Sunday, 1 December 2013

Abbott Government sets the clock back to the IT dark ages

Former Telstra CEO and Tony Abbott-appointee as NBN Co Chairman, Ziggy Switkowski, will earn a total of $700,000 on an annualised basis if he keeps the acting [NBN] CEO role for 12 months.

Apparently this amount of money may have purchased Prime Minister Abbott and Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull a change of heart on the part of Mr. Switkowski.

This volte-face was revealed when.......

The Australian Select Committee on the National Broadband Network’s Inquiry into the National Broadband Network issued summons.

IT News 27 November 2013:

The newly-formed senate committee examining the NBN said it has been forced to summons NBN Co executives to appear as witnesses at planned hearings this week.
Kate Lundy, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on the national broadband network, said in a statement NBN Co executives including interim CEO Ziggy Switkowski, strategy head JB Rousselot, COO Greg Adcock, CTO Gary McLaren and CFO Robin Payne had been "reluctant to attend the committee in person".
"The committee is disappointed that NBN Co have taken this position," Lundy said.
"It is with regret that we have had to issue this summons, given the public commitment the Government has made to openness and transparency in all matters relating to the NBN."
The summons requires NBN Co to appear before the committee on Friday of this week.
Comment is being sought from an NBN Co spokesperson at the time of publication.

ZDNet 28 November 2013:

The membership of the committee is made up of three Labor senators and one Greens senator. The Coalition is allowed to appoint three of its own to the committee, but it is understood that the government didn't nominate any senators prior to today's hearing.

And those giving evidence at the Inquiry stated for the record what most bloggers already knew.

The Sydney Morning Herald 28 November 2013:

There are at least three reasons why the NBN Co expects to make less money from customers on the Coalition's network – which is expected to be about $17 billion cheaper to build than the previous Labor government's NBN.
First, businesses and families will not be able to buy the highest speed plans offered under Labor's NBN, which involved running fibre cabling to 93 per cent of homes around Australia.
The Coalition's alternative NBN, which piggybacks on copper telephone wires for about 70 per cent of households, could not offer “packages” of 250, 500 or 1000 megabits per second, government officials said on Thursday.
Second, it is likely Australians will download and upload less data across the Coalition's slower NBN, which would lower revenue forecasts.
And third, while Labor's NBN was essentially a government-owned monopoly, the Coalition's network will face infrastructure competition from telecoms companies offering other technologies such as HFC (hybrid fibre-coaxial).

The Australian 28 November 2013:

Under that new proposal the Coalition will connect nodes on street corners with fibre cabling and use Telstra's existing copper network to connect homes over the last few hundred metres.
Today the Department of Communications conceded that those changes would preclude the Coalition's fibre-to-the-node NBN from offering broadband plans above 40Mbps, which would hit revenue forecasts for both access costs and the increased data consumption which comes with the availability of faster download speeds.
Some 72 per cent of customers on the NBN are currently using plans that deliver download speeds of 25 megabits per second (or less), the same download rates promised by the Coalition's fibre-to-the node plan.

Including facts rural and regional bloggers knew only too well

Then a media leak gave Internet users more bad news
SBS News 29 November 2013:

The government's 2016 delivery deadline for the national broadband network looks likely to be blown out, according to a leaked internal NBN Co document.
The coalition has promised to deliver 25 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband services to all homes by 2016, but a brief to the incoming government, obtained by Fairfax Media, says construction and technical issues mean that may not happen.
"There are a number of conditions that will impact on NBN Co's ability to undertake a volume (fibre-to-the-node) network rollout," the report says.
"Given the complexity of these conditions, it is unlikely that NBN Co will meet the 2016 deadline to upgrade the fixed network to enable Australians to have minimum download speeds of 25Mbps."
In addition to raising issues about timing, the document also cuts revenue projections by up to 30 per cent by 2021.

To add to the old and very old bad news
Financial Review 29 October 2013:
Some potential bottlenecks remain for Telstra’s network, however. Both global and local technology experts acknowledge the carrier’s decision to use thinner copper wiring in newer suburbs could reduce the maximum potential speeds by up to 10 per cent.
Others have criticised poor maintenance on the network, too, after years of patching the ageing telephone network with tape or plastic bags.

The Sydney Morning Herald 11 December 2003:

A month ago, before a Senate committee inquiry into broadband competition, Telstra's Bill Scales and Tony Warren rather let the cat out of the bag.
Warren, group manager, regulatory strategy, told the committee: "I think it is right to suggest that ADSL is an interim technology. It is probably the last sweating, if you like, of the old copper network assets. In copper years, if you like, we are at a sort of transition - we are at five minutes to midnight."
A few minutes later his boss, Bill Scales, attempted to bury this bit of candour: "The only point of clarification, just so that there is no misunderstanding, is that when we think about the copper network, we are still thinking about 10 years out. So five minutes to midnight in this context . . ."
Dr Warren (chiming in): "Doesn't mean five years."
Mr Scales: "It does not. It could be 10 or even 15 years, just to get some context into that."


John Fraser said...

Ziggy Switkowski :

CEO of Kodak ... went into liquidation while he was there.

CEO of Telstra :

Sold by Howard and under 8 years of Ziggy the share price collapsed, copper was left to disintegrate, joints were fibre glassed to stop water entering and asbestos's pits were left in an extremely dangerous condition ..... until the NBN came along.....and had to start cleaning up his mess.

Next to the worst government in Australia's short history Ziggy's appointment is the worst choice in Australia's short telecommunications history.

Anonymous said...

Re Ziggy Switkowski:
"It is difficult to get a man understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it."
Quote from Upton Sinclair.