Former ACCC chairman an NBN "cheerleader", Turnbull says

The shadow minister for communications and broadband has hit back at claims that a FTTN network would cost more than the Coalition has stated it would.

Malcolm Turnbull has hit back at claims by Graeme Samuel, former ACCC chairman, that fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) uses obsolete technology and equipment.

The Australian Financial Review today reported Samuel as saying the Coalition’s price tag on a FTTN National Broadband Network (NBN) is wrong because compensation would still need to be paid to Telstra for buying its copper network.

Turnbull, shadow minister for communications and broadband, labelled Samuel a “cheerleader for the NBN”, with Australian tax payers to eventually pay for his “enthusiasm” for the network.

“…Samuel’s latest comments show that he’s out of touch with new technologies and with successful upgrades to broadband in a number of other countries…” Turnbull said.

“Carriers around the world are increasingly offering [FTTN] fibre connectivity on a customer-by-customer basis where this makes economic sense.”

Turnbull said Samuel has merely made claims about the cost of a FTTN NBN without backing it up with evidence.

“Perhaps he is not aware that after almost four years, $3.4 billion in funds from taxpayers, $923 million in losses and the resignation of five of the eight executives and three of the nine directors originally hired to run it, Labor’s NBN has so far run its fibre past only 42,000 households,” he said.

The shadow minister called on Samuels to encourage Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, to release quarterly reports on how much the NBN roll out is costing and what targets it is achieving.

Turnbull has also attacked the federal government’s announcement yesterday that it would spend $20 million on NBN marketing “to improve public understanding, address misconceptions and provide updated information about the National Broadband Network”.

The federal government announced it was cutting more than $1 billion in its 2012-13 budget, but has allocated $20 million in an NBN advertising campaign.

“Clearly these cuts were required for the government to free up sufficient resources to ensure NBN Co could commission and screen television commercials promoting its e-health and e-education initiatives, which may one day be delivered over the NBN – if it is ever completed,” Turnbull said.

“The Coalition also looks forward to the next instalment of the department’s newspaper, ‘Connecting Australia’, which was surprisingly overlooked in this year’s Walkley nominations.”

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Tags FTTNMalcolm TurnbullNational Broadband Network (NBN)




It's about time Malcolm Turnbull stopped his eternal politicking and became a cheerleader for the NBN, the only sensible and competent solution to our future communication needs.

Not Stephen Conroy


Malcolm Turnbull seems determined to demonise anyone who speaks out in favour of the NBN. FTTN has been thoroughly shown by myriad influential people and organisations to be a deeply flawed alternative to the current NBN plan.

I'm certain Turnbull knows full well that FTTH is the way forward (especially given he's personally invested in France's FTTH scheme), but he is mandated by dint of his position to adopt a contrary stance and defend it through ad hominem attacks and political bluster.

The tragedy of it all is that there is a large sector of the community, with only a cursory understanding of the technologies on economics behind the NBN, and dare I say it but this sort of rhetoric plays well with some members of that group.

It's important for those of us in the know (Computer World readers, for a start) continue to loudly fight the FUD with facts, plain English and appeals to common sense.

David Craker


FTTH would be great if we all were to be connected but many citizens will be getting at best wireless or at worst sattelite even though the cable runs past our door/community.... I would welcome FTTN as a replacement to these options and no FTTH..



Who do I believe... a politician or a very well recognised and respected business man? I know the answer to that one as I think you do.

Turnbull is a bit rich attacking the government over its information campaign to address misconceptions since two paragraphs immediately above he does the exact same thing again spreading fear and uncertainty into the public domain. The campaign waged by his government against what is essentially an infrastructure upgrade is unparalleled in Australian political history.

Its surprising the member for Wentworth doesn't see that the coalition will lose the election over this issue. The Australian public want a better network than the rag tag infrastructure we have now which is pretty much pot luck if you can get high speed anything.

Go on Malcolm, Google it from your iPad over your expensive 3G data plan all paid for by the Australian taxpayer. At least the NBN won't cost us a cent.

Mr Creosote


"Turnbull said Samuel has merely made claims about the cost of a FTTN NBN without backing it up with evidence."
Turnbull clearly hasnt realised that he has been doing exactly the same thing he accuses Samuel of for years. Where are the details of your policy, or proof of any of the claims you have made about FTTN, wireless, etc over the years Malcolm?
Hypocrisy at its finest!

Francis Young


Ad hominem attacks do Malcolm Turnbull no credit.

Graeme Samuel has a decade of detailed technical experience in considering national telecoms infrastructure, and the fact remains that we have hard numbers for the construction cost of FTTN, which exceed the $12 billion cost of laying fibre to 93% of premises.

It is quite ironic that he justifies FTTN cabinets by claiming they can be upgraded. If the objective is to build FTTN then upgrade it to FTTP, surely his costing should comprise the cost of both these phases!



Going FTTN would not replace Wireless or Satelite and may in fact increase the wireless coverage.



For tech reasons, well known to most here, FTTN would certainly increase considerably the number of people consigned to satellite or wireless, or left on very slow dial up services.

A fact which Malcolm Turnbull seems to be unaware of, seeing that he hasn't mentioned it in any of his learned discourses.



White elephants need to be shot and buried.



You should never refer to Malcolm Turnbull as a white elephant in that way.

Though it does seem to be true that he forgets nothing and learns nothing, it's rumoured that there is a sentient being behind the clever sounding cascade of words.



Turnbulls comment about "only 42,000 housholds", is like a critic of a skyscraper saying "look, after months of work, they are still not at ground level".

Ignoring the time it takes to lay the foundations. Its a cheap shot aimed at the ignorant who are logic resistant.

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