According to Prime Minister Turnbull, the national broadband network “may well be the biggest single infrastructure project the Commonwealth has ever undertaken”. Having commenced discussions in around 2005, and then again in 2007, the NBN has been a political weapon used by both teams. Technologies, costs, and rollout times have all been criticised and manipulated to the point where the general public have become confused with its progress, if and when they will get access to it, and even if it is going to be any better than current internet options.
Being an IT company that invests heavily in innovation and progress, we saw the NBN in concept as a genuine game-changer. The original NBN had the potential for providing Australia with 100 years of quality communications, enablement and entertainment. Ever had to endure a teleconference or video call with buffering and lag? It is brutal. The original NBN plan had the potential for the teleconference/video call experience to be similar to watching television – flawless quality and seamless communications. Consider the implications that this could have provided for businesses with remote locations, or those who have mobility issues and are confined to their home or a certain area. Everywhere would be accessible, and geographical limitations could almost be removed.
But over the course of the decade between 2007 and 2016, the integrity of the original vision was compromised and what could have been an extraordinary asset for the country has been downgraded to “that’ll do”.
Last week, journalist Waleed Aly managed to sum up the NBN story in about two and a half minutes: