June 19, 2007 | Graham

Howard’s broadband – a better mousetrap

John Howard’s just delivered bandwidth hogs the best reason to vote Liberal. His broadband proposal is technologically better than Labor’s and is a third the cost. He’s also delivered a practical demonstration of the difference between Liberal and Labor in government.
No wonder Labor is pointing the finger at the Liberals’ political communication strategy – they prepared maps of the roll-out in Coalition marginals before they prepared them for other seats – they need a diversionfrom the fact that their policy has been found very wanting.
As though Labor’s strategy wasn’t political itself. The government has been sweating away trying to resolve the impasse with Telstra over broadband speed. Labor’s policy was meant to make the government look muddling. Lacking the funding from tax revenue, Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swann decided to grab the money from the future fund.
It was gesture politics, and obviously not as well thought out as it should have been. A sibling to the policies Labor has implemented to run health, education and most other services in the states – public relations extravaganzas backed by floods of money employing more staff yet delivering less to taxpayers.
Newspoll reports today that most voters have already made up their minds about how they are going to vote. This ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Our longitudinal polling shows that many voters who say they are likely to change their mind don’t, and many who say they are not likely to change their mind do. The question is interpreted by respondents to be about their reasonableness, not their volatility. Played properly, clear policy superiority like this one, explained clearly enough, can cut through, because you’d have to be unreasonable to ignore it.
For Labor the best thing to do at the moment would be to change the conversation and talk about something else.

Posted by Graham at 9:49 am | Comments (11) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Nobody who understands wireless technology would say that Howard’s proposal is “technologically better than Labor’s”.
    Coonan is making a fool of herself talking about 100 percent coverage from untested wireless technology which will never supply what she promises.
    Obviously, it’s not a “core” promise. We’ll see billions in taxpayer dollars sent of to the Singapore govt (part-owners of Optus, who get the contract) and then we’ll be told that even more you-beaut technology is just around the corner, so let’s wait (and wait…) for that.
    Luckily for Howard, few voters understand the technology any better than the embarrassingly stupid Helen Coonan.

    Comment by gandhi — June 19, 2007 @ 10:43 am

  2. Given wireless technology is dependent on the weather, its rather useless.

    Comment by vee — June 19, 2007 @ 11:17 am

  3. so if you like lib’s bb policy, you should ignore their foreign policy, their ir policy, and the fact that it might indeed turn out to be non-core.
    what a simple world it is..

    Comment by al loomis — June 19, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  4. I have to agree with gandhi, the use of wireless technology is not technologically better than Labor’s proposed fibre to the node.
    Graham, you obviously don’t understand the technology and you appear to favour a short term quick-fix rather than a long term investment in a superior technology.

    Comment by Jarryd Moore — June 20, 2007 @ 2:17 am

  5. The use of air interface to deliver service to a fixed point has always been seen an inferior / quick fix solution for telecommunications provision. There may be economic reasons you would use it but it is certainly technically inferior. The author of this article lacks basic understanding of fundamentals on this subject.

    Comment by bobby — June 20, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  6. ‘John Howard’s … broadband proposal is technologically better than Labor’s and is a third the cost.’
    This is a sweeping claim that assumes the author understands, and has fully scrutinised, the technological evidence to back up his claim. Yet, this is doubtful as absolutely NO back-up evidence – technological or otherwise – is provided in the rest of the article.
    As someone who fully admits to not understanding the technology or associated costs involved in either the Liberal or Labor proposals, I find this article a reprehensible and damning piece of bias on the part of the author. It is trading on the technological ignorance of people such as myself to push an unashamedly pro-Liberal electoral agenda.

    Comment by MLK — June 20, 2007 @ 9:07 am

  7. Two months ago I got fed up with telstra.
    I had waited a month for an opinion on SAT. internet.
    With no negative feed back I had installed a receiver and modem for an activ8 service.
    A 1gig download per month costs $50, I pay 8cents per meg if I exceed the contracted price. Instal was free, I live country SA and the govt subsidy paid install cost.
    I previously had ISDN price was high service slow and poor.
    My average download speed is 209mb, twice that of ISDN.
    enough to make me vote Liberal, well almost.

    Comment by frank luff — June 20, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  8. Dear Graham,Howards going to fix it all, what a load of rubbish,if it was as easy as he and you say why was it not done years ago.
    Its typical Howard,just bullshit your way out,the sooner this man and his bunch of shify crooks are history the better

    Comment by John Ryan — June 20, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  9. Amazing number of people turned up to comment and rough me up. I have a friend who runs the Australian arm of a large multi-national company. Stayed with her a couple of nights in Sydney last year. She uses wireless for her laptop and has a mobile for telephony. No copper or fibre cables go anywhere near her up-market apartment. She’s not constrained by location, or position inside the building. That’s what I call superior technology.
    If wireless was unreliable, I’m sure she’d install the cable – it’s not a money issue, but a convenience and practicality one. Just like it is for the many countries in the world that will never have a copper-wire network because they’re starting with wireless telephony.
    Not that Howard is giving the wireless to most of us – we’ll be getting fibre, just like the ALP proposal.
    What’s the bet if Labor wins the election they’ll dress the Howard variation up and go with that rather than the pig in a poke they’ve designed? And no-one will be saying that we can’t do it because we’d be the first in the world, they’ll be saying that being first in the world is what they’re about!

    Comment by Graham Young — June 20, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

  10. Graham,
    To suggest that the Government’s broadband policy (even if it were superior which it’s not based upon technical assessments i have seen) is a reason to vote for the return of this government, is again clutching at straws.

    Comment by barney — June 21, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  11. I have worked in the IT industry since 1991. Wireless technology suffers from interference when confronted will large obstacles, inclement weather and detiorates over distance.The top speed is considerably slower than wired networks.
    I work for a company in the southern suburbs of Sydney and we cannot get a wireless signal as a backup to our DSL connection. And this wireless network is going to be rolled out across the bush? Give me a break. Howard is just trying to plug a hole he’s ignored for years.

    Comment by David — June 24, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

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