Alan Kohler is one of Australia’s most experienced business commentators. Alan has been a trusted source of investment advice to Australians for many years, and in 2005 he founded Eureka Report - Australia’s #1 online investment report. Along with Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan also founded Business Spectator, the popular business news and commentary website. Alan is the regular finance presenter on the ABC News and producer of the popular nightly graph (or two).
NBN Co boss Bill Morrow has an opportunity right now to prevent one of the greatest technology disasters in Australian history by moving beyond the obsolete FTTN technology to an option that provides cheaper G.Fast and self-install fibre-to-the-premises.
Malcolm Turnbull's re-election commitment to provide a pathway from copper to fibre has been achieved but the cost of paying to have the fibre rolled to the premise has blown out to a fearsome and prohibitive extent.
What's the point of telling Australians how much it would cost per premises to rollout a full-fibre NBN without providing the equivalent cost for HFC and Fibre-to-the-Node? And where did the operations, maintenance and upgrade costs go?
To get a better understanding of what we will receive after spending a large part of $43 billion on what's ultimately a minor upgrade to existing infrastructure, we need to investigate NBN Co’s product technical specifications.
It's going to take a lot of hard work for the government to stay the course with the MTM NBN. Even if everything goes to plan, we are going to end up with a network that will barely meet the standard definition of broadband.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey and NBN Co boss Bill Morrow may have been beaming as the reworked deal was finally signed but it will be interesting to see how long before the bonhomie gives way to acrimony.
NBN Co has got a few things right in 2014 but for the government and particularly Malcolm Turnbull, the year will be remembered as the one in which Australia was consigned to the broadband back blocks.