Opposition broadband policy

I haven’t read anything other than the news items on this, but Labor’s proposal to throw a ton of Federal government money at broadband seems to be just what I feared (click here). They are going to target 12Mpbs to 98 percent of the population. It is argued that this would create $30b annual increase in economic activity.

I assume that some research might appear about this but in my investigation of broadband last year there was little to no evidence of an immediate national need for this and also that the rest of the world when they engaged in public expenditure on this was targeting much higher speeds. All this in the context of a public-private partnership where it is unclear that the public will actually be the winner.

This is one of those times when I hope the specifics aren’t too specific and we can take the energy of putting this issue on the agenda to lead to sensible, non-Big Bang, policy formation.

4 thoughts on “Opposition broadband policy”

  1. And as far I can tell, they still haven’t addressed the point about aquiring Telstra’s infrastructure to put the network in place. Surely they will not duplicate Telstra’s network, so how are they planning to get access to Telstra’s copper? It’s not as simple as it sounds – to avoid a high court challenge, Telstra must be on board, and for that to happen it is going to continue to want ‘reasonable terms’ for that access.

    Won’t be holding my breath for a truly competitor neutral solution.


  2. The constitutional limit on acquisition of property without just terms is actually pretty murky. Sure, the Commonwealth couldn’t transfer ownership of the wiring to itself or someone else without just terms. But regulatory changes that give others access, such as changes to competition rules, are much less clear. The cases are all over the shop.

    Also, the States aren’t bound by this constitutional provision at all, so all the Labor States – i.e., all of them? – could just seize the wiring in their respective jurisdictions. (The Territories are trickier.) The joy of an all Labor country…

    It’s politics (and, perhaps, the inherent uncertainty of court action) that are important, not the constitution itself.


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