My New Year’s Resolution – Keep fighting for #BetterBroadband

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.

Yet nobody seems to have asked if we really need 5G right now. Why is Australia rushing to adopt 5G when 4G speeds are more than most of us realistically need at the moment, or will need for some time?

The embarrassing fact is existing 4G mobile services are already delivering broadband speeds in excess of those available to about a third of NBN customers – the ones stuck with the inferior FTTN technology using Telstra’s old copper wires.

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Time to ditch our dud NBN – beaten by the ‘All Blacks of Broadband’

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?

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ACCC begins search for light at the end of the NBN technology tunnel

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.

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NBN: Won’t be finished on time. Simple as that!

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.

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Australians have no interest in joining US cold war against China

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.

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Déjà vu – How Rupert Murdoch helped engineer the dismissal of the Whitlam Government

By JOHN MENADUE | 21 September 2018

Rupert Murdoch has form in conniving to get rid of prime ministers from 1975 to 2018. The evidence continues to mount against those who collaborated in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

To obfuscate and cover their tracks, those who collaborated in ‘The Dismissal’ and their establishment friends spare no effort to criticise the performance of the Whitlam government. Those attacks are becoming quite threadbare. It is amazing what people with guilty consciences do to try and justify outrageous behaviour or avoid responsibility or change the subject.

The fact is that they collaborated in the dismissal of a democratically elected government. In contrast, Gough Whitlam, after 40 years, was more and more vindicated.

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Beyond the political rhetoric, hard hats and Akubra’s – What do our political leaders really believe?

By JOHN MENADUE | 15 September 2018

Power does reveal substance. It tells us quite quickly about the values that drive political parties and political leaders. Scare tactics are always a sure sign that the values and policy cupboard is bare.

We can accept that our leaders must make some compromises from time to time, but we need to know ‘what they stand for’. We look for leaders who have conviction. Hypocrisy and double standards become very obvious.

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Urgent need for democratic renewal – Because we don’t trust the major parties

By JOHN MENADUE | 12 Septmber 2018

Australians are sick and tired of politicians. The community is deserting the major political parties in droves. Most recently we have seen it in Longman and Wagga. We have lost trust in our major political parties and most particularly the Liberal and National Parties in recent months.

In the 1980’s we embraced economic change and reform. It was necessary but painful for some. Today we need democratic reform and renewal. Like the 1980s, it is necessary but it will be painful for some.

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auDA members to vote on new governance package

By LAURIE PATTON | 5 September 2018

auDA – the company managing our Internet domain names – will hold a special general meeting later this month in order to secure approval for a new constitution and other changes to governance arrangements. This follows a demand for reform after a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts found the organisation no longer fit-for-purpose.

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auDA reveals new governance model following government review

By LAURIE PATTON | 24 August 2018

auDA has today released the details of a new governance model. This follows a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts that saw communications minister Mitch Fifield give the organisation three months to deal with a range of matters DoCA said meant it was no longer fit for purpose.

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