NBN

If the National Broadband Network (NBN) is becoming a “calamitous train wreck”, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed on October 23, then the fault lies with him.

He was the minister for communications in the Tony Abbott Coalition government who, in 2013, oversaw the disastrous decision to fundamentally change the NBN from Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) model to a technologically obsolete fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) system. At the time, Abbott apparently wanted to “kill the NBN” entirely.

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform in the electricity industry — cheaper and more reliable electricity, competitive markets and rational investment decisions — are further away than ever. 

“Turnbull's NBN in crisis”, blared the front-page headline in the February 29 issue of The Sydney Morning Herald. "Malcolm Turnbull's cut-price National Broadband Network is facing mounting delays and rising costs, according to a damning internal report obtained by Fairfax Media," the article said.

Fairfax revealed that the report, labelled “commercial in confidence” and “for official use only”, details a litany of problems in delivering the Coalition's supposedly more budget-friendly fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) model.

“When it comes to technology policy, [now Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. The Member for Wentworth will be remembered as Australia's worst ever Communications Minister — the man who single handedly demolished the NBN [National Broadband Network] and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet Piracy Laws.”

In April 2009, Kevin Rudd, then Labor prime minister, announced the National Broadband Network (NBN), a massive infrastructure project to provide high-speed network access to 93% of Australia, with satellite access for the rest.

Rollout of the network began in Tasmania in July. 2009. Operations began in some other areas in July 2010.

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