PM plays blame game with NBN

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pointed the finger at NBN Co and the telcos.

PM plays blame game with NBN

In the latest round of finger pointing and blame sharing for the failures of the National Broadband network, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pointed the finger at NBN Co and the telcos while once again defending the network's technology.

"[NBN Co has] got to improve the installation experience. That's a people management, a process management issue. And they're getting on top of that," Mr Turnbull said in an interview with 3AW's Neil Mitchell.

"People are being told by the telecom retailers that they're going to get speeds which are not being delivered at peak times. And we've got a number of changes to ensure that that problem doesn't continue," said Mr Turnbull.

"We are restructuring it to make it more transparent so that people will know that, if they're not getting the right deal, it is a Telstra or an Optus or a TPG problem."

Mr Turnbull's statements are similar to those expressed last month by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) who accused the telecommunication companies of advertising unrealistic speeds to sell their NBN services.

Mr Turnbull also took the time to dispel a few myths about where Australia actually sat in the world in regard to internet speeds, suggesting recent reports showing Australia was outside the top 50 in the world were not correct. The widely reported rankings show a country such as Kenya sitting above Australia, even though only about 1.5 per cent of the population have and can afford the internet, compared to a 90 per cent figure in Australia.

What do you think? Should the Federal Government be held responsible for the failures of NBN Co and telcos or is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull right to pass the buck?



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    Not a Bludger
    11th Oct 2017
    The NBN is a Fed government creation (albeit by socialist Kevin Rudd) and the Fed’s continued with it - hence it is their responsibility to mastermind the very necessary major modifications.

    At minimum, they should immediately cease compulsory connections and leave us free to use the existing, very good Telstra BigPond cable (which we have had for 20 odd years) or the like.

    That this flawed technology is both significantly slower (and highly speed variable) and more expensive than the existing system which is also being switched off is an appalling indictment.

    Fix the technology, then install, I say.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    11th Oct 2017
    Rudd was as much a "socialist" as TurnBULL is a 'national socialist'
    Tom Tank
    11th Oct 2017
    Rudd's concept was much superior to Turnbull's which is a hybrid system. Any system is only as good as it's weakest link and Turnbull's NBN has a serious weak link.
    The telcos are doing what they has always done which is to confuse consumers with plans that are not directly comparable so a reasoned decision is nigh on impossible to make.
    The thing that offends me is that there is no choice we MUST connect to the NBN which is surely a contradiction of Liberal Party ideology which espouses free enterprise competition.
    11th Oct 2017
    Nothing wrong with socialists. Socialism gave us Medicare...
    11th Oct 2017
    I live in a home park. Although the NBN is provided the park, it is distributed from the main office to the rest of the community,,,BY BLOODY COPPER WIRE!.. of course we don't get nbn speeds... but does it matter? its inexpensive..and sometimes its nice to be forced to slow down a little which websites load at about the same as the old adsl 2 connections.
    That's fast enough anyway....if you need faster speed go for a mobile modem system and pay through the nose for it.
    11th Oct 2017
    why not ask the communications minister of the time -Oh wait is he not PM now.How could he admit to it being a stuff up.
    11th Oct 2017
    Gillard started a NBN fibre to the curb, which would have very good, but the Liberals under Abbott, had to change it because he could not go ahead with a Labour project and instead changed it to Fibre to the Node, which he claimed would be cheaper and better, Well Fibre to the Node was a complete failure, so since it was changed by the Liberal Gov, YES TURNBULL is now responsible. Fix it Mr Turnbull
    11th Oct 2017
    Abbott may have been PM, but it was Turnbull who was Communications Minister. I can still clearly remember him saying 'Copper? Not a problem. It will not affect speeds. Not a problem'. It will probably take billions to fix this problem. Maybe TurnBULL should donate some of his millions to fixing the mess he created.
    11th Oct 2017
    Spot on Mike - the blame well and truly lies with Turnbull and Abbott.
    11th Oct 2017
    It's Labor, not "Labour" (which is the British party).
    Big Kev
    12th Oct 2017
    Actually it was Fibre to the Home not the curb. Fibre to the curb was Josh frydenberg's musings for which he got slapped down quickly because they can't admit the Libs are wrong. I live in an area that has gone from homes to many units. Copper Cabling is split many times to provide service to clients. The FTTN approach didn't allow for this but expected full thickness cabling and then would still provide high speeds at low usage times.
    11th Oct 2017
    I have just had the NBN connected, so far it's been pretty good, the speed we are getting is definitely quicker than we had with adsl 2 the cost is cheaper by a few dollars, but now we have unlimited internet, not that I needed it, the one thing I don't like about the new system is the telephone, if you lose your internet you also lose your telephone, I know there are steps you can take to avoid this, I just find it an annoyance. Comparing Australia to other countries speed and coverage is a bit unfair, we live in a vast country with a relatively small population, I think the previous government promised something that was not achievable and now everyone is up in arms, I have no problems with the speeds I have, but I am not running a buisness from home, I don't know if it is possible for people who do need faster speeds to get a different connection than the average user which would give them the increased speed they need, they might have to pay extra, If they are running a buisness that could be included in their running costs.
    11th Oct 2017
    We have just moved into a house and 18 days later we are still not connected to the internet and after 15 calls to Telstra still do not know if there is a cable in the street or not. Its a Sydney suburb 20ks from the CBD so not exactly a country outpost. Is it 2017 or 1917 ?
    Waiting to retire at 70
    11th Oct 2017
    On "The Business" last night the head of NBN admitted the 25mb download rates (the median) 'will NOT be acceptable by 2020' - the year they will finally deliver this infrastructure. Funny that he's 'proud' of delivering $50 billion+ outcome that CANNOT deliver required download rates in the same year.

    The Coalition pledged $29.5 billion for the project, but the last budget saw this increase to $49 billion+ (66% increase). Ahh ... we can trust the figures a 'businessman' like Malcolm Turncoat proffers as he has 'experience in commerce". NOT! He was an investment banker, like those who gave us the GFC ... what else can you expect - 'couldn't lie straight in bed!'

    "It was revealed ... that Mr Turnbull owns shares in France Telecom, which plans to connect 60 per cent of French households to fibre by 2020." Yet he stuck us with defective, dilapidated, unmaintained, certainly not innovative/agile, copper connection for Australian households.

    We have come to expect "this is rank hypocrisy by Mr Turnbull''.

    He "lock[ed] Australians into an inferior broadband network, while investing to future-proof France's digital economy.'' Traitor
    11th Oct 2017
    Malcolm Turnbull should accept responsibility for the problems with the NBN. Governments seem to think that all they have to is implement and that's it but they forget to monitor the process or progress of those who are given the job of implementation. I shudder to think if they sign off on the Adani project and then ignore the problems that this Company is going to create; the problems of the NBN will fade into insignificance. Edwin Pope

    11th Oct 2017
    The NBN is a private wholesale company which has been tasked to roll out the network. They, in turn, onsell to retail telcos such as Optus, Telstra, TPG and others. The public purchases the broadband off the retailers who are the ones who advertise the speeds and prices. As the general public has no dealings with the NBN Co, I can't see where any blame can be laid at the feet of the NBN Co as regards price and speed.

    We transferred to the NBN through Telstra although we were not given any choice of speed. We were given an estimated speed of 25mbps as against the ADSL2 speed of about 8mbps. A check from time to time shows that the speed we actually achieve is between 22mbps and 24mbps which is fast enough for our needs. One aspect of the NBN with which I don't agree is the compulsory transfer of the phone even though a computer is not a part of the existing phone system. This, in my opinion, will affect elderly people who have no wish to own a PC and is too dictatorial.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    11th Oct 2017
    It's ADSL2+ which will get you UP TO 24mbps.

    Whilst ADSL2 will only get you UP TO 12mbps.

    Both of these are capability levels ("maximums" if you like). If you are getting between 22mbps and 24mbps, it's likely to be ADSL2+, which is a great outcome. Unfortunately, that isn't the case for the majority of Australian users of ADSL2+. Which is why the Telecommunications Ombudsman is requiring ISP's to publish measure more reflective of actual experiences. The current figues are neither averages nor medians ... oh don't we wish they were.

    Also what is not great is average no. of people in an Australian household stands at 2.6. To illustrate what this means to an internet service to a household, it would see the average speed being between 8.5mbps and 9.25mbps per person, given perfect transmission conditions. This will not sustain the majority of internet users from the completion of the roll out of the NBN in 2020.

    Having copper as the last leg of communication into the home is like taking a motorway during peak hour. It may have a speed limit of 80 to 100 kms but it's average during peak is around 25 kph - it doesn't have the 'bandwidth' to handle the volume. Ditto with cooper, IT DOESN'T HAVE THE BANDWIDTH. The traffic from your local exchange to the FTTN box will be way faster that the last 400 metres from there to your home - fortunately two-thirds of households will be within 400 metres of their local FTTN box on the street.
    Tom Tank
    11th Oct 2017
    The blame lies with Turnbull and Abbott due to their inability to accept that Labor could start a project that would be successful.
    They stuffed up with the system and the NBN Co have to carry out what the politicians have created, or should that read stuffed up.
    Sorry Old Man if this seems like an attack on your political idols but it is the facts.
    11th Oct 2017
    Another fiasco courtesy of the LNP, who blame anyone and anything for their own stuff-ups, like the Census and the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey. Trouble is, when they point the finger of blame at others, three fingers are pointing back at them. Inept governance!
    11th Oct 2017
    My son moved into my granny flat, which has it's on phone line connected.

    That was over 2 years ago, & he still can not get a phone line, or internet connection. The local exchange is overloaded with some hundreds waiting for a land line. It will not be upgraded he has been told, until the NBN comes through.

    When will that be, perhaps god knows, but Telecom & the NBN company have no idea, [or if they do, they won't admit it].

    Personally I always wished Rudd had never been born, & now so does my son.
    11th Oct 2017
    No good blaming Kevin Rudd this whole debacle can be laid at Malcolm Turnbull's feet and also Tony Abbott.
    12th Oct 2017
    We are into the second term of the LNP government. Rudd has absolutely nothing to do with the decisions Abbott and Turnbull have made. Write to your local member and the ACCC and complain to them.

    After two years I suggest looking into a mobile phone and a dongle. He may need a satellite connection depending where you live but most places now have towers and you can connect through them.

    Alphabet/Apple plan to build a satellite web and when it is up fast connections will be possible without the NBN. My bet is the Wifi grid will be finished well before the NBN is completed and make it obsolete.
    Travelling Man
    11th Oct 2017
    Malcolm and the ACCC are blaming the telcos for "advertising unrealistic speeds to sell their NBN services". As usual our out of touch PM misses the point. The problem is the universal dissatisfaction by internet users with the slow speed of the NBN. Unless his government emulates Bill Shorten and makes a firm commitment to upgrade the Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technology to Fibre to the Kerb (FTTC) with an option to further upgrade to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) he has Buckley's chance to win the next election.
    11th Oct 2017
    It seems to me that whilst there is no doubt the NBN is in danger of becoming a very expensive white elephant, people are heaping blame on the wrong organisation. The Telcos selling the connection packages are undoubtedly guilding the lily advertising packages with speed they know they cannot deliver. Why can't they deliver? Because they are not purchasing enough bandwidth from NBN so they will never be able to accommodate or service the contracts they have sold. Then the issues are compounded by each blaming the other (Telcos vs NBN) while the customer waits offline!
    ex PS
    11th Oct 2017
    KSS, and who is providing the inferior product? If someone gives you lemons to sell, you can only sell lemons, it doesn't matter what you call them a lemon will always be a lemon.
    11th Oct 2017
    Mal screwed it up and isn't taking the responsibility .... No surprises there.
    11th Oct 2017
    Techno Mal is now telling people to switch off their heating/cooling during peak times so they might earn $25( whilst sweltering or freezing to death). Next thing he will be telling old people to be agile and run around in circles to keep warm.
    11th Oct 2017
    No Brissiegirl Mr Turnbull is NOT saying that at all. AGL is and Energy Australia is thinking about it. Doesn't bother me I don't have aircon! Bet I don't get a rebate for not having it though.

    And actually staying agile is the best medicine for everyone regardless of age or infirmity!
    11th Oct 2017
    Sorry KSS but the news tonight stated that that is exactly what the government is asking people and business to do, I think you have to sign up for it though and let your provider know so they can monitor when you turn the power off.

    Ditto to your last sentence KSS, use it or lose it so they say.
    11th Oct 2017
    We were one of the early cities to get NBN. When I consider our experience with NBN and I compare it to the NBN which was changed to suit Mr Turnbull's ideas I wonder where the man is coming from. We have high speeds and rarely have any problems. The massive problems, poor speeds and delays that have occurred since thye changes that I read about daily are putting Australia down the bottom of world Internet speeds. It doesn't pay to meddle with a good idea!
    11th Oct 2017
    Turnbull is fully responsible for the NBN shortcomings both as PM (the buck stops there!) and because in his former role as Communications Minister he made the decision to use old copper wire from the node to the premises.
    I have had the NBN via Telstra since Aug 2016. I’m paying for 100 MBS download but have only ever managed half that speed and this speed has been slowing reducing to an average of around 35 MBS, But sometimes much less.
    The NBN and Telstra can’t seem to fix this and have a different reason each time I call up and complain.
    The distance between my house and the five node, is 380 m. A Telstra technician who attended an outage, told me there were 19 old copper connections/joins between my premises and the node, the copper cable is 25+ years old, it is damaged in several places and there are almost no spare working pairs left to jumper too next time there is a cable failure.
    Logically, if the copper cable that serves at least a dozen residences fails, the NBN should replace the cable run with fibre. Thanks to Turnbull’s failures on the technology front, poor decisions as the former Communications Minister and now as the leader, copper will be replaced with copper. No progress what-so-ever and Turnbull is a total disappointment and failed leader from m every perspective.
    12th Oct 2017
    It has been obvious since Telstra was privatised that maintenance has been neglected. Private companies do not appear to be able to build in Australia. Once they could blame the Unions but with the destruction of unionism the buck now stops with management.

    Why are you continuing to pay for something you are not getting?

    Make an official complaint. The ACCC needs a barrage of letters and emails so action can be justified.
    11th Oct 2017
    You are the P.M Turnbull show some guts and do your job, the one you paid some 1.7 million for. The buck stops with you.
    11th Oct 2017
    First, broadband take-up or penetration is low, with Australia comparing
    unfavourably when benchmarked against advanced Western economies. Australia is
    ranked only 17th
    amongst 30 OECD countries. Australia’s ranking would be
    towards the bottom end of the benchmarking, if it were not for the inclusion of
    emerging Eastern European economies in the OECD group.

    People, HAVE A READ
    Star Trekker
    11th Oct 2017
    I'd like to know what happens when they limit the power we can use during summer. NO air-conditioners, NO INTERNET and NO TELEPHONES. We have become so reliant on electricity for everything that used to be electricity free. Telephones were the first to go.
    11th Oct 2017
    Politicians shirking their responsibilities - it's a recurring theme which has been repeated
    ad nauseam. Fix the technology is another catchcry - for the vast majority, existing ADSL
    technology is serviceable and affordable. Nothing was broken yet the government of the
    day saw fit to fix it regardless, and without the benefit of any rigorous cost benefit
    analysis. Talk about a haphazard, profligate approach to infra structure spending, which
    of course, will be burdened on the tax payer.

    No one would choose to pay more for an inferior product but this is where the average
    consumer has been treated with absolute contempt by government and its regulatory
    agencies by conferring monopoly status on the NBN.

    If Turnbull ( and Fifield ) are serious about addressing shortcomings revealed by the NBN
    rollout, at least impose a moratorium on compulsory connection until such time as the
    NBN is in a position to match the existing technology.

    11th Oct 2017
    The blame lies fair and square with the Lieberals. If they had fibre optic cable all the way, the way the ALP wanted it, then there wouldn't be a problem.
    11th Oct 2017
    In the 45 years I have lived in Australia the thing that stands out for me is that Australia has huge potential but the government does not learn by other countries mistakes and continues to bumble along like a bunch of lost boy scouts.
    The one thing that the government has failed to do or failed to enforce, if they did, is regulate these companies so that they didn't overload their capacity for data download and thereby slowing everyone down to squeeze out more profits. Further, in the 45 years I have been here the present Liberal government is the by far the worst I have ever seen. Totally inept and with no social conscience whatsoever.
    11th Oct 2017
    I am as usual a bit confused, when Labor first introduced the idea of the NBN they had a budget of something like 33 billion, the current government has put a cheaper model of the NBN in at a cost so far of over 43 billion, who knows how much it will eventually cost, I am sure someone can come up with a logical reason why a system that is so inferior to the Labor model can be so much more expensive, surely it can't just be that Labor promised something that couldn't be achieved on the budget that they had allocated?

    11th Oct 2017
    Another bloody lemon!
    11th Oct 2017
    I still don't understand why we have to change phones though, if I am a Telstra customer do I stay with them or how does it work?.
    Star Trekker
    11th Oct 2017
    Telephones will run on the NBN via V.O.I.P. (Voice over Internet Protocol) and you have to get a modem through whichever telco you want to use. You can stay with Telstra if you want to.
    The modem runs at 12/1 mb.p.s. which is the minimum speed.
    12th Oct 2017
    Thanks for that explanation Star Trekker, does that mean only people with a computer can have NBN or do you just have to get the modem?, it doesn't affect me but my sister does not have a computer or internet on her phone. Do you need just the one modem for mobile and landline or 2 seperate ones or does the land not exist then only mobiles?.
    Star Trekker
    12th Oct 2017
    You don't need a computer. The modem is plugged into the phone socket & power. The the phone is plugged into the modem.
    Star Trekker
    12th Oct 2017
    You can also have wi-fi access depending on your plan for mobile internet access at home.
    12th Oct 2017
    Its a Government project paid for by our money and they are forcing us to go on it., therefore they are responsible for the the stuff up .
    15th Oct 2017
    Fibre Optic is a disaster. My computer was more reliable in an area with no fibre or NBN than it is now in an area which has fibre optic. Having seen cables fed into connections in the streets before being connected to properties they are literally squashed into position that if one was damaged it would cut connection to a large area, possibly to more than one suburb as happened recently in the inner northern suburbs of Adelaide.
    15th Oct 2017
    Once again you bash the Liberal party and Mr Turnbull.
    18th Oct 2017
    Only one person to blame about NBN, and we all know who that is. The complainant himself, honourable PM, plus his urger at the time, the then PM, toxic Tony.
    They're the ones who had the 'bright: idea to replace the excellent to the premises with the totally dodgy to the node with the last not being carried on Telstra's worn out and much copper cable
    18th Oct 2017
    I find the whole NBN saga such a disappointment.

    I started as a Telstra technician in 1977 so I have my views.

    Now there is an interesting story that may be of applicable as a background of why there could be so many complaints and rising.

    One day a country's leader asks his lieutenants what they could do to help the economy and country grow in a time of tough economic pressures. One of the ideas was to play catch up with where the rest of the world was going in communications. Not exceed, just catch up in such a way that the investment may never need to be repeated for another 100 years which is how old our copper phone line technology is.

    So the suggestion, which had research behind it, was made note of on a paper napkin by the bubbling happy leader who blabs about it the moment their plane trip ended to the media. Some people can't wait to open their mouth whether it is wise or not.

    But at least the lieutenant who brought the suggestion really knew what he was talking about which is such a rarity in modern times. The cost figures were rubbery to start with as no one had ever requested such hard factual costs before and it was all new for that country so many guesses were made based on overseas experiences. But in they came and as with any big project you get a range of figures, allow for unexpected problems by adding in 10% and we get a minimum cost to start with, not usually end at.

    In developing the costing of building the new communications company there a a design of how to make it all happen reliably and reasonably priced based on best practices the world was executing. Practices that were based on hard earned and costly mistakes elsewhere. They were fortunate in that many of the best people in this area of digital network design and operations were ex citizens. They were ecstatic that their home country would want to build a lasting communications network for their grandchildren's grandchildren to use. So happy that they left many 7 digit contracts to come home to 6 digit contracts, re connect with family whilst building a future legacy to be proud of.

    Politics being what it is many asked why there was a need to create a new national Telecommunications business from scratch, which costs a lot, but then the smarter amongst them remembered that they used to 100% own such a company but sold it off to spend the money on... well they really don't fully know where it all went but it must have been for good things to give up control of such a critical resource. Now if they had not sold that big phone company off then the owners could have simply told it to change over from 50 year old corroding copper wires that cost more than a billion dollars and rising per year maintaining to optical fibre cable which has very few reliability issues. But that could not happen as they had sold the phone business so could no longer dictate what was best for the country after investing for 90 years into it. Hence they had to start from scratch again. Sigh.

    So they have this shiny new company and of course they want a realistic price to build this new network. But this is a government owned business... and what do you do if you want to sell to the government in that country? Oh multiply the price by 3 times what it should cost naturally.

    The new but very experienced managers of the shiny new communications company were shocked. They tried hard to reason with the suppliers they had planned to use as they knew the costings very well but to no real improvement. So then the new company bosses got just a tad cranky. They redesigned their business so they could get a healthier control of their suppliers and the cost of services. After all this shiny new business would spend about half of their investment money on labour and services. But alas, this whole process took time. At least 2 years of delay time. No one cared why there were delayed only that their politicians used the situation to their advantage. So the whole project became a political football when it should have been the object of the nations pride.

    Now politics, being what it is in that country, changed government to the ones who hated spending so much on the future well being of communications. But they had promised to fix up the delayed start. So how did they do that? Well first of all they thanked many of the very experienced people in the shiny new company who mostly went back overseas shaking their heads. Next they changed the specifications of what the new company was building so that they did not have to use optical fibre and could stay with the old copper rather than optical fibre everyone else was using around the world. It was called a Hybrid system. Did they know that there were companies overseas who had tried this economic disaster and ripped it all out to install optical fibre anyway? I don't know but they went ahead anyway. So guess what? The redesign from a pure optical fibre to a hybrid system delayed the new company yet again. Was it a good redesign after that additional year? Well only the users of the new system could tell you that.

    There is a lot more to such a story away from public eyes so it has to remain that way. It is technical issues being used for possible long term business gain. The shiny new company most likely will be sold off for 10% to the old phone company. This will possibly happen once it becomes accepted that the shiny new company has been lost as it failed to deliver what was so highly hoped for. Those hopes did not revolve around watching videos.

    Those hopes by the engineers and some politicians was that they would have a solid foundation to build where the world economy is going. Not in 5 years but 20 years and 50 years. Engineer types don't always know how their creations will be used but they do know that solid foundations last for a long time and create opportunities. Look at how much Victorian era 1800's engineering is still in use today - a lot.

    So it is a sad story in then end of what might have been turned into a national shame. Can the shiny new company survive the storms coming? Only if a fairy princess comes onto the scene. Even then he or she could only do so much. The little folk outside to the big cities will be forgotten and lost again so there no real happy ending.

    For us Australians I hope such a story is never true for us.

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