Paul Fletcher versus the NBN


The Opposition has been strangely quiet on telecommunications since the outspoken Nick Minchin relinquished the portfolio and subsequently dipped out of politics, with current Shadow Minister Tony Smith barely daring to voice an opinion.

Given, he blogged a couple of weeks ago that the NBN was reckless expenditure and the question remained how to best achieve faster, more affordable broadband, but in the time before that we could hear the crickets.

Yet since the Bradfield by-election last year the Liberal party has had a telecommunications veteran in its midst (if you can be a veteran at 44) in the shape of Paul Fletcher. Paul was an advisor to Senator Alston when he was communications minister before taking a regulatory affairs role at Optus.

If he was still in his Optus gig I suspect he’d be pushing hard for a split of Telstra and the building of a competing network with taxpayers money. These days, as a politician, he supports the line that the NBN doesn’t have a business case and the “gun to the head threat” to Telstra is just “back and fill [for] a poorly conceived policy on the run”.

In this half-hour interview he doesn’t pull on any punches on the Labor approach to telecommunications. The question is does the Opposition have a better plan?

First published on ZDNet

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