[LINK] NBN to cost 24 times South Korea's faster network, says research body

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Thu Feb 10 18:15:13 AEDT 2011

Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
> NBN to cost 24 times South Korea's faster network, says research body
> ...http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nbn-to-cost-24-times-s-koreas/story-e6frg6n6-1226002952747

The report is ‘Full speed ahead: The government broadband index Q1 2011' 
from the Economist Intelligence Unit (the research unit for The 
Economist magazine).  The full report costs US$2,950 so I just read the 
free summary: 

The report criticises the Australian government for "... spending a 
colossal 7.58% of annual government budget revenues on its National 
Broadband Network. In South Korea, by comparison, the government is 
spending less than 1% of annual budget revenues to realise its broadband 
goals, achieving targets by encouraging the private sector to invest in 
the country's broadband future. ...".

 From the summary of the report it appears that the EIU's researchers 
developed an index to rank national broadband schemes on speed, coverage 
and rate of rollout. More controversially they also include in the index 
the "... most appropriate regulations for realising targets and 
fostering a competitive broadband market". This makes the assumption 
that a market is possible and appropriate.

On these measures Australia ranks 9th out of 16 countries, just under 
Denmark and above New Zealand and the USA. South Korea ranks top and 
Greece bottom.

Any deployment of broadband across Australia which attempts to achieve 
equity will be difficult and expensive. Australia has large cities where 
deployment is easy and then sparely populated areas where there is no 
technology which can provide cost effective deployment. If everyone in 
Australia was prepared to move to Sydney, then broadband could be 
provided at comparable speeds and costs to countries like Singapore. ;-)

The cost of the NBN (about $43B over 8 years) should be seen in 
perspective with other public expenditure. As an example Australian 
public expenditure on education each year is 4.5% of GDP (from 
"Education in Australia", OECD, 2008), or about $56B (based on the OECD 
States Extract estimate of Australian GDP of $1,253,121.0 for 2009). If 
the NBN achieved a 10% saving in the cost of education, this would pay 
the entire capital cost of the network.

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, The
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO ICT Centre: http://bit.ly/csiro_ict_canberra

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