The NBN has been a key issue in the past two elections, so will Labor’s new policy be a vote winner? The policy to move back to FTTP provides a clear differentiation from the Coalition’s FTTN-centric strategy.
As the Productivity Commission grapples with the question of what the USO should look like in 2016 it will really need to consider what it should look like in a decade or two. This question will challenge the Commission’s rationalist economic predilections.
Clearly, the cancer screening registry contract is only the first of the potential outsourcing of health programs. It creates a precedent that needs to be right.
This article is by Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne. It originally appeared on The Conversation....
You may have seen the headlines over the weekend, reporting on a new study that’s supposedly found a link between mobile phones and cancer. But all is not quite as it seems. And much of the alarm raised by the study is misplaced.
Christopher Pyne’s assertion that there have been “no delays” in the implementation of the NBN is inaccurate.
The proposed reforms will enhance consumer rights, competition policy, access to knowledge and Australia’s ambitious National Innovation and Science Agenda and “ideas boom”.
If Quickflix does fold or get absorbed by another local service, how many local services will survive? We may also see global VoD services taking over the local services.
What’s needed is bipartisan commitment to accelerating NBN deployment along with modernising the infrastructure in the core network that will have to support increased access to broadband.
Evidence both the incumbents and disruptors face challenges in non-traditional payments.
The Commission’s recommendations as a whole are thus very unlikely to be embraced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, by his colleagues or by Bill Shorten. The Commission states that “Australia’s intellectual property system has lost sight of users”. We should ensure that the Government does not lose sight of the report.
The Cyber Security Strategy announced today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull clearly places a high priority on protecting Australian government systems from foreign powers. But when it comes to protecting citizens' personal information, it appears to be rather a mixed bag.
Our reliance on technology is now a given and cybersecurity is as important a consideration as protecting our health, food and water sources and general environment. From that perspective, the cybersecurity strategy is a welcome but very small step in the right direction.
A large volume of social media data gets created on a daily basis from these customer service interactions. Companies need to be examining both the volumes of unstructured social media data created by their own processes as well as by their competitors for a better understanding of necessary process improvements.
This article is by Antony Ting, Associate Professor, University of Sydney. It originally appeared on The Conversation. opinion/analysis The war on tax avoidance by multinational...
A virus attack on the computer system of one of Melbourne’s largest hospital networks is cause for concern because it affected machines running Microsoft’s Windows XP, an operating system no longer supported by the software giant.
Innovation and transformations do not, by themselves, improve government. They are simply techniques and can be implemented both well and badly, depending on the people, culture and environment they are employed within.
Western governments, notably the UK and the US, are pushing the software industry to open “backdoors” into our encrypted communications.
If taken on face value, the evidence was actually reasonably compelling. The problem was, as NY Times reporter Nathaniel Popper explained, Wright’s writing and personality didn’t match that of Nakamoto’s.
If the hackers were state-sponsored Chinese hackers such as the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398, then the target of the hack would have been wide-ranging but possibly focused on information related to Australian defence and security services and capabilities.
It’s worth looking more closely at cost difference between FTTP and FTTN to see if the claimed A$84 billion to A$56 billion maximum cost comparison stacks up, and see where Labor’s new half-way solution sits.
Using the tax system in an attempt to foster innovation may not be the sensible policy choice.
It is a good sign that Turnbull is upbeat about innovation; but he appears not to understand that innovation is not a matter of pressing the right button and expecting that change will happen.
The South Australian Supreme Court this week found that Google is legally responsible when its search results link to defamatory content on the web.
This article is by Marc C-Scott, Lecturer in Screen Media, Victoria University. It originally appeared on The Conversation. analysis There has been a decline in...
Today's release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn't survive to the end of the negotiations.
I hope that the guys at Blue Chilli can pull together something valuable, with outcomes that encourage further policy hacks and a more inclusive approach that reflects the broader community- however I don't expect it.
Stephen Conroy needs to stop dithering about with wishy washy attempts to extract basic information from the closed shop that the NBN company has become under the Coalition and actually use the full powers of the Senate to hold the Government to account over the tragic mess it has made of the project.
The emissions scandal that has rocked the car maker Volkswagen has again raised the issue of ethical standards in the tech industry. Reports so far say the company is pointing finger at the “unlawful behaviour of engineers and technicians involved in engine development”. But that’s led to questions about the strength of any codes or practice or ethics that such operators are supposed to comply with. So are such codes any good or are they just words? Here two software experts present both sides of the argument.
This article is by Leith Campbell, Honorary Fellow, Melbourne School of Engineering and Sascha Suessspeck, Economist and Ph.D. Electronic and Electrical Engineering student, both...
This article is by Charis Palmer, Deputy Business Editor at The Conversation. It originally appeared on The Conversation. After eight years and 19 rounds of...
From this day on, whenever Australian engineers are facing a tough task, they should look up into the skies and remind themselves of the power of the Australian mind. If Australian ingenuity can put such a hunk of incredibly complex communications infrastructure into orbit to serve our broadband needs, purely on the strength of some clear thinking and a lot of hard work, then we truly can do anything. And we will.
MyGov – or something like it – is part of a 21st century government. It is the way of the future. But it needs careful development, testing, and selling.
In an attempt to ride the tsunami of disruption that is reshaping the financial services industry, Commonwealth Bank of Australia has joined forces with eight major banks to develop applications based on blockchain, the technology underpinning Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies.
Prime Minister or not, there is simply no way that Malcolm Turnbull is going to reverse five years of bitter campaigning and return the National Broadband Network to its previous near-universal Fibre to the Premises model. So let’s give up hope on that misguided delusion right now and save ourselves a great deal of painful mental anguish.
Australia has never before in its history had a digitally literate Prime Minister of the likes of Malcolm Turnbull.
He might be charismatic, he might be popular, and pretty shortly he might be Prime Minister. But when it comes to technology policy, Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. The Member for Wentworth will be remembered as Australia’s worst ever Communications Minister — the man who singlehandedly demolished the NBN and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet piracy laws.
University of Melbourne academic Rod Tucker attracted strident criticism this week for his claim that Malcolm Turnbull’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the National Broadband Network will result in Australia remaining an “Internet backwater”. However, the unfortunate reality is that Tucker’s comments are all too accurate.
The Coalition sold the Australian public a product that was supposed to be fast, one-third the cost and arrive sooner than what Labor was offering us. Instead the Coalition’s NBN will be so slow that it is obsolete by the time it’s in place, it will cost about the same as Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises NBN, and it won’t arrive on our doorsteps much sooner.
The National Broadband Network should not be broken up into smaller parts. It should not be set up to compete with itself. And it should most definitely not be sold off to the private market. There is only one thing that the Government should do with the NBN. It should damn well get on with the job of building it.
The full resources of the Federal Parliament and other Government accountability mechanisms must be deployed to determine how a cost blowout of between $5 billion and $15 billion was allowed to occur in the National Broadband Network, and how to stop a similar situation from occurring again in future.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a wide-ranging review of Australia’s intellectual property regime. The review is an opportunity for an increasingly distracted government to set its stamp on the Australian economy for the next 20 years. It is an opportunity that will almost certainly be missed.
Are toddlers really becoming addicted to technology? There’s certainly a lot of media hype to suggest that they are. And there’s no question the footage of small children breaking down when their tablet is taken away is unsettling.
The ACCC’s move to allow TPG’s buyout of iiNet is an appalling decision which will finally complete the long-running, gradual death of actual competition in Australia’s broadband market. The tragedy of the situation is that the well-meaning regulator has nevertheless contributed to the process at several key points along the way.
If you want to register an Australian web address, your options may be about to change due to a review of domain name policy that is currently underway.
Time and again, Australians have shown they are willing to pay for reasonably priced and accessible content. Copyright owners who try to extort money from downloaders are going about this the wrong way.
The claim that ridesharing is no safer than hitchhiking is not supported by empirical data. Much of the data used by critics of Uber rely on anecdotal data and media reports to support their view ridesharing puts passengers at personal risk.
This whole business model is now under challenge; for newspapers, TV channels and for pay TV. The share prices of media companies are in decline, and in the US in sharp decline.
The interjection by Singapore’s MyRepublic into Australia’s broadband debate this morning may have been inflammatory and used mildly offensive adult language. But there are some fundamentally good points being made by the upstart telco. The next step should be for the Senate’s NBN Committee to interview its chief executive in person.
Last week the Senate Standing Committee on Economics handed down a detailed report following its inquiry into Australia’s emerging digital or crypto-currency sector. The release was hailed as a “watershed” moment for this financial technology — here’s why it matters, in five succinct points.
Like the fictional Frank Underwood’s ‘America Works’ program, the massive nbn hiring spree unveiled by Malcolm Turnbull in the wee hours of this morning is pure election fodder — a beguiling program designed to demonstrate to the electorate that the reigning Government is instantly responsible for thousands of new jobs.
The latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system will begin rolling out from Wednesday (July 29). And remarkably, Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to those users who already have Windows 7 and 8.1 installed.
Over the past decade, stereotypes that video games were a popular medium intended only for youths have been eroded. It is clear that video games are also a popular medium for adults.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Australian Labor Party will abandon its Fibre to the Premises National Broadband Network plan and adopt the Coalition’s alternative Multi-Technology Model as official policy before the next Federal Election.
Hi everyone, welcome back! Delimiter starts publishing again today, and from today I'm also commencing work on my technology policy book, The Frustrated State. It...
This book will be a major step taken by Australia's technology community as we reboot our politicians' understanding of technology policy. It will not be the only step, but it will be one of the first. I look forward to taking it together with all of you.
We still need about $3,700 to successfully fund the project, and although contributions are still coming in, they have obviously slowed down substantially from the incredible first couple of days of the project. I will need to continue momentum if The Frustrated State is to be funded. And Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model – if we don’t hit our target, I won’t receive any funding for the project.
For far too long, Australia's political sector has gotten technology policy completely wrong. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore. Let's take Delimiter into the Canberra Press Gallery and literally write the book on tech policy while we're there.
As regular Delimiter readers will know, I have made mistakes in the past. Not all of the articles I have written have been on...
Ensuring access to both physical and digital methods of building block construction where children can move freely from one to another is crucial for their development in the early years.
It is a quarter-century since Australia first connected to the internet, but this technological breakthrough had a long gestation. What is now a global phenomenon was once the property of an exclusive community.
What place do e-readers – and in particular ebooks – hold in the reading behaviour of Australia’s 10 million public library borrowers? There are some 181 million items loaned every year by the nation’s 1,500 public libraries, branches, mobile libraries and other service points but, according to the latest survey-based report from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), for the majority of these libraries, ebook loans represent less than 1% of the total.
Yellow Pages directories have been appearing on doorsteps across Australia in recent weeks. As often as not, they go straight into the recycling bin. In the world of the internet and e-commerce, the very notion of a book the size of two bricks being the source of valuable purchasing information seems plain silly.
AUSTRALIA 2025: How will science address the challenges of the future? In collaboration with Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb, the Conversation is asking how each science discipline will contribute to Australia now and in the future. Written by luminaries and accompanied by two expert commentaries to ensure a broader perspective, these articles run fortnightly and focus on each of the major scientific areas. This instalment takes a look at ICT’s role.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited a P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early Career High) school in New York last week, hinting it’s a model of education we should consider implementing in Australia. The school, partly funded by IBM and training students to suit the company’s needs, is different to anything we have in Australia. While the P-TECH model would be feasible here, the model risks confusing economic needs with educational ones.
The revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have altered the way we think about accountability, transparency and the rule of law with regard to both the activities of security agencies and the value of privacy, according to a detailed report released this week. But this change in thinking has not led to practical reform, according to the report.
Who would run a former government-owned monopoly these days? In the last week, Australia Post’s Ahmed Fahour announced 900 administration jobs were to go from its Melbourne operations, while last week Telstra’s David Thodey recounted discussions from his recent trip to the US, where he was told his “business model is dead”.
Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.
One of the most frustrating and, I think, silliest things I found when working in Australian government agencies was how almost every department, agency and statutory body developed almost all of its own policies, procedures, software and tools.
Listening to the shrieks and squeals of tech sector commentators over the past few weeks, you’d be forgiven for thinking Joe Hockey’s first budget contained nothing for the industry. A more measured inspection of the budget entrails and you will find the Coalition has delivered a lot. A lot of pain, and a lot of lessons.
As the saying goes, when you are in a hole, stop digging. The NBN is looking like a large pit, and at present, everyone is digging in deeper.
In Australia, the Australian Technology Park in Sydney, Parkville Knowledge Precinct in Melbourne, and Kelvin Grove Urban Village in Brisbane are certainly emerging urban knowledge precincts.
I expect more from the biggest screen in my house and, once again, traditional mass media have failed to deliver.
Over the past month, the evidence has become overwhelming that the ABC is actively censoring coverage of the National Broadband Network issue in a way that runs counter to the public interest. The broadcaster must now face the issue squarely and deal with it head-on, or run the risk of losing credibility with its highly informed and vocal audience.
Our productivity problem is a like an epidemic. It affects many businesses and threatens the prosperity of future Australians yet it is poorly understood and goes largely unnoticed, especially in a service economy. If a problem of this size and scale were to affect people’s health, money would be raised for further research to isolate the causes and cures for the malady.
In a global economy it is logical that companies would want to structure their business to take advantage of beneficial rules in different countries. And equally each country will want a competitive corporate tax system to attract and retain economic activity. However, the policies of one country should not undermine the policies of another or cause them economic harm. Organisations such as the G20, EU and OECD must enable cooperation to make sure that countries are in agreement with each other’s policies and to pressure those countries whose policies are disadvantaging their neighbours.
Those opposed to the Coalition's rival broadband policy must not step over the line into offensiveness in their pursuit of NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow over past failures at US utility Pacific Gas & Electric. The better path of valor would be to treat Morrow with the same level of respect and dignity that his predecessor Mike Quigley deserved, but never got.
In a surprising move, a US District Court has charged five members of the Chinese military with hacking six US companies to obtain commercial secrets over the last eight years. The move has been denounced by the Chinese government and the US Ambassador has been called to Beijing as a result.
A better understanding of the realities of entrepreneurial life in Australia will lead to better informed industry policy, and perhaps increased support for an ecosystem that is a key driver of future growth and development for Australia.
The remarkable wave of technological innovation emanating from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is forcing Australians to redefine their fundamental concept of what a bank is, and reimagine what their basic relationship to such an institution should be.
Visions of a cashless society started being portrayed from the 1950’s along with other aspects of a future waiting to be transformed by technology. That future has not yet arrived but it is now possible to exist without using cash on a daily basis. In fact, in a survey released this week, 25% of Australians claim not to use cash in a given month. In the US, 50% of Americans carry less than $20 in cash at any time.
Cutting off the Games Fund demonstrates that the Liberal government has no interest in supporting an existing vibrant and maturing creative industry. Attacking the younger and lower classes of the nation by gutting a wide range of social services demonstrates that the Liberal government has no interest in the creative and cultural future of the nation.
NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow now faces some difficult decisions in deciding how best to allocate resources to meet the objective of providing high-speed broadband across Australia. Since the Coalition’s election in September last year the NBN has been subject to a number of reviews and a wholesale clean out of management. With many reviews, such as the cost-benefit analysis, yet to report, the strategic direction for NBN Co is uncertain making it difficult to comment on future developments with accuracy.
Most Australians understand that the only solution to the nation's record Internet piracy rates is for the film and TV industry to follow the music, book and gaming sectors and make their content available online in a timely, affordable and convenient manner. But that's a truth rights holders and their lobbyists seem unwilling to accept.
What does it take to deliver on a digital transformation agenda that the National Commission of Audit has explicitly described as “not business as usual”? As we transition from a 60 to 100 year old operating model of government, a fundamental re-imagining of what is meant by “public service” is needed.
The shortage of computing experts in Australian schools has serious implications for our future as a player in the knowledge economy.
The recently released Commission of Audit report recommends that the Australian government needs to become “digital by default”. The continued shift to digital service delivery is intended to reduce costs, improve quality of service and provide greater transparency. But it will also open up new vulnerabilities to cyber attacks that could be used to access secure and confidential data, compromise the integrity of trusted authorities and disrupt critical services.
The argument made by respected competition expert, academic and executive Fred Hilmer several weeks ago that the National Broadband Network is not a "natural monopoly" is somewhat convincing, but ultimately falls short by failing to acknowledge specific factors relevant to competition in the telecommunications sector.
In the last fortnight, senior executives from cinema operators in Australia, including Village Roadshow and Palace Cinemas, have come out defending their decision to raise movie ticket prices. But do their arguments hold water?
The lack of hard, unbiased research driving this debate on piracy, as well as the privileged access to the Attorney General that entertainment industry lobbyists seem to have, does not bode well for robust, evidence-based policy being adopted in the near future.
The moment we tie short-term political, economic or social goals to science is the moment we ensure we’ll slow down finding those momentous future breakthroughs that science has brought us. It is a paradox, but one that the government needs to understand before cutting big budgets out of long-term fundamental research programs at the CSIRO.
In a move certain to raise the ire of users of Microsoft’s Windows operating system the software giant has announced that next month it will cease support for Windows 8.1. But that operating system is barely eight months old and already an upgraded version of the Windows 8 system that failed to impress many users since its release in 2012.
Opening a venture capital branch seems to be the new “thing” in the corporate world. While Telstra and Westpac are the new big national players, Google is clearly ahead of the curve, with two distinct venture capital firms: the newly launched Google Capital and the five-year-old Google Ventures. But why are so many companies, across a range of sectors, now running to open their own venture capital funds?
The latest review of Australia’s energy-saving appliance scheme has delivered a rare trifecta: a good news story for the economy, the community and the environment. According to my estimates from data in the Department of Industry review, the value of energy saved in Australia last year alone was around A$3.2 billion. Of this, some A$2.7 billion was saved by households.
The local debate over AT&T's plans to deploy gigabit fibre to 100 US cities starkly demonstrates that neither giant telcos nor the politicians regulating them can be trusted to give Australians 100 percent of the truth about how next-generation broadband infrastructure rollouts are being or should be deployed.
The computers for schools program, which involved federal funding for the supply of laptops to high school students, is set to end in June. The program was a central piece of the former government’s “digital revolution” but is being discontinued by the current government. The end of the program is already having consequences for schools and for families.
Virtual currency Bitcoin is not a subject that ever draws neutral reactions. Against those who see the radical possibilities of a frictionless payment system designed for the internet, there is a growing resistance to the currencies that threaten existing business models and the perceived traceability of our current currency systems.
Last week the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that data retention regulations, as they currently stand, are not in accordance with EU law and the European Parliament voted in favour of introducing net neutrality into EU telecoms regulation the week before. As Australia is currently in the midst of a data retention inquiry – the second in three years – what effects will this ruling have on the debate?
The argument by pay television giant Foxtel that the launch of its new Play IPTV streaming video service will cause Australians' objections about the lack of legitimate access to popular shows such as Game of Thrones to "vanish" is nothing short of ridiculous and strongly indicates that the company still has no idea why the nation is so frustrated with it.
Yesterday the National Broadband Network Company revealed it had made its long-time and respected chief technology officer Gary McLaren and several other senior executives redundant. This email was sent by McLaren to staff at NBN Co.
Australia's National Broadband Network project is now in uncharted territory. Beyond a joke, beyond a politicised mess, and even beyond farce, the incredibly inconsistent handling of the project by Liberal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has led it far outside the bounds of rational discourse or intelligent consideration.
This article by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull first appeared on Delimiter in October 2010, shortly after Turnbull was appointed Shadow Communications Minister. Delimiter re-prints this article today for the edification of readers, in light of the news that Turnbull has approved NBN Co to go ahead with the controversial ‘Multi-Technology Mix’ option for its broadband rollout, despite the fact that the cost/benefit analysis being conducted into the project will not be completed until the middle of 2014.
If the Financial System Inquiry is to achieve its aim of helping to promote growth and productivity in the Australian economy it will need to focus strongly on electronic payments.
Australia is in a prime position to address the challenges and develop world-leading applications for ubiquitous wireless connectivity. The pedigree of our wireless laboratories and researchers in all parts of the country is second to none.
The demand this week by academic Michael de Percy for Australia's politicians to cease their chaotic struggle over the nation's telecommunications sector and let it get on with its own business shouldn't be seen as controversial. The best regulation in any sector takes a 'light touch' approach and this troubled industry is no exception to that rule.
The exit of Michael Malone from the company he founded 20 years ago has re-opened long-running speculation that top-tier broadband player iiNet could be acquired, and it's a valid idea. But the telco most suited to buying the powerhouse from Perth is not hostile rival TPG; it's ailing mobile telco Vodafone, which still has plenty of cash up its sleeves.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed plans to implement the same underlying broadband infrastructure platform in Australia which has already been used for some time in the UK, with the two nations' incumbent telcos Telstra and BT to collaborate on the exchange over the next several years.
A long-term industry has been shackled to three-year political terms for far too long. The only way to unshackle NBN from politics is to get government out of the marketplace where it exists. Of course, the legacy of sunk costs will make this difficult. But by the time we stop bickering about the latest lot of reports, it will be time to deal with the next communications technology problem.
"Destructive forces" at work in a "highly polarised political environment" are starting to "unravel" Labor's National Broadband Network project, veteran analyst Paul Budde said yesterday, with the new Coalition Government having boxed itself into a corner on the issue and end users set to suffer from a nightmarish situation akin to a "Pandora's Box" of problems.
What have we learnt from the past decade of "government online"? And what could we learn from the giants of the web? This is an examination of how an understanding of complex systems, risk and common patterns can be applied in an economy-wide effort of breakthrough innovation to drive the digital transformation of government service delivery over the next decade.
The new Coalition Government appears dead set on drastically winding back, modifying, selling off or otherwise destroying Labor's comprehensive National Broadband Network vision. But the party which started the project in the first place appears to have already given up fighting this demolition job, with the exception of dogmatic former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
NBN Co, we hardly knew ye. Make no mistake: Tony Abbott's new Coalition Government does not want to own a national broadband monopoly. The process of selling NBN Co to the private sector has already begun, and will be accelerated over the next several years.
A brief review of the history of Australian safe harbour legislation and recent ISP-related case laws in the US shows the best way to provide legal certainty for online intermediaries would be to introduce “fair use” exceptions alone. More safe harbour rules aren’t needed at this stage.
Almost 13 years after its release in October 2001 to a world still in shock after the 9/11 terror attacks, the sun is finally setting on Microsoft’s Windows XP. The operating system has been the software in many home and work PCs but for die-hard users who continue to use XP, danger that way lies.
Will Australia join Russia, becoming the second nation to withdraw? Or will it simply delay membership - one year, two years or more? Perhaps we'll find out with a government announcement in the next month regarding its OGP commitment. Or perhaps all we can expect is ongoing silence.
In Australia, poking fun at our New Zealand cousins has become more than just a hobby over the years; these days it enjoys the status of a national sport. However, when it becomes to broadband, the situation has been turned on its head: New Zealand is doing everything right that we are doing wrong. Here's five ways the Kiwis are smarter than us in this critical area.
Apple, famous for its innovative products, is equally creative in its tax structure. From 2009 to 2012, it successfully sheltered US$44 billion from being taxed anywhere in the world, including sales generated in Australia.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's new Ministerial Advisory Council last week features representatives from virtually every major Australian telecommunications company of any note. But the group most important to the future of the Australian telco sector -- consumers -- appear not to have been invited.
Is the National Broadband Network sustainable? I do not mean this in a technical sense. While I am wary of the government using taxpayers' money to ‘pick winners’ in technology, there are many people better placed than I am to crystal ball gaze into the best technology for the internet. Rather is the NBN economically sustainable?
The ongoing stoush over how the Coalition's Broadband Network should be deployed in Tasmania shows Australia's broadband tangle at its worst: Construction contractors who don't deliver, overly optimistic promises and estimates, and politicians playing petty power games with a highly important national infrastructure project. No matter which way you look at it, it's a shocking mess.
The only way for Labor's all-fibre National Broadband Network to sensibly function was for it to be a legislated infrastructure monopoly. But the Coalition's watered-down, multi-technology alternative is a very different kettle of fish, and consumers will clearly benefit if rival telcos such as Telstra, Optus and TPG are allowed to overbuild portions of the network.
Australia finally has its first digital technology curriculum which is mandatory for all Australian children from Foundation, the name replacing kindergarten, to Year 8.
Senior Victorian IT professional George Fong encourages fellow technologists to get involved in commenting on the National Broadband Network, after the success of a segment he was involved with on 3AW last week.
Everyone knows there’s a problem with copyright. Artists get paid very little for their work, and legitimate consumers aren’t getting a very fair deal either. Unfortunately, nobody agrees about how we should fix it.
Malcolm Turnbull's plan to offer Australians full fibre extensions to their premises on demand was already on extremely shaky ground, and several new developments over the past several months have made it increasingly clear that this is a concept which is extremely unlikely to see any traction in the short to medium term.
The Federal Government's decision to reject a $25 million plea for financial assistance for SPC Ardmona's troubled fruit processing plant in Shepparton should be seen in the context of the long-term and very necessary war to lessen the reliance of Australia's economy on legacy industries and to push it towards the next-generation of knowledge-based smart businesses.
Enterprise IT analyst firm Gartner has warned that large, monolithic and heavily customised in-house enterprise resource planning systems will be relegated to the status of "legacy ERP" over the next several years, as smaller, nimbler and often cloud computing-based alternatives eat the lunch of this old mainstay of the IT application portfolio.
The decline in power of Australia's free to air television networks and the failure of IPTV players to enter or grow substantially in the local market have left pay TV giant Foxtel with an incredibly strong position in the nation's content landscape. As some industry executives have feared for years, the company is now on the verge of becoming a content monopolist.
Burned by a decade's worth of failures of major on-premises IT projects, 2013 was the year that Australia's State Governments almost universally declared they would take a "cloud-first" approach to IT procurement. But there are already signs that the next stage of this process is underway, and that "cloud-first" may inevitably become "cloud-only".
So has Gov 2.0 become boring too fast in Australia? Shouldn't we see more conversation, more voices, more blogs, more tweets, more people packing out events seeking the latest information in what is one of the most rapidly changing environments in history - the internet?
The easiest way to view the departure of Vodafone Australia's turnaround specialist Bill Morrow to take the reins of NBN Co is as the final nail in the extremely troubled mobile telco's fortunes. But the truth is that Morrow is leaving the company just as it's getting to its knees again. Finally, after three years in the wilderness, Vodafone is showing signs that it may be competitive in Australia's mobile landscape again -- and heading towards a sustainable footing.
Respected telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has called for a more constructive debate about Australia's future broadband needs, arguing that the current national conversation over the issue of the National Broadband Network is stuck using "yesterday's logic" as it fails to plan for the needs of a future only five to ten years away.
"Technology-neutral policy" is a useful but treacherous concept that has led many Australian politicians into making poor decisions about important technology issues over the past decade. It's still a very useful framework, but it's time this theory was re-examined by our policymakers in light of those failures and the importance of learning from the past to better inform the future.
Australian telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has penned an extensive blog post discussing the need for the Coalition's Broadband Network (CBN) to remain on a 'wholesale-only' basis, despite the fact that the network's architecture is set to radically change due to the 'Multi-Technology Mix' model proposed by NBN Co.
The fundamental aim of overseas study tours undertaken by Members of Parliament is to help educate and give our political leaders a broader context within which to make better policy decisions, as well as opening substantive policy discussions with high-level figures. But the latest examples this month in Silicon Valley and other trips over the past several years starkly display the fact that in practice, that they merely serve as propaganda and to reinforce existing beliefs arrayed along dogmatic political lines.
Government systems could be redesigned from the ground-up to make it easy to reorganise, merge and demerge departments, so that a person's email system can be rapidly and easily moved from one agency to another, or the HR information of two departments can be consolidated in a merger at low cost.
The end of two year mobile contracts; the end of smartphones on contracts at all; the rise of phablets; domination of the market by just two vendors; domination by only a handful of models: All of these are constituent parts of a revolutionary shift sweeping the nation's smartphone market at the moment. Get ready to upgrade your thinking: The way Australians buy and use mobile devices is about to change massively, and it's a wonderful thing indeed.
Respected telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has heavily criticised the Coalition's new preferred broadband deployment model, describing its "Multi-Technology Mix" approach as "a dog's breakfast" of different technologies, which could turn out to be a "logistical nightmare" to deliver in practice.
With hundreds of thousands of new fibre premises scheduled to come on line and thousands of others opened to wholesale access, 2014 is slated to be the long-awaited first banner year that will see all of the National Broadband Network Company's hard work finally start to pay off in bulk. But unfortunately it'll also be the last, as the Coalition's plan to rip apart Labor's NBN vision starts to takes effect 12 months down the track.
The week-long outage of Myer's website starkly displays the fact that the company and its outsourcing partner IBM had failed to properly develop and test their infrastructure or put in place the most basic disaster recovery and business continuity plan, as well as highlighting the incredible immaturity of online retailing in Australia.
It is no longer appropriate in 2014 for Australians to refer to the Coalition's radically watered down version of Labor's pet telecommunications initiative as the "National" Broadband Network project, given the fact that it will leave the long-term future of up to a third of Australians' broadband services in doubt.
A close reading of NBN Co's Strategic Review report published last week shows the former chief executive of the company was overwhelmingly correct: A predominantly Fibre to the Premises National Broadband Network can still be rolled out with only modest cost and timeframe implications. But that's a truth that nobody currently involved in the process seems to want to hear.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today confirmed the Federal Government would follow NBN Co's recommendation in adopting an "optimised" model for deploying the National Broadband Network "sooner, cheaper and more affordably", in a move that will see the company roll out the "maximum" amount of existing network infrastructure.
It's hard to imagine how things could have gone worse for Malcolm Turnbull in his first three months as Communications Minister. With the public rapidly turning on the Earl of Wentworth over his horribly unpopular new NBN policy, a growing perception that he's stacking NBN Co with partisan staff and a lack of transparency verging on the hypocritical, it's hard to find positives for the Earl of Wentworth from his initial period in office. Turnbull is truly fumbling the catch on both political and functional levels.
I am here today to formally apologise. I was wrong to have faith in Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition on this issue. You were all right. Turnbull does indeed appear to be attempting to "demolish" the NBN.
The call for a technology policy think tank is opportune and probably long overdue. The Australian IT industry is a massive industry, a huge success story for Australia, and well deserving of its own voice.
Politicians from Australia's major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community's ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.
As Stephen Conroy interrogated the incoming NBN Co chief Ziggy Switkowski in last week’s Senate hearing into the network’s rollout, it became increasingly clear that politics is getting in the way of good policy.
The Senate's move to force senior executives from the National Broadband Network Company to appear before its new NBN committee starkly demonstrates the extreme degree of politicisation which the NBN project as a whole is subject to.
The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor's Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?
The past decade or so of failed technology policy in Australia sharply demonstrates the need for an independent think tank that would focus on developing viable, sustainable and popular technology policy and feeding it into the political process.
If the foreign music and movie industries are worried about piracy, they can decide to invest in improving their product’s security – like any other business does. It is neither fair nor right they should ask any other industry to pay what should rightly be their own expense.
Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.
Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation's public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.
For the Australian tech company market, the success of Freelancer would be a good thing and could possibly serve to boost the likelihood of other companies receiving investment. But because tech companies listing on the ASX are relatively uncommon, they are often treated as scarce events resulting in a general temptation to attach too much significance to a company that has yet to really prove it is worthy of the attention.
Australian consumers are embracing digital commerce, but Australian retailers are failing to build long-term relationships with their customers online, according to new research.
Unfortunately though in Australia we don't seem to have any comprehensive list of which governments and councils are creating and releasing open source materials. So e-government expert Craig Thomler has created a spreadsheet, which he'll add to over time, of open sourcing going on across the Australian public sector.
Australia wants to foster innovation in a digital economy, but our copyright laws discourage businesses from investing in new technologies and make it harder for individuals to access the knowledge upon which innovation is based. Yesterday’s US decision in the Google Books case shows why US copyright law is much more supportive of innovation than ours.
The uncomfortable reality is that no one really knows how to design or manage large, complex IT projects.
NBN Co's Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra's underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.
Malcolm Turnbull's site visit to a National Broadband Network location in Blacktown was primarily notable for the Communications Minister's silly tweets, his "ridiculous" video and technical inaccuracies in his comments, according to Shadow Assisting Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, who is also an MP for the area.
Tasmania’s assertive push to keep up deployment of optical fibre, and make it cost effective by using overhead rollout, makes a lot of sense. In urban areas, no other technology has a feasible lifetime beyond 2025, and many of the existing broadband technologies are already obsolete with no hope of evolution. It will work for the vast majority of urban areas.
I've had an interesting and robust conversation online in the last day regarding how Australian councils and governments are using overseas services like SurveyMonkey to collect information from citizens and residents.
In another episode of the ongoing rollercoaster of a story that is Bitcoin, about 4,100 of them have been stolen from an online bitcoin wallet site inputs.io. What makes this particular story more interesting is the fact that the person behind the site inputs.io is allegedly an 18 year old Australian going by the alias “TradeFortress” living in Hornsby, NSW.
IT contracts often obscure objectives through technological jargon, man hours and deadlines. If business objectives and outcomes were better stated in contracts there would be clear and obvious accountability. When there is a common understanding of success the more likely are successful outcomes.
That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co's executive management team? Here's five ideas to start with.
The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co's senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.
Politicians in Tasmania and in Canberra have been promising residents of the Apple Isle fibre broadband for at least 12 years. The abject failure to deliver almost any improvement to the state's basic telecommunications infrastructure in that time starkly demonstrates the rank incompetence of Australia's political class in setting and deliverying broadband policy.
Federal health minister Peter Dutton has commissioned a review of Labor’s troubled Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project. It’s unclear whether the review committee is to decide whether to scrap the project altogether or to try and fix it. Hopefully it is not the latter because if the past year has taught us anything, it is that this is not a fixable problem. It needs to go.
If you believe everything you read, over the past several weeks a ferocious debate took place between senior Government Ministers about whether Huawei should be allowed to bid for National Broadband Network contracts. But the discipline and unity historically displayed by Tony Abbott's Cabinet hints at a more nuanced process, and one that may have all just been for show.
The loss of the West Australian ballots is a serious breach of electoral integrity, and one that must be thoroughly investigated to identify what went wrong. But amidst all the party-driven hysteria, it’s important to remember that no system is entirely fail-safe, and the risks posed by electronic or internet voting are potentially far more serious than this isolated incident.
Revelations about Australia’s alleged spy network in Asia and listening posts in our embassies across the Pacific might be diplomatically awkward. But it doesn’t mean intelligence agencies have “gone rogue”.
Only in Australia could the phrase “public briefing” mean that the meeting will be held behind closed doors, where journalists are not welcome.
What we should really learn from the Huawei ban is that the biggest threat to Australia’s future development is not Chinese firms such as Huawei, but Australia’s own poverty in high-tech capability, and in understanding China.
It's something which nobody wants to talk about, but which everybody knows is going on. A number of very high profile cases have starkly demonstrated over the past several years that dishonest and unethical behaviour in some cases extending as far as corrupt practice is on the rise in Australia’s technology sector.
To a Federal Labor Party exhausted from several bitter years of internal struggle and a vicious election campaign, it must seem like slipping into Opposition might be a good chance for a hard-earned rest. But the truth is that the long fight to keep one of its key policies intact has just begun. Here’s some ideas for how Labor can take on Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the National Broadband Network issue — and win.
If the Coalition orders NBN Co to pursue a heterogenuous National Broadband Network rollout which features different rollout styles from Fibre to the Premises, to the Node and to the Basement, the company will face a fundamentally new challenge: How to fairly set wholesale prices on technologies which are fundamentally different?
NBN Co's Strategic Review will be conducted by a cluster of ex-Telstra executives with prior personal connections to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party, supported by external consultants. Does anyone still believe the result will be independent, objective and 'technology-neutral'?
With a lengthy history as a telco regulatory lawyer and a passion for the National Broadband Network bordering on an obsession, Labor MP Michelle Rowland is well-qualified indeed to be Labor's Shadow Assistant Communications Minister. But it's the Member for Greenway's penchant for taking Malcolm Turnbull down a notch or five on the floor of the House of Representatives that will have pro-fibre NBN fanbois falling in love with her.
The phrase "Linux desktop" has been anathema to Australian organisations for almost a decade, after a brief flurry of interest in the platform back in 2004. But a massive successful deployment at France's national police force and the growing popularity of Software as a Service applications could put Tux back on the corporate radar.
Freelancer, the online freelance and labour market site has issued its prospectus ahead of a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
The National Broadband Network project has abjectly failed every construction target ever set for it, its rollout has slowed to a deadly slow crawl, and even its founder, former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, has admitted the previous Labor Government drastically underestimated the amount of work involved in delivering it. It's time to admit NBN version 2.0 is dead and that the project desperately needs to be radically reshaped yet again.
Something that scares me enormously is the house of cards that many (if not most) governments have built with their IT systems.
Malcolm Turnbull never specifically promised Tasmanians that the all-fibre NBN rollout in the state would be completed as originally planned. But if there is any one state in Australia that deserves to have a universal Fibre to the Premises National Broadband Network, it's the Apple Isle, which has been a perpetual broadband backwater for the past decade and more.
Amidst the ramping up of the new Australian government, and with reviews of just about everything under the sun underway, we see yet more incorrect statements from incoming federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in regards to the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Two documents released this week highlight divergent views among the community and politicians.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spent much of the past year telling anybody who will listen that NBN Co's board needs more directors with actual telco network construction experience. Yet the candidates he's appointed or been reported to have approached so far for board positions cannot claim that background, and several have close ties to Turnbull's own Liberal Party.
Earlier this year, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) put together a panel of aviation experts to look at whether personal electronic devices (PEDs) could be used on planes without compromising safety. The results are in: the committee is recommending that electronic devices – such as tablets, e-readers and other PEDs – be allowed during all phases of flight (including take-off and landing).
Last week we proposed Internode founder Simon Hackett as a prime candidate to sit on NBN Co’s newly refreshed board under Tony Abbott’s new Coalition Government. Today we add two new prospective names to the list: PIPE Networks’ influential founders Bevan Slattery and Steve Baxter.
Military tactics and hardware can make policing more appealing to recruits and generate impressive media spectacles, but they do not prevent or solve crime. The underlying causes of social disorder go unaddressed while public funds are spent instead on expensive but ineffective and potentially dangerous toys.
If Malcolm Turnbull is serious about making sure all Australians quickly get access to affordable, high-speed broadband, there is one man he must consider appointing to the board of NBN Co: The entrepreneur who was instrumental in bringing Australians broadband in the first place. Internode founder Simon Hackett.
My frank assessment is that we will probably see a lot more fibre being delivered than we were expecting under the new government. DSL technologies on copper will be exploited where these can deliver a better connection than existing arrangements, even if it means these customers wait longer for their inevitable fibre connection.
New South Wales' outgoing auditor-general has published a brief whitepaper outlining the major causes of project failure in the state government and what can be done to address the issue, specifically calling out IT projects as having a bad track record in the area.
The level of hysteria over the past 24 hours over Malcolm Turnbull's entirely predictable decision to refresh NBN Co's board has been laughably absurd, and starkly demonstrates the lack of understanding the media has about the National Broadband Network in general. Take a chill pill, people: The Coalition is not "trashing" the NBN or "setting it up to fail". The sky is not falling.
Up until this morning the telcos were only offering the pricing structures for the iPhone 5C. Why not the 5S? It turns out that they are playing a strategic game of cat-and-mouse with each other.
The long winter after the failure of the dot com boom a decade ago is finally over: Australia's startup spring is here, and its energy is infectious.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop engaging in attacks on those who support a Fibre to the Premises model for the NBN and commit to an open and transparent review process for the network, according to telecommunications blogger and IT technician James Archer.
When state governments in Australia have changed ruling parties there’s often been a temporary hiatus in Government 2.0 and open data activity, if not a series of backsteps – however in almost every case the trend towards greater digitalisation, engagement and openness has resumes.
Malcolm Turnbull may believe that democracy has spoken; but now is the time for democracy to shout back.
Malcolm Turnbull's arrogant response to a petition calling for the Coalition to support Labor's NBN policy shows the Coalition still hasn't learnt the lesson activists rammed down Labor's throat in the previous Internet filter and data retention debacles: People power can get unpopular policies changed.
Communications Minister-elect Malcolm Turnbull reportedly thinks Ziggy Switkowski would make a great choice to run the National Broadband Network Company. Can I please have some of what he's smoking?
The botched resurrection of Labor's mandatory Internet filtering policy late yesterday afternoon would appear to be more the work of one continually inept Liberal MP than a grand conspiracy by the Coalition to hoodwink the Australian public into generating a false mandate for Internet censorship.
The 20-year time to completion quoted by Tony Abbott seems to be some kind of rough estimate or guess, based on unclear assumptions. It is unlikely to be correct.
The Greens generally have their major competitors beat when it comes to technology policy, and their parliamentary experience gives them an edge on minor party rivals.
Understandably, new governments have an interest in putting their own stamp on policy, particularly in areas as critical to our future as research and innovation, but sometimes continuity and re-badging is preferable to scorched earth.
Research from the University of Melbourne shows that Australians still overwhelmingly support Labor's National Broadband Network project, despite the fact that the same research shows newspapers have been overwhelmingly negative about the project.
Malcolm Turnbull has claimed on a number of occasions that nobody has stepped forward to refute the Coalition's $94 billion NBN costings. Well, Mr Turnbull: Challenge accepted. This article is that refutation.
If the Coalition wins, the first 100 days of Malcolm Turnbull’s tenure as Communications Minister will be incredibly gruelling, with a laundry list of tough action items a mile long.
At a whopping two-thirds of the cost of the vastly-superior FTTP NBN, the Coalition’s NBN stacks up as waste of money.
If you can’t get a satisfactory mobile signal in Martin Place or Collins Street during peak hour, perhaps you should lobby the Sydney or Melbourne city councils, as well as your mobile phone provider.
With just over two weeks to go in the campaign, Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks Party has experienced some unsettling events that suggest it may be unravelling.
There are no victims in this complete debacle: Like the fated heroes of the Greek tragedies, every party involved in the Kogan Mobile catastrophe brought their own injury on themselves.
Both major parties are trying to convince voters that their plan is better than their competitor’s. So, is it true that the Coalition’s broadband plan will cost more for regional households and businesses?
A growing body of evidence is mounting that NBN Co should seriously consider contracting the nation's incumbent telco Telstra to build large sections of the National Broadband Network infrastructure.
The next Atlassian could be started by a pair of Chinese students studying right now in Melbourne, or an Australian-born Vietnamese or Indian entrepreneur who can leverage transnational family connections and build a fast-growing company.
We’ve had #stopthenotes, #suppositories, and #sexappeal to keep us amused, but since the election campaign period began there has been very limited reporting in the mainstream media (MSM) of the electoral relevance of the digital rights issues faced by Australian citizens.
Earlier this month the Rudd Labor Government issued a discussion paper on the taxation of employee share schemes. This is the best opportunity for as long as Senator Kate Lundy can remember to contribute to a formal process about how we provide the right practical and effective incentives for start-ups in Australia.
NBN Co's constant stream of launch events is providing Labor with a massively uneven platform to promote its broadband policy and very likely breaches the Government's Caretaker Conventions.
It's time to get away from the Fibre to the Premises/Fibre to the Node debate, writes Progressive Democratic Party director and IT consultant Michael Berry, and acknowledge that Australia's National Broadband Network should include elements of both.
Can either side be trusted to live up to their promises? History and analysis of the plans suggest that no matter who wins the election, very little will go as planned.
The disastrous, billion-dollar failure of Queensland Health's project to replace its payroll systems delivers a stark warning to technology giants such as IBM that they must start to take a much stronger role in governing government IT projects.
In its arguments against the NBN, it would seem News Corp Australia’s campaign is less than wholly transparent in representing its own interests.
Rupert Murdoch has not sent a political assassin Down Under specifically to kill Labor’s evil National Broadband Network project so it doesn’t wipe out Foxtel’s revenues. No, it’s the people’s right to choose which frustrates Murdoch, not Labor’s little side project.
XKeyscore is an online surveillance tool run by America’s National Security Agency (NSA) that allows analysts to search contents of chats, emails and browsing histories without warrants. Australian experts respond in this article to the issue.
The price hike inquiry has already benefited one individual very strongly: Ed Husic, the passionate first term MP who may very well be leading Labor's broadband portfolio following the Federal Election.
It’s official: Australia isn’t the “lucky country” in the IT sector. Consumers, government and industry down under are charged typically 50% more for software and hardware compared to their American counterparts. Why is this the case and, more importantly, what can affected customers do about it?
Bradley Manning’s conviction for espionage marks the closing stages in the US Army private’s personal battle. Yet for Julian Assange, founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks and Australian Senate candidate, Manning is but a casualty in a much grander mission.
The success of BT's fibre to the node rollout must come as a stark reminder of what could have been achieved in Australia over the past eight years if the various players had stopped their incessant, poisoned infighting on the broadband issue.
Under the cover of the NBN's madness and media hype, there's another high-wire act under way: The nation's other telco monopolist, Telstra, is successfully concentrating its market power; and that's not good news for anyone.
The Federal Government has lived through half a dozen major ICT projects over the past decade. Customs had its Cargo Management Re-engineering overhaul, Immigration had Systems for People, Tax had the Change Program, and Defence is still wrangling with its desktop virtualisation and PMKeys undertakings. Now we can add one more to the list: The Department of Human Services' ambitious project to revamp the Child Support Agency's key ERP system, previously known as 'Cuba'.
Under extreme provocation by a hostile Opposition, the National Broadband Network Company appears to have broken convention and possibly regulations regarding the behaviour of government business enterprises. The question now is: How will its shareholder ministers deal with its clearly aberrant behaviour?
The Coalition’s broadband policy offers a lower-cost network that will provide customers with modest improvements in broadband services in the shorter term; whereas the Coalition’s network will create a new digital divide and require major upgrades soon after it is completed. Labor promises a more future-proof solution that will cost more at the outset, but will stimulate broadband developments in government, business, and entertainment, and has potential to serve Australia beyond 2050.
Mike Quigley last week exited the role of NBN Co chief executive the way he held it: With a relentless, implacable dignity. But the executive will leave more behind him than just a memory; like Steve Jobs with Apple, Quigley's legacy will be the company and project that grew from infancy around him. Australia's greatest ever infrastructure rollout will forever bear his mark; and NBN Co's culture will forever be coloured with his impeccable personal integrity.
The Federal Government has taken many positive steps forward in the past year with respect to freeing up its departments and agencies to adopt the new class of cloud computing technologies. But the release of an overly bureaucratic policy this month on offshore data storage has the potential to set that progress back substantially, relying as it does on several outdated concepts of risk management in IT projects.
So, what can we conclude from the latest developments? There are no real surprises. We know that lawful interception has been a highly valued (if at times shockingly misused) tool of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for decades. Perhaps the most important conclusion we can draw is that the law enforcement and intelligence agencies will not surrender such access easily.
Many Australians believe the man dubbed the Earl of Wentworth will eventually be back to take the Prime Ministership, after being ousted from the Liberal leadership in December 2009; or possibly to become Australia's first President. But three years of dogged and at times spiteful opposition to one of Australia's most popular policies have taken their toll on Malcolm Turnbull in the view of some segments of the Australian population.
If NBN Co's board has indeed hired political lobbying firm Bespoke to represent itself to the Coalition ahead of the Federal Election ... then that represents an extraordinary move, and one which I, for one, and no doubt countless others, simply cannot approve of.
Those broadband speed freaks holding out hope that the Coalition's pledge to provide 'fibre on demand' services will save them from life in the slow lane in a fibre to the node future need to take a cold shower and wake up to reality. 'Fibre on demand' is nothing but an fluffy ephemeral dream which has no chance of becoming reality in the short- to medium-term under the Coalition's National Broadband Network vision.
We could question whether there are not better things within the health system that the nearly AUS$1 billion spent so far on PCEHR could have been spent on.
For all his flaws and missteps, Stephen Conroy has been an incredible reformer and revolutionary force for change in Australia's technology sector over most of the past decade. He will ultimately be remembered as Australia's greatest ever Communications Minister; a visionary who almost single-handedly drove the creation of the National Broadband Network.
Yesterday it was widely reported that the Federal Government had 'shelved' its data retention plans, walking away from the controversial proposal to monitor all Australians' communications. But the reality is the complete opposite: Data retention is still being actively considered as a policy and will shortly return to plague Australia once again.
Fibre to the node isn't intrinsically a bad solution for Australia's broadband needs. But when you compare it to Labor's more visionary fibre to the premises plan, the differences between the two start to become starkly apparent. Australia deserves a whole lot better than what an incoming Coalition government will serve up to us.
Despite its bluff and bluster about the dangers of asbestos, the Coalition is proposing to just leave it in the ground – for someone else to fix another day. Their plans to kill the current NBN look more irresponsible as time goes by, and we deserve so much better than that. This is a chance to fix it, and to fix it now.
Internet Protocol researcher Geoff Huston analyses the Federal Government's usage of Section 313 notices to block certain websites, with reference to the ongoing issue of how IPv4 addresses are being used on the Internet.
There’s been a bit of hoohah about the use of the hashtag #fraudband recently by [Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull[ & his cronies, decrying every use as ‘poor form’ & the like. Yet when you look deeper into the use of the term ‘fraudband’, the reality is that the Liberal & National Party were using it LONG before anyone supporting the NBN was.
Cloud services break the cycle of agency investment in dedicated ICT solutions that are difficult or impossible to share. In contrast, each procurement of cloud services incrementally develops the capacity of the vendor to offer the same service to other agencies. A policy position of “cloud services first” is a strategic commitment by government to the development of the next generation of shared services.
Oh, dear. It appears as though Australia's new Federal Attorney-General is at least as arrogant as the previous two. An article in the Daily Telegraph published late last week tells us that Mark Dreyfus, who replaced Nicola Roxon in the portfolio in February, refused to turn off his mobile phone in a recent flight and was subsequently met by the AFP when the plane landed.
Like mindless junkies scrabbling for their latest fix, the virulent community of pro-NBN extremists in Australia's technology sector will do or say almost anything to prove the Coalition's NBN policy to be completely worthless, despite the fact that it shares most of its fundamental principles with Labor's own superior broadband vision.
News of the LivingSocial breach coincides with debate within the privacy and information technology communities about Commonwealth proposals for data-breach legislation.
The release of the Coalition's new National Broadband Network policy had a dramatic effect upon support for Labor's existing policy, analysis of polling data shows, with a large chunk of Coalition voters abandoning their previous long-term support for Labor's existing NBN policy in favour of the new Coalition alternative.
Over the past several years I've had the somewhat unique experience of reviewing almost exactly the same laptop three times. What the process has taught me is that the new wave of touchscreens making their way into laptops aren't just a fad; they're part of a subtle revolution in the way we interact with out portable devices.
But leading with technology doesn’t mean throwing technology at the problem. You need to do something different with it. That’s the challenge for Woolworths.
The Coalition's rival policy is a sensible alternative to Labor's National Broadband Network project, based soundly on its traditional principles of liberalism and support for the free market, but also pragmatically taking into account the situation which the the current Federal Government will leave the Coalition with if it takes power in September.
The real winner out of the National Broadband Network process is Telstra, writes Gennadi Kazakevitch, Deputy Head, Department of Economics at Monash University.
The federal Coalition’s new A$30 billion plan for “fast, affordable” broadband is a quick-fix strategy, which is likely to cost more and be less reliable long-term, according to experts.
Malcolm Turnbull has moved the Coalition light years – or at least several million fibre optic kilometres – from the Luddite criticisms thrown up by the Opposition during the 2010 federal election campaign. That said, it was sad to see the number of debating tricks employed in launching his national broadband policy.
What could a man like Julian Assange achieve within the orthodox structures of parliament?
With its rollout schedule significantly delayed yet again, its contractual and political relationships on the rocks and its transparency thrown out the window, it's apparent that NBN Co is not delivering the National Broadband Network the nation was promised. So what's the future of this great Australian dream?
We know online piracy exists; we know governments want to stop it – but what are the options?
The NBN is emerging as one of the key issues in the lead-up to this year’s federal election. But the project has been fraught with challenges: planning issues and a shortage of skilled labour have delayed the rollout process.Today it was reported that NBN Co is now set to downgrade rollout targets by up to half of those initially forecast.
Most of Australia's younger generation of Internet-focused media consumers probably think Pay TV giant Foxtel is merely a blast from the past; a mouldering old dinosaur with no tricks left up its sleeve. But if revelations by the company last week are any indication, Foxtel 'gets' the Internet and has exactly the right moves planned to tackle it.
The time has come for the music industry to find common ground with consumers, not do business in spite of them.
You’ll have seen the fallout this week regarding a so-called “spearphishing” attack on the Reserve Bank of Australia in 2011. As with most media reports on cyber-attacks, this one appears to have been overhyped. So what really happened?
The case of Aaron Swartz highlights the need for a reconsideration of punitive and excessive intellectual property enforcement provisions in trade agreements.
ABC Technology & Games editor Nick Ross is the only journalist in Australia so far to have gone into the appropriate level of detail in analysing the Coalition's rival NBN policy. And the Coalition should be very afraid of this fact indeed: Because his most recent NBN opus reflects a knockout blow for its disastrously flawed fibre to the node plans.
If you believe what you read over the past week, you'd think that construction delays on the part of contractor Syntheo have significantly derailed the progress of the National Broadband Network. However, as is often the case with the NBN, the truth couldn't be more different. The fact is that network remains squarely on track to meet its June 2013 rollouts targets.
Up until now, I've been willing to give the Coalition the benefit of the doubt when it comes to national broadband policy, due primarily to the intelligence and experience of its Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. But events last week starkly demonstrated the Coalition is currently a complete mess when it comes to this critical portfolio.
A treasure trove of previously confidential documents pertaining to the Government's data retention policy and released this week under Freedom of Information laws display an astonishing technical ineptitude on the part of the Attorney-General's Department with respect to the controversial project.
Online streaming of radio broadcasts may be a thing of the past after the Full Federal Court yesterday handed down a ruling that will result in radio stations paying higher royalties to the recording industry.
The potential break-up of troubled IT shared services agency CenITex and the opening of the door to government adoption of the new cloud computing paradigm are two of the most important themes written between the lines of the Victorian Government's major new ICT strategy released yesterday.
Those panic merchants jumping up and down screaming blue murder over Telstra's P2P shaping trial need to take a chill pill and go sit in the naughty corner until their blood pressure sinks a few points. The reality is that the trial isn't a big deal and it's certainly nothing out of the ordinary in the context of the Australian and international telecommunications sector.
The High Court has ruled that Google did not engage in misleading and deceptive conduct when it published a number of advertisements created by its AdWords program. Does this mean that the advertisements themselves were not misleading and deceptive? No! Everyone agrees that they were. Rather, the decision clarifies the law for publishers, including those using the internet.
Not only should NBN Co ignore Malcolm Turnbull's spurious claim that it's in some form of 'virtual caretaker mode' ahead of the upcoming Federal Election, it should intentionally sign as many long-term construction and equipment contracts as possible before September, in case the Coalition wins government and tries to shut it down.
Australia's two most recent Attorneys-General distinguished themselves during their tenure by demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the dynamics of the modern Internet; seeking to monitor, control and contain it at all costs. Now they've both announced plans to quit politics. Will our next chief lawmaker do any better?
By continually declining to release hard statistics about how the rollout and uptake of its network are proceeding, the National Broadband Network Company risks portraying itself as exactly the kind of negligent and overly bureaucratic monopoly which the Federal Opposition has long accused it of being.
Free market thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs recently claimed Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network project was drawn up purely as a “media stunt” to drum up publicity for the Government. Unfortunately, this is a factually inaccurate statement, and here’s the evidence to prove it.
If you have even the slightest interest in government IT or technology project management, we recommend you sit down with a cup of tea and your tablet and read this epic rant by Australia's new chief technology officer John Sheridan. It's worth it.
The flagrantly worded argument by Liberal MP Paul Fletcher and others that the Federal Government has badly mismanaged the process of auctioning off 4G wireless spectrum is overly simplistic and does not well-represent the complex dynamic involved in this commercial bidding process.
The reality is, a huge proportion of Australians do not know they are using the cloud when they use services such as social networking, and do not know that much of their personal data is being stored overseas as a result. When they find out, they are not happy about it.
Reality check: The National Broadband Network is a project which will continue to serve Australia's telecommunications needs for at least the next fifty years. Debating take-up rates in the first year of its existence is nothing short of incredibly short-sighted and trivial.
There are pros and cons of all forms of roll-outs. Network led geographic roll-outs may offer economies of scale but retailer led roll-outs may allow for more effective targeting of smart meters (for example, large users could get meters first). Whoever rolls out smart meters however, it is the consumer who will pay the costs. Consumers, therefore, should see some benefits.
Last week Malcolm Turnbull delivered a series of very strong, evidence-based answers to key questions about his rival NBN policy, demonstrating that he would be a safe pair of hands to steward the nation’s broadband future. But, despite his eloquence and depth of knowledge, the Liberal MP has still failed to convince Australia’s technical community that his policy is better than Labor’s.
It's taken four months, but Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has finally answered a series of key questions regarding his focus on using fibre to the node (FTTN) technology to roll out the NBN. But has the Member for Wentworth provided enough details to answer his critics? Read on to find out.
Estimates are that Google last year received about $1 billion in advertising revenue from Australia. Despite that, it paid little Australian income tax. John Passant looks at what could be done to rectify this situation.
It's finally happened. After years of expressing concern about the privacy risks, regulatory challenges and technical inadequacies of the new clutch of technologies broadly known as “cloud computing”, Australia's financial services sector has embraced the new paradigm wholesale. It's about time.
Don’t read technology blogs? Then a new innovation in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMPORGs) may be passing you by. Perhaps, like me, such games have never been of much interest to you. Or perhaps they haven’t been able to hold your sustained attention. So why should you care now?
Malcolm Turnbull is absolutely correct in his claim that NBN Co’s focus on nebulous statistics regarding the number of premises where it has commenced or completed construction are “complete nonsense”. The company should stop using this figure as a measure of its progress, and focus only on areas where it has actually finished building the NBN.
Since Federation, Australian consumers have suffered the indignity and the tragedy of price discrimination. From the time of imperial publishing networks, Australia has been suffered from cultural colonialism.
If you follow Australia’s banking technology scene closely, no doubt you’ve probably become quite confused over the past four or so years about the National Australia Bank’s core banking overhaul strategy and how precisely it is actually put together and progressing; and you wouldn’t be the only one. But if you delve a little under the surface it all becomes clear.
There is now serious evidence emerging that the arrival of high-speed LTE (4G) mobile networks coupled with the smartphone and tablet boom is creating serious problems for fibre to the home operators in some markets such as Japan.
The infrastructure being deployed as part of the National Broadband Network isn’t just for consumers; it will also be used extensively by businesses and non-profit organisations. But the business-focused NBN plans released so far don’t deliver on the network’s promise; being little more than more extensive versions of NBN consumer plans.
With half the worlds population now connected by mobile phone and even short periods of time disconnected from the global network leaving many with withdrawal symptoms, the next stage of human evolution is approaching fast and if you're having trouble keeping up, look to nature.
Like a blade out of the dark, this week ex-ACCC chief Graeme Samuel came from nowhere to drive a stake into the heart of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy, arguing that the FTTN technology it’s based on is “obsolete”. And just as viciously, Malcolm Turnbull fired back. But who is objectively on the side of truth in this storm in a teacup? As is so often in our flawed NBN debate, the answer is: ‘Nobody’.
As we move forward in this era of online transactions and social media, there’s a need for security and privacy legislation to keep pace. Most importantly, there’s a need for Australians to feel confident that their personal information is being kept safe by those we entrust it to.
Telstra’s aggressive moves to wind back competition in Australia’s mobile sector, coupled with the rapid decline of Vodafone and the stagnation of Optus, has re-opened a conversation about whether the telco should be forced to offer wholesale access to its Next G mobile network – including the new 4G components of it.
The big question is whether digital mail is a solution looking for a problem that hasn’t already been solved. Here, I am not convinced. The technology to achieve a digital mailbox using ordinary email with digital signatures and encryption has been around for a very long time.
Today, nine-or-so months after its launch in the US, the Lytro camera will be available to buy in Australia – bringing with it the ability to refocus pictures in incredible detail after the fact.
It looks as if Internode founder Simon Hackett has taken Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s infamous “red underpants” comments a little seriously, if this photo from CommsDay’s Melbourne Congress this morning is any indication. Oh, dear.
Taking a “cloud-first” policy has the potential to act as game changer to allow departments and agencies to break out of their current restrictive ICT procurement practices, technology analyst firm Ovum said this week, as discussion continues to swirl about how Australian governments are handling the new cloud computing paradigm.