Unplanned obsolescence

Peter Martin has a terrific piece about Canberra’s Black Mountain Tower — an expensive piece of infrastructure found technologically obsolete within a couple of years as satellite killed the microwave star. It now pretty much a glorified lookout. Martin was drawing an analogy with current broadband plans. The whole example really resonated and towards the end of the article I realised why:

In a report for the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia last year Professor Joshua Gans referred to it as the “late adopter” strategy.

By contrast, the Communications Minister has a “build it and they will come” strategy. His speeches continually refer to future uses for the planned $4.7 billion high-speed broadband network that he says will evolve after the network is in place.

One little correction, believe it or not my report was written and released in 2006. Somewhat amazingly it still doesn’t seem to be obsolete.