Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Aussie net on light fibre diet

When the Prime Minister decides to pony up $43 billion for a national infrastructure program it kind of gets your attention but there's more to this politically than just fat internet pipes. Double dissolution or internet filtering anyone?

After more than a decade of business as usual it was a reminder that governments still have the power to do the unexpected on a grand scale. Recognizing the death-grip Telstra had on the old copper wire fixed line network was unbreakable, Rudd and a small coterie of ministers spent the past two months working on what could be described as the Field of Dreams National Broadband Network plan.

Build it and they will come.

Following yesterday morning’s announcement, legions of geeks, propeller heads and average Aussie porn enthusiasts all celebrated the promise of universal high speed broadband with self-inflicted friction burns. By last night, with equal predictability, the Coalition was already setting up roadblocks.

The effortlessly grey Nick Michen was almost rubbing his hands with glee as he conjured up various obstacles to the project; local councils, the need for a Senate committee and... something else... that's right the Coalition could vote against the project.

Whether or not the NBN comes to fruition it looks like the Ruddbot T-2009 has neutralized the opposition. Block the project (which would mean practically slipping roofies into the Nationals' teapot to get them to go along quietly) and you’re obstructionist luddites who’ve handed the government a nice big double dissolution trigger. Support it and share a large slice of freshly half-baked blame cake if it goes tits up or starts dying slowly like a blue whale on a Greenpeace manned beach.

Meanwhile I’d make a small wager that by building this system from the ground up, some of the technical problems Comms minister Stephen Conroy will have with those pesky ISPs over internet filtering will, over time, become way less mission critical. Even more enjoyable for the government is the NBN (aka Ruddnet, Ruddstra etc) will smash the Telstra monopoly like a candy Easter egg kissing a concrete floor.

A quick spin over to the gold standard for lame corporate blogging, Now We’re Spinning, shows just how entertaining Telstra fanboys can be, stamping their tiny feet at the unfairness of it all.

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