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Wednesday October 20, 2010

Turnbull lays out broadband vision

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Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition spokesperson on telecommunications, has outlined his ideas on broadband to Talking Business, the podcast sponsored by the College of Business at RMIT University.

Mr Turnbull joins a long list of prominent business leaders to have been interviewed by senior journalists Leon Gettler and Gary Barker, including Saul Eslake, Economist and Program Director of Productivity Growth, Grattan Institute; Lindsay Tanner, former Minister for Finance; and Senator Kim Carr, Minister of Innovation for Industry, Science and Research.

He talked about the national broadband network, arguing that there were better and more economical ways to create the network without setting up a government monopoly.

"It is by far the largest government investment in broadband infrastructure anywhere in the world," he said.

Australia would be spending 100 times more per capita for the NBN than the USA on its broadband project.

"There has been no cost-benefit analysis on this at all."

Mr Turnbull is arguably, within parliamentary ranks, uniquely qualified on this question, having been chair and principal shareholder of Ozemail, one of Australia's major internet service providers. He sold the enterprise in 1999 to MCI Worldcom.

Throughout his business career, Mr Turnbull has maintained a strong interest in the internet and communications.

He founded a software and investment company, FTR Holdings and through it took positions in a number of internet businesses including Webcentral and

Mr Turnbull is Australia's richest politician, the only one to make the BRW Rich 200 list, with an estimated worth of $186 million.

Talking Business, which features 15 minutes of interviews with prominent business leaders and expert analysis from RMIT academics, has been produced since February.

The journalists who produce it are both senior writers with The Age newspaper. Mr Barker is its Technology Editor and Mr Gettler is a Senior Business Journalist, as well as working freelance on other publications.

Podcasts can be downloaded for free from RMIT's site within iTunesU.

Source: RMIT University;ID=lgwj5kdg8xxdz;STATUS=A

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