Broadband – The Australian Model

Blog, Information Technology, Les Routledge (historic), Property Rights, Uncategorized

The spectrum will allow the NBN Co to deploy a fixed-wireless network that will be capable of delivering minimum broadband speeds of 12 megabits per second to the last seven per cent of the nation outside the fibre footprint of the $36 billion national broadband network. The Australian

It is interesting to contrast the broadband situation in Canada to the one unfolding in Australia.  After years of being frustrated by limited competition in the market, the country elected a left-learning Labour government that decided to roll-out a broadband network controlled by the government.  Telstra, the incumbent telco operator, will not longer control access to the customer.  They were also compelled to sell their local loop assets to the new government controlled enterprise.

While I do not endorse the Australian approach for Canada, the evolution of public and political opinion in Australia should serve as a cautionary message for incumbent operators and supporters of competitive market policies.  If effective competition does not emerge to satisfy consumer demand here in Canada, then the public may very well elect a more interventionist or left leaning government at the provincial level that will act on their own.

To me, the challenge for the federal government is clear.  Either they make competition work to serve the public interest in the short term or else the public may demand a government controlled approach in the long term.