With the NBN, continuing to be used as a political football rather than being a technology-driven, critical nation building infrastructure project, our stance has always been that Australians require fast internet for more than just leisure. When senior cabinet Minister, Christopher Pyne implied that Australia does not need fast internet because no-one needs to download five movies at once, he is making a gross over-simplification of how broadband can impact service deliveries such as health and education in this country in both urban and regional areas.

And, that's not to mention commercial opportunity. Why shouldn't the next Facebook or Google or Microsoft be able to emerge from a great idea in Whyalla, Geraldton or Cunnamulla? Why shouldn't our domestic innovators be able to compete on a global scale?

Pyne, the Minister who is responsible for Innovation, Science and Industry in this country, is only demonstrating in this case that he is completely out of touch with the core aspects of his portfolio. These are all areas where the broad availability of high-speed internet is critical.

Internet usage is not limited to the streaming of movies and other multimedia content to household entertainment devices. It is a critical ingredient to improving the efficiency of public service delivery and creating globally competitive private enterprise. Implying otherwise shows complete ignorance of the way Internet usage has developed and become critical to the functioning and innovation of society.

A second egregious element of this issue is that the NBN debate has been transformed from being about delivering access to fast, equitable internet right across the nation, to a tool that both major parties have been using to score political points against each other.

With the structure of the NBN having been changed so harshly since its inception, it will be a miracle if it actually survives and provides even 20 per cent of the utility to the nation it was first envisioned to be.

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From The Fifth Estate - Editor's Blog (June 2017)

A Sometimes irreverent and informative look at technology and news being discussed by online media.


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