Kevin Rudd

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Mike Quigley announced Executive Chairman of NBNC

Mike Quigley, former head honcho of Alcatel, has been named executive chairman of the National Broadband Network Company.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Mr Quigley’s acquisition over the weekend and stated that his 36 years of experience of major Fibre-to-the-Home developments with some of the United States leading Carriers led to his successful appointment. The announcement comes along side the commencement of the first stage in the Tasmanian NBN rollout which has been earmarked to provide of 600km of cable to 5000 homes and businesses.

Although Mr Quigley was born in England, his academic background was completed in Australia which I guess makes him an Aussie? He obtained several degrees in mathematics, physics and engineering at the University of NSW and almost immediately after graduation, joined the work force with a group called Standard Telephone Co. This company was later bought by Alcatel and after spending 36 years with Alcatel, many of it as CEO, My Quigley called it a day after the recent merger with Lucent.

My Quigley, who now joins the likes of Doug Campbell that heads the Tasmanian NBN, will commence his new role immediately.


 

Hubris to see Internet Content Filtering introduced?

Will Kevin Rudd, Stephen Conroy and the Australian Federal Government go ahead with mandatory Internet content filtering after so much negative feedback from the ‘informed’ public arena?



Results from an Australian Broadband survey conducted recently that attracted approximately 20,000 respondents overwhelming voted against the new content filtering proposal. The survey  found that only 1.2% who voted for Labor at the last election actually supported the proposed policy of Internet filtering, while almost 90% say they would opt out of a filter if introduced.



Although many of the participants in the survey are highly informed and or technically sound, it still asks the question of just how many people in mainstream society would also agree with the survey finding’s. Furthermore, if this were to be the case, would the Federal Government proceed with an Internet content filtering policy just to ‘check’ so called election promises?



One irate content filtering opponent in a online news forum labeled the Government as ‘hubris’ and waved goodbye to democracy whilst saying hello to China/North Korea. A silly remark perhaps, or does this statement have a basis for concern? The general consensus of the survey results, and from many opinions found in corresponding online forums, suggests there’s a significant amount of conjecture behind the underlying principles of what a ‘mandatory filtering policy’ may bring to the table.



The impeachment of ‘Freedom of Speech’ and a ‘Big Brother’ type government are two such concerns, and although this may sound a little overboard, many believe that whilst the general public have good principles and morals that would welcome the eradication of pedophiles and explicit material, which the Government have based their whole policy around, they feel that mainstream Australia may overlook the bigger picture and what’s really at stake.



Does a 20,000 thousand strong survey that heavily weighs against the introduction of Internet Content Filtering warrant a reversal of policy? I suspect not, but then again it does give the Government something to think about.



Upsetting a minority is a ‘rational transaction’ that any Government obviously has to execute from time to time, however introducing a policy that evokes grave fears for ‘human rights’ that may, over time, grow louder and louder in the public sector, is certainly something that a Government cannot ignore.


Telstra to build NBN with FTTN & VDSL2

Broadband Internet speeds of 25-50 megabits per second (Mbps) to 65-75% of households, and 12-20Mbps to the remaining 25-35% that cover 80-90 percent of the population. These are figures that can be achieved by Telstra for a national broadband network VDSL2 Fibre to the Curb ‘upgrade’ (FTTC, also known as Fibre to the Node). After following the progression of the NBN saga closely, it’s an extremely possible scenario that could be well on the money and have a very fast turn-around time to boot. 



VDSL2 research and testing has not only commenced, but has been well underway for quite sometime now by Australia’s largest telecommunications provider ‘Telstra’. The incumbent has been playing their cards very close to their chest and has been unwilling to reveal it’s blueprint for Australia’s new $4.7 billion dollar (or should I say $10 billion?) high speed broadband network. If they were to win, the odds are very short that their preferred choice of broadband delivery method would in fact be VDSL2. This type of telecommunication technology could easily support simultaneous triple play services such as high speed broadband, voip/telephony & digital TV (or IPTV) products at the minimum government required broadband speed of 12Mbps.



Although Telstra submitted a ‘non compliant’ NBN proposal, this is not to say that the telco cannot stitch up a ‘backdoor’ deal with the government that will take advantage of VDSL2 technology for a proposed NBN. You see, it’s no secret that Telstra has been considering VDSL2 as it’s primary architecture for a NBN. There are plenty of facts’, quotes, and articles floating around the Internet to suggest that Telstra are in the box seat when it comes to A – Being the most logical and experienced bidder to take on and build a broadband network of this magnitude; and B – Use VDSL2 technology (Very high speed Digital Subscriber Line) which provides faster speeds over similar distances using copper lines than that of ADSL2+. VDSL2 is essentially an upgrade that will supersede ADSL2+ DSLAMs in telephone exchanges across Australia. Whether DSLAMs will remain for other ISPs to use (if this were to be the case) is another story.



For example, an article appearing on New Zealand based Stuff.co.nz just recently, and of course Telstra’s non compliant 12 page NBN proposal, is reporting that a Telstra constructed national broadband network would use VDSL2 technology and be built by 4000 workers using Alcatel- Lucent materials and equipment. It makes perfect sense that the facilitation in regards to accessing and upgrading exchanges with the required new equipment to be governed by Telstra, after all who else knows an Australian exchange better than Telstra themselves? With this in mind, along with the threat of countless court room litigation cases if Telstra were not to win the NBN, a VDSL2 roll out would be performed much much more faster by Telstra than any other party.



Kevin Rudd, Stephen Conroy, their NBN panel and the Australian Government have an enormous and convoluted task with the whole NBN dilemma as it now stands. Not only do the need to ‘tick off’ pre-election promises, however they also need to consider the possible backlash from Telstra shareholders if Telstra were to lose out on the NBN; endless courtroom litigation waged against the government by Telstra (again, if it were to lose); regulatory guidelines such as operational or structural separation placed upon Telstra (if it were to win) and the consequences of such if adequate competition guidelines aren’t included; implications from the likes of Optus, Terria and other constituents (if they were to lose), but most importantly and above all other implications – whats best for the Australian people and Australia’s future!



One thing is certain though, no matter which way the decision goes…. it’s time for Kev and Steve to stand up and get their hands dirty. Telstra for the win in my opinion.



The network would use VDSL2 technology to provide download speeds of 25-50 megabits per second (Mbps) to 65-75 percent of households it reached and speeds of 12-20Mbps to the remainder. Telstra could start building the network next year, but gave no completion date.



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** Updated ** Telstra ‘Booted’ from NBN Process – Tuesday 16th December 2008



As at 15th December 2008, Telstra has been officially ‘rejected’ from the $4.7 billion NBN process by the Australian Federal Government. Sighting a technicality in Telstra’s Broadband Network proposal, Communication’s Minister ‘Senator Conroy’, in a recommendation passed on by the expert panel, stated that Telstra had been rejected on the grounds that it failed to submit a mandatory element of the proposal surrounding a small to medium business plan. 



Sol Trujillo and Telstra appeared to be walking a tight rope right from the NBN inset by submitting a non-compliant bid which entailed a 12 page document only, whilst competing entities were believed to have submitted comprehensive proposals that incorprated 1,000+ detailed pages.



Calling Telstra’s Bluff, the Australian Government has now sent out a loud and clear message by dumping Telstra. This action has essentially displayed a show of strength which indicates the NBN process will not be compromised by parties seeking to hold the Government at ransom.



Telstra’s motives may have been driven by the shareholders best interests, or so they keep saying, however on the flip side it could also be clearly interpreted as an arrogant and somewhat ignorant mistake that has grossly underestimated the Government’s integrity and could cost them dearly. Of course the Telco has their shareholders to consider, but breaking the rules is breaking the rules and above all and foremost, the Government has the entire population of Australia to consider, and has acted accordingly.



As an initial result, Telstra now sees it shares plummeting to their lowest point since entering the ASX in 1997. They also have to explain their actions to their shareholders which has already seen billions of dollars wiped from share pricing. The Government meanwhile, without Telstra on board, have a NBN selection process that will now be perceived as a ‘fair’ and ‘equal’ platform that will offer an ‘open access’ environment which will encourage competition; provide innovation and growth potential through regulatory guidelines; and a future broadband network that should benefit both consumer and business alike.



So what now for Telstra?



The wounded incumbent will now have to consider contingencies as a result of being ‘dumped’. Some say they will try and re-enter the NBN process and negotiate with the Government. The problem here is that it could be too late, and that other bidders will see this approach as a ‘breach’ of guidelines and ‘unfair’.  Either way, litigation could be imminent in a race with such a high purse.



To even contemplate Telstra laying down without a fight is absurd. If they decide not to pursue legal proceedings, they may in fact build their own network as an alternative, or should I say ‘upgrade’ their existing network. Telstra have got the finance, firepower and experience to scale up their network so that it’s faster and made available way way before any future new national broadband network is built. One mustn’t forget all their ongoing technology research and testing that they continuously conduct. Using Wireless technology and as close as early next year, Telstra can roll out robust high speed broadband that can reach 21Mbps for rural areas, and between 50-100Mbps with VDSL2 and Hybrid Fibre Cable technology in maor metropolitan regions. Funnily enough, the latter of these broadband speeds will easily surpass the 12Mbps minimum requirement set by the Government on the NBN process too.



Don’t worry about Telstra folks, they are far from out of the race, regardless of what you, me or anyone else thinks.


Breaking News: YOU’RE OUT! Telstra rejected from NBN Process

New guidelines for $76b infrastructure spend

The current global financial crisis which has left the economy of many countries in turmoil has also forced Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to re-evaluate the distribution of the $76billion for infrastructure projects.

Mr Rudd has indicated that tough and unpopular decisions would have to be taken as a result of the financial crisis. Additional assessment criteria will also cover facets for the new national broadband network project along with many other developments. These guidelines include: How projects expand Australia’s productivity; build global competitive advantages; develop cities and regions; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and improve our quality of life. All proponents will be expected not to overstate benefits and underestimate costs for potential infrastructure grants whilst being able to back up all their claims.

It appears that the time of rhetoric and talk is now over and the time for action is upon us. At least we may see commencement on the NBN project sooner rather than later if this latest announcement is anything to go by.

Structural Separation building momentum for Telstra Split

The 2020 Summit was a success for many various reasons such as it raised concerns, sprouted ideas and addressed important issues challenging Australia and it’s future prosperity. In the final report of the Summit, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was urged to split the wholesale and retail elements of Telstra in order to obtain a competitive market for the Broadband Industry.


It appears that Telstra has fallen heavily into the structural separation line of fire. What makes a possible separation more evident is the fact that not only are Telstra’s competitors calling for a split, highly influential and prominent business people (some of which were in the Summit group) are now also urging the government to perform a structural severing.     


The government should assess the case for vertical separation of the network owner from retail carriers and carriage service providers to promote access,” the group’s recommendation in the report said.


source: misaustralia.com

National Content Filtering Floored

In a very similar and ignorant circumstances to that of the previous Liberal Government, Kevin Rudd is seeking to block all objectionable material before it can be downloaded by Australian Internet users. Many business and industry experts are declaring that this totalitarian type of censorship will not work, effect underlying ‘freedom of speech’ principles and cost consumers more in the long run along with bogging down the Internet.


It appears that Mr Rudd and Senator Conroy seriously need to slow down and rethink their entire so called ‘clean net’ plan prior to muzzling ISP’s with filtering software. What’s wrong with parents implementing content filtering at a PC level? AIIA spokeswoman ‘Sheryle Moon’ suggests that filtering should be implemented by parents at the PC level.


“This is like King Canute trying to hold back the tide” said Hostworks chief excutive Marty Gauvin. “It isn’t going to make a great deal of difference other than to make Australia a less desirable market to create digital content”


“It’s worth remebering that server-level filtering was trialled in Tasmania and was ultimately rejected” said iiNet’s Mr Malone. “There is no real way to do it accurately at a national level.”


“We think that filtering should occur at the PC level,” said Ms Moon. “It should be up to parents to make decisions about what their childeren can and cannot access.”


Read the entire article at MISAustralia.com

Cut competition prices urges CCC

The Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC) has strongly urged the Government to slash prices by up to %20 to save the economy from rapidly rising Inflation. The Industry group suggests that other developed countries are currently reviewing their competition standards and failing to follow suit would only see Australia fall further behind. In an article appearing on thewest.com.au, they further add, that Telstra is to blame with it’s monopoly on the Industry and inflated wholesale pricing.


“We pay more than just about every country in the OECD for basic telecommunications services,” Mr Forman said in a statement.


Mr Forman said an estimated, conservative reduction in charges to carriers of 20 per cent would save the economy $2.5 billion a year.


“At the heart of this problem is the inflated wholesale prices Telstra charges for access to its monopoly network and the inability of the ACCC to manage Telstra with the limited powers it now has.”

Broadband super highway, the only way!

Broadband for Australia’s future has become a key election issue with discussion and debate figuring highly in the lead up to the Polls. As many of us already know, a high tech Broadband nationwide network is crucial for Australia’s future prosperity and growth, not only nationally, moreover on a global scale. Opposition leader Kevin Rudd appears to be on the mark, to a certain extent, with his understanding of the importance of Broadband for Australians, and the dire need for a high tech Broadband Network. While John Howard seems to be lacking vision and is way off the mark when suggesting that Australia’s current Broadband network is adequate and that 12Mbps speeds in the future will be fast enough for all Australians. Well I beg to differ and so do many other Industry experts, media reporters and professionals.


Australia’s ICT practitioners have the opportunity to really shape the future of the world – to be not just competitors, but leaders. We have an advantage in innovation and have always punched well above our weight in this area. If we lead the world in penetration of symmetric hyperspeed broadband, it stands to reason that our innovations will lead the world in ways and means of using that kind of infrastructure. So investment in processes, technologies, and content for that kind of infrastructure must place Australia at the forefront and give us our best chance of being a supplier of innovation to the world instead of being a net importer. It is critical that, regardless of who wins the next election, Australia’s broadband infrastructure is capable of meeting our needs for at least the next three to five decades,


By future standards, 12Mbps will be a walking track rather than the six-lane highway we need it to be.


Read the entire ‘Opportunity to be world players’ at AustralianIT.com.au

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