News Corp and the Australian NBN

by admin on November 15, 2013 13:08 pm · Leave a comment

in Articles

In the Australian media, there have been frequent suggestions that Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation have been unfairly influencing the Government’s policy on the National Broadband Network to suit their commercial interests.

Our Director of R&D, Vladimir Lasky, has written a letter to News Corporation Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch to clarify his and News Corp’s positions on the NBN:

Rupert Murdoch
Executive Chairman
News Corporation
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036 USA

Re: News Corp and Australian Government Policy on the NBN

Dear Mr Murdoch,

My name is Vladimir Lasky. I am a Computer Systems Engineer by profession and run – a Sydney-based IT business that develops technology to allow University students and researchers to conduct science and engineering experiments by remote control over the Internet – a key application enabled by the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN).

I and others in my field consider the deployment of a Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN to be the most universally beneficial infrastructure project in Australia’s history – a key requirement to enable the growth of Australia’s Information economy, education and R&D.

It is has been widely suggested in the Australian media and blogosphere that you and/or News Corporation have been lobbying our government to prevent the deployment of a Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN, where optical fibres are extended all the way to each user’s home or business.

The reason put forward is that the higher bandwidth offered by a Fibre-to-the-Premises architecture, compared with the alternative Fibre-to-the-Node architecture, poses a threat to your and/or News Corporation’s Australian commercial interests by making it easier for Australian customers to obtain content such as TV shows and movies at a lower cost compared to if they had to pay for content through local providers that you and/or News Corporation have a financial interest in.

This suggestion causes many of us here very deep concern as it makes us believe that our future as a country is being compromised for the sake of selfish commercial interests.

I thought it would be appropriate to ask you the following questions directly so you can clear things up and share your point of view:

1. Given that the Australian NBN is planned to be built using either a Fibre-to-the-Node or a Fibre-to-the-Premises architecture, do you and/or News Corporation have a preference for either of these architectures and if so, which is it?

2. If you or News Corporation have a preference, has this been communicated to any members of the current government by you or any representatives of News Corporation? If so, what are the names of the News Corporation representatives and which members of the government did they communicate their preference to?

3. If the Australian government deploys the NBN using a Fibre-to-the-Premises architecture, will any politicians, or the government as a whole, have any reason to fear that this will result in less favourable media coverage from News Corporation-owned publications compared to if the government deploys the NBN using a Fibre-to-the-Node architecture?

4. If the Australian government deploys the NBN using a Fibre-to-the-Premises architecture, will News Corporation act to reduce or restrict the availability of American content to Australian customers, e.g. by refusing to allow distribution within Australia or by raising prices to Australian customers, compared to if the government deploys the NBN using a Fibre-to-the-Node architecture?

I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my letter.

Vladimir Lasky
Director of R&D

Note: this was originally posted on our facebook page, located here:

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