Conroy: Public NBN sentiments untarnished by criticism

Despite recent criticism of the NBN, public support continues to grow according to the Communications Minister.

Despite increasing amounts of criticism of the National Broadband Network (NBN) by industry figures, public opinion of the $36 billion remains high, according to Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Last week at the CommsDay Summit 2011, AAPT CEO, Paul Broad, Internode managing director, Simon Hackett and NextDC CEO, Bevan Slattery, spoke out against the NBN.

Slattery claimed the NBN is “turning toxic” since the Federal Government has backflipped on many promises related to the network’s operation.

iiNet and Internode had both raised concerns over anti-cherry picking laws since the provisions would hamper upgrade on existing high-speed networks.

But such criticisms have not dampened public sentiment for the NBN, according to Senator Conroy.

The Minister was attending the launch of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) NBN consumer guide.

“Public support continues to be strong for the NBN because most people recognise the existing service they are getting isn’t good enough,” he said.

“What wins the debate is people know their existing service isn’t up to scratch and can’t sustain what we use it for today and the future.”

Senator Conroy singled out Sydney as dancing to a “conservative drum beat” that only concentrates on anti-NBN messages.

“It’s not the same in the rest of the country,” he said.

The NBN has suffered a setback last week when it suspended a key tender process after accusing 14 construction firms of “price gouging”. There are fears this move will delay the network construction and add extra cost.

NBN Co construction head, Patrick Flannigan, resigned several days later.

Today, NBN Co announced the 12 ISPs participating in the NBN mainland trial.

Tags aaptCommsday Summit 2011telecocmmunicationsinternodeNational Broadband Network (NBN)nbn coSenator Stephen ConroyNextDCbroadband

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1 Comment

Francis

1

As a Sydneysider I resent the slur by Conroy on people like myself.
I actually embrace the ideals of an NBN and condemn the process by which Telstra was sold off. If the infrastructure arm of Telstra had remained in public ownership the NBN could have been built by "Telstra Infrastructure" as an evolutionary upgrade to our current copper and HFC networks. After all who would be better to build such a network than Telstra as they already had the skills and people to do the job, in fact it could be said to be in the DNA of the organisation. Instead we have NBN Co doing the job which carries all the risks and problems associated with building an organisation from scratch which does not have the experience in depth of carrying out such a task. It is also wasteful as you are building or duplicating an existing organisation.
My next problem with the NBN build is the apparent lack of transparency or at least a perception that to a great degree it is being planned or made up on the run. We are now well into the build and yet the enabeling legislation is still being brought before Parliament and in some cases still being changed. This should have been all sorted out long before one sod of soil was turned.
My final concern is that the Fibre Cable network is capable of very high speeds yet it is being throttled back to some ridiculous speed of 12 Gb/s which is roughly a Third of the speed I for currently get from my Telstra HFC Cable. WHY? It does not make sense. Instead of adding additional equipment and sophistication which comes at a cost why not let it run flat out and the speed be determined by the equipment at each end of the cable. If this is not practical then at least set the speed limit at a a realistic speed of say 100GB/s
Finally I am not at all comfortable with the overhead part of the build with the cable and hence the reliability being determined by environmental factors. For little extra cost the cable could be buried and thereby its reliability would be significantly enhanced and the service would then be more likely to be available in times of crisis. If this is at all in doubt then we only have to look at the findings of the Royal Commission into the recent Victorian bush fires which came out in favour of underground cables for this very reason.

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