[LINK] The Australian publishes an article in support of the NBN
kim at holburn.net
Mon Oct 18 17:31:47 EST 2010
Good, well argued article.
Criticising Abbot, supporting the NBN, what's happening in the Murdoch
establishment? Are we seeing some sort of shift or just a random
flash in the pan?
> It's interesting to remember that Rupert Murdoch, the boss of News
> Corporation, ultimate owner of The Australian, made waves in 2006
> when he criticised internet speeds in Australia.
> "When you have broadband -- real broadband -- where you get, say,
> 20Mbps of data into your home, it changes everything," Murdoch said.
> "In Australia, we only have a couple of million people on broadband
> and they don't even get 1Mb. I think it's a disgrace."
> He added that in his view the government and Telstra should be
> spending "$10 billion or $12bn to reach every town in Australia.
> They do it in Japan; they do it in South Korea, we should be able to
> do it here. We are being left behind and we will pay for it."
> The Australian recently questioned the lack of a cost-benefit study
> to justify the proposed $43bn NBN spending and sided with Mexican
> telco billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, who said not all of us needed
> mega-fast connections. The editorial contained the crucial caveat:
> "None of this is to argue against the value of first-class
> I would flip the proposition: the value of first-class
> communications is so great that we should not allow the NBN project
> to be derailed by relatively minor quibbles.
> I do not argue that we should ignore all matters of cost, efficiency
> and potential uptake. This is not a plea for an irrational, bugger-
> the-detail national spend-a-thon. But it is to suggest we should
> keep our eyes on the horizon when we debate the issue and not be
> dissuaded by unanswerable questions about the unknown.
> Opponents say the NBN is too expensive. The nominal cost first
> attributed to the project was $43bn and that figure has become
> locked in concrete.
> But the public purse will be asked to stump up something in the
> order of $26bn-$27bn over the next eight years. That is quite
> manageable in a country with a gross domestic product now over
> $1000bn a year, growing at 1.8 per cent annually. It is a quarter of
> the amount we spend each year on both welfare and health services
> and is roughly equal to the annual defence budget.
> Yes, it is a lot of money, and we should not be cavalier about how
> it is spent. We will want the NBN Co and the nation's political
> masters to watch the pennies, unlike the schools building program
> launched as part of the recent stimulus spending. But past mistakes
> and future doubts should not blind us to the benefits of the NBN or
> deter its construction.
> Opponents also say the NBN is Not Bloody Needed. They point to
> current hybrid fibre broadband services and faster wireless
> technologies and argue that what we have is more than enough for
> ordinary home services.
> The same argument could have been made about our roads. Yes, you
> could drive from A to B on the narrow, twisting, pot-holed,
> unsealed, dangerous roads we had in the immediate postwar period,
> but freeways are better. They are faster, more efficient, add to
> national productivity and save lives. We would be akin to a Third
> World backward country without them.
> Similarly, you could argue that Sydney didn't need an Opera House at
> Bennelong Point. True -- but after it was built (at a cost more than
> 10 times its original estimate) it has paid for itself many times
> over as a tourist and cultural focal point.
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