It never rains but it pours. The flurry of announcements is astonishing, given their far-reaching consequences. Let us give the Government the benefit of the doubt and allow that the timing of the spate of announcements is only coincidentally happening the week before Christmas, and on lazy summer Sunday afternoon.
I was dozing at home. Better check the emails, I thought. I wandered into my office, and saw that Turnbull’s Department of Communications had issued a ‘Media Alert’ at 12:46pm for a 2:30pm press conference. I glanced at my watch. It was already after 2:00pm – I had lost an hour and couldn’t make it into town in time for the event.
A hasty call to Turnbull’s press people, and I found out the whole thing would be televised, on ABC 24. In barely half an hour it was all over, with masses of press releases from all parties.
Watching the event the thing that struck me the most was the obvious goodwill. Turnbull and Thodey and Morrow were like three mates who had just shared a lottery prize. In many ways they had – especially Thodey. Keep an eye on Telstra’s share price today. It has already gone up 10% in the last two months – it might break $6.00 this week.
Telstra gets all it wanted –it keeps its money and the all-important ‘shareholder value’. NBN Co gets its hands on the copper and HFC cable it wanted, which means Telstra’s structural separation will be complete. Turnbull gets his deal. And Optus gets rid of its old HFC network.
What’s not to like? Well, it all means we are now lumbered with the ‘multi technology network’ (MTM), a mishmash of technologies far removed from Labor’s vision of an all-fibre network. At yesterday’s event Turnbull repeated his mantra of ‘sooner’ and ‘cheaper’, even saying that he had rescued the NBN because there was a risk that under Labor it would never have been built.
Of course, we will never know. His projections of the NBN’s cost and timeframe under Labor will remain conjecture. The MTM will not.
For better or for worse, that is what we now have.
Merry Christmas, Mr Turnbull.