Malcolm Turnbull is famous for his ‘invention of the internet’ also known as an investment in the now defunct but once ubiquitous Ozemail.
That was at a time when Al Gore’s phrase ‘Information Super Highway’ was popular. A super highway. The roads of the future.
Roads which have been the backbone of civilisation since before the Romans. And it was the Romans who saw that roads were the essential part of keeping the Empire together. Many of their roads are still in existence. Roads which were built by a Government because those roads would strengthen the Empire. There was no direct monetary return from those roads but they helped create a strong economy which Caesar could tax. And he did!
Roads have almost always been the province of Government. There have been a few toll roads built by individuals yet they have tended to fade away as the Government’s roads expanded. For free. There is no direct return to a Government in the building of a road. Just the general increase in prosperity which can then be taxed.
Yes, there are toll roads still in private hands, built by the Government and handed to Private Enterprise. Very few of them seem to be making much of a profit once the Government subsidies are taken off their balance sheets.
Turnbull was given the task of destroying Australia’s ability to access the modern era’s electronic road to prosperity by the regressive Tony Abbott. Who was working for, not the people, but for Rupert Murdoch who would lose money and monopolies should the superfast internet be available to everyone.
Suddenly the NBN had to be capable of making a profit while, at the same time being a complete failure.
The second part was easy with the allegedly cheaper ‘Fibre to the node’ model. And having destroyed its integrity, Turnbull was able to destroy its profitability.
The original vision from Kevin Rudd was of a public utility which would, over time, pay for itself and possibly even be attractive enough to sell into private hands.
Today (23/10/2017) he said it outright, openly and destructively.
Thanks to Turnbull’s obedience to Abbott’s hatred of the NBN we now have a bastardised system which will never work and which will never be fit for purpose or for sale.
Australia’s Information Super Highway is now strewn with un-repaired potholes and un-marked washaways. Which is just what Rupert Murdoch wanted and just what he got.
A pity Australia will drop further into debt and decay as a result.