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 â€œestablishment and implementationâ€. The remaining 99.84% â€” you know, actually building the thing â€” is all â€œnfpâ€. Not for publication. Weâ€™ll get back to you.
Spending is now â€œup toâ€ 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 â€œdisbursementsâ€¦ will be subject to budget consideration, and will be spent responsibly, in line with prevailing macroeconomic conditions.â€
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.