Arguments about the NBN continue to rage in political circles and, to a lesser extent, among the rest of us who might be expected to use it. Two themes continue to dominate: “Can it be built on budget?”and “Is it worth building – i.e. what are we going to do with this high-speed network?” Tony Abbot's recent remarks say that Labor
cannot be trusted with money due to their incompetence – so cost seems to be the issue. Malcolm Turnbull, on the other hand, questions its value. His statements at a discussion with Mark Pesce were pretty forceful. He said "..it's nuts that even a notorious, self-proclaimed futurist like Pesce isn't able to name the applications that the NBN would fuel in the future. Speed in and of itself is an abstraction. It doesn't do anything for you, unless you have applications you can use." (see the full report from Zdnet here)
True enough. And this has been the main argument of the naysayers for a while. But that's another way of saying that Australians don't have the imagination or creativity to develop innovative, valuable applications, given decent infrastructure. That's all it is, by the way. Decent infrastructure, not best-in-the-world or cutting-edge. Australia will just be catching up with many developed countries (see earlier blog entry).
Fortunately Australian companies have already proven themselves more than capable of high levels of creativity and innovation, in ICT and elsewhere.