Friday, 23 July 2010

High-speed broadband clusterf**k coming right up

While Australians are starting to realise they’re going to pay dearly for their government-run national broadband network, some New Zealanders are starting to question whether or not we even need ultra-fast broadband—particularly if it comes with a government label—and especially since New Zealanders are already world leaders in stealing films over their existing connections.  Something some of us have pointed out before.

These are the sort of people who were (and still are) cheering Obergruppenfuhrer Cunliffe’s break-up of Telecom in the hope it might make it easier to steal more movies and TV shows more quickly—cheering the vandalism of Telecom’s private property here while Telstra’s former CEO Sol Trujillo over there gave the spineless Therese Gattung a lesson in how to tell a thieving government to go to hell.

Trujillo was one chap who knew long ago that the government’s interest in high-speed broadband would only impede private investment in it; and having the government involved at all would only be a clusterfuck. As it has been both there and over here. The question, really, boils down to a simple value judgement:

“”The question is not whether there are, or might one day be, cool things that you can only do with 100mbps broadband.
    “The question is whether enough of us are prepared to pay what it would cost to make that available down every suburban street.”

And if we’re not prepared to pay that cost upfront to a private company--and clearly most New Zealanders aren’t, or they would have—then why pretend to ourselves we won’t be paying through the nose when (having delayed private investment in those places where it might be economic) the government starts doing it themselves.  Or trying to.

Like they’re been trying to, and failing to, in Australia.


  1. David Farrar and Clare Curran (with her Labour MP colleagues) are leading cheerleaders for the govt's effort to build ultra-fast broadband. These leftists (oops did I include David Farrar there?) are supported by the current leftist National government, ie, they're in agreement there (both Labour & National).

  2. The concept has one small redeeming factor: It will be a visible, identifiable, "fingerpointable" monumental clusterfuck. Not some small, pet project, wouldn't it be nice clusterfuck.

    Further to FF's point above, labour have been salivating at the thought of broadband becoming a human right. Shit you not. Chilling.

  3. Government provided, Government owned, Government controlled. That is the worry.

  4. The real potential with ultra-fast broadband lies not with it's delivery to every home in the country, but in the connection of NZ to the rest of the world.

    It is the international links that carry with them the potential that enables businesses to be hosted here, trade from here and employ people here. I've often heard this referred to as our "digital trade routes" and I think this sums it up.

    For the majority of home users, broadband gives about as much productivity increase as a Sky TV subscription. People will of course point to those that work from home (like me) as needing it but that is my decision. The current speed is fine I can already pay for faster options if I need it and the business case stacks up.

  5. The moment these morons said they were going to build a government owned broadband infrastructure they chased away every single private company with a willingness to enter that market.

    Result...currently ZERO investment in broadband while the government pisses our money into the wind.

    even IF this clusterfuck comes to something, no matter how bad, it will be the only broadband we have and there will be no porn on it. Dammit!

  6. The main benefit of high speed broadband availability is that it promotes Telecommuting and studies of the American States demonstrate that the growth in telecommuting correlates directly with broadband speed. Generally in the US telecommuting is the fastest growing form of commuting second only to the private car. Telecommuting is not "working from home>' The stats are limited to people who spend time in the office at least once a week.
    The private and social benefits can be huge. See Bulaker's study. TElecommuting is now its second phase in the lightly regulated states such as Texas, where Home Office Centres are flourishing.
    This combines the benefits of telecommuting with the benefits of the coffee corner. You walk or take a short drive to the Home Office Centre and telecommute from there.
    NOthing to do with government of course.
    But the benefits in productivity for professional women who want to raise children are huge and many US managers now recognise a few years telecommuting as ideal training (and a proving ground) for international appointments.

    Here I suspect the councils are worried that telecommuting steal traffic from their antiquated trains and buses.

  7. Could do without the anti-libertarian pro-IP nonsense, though.

  8. Sorry, Greg, what "nonsense"? Are you after the freedom to steal?

  9. We can trace back things to when Labour got elected, Telstra Clear some months later decided to suspend plans to roll out hybrid fibre/coax broadband cables to Auckland and Dunedin, with hi speed wireless networks for Hamilton and Tauranga. The era of rolling out competing networks was over because it anticipated Telecom's property rights would be decimated.

    Note that Telecom's share value now is LESS than when it was privatised in nominal terms, which in real terms is a massive destruction in shareholder value. The precipitous decline has been mostly since Labour was elected, it continues because the likes of Farrar and co "must have fast broadband" "it's good for you" and wont cough up the cash themselves to pay for it.

  10. what "nonsense"?
    Your anti-libertarian support for "IP".

    Are you after the freedom to steal?
    Not at all. Your use of the word "steal" is question-begging. It's not stealing if it's not property. (And it's not property)

    [Actually, it wouldn't be stealing even if it was property!]

  11. Your anti-libertarian support for "IP".

    nothing anti-libertarian about it.

  12. @Greg: Yes, intellectual property is property. And clearly you do want to steal.

    Be prepared to be judged on that.

    You won't find any endorsements of your thieving around here--or in anywhere valuing intellectual honesty--but you will find plenty of arguments aginst it.

  13. Those anarchists on have a lot to answer for: the thieving Greg for a start.

    That term 'question begging' which they intone like morons, as the justifcation for outright theft of the product of a man's mind is appalling.

    Libertarianism is classical liberal nor anarchist.

  14. @Mark H.: Well said.

    If a person doesn't see that intellectual property is property, it's an admission that he doesn't he understand property rights, full stop.

    In today's world that on its own is so sin, not unless one refuses to learn, but to use one's own ignorance about property as one's justification for taking it from others without payment, i.e., thieving, is barbaric.

  15. If a person doesn't see that intellectual property is property, it's an admission that he doesn't he understand property rights, full stop.

    Check your premises, as your goddess would say. The anti-IP position has the advantage of rational and compelling argument; the pro-IP has a lot of hot air yelling about "thieves" (regarding which, not even statist law equates IP violation with theft).

    It was an acceptable libertarian position to be pro-IP a few years ago (I hope so: I was pro-IP a few years ago), when people could accept the not-very-well-thought-out opinions of people like Ayn Rand (and Murray Rothbard) by default; but now that a proper libertarian position has been worked out in detail, holding the old line is silly.

  16. @Greg: Your Mr Kinsella has not worked out a "proper" justification for taking property, simply a ruse to justify theft, based on a complete misunderstanding of property rights.

    Now, since you've raised nothing actually substantive here, beyond flinging a little muck to show everyone which flag you fly, I suggest you either address the points raised in previous discussions here on the foundations of property rights--about which your Mr Kinsella prefers to remain wholly ignorant, and to which I've now given you a link--or do as you agreed to do when you were posting here under another name.

  17. ws@Mark Hubbard: BTW, you say "Libertarianism is classical liberal nor anarchist."

    The fact is that "Libertarianism" was classical liberal, but since its intellectual rooots were taken out of it by the likes of Murray Rothbard, it has been taken over elsewhere by nutters of all stripes--from anarchists to christian libs--which means that not only can they not properly justify (or understand) the basis of rights and liberties (or even that there are such things), many of them can't even agree on what freedom means--or agree that they even need to.

    This is one reason they are not always your allies.

    Your anarchist libertarian, for example, will be anti-state rather than simply pro-freedom, meaning he or she will be celebrating the failed states that now host bankds of dangerous Islamists, and opposed to military action against them.

    And (since Mr Kinsella's failed scholarship) she will also be telling you that she has a right to copy your books, paintings and architectural designs, and download
    your films and music. A "right," in other words, to theft.

    Just nuts. Which is why these people are not necessarily your allies.

    Meanwhile, your christian libertarian will tell you that the only justification for rights is that their god says their good; but that if you want to harmlessly expunge a piece of protoplasm from your womb, that their god says it's bad and you have no right.

    Just as nuts.

    Which is one reason so-called christian libs aren't necessarily real allies either.


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