The single biggest opportunity for the screen industries

By October 2, 2013 Blog

This moment will be forever remembered as the time when Australia rose above petty politics or succumbed to the will of egos and media titans. The NBN policy debate is at a critical point with far reaching effects for anyone working with moving image, on all screens.

Nick Paine made national headlines with a petition to Tony Abbott post-election, collecting over 260,000 signatures of people requesting “The Liberal Party of Australia: Reconsider your plan for a ‘FTTN’ NBN in favour of a superior ‘FTTH’ NBN”. The petition itself is a fantastic explanation of the technical aspects being debated as well as links to many great online resources.

This exercise seemed completely futile when the new Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, rejected the petition and essentially shut down discussion on the topic – Gizmodo republished this tweet exchange where he tied the NBN issue to the entire election.

However just yesterday, Delimiter reported essentially a backflip –

“Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull appears to have drastically modified the Coalition’s policy stance on the National Broadband Network just weeks after the Federal Election, declaring the Coalition was not wedded to its fibre to the node model and was “thoroughly open-minded” about the technology to be used in the network.”

Ideally, if the ego can be taken out of the situation, then the economists and technicians can get on with the job of bringing Australia, literally, up to speed.

Newscorp’s role in all of this has been well documented and discussed at length. The enthusiasm for the NBN expressed in Mumbrell back in August, hasn’t made it through post-election in support of the technically superior FTTN plan.

“Even without government intervention, these networks would have developed and expanded. If government action improves in the reach and quality of broadband networks, or ensures that they are deployed more quickly, Foxtel will benefit by being able to offer products such as Go and Play to more Australians.”

Possibly because they have bigger problems to worry about. Two days ago the Australian Financial Review reported “News Corporation has finally revealed the bloodbath that former Australian chief executive Kim Williams presided over – in the last year its local operations blew up close to $2 billion.”

Paul Wallbank has put together a great summary in Technology Spectator, of the other complicating factors including the resignation of the entire NBN board, negotiations with Telstra, Audits and roll-outs to achieve completion by 2019.  

In the meantime, the next generation of Australian web based start ups, is holding its breath to see which way this goes.

Written by Tiani Chillemi, Marketing Manager at Metro Screen.