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News Corp Australia vs the NBN – is it really all about Foxtel?

No-one would describe News Corp Australia’s view on the National Broadband Network (NBN) as rosy. But if it’s true the company has engaged in repeated attacks on the government because it “hates” its network…

Foxtel and the NBN … why all the noise of late? Gaye Gerard/AAP

No-one would describe News Corp Australia’s view on the National Broadband Network (NBN) as rosy. But if it’s true the company has engaged in repeated attacks on the government because it “hates” its network, as Fairfax columnist Paul Sheehan claimed at the weekend, the big question seems fairly obvious. Why?

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull deserves much credit for bringing the Coalition to the policy position of supporting a national broadband network, albeit one that eschews the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) model being executed by Labor in favour of a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) approach, with a reliance on existing copper infrastructure to complete the delivery of services to the home.

Turnbull rejected the crux of Sheehan’s argument: that Labor’s NBN is a greater existential threat to News Corp’s pay TV company Foxtel than the Coalition’s own policy.

On his website, he wrote a rebuttal to Sheehan’s Fairfax piece, claiming: “[t]he Coalition’s plan for the NBN will bring the day of reckoning [for the Foxtel business model] much sooner”.

Turnbull stated that Foxtel was already adapting well to the “internet threat” and repeated his claim that, by improving broadband speeds more quickly than Labor’s policy, his own approach to the NBN is hardly likely to be favoured by Foxtel or its parent company, News Corp.

All of this has led to a situation in which:

  • Labor is decrying Murdoch’s criticism of its NBN as being the product of vested interests
  • the Coalition is apparently courting, rather strangely, Murdoch’s disapproval of its NBN policy as some sort of badge of legitimacy.

So, spin aside, let’s try to get some facts on the table.

What’s going on?

Telstra owns the 50% of Foxtel that News Corp does not. Foxtel enjoys a virtually unchallenged position in the provision of pay TV services largely due to Telstra’s control of the means of distribution on its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network (which combines optical fibre and coaxial cable) in the highly profitable metropolitan markets.

As the wholesale operator of what is currently the only efficient means of delivering pay TV in urban markets - an HFC network (Optus operates another) - Telstra controls the price and conditions by which any new entrant might provide a similar service to Foxtel.

This position was bolstered by Foxtel’s acquisition last year of Austar, the company which delivered pay TV to regional and rural Australia via satellite.

While it’s certainly true Foxtel suffers regulatory restrictions in Australia – primarily through anti-siphoning legislation that ensures premium sport content is offered first to free-to-air television – and that those restrictions have prevented it achieving the same levels of market penetration as it has in other countries, the company remains the only viable option for Australian viewers wishing to access pay TV.

An open, wholesale, fibre-to-the-premises NBN – the Labor version – would undermine the Foxtel business model by allowing new traditional-type pay TV providers and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) to compete on an even playing field in the pay TV marketplace.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Member for Solomon Luke Gosling visit an NBN fibre haul site in Darwin. Gary Ramage/AAP

It is true, as Turnbull states, the Coalition’s plan will deliver faster broadband speeds nationwide – enough to support IPTV services as they currently operate – sooner than Labor’s NBN.

But this ignores the reality of broadband use in the home: there’s no allowance for the use of other applications at the same time as the operation of IPTV.

Watching and learning

Despite the over-excited claims of “tech-heads”, there’s little evidence viewers are completely abandoning “linear” (traditional, scheduled programming) TV in favour of downloading content on-demand. Rather, on-demand viewing is an additional activity to traditional TV consumption.

The viewing of news and sport, in particular, will remain an activity conducted “in real time” over traditional linear TV delivery.

If a household were, in the future, to use IPTV as its primary television provider, one must assume it would be operating constantly for several hours a day, particularly during peak viewing hours between 6pm and 11pm. This is also the time that home users of broadband are likely to be using the internet for other purposes.

Quite apart from the issue of how one family member might use bandwidth-hungry applications, such as downloading documents, running online videos, or gaming, at the same time as another family member is watching television via IPTV, the assumptions in this argument ignore the habits of TV viewers, which increasingly involve engagement with other online activity while watching television.

In a 2012 Google study, 52% of respondents indicated they were engaged with a mobile device while watching television. Presumably, in the vast majority of cases, this “multi-screen activity” relies on the home’s Wi-Fi connection over broadband.

In whose interests?

It does appear the Coalition’s FTTN model, with its more limited capacity, is more favourable to the business interests of Foxtel, particularly when one considers the interaction between the NBN and the operation of Australia’s HFC network.

Coalition policy in relation to the HFC network is unclear, stating:

Subject to an equitable re-negotiation of these provisions satisfactory to NBN Co and the government, our goal would be to remove any contractual impediments to the use of existing HFC networks for broadband and voice. A key consideration in such negotiations will be ensuring open access to networks and scope for enhanced competition in the relevant areas.

This position essentially means the ultimate structure of the HFC network will depend very much upon what Telstra agrees to in a new negotiation. That is, the Coalition appears to have committed to giving Telstra another stab at negotiating an outcome that could allow it to maintain wholesale control of the HFC network.

Turnbull has been clear that, in the interests of avoiding Labor’s “government monopoly” model and promoting competition in the provision of wholesale broadband services in those high-density urban areas in which the market can support it, Telstra would be allowed to offer wholesale broadband bundled with Foxtel services over its HFC network.

Shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

This determination to support market competition in the provision of wholesale broadband in metropolitan markets is the crux of the ideological difference between Labor and the Coalition as expressed in their approaches to broadband.

Turnbull’s appeal to the ideology of market competition sounds entirely reasonable and is in the best tradition of Liberal party economics. It is, of course, completely antithetical to the market design of Labor’s NBN, which has always been about restructuring the telecommunications market in Australia and providing equal services to regional and rural Australia by achieving structural separation of Telstra.

Turnbull has acknowledged that, for his desired outcome of wholesale competition in urban markets to work, the HFC network would have to be operated on a genuinely wholesale basis – that is, structural separation of the HFC network would have to be maintained under the Coalition plan.

The rub

The problem – and here we come to the element that has largely been ignored since Sheehan’s piece kicked off the current debate on the weekend - is that the Coalition’s policy guarantees no such thing.

In a discussion with Business Spectator’s Alan Kohler on August 1, Turnbull acknowledged that:

[o]ne possibility is that [the HFC network] is operated by Telstra as a wholesale asset, so then you would have a qualification to the structural separation objective …

To put this another way, Turnbull is admitting the possibility that the Coalition’s renegotiation with Telstra could end up allowing Telstra to be both the wholesale provider of broadband over HFC in urban areas where the HFC network currently exists and a retail provider of broadband and pay TV services over that same network.

Such a move would essentially reinstate Telstra as a vertically integrated wholesale provider of infrastructure (to compete with the NBN) and retail service provider in those markets. By providing an alternative wholesale service in only the most profitable markets, this move would almost certainly reduce the financial returns to NBN Co, raising costs that would have to be passed on to retail customers across the national network, or - more likely - result in higher prices outside the metropolitan markets.

At the same time, it will allow Telstra to, in effect, “offer” a lower wholesale access price to its own asset - Foxtel - in those profitable markets than either it, or presumably NBN Co, would make available to other retail customers.

While Turnbull admitted he was personally “uncomfortable with that” possibility, the fact remains: the Coalition policy is that, ultimately, the operation of the HFC network will be subject to a new negotiation with Telstra that could leave Telstra to operate the HFC network as a wholesale asset to its own and Foxtel’s advantage.

This outcome would be much more favourable to Telstra’s Foxtel partner, News Corp, than the current deal between Telstra and the Labor Government to decommission both the Telstra and Optus HFC networks and migrate users onto the NBN.

Twitter

Neither Murdoch’s tweet on Monday, questioning Labor’s plan to finance the NBN, nor Foxtel’s statement this week insisting it’s in favour of fast broadband for Australia, have acknowledged these issues, choosing instead to focus on the benefit of “fast broadband networks” to Foxtel’s recent forays into mobile and on demand services.

It’s a nice attempt at misdirection, and one that leaves consumers and voters in the dark as to the real implications of the competing broadband policies for Murdoch’s business interests in Australia.

News Corp has repeatedly defended its right, as a privately-owned media company, to use its newspapers to campaign for particular policies or political parties. It also has a strong record of calling for transparency and accountability in political debate.

But in its arguments against the NBN, it would seem News Corp Australia’s campaign is less than wholly transparent in representing its own interests.

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49 Comments sorted by

  1. David Stein

    Businessman

    Foxtel is the only TV asset that was bundled into the New News Corp when Murdoch split the Old News Corp into Entertainment / TV / Cable assets (now 21st century Fox) and all his print media assets.

    Without a vertically integrated newspaper-to-kindle solution, the New News Corp is going to die an agonizingly slow death as it watches endless monthly circulation declines and limited take up of paid internet subscriptions. It may even be advertising loss from lower clicks actually outweighs online subscription revenues.

    I suppose Rupert had to sweeten the New News Corp pot for the Street by throwing Foxtel into the mix, but even that looks like a questionable asset with the NBN at this point.

    By the way - privately owned? It's a public company. I just wonder whether the major pension US fund shareholders will enjoy the specter of elected officials portrayed as Nazis splashed across their mastheads.

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  2. Trevor Kerr

    ISTP

    If sincerity is a virtue, then that picture of Turnbull illustrates, where a thousand of his silver-lined words cannot, why we should just believe everything he says. If he was offering tickets on himself, I'd buy a book of them. Fair dinkum.

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  3. George Michaelson

    Person

    the NBN is an open-access competitive Layer 2 platform. It risks dis-intermediating foxtel from content because CDN (content delivery networks) can and do deal direct with ISPs, to provide content and when HBO and other content owners exclusive contracts with Foxtel run out, the tender market now includes radically different parties who may be motivated to bid for a share of content.

    There is little or no downside to News arguing for delay in any move to open HFC or NBN broadband to a wider marketplace…

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    1. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to George Michaelson

      A interesting point from the US.
      Fox News cable rating no 1. in the US
      Fox News internet rating 36 in the US and 172 globally (just News specific sites overall sites even worse).
      Now honestly based on those numbers do you really think News Corporation likes or loathes the internet. Now regardless of the benefit for the majority of Australians and 99.99999% of Australian Business (basically excluding News Corp and Telstra) would News Corp do every thing it can to block broadband for as long as possible in order to prevent going from number 1 to well somewhere between 36 and 172 as you view local versus international ratings.
      Now is News Corp conspiring with the Liberals, lets see, blatantly way over the top pro Liberal editorial-ship for say blocking off the NBN especially fibre to the home for as long as possible, 'hmmm', there appear to be billions of dollars at stake, 'BILLIONS OF DOLLARS'.
      Julia Bishop is an idiot for attempting to deny the blatantly obvious.

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    2. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      Yep Robert, the billions of dollars it takes to make a decision on behalf of millions of households to "purchase" thousand dollar fibre to the node connections - funded on the nation's credit card - with the end game being a Total Foreign Ownership and Control of Australia's Telecommunications Backbone. Yep, more than a few billion dollars at stake. A direct loss of national sovereignty, a massive security risk both commercial and defence, spending billions that could have been used to buy better hospitals, ambulances, schools - not to mention the disabled. So a bunch of perverts have a better pornography portal.

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  4. Razor Sharpe

    Menstrual cycler

    In my experience, companies closest to death are noisiest, & boy are these old boys of the media landscape getting noisy about the biggest infrastructure project Australia has ever seen. Their newspaper revenue is down, subscribers are being turned off lock-in contracts, & their attempts to subvert social media (remember Myspace?) all point toward desperate people with nothing else left but to sabotage attempts to benefit citizens by feeding them fear, uncertainty, & doubt.
    From laughable articles stating wireless is better than fibre (how do you transmit the data from the wireless towers guys?) to smear campaigns designed to bring those knowledgeable on technology into disrepute, this campaign against fibre optics will not stop until these media organisations die out like the dinosaurs they are.

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  5. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    As a non-technical person I found this a very interesting read, particularly the paragraphs which indicate that the Coalition's policy is far from 'neutral'. It explains, in both political and financial terms, that News Corp and Foxtel have an interest in maintaining, and potentially improving their near monopoly position in the urban pay-tv market.

    ' ... the Coalition policy is that, ultimately, the operation of the HFC network will be subject to a new negotiation with Telstra that could leave…

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  6. Comment removed by moderator.

  7. Chris Dunkerley

    Retired but even busier

    It isn't about the NBN, it is about the ABC

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  8. Garry Baker

    researcher

    Thank the lord someone has finally authored a sensible investigation of what Rupert is on about. $$$$$$$$$, and that he won't be seeing any preferences from the ALP camp - whereas the Liberal tribe promise to be most accommodating. Indeed, their so-called "free trade" - "free enterprise" business models are already stacked in Rupert's favour.

    Added to this, Mr Turnbull needs the Vectoring technology the Chinese company Huawai own, which of course adds another "free trade" conversation to…

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  9. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    Great stuff, Emma. Bravo! This is the FIRST article on TC since the election started that shows some research, expertise, and inside knowledge!

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  10. Frank Moore

    Consultant

    What a debacle! Look at Emma's words.
    Telstra is/was Australian owned.
    Privatised by the political party Emma formerly worked for and still remains a member of.

    So what does a loathsome crowd on the make, listening to every Overseas sourced carpet bagger in the nation do to a sector of the Australian economy that was - and so rarely - dominated by Australians and Australian shareholders?

    Try and break it up!

    Is cost a problem?

    No, we dont need money for disability carers, hospitals…

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    1. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Frank Moore

      You do know that the NBN is to be sold off - don't you? ""

      Well, one might imagine the Chinese company Huawai will be a bidder for the LNP creation - if not it's funding model from the outset

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    2. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Garry Baker

      No doubt about that. And this is where the treachery has succeeded. No one wants to talk about the End Game for this taxpayer funded telecom Con Job.
      That is - the enormous debt that creates the work and profits for largely Overseas Owned and operated foreign corporations, promoting a vast outgoing of funds from Australia to their coffers (in the interests of "competition") - the enormous debt accruing to Australia whilst people like Emma and Stephen - who have never been responsible for bringing in on time and/or cost any project like this - the enormous debt compels a foreign takeover of what would become Australia's telecommunications backbone.
      None of the taxpayer subsidised political parties will guarantee that Only Australian Shareholders shall own Australia's telecommunication backbone.
      Try it! Fact Check It! See if you can get an acknowledgement from these creeps that that is their jointly shared - end game.

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  11. Steven Waters

    logged in via Facebook

    i think a point has been missed. Murdoch was criticizing the govt on the cost and the blowouts. he is not the only one saying it and they all don't support the LNP. i can watch movies , docos, sport and just about anything i like now through my broadband without a problem so foxtell is losing customers anyway without the NBN. my connection is very affordable to me and i am happy with what i have. i don't think i or many others will want to pay premium price for super fast internet when i am happy with what i have. Murdoch has to adjust to the changing face of his industry its happening to other print media and its happening to retail with online shopping. i think Rudd has picked a fight as he thinks Murdoch has it in for him. besides i don't think i trust the labor govt going into the media business they have made a mess of everything else and im worried that we will end up with a white elephant.

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    1. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Steven Waters

      "i don't think i or many others will want to pay premium price for super fast internet when i am happy with what i have."

      The experience so far is that, for slightly less money, the NBN delivers slightly better service. The real advantage though is the potential for vastly better service.

      Remember, it was the Coalition that first used the term "fraudband" for fibre to the node in 2007, when it was Labor policy. http://delimiter.com.au/2013/05/14/offended-by-fraudband-maybe-you-shouldnt-have-said-it-first/

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    2. Edwina Laginestra
      Edwina Laginestra is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Jack of all trades

      In reply to Steven Waters

      This is such a clearly written article I now understand subtleties - thank you Emma. When something is so clearly explained it shows you know your stuff.

      And Steven - hate to say this but it's not all about YOU: the "design of Labor’s NBN, which has always been about restructuring the telecommunications market in Australia and providing equal services to regional and rural Australia". I am really happy that my regional fellow Australians are finally getting more equal services.

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  12. adrian tourle

    director sme on leave

    It's reasonable, imo, to expect transparency from a writer/blogger/journo/commentator, but of course that’s rare.

    Anyway a very good insight into NBN policy differences concerning 'free market' outcomes. Thanks Emma.

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  13. Eamon Byrne

    logged in via LinkedIn

    If Telstra owns 50% of Foxtel, it would explain why Turnbull feels he can do an easy deal with the telco. Saying his FTTN plan is "not a big positive but a mild positive for Telstra" might be an understatement. You can easily imagine Thody, Murdoch and Turnbull on each other's speed dial.

    Question is, will the punters see through the scam and vote for the NBN? Only if the government gets off its hinds and sells it.

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    1. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Eamon Byrne

      If you vote for Labor's NBN you vote for a transfer of ownership of Australia's Telecommunication Backbone to a foreign and hostile power. A state owned or controlled entity. How clever.

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  14. Christopher Smith

    Contracts Manager

    My main concern on the NBN is the speed of its universal completion. When I look up my suburb it is not even on the programme, yet alone a target date. There is little point in having a super fast internet in some places and the rest of us have to wait 10 years to catch up. On that basis the Turnbull plan of FTTN is more attractive in that there will be a universal coverage far sooner and those that need the super fast can install it, at their cost.

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    1. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Christopher Smith

      Yep, it is the lesser of two evils. But would Turnball blanch at selling it lock stock and barrel to the highest (Chinese) bidder? I don't think so. He'd get plenty of pats on the back from so many pro PRC types in his electorate alone - let alone the pats his colleagues (and party treasurers) would receive. You do know that that the "National" in NBN doesn't refer to Australia as owner of the infrastructure? What do both partys have in common regards the so called NBN? Both are willing to sell Australia and Australians out during the sell off process.

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frank Moore

      "... the Turnbull plan of FTTN is more attractive in that there will be a universal coverage far sooner and those that need the super fast can install it, at their cost." There will always be places where fibre cannot go, so "universal coverage" is a pipe dream. The concern with the Coalition plan is that it will inevitably cost far, far more, while delivering far, far less.

      Doing the job well in the first place means getting workers and equipment to the job only once. That's the most expensive…

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    3. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      David, it has always been part of the Rudd / Conroy "plan" to sell off the NBN to the highest bidder...
      Didn't you know that?
      Isn't it amazing the relationship between (taxpayer funded) "information" campaigns and lack of imparted knowledge? ie The more of our dollars that they spend the more real, pertinent, crucial facts are hidden from the punters.
      And David, you did know that Comrade Conroy indignantly refused to rule out selling it to a communist dictatorship 2 elections ago?
      Because of the success of the misinformation campaign, including this blog's efforts, the polls have been tuned to accept some kind of "free" broadband.
      One more reason Turnbull is so popular with L Lefties.

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    4. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Frank Moore

      David, it has always been part of the Rudd / Conroy "plan" to sell off the NBN to the highest bidder...""

      Er,- where are some tangible proofs on that. - you know, something we can mull over - and given that from the outset it was meant to be a country building exercise, it seems doubtful Labor would sell it off as part of their agenda.

      Whereas Turnbull with his need for a technical NBN business linkage with the Chinese, well that's another matter. He's a firm advocate for selling anything, to anyone.

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    5. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Ask Emma, she'll explain it to you...
      But most spruikers don't want to talk about it.
      Google took a nanosecond to find this from http://www.dbcde.gov.au/broadband/national_broadband_network/nbn_legislative_framework

      NBN Companies Act

      The NBN Companies Act sets out key obligations that limit NBN Co Limited to, and focus it on, wholesale-only telecommunications.

      Amongst other things, the Act:

      limits NBN Co to operating as a wholesale-only telecommunications company in terms of the…

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    6. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Garry Baker

      So Garry didn't know and he's a researcher. David doesn't either. Both adding evidence about the effectiveness of misinformation/misdirection campaign that could only have been as successful as it has obviously been with the connivance of a compliant media.

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    7. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Thanks Frank - Well I did ask the question, and certainly have never done the legwork to establish the governments end game.

      More to the point, I've only ever studied the broad brush concepts for a NBN from a technical perspective with regard to our future needs - and soon concluded Turnbull's version was grossly deficient and shoved the costs back to consumers.

      However, his faster roll-out now makes sense. ie: Sell it off sooner - and given that he wants to work with the Peoples Republic of China, they would be his logical buyers. Since it is their hardware anyway .

      So the wildcard now is who will finally own our NBN

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    8. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Garry, don't be overly focused on Turnbull. Conroy said 2 elections ago that he was willing to sell the NBN to PRC. The Media failed to pick it up. (You know the fix is in, when highly newsworthy items mysteriously fail to theme in our media). In fact, the ABC proceeded to lose all recordings of Conroy's outburst. (Another example of how you can spend 1.1 billion dollars a year - and fail to get a reliable source of information.)
      Just contemplate the fact that a multi year, moon shot scaled infrastructure…

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    9. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frank Moore

      "Didn't you know that?" yes Frank, I did. Whatever gave you the impression that I didn't?

      As I said: "Remember when the public owned Telstra/Telecom/The PMG. Who sold that, along with the infrastructure? How well did that turn out? Will we never learn?" In other words, selling off infrastructure is a bad idea. Insane; a criminal betrayal.

      No matter who's doing it and to whom they're selling it.

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    10. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frank Moore

      "Only a Ruddster could support such madness." In telecommunications, a Keating started it, but it took a Howard to take it to an insane extreme. Both of the major parties share blame, but the worst excesses belong to the Right.

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    11. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      And how well is Telstra going atm David? With Australian Mum and Dad investors.

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    12. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      Only a Ruddster would run an existing Australian owned business out of one business, get taxpayers to fund a moon shot sized engineering project to take that business's place, with the immediate endgame of handing it on to minions from a communist regime...

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  15. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    $5,000 Reasons To Say No To The Node!
    Want to closely monitor your ageing parent?
    Find $5,000 first.
    Small business, want to cultivate a closer relationship with your customers?
    Find $5,000 First.
    And then hope your customers aren't poor, because they will need $5,000 too!
    $5,000 reasons to say no to the node, yes, it isn't all about Foxtel.

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    1. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to James Hill

      The $5,000 figure for fibre from the node to the premises is a best-case estimate. Ask someone to do a genuine costing; you won't be pleased.

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    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to David Boxall

      Now, David, you can surely tell that I am already displeased.
      So what do we call these conservatives?
      The bad "News" Bears?

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    3. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to James Hill

      What a joke argument. First you bs folks into thinking that something called an "NBN" is necessary, cost effective and do-able. Then you hide the fact that the Taxpayer is going to pay and pay and pay for your one-off folly. Then you enlist and pay for the tertiary sector to set up projects to prove why the import intensive lemon is needed. Carefully avoiding any mention of the fire sale to come. Where the whole thing flogged off to a nation that probably represents the worst threat to western civilisation…

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    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Getting a little bit hot under the collar there, Frank?
      Perhaps one of Tony's suppositories will help.
      Now, have you noticed which countries in the region with whom we wish to compete have the Fibre Optic Super Information Highway?
      South Korea already had it while Howard and co were bumbling away on telecommunications, selling and then protecting a private monopoly.
      And, and do you wish to deny ordinary people the benefits of vast computing power?
      Ever heard of supercomputers?
      They are out…

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    5. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to James Hill

      What on earth are you on mate?
      Human Genome project, South Korea, Supercomputers, and FTTN a defence issue? Sitting ducks... Are you? Sitting - on something atm James?
      Do you understand the relationship between dollars, tech and defence Jimbo?
      Last time I looked, the purchase price for a state of art Virginia Class Hunter Killer was $2 billion a pop. For something that sails for 35 years without refuelling, never having to come to the surface to breathe - as do our other Labor Stuffups - the…

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    6. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      So Tony's suppositories are not a cure for raving then?
      Beware the military industrial complex Frank.
      Or are you a bit like Bloody Mary who, after marrying her cousin, Philip II of Spain, thought defence was unnecessary, and let the English navy rot at anchor?
      Fast forward, and do you think the RN torpedo that took out the Admiral Belgrano couldn't deal with your Hunter Killer?
      Or are you like the LNP, huddling behind The New Brisbane Line as asylum seekers invade the entire seaboard of the Cape York Peninsula?
      Frank, you are coming across as just another, desperate, second rate colonial supplicant confusing sound and fury for real action.
      Struth mate!
      Do get a backbone, The NBN backbone!
      Say No to The Node Noddies!
      But who needs a Fibre optic knowledge connection when instead you can just absorb it all with Tony Abbott's new knowledge suppositories!
      The secret weapon of the 21st Century!

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    7. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Frank, it's clear you find the facts difficult to grasp. Perhaps this, from yesterday's Age newspaper http://www.theage.com.au/comment/with-hindsight-broadband-vision-will-become-clear-20130811-2rq4k.html will help:

      Kai Riemer
      Opinion Piece
      Fairfax
      August 12, 2013

      When shown a telephone in the 19th century, US President Rutherford
      Hayes reportedly said ''it's a great invention but who would want to
      use it anyway?'' In 1943, the chairman of IBM is said to have
      predicted that there would…

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    8. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      Gosh David, the Age has come up with an expert who supports blank cheque, debt, taxpayer bankrolled, money pit largesse via the good offices of a Labor Party Government,
      Dear me what a surprise!
      And you David have swallowed it whole - without any attempt to chew on it. The large number of inconsistencies and analogies that are conflated illogically to support a political position.
      Kai doesn't point to historical examples of White Elephants to illustrate his points. In fact he outlines why a…

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    9. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to James Hill

      James - your arguments are illogical and are technologically illiterate.

      And FYI - our Navy - not having the 2 examples of nuke powered hunter killers that the RN used to lock up their Argentinian opponents in port - are in fact closer in capability to the losing Argentinian forces than they are or were to the winning UK forces.

      Because of their lack of preparedness - thousands of Argentinians died - defenceless against a modern opposing service.

      The NBN - to be owned by the PRC - will grant a gateway to every significant commercial and military secret not already given up by the usual suspects.

      You are correct, it will prove to be the secret weapon (against Australia) of this century.

      To prove I'm wrong - simply ask the coalition and Labor for written policy evidence stating that the sale of the NBN will be restricted to Australian Shareholders - as it twas with Telstra...

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    10. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      You have nothing David, no facts and distorted logic.
      I critiqued the article you simply copied and pasted.
      Get your mind going!

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    11. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Frank Moore

      I see that you are still rattled and confused, Frank.
      So we can, temporarily?, discount your views on logic and technology.
      Corresponds, somewhat, to your expectations that the Coalition would ever respond to a request for a written policy.
      Frank, we don't have to prove you wrong.
      You have to prove yourself right.
      The coalition's defective communications proposals will send individual Australians blind into a perilous future.
      While you prattle on about the People's Liberation Army.
      Sad, when you can obviously do much better.

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    12. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frank Moore

      "The NBN - to be owned by the PRC - ...". Frank, you keep repeating that assertion, yet there's no evidence that the government would sell the infrastructure to China. Didn't they disqualify Huawei's hardware on the grounds of the company's links to the Chinese government? My recollection is that it's Turnbull who's keen to work with the Chinese on the Liberal's fraudband.

      Whatever your agenda is Frank, you don't promote it well with your increasingly strident and irrational rhetoric.

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    13. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frank Moore

      "James - your arguments are illogical and are technologically illiterate." Frank, your posts show a remarkable lack of technological literacy. I claim no qualifications, but I do have more experience than I would like. For example this, from the mid-1990s: http://mailman.anu.edu.au/pipermail/link/1996-June/024285.html

      The body of that message reads:
      I think my experiences as a moderately remote user of the POTS might provide a cogent example.

      The location: 14km from Cessnock in the Hunter…

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