The Plan Tells All

Sad Turnbull Is SadWith Turnbull’s press conference yesterday, & NBN Co’s corporate plan being leaked yesterday, it’s clear that there’s a lot being hidden by the incoming government about the fate of the NBN & how it stacks up against their own plans.

With Turnbull stating FTTP will be continued for the foreseeable future, or at least until his reviews are done or contracts are complete, there’s at least a chance that some of us may indeed receive FTTP. To add to this, Turnbull has hinted at FTTP where ‘economical’. I wonder what he means by that one? Well, no, I don’t, essentially dense urban areas, or less than 83% of the nation. If you live in a country town that was slated to get FTTP, you’ll get FTTN.

The main lapse yesterday was when journalists pressed Turnbull on costs & information on the NBN. There was the continual “we have to wait for the reviews” by Turnbull, acting as if there was no yearly corporate plan waiting to be published. Guess what Mal? It was leaked.

Within hours of the press conference ending I could see that Turnbull is desperately trying to hide the per-premises cost of FTTP. Why you ask? Quite simply, it’s only (by Turnbull’s own policy) $300 – $500 more per-premises than FTTN:

NBN Co Corporate Plan Premises Passed Cost

When we go back to Mal’s own plan:


Uhoh, that kind of destroys all the assumptions Turnbull has placed on the FTTP rollout’s costs, meaning the net present cost for FTTP over 4 years is lowered less than $2000 per premises. Meanwhile, Turnbull’s plan, even if we use NBN Co’s current costs, ends up costing over $2500 per premises over 4 years. Starting to lose the cost battle there Turnbull, especially when, as individuals, if we do want FTTP via “Fibre on Demand” we don’t pay an extra $500, but an extra $5000!

Why Turnbull couldn’t produce this information yesterday, especially in light of him forcing the resignation of NBN Co’s board, baffles me. If the Minister for Communications can’t get a government owned communications company to communicate the cost of connecting customers, what use is he?

There will be news to buoy Turnbull’s spirits: shortfall in construction. The plan states that the rollout is between 111 000 & 130 000 premises short of meeting last year’s targets so the new revised estimate is between 155 000 & 175 000 premises passed by 30 June 2013. Not the greatest news, but by the same token, not the worst, with NBN Co stating the following:

Premises passed

This shoots down any argument of massive delays, especially when you consider the 9 months it took to get the Telstra deal off the ground.

Take up rates are looking quite solid, with some areas seeing well above 40% take up. With both Minimurra (Kiama) & Willunga (Adelaide) seeing over 60% take up. These numbers are far more impressive than BT’s rollout is seeing, with some providers seeing single digit take up.

Looking at who’s using what, it seems the most popular plans are the “above 24Mbps” plans, essentially the “faster than the fastest ADSL2+ plans”, with 54% signing up for said speeds. The percent of 100Mbps dropped, however this looks to be more about more sites coming on line than less people seeing value in 100Mbps, it’s still a solid 26% of all NBN services.

Looking further into the plan, we can see the financials are still fairly solid, with only a little movement in costs & revenue. The 10% contingency fund is still in place & has yet to be touched. I’m no economist, but this kind of blows the whole “expensive” side of Turnbull’s argument out of the water. In fact, the reason why Turnbull has been so quick to suppress this corporate plan is it blows holes in his policy so large the Shen Neng 1 would have no problems navigating it.

Turnbull's ResponseThis leaves Turnbull in a difficult position, he must either denounce the corporate plan & claim it’s full of fraudulent data, or admit his plan is the worst way to get to FTTP as an end-game. Don’t forget, Turnbull admits that FTTP is the end-game as often as he claims the NBN has huge cost blowouts & massive delays.

While I understand there’s little to be done to convince Turnbull to err on the side of FTTP, it’s becoming increasingly apparent he’s having difficulty maintaining composure in the face of probing questions from journalists. There’s nowhere for Turnbull to hide these days, the buck stops with him, all the obfuscation in the world won’t stop people leaking documents such as the current corporate plan.

You know you’re doing it wrong when you’ve been sworn in to government for less than a week & there’s already damaging leaks.

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