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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

national broadband strategy., « Previous | |Next »
January 22, 2008

Increasingly our digital lives are premised upon infrastructure, the networks through which we shape what we do, fashion the meanings of our customs and practices, and exchange signs with others. It is the privatization of communications infrastructure, which is hastening the closure of this zone of ‘public’ interest and community ‘needs’, that underlies the current political economy of networks and networked culture. So the citizen is recast as consumer and customer.

Under a neo-liberal mode of governance Australia is in the process of a steady dismantling of the posts-telegraph-telephone model of the monopoly carrier for each nation that dominated the twentieth century, with its deep colonial foundations. The privatization of Telstra is the dismantling; the current policy fight is to establish competitive markets in high speed broadband; and the rhetoric is about Australia needing high speed broad for its economy to remain internationally competitive.

And that is national strategy on broadband. I cannot see that the Rudd Government has added to this or broken new ground.

The reality is that our communications networks are not information superhighways, that metaphor from an older technology, is not appropriate. Nor are they a single ‘public’ switched telecommunications network, like those presided over by the post-telegraph-telephone monopolies of old. And nation-building technology, in the wake of globalisation, is rarely undertaken despite all the rhetoric.

Like roads themselves, or the nascent postal system of the sixteenth century, broadband is a patchwork quilt that provides a variety of different kinds of services.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:49 AM | | Comments (3)


Seems to me that our governments have fallen into the easy money trap by privatising our essential services without regard to the physical and demographic needs of the country and the people who live therein.We will only get a satisfactory broadband system if the Federal Gov. is involved in ensuring equity in the system.
Electronic communication, the transport of goods and people and the supply of services such as clean air, water and energy are all in the same category. In todays world each of those areas will increasingly require government management or at least government intervention if our "climate change" goals and our economic aspirations are to be met in way that gives equality to all irrespective of where they live.

I cant help but think we should be laying water pipe instead of cable.

Thanks.We could, should do both simultaneously.A few years back in my adjacent town some one had the idea of layng fibre cable at the same time the gas company was putting in their pipes.No one had the wit to use it or perhaps no one had the cash.As far as I knw it is still in place.