[clug] Light entertainment for this morning (NBN)

Eyal Lebedinsky eyal at eyal.emu.id.au
Mon Apr 13 06:22:42 GMT 2009

Michael Cohen wrote:
 > <warning rant=1>
 > As much as I would like the faster network as the next person, It
 > seems to me there is a disconnect between our idea of what a
 > government is supposed to do and what commercial enterprises should be
 > doing.

 > At the end of the day if you ask a random person - would I prefer to
 > have my kids educated well, or my relatives not dying in ERs due to
 > lack of funding to hospitals, vs waiting a couple of extra seconds to
 > download my pr0n. I think its a no brainer.


I think that you are trivializing the issue by equating the NBN with a
pr0n service - I disagree with your "it's a no brainer"

I often advocate a clearer separation of what government should do and
what business should. However, I do not have a prepared answer for which
side of this line each subject should fall. I consider that any service
that most people use should come under some government regulation (call
it protection) which can go all the way to being government run.

To the subject discussed here: broadband is now clearly a service that
all either use or want to use, and soon will probably need to use. I do
not think it is too far fetched to expect, for example, that people will
soon[ish] vote electronically from home with no polling stations in
existence. Similarly I think that the telephone is critical and should
not be under the control of any private enterprise. Same for water,
electricity, health, (OK, I will stop here but the list is long).
At the extreme of this argument it should provide your car and home too
(naturally, you can still go and get a fancier [=more expensive] item
is you so wish) and how far we go depends on how socialist we want our
society to be. The opposite extreme is the jungle rule where the weak
die young (this is how our species got here).

Technically I think that radio, TV, telephone (wired or not) will all
fall into one technology which we now call 'internet'. Then other
services will use it - you may often consult your GP without needing
to visit their rooms.

In short: I *do* think that it is a government issue to ensure we all have
access to electronic communications. It is not that much less important
than health, or defence, etc..

But then again, as I said, I think that government should have a strong
social agenda, driven by the facts (people vote with their feet) rather
than telling us what to do.

And you did label your post a "rant"...


n.b. It was said before that if social security paid every working age
citizen a reasonable "salary" that allows for basic living facilities,
it will not break the budget. It will be close to breaking even with the
zillion and one special purpose payments made now. And if you also
simplify taxation to a single, simple system you will be able to save
much by not needing so many politicians and public servants :-)

Well, it *is* a very long, depressingly overcast weekend so we all can
take the time to write a sermon.

Eyal Lebedinsky	(eyal at eyal.emu.id.au)

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