Now, I flipping LOVE the internet, so don’t get me wrong. But $43 billion for a national broadband network works out at $2000 for every Australian.
Would my household willingly drop 6 large for improved internet speeds? We can already suck entire seasons of US TV shows into our house in a matter of hours. Skype runs well. This blog uploads in the blink of an eye.
So, what the Hell is going on? Does the government know what people use the internet for? Reading the Age and checking their email. Reading kick-arse blogs, streaming The Wire and playing Fantastic Contraption. (Go on, click that last link – you’ll see one of my designs. Here’s another. )
Point me to the problem that this $43 billion is trying to solve!
It’s a waste. You can see why ‘Government rejects cost-benefit analysis into National Broadband Network‘ (SMH, 27/11/2009). It wouldn’t look good for them!
It reminds me of when laptops were new, and schools thought it would be great to force all students to have laptops. But it was a waste, leading to more glossy publicity shots than learning outcomes. Similarly, someone in Government seems to have swallowed the idea that if the country uses internet and the country needs infrastructure then the country needs more internet infrastructure.
$43 billion would fix public transport in this city. This network (designed by the excellent Phin) would be affordable. We could probably afford to fix Sydney too.
And don’t talk to me about video conferencing.
In the internet age, travel is, counter-intuitively, increasing not decreasing. The majority of business emails are to arrange facetime. The two systems are complements, and I found this cool graph that shows how travel time proves invariant across incomes and cultures.
All this expense for a great big nothing makes me want to puke. I haven’t seen gross waste like this before, even when I worked in Defence. That’s saying something.