Featured IT News

Reliable access to broadband, mobile, landline services in focus for ACCAN conference

08 August 2022 in Telecoms & NBN

Ensuring that consumers have reliable access to broadband, mobile and landline services, no matter where they live in Australia, is…

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Australia ranks 8th globally in government surveillance: study

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Complexica hires senior trio

04 August 2022 in People Moves

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Lam leads SoftServe's APAC product and design practice

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Tablet, chromebook shipments down globally for fourth quarter running

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Global shipments of tablets fell for the fourth quarter running, with the technology analyst firm Canalys reporting a 11% year-on-year…

Oppo releases two models of A77 5G device in Australia

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Chinese smartphone vendor Oppo has released another device in its A series with a twist: there are two models, one…

Telstra to address ACCC's 5G competition concerns

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The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Telstra to address competition concerns relating to the 5G rollout.

Sanjay Poonen appointed Cohesity CEO and president

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Next-gen data management company Cohesity has appointed former VMware and SAP senior executive Sanjay Poonen as CEO and president.

TOPdesk appoints new GM for Australia

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Service management specialist TOPdesk Australia has appointed Robert van der Gulik to the role of general manager.

Domain administrator auDA records strong growth in .au direct names registrations

03 August 2022 in Technology Regulation

Australia’s domain administrator auDA had 170,000 .au direct names registered by the end of the June 2022 quarter and CEO…

Sandes leads Wasabi in Australia

03 August 2022 in People Moves

Hot cloud storage provider Wasabi Technologies has appointed Andrew Sandes to the role of country manager for Australia.

DCI announces Canberra data centre

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Breaking IT News

KnowBe4 forms investment arm KnowBe4 Ventures

08 August 2022 in Security

Security awareness specialist KnowBe4 has formed KnowBe4 Ventures to co-invest in security startups to strengthen and support cybersecurity initiatives.

Acusensus AI software detects drivers who use mobile phones while on the road

08 August 2022 in Business Software

Traffic management solutions Acusensus has developed an AI software to catch dangerous drivers who are using their mobile phones while…

Talend announces support for Amazon Redshift Serverless

08 August 2022 in Deals

Data integration and governance provider Talend has announced its support for Amazon Redshift Serverless.

Mission-critical communications to reach more areas in NSW with 250 public safety network radio sites

08 August 2022 in Technology Regulation

The NSW Government has delivered 250 enhanced public safety network radio sites reaching more than 97% of NSW’s population and…

Renesas unveils RZ/A3UL microprocessors

08 August 2022 in Business IT

Semiconductor supplier solutions Renesas unveils the RZ/A3UL group of microprocessors that enable high-definition human-machine interface and quick start-up for applications…

Orange Egypt upgrades its Nokia SDM solution

08 August 2022 in Business Telecoms

Mobile network operator company Orange Egypt has upgraded its existing Nokia SDM solution to support its subscriber growth over the…

How Alibaba Cloud’s data centre will run on clean energy by 2030

08 August 2022 in Data Centres

Alibaba Cloud is poised to meet its carbon reduction targets as it upgrades server-storing data centres around the world, according…

FC Bayern and Adobe partner to redefine fan experiences

05 August 2022 in Deals

Adobe and FC Bayern, one of the world’s most historic and successful football clubs, announced a multi-year partnership to power…

4 non-profits bridging the digital divide for First Nations communities to share more than $750,000 in funding from INCO, supported by Google.org

05 August 2022 in Not For Profit

INCO, a non-profit supporting the growth of Australia’s social enterprise ecosystem, has announced the launch of its first Australian Digitisation…

UST opens innovation lab at University of Melbourne

05 August 2022 in Business IT

Digital transformation solutions company UST today opened an innovation lab at the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Connect.

Australians indifferent to space industry and are more likely to associate space with aliens than satellite communications: Inmarsat report

05 August 2022 in Space

Australia played a vital role in Apollo 11’s iconic moon landing in 1969. Half a century later tells a different…

Public cloud 5G workloads to hit $6.6 billion in the next five years: Dell’Oro Group

05 August 2022 in Cloud

5G workloads on public cloud will grow revenues at an 88% compounded annual growth rate with cumulative revenues estimated to…








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Tuesday, 19 February 2013 12:49

‘Uninformed bilious abuse’ - Turnbull blasts Aussie journalists on poor coverage of NBN Featured


Shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has given Australia’s assembled IT journalists a characteristic serve about what he regards as their uninformed and biased coverage of the NBN.

Much NBN commentary in the Australian press is “uninformed bilious abuse,” said Turnbull in response to a question asked after his keynote talk at the Media Connect Kickstart conference on the Sunshine Coast. He also mentioned the “complete barking unreality” of many journalists' coverage.

“I find it extraordinary that most journalists in Australia have a complete lack of awareness of and interest in what is happening with other countries’ broadband rollout,” he said.

He encouraged Australian IT journalists and the mainstream media to look at the experience in other countries. “Australia is the only country in the world that is doing broadband this way,” he said, referring to the fact that NBN Co is a government owned monopoly, and that it is charged with bringing fibre to the premises (FTTP) to over 90% of Australian households.

The coalition’s policy is to deliver fibre to the node (FTTN), with ‘the last mile’ being connected by existing copper networks or FTTP where this make economic sense, such as greenfields housing estates.

He also talked of “fibre on demand”, giving the example of BT in the UK asking subscribers to pay a $1000 premium to be connected direct to fibre. In the Q&A session after his talk, Turnbull engaged in heated debate with some journalists over their fixation with FTTP. He castigated one journalist for not knowing about AT&T’s U-verse FTTN in the US, and another for his assumption that FTTP is necessary for eHealth.

He reiterated his often argued stance that FTTP is too costly and will take too long to deliver, and that journalists who insist on defending it are simply “confirming the prejudices of a dwindling audience” – presumably meaning ALP supporters – without examining the real issues.

He was of course equally scathing of the government’s whole approach to the NBN. He made the point that while FTTP might be a laudable aim, by far the more important issue was getting reasonable broadband to as many people as possible in a short time.

“Many studies show that the biggest productivity uplift from broadband comes from widespread accessibility rather than the headline speed. And the biggest barrier to Internet use if not the technology but it affordability. You don’t need to be at the cutting edge – it’s nit about finding the next Mark Zuckerberg but about ensuring the plumber down the street can order his materials effectively.”

He said that a coalition government would not privatise NBN Co – “we are where we are” – but that he would ensure a detailed comparison of NBN costs and timings for the current plan versus a more limited FTTN rollout. He would also insist on more regular and open reporting. “It’s absurd that you can get more detail from Telstra, which is a public company, than you can from NBN Co, which is owned by the taxpayers.”

The key theme of Turnbull’s talk was innovation. He made the point that Australia is one of the few high education “non deferential” cultures that does not feel it is doing a good job at innovation. “Why not? We have most of the ingredients.

“There are too many barriers to innovation in Australia. Start-ups often fail – we need to regard that as a learning experience, and keep trying. We learn more from our failures than our successes.”

He criticised the ALP’s recently released Innovation Policy as a rehash of old ideas. He said the government had made it more difficult by changing its policies and introducing too much bureaucracy to the process.

And the NBN, he said, was an example of an “over-investment that creates perverse outcomes for consumers.” But also he defended government owned entities such as Australia Post, CSIRO and NICTA.

Malcolm Turnbull impressed most of his audience with his obvious grasp of the technology and policy aspects of broadband implementation.

Whether FTTP or FTTN is the correct approach is of course open to debate, but he was able to mount an informed and impassioned defence of FTTN.

Many of his opponents should be so across their subject matter.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson sadly passed away in Jan 2021 and a much valued senior associate editor at iTWire. He was one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is the author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’He was in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism. Graeme will be sadly missed by the iTWire Family, Readers, Customers and PR firms.

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