Why Won’t You Answer The Question Malcolm?

In the midst of an online Twitter “discussion” yesterday between Malcolm Turnbull, the ABC’s Nick Ross and myself, in the midst of which Turnbull accused the ABC of “relentless propaganda” in favour of the National Broadband Network (NBN), I offered Turnbull a number of opportunities to spell out the cost model of his proposed broadband solution.

Turnbull started the ball rolling with this piece, outlining his position on the matter.

Most prominently he stated that:

“We will complete the national broadband network and do so sooner, cheaper and more affordably for users.”

Of course, stating that he will complete the NBN is disingenuous at best, and at worst, completely untrue.

Feeling it necessary to challenge the statement – (given that if whatever his FTTN solution costs PLUS the cost of a later upgrade to FTTH is NOT less than the current price of the NBN, his solution is NOT cheaper in the long term) – I started with this:

“@TurnbullMalcolm How much for FTTN? How much to upgrade to FTTH? If total not less than NBN, yours is not cheaper or better! #auspol #nbn”

And this:

“@TurnbullMalcolm @bradsprigg And you keep talking about price, yet you won’t give even a ballpark costing…”

And this:

“@TurnbullMalcolm Tell us how much your plan costs and how much the later upgrade will cost…compare apples with apples mate… #auspol #nbn”

And again here:

“@TurnbullMalcolm @ABCtech Only if you tell us how much FTTN will cost, and how much the subsequent upgrade will cost…”

And again:

“@TurnbullMalcolm You are deliberately obfuscating…how much to deploy YOUR solution, and the later upgrade to FTTP? Stop avoiding it…”

And again:

“@TurnbullMalcolm @ABCtech For as long as you avoided the question I have asked you many times, you are being evasive and disingenuous…”

And yet again:

“@TurnbullMalcolm That’s not what I’m asking you…why do you twist and turn every time someone asks you for the price?”

There was absolutely no response to any of these tweets with respect to how much his alternate plan will cost.


CitiGroup recently priced Turnbull’s plan at approximately $17 billion – a number he disputed at the time.

If he disputed it, he thinks it is wrong. If he thinks it is wrong, he must know – (at least in a ballpark kind of way) – what the cost will be, to know that Citigroup’s figure is wrong. Leading to the possible conclusion that he either doesn’t know the cost, or doesn’t want to tell us the cost.

Which means that the Coalition either hasn’t costed the policy at all or it costs more than they want us to know at this time.

Whatever the cost for Turnbull’s FTTN plan, combined with the cost of a later upgrade to FTTH – if the total is not less than the current plan to be the NBN as it stands, his plan is neither cheaper OR technically superior.

Until he comes clean, comparing his solution to the current solution is comparing apples and oranges.

I gave Turnbull seven opportunities to answer the cost question yesterday.

Why won’t he answer?

  • penguincat

    He wont answer because it suits him. There are a heap of questions I
    wonder about the liberals policy that I’m yet to see a answer for. Like
    what happens to people already on HFC will they get any gain, will they
    put in FTTN and wholesale that? If no Will telstra and optus be forced
    to wholesale their HFC? If so how exactly will they stop HFC congestion both frequency and backhaul?
    Its a great service provided everyone is in bed. My old docsis 1
    connection would suffer from frequency congestion and slow down to 5mbit
    out of the 38mbit max during peak times. This is a optus and telstra HFC cabled area. So would love for him to say how his FTTN wont end up just a congested mess.

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