The latest brouhaha regarding the NBN relates to whether connections under either an FTTP or FTTN model will be “free”, and, seemingly, what “free” actually means. Here’s a hint. It means free.
Over at Delimiter, Renai LeMay has taken stock of the Australian version of Politifact’s dissection of Labor claims that current NBN model connections will be “free”, something that oppposition communication spokesman Malcolm Turnbull hotly contests, because he’d very much like to point out that using the NBN will involve monthly service charges.
The Wumpus wonders whether there’s too much lead in the water in Canberra, because this seems like the most stupidly obtuse reading of the word “free” that it’s ever come across.
Under the current NBN plan, the fibre connection model is “free” in the connection phase; that is, you don’t pay to have fibre connected to your premises, in the same way that you don’t pay to currently have a copper phone line running down a pole or in a pipe in the ground near your premises in order to make increasingly crackly phone calls.
Of course, you pay for the monthly connection charge, but that’s not going to change under the Coalition’s FTTN policy, just as it doesn’t change if you pick up an ADSL or wireless broadband connection right now.
There’s the sticky little truth that the Coalition FTTN policy calls for the prospect of paid fibre connections — not service — for those willing to stump up the cash, although nobody seems to agree on how much that would cost, what would happen if you went past a premises that later wanted its own fibre, or indeed if anyone would actually get down in the pipes and pits what with all the asbestos down there anyway. But surely a respected statesman such as Turnbull would never play political distraction games… would he?
Image: Gavin St. Ours