Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Liberal Broadband "Plan"

The Liberal Party have released their broadband plan. See apparently Labor's plan, which is spend $43 billion on a complete overhaul of the entire telecommunications network, is too expensive and probably too communist since the government is doing it. So the Liberal Party have decided that the best way to solve this is to spend $6.25 billion (broken down in various ways) and pretty much expect Telstra to do it in time.

The executive summary of "The Coalition's Plan for Real Action on Broadband and Telecommunications" reads:
The Coalition’s plan will deliver a uniform national broadband network, under which 97 percent of premises are able to be served by high speed networks capable of delivering from 100 Mbps down to a minimum of 12 Mbps peak speed, using a combination of technologies including HFC, DSL and fixed wireless.
I don't buy that one bit. I live in a middle class area, odds are I might get the "minimum" speed. I say that because I know that what will happen is that 12 Mbps will be the maximum available speed, and that's if they can even be bothered to upgrade the exchange any time soon.

Frankly I'd be surprised if 97% of the country will be able to get the minimum 12 Mbps peak speed.

As the Liberals go on to say:
Labor is heading down the wrong track. Its government owned and government run broadband network will be a taxpayer funded ‘white elephant’ when it is completed in eight years time. It does nothing to deliver lower prices. It just substitutes one monopoly for another. It gives no priority to those who do not get an adequate service today. Under Labor’s plan Australians will be waiting up to eight years before they see a change.
And? The only reason that NBN Co even exist is because Labor didn't like the offers from private companies and said "screw it we'll just do it ourselves". I do think that it's rather funny to see the Liberal party consider upgrading to fibre to the home as a "white elephant".

The rest is just empty rhetoric. I honestly prefer a government monopoly on telecommunication infrastructure then the current Telstra based monopoly. I don't actually mind waiting up to eight years because I know that my service will be improved.

But I shouldn't worry because apparently the Liberal plan will:
Instead of creating a new, inefficient Government run monopoly, the Coalition will create a vibrant, private sector-based broadband market, with Government involved to encourage competition and ensure services reach all Australians.
I don't see that happening. Telstra own basically all the infrastructure, and because they are forced to share they don't have any incentive to upgrade. That's certainly what I've noticed in my area.

Naturally the Liberal party have 13 points that make up their plan. In an earlier incarnation of this post I went through the points. But there is no point. There isn't a plan. It's not even a "plan", it's just "we'll give money to the private sector".

They want to waste time creating a "National Broadband Commission" so they can ask for tenders (again), they want a "National Broadband Database" which is to apparently gather information for no real reason, but has something to do with being able to "optimise" areas that are "underserved".

Frankly I don't see the private sector doing that any time soon. The underserved areas are either poor or in areas that are to expensive to connect to. They are areas that are unprofitable.

They're complaining that the Government is spending so much money and their plan is to give us much less and save two years doing so. So my options are wait 6 years and possibly get 12 Mbps or wait and extra 2 and get 100 Mbps.

Then they propose satellites. Labor promised satellites for those who can't be connected to the fibres, they also said that they would be 12 Mbps. The Liberals haven't even told us what speed people on the satellites would connect to.

Frankly their offer is a joke, and their section on how Labor has failed is even worse.

But there is a sad side to this. For once the Government have done the right thing, a comprehensive upgrade to our telecommunications systems and we've got a party who are trying to claim that they are "responsible" giving us crap. Who cares if Labor cancelled the coalition broadband policy when they came to power, they actually had something far superior.

But then I've noticed that many Australians fail to understand that the cheap option is not always the best one.

I might be against Labor's internet filter, but I'm now more inclined to preference them over the Liberal party.

No comments: