Friday, June 03, 2011

Malcolm on the Digital Economy Strategy

Malcolm Turnbull is without doubt a skilled debater. One of the great tricks of debating is to define the territory of the debate.

In the case of his critique he does just this. He asserts that "Senator Conroy’s National Digital Economy Strategy is simply a thinly-veiled spruiking of the NBN."

He makes this assertion after carefully detailing how none of the individual objectives specified in the plan actually depend on a 100 Mbps connection to 93% of households. What he doesn't do though is demonstrate that the goals can be achieved with existing infrastructure.

The case need not be made for 100 Mbps, just for more than most people have today. That includes more than they have in upload and in download. The upload is the killer - because that's why thinks like two-way videoconferencing don't work. And saying that an application only needs 1.5 Mbps or 10 Mbps ignores the fact we want to enable MULTIPLE applications.

The question is then whether alternatives work. The FTTN strategy sucks because you still eventually have to do FTTP to get to 1 Gbps. And I don't have to make the case for higher future speed requirements - it is others who need to make the case for the exponential growth in demanded speed to stop.

Turnbull ran much of this in what delimiter called a "major speech in Parliament" yesterday. But the reality as tagged by the Member for Ballarat is that the "Matter of Public Importance" was shuffled into the last five minutes before the adjournment. It is unclear whether that was more because Mr Abbott has no interest in the topic or fears Mr Turnbull being given too much space to promote himself.

Turnbull has still not explained how he, as Minister, would have achieved a structurally separated industry. He now needs to add to this an explanation of how an FTTN network could have been constructed without handing control of the industry back to Telstra.

And finally can we get over his monstrous assertions that we are abandoning infrastructure based competition. We never had it. All the ADSL services are on Telstra's copper, Optus never opened its HFC to service providers, Optus stopped building HFC about 8 years ago.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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