The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting to day that Telstra and OPEL have failed to secure a contract to roll out a national fibre network in Australia. This is potentially good news. The same political logic that says private business is the best and most effective choice for a service provider also says that there’s no way any business can provide broadband to the bush without losses. It makes no business sense to roll fibre out to rural areas. In Australia at least, the Internet should be seen more like a utility alongside water and power. Given our vast geographic arrangement, only the government has the capacity to provide this for our entire population. But have they got the tech smarts to pull it off?
In a shock decision this morning, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, announced that none of five bidders including Optus and Melbourne group Acacia for a national network were up to scratch.Under the new plans, the funding for the network offering speeds of up to 100 megabits per second will be provided by a national broadband network corporation in which the Government will be the majority shareholder.