Ozzie prime minister Kevin Rudd has announced what will be one of the biggest government-sanctioned nationwide broadband initiatives in history: an $43 billion plan to bring a fat 100mbps fibre pipe to 90% of Australians.
The plan, which costs $US30.5 billion of our U.S. dollars, will rely on a massive infusion of government funds to get the ball rolling on the project, of which the taxpayers will own 51%. It will then be transitioned into a reliance on public sector investment, and the government plans to sell of its stake in the project within five years. It is expected to bring 37,000 jobs to unemployment-hindered Australia,
The one detail not yet decided obviously is pricing—set the price too low, and private telecom companies are pissed; too high, and no one will adopt it. But 90% fibre coverage for a country like Australia is an ambitious play (the other 10% will be served through an upgraded 10mbps satellite service).
Interesting reading the US's take on the NBN. One point worth noting is that the Govt only plans on selling 5 years after it's completed, which will be about 13 years from now...