Tuesday 1 October 2013

All our wired futures

There was a recent discussion in Australia about the merits of the Labour Party's proposed National Broadband Network, which would see nationwide access to extraordinary bandwidth. The infrastructure for high-speed internet would be available to everyone, not just those that could afford it. The most frequent argument against their plan focussed on our current need for such a bandwidth, of which there is admittedly none. We do not need access to this bandwidth now, but we will need it. The best time to build infrastructure is before it is required.

The discussion stopped after the election, when our communications infrastructure future was decided. The Liberal Party's Fibre-to-the-Node plan will not future-proof us, it will create a system in which new tools will not be supported, and new tools will not be created. With such a small percentage of the population  able to justify the cost of fibre-to-the-Home, few will take it up, so few developers will see the point in developing high-end services, so no one will bother upgrading. The argument is cyclical.

The Labour Party NBN was a future of possibilities. In its scope it would've been a wonderland of centralised health networks, high speed government records searches, increased Australian internet entrepreneurship, and truly (most importantly) incredible educational services and resources. Under their proposal we would've been future-proof.

If you can't see the possibilities, the problem isn't the technology: the problem is you.

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