Hey NBN Co, let’s cut to the cabling

Rodney Gedda

Rodney Gedda is the former deputy editor of CIO and former editor of Techworld.

Amid all the political furore surrounding the resignation of NBN Co’s construction manager, I, like many people, can only hope we get some cabling laid sooner rather than later.

With the head of NBN Co’s construction operations walking out the door after a decision by the bureaucrats to suspend tenders for cable laying on the grounds the companies bidding are “too expensive”, should we be asking ourselves is the NBN itself too expensive?

As I’ve argued repeatedly, I just wish we could have national, super-fast broadband without NBN Co.

Wishful thinking perhaps, but with bureaucratic bungling like this happened before any broadband has been switched on doesn’t do much for the public’s confidence in whether the NBN project will succeed in a reasonable time frame.

Even broadband analyst Paul Budde said the NBN Co must not become a pork barrelling bureaucracy.

Broadband is what people need and want. Whether it’s delivered by a new government business or not people couldn’t care less.

It’s funny to think the NBN management team think the cabling offers are too expensive, but do they think their own salaries are too expensive?

Do they think $200 million is too expensive for a billing system?

You get the idea. The expense of the NBN Co will hang around like bad smell for many a tax payer to come.

With all the publicity surrounding the money (seemingly Monopoly money in opulence!) being spent on the NBN Co it’s not unreasonable to think suppliers will also make the most of any opportunities and charge premium prices.

Suppliers are competitive, but they’re also not stupid. So if the NBN Co thinks the cabling suppliers are too expensive it needs to remind itself that almost every piece of news about the project centred on a dollar value – from Quigley’s $2 million salary to a (now revised) $43 billion total price tag.

It’s time to stop the bureaucratic nonsense and get on with building a broadband network.

Meanwhile people in regional areas are stuck trying the find the best DSL or satellite services available.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

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Tags: nbn co, broadband, NBN

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