blog When it comes to the National Broadband Network, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt’s cup runneth over. Who could forget those heady days at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February when Schmidt gave Stephen Conroy’s bouncing baby network such a positive serve? And now he’s done it again, telling Fairfax:
“I’m quite sure that I’m right in saying that the decision to have universal fibre access is one of the most important decisions the Australian government has made. Every time we’ve seen this level of step-up in performance of an underlying network, we’ve seen an explosion of new and unanticipated uses.”
Now much of the general population (and, most likely, Conroy himself) will undoubtedly see Schmidt’s comments as validation of the NBN project. The script goes something like this: Global technology giant deems Australia’s pet broadband project so worthy that its chief executive comes down from on high, Zeus-like, to cast his blessing on the humble initiative Down Under and to raise the nation up from the backwater status that it sometimes is plagued with, into loftier international waters.
However, the truth is, that like so many organisations who have commented on the NBN, Schmidt is more or less spruiking for Google when praising the project. Google has demonstrated a strong engineering commitment to Australia, and maintains a large sales team in Australia courtesy of our strong advertising market. However, the company steadfastly refuses to establish its own datacentre infrastructure locally.
Would Google welcome massive government investment in next-generation telecommunications infrastructure so that Australians can better access the search giant’s globally hosted services — Google.com, YouTube, Google Apps and so on? Of course. But is Google willing to invest in Australian infrastructure itself? Absolutely not … yet.
Where’s the love, Mr Schmidt? Surely, with the massive datacentre space expansion going on in Australia, and fibre being laid out everywhere, it’s time for Google to put some of its own skin in the game locally? Maybe some of that $700 million in annual Australian revenues could be funnelled back locally from Ireland?