[LINK] How far the fibre?
kauer at biplane.com.au
Mon Jul 2 12:15:28 EST 2007
On Mon, 2007-07-02 at 11:16 +1000, Craig Sanders wrote:
> the statement doesn't make it true. it is, however, still true.
Of course you believe that to be so. That's OK - it's called
> so why is broadband so much more important than all these other
> services? why is it more important than healthcare? or education?
I don't consider it more important than those things. I do however,
thing that it is (or will be if it is not already) a major enabler of
those things, both directly and indirectly.
Directly because broadband connectivity supports activities in health
care and education, indirectly because good connectivity removes a
barrier to individuals and businesses setting up in those areas, even
when their actual businesses or jobs are far away. If there was no
broadband here where I live, I would not be here, it is that simple. My
work is in Switzerland and in Canberra. There are plenty of people like
me right now; the future will bring many, many more.
> rubbish. what use is broadband when there are no other services, no
> other infrastructure? installing broadband will not magically fix all
> the other problems associated with living in remote, isolated areas. it
> doesn't even contribute to solving the problems.
I don't believe for a second that broadband will help all the problems
of isolated communities. Nor have I ever said so. But it can most
certainly contribute to solving some of them - for a start, isolation is
both a physical thing and a communications thing. Broadband addresses a
big part of the communications aspect of isolation, and (for some kinds
of work) even some of the physical ones.
As to "other infrastructure", I don't get your point there. People don't
need much "other infrastructure" to make good use of the phone. In what
way is broadband different? If poverty (rather than isolation alone) is
a problem, then I concede that money is better spent directly addressing
those issues. Even there I would note that one way to address poverty is
by making sure that people have opportunity, and broadband offers
> broadband is not a magic wand.
> no amount of broadband is going to encourage large numbers of tech &
> other skilled workers to move to the middle of nowhere, with no doctors,
> no hospitals, no cafes, no restaurants, no cinema, no shops, and NO
> JOBS! - in short, nothing but desert and rocks and the occasional tree.
I said nothing about magic wands or large numbers, Craig, O master of
the straw man. One doctor. One nurse. One teacher. Each a beginning.
Large trees from tiny acorns grow, but not if there's no soil. Broadband
can make an otherwise unattractive place workable, both for individuals
and for businesses. It can provide new ways of doing things and new
opportunities. Many modern jobs can be done wherever there is
connectivity. It's not a magic wand, just something worth having, and
worth having (almost) everywhere.
> rather than waste millions getting fibre-optic cable to a community of
> half a dozen people, spend it on upgrading infrastructure in regional
> towns and cities to make them more attractive places to live for those
> in the capital cities.
Make more big cities? No thanks. Make lots of very small ones. Much
> [rail is]
> far less valuable only if you live in some alternative universe where
> goods and people and real physical world (i.e. not just information)
> services can be transported over fibre optic cables.
It depends, I suppose, on how you define "valuable". How valuable is
news that's less than a week old? How valuable is Internet access to a
small school? To a remote-learning family? How valuable is...? And so
on. And that's just the personal/community benefits. In business terms,
I know that Internet access is a zillion times more valuable to me
personally than a rail line past my door. In past times, when I might
have been manufacturing something physical, or might have needed to go
to work, I may have needed a railway line. Now I need Internet access to
deliver my products and also for the "raw materials". There are many,
many businesses and individuals who trade in information, and who would
love to be somewhere where the rents are low and the land cheap.
> welfare for giant agribusiness companies). there's only a narrow strip
> around most of the coast that is actually pleasant to live in.
Yes, much easier to get cable to than those nasty deserts. Bonus!
> it should be obvious. it would be obvious if you didn't filter out any
> information that has the potential to undermine your
> broadband-is-the-magic-cure-for-everything viewpoint.
Another straw man, Craig. I'm not saying that. Exaggeration for effect
is all very well, but no words in my mouth please.
> the fact that there are dirt roads (and other infrastructure/service
> levels way below city standards) even 60km from a major city....because
> there isn't the population density to justify the kind of spending it
> would take to provide the same level of service. and that's with a
> population density 10s or 100s of times greater than in really remote
There is this basic assumption that you and others make, automatically
and as far as I can tell without any thought at all: That it is
population density that justifies the provision of services.
Instead of focussing on whether a settlement is remote or otherwise,
dense or otherwise, just ask "would this settlement benefit from having
broadband"? It may also need a decent road, a hospital, a school or
whatever; but forget for the moment the issue of "competing" needs. Just
ask the question and see what answer you get.
The provision of services depends on political will. ONLY on political
will. Political will is usually expressed in terms of money only when
the will is lacking. Money only matters when people DON'T want to do
For proof of this you need look no further than military spending, a
Presidential visit, or even just an election.
Karl Auer (kauer at biplane.com.au) +61-2-64957160 (h)
http://www.biplane.com.au/~kauer/ +61-428-957160 (mob)
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