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NBN Report has been released by Conroy May 6, 2010

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Blog, Events, Futuring, Media.
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Senator Conroy’s office has released the McKinsey/KPMG report on the NBN Rollout, and in the main it looks like good news.

Here are the key findings as summarised by the Dept of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Key findings and recommendations from the Implementation Study include:

  • The NBN will deliver world class broadband infrastructure to all Australians;
  • The $43 billion total capital cost of the NBN is a conservative estimate and there are opportunities to significantly reduce the build cost;
  • The peak investment required by Government is estimated at $26 billion by the end of year 7, of which $18.3 billion will be required over the next four years;
  • Government should retain full ownership of the NBN until the roll out is complete to ensure that its policy objectives are met – including its competition objectives;
  • The fibre component of the NBN should be extended from 90 to 93 per cent and cover the 1.3 million new premises expected to be built by 2017-18;
  • Entry level wholesale prices on the fibre should be set at around $30-35 per month for basic broadband 20Mbps plus voice service, to drive affordable retail prices and better value for money for consumers compared to what is available today;
  • Fibre to the premise is widely accepted as the optimal future proof technology with wireless broadband a complementary rather than a substitute technology;
  • Next generation wireless and satellite services will deliver peak speeds of at least 12 Mbps (and much higher for many wireless users). Satellite services will deliver average data rates which are more than 20 times higher than most users of these technologies experience today and much higher than average DSL usage today;
  • NBN Co can build a strong and financially viable business case with the Study estimating it will be earnings positive by year six and able to pay significant distributions on its equity following completion of the rollout; and
  • The Government can expect a return on its equity investment sufficient to fully cover its cost of funds.

The complete report is available for download here:



Glenn Irvine


IBM Backs Innovation Economics with Research May 21, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Analysts, Commentary, Futuring, Media.
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IBM has commissioned Access Economics to produce a report on the economic value of investing in Smart Technologies and Innovation Initiatives.

Reported today in ZDNet, the research backs the Federal Government’s investment in the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the $100 Million earmarked for the Smart Grid.

“The report maintained that going smart in those areas could cause a 1.5 per cent increase in GDP over 10 years as well as create 70,000 extra jobs to the economy in 2014 alone.

The report looked at scenarios where $3.2 billion was spent on smart grid technology, $200 million spent on water irrigation technology in the Murray-Darling Basin, $6.3 billion on integrated electronic health records, an undefined investment in transport technology, and $12.6 billion on a fibre-to-the-node network.”

It is interesting to see that this research by Access Economics backs the numbers submitted by the Industry during Queensland’s recent State Election.

Time for the Pollies across the board to take our industry seriously. Some Policy Advisors could do well by researching this in depth and advising accordingly.


Glenn Irvine

ICT Initiatives in the Australian Federal Budget May 13, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Blog, Commentary, Events, Media.
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It was pleasing to see that what had been pitched as a “Horror” Federal Budget this week has actually been quite kind to the ICT Industry in a number of ways.

While many may argue that the budget was not hard enough, and is a deferral of pain, at least the Innovation Agenda has faired well.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the budget is the fact that there are Capital, Expense, and Revenue initiative headings in the Budget Papers for “Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy“, for “Innovation, Industry, Science and Research” as well as a Sub-Heading under “Education, Employment and Workplace Relations” for “An Innovation and Higher Education System for the 21st Century”.

Strong focus on Innovation and the Digital Economy.

This is pleasing to see, not only from the ICT Industry perspective, but it demonstrates that the Rudd Federal Government is matching rhetoric with budget allocations.

I have listed some of the interesting Budget Items under these headings that I believe may be of interest to the broad ICT Community.

Capital Funding

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
$4.7 Billion National Broadband Network — initial investment
$250 Million Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
$83 Million Innovation Investment Follow-on Fund


Attorney Generals
$8.3 Million E‑Security Review
Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
$54.2 Million National Broadband Network — implementation and establishment
$185.5 Million National ICT Australia (NICTA) — funding extension
var. Numerous ABC and SBS Service Enhancements
$75 Million Queensland University of Technology (Queensland) — Science and Technology Precinct
$50 Million The University of Queensland (Queensland) — Advanced Engineering Building
$40 Million University of Ballarat (Victoria) — Science and Engineering Precinct
$18 Million University of Ballarat (Victoria) — Manufacturing Technology Training Centres
$17.5 Million The University of Melbourne (Victoria) — The Centre for Neural Engineering
$81.9 Million Vocational Education Broadband Network
Foreign Affairs and Trade
$50 Million Australian Trade Commission — Export Market Development Grants scheme — additional funding
Immigration & Citizenship
$34.8 Million Systems for People — operational costs
Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
$38.2 Million National Enabling Technologies Strategy
$1.4 Billion Research and Development Tax Credit
$10 Million Small Business Online Program
+ a range of Research Initiatives with Technology Industry Outcomes

Revenue Measures

50% Tax Break Small Business and General Business Tax Break

The increase and extension of the Tax Break for ICT Appliances and hardware will be a welcome Budget item for many businesses.


Glenn Irvine

Demystifying the NBN – Why Australia Needs Broadband Infrastructure… April 21, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Advocacy, Blog, Commentary, Futuring, Media.
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I’ve been monitoring the media and it’s response to the announcement earlier this month by Australia’s Prime Minister, that the Australian Government was going to lead a National effort worth $43 Billion to provide a FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) network to provide 100 Mbit broadband to 90% of the country.

Since then, on talk-back radio and in the general mass-media, there has been a deluge of, mostly negative, commentary on why our nation would invest $43B in this infrastructure to provide… and the regular quote is, “the ability for people to have very fast downloads of movies or music”.

It appears the common perception is that the NBN is just ‘Foxtel on Steroids’, and it is therefore not surprising, that most of the populace does not understand the huge importance of the investment in this infrastructure for the future benefit of our Nation.

I believe the NBN is a critical infrastructure initiative for our Nation and there are a number of things that should be considered:

  1. It is perhaps a mistake to use the term FTTH (Fibre to the Home) rather than FTTP (Fibre to the Premises). This suggests that the service is only domestic and has no coverage of commercial, government or community premises.
  2. The World around us, particularly our near neighbours in Asia, are enabling their commerce, government and business sectors with high-speed broadband already. For Australia to maintain competitive cost structures, processes and practices we need to meet or exceed these capabilities.
  3. Our community, health and emergency services can be greatly enhanced by broadband information services. Hospitals currently operate like a battlefield surgery, treating the patients in front of them as they present, due to their inability to quickly acquire critical patient information (like X-Ray imagery and CAT Scans) from other hospitals or clinics.
  4. Our government services can operate far more efficiently with broadband enabled eGovernment automation initiatives freeing up much needed resources and funds for necessary frontline services.
  5. Environmentally concerned citizens should consider that every work process that is automated via efficient electronic means between any offices of an organisation means less carbon emissions in having to transport documents between sites.
  6. This infrastructure not only promotes new jobs in knowledge based industries, but it also attracts these industries to invest or headquarter their organisations in Australia. The opposite would be true if we lagged behind Asian countries with this capability. Look at Singapore and Hong Kong, and their attraction of Information Industry APAC company headquarters.
  7. Every single industry benefits from more efficient services and processes. ICT services delivered by fast broadband provides a competitive edge to Australian companies over lesser developed country competitors. Or the opposite will be true, and we will lose that competitive edge… Look at the car industry for lessons to learn here.
  8. The capacity for home-based business and telecommuting is enhanced to viable levels with people able to not only work from home, but conduct online video meetings from home, opening up all manner of cost and travel/commute saving options for many workers in the community, and affordable office accommodation options for businesses everywhere.
  9. Finally, while not all rural sites will be covered, a vast majority of country towns will… and this unlocks great potential in those towns to be able to more easily deliver services and knowledge based products to the Globe in a way never before achievable. This enables our regional businesses to be Global exporters.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything the Prime Minister or his Government delivers or proposes for Australia’s benefit, Mr Rudd is 100% correct in outlining that this is one of the greatest Nation Building exercises ever undertaken in Australia, and for all these good reasons.

While the devil is in the details and the urgency of acting on this great initiative is at peril of the foibles of being managed by a Government Bureaucracy, this initiative is indeed a critical step for Australia’s future.

The danger for our country is to do nothing and allow a commercial monopoly to continue. This would definitely leave us at a significant disadvantage against international competitors in all industries, and have the ultimate impact of reducing Australia’s quality of life comparitively with all the issues that would also create.


Glenn Irvine

Australian Government Nationalises Broadband Rollout April 7, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Events, Futuring, Media.
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In an announcement today by Australia’s Prime Minister, and the Minister for Communications, Australia’s Federal Government has rejected all of the commercial bids for the National Broadband Network (NBN) and decided to create a Government majority owned company to manage the rollout over the next 8 years.

The NBN will provide up to 100Mbps fibre to 90% of Australian Homes (Fibre to the Home – FTTH).

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the project as the “Single largest Nation Building exercise in Australia’s History, likening it to the building of the Snow River Hydroelectric Scheme, or the Sydney Harbour Bridge”

He also mentioned that “this would solve ‘once and for all’ the perceived conflict of interest in Telstra owning Australia’s main telecommunications infrastructure and also providing retail services.”

I’ll be keen to see how the Industry Associations, analysts, and commentators react to the announcement. I fully expect to see complaint that we will be creating another Telstra of unwieldy bureaucratic size, and some of these views is already evident on Twitter this morning.

Personally, I feel Broadband is now a critical national infrastructure component, and with all the natural misgivings around a government managed project of this size, it is the right approach for something of this importance.


Glenn Irvine

National Broadband Rollout Announcement Due Next Week March 30, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Competitive, Media.
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The Australian Federal Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, announced today that he will release next week the results of the Tender for the National Broadband Rollout here in Australia.


With the self-orchestrated exclusion of Telstra, the result of this should be interesting, but I imagine it would be difficult to go past the Optus ONI/TERRiA Bid.

Guess we’ll see when the Prime Minister returns from the UK next week.


Glenn Irvine