That, in a way, is what Hockey's comment was all about. What he said was: "...there is a great deal of irony in the fact that when the Government did a deal with Telstra for the National Broadband Network, I understand part of that deal identified that Telstra was not allowed to sell its new 4G technology as a competitor to the NBN because 4G has the capacity to be far superior to the NBN."
It's true that Telstra was not allowed to promote 4G (ie LTE) as a competitor to the NBN; not because it is superior, but because there was, and is, a real danger of people taking up such offers and undermining the business case for the NBN.
There is no ban on Telstra promoting LTE and it is not clear how 'non-NBN-competing' promotion will be differentiated from 'NBN-competing' promotion. So that clause may well prove to be toothless.
But, back to the fibre v wireless debate. The latest commentator to weigh into the Hockey case is Tony Brown, Qld based senior analyst, broadband and Internet with Informa Telecoms and Media. And quite rightly he concludes: "The NBN debate still has plenty of twists and turns left in it yet but local politicians must, for the sake of the integrity of the debate...stop arguing that LTE can be a substantial long-term player in the residential broadband market because the facts tell a very different story."
The focus on LTE is too narrow: it just happens to be flavour of the month thanks to Telstra's impressively rapid rollout and the demand for mobile bandwidth created by the astonishing popularity of smartphones and tablets.
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