Regional Communications Fund Destruction

It amazes me how stupid those who get elected are.

The previous government setup a $2 billion communications fund, of which the interest would be used to invest in further regional and rural communications infrastructure.

Brilliant plan. There’s no burden on taxpayers for the funds to advance regional communications, there’s no burden on private industry to make losses in areas to invest, there’s no ‘monopoly’ on services occurring, causing anti competitive conduct leading to fines – yep, Telstra can relate to that last one, right?

Why on earth would Conroy want to destroy such a brilliant peice of legislation and sell the futures of rural users short, just so those who are already in built up areas can enjoy possibly faster, but more expensive services?

Seems like a stupid policy decision to me. That $2 billion could have easily funded $170 million or more infrastructure every 3 years. Over 30 years, they’d have nearly spent $3 billion on investment, and still have the original $2 billion remaining to play with for investment elsewhere.

Naturally though, as stupid as they are, they are just going to piss money away instead, and ignore the oppourtunity to fix the bush. Make it someone elses problem. Doesn’t seem smart, does it.

I consider FTTN a stupid move. Sure, it might give some faster speeds, but, in the words of Fat Phil, it’ll also give ‘premium prices’.

I see that interest rate rises for home buyers (nope, not stupid enough to be buying now :)), are through the roof, and at least the picture painted by the news is that ‘families are struggling’ – How will bringing possibly faster (you must consider that the majority are already getting 10Mbit, in reality, many sites don’t even deliver that anyways), internet access at premium prices possibly help the problem of financial stress?

I’m sure the farmers are interested in the logic here too. Investment in ADSL2+ technology for the nation should suffice many thirsts for data, and those on the fringes should still get a princely 5Mbit. And those who want faster, well, it’s not that hard to relocate if you REALLY need it, or choose an alternative connection means, or heck, get someone (or a group) to start a wireless network, and load balance a few ADSL2+ connections on it, and that’ll deliver faster speeds.

FTTN though? It’ll give faster sync speeds for some, but ultimately, the funds end up wasted in technology not realising it’s full potential, only because the entire internet hasn’t moved to near that potential anyway.

Rural farmers could benefit from a project Telstra scrapped to try and fetch more profits from NextG customers. It’s called Long Line ADSL. It gives ADSL access to long line customers who no doubt could benefit from such a great product.

But Telstra in all its greed wanted NextG customers, so didn’t bother to put the infrastructure it bought into action, wasting yet more money.

Farmers all over the nation would almost certainly be happier with an ADSL1 connection, than trying fruitlessly to try and get 12Mbits to the general public, who should be able to enjoy speeds exceeding 8Mbit where competitors have invested.

And of course, the other issue the communications fund could have sorted out is investment in regional backhaul, encouraging others to provide backhaul.

The government shouldn’t be looking to provide full technology solutions such as FTTN. They should be trying to remove any impairments to investment in any way possible that looks out for the national interest through retail competition.

FTTN doesn’t do that. The communications fund, well it at least had the potential to do so.


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