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back to article Australia votes and Vulture South picks the flesh off tech policy

When Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull led the Australian Republican movement, which found itself on the wrong end of the 1999 plebiscite on converting Australia from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, he labelled then-Prime Minister and staunch monarchist John Howard the man who “broke this nation's heart.” …

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Sadly, it really does come down to who is going to do the least damage to the country over the coming years. And not just in IT.

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Mushroom

if only

there were policies, not slogans. The advertising truth laws should apply especially to political parties. About time all taxpayer and company funding was forbidden. Let the lying sods get cash from their party members only. Might be some accountability then for all the bagmen of all sides.

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Fortunately, I already have fibre to my house so no matter what happens with the NBN I am sorted for net access.

Perhaps it is time to vote for minor parties, and put both Labor and Liberal down at the bottom of your preferences? I know that's what I will be doing. What a shame that the vast majority of the population will keep voting along the same tired party lines they have all their lives, and then wonder why their elected government keeps kicking them when they are down.

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>Fortunately, I already have fibre to my house so no matter what happens with the NBN I am sorted for net

So go ahead tell us (and for history).

Are you using it for tele-medicine? Education? Has this important infrastructure revolutionized your economic condition? Do people from other countries respect you more?

I'll take fibre to the home when it comes. I've wanted personal fibre for 20 years now -- back when 128Kbps ISDN was the fastest I could go, fibre was on option. But I couldn't justify the upfront cost, and I wasn't dumb enough to spend company money on 'symbolism'

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Pint

I've just wanted broadband. HFC, ADSL, anything. I managed to get Unwired for a while (a 25db directional antenna and just line of sight). Mobile broadband is a joke, it's usually little faster than dial-up here. Maybe if I go live under a tower or, I know, maybe get the telco to install a tower in my back yard so I get decent reception. Ah, but wait, then they'd need decent back haul to the rest of the network.

I'm so happy for you, but perhaps creating equitable infrastructure for all would be a nice idea, especially as most government departments, nay, most businesses now assume that decent broadband is ubiquitous.

I think a good beer, or maybe a dozen, is required on Saturday, because on Sunday we're waking up with a headache no matter who wins.

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@ david 12

"So go ahead tell us (and for history).

Are you using it for tele-medicine? Education? Has this important infrastructure revolutionized your economic condition? Do people from other countries respect you more?"

Pfft, haha. As if. It's for lower latency in games, faster porn, and cat videos. What else is the internet for?

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@The Blacksmith

I agree 100% that building equitable infrastructure for all is something we should be able to expect from our government, but just look at them. Sauce Bottle Kev on one side, and the Mad Monk on the other. Do you really expect either party to deliver a major infrastructure project on time, to spec, and within budget? Or even deliver on a single ONE of those three? It is way past time to tell both major parties to go fuck themselves, and put your vote elsewhere.

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Mushroom

@david 12

"I'll take fibre to the home when it comes. I've wanted personal fibre for 20 years now -- back when 128Kbps ISDN was the fastest I could go, fibre was on option"

Let there be no mistake, the reason you DO NOT have fibre to the home already is that both sides of politics miked the sale of Telstra for every damn cent it was worth.

That governments sold Telstra WITH the cableways and rights-of-way is a fucking national disgrace. Not only was the NBN or any equivalent of it going to cost at least twice as much but also it would take at least twice as long to implement. (Government would have to buy back the cableways for an exorbitant price, and that's exactly what's happened. This is outrageous, it ought to be a national scandal—and it would be anywhere else except Australia.)

You don't have to be Einstein to realise that (a) there could be no level playing field in the deregulated marketplace with Telstra having a head-start by owning the cableways which it would exploit others to use. And (b) that the Australian consumer was going to pay through-the-nose for other networks to run installations in parallel with Telstra: for instance who paid double for the Optus cable roll-out, why the stupid non-complaining Australian public of course!

One day, someone will write the definitive history on this debacle and it will only further make Australia the laughing stock of the world when it comes to the introduction of technology.

Do your history: In Australia, radio and telecommunications from the very beginning has been a bloody shambles. Australia dithered and screwed up the installation of telegraphy and telephony in the 19th C. When wireless came along (with the Wireless and Telegraphy Act of 1905 which gave govt. control over everything) the government screwed that too, commercial interest gaining the upper hand. Government also screwed up and delayed the introduction of FM broadcasting by proposing it be introduced into a non standard UHF band instead of the international 88-108MHz VHF band, and it even put TV in an international satellite band. No other country in the world could screw up so easily and with so much complacency!

(And the way in which communications and telecommunications policy was white-anted from within borders on corruption: independent authorities, spectrum regulators, Broadcasting Control Board etc. were first integrated into the Broadcast Authority and eventually into the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority). I'm simplifying a complicated story but this is how the engineers who oversaw the regulations were nuked and engineering independence was lost, it was a classic sleight-of-hand move by commercial interests (through lobbying, trade treaties and such) to give away Australia's communications resources to vested interests.)

Absolutely the same level of fucking greed and incompetence happened when Australia deregulated its telecommunications networks. Before it even happened I remember saying to colleagues 'that this will be another almighty fuck-up', and it sure was. Shame I didn't bet on it, I'd have made a fortune.

Let's get the facts right: this is what happens in Australia when carpetbaggers, lawyers, politicians, economists and accountants plan technical infrastructure and the scientists and engineers are nowhere to be seen. If you think I'm wrong then there's plenty of other examples; for instance, the closure of most of Australia's high tech industries over the last 30 or so years, not to mention the ongoing jokes that pass for the various VFT (Very Fast Train) proposals etc., etc.

The NBN is a fucking shambles, not because the idea is wrong—it's an excellent idea, but because, as usual, when it comes to the introduction of technology into Australia, Australia always fucks it up—the history of its short-sightedness is there to prove it.

Remember, Malcolm Turnbull is a lawyer and businessman who had substantial shares in OzEmail—he's not a scientist or engineer with an intrinsic understating of communications networks (and in two days, it's almost certain he'll be in charge of the downgraded NBN rollout)!

After all, you'd expect that a country which couldn't organize itself out of a wet paper bag to fuck up something as big and complicated as the introduction of a digital fibre network, and, as usual, it has delivered right on cue.

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Unhappy

Don't forget: Australia also used to be /the Place/ to go for un-manned space launches. Now theRegister has more lift capacity.

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@LaeMing - I've not forgotten.

I've certainly not forgotten. When a junior doing my training, I applied for a job with Weapons Research at Woomera SA. Unfortunately, I didn't get the job, but I followed what happened there with considerable interest.

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@RobHib - @david 12

BTW, the bracketed paragraph reads as if I've a case of sour grapes in that I was one of those engineers affected by the government reshuffle. This is not the case, I've never worked for any of these authorities.

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