By JOHN MENADUE | 13 February 2019
Our discussion on asylum seekers is ill-informed. It’s a disgrace. Our politicians and our media have failed us. With boat arrivals stopped, people smugglers have turned to the air to bring asylum seekers to Australia in record numbers. Peter Dutton and the media have turned a blind eye to this breakdown in our border protection.
The “debate” on this week’s Insiders program was all about the politics and the politics of fear. We were incessantly warned that boat arrivals would start again if we did anything serious to support the 1,000 wounded souls that we have abandoned in Manus and Nauru. It is dishonest nonsense and propaganda to assert that the Australian Navy in cooperation with Indonesia cannot stop boat arrivals.
Continue reading “Getting behind the lies, fake news and spin on refugees and asylum seekers”
By LAURIE PATTON | 12 February 2019
Yesterday at Senate Estimates the new(ish) NBN Co CEO, Stephen Rue, made a brave defence of the project. This is my initial response…
Mr Rue is clearly under pressure not to deviate from the board’s stated position. His technical explanation regarding a “write down” is correct, but largely irrelevant. The fact is NBN Co is not making enough money. And this is because of the current flawed technologies being deployed.
Less than half the total premises connected or ready to be connected are actually signed up.
There is no incentive for RSP’s to move their customers to the NBN until they absolutely have to because they have better margins from their legacy systems. Likewise, there is so much ‘bad press’ about the NBN that it appears many potential NBN customers are holding off moving until they have no choice and/or are opting to go mobile.
Sooner rather than later NBN Co will need to start ripping out its inferior FTTN network, using old copper wires. It is predicted that this will cost billions of unbudgeted dollars.
FTTN cannot compete with current mobile phone speeds, much less what will eventually be possible when 5G is rolled out. 4G mobile is already faster than FTTN. Around 30 percent of NBN Co customers are being lumbered with this junk.
In the end, whoever is on office later this year will have to bail out NBN Co in some form.
According to the Communications department, NBN Co will now need more than the $19 billion the Government has agreed to lend it to complete the rollout, and has little (read no) chance of being able to pay it back on time.
(Laurie Patton was CEO / Executive Director of Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing the interests of Internet users, from 2014-2017.)
LAURIE PATTON | 21 November 2018
As Christopher Pyne has pointed out, “We don’t need to put a handbrake on population growth, we need to manage our population growth sensibly in a country which quite frankly can take a lot more than 25 million people”. Pyne comes from Adelaide, of course, where the state government says it would like to see a lot more people living.
We do need to think carefully about how we make our cities more liveable and more sustainable however, and we need to question whether so many people should be crammed into already congested capital cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
Continue reading “It’s poor long term planning, not the size of the population, that’s the problem”
By LAURIE PATTON | 23 January 2019
Many of my friends and colleagues have asked me “what happened at ASCA?” but until now I have not been in a position to reply.
Around the world the latest buzz in the tech sector is about something called ‘smart cities’. This essentially involves using existing and emerging technologies, many of these communications based, in order to make our cities and communities more liveable and more sustainable. Along with a national decentralisation plan I believe we could use smart cities initiatives to dramatically improve life for millions of Australians.
Continue reading “A tale of two smart cities – life in the NFP sector”
By LAURIE PATTON | 6 January 2019
2019 is shaping up as the year we’ll be forced to face the fact we are building a National Broadband Network that simply isn’t good enough. It’s also the year our major telcos will start rolling out their capital-intensive 5G mobile networks, having spent millions of dollars buying up spectrum from the federal government.
Nobody seems to have asked if we really need 5G right now. Or why Australia is rushing to be one of the first countries to adopt 5G when 4G speeds are more than most of us realistically need at the moment, or will need for some time? Too few commentators have delved into the ‘value proposition’, or asked if 5G, at least in its first iteration, will actually be all that some people are predicting.
As a nation keen to be a leader in the 21st Century’s digitally-enabled world we’d arguably be better off fixing the NBN before investing in mobile networks few in the know reckon will add much to the consumer experience.
Across the country people are coming to understand that the broadband network we are being delivered is a dud – especially in the bush!
Continue reading “My New Year’s Resolution – Keep fighting for #BetterBroadband”
By LAURIE PATTON | 16 November 2018
The contrast could not be any starker. As warnings emerged that Australia’s telcos are seeing their profits squeezed by the end of NBN Co’s short-lived wholesale price discount (with the likelihood that retail prices will rise), across the ditch came word that New Zealanders are about to see their broadband speeds greatly increase while the cost of connecting to the Internet will come down. How could this be?
Continue reading “Time to ditch our dud NBN – beaten by the ‘All Blacks of Broadband’”
By LAURIE PATTON | 6 November 2018
The boss of the ACCC, Rod Sims, has told The Australian “its recent dealings with the retail telcos has highlighted a weakness with the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) access technology”.
For numerous broadband experts, not to mention millions of hapless NBN customers, this might be seen as a classic ‘no shit Sherlock’ moment. However, it is probably the most significant recent development in the long running saga that began with Labor’s 21st Century fibre-based national broadband network, only to end in tears for so many when former prime minister Tony Abbott ordered his heavily-wedged communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to “destroy” the NBN.
Continue reading “ACCC begins search for light at the end of the NBN technology tunnel”
By LAURIE PATTON | 31 October 2018
“Enhanced telecommunications connectivity, data insights, digital planning practices and innovation districts” will underpin the creation of so-called ‘smart cities’. That’s the theme of a Code of Practice released this week as part of Smart Cities Week Australia.
Developed by leading smart cities advocacy group the Smart Cities Council and the Green Building Council of Australia the voluntary code is designed to shorten the ‘transformation’ cycle and is aimed at both government and industry players.
Continue reading “Planning for smart cities – Code of Practice released”
By LAURIE PATTON | 24 October 2018
In my opinion, the National Broadband Network will not be completed until everyone has access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband. On that basis the rollout will take us well beyond the current official deadline of 2020. It looks like a lot of NBN Co customers are in for a long hard ride unless the Government allows it to abandon FTTN (the trouble-plagued technology using Telstra’s ageing copper wires) sooner rather than later.
New NBN Co boss Steven Rue has told Senate Estimates they are still projecting that FTTN will be used until 2040. Experts, including Internet Australia chair Dr Paul Brooks, say FTTN will have to be replaced within 5-10 years of completion, preferably before then.
It’s not Mr Rue’s fault of course. He has been left ‘holding the baby’ – stuck with the flawed multi-technology mix (MTM) strategy introduced by his predecessor.
Surveys regularly show that people increasingly regard access to broadband as an ‘essential service’. Which is why it is essential that we fix the mess that NBN Co has managed to get itself into.
Continue reading “NBN: Won’t be finished on time. Simple as that!”
By BOB CARR | 23 October 2018
Former Australian foreign minister and high commissioner to the United Kingdon Alexander Downer chewed ruminatively on his steak: “If you want a cold war with China, you will get a cold war with China”. I had just been appointed foreign minister and was consulting my predecessors. Downer implied cold war was not smart diplomacy and not in Australia’s interest. But in its biggest policy shift on China since 1971, that is precisely what the US has embarked upon.
Continue reading “Australians have no interest in joining US cold war against China”