[LINK] Study casts doubt on claims for broadband
david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Mon Nov 29 16:18:55 EST 2010
Another one for the NBN-knockers:
Study casts doubt on claims for broadband
Peter Martin ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT
November 29, 2010
THE federal government has been accused of misusing research to build
the case for the national broadband network in an international study
that finds the claimed benefits have been ''grossly overstated''.
Released in London before the vote today on legislation paving the way
for the NBN, the study found that the evidence to support claims made
for fibre-to-the-home networks was ''surprisingly weak'' and cited
Australia as a key example.
''All else equal, faster is better,'' noted the study, prepared by the
British telecommunications consultant Robert Kenny and Charles Kenny
from the US Centre for Global Development. ''But faster technologies
don't always triumph; think of passenger hovercraft, maglev trains, and
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''Concorde (if it hadn't retired) would still be the fastest passenger
aircraft today, having first flown in 1969. It turned out that the
incremental benefits of speed to most customers were not worth the extra
South Korea, cited as the world leader in providing fibre to homes,
enjoyed productivity growth of 7.6 per cent per capita per year in the
decade before it began the program and 3.8 per cent in the decade since.
''Many factors played into the growth slowdown,'' the study says. ''But
maybe the massive increase in online gaming, facilitated by the
broadband revolution, played a role.''
In launching Australia's broadband network in 2009, Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd said 78 per cent of the productivity gains in service businesses
and 85 per cent in manufacturing flowed from information and
The study traced this claim back to two papers from Australia's
Communications Department referring to gains of 59 to 78 per cent and 65
to 85 per cent.
''What was an upper bound in the research has become a mid-point in
Rudd's speech,'' it says.
''But more importantly, the research was looking at all technological
factors. Thus the figures cited include the benefits of everything from
biotechnology to the rise of containerised transport.''
Also, the research cited by Mr Rudd covered the periods 1985 to 2001 and
1984 to 2002, ''when the internet was in its infancy and broadband was
David Boxall | My figures are just as good
| as any other figures.
http://david.boxall.id.au | I make them up myself, and they
| always give me innocent pleasure.
| --HL Mencken
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