One of the Rudd government’s election promises was a national fibre-to-the-node (FttN) broadband network, putting at least 12Mb/sec download speeds within reach of 98% of the Australian population. Tuesday night’s Federal Budget kept that promise. I think.
Here’s how I wrote about it for Crikey yesterday:
Of $4.7b promised for the National Broadband Network, only 0.16% has been committed: $2.1m this financial year and $5.2m next for “establishment and implementation”. The remaining 99.84% — you know, actually building the thing — is all “nfp”. Not for publication. We’ll get back to you.
Spending is now “up to” the pre-election $4.7b figure. Broadband is competing with run-down roads, railways and ports for a share of the $20b Building Australia Fund, where “disbursements… will be subject to budget consideration, and will be spent responsibly, in line with prevailing macroeconomic conditions.”
Whatever the final budget, Australia will still be rolling out a 12Mb/sec network in 2012. Other countries are rolling out 100Mb/sec networks now.
It really is building yesterday’s network, isn’t it.