Wednesday, 1 May 2013

NBN: The real tragedy of the non-debate - Politicisation.

This tweet highlights the public cost of the Opposition's relentless negativity:
the NBN is an expensive waste with a low take up rate in its current form, paid for with borrowed money.
Both Conservatives and Left-wing now agree that Universal broadband access is a worthy public good and necessary national infrastructure. Nobody disagrees that Fibre is the superior technology for fixed-line data and through the normal operation of technology and economics will some day replace copper for this purpose. The two sides now only differ in when and how we get there.

Is this tweet author seriously saying "No NBN, ever!", including the Coalition plan, or or they saying "the Labor plan is too expensive"?

Is the author arguing, or raging, against the Internet and all its new services and sites? Look at the numbers: the heavy-lifting on the Internet, by better than 10:1, is done by fixed-line services. While wireless (mobile) services are important and growing rapidly, relative and absolute growth in fixed-line traffic outpaces wireless comprehensively.

The author is calling for the killing of the Internet as we know it. Accessible, Universally available fixed-line broadband, meaning matching current global benchmark speeds, is required for the survival of the Internet in Australia.

There is an exquisite irony in the post: they are using the medium they wish to kill to spread their message.

The real arguments, and their are many, about the NBN is the When and the How, not the Why and Where. These are Engineering, Economic, Financial and Commercial debates, not political. Is this idea in the Public Interest or not? When do we have to get it done? What is the most prudent and effective approach, technically and financially? What are the blockers, challenges and pitfalls - and how do we avoid them or mitigate them?

The Oppositions' "destroy the joint" strategy to drown out all informed, reasoned debate in favour of vitriol and parroting dogma and slogans has had a very high cost: anyone, including me, who attempts to raise rational, fact-based questions is not just howled down but aggressively attacked.

The bilateral recognition in Public Policy that the Internet is critical infrastructure and here to stay, is a pivotal moment in Australia history. Yet nobody is discussing it.

Instead, we have an uninformed, unskilled, inexpert commentator violently agitating for their opinion.

This failure in the public debate is twofold: the relentless negativity and gain-saying of the Opposition and a completely ineffectual response by the Government. Both sides have made this happen.

The most important and revolutionary technology change in the last 50 years has descended into an all-in verbal brawl, and I'm sure more than one physical stoush as well.

Since 1900, the transformative public utilities we had were:  Electric Power reticulation, Phones, Radio (1920's) and TV (1960's). Railways and Telegrams came before 1900.
They were greeted with some dissent & opposition, but overwhelming with well-founded enthusiastic anticipation.

Leaving the question: When and How did this generation lose perspective?

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