Kevin Rudd's announcement yesterday that, in effect, the winner of the NBN process was nobody was something of a jaw-dropping moment. Should broadband users be overjoyed by the NBN, or cautiously wary?
The announcement that the Government would instead invest $43 billion in a FTTH network was even more jaw dropping. But what are the real upsides, and for that matter, the downsides?
Five reasons to be optimistic:
- 1) Promised speed increases: Up to 100Mbit, and potentially even faster again in the future.
- 2) An open, wholesale network: Sales competition should be pretty fierce, which can only be good for customers.
- 3) Telcos working together: Even Telstra's saying this will be a good thing -- and it'll be easier to get the NBN off the ground with Telstra than without it
- 4) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The promise of jobs -- in building, implementation and maintenance -- can only be a good thing.
- 5) Starting this year: Tasmania this year, so it's claimed. Covering the broadband blackspots first is clever strategy.
Five reasons to be pessimistic:
- 1) Political hurdles: Special interests. Opposition. Just plain political meddling. Anyone think that's not going to happen?
- 2) A motza of money: $43 billion, and then similar private investment -- if it can be found.
- 3) Eight years to complete: Eight years is a long, long time in broadband.
- 4) Government owned: Can anyone say "mandatory filter"?
- 5) Not Government owned: But they're also planning to sell it off after 5 years. Did failing to separate Telstra before selling it really work out?