Have plan, will deploy in Australia

Thanks to Mike Horwath for the heads up – while we were eating turkey leftovers, the Australian Senate passed a bill that split Telstra’s Australia’s largest ISP separating their retail and wholesale arms.

The Age echoed many other news sources when they said…

THE national broadband network has cleared another key hurdle, after Parliament signed off on major changes designed to help consumers by splitting Telstra’s retail and wholesale arms.

The same article goes on to say that plans are in the works to block the path, while other promising to block the blocks – but a step has been taken. Ars Technica gives a brief summary of the route to deploying the national broadband plan…

The government let go of Telstra in the late 1990s. But, over the coming eight years, Australia’s taxpayers will fork over AUS$43 billion (US$38 billion) to build a “world-class broadband infrastructure.” The project will deliver fiber-to-the-home to 93 percent of all households. We’re talking open access and wholesale only. Every ISP will be able to tap into the system.

I hear people claim that the US can’t commit to ubiquitous broadband because we’re so big with so many areas of low population density. I know that size and population density matter – but I think Australia is showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way. As you may recall, access to broadband was a big issue in the elections this year. The people wanted broadband and now the government is stepping in to make it happen. Unfortunately surveys are showing the opposite in the US. Pew recently reported that more than half of Americans polled say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Even Blandin Foundation’s own Rural Pulse survey indicated that…

Fifty three percent of rural residents strongly agreed and 33 percent somewhat agreed that their community has adequate access to technology, with 13 percent disagreeing with that belief.

And numerous surveys have indicated that one of the top reasons people don’t have home broadband is because they don’t see a value. It’s an indicator that we need to convince people of the value of broadband – because as Australia has demonstrated – it can be (or at least is being) done.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, FTTH, Open Networks, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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