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Australian Government Nationalises Broadband Rollout April 7, 2009

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Events, Futuring, Media.
Tags: , , , , , ,

In an announcement today by Australia’s Prime Minister, and the Minister for Communications, Australia’s Federal Government has rejected all of the commercial bids for the National Broadband Network (NBN) and decided to create a Government majority owned company to manage the rollout over the next 8 years.

The NBN will provide up to 100Mbps fibre to 90% of Australian Homes (Fibre to the Home – FTTH).

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the project as the “Single largest Nation Building exercise in Australia’s History, likening it to the building of the Snow River Hydroelectric Scheme, or the Sydney Harbour Bridge”

He also mentioned that “this would solve ‘once and for all’ the perceived conflict of interest in Telstra owning Australia’s main telecommunications infrastructure and also providing retail services.”

I’ll be keen to see how the Industry Associations, analysts, and commentators react to the announcement. I fully expect to see complaint that we will be creating another Telstra of unwieldy bureaucratic size, and some of these views is already evident on Twitter this morning.

Personally, I feel Broadband is now a critical national infrastructure component, and with all the natural misgivings around a government managed project of this size, it is the right approach for something of this importance.


Glenn Irvine



1. Tim Sheedy - April 7, 2009

Hi Glenn – while I agree that we don’t want another Telstra, in general a market can only support one Telstra – the mere presence of two large providers should see market forces drive efficiencies within both providers as they both compete on real market offerings (i.e. not in the courts like Telstra does now) – and hopefully we will see better outcome for consumers of their services.

The proof, however, will be in the pudding. As long as the new regulatory environment and legislation around such “suits” the market conditions, it should be a good outcome for all. If this is not the case, we will see more of the same i.e. Telstra and the govt spending more money and effort on propping up the legal industry as opposed to their customers.

2. Anon-E-Mouse - April 8, 2009

It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s too little, too late.
Why are we implementing 100mb connections as other countries are moving on from there

100mbit is a stopgap solution based of technology that countries like south Korea have had implemented for over a decade, If we wanted to establish ourselves as a modern technologically innovative country, we should be looking into the multiple gigabit connections that are currently being implemented in test situations arround Europe and Asia.

This project will be phenomenally expensive, profiting mostly telecomms and cabling companies, i’d put money on it going overtime and over budget. If we roll out 100mbit now, there wont be another new broadband rollout for easily a decade, while other countries are already years ahead looking at implementing multiple gigabit connections.

Australia missed the 100mb bandwagon, we didn’t want to spend the billions of $$’s in the 90’s, the technology hasn’t gotten cheaper and is shortly going to be superseded, we should be looking at 1gbit connections or saving our 40+ billion for other causes.

This is just my opinion and i don’t provide any form of empirical evidence to my statements, so feel free to disagree entirely.

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