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Morrow says copper is slower than fibre. And in other news, the sun rose in the east...

NBN chief executive Bill Morrow has given the clearest indication yet that he plans to continue working in Australia after he leaves the company at the end of the year, issuing a six-page "white paper" last week in which he acknowledged that the multi-technology mix NBN has suffered in speed terms due to the abundance of copper.

This acknowledgement has been interpreted in varied ways by people, with some saying he was criticising the federal government, others saying he was being frank about the problems posed by copper, and yet others saying he had finally seen the light.

But what Morrow did is common among people who are perceived by the public as having screwed up in style and want to make amends so that they continue in some other public role without looking too much like dunderheads.

Making a statement that is as obvious as "the sun rose in the east" has gotten Morrow a surprising amount of uncritical, positive coverage. But then, one should not be surprised at this for the NBN Co plays favourites with people in the media.

Many people are wont to give Morrow an out, by pointing out that with a technology mix like that which was handed to him, he could not but lose. These bright souls forget that as the man on the inside, he could have done his level best to delay implementation of the more dodgy technologies, so that changes could be made towards the end.

In more recent times, the NBN Co has switched some users over to fibre-to-the-distribution-point, which is a much better option than fibre-to-the-node. That process could have started much, much earlier.

But Morrow's only method to navigate his job has been spin and more spin. He seems to dwell in some other universe and tries to evade dealing with issues as long as humanly possible. His latest missive is a prime example that the man has not changed; it winds back and forth, ties itself in knots, and all that one can extract from it is the one fact that copper is slower than fibre when it comes to data travel.

Morrow is no hero. At this stage, when he has put his papers in, he can say what he likes and the $3+ million of taxpayer money that he earns per annum will continue to be paid to him. In days to come, undoubtedly, he will try to make himself appear a more sane and rational individual than the public knows him to be.

Else, any corporation he approaches for a billet may well direct him down the road to the nearest PR outfit.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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