Laurie Patton's call to the government to employ suitably qualified people to upgrade the NBN's fibre-to-the-node connections is, to put it bluntly, mere showboating. How does he expect a government that is literally having to plug holes in dikes every single day to plan out such a massive undertaking and then implement it in time so that these unemployed folk can benefit financially before they die of hunger due to a lack of cash?
As I pointed out yesterday, whenever there is a crisis and media visibility is high, many people try to jump on the bandwagon with ideas that only be described as ludicrous - and that, only if one is being charitable - in order to get their mugs in print (or online).
This is clearly one such case. In the past, Patton's campaign for all-fibre has come at moments when it made sense. This clearly is not one of those moments. Patton is a current vice-president of Telsoc and a past president of Internet Australia.
On one point, Patton is correct: after the coronavirus outbreak settles down and life returns to something approximating normalcy, it is entirely possible that the number of people working from home will increase. Employers will be only too happy to save on electricity, equipment and IT support if they can. And whatever problems are faced by NBN users now as they work from their homes will also be around in the longer term.
But one needs to realise that of the 12 million connections that will be ultimately made on the NBN, nearly half will be FttN. To convert that number to full fibre needs a well thought-out plan - else we will see another disaster like that which has already eventuated.
Of all people, Patton should be aware of this, given that he has been part of the NBN debate for a long time. That he has chosen to ventilate what can only be described as a silly idea is regrettable. The next time he makes a statement, people will tend to take him less seriously.