Monday, June 22, 2009

Painful adventures with next generation networks?

I’ve seen recent developments in Australia cited in several pieces of Digital Britain coverage, usually along the lines of “if they can find the money to invest in broadband infrastructure down under, why can’t we?”
So this excerpt from the Economist Intelligence Unit & the IBM Institute for Business Value’s 2009 E-readiness rankings, as reported by, provides an interesting alternative take:
"Boosting investment in telecoms infrastructure should also be a boon for service providers and good for long-term digital development. If not handled well by government, however, such programmes can cause more grief than goodwill. A case in point is Australia, where the government recently set itself in opposition to the country’s main operators and various state governments in a contentious tendering process for a US$5bn fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) national network. While seen as a boon to Australia’s residential—and particularly rural and remote—Internet access markets, the government irked existing industry participants as they spent considerable time and money on tenders, only to find out that the government did not select any of them and opted to build the network itself—at a projected cost of six times the figure in the original tender. This created discord where stimulus and co-operation were sought."
But how much of a problem is "irking" industry participants, in actual fact? Is it arguable that they could do with a good irking, once in a while?

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