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Australian Government Nationalises Broadband Rollout April 7, 2009

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