Are They Lazy, Dishonest, or Just Incompetent?
I am absolutely fed up with continuing untrue statements by the ALP, in which they claim that the Coalition's plan for the National Broadband Network will deliver an inferior service. It's UNTRUE. It's a lazy, dishonest or stupid attempt to justify ENORMOUS over-expenditure on an essential infrastructure project. They are squandering your money, which could be better spent on education, health, housing, regional development, transport, etc.
No wonder that the ALP will not allow the publication of a cost/benefit analysis of their NBN Plan. They could never survive the public shame.
I am technically well-qualified to make these comments. Been there, done that, as an independent I.S.P.
Another Desperate ALP LIE!
I have received, in my mailbox, an ALP authorised card about NBN, saying "Liberal Lemon vs Labor's NBN". It claims that, with Liberal "you pay $5,000 or are left disconnected from Labor's NBN". For ALP, "connection to the NBN is free".
I strongly object to this deliberate attempt to mislead the Australian public.
A statement from Malcolm Turnbull, the Shadow Minister for Communications, reads "Under our plan you would have to pay a Retail Service Provider in order to have an active connection to the NBN but there would be no ‘fee’ payable to the NBN in order to have the connection made possible. "
In other words, the fee structure for internet access under the Coalition's NBN plan would be identical to that under the ALP scheme.
The NBN Numbers Don't Add Up!
The ALP's NBN Plan envisages a direct fibre connection to every client, wherever possible. This is currently, right now, the solution for existing multi-user client networks, such as schools, university colleges, hospitals, multi-storey commercial building etc. A single fibre has sufficient capacity to provide a fast service to many clients. The Coalition's NBN Plan for such multi-user client networks is identical to that of the ALP.
However, it is exceedingly wasteful of system capacity to provide a dedicated fibre connection to individual clients. It is also a very skilful and expensive operation (2 hours work by a highly-trained technician) to terminate a fibre connection into a hub, router or set-top box.
Instead, where the existing copper distribution network is available and is in good condition, the Coalition plans to install a single "hub", at each street corner, to distribute a broadband internet service to all domestic clients in the street. They will receive the same fast service as commercial clients on a multi-user local area network - fast enough for HD video streaming or for high quality video conferencing. No-one will need to have a trench dug in the garden. There will be no need to install a back-up battery in each house, to maintain an emergency telephone service during periods of power failure.
(Incidentally, Fibre-to-the-Hub is how the broadband service is being provided in the U.K. )
Once in the building, the broadband service is connected to the user's equipment by a LAN (local area network). Wired network interfaces originally operated at 10 Mbits/second, then at 100 Mbits/second, but have recently been upgraded to 1 Gbits/second. A new set of standards, using a special 4-pair Cat 6 cable or optical fibre, can operate at a speed of up to 10 Gbits/second, but you won't find the cable or routers on Ebay! The popular in-house Wireless Network tops out at a modest 300 Mbits/second, which is fast enough for most users.
So, the Coalition's undertaking to provide a 25 Gbits/second service to domestic clients is actually an overkill. Can we really afford to waste billions of dollars to act-out the ALP's dream of a totally-fibre network? Would we bank an athletics track in the belief that, one day, a sportsman will be able to run a mile in 1 minute? Ridiculous!
Outside the fibre distribution areas, both the ALP and the Coalition plans fall-back to fixed wireless, satellite, and point-to-point fixed link. Neither side can offer broadband with Capital city performance.
Both sides are a little nervous about TV broadcasting over the internet, but why would we bother? Broadcasting is essentially a one-way traffic, and is already provided very well by metropolitan TV transmitters and community repeaters. Cable TV is already available for those who are willing to pay for a wider choice of programmes. Every TV receiver now includes a PVR facility to pause and store programmes, or to record complete programmes for later viewing.
So, summing up, the Coalition's NBN plan satisfies all foreseeable future needs, over the lifetime of the network, with a reduced time for completion and reduced final cost. If we have money to spare, then it can be used to much better effect for education, health care or infrastructure development.
(If you would like to learn more about the international technology of broadband networks, then click here to access a Corning Broadband Technology Overview White Paper upon the subject. Corning is arguably the most competent participant in the industry.)
Years ago Desmond Morris, a zoologist, compared the human species with the other primates in a book entitled "The Naked Ape". He concluded that we are indeed animals, and that our genetic template ensures that we behave as animals.
It is the custom of social mammals to select a leader for the group, usually by a contest to determine the most capable and estimable candidate. When the combat is over, all members of the group unite to follow the leader. Most species select a male as leader, referred to as the "alpha male". Some species select a female leader.
As is the case for other animals , we expect that the leader will be intelligent, decisive, enterprising and socially motivated. As soon as a superior candidate emerges, the contest to select a new leader begins. Without leadership we have anarchy, and the social structure of the group collapses. All forms of government, whether we consider a republic, a monarchy, a council, or a co-operative or kibbutz, follow the same model. The most succesful and enduring groups are those which are led by the best qualified leaders.
Julia Gillard was an excellent leader, with good intentions, but did not exercise sufficient control of her subordinates. The result was the failure of very desirable initiatives, which were launched with great enthusiasm, but were inadequately planned and supervised. In financial planning, forecasting was poor and the allocation and control of expenditure was reckless. Wayne Swann was not the world's best treasurer. Public Service Department Heads did not undertake projects responsibly, and misused the "Westminster System" to transfer blame for poor performance to Ministers.
Kevin Rudd was an excellent choice as leader for Australia, but in his first term he was a little light in his social motivation. He has an elevated level of "need to achieve" and is inclined to drag his subordinates in his wake, rather than to enlist support for his decisions. He does not tolerate fools gladly, and has no time for those who do not share his work ethic. He must be more consultative. He must bring back budgetary control.
If he will emulate the animal world, by bringing unity into his divided party, then his Party will almost certainly prevail at the next election. At present, there are two Australian Labour Parties - those who support Rudd, and those who don't. It is political suicide to exclude half of the Party, many of the most talented, from the legislative process. United we stand, divided we fall.