Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:26

Govt rejects use of more fibre for NBN rollout Featured

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The federal government has dismissed recommendations that it should mandate fibre-to-the-curb for the remainder of the national broadband network rollout.

The government rejected recommendations of an NBN Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee that more fibre, and less copper, be rolled out to complete the project.

The government’s decision has drawn a strong response from the Labor Party’s Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland who described it as “incredibly disappointing”.

“This was an opportunity to find some middle ground,” she said.

“The response to the Committee makes it clear that (Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull is not interested in solutions, he simply wants to sit back and watch the experience of consumers and the competitiveness of our digital economy languish under his second-rate copper NBN.”

The committee had recommended, among other recommendations, that the remaining rollout of the mix of technology be primarily replaced with fibre-to-the-curb or fibre to the premises.

The government was highly critical of the committee’s report and made it clear it was sticking with its own multi-mix technology strategy which will now be implemented for the remainder of the NBN rollout.

"The government is disappointed that after considering 191 submissions, holding 15 public hearings, receiving testimony from 179 witnesses, and undertaking three site visits, the committee's majority report and recommendations indicates a failure to understand the fundamentals of the NBN," the government said in its response.

"The prominence given in the majority report of the committee to the stories of dissatisfied consumers distorts the perception of the success of the NBN."

As reported by iTWire on Sunday, according to telecommunications analyst Paul Budde a write-down of the NBN is now firmly on the cards after the competition watchdog joined the chorus supporting it.

Budde said in a blog that since Turnbull had not introduced essential structural changes after the 2016 election, it had become obvious that the value of the network would have to be cut by half.

“While the government did not welcome this reality, many others, including the ACCC, had now joined the call for a write-down," Budde said.

With the completion of the rollout of the NBN scheduled for 2020. Budde said it was important to complete it and leave the network in the best possible condition – and also complete connections to the 400,000+ that were in the too-hard basket.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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