[LINK] NBN Watch: When reality and transparency is the enemy of marketing
linkdb at boxall.name
Thu Feb 2 21:05:26 AEDT 2017
First order of business for the next government should be a Royal
Commission into the Coalition's sabotage of the NBN.
> The evolution of NBN Co from a transparent, publicly funded,
> engineering-heavy telecommunications utility to PR-heavy,
> marketing-driven, closed shop was steady and swift. It began almost
> immediately after the Coalition won the election in 2012, as then
> communications Minister Turnbull launched his many reviews. As the new
> policy regime began to drift through the organisation, so did the
> gloss. NBN Co became “nbn™”, the website changed from a nice mix of
> technical information and guides to a Telstra or Optus-esque mess of
> marketing jargon and stock images, complete with a hard demolition of
> its once open API.
> There are dozens of PR staff on Twitter who attempt to hide or dispute
> hard truths about the NBN when published by journalists. Almost
> nothing they don’t carefully announce is available on the record –
> even information that isn’t politically sensitive and mostly
> well-known on communications message boards – which allows the company
> to completely control the narrative. Even getting basic information
> about your own connection is next to impossible – where once there was
> a three-year plan that contained locations, dates and the likely
> technology that was going to be installed, there is now nothing.
> Sure, they’ll give you information on the various parts of the mix,
> but searching for your residence either brings up a fat lot of
> nothing, or a rough month and a very general “type” (Fixed Line or
> Wireless) in regards to your connection. If your build is commencing,
> there is no one you can call about when someone will be out at your
> house, or if they will be digging up your lawn, or attaching things to
> your walls. In my own personal situation, someone came out, lead some
> fibre to my garage through existing conduit and then left it there –
> this was three months ago.
> Hiding the type of connection being offered helps NBN hide from
> accountability. Much of its connection equipment is built, coloured
> and labelled in the same way, making it difficult for people who
> aren’t tech savvy to understand what they have once it’s there. If you
> aren’t aware of what you are getting or what you have until you have
> it, it is much more difficult to complain or request a different
> product, or raise complaints with your MP, or NBN itself.
> Then there are speeds. NBN’s recent rebranding of its own speed
> profiles to the laughingly basic “nbn 25/nbn50/nbn100” is almost
> condescending in its lack of transparency. What are the upload speeds?
> Every single other telco once clearly defined what speeds you could
> expect to get on their networks. NBN’s change has not made it easier,
> instead, obfuscating the values removes the ability of customers to
> complain about substandard performance.
> For example – if I purchased a service that claimed to offer 100mbps
> down and 40mbps up and this was not being provided, I have a clear
> benchmark to compare against. But if my service is called “NBN 50”,
> that could mean practically anything. You could be getting
> 21mbps/1mbps and they could claim that “50” is more of a guiding
> principle, and that it only relates to downloads. Or that “50” is an
> aggregate. This also assists NBN retailers to gain valuable cover to
> skimp on their CVC bandwidth. The site conveniently does not explain
> the restrictions of each technology, outside of fine print that
> babbles on about how different factors affect speed.
> This full circle PR nightmare is then completed via spending money on
> advertising that, almost comically, imagines an Australia where
> everyone has superfast broadband. The NBN is a now a feeling, rather
> than a network, a “possibility” of a “brighter future”. It
> conveniently fails to mention when these businesses, schools and
> households will have their access, if it will deliver the speeds
> promised to make much of this minority report nonsense possible and,
> most importantly, if the network will be able to keep up with further
> growth and demand for data and speeds. Hell, one of the businesses in
> the ad isn’t even connected yet.
> All this feeds into the narrative that NBN is a private company, when
> it is very much not, and is only accountable and accessible to the
> government, not taxpayers. It’s no surprise that its CEO used to work
> for Vodafone, because the company now looks, feels and acts like
> Telstra or Optus. That NBN is playing the Telstra Wholesale card in
> refusing to deal directly with end users even during the build stages
> is straight out of that playbook, when they have a right to know when
> and how equipment being installed on their property will be completed.
> Taxpayers don’t want the NBN to be slick. They don’t want Telstra
> style ads that carry on about “the magic of technology”. They want a
> government utility that is open, honest, and communicative. They want
> to talk to someone about their options and what they should expect.
> They want an API that allows third parties to track the build and keep
> their government accountable. They want clear instructions on how to
> lodge complaints about wholesale service quality, rather than being
> pushed into their RSP’s support queue. They want clear graphs and
> figures on network performance, average speeds and heat maps.
> Turtling behind a glossy border wall may very well get NBN to the end
> of its construction phase deadline in 2020. But it won’t hide it from
> the likely scrutiny of a future government, as it pours over the
> hidden failures and exposes them as evidence of a failed
> administration. It also won’t save it from reality, as more and more
> Australians are switched over, sooner or later the chickens will come
> home to roost.
David Boxall | All that is required
| for evil to prevail is
http://david.boxall.id.au | for good men to do nothing.
| -- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
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