PATRICIA EDGAR. Going Round the Twist with Telstra and the NBN Co

Cross posted from John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations

NBN Co claims their ‘focus remains strongly on improving customer experience on the network including a smooth connection to the network.’ In fact the experience is a fiasco.  

Bill Shorten says the dysfunctional NBN needs to lift its game, and under a Labor Government, the company will have to pay compensation to businesses and families who have been seriously inconvenienced by their incompetence. Appropriate standards and financial penalties would be determined in consultation with the ACCC, NBN, and other stakeholders.

We are told NBN installers missed more than 80,000 appointments in 2017and a report by the ombudsman in April this year found that complaints about the NBN increased 200% in the second half of 2017 to 22,827, most of which concerned service quality and delayed connections.

The installation partnership between NBN with Telstra as service provider requires the talents of Shaun Micallef and Charlie Pickering to make sense. It is impossible to work out who is responsible for the mess. The frustrations caused – when appointments are cancelled, missed and the ongoing harassment from Telstra callers who can’t understand Australian English, who cannot deviate from the script in front of them, and it seems, can’t keep accurate records from one call to the next – are enough to send someone round the twist. And of course you can never speak to the same person twice, if you can reach anyone at all.

My nightmare began November, 2017.

We own a holiday house at Anglesea where we require the internet to do our work. We have had an ADSL connection with Telstra which has cost $29.00 monthly over some years. Two years ago we began to receive letters insisting we must sign up to the NBN. I investigated the costs of connection and found the best deal I could get was $80.00 a month. When I queried this price, the Telstra salesman said, ‘Life was tough.’ So I waited. Late last year I was sent two threatening letters. The wiring would be removed from the street to the house if I didn’t sign up. So I did.

The ‘case manager’, who spoke from a place unknown, said three appointments were required; dates were not negotiable. Two modems arrived separately in the mail. I made myself available on the set date for the first appointment which went smoothly. The technician, a local from Anglesea, took the second modem and told me he had seen up to five sent to a house. Further appointments were set and dates were cancelled with no reasons given. The second appointment didn’t require entry to the house but the third took some time. Eventually we got a date confirmed which was meant to conclude the task. But no; that technician, who installed a small device, advised we would need a fourth appointment as Telstra had not done the work required for the phone connection.

Over six months later and through innumerable calls, when a script was read, and I had to repeat myself interminably – giving my name, DOB, being notified the call would be recorded for training purposes, then the history of the case reviewed – a date would be announced when I couldn’t be in Anglesea. Such a deviation from the script – as saying there would be no one in the house on the stated date – would stymie the caller and they would have to play music while they went off- line, into the Telstra morass, to find someone who could deal with this intractable client.

After several such calls, I suggested the local technician from the first job could be given access to the house to complete the work. That was not acceptable. That technician, who works for Telstra, tried to get the job, but he had no success either. Technicians are sent far and wide, rarely doing jobs in their home territory, as those allocating the jobs live in Woop Woop and don’t know their geography.

Then I received another threat: the service would be cancelled if I did not present on the day specified. I demanded my recorded discussions, where I railed about Telstra’s extraordinary inefficiency, be forwarded to management. I then got a call from a manager who could speak English. He would sort out a convenient date. But two days after that call, when I thought all was resolved, I got another call. The previous manager was ‘no longer with Telstra’ so I was required to go through the story again. I lost my cool, so another manager got involved and a ‘mutually agreeable’ date was set for the fourth appointment. I waited at Anglesea that day and the technician didn’t show up.

Meanwhile, we have been billed for the last four months for a phone connection we do not have. After an hour on the phone, we thought Telstra understood the problem, but the next bill was the same. A further call to Telstra uncovered the fact that our case had been lodged as a complaint. A manager needed to review the complaint, a process that takes weeks apparently.

This saga is to be continued…

A consumer has no chance of apportioning blame between the wholesaler and the retail internet provider. Both Telstra and the NBN companies seem to be unmanageable and both need a monumental shake up.solution; where to now?

Now, it seems Telstra could clean up its act by purging 8000 staff. Mr Penn says it will lead the way with the 5G mobile rollout, offer unlimited data free and split its infrastructure and retail operations. Who then would want the NBN? The government will undoubtedly write off its $74 billion tax-payer-funded loss-making misfortune and Telstra will possibly pick it up at a bargain price. Those of us who have been coerced in acquiring the Turnbull hybrid will need, when the projected roll-out is complete in 2020-22, to have all the old copper wiring replaced to ensure reliable broadband access.

Welcome to Turnbull’s innovation nation. What is it I am missing?

Patricia Edgar is a media sociologist and the producer of the television series Round the Twist

This entry was posted in Economics and public policy, Innovation, IT and Internet. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to PATRICIA EDGAR. Going Round the Twist with Telstra and the NBN Co

  1. Alan says:

    You misunderstand agility. When Turnbull talks agility he is talking about agile excuse-making, not agile service delivery. If only you would update your understanding of agility then all would be well.

  2. Ross says:

    As a last resort I suggest writing an old fashioned letter to Andrew Penn politely outlining your concerns. Not many people get worked up enough to sit down and write a letter to a CEO, it worked for me.
    Where I live Telstra and the NBN in the same sentence is considered a sick joke, the horror stories, especially from businesses, are legion.
    And sacking 25% of the Telstra workforce is going to fix this mess, really?
    Andrew Penn
    Office Of The CEO
    Locked Bag 5639
    Melbourne Vic 3001

  3. conrad says:

    “What is it I am missing?”

    Unlimited 5G doesn’t mean you will get decent speed — it has limited total bandwidth too, so you will simply get the same problems. Thus fixed lines will still have higher total bandwidth and be cheaper. Even now, for example, 4G probably has enough speed for most people (you could stream HD videos), except we don’t get the maximum possible speed due to network traffic.

    On a different note, where I live, I had the great experience of guys coming around to give me the NBN, installing it, and then telling me I had to change over in a year (which was okay, because my current connection is pretty average). After about 10 months, I rang my provider and there is no NBN service in my neighborhood, despite everyone seemingly having the cable. God knows what is really going on.

    • Around my neck of the woods it’s odd , they have done fixed wireless for a smallish outlying Village about 20 k away (and 20 k further from the main trunk lines) yet there is no sign of NBN in town.

      BTW What is harder to understand is the amount of fairly high density mixed commercial-residential areas within 6 k of Martin Place that have still not been done.

      Feel that eventually much of the spend on the NBN will have to be written – shifted to public debt. There’s no way that they can charge city areas enough to cover the costs of doing NBN in a rural town such as Braidwood -about 600 buildings about 90 k from anywhere . It probably would have been better to ,leave the cities to the market to sort out and have had a straight out publy funded cross-subsidy for regional and remote areas.

      • conrad says:

        I totally agree — if they charged enough to get their money back, presumably companies like TPG would just undercut them with their own network in high density places.

        • If they charged enough to get a reasonable return very few would (willingly) use it.
          Gather that currently around 20 percent or less of all NBN users account for the majority of the NBNs total volume of downloads and uploads.

  4. Graham Young says:

    The lesson here should be obvious. Grandiose schemes dreamed up by politicians on the back of a drinks coaster are always going to underperform against reality, and what private business would have done on a for-profit basis. She wants to blame Turnbull, but she should be blaming Rudd and the arrogance of central-planning.

  5. Moz of Yarramulla says:

    It’s interesting to compare this to Aotearoa, where central government issued a mandate to the infrastructure part of the former monopoly telco (Chorus) and after some token genuflections to the market (all hail the holy market!) it’s a Chorus project. Now they’re arguing about whether the gigabit rollout should be done while the basic 50Mbits rollout isn’t finished (Australia has taken the other approach, compromising quality and price to get faster delivery).

    This article has an amusing attempt by the (Labour) opposition to make the NBN look better than what NZ has. And it works, as long as you ignore the cost and connection speed. And rollout speed. And coverage*:

    We’ve all seen how much fun handing a natural monopoly over to the market is, and trying to create a competitive market in landlines comes down to just how much you’re willing to pay for duplicate infrastructure in order to make your point. The idea that two (or three, or…) copies of the NBN competing with each other can be cheaper than one copy … I struggle to understand how that would work.

    I suppose the obvious answer is like it does in the US – there are competing networks with strict geographic separation except in very high population density areas where duplication can be profitable. If you don’t like your local internet monopolist you’re free to move to somewhere with a different one.

    * I am reminded of “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

    • Moz
      Australia is almost thirty times the landmass of NZ ,but only has about 20 million more people -Comparisons are likely to be unhelpful.

      I guess the biggest , if only, of the NBN story is , if only Telstra had been split years ago.

      • Moz of Yarramulla says:

        Whereas the US has more people, so comparisons are also unhelpful? What we need is a country the same as Australia except for the single variable in question. Hmm.

        If we can’t learn from others I guess we have to learn from experience. If only that was a trait Australian voters valued in politicians.

        • Moz
          The Australian continent is quite unique: its a small country spread over vast distances.
          Its also the driest inhabited continent.
          Only a tiny fraction ( about 5%) of our soils are even vaguely arable by normal standards.
          An extraordinary percentage of the continents vegetation-ecosystems are dependent on wildfire to reproduce and also dependent on birds or bats for pollination.
          One of the main lessons of the past 200 years of is that what works fine in the US, the UK or in Europe dosn’t always work that well here.

        • Moz of Yarramulla says:

          But John, the other 80% of Australians live in a country about twice the size of NZ that has 4x the population. There are more people in Sydney than in NZ… but NZ spent less to get better broadband than Sydney has. By your argument it’s New Zealand that should be struggling to get broadband and the Brisneybourne conurbation should be upgrading their gigabit fibre to the home to something even better.

          Yes, getting broadband to the other 10% or 20% of Australians is an expensive exercise, involving satellites and racism. But note that I am talking about Australians not Australia. No-one cares whether a wombat burrow in the Tarkine has access to the internet (except possibly you). We care about whether the people up the way from that burrow have internet access.

  6. The NBN has recently published an analysis of individual usage rates for the just under 4 million premises that are connected:

    “The data showed that usage demands in April were very similar across our Fixed Line footprint regardless of the technology an end user was on.

    The first notable finding to come out of this research – which focused on usage across the month of April – was that across the total 3.7 million end-user premises on the nbn™ access network, median data consumption came in at 108GB while average consumption was 190GB for the month.
    When we drilled down into why the median was significantly lower than the average, we found an answer: just 14 per cent of end-user premises accounted for 50 per cent of total traffic across all nbn™ access network technologies.

    At one end of the scale we had one per cent of end-user premises download in excess of 1 Terabyte (TB) each a month.
    But blowing all of those away was Australia’s biggest downloader for April: a residential end-user premises on a 100/40Mbps retail plan who consumed a whopping 23.59TB of data in just one month. To put this in perspective, that is the equivalent of downloading about 5000 DVDs.”

    “These raw numbers paint an interesting profile of how much bandwidth Australians are using across the nbn™ access network. However, perhaps our most surprising finding was that – with the exception of our Fixed Wireless and Satellite access networks which are subject to capacity constraints – end users on HFC/FTTN/FTTP networks all had very similar usage demands, particularly on higher speed plans.”

    • Moz of Yarramulla says:

      We struggle to use more than about 400GB/mo despite having far better than NBN internet speeds. The problem is peak hour congestion, where it doesn’t matter how many people want to use the internet, our 100Mbits nominal can only deliver 50-80Mbits. Since we lack the desire to torrent our TV watching we are limited to what we can get when want to watch. That appears to be 400GB/mo. It did go up about 10% when our peak hour speed went from 40-60Mbits to the current 50-80.

      My theory is that if we had more speed we’d watch higher-def video, and possibly more of it (less time watching it buffer). The question of when we’d peak out is unanswerable (the political cost of getting the results would exceed any technical benefit of knowing).

      But there is also the problem that right now we can’t do some things that we’d like to do, at all. VR chat just doesn’t work without a consistent 20Mbits upload, and we only get that at unsociable hours. So… would we bother with VR if it worked? Ditto for a bunch of other things.

      • Moz
        Those NBN figures seem to indicate that something like 30% or more of those curently connected have for whatever reasons little need-use for it.
        For them opting out, shifting to cheaper ( even if inferior) 5G connections must in time be a real possibility and that raises the question: do we effectively place a tax on those opting out so as to subsidise the NBN? And that also raises the question: is any of this adding enough to net national productivity to justify the compulsory monopoly model?

      • Moz of Yarramulla says:

        I see it very differently: how do we regulate a natural monopoly to get the best outcome for everyone? Both the state-imposed “only Telecom is permitted to own POTS” and the free-market “we seem to have ended up with only Comcast providing internet access” have the same result: one provider, take it or leave it. Only a heavily regulated market can fragment that monopoly, and the cost of that appears to be uneven provision, poor service and extra cost (Canada and the UK, for example).

        You seem to think that it’s so obviously worth paying for multiple competing networks that we needn’t discuss it. But I really don’t see the advantage of a commercial competition model. As an engineer I can see some advantage to a robust, resilient set of semi-independent networks that might justify a degree of extra cost. Encouraging fibre + copper + radio as competing providers for example. But just having three equivalent sets of cables in the same trench in every street… what’s the point? Who benefits from that type of competition?

        The real irritation (to me) is when monopoly provision is overlaid with a confusopoly, the way electricity and cellphone “markets” have done. That’s almost the worst of both worlds, except that having multiple physical-layer networks plus a confusopoly has been used to show that a single physical layer provider is actually better.

        I don’t think anyone in government has the combination of brilliance and power to have done that deliberately, but it is a very effective demonstration of the problem of partial market approaches.

        • Moz
          It would have been better if we could have split Telstra.
          Is the NBN is a natural monopoly? that argument is I think not settled , yet.

          Point is the business model for the NBN was predicated on it becoming something that would attract private investors i.e return something like 5% and therefore (eventually) shift much or most of the build costs off the governments bottom line.

          BTW I hadn’t checked the NBN rollout map for sometime, they have now covered quite a bit of Sydney and Canberra or are in the active build stage ( but for some reason not the area near to the Sydney Technology park ). My town is slated for fiber to the curb by the end of next year.
          Of the people we know in Canberra the bigger issue is not speed , they are not big users of bandwidth, rather its the fact that all too often it dosn’t work at all.

      • Moz of Yarramulla says:

        Also “little need for it” and “don’t use much data” are unrelated statements. You definitely cannot take one as indicating the other.

        Especially these days when the government is increasingly requiring internet access as a condition of receiving services. To someone fit and able the choice “10 minutes online, an hour on the phone, or an hour or two visiting an office” is merely a trade-off between the value of your time and and the stupidity of the website. To someone with a disability the equation can easily be “an hour online, hope the NRS is working, or pay to get to an office and hope it’s accessible”. The fact they only use 100MB/mo is completely irrelevant, taking it away would kill some of them (look at the UK if you doubt the literal truth of that statement).

        At the more trivial level, my parents are in their 70’s and were reluctant adopters of even ADSL. They were pushed into that by my grandmother getting Skype :) But now that they have fibre they have gone from “internet is for seeing mum” to “what do you mean my video clip is still uploading? This is ridiculous”. Sure, it’s just an incessant stream of random gibberish but it means a lot to them that all of their family get to see the kitchen reno. And yes, at 4k because who has time to fiddle with tiny little settings somewhere in the four hundred sub-menus on a phone? They have *grandchildren* to WhatsBook and InstraTweet at. Last time I looked they were heading towards 1TB/mo between two people. We manage 400GB between 4 or 5.

        (actually, I kid: my mother has gone into some depth on the relative merits of various anti-social networks and which ones are best for different things).

        • Moz
          Am told that a lot of the people that Canberra-Goulburn Anglicare cares for don’t have a fixed line at all, the NBN is not that relevant for them . (and quite a few can’t afford both heating and eating, let alone the web)

        • Moz of Yarramulla says:

          Needs vary a lot across “the disabled” especially if you include “the elderly”. “the” monolithic {cough}. I’m somewhat aware of some of the variation thanks to a lot of blog-following and various friends. Stuff like the ever-stupid “that homeless person isn’t really poor, they have a smartphone” is hate speech*, to give one example.

          One person I know who’s now in a wheelchair despite a PhD (who’d have thought that that intelligence isn’t a protective factor for MS?) tells me, with vigor, that the only thing worse that the horrible, horrible mess of variously accessible government websites is being condemned to visit a Centrelink office. And their disability is mostly “just” fine motor control.

          The government policies of enforced poverty are a somewhat unrelated problem, though.

          (* good luck crafting a definition of hate speech that doesn’t cover it)

          • Moz
            Regardless of the exact label it is not inline with the intention of the second great commandment.

            BTW it seems ridiculous, and wasteful for all ,that somebody with a condition like MS ,where diagnosis etc is pretty clear cut, has to on a regular basis ‘‘do anything much ‘ re Centrelink .

          • Moz of Yarramulla says:

            You do want regular reviews and updates so that when for example the local supplier of wheelchair transport ups their rates the increase in rebates happens promptly, but only for those affected. Or when the operational parameters change there’s a process that leads to “and we now cover your not-causally-related but necessary medication X”. Ideally there’d be an assigned case-worker somewhere so that “missed appointment” is noticed in time to find out “patient slipped off wheelchair and has been trapped in hallway” before it becomes “deceased was…”. But I digress.

            I hesitate to speculate, but I suspect that much of the work is part of a job-creation strategy. By regularly improving everything from the legislation to the office layout people are kept employed at a variety of levels. One feature of the ongoing improvement process is occasional changes in the specific details required from subjects of the various systems. Even just subtle changes in labels should be confirmed, so you want the not-medically-trained call-centre worker to confirm that NEHTA code 1234: Huntington-Barr Syndrome is the same disability that was previously listed as “Barr-Floyd Cryptogenesis Disorder”. It sounds stupid. But the alternative is that after a transcription error or two and the odd guess, now Centrelink believes they have Bovine Tuberculosis. So we want the confirmations. I say that even though it seems overwhelmingly more common that the random errors are in the direction of “not entitled to benefit”.

            • it can also have the flavour of Joseph Heller crossed with Kurt Gödel.

              In our town ,for many years our ecumenical community care society had an arrangement with the local RSL club re vouchers for hot showers for those in need. About two years ago the club received a phone call from a new unknown government office about 90 k from here wanting to set up a system for , vouchers for hot showers …
              About the same time that same new office defunded a community group in Queanbeyan that had for many years owned and operated housing for the homeless Etc and then funded a new organisation that nobody had even heard off.( I think that one was eventually sorted.)

        • A lot of people work pretty long hours these days.
          On a typical day they might catch news breakfast. Tend to get home at around 7pm (or later ). Then it’s cook eat dinner, feed the pet ,attend to emails and Skype OS biz contacts , and then maybe watch an hour of Netflix before, so to bed.
          For them surely it’s not really about the speed rather it’s the reliability of service that matters.

          • Moz of Yarramulla says:

            In general, yes, but there is a floor. That’s imposed as much by the content providers as any theoretical understanding of information transfer.

            One sad example is that the SMH and Age websites used to have excellent text-only versions of most of their stories but stopped updating those pages a few years ago. Checking now, it redirects to the “full” user page where 300 words turns into 160kB of text plus images and a video. So now you need a megabit/s or more just to read the daily newspaper in a day when even crappy dial-up used to be ample. Luckily it’s mostly inside script tags so I believe screen-readers still work (they like blind people as long as they’re rich enough to afford broadband).

            The website is, astonishingly, worse. The landing page is 8kB but after that they vomit half a megabyte of garbage onto every page and impose short time-outs, so if you don’t have at least fast ADSL you are SoL. I have mentioned this via their contact page but …

            • Moz would have thought that if I ,living in a nice turnip in the country ,have few problems re downloading the Fin, utube etc then it would be the same for most Australians? Am I wrong?

              • Moz of Yarramulla says:

                Most, sure, just like most Australians have annual incomes over $30,000.

                Read some of the NBN horror stories. There are parts of even newish suburbs where 10Mbits downloads are an aspirational goal.

                But I’ll be honest, I’ve always been able to choose to live where better internet is available, and been able to afford to pay a premium for it. Right here I could be on ADSL at 15-20Mbits and only pay $50/mo or so, but I pay twice that to get 100Mbits. When we were buying I was very keen to live in a FTTH area but we couldn’t afford to, but we equally couldn’t afford to live with ADSL because we both work from home at times. So my knowledge is largely media based rather than actually knowing anyone.

                • Moz

                  Unfortunately there are too many in my
                  community who have to choose between heating and eating.

                  I sincerely mean no offence but your concerns about the max downloads speeds of the top 20%
                  seems awful ,cold.

                • Moz of Yarramulla says:

                  So you’re suggesting we cancel the NBN and focus on ending poverty?

                  I wasn’t aware that this discussion was about that kind of heat-or-eat poverty, but you’ve brought it up twice now in response to “internet access is important”. So yeah, I guess first we end the Liberal party control of federal parliament (because they regard poverty as a useful tool “pour encourager les autres”…)

                  Personally I think the government should be capable of doing more than one thing at a time, and I aspire to the same thing. So I am simultaneously of the view that destroying the Great Barrier Reef is a dumb idea and a bad policy (that darn Liberal Party again), that ending poverty is something I’m willing to pay more tax to achieve (I vote and donate Green), and that there are far too many people in the world (the question is which pandemic will the the first to kill a billion people, not whether one will… barring some other catastrophe). But even while juggling those and a hundred other concerns, I still think that Australians should have access to decent internet, and that “can read a newspaper online” should not be the definition of broadband.

                  • Moz
                    Look the NBN was supposed to be off the budget -a profitable investment .
                    It’s not, therefore how much we spend must be weighed against other needs and priorities.
                    I simply can’t see the NBN as a pressing need benefit for the poor it seems to be of most benefit to the relatively well off.

                  • Moz of Yarramulla says:

                    I’d love to hear your views on the JSF then. You must be absolutely incandescent.

                    The decision that the NBN should make a loss was put to the electorate and they decided that that was what they wanted. As has become something of a cliche “Malcolm promised that the NBN would be an expensive failure and he’s going to keep that promise”. But then, this is the electorate that thinks genocide is a great idea and climate change is someone else’s problem. As Gareth Morgan said the other day “most of them are idiots”.

                    Of course this is politics, so whatever is actually delivered will be a “success” as measured by the government of the day, just as all political programs are – we “stopped the boats” (whatever the cost), we “supported our allies in Afghanistan” (modulo the collapse of civil society, a few war crimes, and the odd by of Nazi imagery), we “added a million jobs this year decade” (however precarious and low-paid).

  7. The NBB was conceptually ,intrinsically redistributive. But that doesn’t mean that the NBS is intrinsically progressive.

  8. Moz
    The comments thread is getting too squeezed.
    The NBN is a compromise – we are a democracy .
    Going of the NBN rollout map they have covered a lot of ground in the last two years.

    Going of what I have heard it seems that the Fttp to all (but a relatively few isolated premises ) would have cost and have taken way too long. And that because of the binding high $ contracts that were signed in the years before the 2013 change of government ,cancellation of the whole thing was not really an option. Least that is reportedly the argument that was presented to Abbott ( who reportedly wanted to can the whole thing ).

    Therefore some kind of ‘ near enough ‘ NBN became the result.

    Personally I cant really accept that a fttp NBN to all homes is progressively redistributive enough to justify spending say $60 billion or more of public money on it – there must be more efficient better targeted ways of improving the lives of the poor.
    Given that Australia is a net importer of IP -for example movies ,music, software and books and also buys a lot of general OS stuff online:
    Is it possible that the NBN might in time generate a lot more for the likes of Netflix, Facebook and other entities based in Luxembourg than it does for Australia?

    • Moz of Yarramulla says:

      Yes, just as our roads and schools do. Tax evasion by multinationals, including “australian” multinationals, is no reason to stab ourselves in the eye.

      The flip side is that decent broadband could be a competitive advantage, or worse, it could be the bare minimum needed to keep up. The thing about the internet is that it’s proven even less easy to predict than other infrastructure, and it removes scaling constraints in unexpected ways. Sure, the obvious stuff like outsourcing medical interpretation and exam marking can use selective allocation of broadband (both are downsides of broadband in that sense – we’re buying overseas IP/exporting jobs). But that also risks forcing the next great idea overseas before it goes anywhere, rather than making it an Australian idea that goes global. With poor access, though, we’re doomed to be buyers rather than sellers. And that goes right down the scale to stuff like the GGG sale… sure, it’s only $100M or so, but they also have 100-odd local staff and that’s likely to grow rather than shrink with the sale.

      You obviously see internet access as a nice to have, and faster internet is somewhat better than slower internet, but it’s not worth spending much money on. But if you think that no NBN, or a shitty NBN, is going to mean cheaper internet overall… I disagree with you there too. More likely it’ll be the existing confusopoly all over again. We’re already seeing competitive overbuilding, and the money for that has to come from somewhere.

      Whether the Australian political system is capable of rolling out a program as large as the NBN without completely screwing it up is I agree, an open question and the evidence is not great. Likewise the various questions about how vigorously we should punish the poor, both Australian and non. (Victoria slashing early childhood education in order to afford a new private prison would be hilarious as a Utopia episode but sadly it actually happened).

      • Moz I didn’t make the choice I’m not the government, and with all respect perhaps the reason why this particular and relatively small thing looks so big to you is because it’s the only thing you can see?

  9. rog says:

    You can lay the blame squarely at the feet of the govt, for selling off telstra. Had it remained in govt hands separation could have proceeded and fibre would have been quietly laid. But the attraction of the pot of cash, and offloading the rotten copper onto the public, was too great.

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