NBN: cheaper, faster rollout but a lemon

Malcolm Turnbull unveils his NBN plan – warts and all

Yesterday the Federal Opposition released its policy on the National Broadband Network (NBN), replacing an earlier promise to scrap it entirely with a commitment to spending $30 billion on a boiled down version, which retains much of the old copper wire technology. The Opposition’s NBN solution involves a mix of technology, using ‘neighbourhood nodes’ which will then link to individual premises via the copper wire currently owned by Telstra. The $30 billion price tag for this scheme is close to the $37 billion claimed by the Gillard Government to be the real cost of its own NBN, which is currently being rolled out around the nation. But, argues the Federal Opposition, the Government’s claim of $37 billion is unrealistic, and the final cost will be $94 Billion.

“Based on what?” challenges Labor Minister, Stephen Conroy, who claims the Opposition spokesperson on Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, has called ‘a lie a fact’ with his prediction of this cost blowout. No substantial evidence of such a blowout has been forthcoming.

There does appear to be some consensus, however, with the general agreement by commentators that the Opposition’s scheme will be cheaper and achieve a faster rollout – but the connection speeds, via copper wire, will be much slower – about half the speed of the NBN which is currently being installed. The Coalition believes that the speeds offered by its scheme will be adequate for most households and if you want something faster, then you should be prepared to pay for it.

ABC Radio National

Yahoo calls Coalition plan a lemon

Malcolm Turnbull on ABC TV's 7.30 Report

Opinion: When any silly number will do

Remember the old game where your friends ran off while you counted to 10 and then shouted “I’m coming ready or not” and took off after them? Well the NBN argument feels a bit like this, perhaps best understood as ‘Pick a number and shout it out loud’. Or, ‘make any silly statement you wish, you’re unlikely to be challenged’. The claim by the Opposition that the NBN will cost $94 billion instead of $37 billion is simply a number, shouted out loud.

There has been a clamour, from the business sector in particular, for more investment in infrastructure. When compared with other OECD nations, Australia has fallen behind in productivity and captains of industry have declared that we need to invest in vital infrastructure to simply catch up, let alone streak ahead.

So here is a government that has recognised internet connection as vital infrastructure and done something about it. Sure, it hasn’t got the implementation underway with 100 per cent success. Yes, it is taking longer than planned. But given the fact that about 90 per cent of the nation now depends upon the internet to go about its daily business, it wasn’t a bad call to upgrade the network. Initially Tony Abbott denied the need for a more sophisticated national connection, declaring that Australia didn’t ‘need’ a NBN and that the money spent would be better invested in “our roads, our rail and our ports”. (It is ) “a white elephant on a massive scale … school halls on steroids”. 

So now we have about-face Numero Uno. Apparently the NBN is ‘too far gone’ to simply reverse and so the Coalition will almost match Labor’s investment, by pledging $30 billion to upgrade the nation’s internet connections. If this is sounding like Tweedledee and Tweedledum, it is and it isn’t. We do have recognition of the need for some form of NBN from both parties. But the technological solutions offered are different. Labor supports the newer fibre optic cables and the Coalition has gone for a mix of technologies depending upon the location and infrastructure already in place.

Malcolm Turnbull appeared on ABC TV’s 7.30 Report last night. Now most of us just wish this guy was heading up the Coalition as we wouldn’t have to think twice about who would be a good Prime Minister; the Abbott turnoff factor simply cannot be under-estimated. But even Malcolm-in-the-middle was squirming in his chair when questioned about the maths of his alternative NBN proposal. Asked repeatedly by 7.30 Report anchor, Leigh Sales, about the cost of maintenance of an old copper network, he was forced to say, “I haven’t got the actuals”. Asked what it would cost to lease the Telstra copper wire, he suggested that it would cost ‘nothing’ as this would be negotiated with Telstra. Good luck with that one, pal.

It got worse. Asked about dodgy connections and when the copper network would need to be replaced, Mr. Turnbull stated that ‘sensible decisions’ would need to be taken. Visions of Liberal electorates where ‘sensible decisions’ resulted in the upgrade of each and every stately home and Labor electorates where ‘sensible decisions’ were made to keep the old technology firmly in place, swam before my eyes like a bad dream.

But the worst was yet to come. Apparently ‘households’ would be adequately served by the slower speeds and those who wanted something faster would simply have to pay for it. This beggars belief on two levels.

Firstly, many ‘households’ are also small businesses. To assume that households need lower speeds than other premises is to misunderstand or willfully ignore the thousands of home-based businesses. But more importantly, to assume that there is an equal (economic) playing field, where those who want faster internet speeds are simply able to choose to pay for this privilege, displays a horribly antiquated silver spoon mentality where we are all ‘consumers’ who choose to opt in or out. There is also the argument that faster speeds simply aren’t possible with the current system, so even if you wish to pay, the service can’t be delivered

Get with the program, Malcolm. On the single Age Pension you are more than two grand behind the eightball before you start. You can barely afford your rent and energy bills, let alone a few extra thousand dollars to have sufficient access to the internet, just to allow you to trawl endlessly around the Centrelink site, searching in vain for the section on supplements.

What do you think? Is the Collation policy on an NBN better than that of the Gillard Government? Or is it a hybrid solution which is bound to fail?





    COMMENTS

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    Jen
    10th Apr 2013
    9:50am
    Couldn't agree more. This election in September has me very concerned on so many levels. Goodbye Australia as we know it. Hello 1950s. For those that disagree: wait and see.
    Maca1939
    10th Apr 2013
    12:31pm
    Agree fully those that think that this is the best for broadband need to look at other countries in the world and see how fantastic what is being implemented at the moment is the best for this country, this plan will put us behind for many many years and what about the money that is being spent at the moment come take things serious Abbott and Turnbull what next will you think of.
    alfie
    10th Apr 2013
    10:10am
    I agree that the opposition version is better because technology is changing so fast that to spend so much money on fibre optics when copper will do is senseless. The Wireless technology is being developed to a greater extent that optics or copper will be a thing of the past. Optics are also more expensive to repair. We already have offers in place where we pay for so many gigs and if we exceed the quota the system slows down. People take this offer because they don't use much of the internet and this option is cheaper. If you're a heavy Internet user and download a lot of data and need speed then you pay more...its fair enough. There is a choice. In labours plan it looks so grand because a lot of us are ignorant about technology and it sound/looks good but it won't be cheap for the users because of its cost... they say $37B...have we forgotten about the pink batts and the education revolution? So why is this any different? How quickly we change our minds when something that lusters is put in front of our faces. This is the worse government we ever had and instead of having a surplus we're $300B in debt and paying $7B in interst that can go to something else more important. Whether its the Greens , Abbott or whoever it may be will be a better choice than anyone else in this corrupt government. With this government we're already back in the 50's...debts galore.
    Drew
    10th Apr 2013
    10:17am
    You may be interested in reading about 'Super Wi-Fi' - http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/02/can-us-authorities-create-public-super-wi-fi-networks/

    From what I have read, we have enough spectrum available currently to get something like this up and running. Unfortunately, the current government has put the spectrum up for sale to any telco for around $3 billion.
    Tom Tank
    10th Apr 2013
    10:46am
    This reads more like a party political statement than a rational assessment of the situation.
    digiom
    10th Apr 2013
    2:01pm
    Having read the Super WI-Fi report, it would appear that Drew should be writing opinion pieces relating to the NBN as he is much more competent in this area. Maybe he is not as politically biased as he should be to qualify. To compare Australia with other OECD countries beggars belief. Have you looked at a world map recently to compare sizes and scopes of the countries?
    Paddles
    10th Apr 2013
    4:24pm
    Comments on what we have to this point.
    1. The original opinion piece was written by a leftie or Labor supporter and it shows.
    2. Tom Tank's appreciation of Alfie's contribution is spot-on.
    3. Digiom has almost touched on the point that is almost always overlooked when people bleat about deficiencies in Australia's infrastructure. If you are moved to make any sort of valid comparison to other first world countries, then I suggest you start with population densities. If you can't appreciate that term then think of the sheer magnitude of our land mass and then consider the number of taxpayers who are available to contribute to the many things which, by their very nature, are not so profitable as to attract private enterprise.
    Unlike (say) the USA, we must look to the state to supply railways, ports, postal services etc. I cannot begin to imagine when this situation will significantly change and the population growth predictions would put this so far into the future as to be meaningless.
    The other, and most important point that I would like to make is........"what do we truly need?" Most of us need a car but do we need a Rolls Royce to fill that role?
    IMO, what is proposed by the Coalition makes more sense in that, if you reallt want a Roller, then you can ante up the cash. If a Mini Minor will suffice for your needs, then....."do we have a deal for you".
    digiom
    11th Apr 2013
    2:37pm
    Paddles You have explained the situation beautifully. Well done.
    Anonymous
    11th Apr 2013
    5:45pm
    Paddles
    Your statement - "The other, and most important point that I would like to make is........"what do we truly need?" Most of us need a car but do we need a Rolls Royce to fill that role?" All of a sudden, you are sprouting what you call left doctrine, to justify your Liberal political parties pathetic internet proposal.

    That's all you got, if a few people don't need the supremely better and FREE system, then everyone else, including businesses, hospitals, universities, science institutes, schools, etc, etc should accept a second rate and antiquated $29 billion throw away item.

    .

    The NFN is substandard and antiquated before they even start and in five years it will need to be replaced as it cannot be upgraded. The whole thing needs to be DONE ALL OVER AGAIN.

    If you want to UPGRADE to a "diet" NBN you will have to PAY THOUSANDS to get fibre from the NODE to your residence, business, school.

    Are you willing to throw away a brilliant world class system, that is upgradable, that pays for itself (yes that is right-after the cost of it is repaid, it will even generate income by the year 2034), that is FREE to every residence, business, hospital, school, etc and exchange it for a $29billion throw away item.

    One more thing, NFNs 25Mpbs may be sufficient right now for many residential users but it most certainly will not be in five years.

    Computer technology, programs, etc are requiring more and more capacity and demand ever increasing speeds and capacity at ALL levels. This is for residential only, think about the greater needs of businesses, universities, hospitals, science facilities, etc

    Now think back five years and remember how little we required in internet speeds and what we put up with in regard to reliability. Go back any further than that and you start laughing.
    Beemee
    10th Apr 2013
    10:41am
    Isn't it like planning to build a 2 storey brick house and because of cost cutting, I end up with a single storey prefabricated house?
    Not good enough for the future of Australia.
    Take the time and do it right the first time, oh I forgot, none in our Government, past or present, have ever done that so that'll be a first.
    Its okay to say Yeah that'll do with our usual apathy. But when other countries do the impossible, to hell with the expense and go that extra mile, they are way ahead of us, whether cable/broadband, bridges, fast track trains, decent highways, etc, the list goes on and on.
    With technology, Australia is worse than a third world country.
    If Governments would stop throwing aid overseas, and throw some back into the country, and thereby create wealth, we could send aid overseas and possibly give more than we do now, plus we would be ahead or equal to the rest of the world in technology and infrastructure.
    Cyclamen
    10th Apr 2013
    10:58am
    Having been a sole supporting parent on one wage, I had to learn how to balance the household budget.
    Governments need to do the same. You can't put the country's expenses on the credit card.
    The cheaper version will work well.
    This technology may be superceded before long anyway!
    Beemee
    10th Apr 2013
    11:31am
    I think there are a lot of us who really do know how to budget and I agree the Govt could learn from us.
    The cheaper version may work but we will still pay exorbitantly for that privilege via ISP's. And if it is superseded, we are going to be paying twice for the same thing, and that I hate. Get it right first time or don't do it at all, because it is money wasted that can go to other things.
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    12:02pm
    Hi Cyclamen: From what we are told the NBN technology is "World's Best Technology" which could last for decades. It will be +8x faster than what we have today (same as Germany/U.K./United States). Comparison: Singapore/South Korea (aiming for 80x 1Gbps).
    I doubt the "cheaper version will do) a mix of the "old" and the "new" technology by Mr. Turnbull is already partly superseded.
    Anyhow, Elizabeth Farrelly in today's issue of "Business" SMH says:

    ..........."Copper, Fibre, Nodes, how do we know best? It will be many years before an experience-driven judgment can be passed on whether the Coalition or Labor's network proves superior. But, history and experience tells most of us that you get what you pay for and false economies can prove very costly....".

    She goes on to say neither party can be relied on with respect to cost and how long it will take to build as massive infrastructure projects like this one always run behind and cost more.
    ABC 7.30 asked Mr. Turnbull last night for an estimate of costs to maintain the portion of the Telstra copper network that it plans to retain (the bit from the node to the home) and he couldn't give figures, but today's Herald said that Analysts estimate the copper network sucks up $1 billion in maintenance.
    Think how long ago the Harbour Bridge was built and what the traffic on it would have been at the time (more pedestrians and horse and carts than vehicles). However, when it was built thought was given for future traffic and it's hard to comprehend at times what the early 1930's were like compared to supersonic speed ahead to the current year, 2013. Our beloved "CoatHanger" is still doing a good job but we now also have a Habour Tunnell too.
    Another drawback of making do with the "slow lane" Turnbull approach is we, as pensioners, certainly do not need the "fast lane" but so many businesses certainly do. Also, there is a trend for many people to work and run their businesses from the comfort of their homes, and I guess, they certainly need "the fast lane".
    We pensioners were brought up in completely different times when a penny and a pound had value. With increased immigration i.e. legal immigrants, settlement of genuine asylum seekers, temporary seasonal workers, tourists etc. all of whom use "modern communications" we don't need to be the laughing stock of the rest of the world with antiquated communications equipment. We are ahead of the world in so many endeavours, and we shouldn't sit back and make do with a "that's good enough" attitude.

    Would you believe that in 1956 my family wrote a letter to our relatives in Australia to let them know that we would be telephoning them in a month's time with some important news. We booked the call and it took three days of attempts (several hours apart) by us in the U.K. and our relatives in Australia, before we actually spoke to our relatives to advise them that the following year, 1957, we would be coming to live permanently in Australia. What we experienced in every day life here at that time was at least ten years behind events in the U.K. and they were still recovering from the after-effects of WWII.
    What progress we have made (and should continue to do so) and what a great country Australia is to live in, work in and play in.
    Ozetwo
    10th Apr 2013
    11:19am
    The Opposition's idea is akin to having an eight lane super highway from the city to your suburb and then a rutted dirt single lane track from the start of your suburb to your door. Malcolm Turnbull looked embarrassed in announcing the plan and then avoiding questions from the stunned audience. If this is the standard of thought that they have put into other, yet to be announced, policies, God help Australia.
    Beemee
    10th Apr 2013
    11:32am
    Agreed!
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    12:42pm
    Ozetwo: Agree - SMH indicated Abbott/Turnbull were there to talk "Copper" not "Gold". NBN LABOR versus NBN COALITION =

    Labor : Biggest strengths: World's best technology which could last for decades.
    Coalition : Biggest strengths: Offers a "good enough"(?) alternative cheaper and sooner.

    Labor : Biggest Weaknesses: Costs $17 billion more than Coalition's version and is slower to build.
    Coalition : Biggest Weaknesses: Relies on "ageing" copper network which could cost billions to maintain doesn't take into account cost of maintenance of such.

    Labor's version: Fast Broadband/Coverage for 9 out of 10 Australians 100Mbps.
    Coalition's version: All Australians will have it UNEQUALLY: 71% 25Mbps; 7% UPTO 25Mbps and 22% 100Mbps. Mr. Turnbull said: ....."Those who want the fastest speeds possible under Labor's plan can still buy them from us, if they want to spend a "few thousand dollars.......". Well put, tongue in cheek, silver spoon in mouth.

    What I can't understand is the attitude of Abbott/Turnbull wanting an inferior slower product when this country's BUSINESS WORLD needs "FASTER" broadband and the COALITION is the business world's "intended government of choice"??

    BUT, then again, I can understand because the Coalition is in Opposition and it is their given right and duty to "oppose" everything the Government puts forward.
    seth
    10th Apr 2013
    11:27am
    There has always been opposition to progress, the NBN is not exempt, if any notice had been taken of the opposition to many projects carried out we would still be riding horses. putting in a cheaper liberal version is ridiculous, the copper wire Abbott and thumbal want to retain costs a billion dollars a year to maintainl now. and will eventually have to be replaced at the homeowners expense.
    Beemee
    10th Apr 2013
    11:35am
    Totally agree. Have one question, when I asked my ISP who has Telstra as the carrier about faster speeds, they said that what I get was the best the copper lines could carry? If that is the case, I see many more millions going to keep the copper lines in good working order, in the end we will pay much more than the original cable if it had been done right.
    Typical of Govts giving with one hand, changing their minds, and taking it back with the other.
    Its the norm I have come to expect.
    AmandaR
    10th Apr 2013
    11:56am
    We have been told the same thing Beemee. Our service is dreadful and the only option for improvement of our situation is the NBN. There are probably about 400-500 houses in my immediate area affected by the same poor quality. About 60% of them are young families and I don't see them being too happy with an antiquated system and no real alternate to improve our service.
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    1:35pm
    Hi Beemee: Under the current government's policy, Telstra's copper network will progressively be retired as the NBN's fibre optic cable is rolled out. The current government's NBN set-up is already underway and some families are already connected. If we change the government in September, we are going to end up with a "PATCHWORK QUILT". LABOR's current NBN already partly installed will be stalled until the COALITION re-negotiate's with Telstra for it's three-part" version CABLE/COPPER/FIBRE NODES".
    If the current NBN has gone through Parliament has been approved by both houses and the independents etc. lets just go with the current model. All this swapping and changing only makes these mammoth projects more expensive in the long run with the people opposing it saying "I told you so".
    alfie
    10th Apr 2013
    11:40am
    God help Australia now... with this government with their grand ideas that we can't afford. First put the money into stopping corruption and then we will have more money to spend and match the other countries with their fast trains, etc, etc... have you ever wondered why government projects cost so much to do even though others can do it cheaper? They have their regular contractors doing the job... it makes you wonder why things just cost so much such as putting up a signs or warning lights in school etc... The cost is just unbelievable and you wonder where does the rest of the money go. This NBN is no different.. This governemnt shoots like a shotgun hoping that a pellet will hit something. They keep throwing projects at us and hope that one of them, like the NBN, will attact the voters...it will also make them look like they are doing something for the country but in reality are wasting our money...NOT THEIRS....remember the $300B in debt. Thanks to their explosive useless projects.
    AmandaR
    10th Apr 2013
    11:46am
    Couldn't agree more, the Coalition proposal is an inferior alternative. The turnaround from Abbott denying the need for NBN to accepting that something does in fact need to be done, is head spinning. Abbott and Turnbull looked uncomfortable and, dare I say it, incompetent, when they were explaining the proposal and fielding questions about their inferior model. It was cringe worthy.
    Beglen
    10th Apr 2013
    11:52am
    How many decades ago was the telephone only available on the "party-line"? If we are forced to have the Abbott/Turnbull option for our computer communications it would be like returning to the "good-old-days"
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    1:39pm
    Agree see my comments above about trying to make a phone call from the U.K. to Australia in 1956. It took my family (U.K.) and our relatives (OZ) three days and nights to communicate.
    annagalvin
    10th Apr 2013
    11:55am
    Why, in this country, do we always settle for 2nd best? The railway line through Victoria to the NSW border was repaired. Costs were cut on the foundations of the track so when we got lots of rain sink holes appeared. As a result it was dug up and done again obviously costing more than if it had been done in the first place. Fibre to the home is the most efficient way of delivering fast internet access. Under the coalition policy individual homes and businesses can opt to pay for fibre to the home. How is it cheaper to maintain a legecy copper infastructure ($1billion a year maintenance) and dig up streets from the node to the individual homes as they elect to pay for the fibre to the premises rather than doing all the connections at once. Let's not forget that the coalition policy will also result in rural and remote areas paying more. Political short term gain is at the heart of the coalition policy and not the long term good of the nation.
    AmandaR
    10th Apr 2013
    12:05pm
    It is Coalition policy - user pays. You want Education? Health? Services? Sure, you can have it, but you will have to pay for it yourself - after they have taken your taxes if course.
    Beemee
    10th Apr 2013
    12:39pm
    I totally agree annagalvin, why do we have to settle for second best. Why not stick to the original plan but extend the time for its completion? It would cost more in the long run, but also because there isn't a short time frame, it wouldn't be such a huge drag on our taxes to pay for it. Example: I would rather pay 10% of my money per week for its completion than 90% to have it done in half the time.
    Jen
    11th Apr 2013
    2:13pm
    Well put, AmandaR.
    Pass the Ductape
    12th Apr 2013
    5:56am
    I don't think we like to settle for second best annagalvin, but in many cases we have to. Unfortunately, we need to work within the parameters of what, as a country, we can afford. Australia is a big country but has a tiny population in comparison to countries of similar size, therefore the ratio of expenditure per person in Australia to accommodate something as costly as the NBN, is going to be a lot higher than it would be in another country with a much greater population - all things being equal.
    Boof
    10th Apr 2013
    12:04pm
    The Government has done a lot more in it's current term than given credit. The Coalition has been disgracefully puerile, in blocking every move that was good for Australia. ( Malaysia ie. For the Boats Maybe. But wasn't tested ). Let's see what the Coalition can do after September, running around with their heads up their bums. I think, it will not be good for the average people. Pollies have had more money at their disposal than ever before in history via the GST. Without the normal taxes on everything.
    nightie
    10th Apr 2013
    1:20pm
    Could it be that the Coalition is in Opposition and that is what an Opposition does, hold the government to account. $100,000.00 a year for every refugee processed by Australia. $20,000.00 per year for single pensioners, who fought in WWII, were depression babies, and worked hard for the benefits that all Australians now enjoy.
    This government got a country debt free, now it is mortgaged to the hilt.
    ARMO
    10th Apr 2013
    12:49pm
    Totally agree with your statement, Tom Tank! The article is heavily biased and light on substance. I love the understatement of "sure it hasn't got implementation up to 100% success" - oh, the joy of spin! I think most of this news letter readers will be dead before Conroy's broad band is in place. And those that manage to hang in there will not be able to afford the monthly cost anyway. I suggest the author of this article read what Grahame Lynch and Ian Martin, both certainly far more qualified than 'Kaye' have to say and how the two plans compare.
    Tom Tank
    11th Apr 2013
    9:23am
    My comment was directed at Alfie's contribution which was all political and without any substance with regard to the matter under discussion.
    Anonymous
    11th Apr 2013
    5:56pm
    ARMO

    Weird, you think it okay for the OPPOSITION to spend $29billion on a throw away item???

    But not for the GOVERNMENT to spend $37billion on a top quality technology that benefits Australia as a whole, is FREE to every household, is upgradable and therefore useful for many, many years, PAYS FOR ITSELF and then GENERATES INCOME by around about 2034 - yes, that is right, the $37billion costs is recouped and put back into the coffers!

    I can see ABSOLUTELY NO REASON why we should not have NBN, it is ALL GOOD. Whereas, the NFN (oppositions plan) is a joke and means that in five years the whole substandard and pathetic system needs to be done all over again. Hence, the $29billion is a throw away item.

    You are okay with throwing away $29billion?????
    nightie
    10th Apr 2013
    1:16pm
    I think that $4bn blowout to $90bn leaves more of a bad taste. And nothing is clear on the costs to households because of this change to high speed broadband. The Labour Party has got this incredibly wrong. How is it that the cost has increased by so much to what was so called originally quoted.
    Beemee
    10th Apr 2013
    1:30pm
    I think it has to do with the old joke..
    $1 for you and $2 for me.
    $1 for you and $3 for me and so on.
    Dipping with sticky fingers in the pot where every man and his dog in Govt want their piece of the action.
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    2:08pm
    Nightie: It depends who you listen to regarding the "blow-out". All we ever seem to hear is cost cost cost but no comparison to product product product. I know we rely on these pollies telling us the "truth" but they do exagerate it somewhat.

    TODAY's SMH COMPARISON:
    Labor Cost $37.4 billion - World's best technology reaches 9 out of 10 Ozzie homes at 8x faster speed than today but costs more, and not completed until 2021.
    Coalition Cost: $20.4 billion - Offers a "good enough" alternative cheaper but has a "patchwork quilt effect" i.e. three different speeds the best being 2x the current speed with two years sooner completion i.e. 2019.

    Coalition policy hasn't taken into account maintenance of the "old" cable which is estimated at $1 billion per annum. ABC 7.30 last evening asked the same question of Mr. Turnbull and he said: "It is somewhere between neutral and mildly positive for Telstra shareholders and they have nothing to fear from our approach"... NOTE: I commented last week that when a Politician tells us that we have nothing to fear .... that's when I start worrying. My antennae is up.

    Labor's product is far superior with the same speed 8x today's speed to 9 out of 10 Australian Homes.

    We will be the laughing stock of the world with a 2x todays speed Coalition outcome when we are currently aiming for 8x today's speed along with countries such as the U.K./Germany/U.S.A. Singapore and South Korea are aiming for 80x - this is not a typo error, definitely 80x - i.e. 1Gbps). See front page SMH today.
    Boof
    10th Apr 2013
    1:30pm
    Nightie. I don't think that you'vve ever been in business. Sometimes one has to have deficit, to improve the overall picture. It is not a permanent thing. If you lived in America, you would be worried. They have a "Bill" in the Trillions of Dollars, but they will be O.K. eventually.
    Jurassicgeek
    10th Apr 2013
    1:30pm
    As a recent NBN customer I am glad it it happening. We have a satellite service that is way better than the old system. Abbott should think twice about his "NBN" and let the current system be completed..
    As far as Abbot for Prime Minister?? naaaaaah sorry
    If you vote for Abbott because you hate Gillard it's like eating shit sandwiches because you hate spinach!...
    Ozetwo
    10th Apr 2013
    1:59pm
    I am going to pinch that last line, Jurassic
    seth
    10th Apr 2013
    2:03pm
    EXACTLY..... i can only imagine the taste, although some I've eaten haven't tasted too good.
    UNCLE FESTER
    10th Apr 2013
    1:41pm
    There is no question that fibre is faster and will be of great benefit to small business and others who want to access it and, as I understand the coalition policy, they can access it if they pay the connection from "the node". I do not need the fast speeds that fibre will give me so I will not need to spend money I cannot afford in order to get it. If I feel I want it later I can pay for it. The government is not giving me a choice I will pay for it through taxes (subsidising those that need it to grow their business and can afford it). I can understand the young want it as it will enable them to play the games that they want or download music and films but there are many older Australians like me that use the internet in a more limited way and can operate satisfactorily at the speeds we get now. I am fed up being told what is best for me without being asked - at least I will be able to register my view in September.
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    3:25pm
    Labor's NBN broadband will give access to 9 out of 10 homes, Australia-wide with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY.
    Not sure what happens if we end up with the Coalition's slower and cheaper fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) with a mix of technologies and our Opposition can't tell us how much it will cost us to maintain the existing ageing "cable" portion, but Telstra says it is currently costing $1 billion p.a.

    The media says the estimated monthly 'WHOLESALE" price for the NBN is currently $29.95 per month (2013) but the Coalition indicates their "WHOLESALE" price will be $38 in 2021 compared with the Labor "WHOLESALE" price of $62 per month. It will be interesting in 2021 when the wholesaler puts his price up and the retailer puts his price up!!
    I tend not to believe either of them as far as estimating costs go. They are both just guessing, something like this, such a big project, always runs behind schedule and over cost regardless of which party's policy it is.

    I note you indicate that you don't need it, but if you do later the Coalition (Mr. Turnbull) says: QUOTE: "Those who want the fastest speeds possible under Labor's plan can still buy them if they want to spend a "few thousand dollars" extra. UNQUOTE. This quote in today's SMH. I certainly wont be able to find a few thousand dollars extra.
    As you realise this is a Labor Government initiative and it was a policy of Kevin Rudd's to roll out the NBN if elected. A hung parliament for Gillard/Abbott ensured the NBN continued under the Gillard government because when the 2-3 weeks of negotiating with the Independents was complete, Tony Windsor was one of the Independents that gave his vote to Labor to ensure the NBN was rolled out to the advantage of his country electorate and other country electorates who current cannot get broadband and/or have very pool internet connections.

    What I can't understand with policy making politicians/parties is that they huff and puff about "whatever it is" and oppose "whatever it is" and the policy then goes before both houses, is accepted by all concerned and legislated and put into action. The NBN is already being rolled out, the ones that already have it seem happy with it, so how about Turnbull and Conroy forget about the bickering and let the NBN roll along. Lets dig our teeth into the next lot of "policies" and "opposing" policies. If Turnbull's 2019 "good enough" offer is anything to go by, we pensioners/taxpayers have a lot of analysing to do before voting.
    Anonymous
    11th Apr 2013
    6:02pm
    Not true FESTER.... you receive a superior system which benefits the whole of Australia, not just your self BUT you and everyone receive it FREE. The cost of the NBN is self funding and the loan acquired from taxpayers funds will be repaid and then the NBN will generate income. ALL GOOD, don't you agree.

    The Opposition's plan (NFN) which costs nearly the same amount of money as the NBN, is substandard and antiquated and if you want a 'diet' NBN you will have to PAY THOUSANDS to get fibre from the node to your residence, business, hospital, university, schools, etc. To upgrade the oppositions NFN, the whole process will have to be done AGAIN, hence the NFN becomes a 'throw away item' with a very big price tag. ALL BAD, don't you agree.
    seth
    10th Apr 2013
    1:56pm
    I just think that ABBOTT is up to his usual ranting and playing politics, opposing everything for the sake of opposing, when I heard turn bull muttering about tax payers money, as if politicians really care about taxpayers money, if the did, they wouldn't wrought the system like eg abbott and charity ride expenses. irrespective of politics the NBN can only benefit Australia, unlike warmongering.
    ozimarco
    10th Apr 2013
    2:12pm
    The network the Coalition are proposing does not deserve to be called the NBN. Labor's NBN is designed to deliver fibre to the home to 93% of the population. It's designed to give Australians, wherever they are, whether they are rich or poor, affordable access to a superfast network for the next 50 to 100 years. It is upgradable, unlike a fibre to the node network, which is limited by the capacity of the copper going to the customer's premises. FTTN has built-in obsolescence. By the time it is rolled out, it will barely be coping with our needs. Within a few years of its completion, we'll be wondering why we didn't spend the extra few billion and went with FTTH. When you factor in the cost of maintaining the copper, estimated at one billion dollars per year, and the cost of power for the street cabinets (nodes), you will soon see that the Coalition's plan does not really deliver any savings at all.
    The NBN is an investment in our future that will not only make some money for the government but will pay huge dividends for health, education, business, etc.
    The Coalition's plan will entrench Telstra's domination of the market. It will deliver fibre to those who can afford $5000 or so to get connected (Labor's is free) and it will maintain the cost difference between city and country. All bad news.
    The aim of Labor's NBN is to provide a ubiquitous wholesale network, promote competition on the retail level, assure uniform pricing wherever you live, supply free connection during the rollout period.
    Let's do it once and do it right!!
    Say no to the Coalition's LEMONBN!
    MITZY
    10th Apr 2013
    3:51pm
    Ozimarco - excellent - well put - eloquent sufficiency, as they said in the good old days. It answered one of my queries that if you didn't connect during roll out what would be the cost at a later stage.
    MarciaO
    10th Apr 2013
    2:17pm
    I'm out in the country, and would give anything to have a decent service - even a little box at the end of the street where I could choose how much I could afford to pay (and I'm not in a business now) and as someone rightly said, technology is moving faster and faster - who knows what will be available in 12 months time?? I'll be dead and buried before I see a cable being laid in my tiny town...
    Innyoo
    10th Apr 2013
    2:44pm
    I think the Coalition (Liberal, Country) idea is great, for country people 25 as compared to what we have now (1-6) sounds wonderful, who needs 100 ?? and getting that through in a couple years, instead of on the never never sounds even better, and having a cap with competition is a sensible way of pricing it. If we need higher speed 10 years from now, the base will be there to expand. love it.. innyoo.
    ozimarco
    10th Apr 2013
    3:19pm
    Good luck with getting it in a couple of years. Don't forget they have to their CBAs first, then negotiate with Telstra. You know how long it took NBN to get 'this' rollout up and running. Well, now they're going to have to restructure everything to accommodate the new plan. Not an easy task when you realise how enormous the scale of the project is. If you're lucky, you'll get it a bit faster than you would have received the NBN. Eventually, in about ten years' time, the network will not be able to cope and we'll have to spend much more money again to go to FTTH. But now the customer will be paying for the connection instead of NBNCo. Big difference (in the order of $5000)!
    elf42
    10th Apr 2013
    2:59pm
    what if the current copper wire fails continually now?
    Surely we should be thinking past what we need today, rather what will benefit Australia in the future
    justme
    10th Apr 2013
    3:25pm
    one point that doesn't get too much publicity is the fact that super fast downloads speeds are sometimes limited by the upload speed or how "fast" providers release there downloads. They can and do control there upload speed to manage there internet costs.
    Jenny
    10th Apr 2013
    3:56pm
    How silly do they think we are???? If anyone buys this, you need your HEAD read!!! Why don,t we go back to washing and reusing ALL the hospital bandages!!! That is HOW ABSURD this is.The Tesltra copper network is SO outdated and continually breaks down. We had our phones lines down in Adelaide for over 3 weeks at a time quite regularly. They were so BAD we had to have Cable internet. Now over here in NSW we cannot get ADSL because of poor quality lines. So you TELL me how I am going to get internet and millions of others too, if we have the Libs plan????? The sad thing is people will vote for this and not even think about what it will do to others. This will set Australia back BIG TIME?
    !
    Colours
    10th Apr 2013
    4:05pm
    Could someone sit Tony Abbott down and explain stuff like "The Internet" and "Climate Change"? Use small words and speak slowly.
    smithjj
    10th Apr 2013
    4:15pm
    A typical left wing hater, aren't you.Try reasoned argument instead of brainless insults.
    seth
    10th Apr 2013
    4:18pm
    Why don't you repeat that to your right wing circus, ceaseless since beaten by a women.
    smithjj
    10th Apr 2013
    4:37pm
    Seth. If you had been paying attention to Question Time in Parliament you would have observed which side of the house the insults were coming from. Lead by your precious Julia when she had no reasoned arguments to put forward.
    Colours
    10th Apr 2013
    4:55pm
    You know nothing about me, smithjj, so your comments are in fact the brainless ones. Abbott is an oaf and a bully and will set Australia back 50 years.
    smithjj
    10th Apr 2013
    5:04pm
    And I suppose you said the same thing about Howard before voting for your present bunch of incompetents.
    seth
    10th Apr 2013
    5:23pm
    smithjj where have you been the last 3 years your beloved leader and pyne have lied so often and so full of insults to all to further their personal agenda, even a riveted on liberal, unless blind, can see through their drongo leader.
    smithjj
    10th Apr 2013
    4:11pm
    Rather than waste time replying to yet another fatuous anti Coalition diatribe by our resident left wing ideologue (Kaye Fallick) I suggest anyone wanting a common sense view of Turnbull's NBN proposal should read Ian Martin's opinion piece in today's Australian.
    ozimarco
    10th Apr 2013
    5:32pm
    Don't you know that Murdoch is the NBN's enemy no.1. The very reason he is supporting the Coalition is because he doesn't want Labor's FTTH NBN to go ahead, It would do enormous damage to Foxtel and to Murdoch's income. The Australian, one of Murdoch's papers, has been on an anti-NBN crusade from day one. So I suggest that, if you want to read anything approximating the truth about the NBN, you give The Australian a wide berth.
    It is sad that we need to engage this discussion about what is the best network for Australia for this century and beyond along partisan political lines. The Coalition should be aiming to roll out the NBN quicker and at less cost, if possible, but not this way, by trading in a perfectly good system for a vastly inferior one.
    AmandaR
    10th Apr 2013
    4:11pm
    I have spent a bit of time today checking out various forums across the interwebs and the consensus seems to be that the Coalition will lose votes over this. Phewwww
    smithjj
    10th Apr 2013
    4:44pm
    Unfortunately this is probably quite true, by reading some of the above comments it can be seen that many people will be taken in by Conroy's spin rather than make any effort to ascertain the facts.
    Anonymous
    11th Apr 2013
    7:11am
    Goody, goody goody! Time for them to face the public and reveal what other policies they have on their agenda. They might lose even more votes :)
    Colours
    10th Apr 2013
    4:38pm
    Ah, The Australian. The home of the fatuous pro-Coalition diatribe.
    Jen
    11th Apr 2013
    2:07pm
    Dead right there!
    ozimarco
    10th Apr 2013
    4:43pm
    An advantage of Labor's plan is that we can get rid of the outdated copper and won't have to spend any more money on maintaining and replacing it. It will be pulled out of the ground and relegated to the dustbin of history. We have had a fantastic run out of copper. Now it's fibre's turn. The Coalition is trying to get a few more miles out of the old horse but at what price? The beauty of fibre is that it is almost infinitely upgradable to get faster and faster speeds. You can't do that when the last mile is copper.
    With FTTP, you are guaranteed to get the speed you pay for. With FTTN, it depends on your distance from the street cabinet, the condition of your copper, etc.
    Why should we spend $30B on a lemon when, for a few extra billion, we can get the real deal?
    smithjj
    10th Apr 2013
    4:54pm
    If by a few billion you mean 100 billion or so and are prepared to wait another 10 years you may get there but in the meantime the technology will have moved on. Haven't you noticed that the demand is for mobility and therefore wireless.
    AmandaR
    10th Apr 2013
    5:15pm
    What will the technology move on to? What is in the horizon that will deliver better quality broadband than fibre? Wireless? I am sorry, but wireless is dependent on favourable geographic and weather conditions. It constantly frustrates me that I pay the same fee for my lousy mobile service as friends pay for their excellent service using the same provider. The only difference is they are a suburb away, clear of the surrounding hills. I don't get a discount because my access is inferior.
    Jenny
    10th Apr 2013
    7:27pm
    Yes wireless is all we have and we pay through the nose, so that is not the answer. Internet is a very important part of my life. I am hearing impaired and moved , and when I moved had few friends. I think people need to realise how important this technology is for peoples health and wellbeing. For many isolated people it is a LIFELINE.
    Anonymous
    11th Apr 2013
    8:50pm
    smithjj
    better the best, even if it costs a lot more, than a 'throw away' $29billion that will be strewn with problems BEFORE it is even started.

    The government NBN, even IF it cost more the COST is RECOUPED, just takes a bit longer to recoup, it is UPGRADABLE, it is FREE to ALL Australians, all businesses, all hospitals, all schools and universities, etc., it is INNOVATIVE and puts Australia on the cutting edge.

    Any installation problems the government NBN is having will be just as bad if not worse for the opposition's NFN.

    Costing of the opposition's NFN is really not verified. PLUS, you have to remember that the cost of maintaining and repairing the copper network will be close to $1b a year some of which us mugs will have to pay!

    Such stupidity from the opposition, Turnbull knows its bulldust but what can he do! All to please one particular media mogul. The opposition, once again, have misjudged the intelligence and ability of the Australian people to get info from the internet. They thought they just needed to treat us like mushrooms by keeping us in the dark and feeding us bulldust and that one particular media mogul would do that for them.

    A new round of GFC is on its way and you want these clowns to look after Australia.... after they showing that they are prepared to BLOW $29billion on a 'throw away' NFN, just to please one of their powerful mates.
    MAC22
    10th Apr 2013
    5:32pm
    How do we know that fibre is infinitely upgradable for the future of faster speeds? And if this is true, at what price we will be charged in the future? Also, why do we wish to compete with the rest of the world re fast connection speeds? Reminds me of the "tortise and the hare" proverb, where the tortise wins. I, personally don't like the large costs involved in either of these options as we are so far in debt now. Would any of the people making comments, ever allow your home budgets, or businesses for that matter run into such large debts, that have occurred in times past? No sooner would we upgrade, than another much better option is then discovered, and people will want to take that one up as well. When are we ever going to be satisfied with what we have, and balance our budgets and keep us in the black as a the wonderful country that we are. Sure progress and competition is good, however, at what cost to our nation?
    Golfer
    10th Apr 2013
    10:15pm
    Labor will be defeated at the polls in September.
    I hope the new government rethinks its network strategy because the NBN strategy is far superior.

    NBN will however cost around twice its original estimate when it is fully implemented.....the Gillard government knows that already but is too embarrassed to admit it.
    geomac
    10th Apr 2013
    11:51pm
    The thing is the NBN will be ours and will pay for itself . The fact that the libs have tried to better their broadband plan from 2010 shows they realise what they were offering was rubbish . Unfortunately their more expensive plan is still a lemon compared the the NBN . Personally I would be happy just to have reliable broadband without paying for phone rental that I don,t need . I don,t ned the phone but I need the line for ADSL .
    Jenny
    11th Apr 2013
    8:10am
    I totally AGREE with you geomac!! I just want to be ABLE to access broadband. At the moment it is unavailable. So the Libs plan is TOTALLY USELESS!!!
    Abby
    11th Apr 2013
    8:46am
    Geoff
    Why not go wirelesss ??? Are you on the schedule when NBN will be available to you - 10 years is a long time to wait.

    The company is now expected to equip between 190,000 and 220,000 premises with fibre by the end of June, compared with the 341,000 promised.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/telecommunications/nbn-rollout-firm-loses-its-head/story-fn4iyzsr-1226615272048
    geomac
    11th Apr 2013
    11:58am
    2013/14 Abby so near yet so far lol

    11th Apr 2013
    5:41pm
    The NFN (oppositions plan) is simply a $29 billion throw away item.

    The NFN is substandard and antiquated before they even start and in five years it will need to be replaced as it cannot be upgraded. The whole thing needs to be DONE ALL OVER AGAIN.

    If you want to UPGRADE to a "diet" NBN you will have to PAY THOUSANDS to get fibre from the NODE to your residence, business, school.

    Are you willing to throw away a brilliant world class system, that is upgradable, that pays for itself (yes that is right-after the cost of it is repaid, it will even generate income by the year 2034), that is FREE to every residence, business, hospital, school, etc and exchange it for a $29billion throw away item.

    One more thing, NFNs 25Mpbs may be sufficient right now for many residential users but it most certainly will not be in five years.

    Computer technology, programs, etc are requiring more and more capacity and demand ever increasing speeds and capacity at ALL levels. This is for residential only, think about the greater needs of businesses, universities, hospitals, science facilities, etc

    Now think back five years and remember how little we required in internet speeds and what we put up with in regard to reliability. Go back any further than that and you start laughing.
    Golfer
    11th Apr 2013
    9:25pm
    Sadly there is a great deal of misinformation and misinterpretation surrounding the NBN.
    Some of you think it will be free to all and sundry.
    Some think it will eventually pay for itself. It can only do that if it's NOT free.
    Some believe it's the bees knees and will help us all. Have a guess how many mobile phones there are in Australia 5 million, 7 million or more than 12 million? Whilst signals are RS in many regional and some suburbs rest assured that issue will be addressed sooner than you think!
    Talk about improving technologies - look at where wireless is going .... Onward and upward at unbelievable speed. Why have fibre when one day very soon we will all have mobile phones and tablets.
    Labors NBN is shortsighted, costly, technologically inept and you and I will be paying for it forever.
    geomac
    11th Apr 2013
    9:58pm
    Your the only person I can think of that reckons some people think the NBN is free . Where did you get that impression , some obscure site unknown to the rest of us ? You should brain up on broadband and wireless regarding the NBN . In many cases wireless piggybacks on broadband much the same as a wifi base station powers a home network . Another point to consider is that the more you use wireless for data the more it is choked for users ie dropouts . So you think tablets will be in common usage in hospitals , schools , supermarkets , factories etc ? Ever wonder why they chain biros to the desk in banks Gra ?
    Now considering Telstra was a good revenue raiser for the govt. before it was flogged off why do you think another monopoly like the NBN would be any different . Admittedly its wholesale only but the only wholesaler and Telstra is happy to have it that way because its copper network is in its death throes . The NBN has saved Telstra shareholders from its low share price of a year ago . Landline use is dropping over 10% a year .
    geomac
    12th Apr 2013
    12:31am
    The Age letters today
    A happy NBN family

    Our household of four has had the NBN fibre since January 2012 when it was installed in our part of Brunswick. It replaced our phone and internet service that was previously on ADSL2+. The installation took a while - but Telstra was the subcontractor. My average monthly cost has dropped from $177 to $100 for all phone and internet (no line rental now).

    Also, the service speed - I chose a 50 megabyte per second plan - is fantastic and much much faster than before. We have at least six devices that can be connected simultaneously via a wireless home network, including seamless streaming of video content direct to our television. Who know what we will need in 10 years? However, it certainly will not be copper wires.

    John Edgoose, Brunswick
    Anonymous
    12th Apr 2013
    12:37am
    Excellent geomac

    There is nothing more to say, really.
    Jen
    12th Apr 2013
    9:09am
    Thanks geomac for speaking up as one who has experience with this widely misunderstood service.
    geomac
    12th Apr 2013
    3:02pm
    Jen
    That letter was plucked from the Age and I thought someone who had experienced the NBN would be of value to the topic . I,m about a year away from getting NBN , Latrobe Valley .
    Jen
    12th Apr 2013
    3:13pm
    Oh sorry geomac, I didn't see the bit at the top - sped ridding again. But the letter was definitely of value, though it may not receive much recognition here. ;)
    Pass the Ductape
    12th Apr 2013
    6:26am
    What is really amazing is the way the term 'billion' is being bandied around in all this. It now seems the word simply rolls off the tongue so easily - for everyone. I cannot begin to imagine what a million dollars might look like, let alone a billion. My God - we're talking about spending such huge amounts of money on this thing, it's unimaginable. We're currently talking about ninety-four thousand million dollars, ($94,000,000,000). We all know that judging from past experiences, this figure is a stab in the dark, so the final cost is likely to be double that figure - and for what? I know the NBN will provide certain benefits to a few, but In simple terms, the majority of us will pay an enormous amount only to make faster contact with someone, download a movie or play video games. This kind of money could fix the health system, probably cure cancer, and provide a host of other benefits we could do with right now.
    Sylvia
    12th Apr 2013
    10:11am
    When it comes to spending vast amounts of our money, we should put politics aside, have a panel of independant experts put forward recommendations, and then when we go to the polls, tick a box for or against more outlay on this when we have had time to look at the facts. We can't trust either party to decide, so lets all have a say,
    too much of our money at stake here. To my mind,best to go with the best we can afford, take in all the pros and cons, and then decide, thats democracy? HaHa
    Jenny
    12th Apr 2013
    1:15pm
    Unfortunately Sylvia. many older Australians have NO idea about all this. It is NOT about money. it is ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE and the next 100 years. If the Sydney Harbour bridge was built under those conditions, It would be 1 lane or worse still, not even exist!! Our country had great pioneers who put in great infrastructure YEARS ago. When was the last time Government did that???? We desperately need the next lot of pioneers!!!

    12th Apr 2013
    12:41pm
    The copper landline network is over 100 yrs old. Anyone who thinks we should still be using this system in the 21st Century Internet Age lives in la-la land.
    Fibre optic cable will NOT become obsolete within 5 yrs. It has massive data-transmission ability that will be of benefit to every living Australian for the next 100 yrs.
    The NBN will result in improved health care to every Australian, improved communications between businesses, consumers, Govt, Govt agencies, and law enforcement.
    Speed of communication and access to databases, is a vital part of our world today. It reduces the amount of travel required.
    Fully 80% of businesses interviewed recently, state that the NBN system as envisaged by Labor, will improve their productivity and their profit levels.
    Malcolm Turnbull is a banker. His sole understanding and the driver of his outlook is vast profits - for him, and for his business mates.
    A Liberal Govt will immediately privatise the NBN and its installation, and a select number of business mates of the Liberals and Malcolm Turnbull will make vast profits out of supplying a vastly inferior communications network, that will be in private hands.
    Based on Turnbulls outlook, the vast project known as the Snowy Scheme should have been handed over to a private business - so that it could have been built with a lesser number of dams, providing a smaller amount of electricity generated - and so that the private business running the Snowy could have made enduring large profits for its privileged shareholders, and $50M annual renumeration for its CEO.
    Jenny
    12th Apr 2013
    1:07pm
    VERY well put and SO true!!
    Jen
    12th Apr 2013
    1:48pm
    I wish the Labour Party could promote it's own NBN as well as you have, Aaron. I think promoting its policies and plans has been this Government's biggest failure. Instead people believe the more bellicose and strident negativity of the Coalition.
    MAC22
    14th Apr 2013
    11:32am
    What a great amount of controversial contributions entered this far on the NBN network. Although we all love and find the need for faster speeds re the Internet and all technology, one might think that we have desired these without having the monies to outlay for them. Pensioners of all levels, will generally be unable to pay for any kind of upgrade, and need the current technology that is available at present. Granted businesses and technology itself will require continual upgrades as time goes on, but they should have the monies to do so. Our current generation of peoples just appear to me at times to be greedy for everything new, faster, and more convenient to themselves, whether they be in business or very well off. What of others? Some people resent a person receiving the pension or even their increases, and generally are unaware of how the other half live and survive on their govt benefits. Personally, my budget is such that I don't ever go into debt, as I am a believer in if I don't have it, then I go without the luxury item or desire. I am very much alarmed when I see our governments of the past and currently, go into extraordinary debts, that generally one cannot imagine, possibly bankrupting our country, as we don't have enough population wealthy enough to bail ourselves out, and commit more of our peoples to becoming homeless, penniless, and the inevitability of mental illness continually occurring. Instead of fighting with each other over politics etc, stand up and be counted for all our peoples and support each other and empathise with our differences, politically or otherwise. "All for one and one for all!!!!"
    geomac
    14th Apr 2013
    12:02pm
    MAC22
    Pensioners have nothing to pay with the Labor NBN roll out or the libnat plan for slower and inefficient part NBN plan . Norway with a population of 7 million has a wealth fund of some six hundred billion funded by its oil and gas . We have a future fund to fund public service super liabalities . Our wealth from minerals etc goes overseas in the main . Over 80% of mining is foreign owned .
    BrianP
    15th Apr 2013
    1:07pm
    Judging by the huge number of comments, this underlines the need for a bigger issue to be resolved: Namely, both major parties are losing their grip on managing the nation. There needs to be a fundamental appraisal of how to steer our Aussie society in the best direction. It's a biggy, but we're going downhill otherwise.


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