Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kohler suggests NBN be given to a structurally separated Telstra

I was unsure why Kohler did two things during the election campaign:
  • 10-Apr, key article, the Coalition "NBN Lite" was good enough.
  • 1-Aug, Kohler v Turnbull interview/debate: NO embarrassing commercial questions asked (Rate of Return, where are the missing financials)
On Sunday, Kohler started his "Inside Business" programme with what I found an amazing pitch:
Telstra should be given the NBN. But first split Telstra into separate wholesale & retail companies.
There have been no significant political stories or movements this week to inspire this remark.
It's straight out of the Liberal Party wish-list, making me wonder about the reasons for the two previous pieces.

If he was reacting to current news, and note that NO contemporary events are mentioned or in fact, any reason or event, then it could be "fair comment" of journalism.



Once Kohler published his "good enough" piece, all mainstream media analysis & critique of Turnbull's Node plan ceased... Even the tech writer, Renai LeMay of "Delimiter" published a piece in support of the Kohler "good enough" view.

Kohler never asked two key commercial questions of Turnbull's plan:
  • what's you IRR to 2040? [subsumes, what year do you break-even?]
  • Your plan only lists summary financials from 2014-2019, what about the rest to 2040?

It's accepted that the NBN was a pivotal issue in the 2007 & 2010 elections.
Turnbull's triumph, enabled by the Kohler article, was to defuse the NBN as an issue from the 2013 campaign. Did that have a material impact on the election? There seems to be evidence for that, but it is an untestable hypothesis.

This analysis by Phil Doyle suggests Abbott et al won by only 30,000 votes, making the
NBN a winning/losing issue again, but this time it was defused by the Kohler implicit assurance, "worse, but good enough", which was a massive backflip on his part and unsupported by ANY figures.

A Liberal voter, Nick Paine, petitioned on Change.org for a Fibre NBN and has over 260,000 supporters. Only a fraction of the 'supporters' will have actually voted for the LNP, but when 2% of the electorate show-up on-line, that's a big deal...  Presumably, scaled up to the full electorate, it would've changed the election outcome.

NBN-debate on Business Spectator,
includes other articles and video of Turnbull interview/debate'.

Turnbull has saved the NBN, 10-Apr-2013.
Malcolm Turnbull’s great achievement over the past two and a half years has been to save the national broadband network.
I don’t know how he did it, but Malcolm Turnbull has turned the Liberals and Tony Abbott into an NBN party. In the process he has saved Abbott from a terrible mess if he had gone to the election still promising to dismantle the NBN.
Well, no it won’t be better, it will be worse – but this is politics, where you get to say anything you like.
And it could have been a lot worse, instead of a little bit worse, as it is.
The difference is that the last mile of fibre will be made user pays and otherwise will remain copper.
Of course, polls showing that most of the public like the NBN helped, especially people in rural areas.
And it could have been a lot worse, instead of a little bit worse, as it is.
Last August I wrote that the Coalition’s NBN policy was “madness” and would have to be dumped, mainly because a new deal would have to be negotiated with Telstra against the background of an election promise.
Telstra, I believed, would have the Abbott government over a barrel.
The other reason I said the policy was madness was that the ALP’s NBN is a mechanism for subsidising cheaper broadband in regional areas.
This was, in fact, the key reason Labor won the support of the regional independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor in 2010 and was able, therefore, to form government.
As I have argued here and directly to Malcolm Turnbull, the NBN might seem expensive, but it’s not a cost to the budget – it’s an investment, using cheap government borrowings, so the ROI hurdle is lower than privately funded projects.
It’s certainly better than dismantling the whole thing, as would have happened if Malcolm Turnbull hadn’t ensured that Tony Abbott WAS for turning.
Inside Business Sunday 29 September
Telstra should take over the NBN, especially if it is not going to be monopoly.
Far better for the Government to sell the NBN to a structurally separated Telstra. That is, to a separated Telstra wholesale division.
The Government's no good at these things anyway, as Malcolm Turnbull keep pointing out.
And if it is not going to be a monopoly, what's the point of the government owning it? And now's the time to make the change, since Mr Turnbull is searching for new management for the NBN. And by the way, the word is he's looking to poach someone from Telstra because they know how to build networks.
Eureka Report, as part of AIBM, was acquired by News Ltd. retrieved 30-Sep-2013
"Eureka Report, a 100% owned subsidiary of News Limited, and Clime Asset Management today announced the creation of a new joint venture in the wealth market."
Can the independent KGB survive the News Corp gulag? Stephen Mayne. Jun-21-2012
When I sold Crikey to Eric Beecher and Di Gribble in 2005, one of the clauses in the sales agreement limited the ability of each party to publicly criticise the other.
The KBG will now be answerable to uber-Murdoch loyalist Chris Mitchell...
Alan Kohler is now the richest business journalist in Australia and in my view he and John Durie share top billing for quality, writing and insight.
John Durie ... but baulks at criticising News Corp. Sadly, this is the price you pay when you agree to take Rupert’s shilling.
Kohler was certainly out of the gates fast talking up News Ltd yesterday.
Such a gushing endorsement wouldn’t have been forthcoming without a News Ltd sale and employment contract that will deliver gross proceeds of more than $7 million to the ABC’s public face of business journalism.
Unverified chart, "4.1 million people chose not to vote" (at all, informally or 1st preference for a major party?) This is NOT the 6.5% the Electoral Commission's "did not turnout" figure.

Russell Krass tweet with chart:
33% of voting Australians did not vote for the 2 major parties in the senate. More than 60% did not vote for the LNP. Any major decisions by Abbott are against the people's will. — with Jay Bangers.