Tuesday, 08 August 2017 11:02

Patton says NBN Co employees want change to NBN tech mix Featured

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Internet Australia chief Laurie Patton says more than 600 employees of NBN Co connected with him over his campaign for “better broadband" for the national broadband network – and claims many agree with the objectives of his campaign.

Patton also says there have been 27,000-plus views of a “letter of thanks” for NBN Co employees he published on LinkedIn.

“Please be assured that Internet Australia and I appreciate the work you're doing,” Patton wrote.

“Our campaign for #BetterBroadband is simply a recognition that using ageing copper wires is not delivering what many people want now, much less what they'll need in years to come.

“I know many of you agree with this proposition and, like me look forward to a return to the rolling out of a 21st century broadband network of which we can all be proud".

Patton is one of the most vocal critics of NBN Co and what he sees as the inferior technology being used for the national rollout of the broadband network and has been in an increasingly acrimonious  tit-for-tat public battle with NBN Co Bill Morrow.

In his latest statement, Patton notes that Morrow is “currently undertaking what some have called a charm offensive”, and “like the cartoon character Chicken Man, 'he's everywhere, he's everywhere'."

He also accuses Morrow of shifting blame for all the faults of the NBN to others, but not blaming himself.

“Bill can't seem to decide whose fault it is that everyone's unhappy with his NBN. One day it's the consumers' fault for not understanding how broadband works and not knowing what they really want. Next day it's the RSPs — his customers — who aren't buying enough of what they say is his overpriced product. It's never Bill's fault,” Patton says.

It's taken a while, but we're now seeing mainstream media — press, radio, and TV — all carrying stories about the flaws in the NBN and having no trouble finding dissatisfied consumers to recount their horror stories.

“We now have two government agencies looking into things. The ACCC is specifically investigating broadband performance and the marketing claims of the RSPs. ACMA has a broader brief to look at customer-focused issues.

“These are good moves, but they're unlikely to reveal much we don't already know. The challenge will be to come up with solutions. IA is keen to hear from industry experts and NBN customers so that we can formulate a submission to take to ACMA and the government.”

Some of the questions that Patton says need answering include:

  • Are RSPs cold, calculating and evil, deliberately nobbling their customers by buying smaller amounts of CVC than they should?
  • Are RSPs just collectively incompetent, buying CVC for customer levels they had months ago and always behind the curve of exponential growth in customer traffic?
  • Are backhaul networks the real problem and everyone's staying stum while pointing the finger at NBN Co and the CVC because they are easy targets?
  • Are CVC costs so high that RSPs are genuinely ordering all the CVC they can afford in good faith without going broke?
  • Should there even be a CVC cost component at all? And, of course, is all the debate about the CVC just masking the real problem – we're building an inferior network that simply can't do the job?

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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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