Still stuck in the slow lane

Written By: - Date published: 5:42 pm, April 6th, 2009 - 43 comments
Categories: national - Tags: , ,

ultra-fast-broadband_4

In the Dom Post today Tom Pullar-Strecker calls Steven Joyce’s recently announced broadband fibre plans:

old wine in new bottles – a backdown on the ambitions sketched out by National before the election, which were arguably always too grandiose.

Managing the expectations they raised during the campaign was always going to be a problem for National. I guess I just thought they’d do a bit better than this.

43 comments on “Still stuck in the slow lane”

  1. Felix 1

    Sooo…..

    That’s “NO” to the north of $50 a week tax cuts,
    “NO” to fibre to the home in 5 years,
    and “NO” to not taking a firm stand against corruption.

    What else did they campaign on again?

  2. Con 2

    They’ve bravely stuck to their principled stand against politically correct “energy-efficient” lightbulbs! Hurrah!

    • George Darroch 2.1

      Our country was threatened by efficient technology, and we have successfully resisted!

    • George.com 2.2

      And repelled the possibility of cutting down on plastic bags through a tax. Phew.

  3. BLiP 3

    Wasn’t there something about removing reference to Te Tiriti from legislation. And, of course, its also NO to Play Centres.

  4. logie97 4

    …while we’re on the subject of broadband for all… the way I see it, the government is very keen to spend “Mums-and-dads” taxpayers’ dollars on this venture. Once it is all in place, will we, as owners, still have to pay to use it and maintain it – you know, like the $50.00 we currently pay each month to Telecom for line maintenance? Just wondering.

    • BLiP 4.1

      Have you not heard of PPP’s?

      Not only will mum and dad underwrite the loans for National’s broadband scam, but we will also have to dig the trenches, lay the infrastructure, endure the traffic, then pay to have the service connected plus pay for use of the service and its maintenance. Meanwhile, John Key’s mates will get away with borrowing without risk at governmental rates, use the loans to buy the actual nuts’n’bolts (from their mates, of course), pay minimum wage the Kiwi’s on the diggers and in the trucks, then bank the customers’ connection fees, bank the monthly charges, and then pay less than minimum wage to “help desk” operators in Mumbai. That’s Stage One.

      Stage Two: float the resulting enterprise on the international stockmarket and sell the whole thing for cash to the highest bidder.

      • Kevin Welsh 4.1.1

        Well put BLiP.

        The scary thing is you can apply the same scenario to other assets. The so-called Auckland super sity being the perfect target.

        • BLiP 4.1.1.1

          Ahh – you spotted that, did you? I wonder if it will be the first time any Government has sold a whole city?

      • Ari 4.1.2

        I should point out that the government actually wants a cut of the profits from this scheme- so if it cuts corners, at least it’ll be generating revenue by doing so, not ONLY lining pockets.

  5. Bevanj 5

    “old wine in new bottles – a backdown on the ambitions sketched out by National before the election, which were arguably always too grandiose.”

    Aspirational perhaps?

  6. At least there is some concerted effort to form an opposition to the National Juggernaut…..

    ACC Futures Coalition Formed:
    http://locoburropolitics.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/acc-futures-coalition-formed/

  7. Dean 7

    “old wine in new bottles – a backdown on the ambitions sketched out by National before the election, which were arguably always too grandiose.”

    Can we look at Labour’s claim that we’d have a “knowledge economy” or get to the top end of the OECD economic rankings in the same way? I mean, Labour were just 9 years of backing down on their own ambitions.

    You guys really know how to score an own goal, don’t you?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Where’d they back down?
      Considering that something like 90% of what they said they would do they actually did I suspect you have NFI what you’re talking about.

      As for not getting into the top of the OECD – that’s just a side effect of a free-market where there is no profit and what profit there is is siphoned off to overseas owners.

      • Daveski 7.1.1

        I’m realistic enough to say National haven’t ticked all the boxes. I think you need a similar dose of reality re your answer and explanation – it was a stated Labour goal and they let it quietly drop when they realised the “knowledge wave” was no more than talkfest spin. Funny, those criticisms sound familiar??

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          You’re talking bull.

          The size of the local export IT market massively expanded throughout the noughts. In 1999 you could have counted the number of companies exporting software or hardware in your fingers and toes. I knew of or had worked for most of them.

          Now it is hard to even keep track of the ones that are hiring. New names keep popping up all of the time. The old ones still show up like phoenixes when they need to replace staff. The same thing has happened in every sector that is knowledge based.

          The question is how long it takes an economy to start shifting directions? The answer is decades. So the question is why do many on the right seem to believe the same bull that you do? The answer is that they don’t think longer-term and so cannot recognize change when it happens.

          The rigid right also probably lack the imagination required to be hired by knowledge based industries – but that may be my personal prejudice.

          • Daveski 7.1.1.1.1

            LP I think you have completely misread my post. It was Labour’s stated intention. They said it – not me, not you. Then it dropped off the radar. I’m not disputing the difficulties but the fact that it was Labour who said that’s what they would achieve.

            Yes, our last comment does show a significant amount of personal prejudice 🙂

          • Andrew 7.1.1.1.2

            Well that’s just technology for you, not really much to do with the “knowledge wave” Back in 99 i was 3 years into my 4 year comp sci degree at waikato. virtually no one had a cell phone, my computer had a 850meg HDD and 16 meg of RAM. PC’s still cost north of 3k, and .NET hadn’t even been invented.

            The explosion of the Internet amongst other things has driven the knowledge wave, not government policy.

            • lprent 7.1.1.1.2.1

              As you say, you were a student. The view is different from someone doing development at the same time.

              To give you an idea, I brought my first gigabyte drive in 1992 along with a 21″ monitor. In 1994 I was using several 128kbsec ISDN lines from home because I was doing a lot of net based work. At the end of 1995, we started working on the technologies for what is now known as a SAAS using client/server tech and C++. That system was being sold worldwide in 1997. By 1999 I’d done the first port of the client side to web based (and hit the browser issues that prevented its actual release until 2006).

              But I’d have to say that the local perception in 1999 was that there was no way that NZ company could compete offshore using purely net based. It wasn’t a technology issue. While the net tech hadn’t spread wide, it was easily available in central locations. The biggest issue was that you had to build all of the marketing yourself at a hell of a cost. That eased considerably when the government did things like getting the trade missions to work on things other than shipping goods.

              Even in the shipping tech goods, making sure there was a reliable airfreight in and out of NZ (eg the Air NZ bailout) helped a lot. The previous National government did bugger all. Labour started opening up all of the channels that allowed us to build knowledge based industries.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    The decision to opt for a system of contestable, regional tenders – with government funding allocated over a series of rounds – means that like the BIF, National’s fibre investment will be highly bureaucratic.

    From linked article

    Which I suspect everyone is going to be highly surprised about and will quietly sweep under the rug.

    MEMO to government (and others): Competitive markets are highly expensive and the best and most efficient bureaucracy for infrastructure such as telecommunications is a state owned monopoly.

    • Daveski 8.1

      DTB I take it you were never a “customer” of NZ Post’s telephone monopoly in the 1970’s or 1980’s. No need to sweep it under the rug when pretty much all the customer improvements have come since deregulation.

      • BLiP 8.1.1

        It took six visits from Telecom “engineers” over the last 2 years to discover that the fault with my phone was actually a fault on their lamp post. The bolts securing the connecting line were loose. Cost me $400. Give me back the New Zealand Post Office any day.

      • logie97 8.1.2

        today’s improvements in communication are nothing to do with the privatisation of NZ Post. After all, one monopoly replaced another. The benefits compared with the 80’s have come almost entirely as a result of the changes in technology.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        Deregulation is an interesting time to pick as that was done in, IIRC, 1987 and very little actually happened then. Almost all the customer improvements came before Telecom was sold though.

        In the mid 1980s new technology came out. This was the digital exchanges that we’re all now familiar with and plastic coated cabling. Prior to then the cables were coated in lead, steel and tar and the exchanges were analogue. These technological changes brought about several advantages. Cabling could be laid a lot faster and was also a lot cheaper. The immediate effect was that there was enough cable laid in streets to cover all of the houses which meant that each house could have a dedicated line. Digital exchanges could turn the line off without having to unwire it from the exchange (this was not possible with the old analogue exhanges). The first and most notable upshot of this was that phones could now be connected in < 24 hours because linemen didn’t have to go around to the exchange and then the house to wire it up.

        The digital exchanges also allowed new functions such as CallerID. A few of these functions were built in when the exchanges were installed in the mid to late 1980s (except some very outlying ones that weren’t installed until the 1990s). You got more services simply because the digital exchanges could support features that an analogue exchange couldn’t.

        The point is that all of the improvements that you’re talking about are due to new technology which was being installed at the time and not deregulation or any competition (not that there’s any competition around then or now (Saturn tried and failed)). This is one of those times when correlation does not prove causality.

        Now, as to the cost of competition. Think about it – how much would it cost to put in an entire national network that connects all homes? It’s damned expensive and why there’s still pretty much only one network in the country and why all the “competition” lobbied for LLU. If we had more than one national network we would have competition but those networks are still going to have to be paid for from monthly charges. Best case scenario is 100%/n (where n is the number of networks) split so prices will have to go up. Bureaucracy will have to increase as well because each network will have similar needs to run and to cater for the b2b negotiations for interconnectivity which will also increase pricing.

        • getstuffed 8.1.3.1

          See now thats what im taking about. Very nice post!

        • Daveski 8.1.3.2

          I have no doubt that technology has enabled some improvements. Likewise, the customer experience under the monopolies was absolutely appalling – and there was no need for these monopolies to improve their service.

          One caveat, I also have no doubt that the electricity experiment hasn’t worked.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3.2.1

            Technology has enabled all improvements. The customer experience hasn’t changed much at all – the people there still do as much as they can for the customer. The only complaints I’ve ever seen about customer service was that it took so long to get anything done and that was solely due to having to get somebody to go do it ie, everything can’t be done all at the same time. BTW, those complaints still exist and it’s for the same reasons – it’s because the infrastructure isn’t actually there or it requires organising getting someone there to do the job.

  9. getstuffed 9

    Hey here is an idea for you.

    Rather than bitching over the fact they cant deliver everything they wanted too, how about you investigate the matter a little further and come up with a better idea and promote that.

    I think you will find people might find that sort of thinking a healthier way discussing contentious policy decisions.

    You cant honestly believe that Labour would be doing a better job in this area? You and i both know they wanted Telecom to play a major role in sorting out the fibre issue, else they would have realised a region plan dispenses with the vertically-integrated monopoly you would get from a national grid and had policy to reflect this superior deployment of private sector interests.

    See that, nope, well what i did there was contrast one aspect of Labour and Nationals bb plans where they and gave an opinion. Leaving room for discussion on both ideas.

    Perhaps that is a better tact to take. You boys are all Labour hierarchy aren’t you? Deploy this sentiment to your public dialogue and give me something other than gutter politics for once.

    • BLiP 9.1

      Your argument fails in its first sentence:

      SNIP . . . Rather than bitching over the fact they cant deliver everything they wanted too . . . SNIP

      National never wanted to. They just said they did.

      • Daveski 9.1.1

        Just as Labour said we’d return to the top half of OECD which has been denied by the BOFH 🙂

        • BLiP 9.1.1.1

          Well, not being a Labour Party voter, IMHO, the OECD target was genuinely an aspirational goal, if a silly thing to say so loudly and widely. The failure to reach the objective has become a bit of a mantra for the right but was it really that wonderful an ambition? See, to move up the particular rankings you are referring to, our Kiwi society would have to suffer a further expansion in the rift between the rich and the poor and that’s not really a price I believe we should pay. By all means repeat yourself until you’re blue in the face, it indicates to me there’s not that much else for you to mutter about.

          So far as my comment to Getstuffed is concerned, it was just a wind up. I was annoyed by his tone, patronising manner, and hyprocrisy. Also, I didn’t think he should get away with trying to somehow say “oh, poor National, its not their fault” when, quite clearly, they have no idea how to make real their broadband promise.

    • Tane 9.2

      Labour hierarchy? Fuck you lot are a laugh.

      The reality is Labour’s pre-election policy on broadband is irrelevant to this discussion – they lost the election, remember? They don’t get to implement it.

      What is relevant is the platform National got itself elected on and whether they’re delivering on those promises. Of course the posters here are going to hold them to account, that’s what you do in a democracy.

      • getstuffed 9.2.1

        Well yes you are right that they need to be accountable for their actions. However look at the highly emotive picture that accompanies this article, thats petty and small. It does nothing other than wave a red rag in front of the bulls, or blip for that matter.

        I don’t think you would encourage small thinking would you Tane? Wouldn’t it be smarter of posters to hold them to account by comparing and contrasting policy, not just deriding it?

        Their policy is deeply relevant. If labour want to be a force in New Zealand politics it needs to challenge the status quo with fresh thinking and counter arguments. They do this by releasing shadow policy. I cant believe you wrote that.

        • BLiP 9.2.1.1

          Oh, that’s right – National had all its shadow policy on display for the full three years prior to the election. Of course, I remember now. All those discussions about ransacking employment regulations, the nurturing of Play Centre, privatising ACC, the “upwards of $50 per week” tax cuts, and, of course, ensuring the accountability of Ministers caught in conflicts of interest.

          Silly me. For a moment there I thought you were a National Party policy wonk scratching around for fresh ideas to take into the office tomorrow.

          • getstuffed 9.2.1.1.1

            Thank you for inferring i have the nous to write policy, but its far harder than writing with crayons isn’t it.

            I think you will find they clearly spelt out the initial steps of their plans for government.

            http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/100+day+plan+completion

            What comes logically must echo the inferred priorities for national. Can you crystal ball of presumption also tell me who will win the NRL this year?

          • BLiP 9.2.1.1.2

            Any fuck wit, including you, can write National Party policy.

        • Tane 9.2.1.2

          I thought the billboard was hilarious, and the post linked to an in-depth article. Your objection seems to be that we’re holding your party of choice to account for their election promises.

          There’ll be posts like this that take cheap shots, there’ll be others that do deeper analysis. It’s called variety, and judging by the blog stats it’s what people are after.

          Anyway, I don’t know why you think we should be defending or promoting Labour’s broadband policy. I’d rather see free broadband delivered by the state free to every home. But that’s another argument, and one I don’t have time for right now.

  10. getstuffed 10

    You were just a blip academically too weren’t you?

    That’s not my argument at all, and if you thought long and hard about the essence of what i said you might realise that.

    S p e l l i n g it out for you. Lets all stop and think before posting (or commenting) because then we might be able to add something to any given debate rather than descending into petulant child like rambling.

    [lprent: I’d agree about the petulant rambling. However I just looked through your comments and you fail your own standard. I’d suggest that you lift your standard and start displaying that you are capable of having some ideas that actually show some thought. To date all you have managed to do is to critique others while contributing nothing. Eventually on that course you’ll hit one of my triggers and get banned for something in the policy ]

    • BLiP 10.1

      So your position is that for me to enter into political discussion with you, first I must accept a lie? And, what’s more, you want me to turn my apparently tiny mind to what’s the best solution for National now that they are about to break another promise. Why don’t you just fuck up and die.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      I’d just like to point out that you haven’t actually added anything to the discussion because you haven’t addressed anything within the conversation.

  11. Simon-6 11

    [deleted]
    [lprent: You’re still banned – from memory for being an ignorant brat who failed to read the policy, take a warning, or obey the site limits. In other words you acted like a petulant child or a puerile adult. Now you just whine about how hard done by you feel.

    I’d suggest that you have a good look at yourself for the reason that you don’t get to comment here. You are pathetically incapable of maintaining either a good argument or a reasonable standard of behaviour.]

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