[LINK] The politics of broadband

David Lochrin dlochrin at d2.net.au
Wed Sep 8 11:18:20 EST 2010

On Tuesday 07 September 2010 20:04, David Boxall wrote:
> Now that the NBN looks more likely to go ahead, I wonder whether the FUD
> will decrease. The "wireless will make fibre obsolete" meme seems to
> have a solid foothold in too many minds
> <http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1283663748/0#13>.

Yes indeed!  Journalists such as Alison Carabine (ABC 702 Sydney, just after 0900 each day) have a big audience and seem happy to pontificate on NBN technology with little or no understanding of how the network actually works.  You hear journalists apparently repeating ideas they may have picked up in a press release which probably seem plausible when the only understanding you have is gleaned from using a mobile phone or a wireless laptop.

> An article 
> that came out on election day
> <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/nbn-could-cost-
> households-an-extra-3000/story-fn59niix-1225908005122> is still 
> causing concerns as well (only the alarming bits get publicity).
> The campaign of misinformation was probably aimed at discrediting 
> Labor, so it might die down now. Then again, it might not.

The Australian shamelessly campaigns against Labor to the point where they can't be considered a proper newspaper in my opinion - even Malcolm Fraser commented on it recently on the ABC's Q&A.

Perhaps it would help if NBN Co. could run some program designed to explain the facts: why we need a fibre network, the limits of wireless, how the NBN is a wholesale network not a retail one,  and so on.

A similar problem of explaining a complex matter to the general public arises with global warming, and I notice vested interests now seem to be adopting the line that it's just a matter of adaption.  Unfortunately, it's difficult to impart a good public understanding of such complex issues but very easy to undermine understanding, and lazy or unprofessional journalism certainly doesn't help.


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