Image via WikipediaThe Rudd Labour Government has announced that rather than tendering building fibre optic broadband network to a private consortium or telco, they are going to do it themselves. At a cost of AU$43bn over 8 years.
The logic sounds nice nice on-going stimulus during a time of economic crisis that is productivity enhancing. Broadly I agree with the sentiment. Broadband is a viable stimulus that will have positive benefits in productivity. The larger the pipe the greater the economic opportunity and productivity.
I have two problems with the announcement though.
- It does seem like an idealogical policy to get the government back into the telco game - not something that is warranted or needed
- More importantly the value of the Government involvement is limited
Laying their own cable is an unnecessary expense, but given that this is likely to happen then I hope the Government learns the lesson of KPN in The Netherlands that open access to the network benefits not only the consumer, but the owner of the network. Open Access has to be a requirement for the Government network and must be a requirement if the network is ever sold to the private sector.