New Broadband Plan Has Good And Bad Points

A huge turnaround by the government on the national broadband network (NBN) front might be seen as some as yet another case of bureaucracy gone mad. After all the tendering process, and the time it has taken to get this far, to start all over again might seem by some to be a waste of everybody's time. Add to that the tripling of the cost (it was $15 billion, it is now expected to be $43 billion), and the cynic in me says it's just more politiking by big government.

But before I get too carried away with those aspects, let's take stock for a minute and look at what we are getting. As I said on the Steve Price show on 2UE this morning, this new system will be infinitely faster; it is fibre to the house; and it will offer huge ongoing benefits to the Australian consumer. Bear in mind, quite a few countries already have this technology, so it behooves us to keep up with them.

And for the super cynical out there, who think this is just a way to get Telstra back in the running after being flatly rejected by the government on the initial tender, think again. This leaves all of Telstra's copper network redundant, so they have no advantage.

If I have one misgiving it could be that subsequent government's might procrastinate and politic with the issue. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has intimated that the roll out will start in early 2010, which is only eight months away. Let's hope this is one promise a politician will keep.