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27 November, 2006

Coonan the Barbarian

That Coonan woman has been at it again. Today she told an audience of media parrots that she thought Rupert Murdoch’s and James Packer’s criticisms of her ineffectual broadband policy were motivated by self-interest. Well, duh. To quote the Senator, “I can appreciate that if you have got a real commercial interest in getting people to buy very expensive product and content, you'll be trying to get the government to subsidise it as much as possible." All I can say is that throwing up this kind of smokescreen is just so pathetically typical of politicians it makes one sick.

Either the woman is stupid and has missed the point completely, or she is deliberately obfuscating to justify the Government’s failure to do anything useful about the appalling state of broadband in this country. Of couse the big content providers want a decent broadband network in Australia. That’s because there is a demand here for broadband services that cannot be met. What Coonan should take away from Murdoch and Packer’s comments is not that they want to make a buck but that there is the opportunity to build a world-class industry here, not that they’re trying to force her silly government into making investmants they don’t want to make but that the people of this country are crying out for a decent service. And when I say ‘the people’, I mean the voters, the ones she’s supposed to be serving. Geddit?

Mostly, I think that what Murdoch and Packer have to sell is trash but I want broadband for all the other, useful services it offers. For example, all my friends and relatives in the UK and the US now take broadband so much for granted that they really can’t understand why they shouldn’t send family photos that are 2 megabytes large, or why we can’t talk to them using Skype. We’re becoming cut off here from the rest of the world because we’re such a technological backwater. And here’s another example. My hobby is to write music but, even at low bitrates, a single song is 4 or 5 megabytes large. It takes me an hour or two to upload one file like that to my website – but the line quality here in Australia’s third largest city is so poor that I’ve given up trying. My line won’t stay up that long! And another example. I like to stay up-to-date with updates from Microsoft for my operating syystem and my Office applications but I can’t because downloads of 137 megabytes (which the backlog now amounts to) would take over 80 hours at my connection speeds!

The UN last week declared that broadband should now be considered a ‘utility’ like electricity and water. That may be going a bit far but I know what they mean. Without broadband these days, one is cut off from so much that is going on in the world, from one’s own family and friends even! This is the point that the Coonan creature fails to grasp. This is the fate to which she and her ridiculous peers are consigning this country.

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