Monday, 23 May 2022 10:25

Labor needs to make high-speed broadband more affordable: Budde Featured

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Paul Budde: "However, the real problem is the high costs of the NBN; this makes the wholesale price higher and, therefore, also the retail price." Paul Budde: "However, the real problem is the high costs of the NBN; this makes the wholesale price higher and, therefore, also the retail price." Supplied

The Australian Labor Party's pledge during the election campaign to offer 90% of broadband users in the country higher speeds will not have the intended effect unless the price of the technology is lowered, the independent telecommunications analyst Paul Budde says.

He made the statement on Monday as Labor edged closer to towards governing in its own right following Saturday's elections, with the party having picked up its 75th lower-house seat, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.

"...there is a commitment to extend fibre deeper into the market," Budde pointed out. "However, the real problem is the high costs of the NBN; this makes the wholesale price higher and, therefore, also the retail price.

"Australians love high-speed broadband, they took it on when it was available on a special offer, but as soon as the offer ended they dropped back to lower speeds - a clear indication that it has everything to do with affordability.

"Labor has promised 90% connections to high speed by 2025. But that is not enough; will the high-speed broadband service also be affordable? If Labor is serious about a high-speed broadband service for all, they will have to do something about affordability.

"Not an easy solution, a painful write-off in one way or another is the only real medicine to the NBN illness."

Budde also discussed other technology incentives that Labor promised during the campaign, pointing out that the party had indicated it would be willing to spend $3 billion, from a $15 billion reconstruction spend, on increasing innovation, the digital economy, etc.

"It will be interesting to see how this all will pan out," he commented. "The question remains, will this government indeed be able to make some structural changes to the economy and society? The pandemic has seen a change occurring, but more change is needed.

"Will Labor be indeed be more progressive or will it end up with just s slightly more red colour than the previous government. If Labor is serious we should be able to see structural changes being announced within the first 100 days.

After that, politics will start looking to protect the next elections, which will be less risk-taking and more conservative. Obviously, technology can be a transformational tool and if the money is used for that purpose, we can indeed see structural changes. At the start of a new government there is always hope."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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