At the time the Internet was in its infancy and developing rapidly Telstra needed big money spent on it to become Internet ready. Instead of doing what was needed Howard embarked on a advertising campaign promoting Telstra as a wonder of the Technology when it was already a cot case.
After beating up Telstra to ridiculous levels Howard sold off a big chunk of Telstra to an unsuspecting public at a price that would now seem to be four times its actual value. This was corporate fraud on a grand scale.
If the Howard government had done what was required to modernise Telstra following governments would have had the base to keep Australian communications up to date and the NBN would not be necessary.
The NBN is a catch-up exercise that is necessary because the Howard government perpetrated a massive fraud on the Australian public. The continuous reference to the surplus of the Howard years came about because of this and other frauds.
After the NBN is complete it will still require continuous funding to keep it relevant to the technology that has not yet arrived. The concept of a wholesaler only organisation responsible for keeping the infrastructure up to date for all is to me the best option.
Abbott’s scheme, such as it is, to me is no more than a continuation of the Howard years avoidance of responsibility.