Notional Broadband Network smells of fail

So we've finally got the non-announcement of the winner of the National Broadband Network tender, and the winner is... everybody loses! Thanks for playing kids.

So instead of awarding the tender to the best bidder, or bidders, they've decided to go it alone and do it themselves. Because the last time we had a government telecommunications monopoly, that worked great. Low prices, great innovation. Why I even recall being told that that government monpopoly wouldn't investigate data faults until they reduced throughput to 300 bits per second. (Though that scenario is eerily close to the privatised government monopoly's treatment of faults that affect anyone except Telstra retail customers.)

You might expect the tenderers, who put enormous effort into scoping and costing their proposals, might be a little pissed off. Particularly given the government set them the pretty well unachievable target of 98% coverage, while they've set themselves the much more sensible 90%, meaning the NBN will cover the cities and large regional centres only.

Worse yet, the person in charge of the whole proposal is someone who has spent the last 1.5 years alienating the entire telecommunications industry. A man so unable to understand his portfolio that he can't even explain his plans to filter the Internet without constantly contradicting his own statements, and reacting to any criticism by claiming his critics are child pornographers. I would have a lot more faith in this project if they put someone competent in charge. Someone of the Lindsay Tanner calibre, rather than talentless backroom numbers hacks.

Next interesting part will be whether or not Conroy releases the expert panel's recommendations. I suppose that depends on whether or not it agrees with the decision he's had made for him.

I've got a very bad feeling about this whole project. Governments have a very bad record in building technical infrastructure, and of managing giant projects in general. Anyone who's been around telecoms in Australia from before the privatisation of Telstra will remember the ISDN fiasco.

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