It seems that the tradition of the National Party leader selling out the party’s constituents whenever it conflicts with Liberal Party policy is alive and well.
A National Party think tank came up with the stunningly obvious idea of using T3 proceeds to pay for bush broadband rollouts But John Anderson has nixed the idea – apparently he thinks the private sector can do it better.
Newsflash John: the private sector will not rollout broadband to the bush. There’s no money in it. With something like 95% of Australia’s population living in the large cities, and well over a third of those people not having broadband available, who is going to look at broadband for the bush?
Broadband (not satellite!) requires cables. Cables are expensive to rollout over long distances. Heck, Telstra barely managed to roll out phones in the bush, and they don’t really maintain them properly now (despite being obliged to by both the law and their majority shareholder, the Australian Federal Government). Why would they support broadband?
The private sector focuses on where the money is – that’s in the cities. Even if a private sector player decided to roll out broadband to the bush, they’d (rightly) charge through the nose for it – it would be more expensive.
If the government wants rural communities to remain viable, it is the responsibility of the government (and the citizens of those communities) to provide incentive to do so. Relying on the private sector won’t see it done. What’s really sad is that good telecommunications infrastructure would make it viable for tertiary industries to set up in the bush – about all they really need is good communications.
On a side note: whenever a member of the public service or the government says that the private sector can run things better, they are admitting that they think the public service management is incompetent.