist" in the first place...

Re:Not bad for a government job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45686601)

Oh, and then one asks, who but the government has created the "local incumbent monopolist" in the first place...

If we're going to play that game, you should know that Howard (Liberal) sold Telstra off in what was widely regarded as a stupid move, and the very next government to get in (Rudd, Labor) instigated the NBN.

Australian National Broadband Network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45681885)

1). Attach string to 2 empty beer cans
2). Hold onto 1 can - attach other can to dingo
3). ??
4). Sit back, drink a VB and tell the bludgers on slashdot to rack off!

TFA is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45682027)

TFA fails to give proper credence to the fact that the previous government did not disclose the poor state of their plan and implementation. There is a one liner about it in TFA but no more.

The real story here is the previous plan would not be rolled out on the timelines and budget given by the previous government. If they were reelected the story would now be that the NBN is in an even worse state than the 14B AUD the coalition were out by given the information they had. The Labor party were withholding the real state of their rollout from the electorate - THIS is what should be the news.

Bad news, if ATT is anything to go by... (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about 8 months ago | (#45682065)

ATT did a similar thing in the US. They started out promising FTTP, and I believe, received govt. $$$ (from the Uniform Subscriber Fee). Over the years, they down-graded it to FTTN, and now are merely converting their copper lines to IP-based (still called U-Verse). The bad news is that their FTTN (and of course all-copper) has much less bandwidth than the cable company's coax networks. Don't you guys have coax cable over there?

Re:Bad news, if ATT is anything to go by... (1)

JabrTheHut (640719) | about 8 months ago | (#45685303)

Don't you guys have coax cable over there?

Almost no coax in Australia, maybe a few suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne...

Re:Bad news, if ATT is anything to go by... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45685993)

"HFC" in Australia was rolled out for pay tv in areas like state capitols.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_in_Australia#Cable_television [wikipedia.org] lists the cities.
Australia is all about keeping 'pay tv' in the existing hands and keeping out new streaming services. Optical would have allowed a new level entry to many new digital streaming media offerings.
So now Australia will be back onto telco copper, HFC and optical for new builds (greenfield). That keeps millions of people trapped on HFC streets with one existing network to pay/rent :)

Re:Bad news, if ATT is anything to go by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45687983)

Don't you guys have coax cable over there?

Yes. Half owned by the same company which owns the last-mile copper network. (And half owned by the guy who owns a newspaper near-monopoly.)

The only real news is... (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about 8 months ago | (#45684617)

The only real news is that a politician kept their pre-election promise.

During the campaign Rupert Murdoch ^w^w Typhoon Tony PROMISED fibre (probably) to the street (or near the street (or somewhere, anyway)) and whatever Telstra had left after a lot of neglect to the home. Not this [sarcasm] unnecessary luxury [/sarcasm] of fibre to the home.

Based on bogus projections.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45684673)

The previous iteration of the NBN was already over budget and behind schedule. The new "NBN" is delivering less to less people, how can it cost more and take longer? NBN Co. has shown itself to be full of incompetent yes men just telling whoever is in power what they want to hear (see: way off cost/time projections).

Pro-tip: It's going to be expensive and take a long time, but you don't want to cheap out on this...

Funny finance numbers? (1)

thogard (43403) | about 8 months ago | (#45685437)

It can cost more because the real numbers are starting to surface. The pre-election numbers were based on published data which was wrong. Right now the predictable capital expenses of this project are growing at rate that is out of control. There are also some major labour shortages as there are only so many people who can put the fibre in the ground -- mostly due to very old rules about certifications needed to work on anything involving electricity or working in a telco pit.

The first step of the new fibre network is to make sure that each exchange has a reasonable amount of fiber connecting it to the core. This hasn't been done yet and it will take years to do just that at the current rate. Once all the exchanges are hooked up, that breaks the ADSL monopoly and allows existing ISPs to install their own equipment in exchanges and drop their prices while offering naked DSL or port binding or even last mile 10 gigabit ethernet.

The second step is to roll out to the existing RIMs. These are remote extensions of the phone exchange switch and sometimes have ADSL at slow speeds. These tend to have fiber connections to them already but that fibre can't be upgraded to higher speeds since not all fiber is equal and the new stuff is more equal than others. The RIMs are part of the Node infrastructure and many already have ADSL2+ DSALMs but not enough back haul capability.

The third step is to upgrade DSLAMs combined with a rollout of replacement fiber where the existing copper is failing. The current list of areas at high priority for replacement will require every crew that is currently doing the core fibre install several years.

There are some areas that have two HFC networks, ADSL2+, 4G and are passed by competing fibre networks as well. Those areas are now last on the priority list.

Another issue that has annoyed many people is that the old maps of "when do I get fibre" would mark huge areas in "build out within two years" when the only parts that were planned was often connecting a new building or subdivision to the NBN. Those areas have all been removed from the map now.

When talking about the last mile CAPEX, the previous plan assumed nearly every house would be connected and factored in price increases that were above the current rate of inflation. Existing line cost about $36 per month which covers its written down CAPEX, the dial tone and minimal maintenance. Replacing that was expected to cost about $5,000 or now $7,000 per house at today's costs. While that can be factored over whatever term the government is willing to provide the loans, at the current rate it adds $35 per month to everyone's phone lines for 30 years which doubles the costs of the non-data user's phone. If there is any decrease in take-up, those costs start to raise rapidly. When the costs of 4G is less than the cost of a wired connection, what will the take up rate be in 5 years? If it isn't close to 90%, the finance plan breaks. With the demise of the wired phone and desktop computer combined with decreasing costs of wireless service that works anywhere, I can't see how the number of fixed wired services will not decrease.

Re:Funny finance numbers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45685509)

Replacing that was expected to cost about $5,000 or now $7,000 per house at today's costs

Oh look, a leak [delimiter.com.au] from late September that shows you to be completely wrong! I'd respond to the rest of your nonsense as well, but you're a shill and that would be wasting my time.

World wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45686197)

We're the biggest pirates, we just overturned gay marriage law and we detain refugees indefinitely, honestly the world does not need us on the internet

De Industrializing Australia (1)

cmholm (69081) | about 8 months ago | (#45687845)

The current national Liberal Party policy seems to be limited to 1) balance the budget without added revenue, and 2) cut revenues they don't feel they should collect. The result is that the mining tax will go away, and due to very low tariffs and deletion of subsidies that ameliorate the effects of the strong AU$ that Aussie ores create, most manufacturing will go away. Ford and Holden closing up shop is just part of the trend.

So, yah want an information economy to go with those fries? Sorry mate, costs more than we want to spend, and what would you do with all that bandwidth, anyway? You don't know, you say? Back in my day, dialup was good enough. What does YouTube have to do with it?

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