blog Remember how Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull spent all that time proclaiming how the Coalition, if it won power in the upcoming Federal Election, would immediately commission the Productivity Commission to kick off a detailed study into how high-speed broadband could be best deployed in Australia? Well, that pledge seems to have taken something of a back seat to the Coalition’s existing NBN policy — after all, what point is it conducting a study into which technology is better, when the Coalition has already picked a winner?
Thankfully, the Australian arm of British technology media outlet The Register has swooped in to save the situation. El Reg has posted an entry on local crowdsourcing site Pozible inviting Australians to help it fund a detailed implementation study into the NBN, sourcing quotes for such a study from veteran analyst houses IBRS and Market Clarity. The cost, according to The Register, is a minimum $100,000 (of which the campaign is already $3,236 towards, as of this morning), but if it gets more, it will answer further questions. Here’s the site’s pitch:
The Register – one of the world’s most-read IT news services – believes debate on the NBN has gone feral and does not offer Australians useful information. With an election coming up, that’s not good enough. We want to address that with an independent study to answer three big NBN questions: What do we REALLY NEED? What’s the BEST TECHNOLOGY to build with? What happens AFTER we build the NBN?
We’re crowdfunding this study because it gives Australians a chance to show they care enough about this colossal investment to inform themselves – and the nation. Our study will see The Register work with respected analyst firms IBRS and Market Clarity to create a study that will clarify essential elements of Australia’s broadband debate. The analysts have provided us with detailed project plans that outline hundreds of hours of consulting work needed to do this study right. Long story short, most of the money goes to their services, $100,000 answers the first question, $175,000 gets us to the second and $250,000 means we do the full study.
It’s hard to say whether the campaign will succeed, and even harder to say if it will end up being useful. After all, there have already been countless studies conducted into the NBN, there are only a few months until the Federal Election, and both sides of politics seem pretty fixed on their existing NBN policies. It’s hard to believe at this point that a privately funded implementation study of this kind would have much impact on the national debate, or even that a decent report of this nature could be produced in that time.
However, it’s still a great effort here by El Reg. The site is right — debate on the NBN has “gone feral”, and there isn’t enough useful information out there about the project. If the project does get up, it’ll be good to see more detailed, independent information out there about this most controversial of Australian technology initiatives. Either IBRS or Market Clarity would do a good job of this — both firms are extremely experienced and count themselves amongst the few analyst groups which I consistently respect.