[the australian] STEPHEN Conroy's time under the spotlight begins now, with the chance to market his NBN proposal with real facts and figures.
So far the communications minister has managed to sell the concept of a national broadband network without much in the way of detail, with the exception of a McKinsey study, but now the real business plan is in his hands.
The NBN is still proceeding and the debate happening on different fronts with an almost incongruous lack of final decision making, which, presumably, is aimed to come to a crescendo with the NBN finished before we even know it has been approved.
Next week the accompanying legislation is due to go to parliament. The government is hopeful it will be approved with Senator Fielding’s support.
The ACCC has several issues under discussion, including the NBN’s plan to effectively assume more of the private network fibre than had previously been assumed.
The industry is united in opposition and some say Conroy is also not in favour of this issue.
Maybe this one is a stalking horse, allowing the ACCC and the government to show they are controlling the issue, not Mike Quigley at NBN.
Conroy will take the report to cabinet and has promised to release part of the plan by month’s end.
At some point he needs to establish his case in favour of the project.
The dismantling of the Telstra monopoly is an undeniable plus, which so far has been ignored by the opposition presumably because in its decade in power it missed several chances to undo Kim Beazley’s original mistake.
Conroy hasn’t bothered to sell the benefits and this makes his job of selling the costs so much harder.
The rabbit he will pull from his hat is a cost base well below the mythical $43 billion figure.
That may be good politics but some were also hoping for good policy.
Spotlight on Stephen Conroy's NBN sales pitch