If I were CEO of a company building a government-funded National Broadband Network, which faced the threat of cancellation if the opposition was elected to power, I'd probably voice my criticisms of the opposition's own broadband plan just like NBNCo's Mike Quigley did yesterday.
At a speech yesterday, Quigley let his opinions on the opposition's NBN alternative be known. Among some of the golden nuggets:
''It's better to invest $27 billion rather than spend $6 billion."
"The Overland Telegraph cost £480,000, equivalent to just under a $1 billion in today’s terms. The total cost was met entirely by the tax-payers of South Australia and was equivalent to 60% of the state’s annual budget."
"No commercial entity will provide good telecommunications services to everyone across this vast nation of ours without Government intervention of one sort or another.
No purely commercial company can take the long term view that is required to build the next fixed line platform that Australia now needs."
"So who should own the wholesale network? If it is in private hands, you would expect the management of the wholesale company to strive to maximise shareholders returns. We should not expect national interests, including the guarantee of good service to rural and remote communities, to be top of the priority list."
"So, is fibre likely to be superseded in the next few decades by some new technology we have not yet even thought of?
I don’t think so."
"To suggest that we not build a fibre-based network in Australia now because maybe some new, but not yet imagined, technology may turn up, displays a rather naïve view about how science and technology progresses.
It is like not investing in rail because we think automobile technology will radically improve sometime soon."
You can read Quigley's entire speech over at ComputerWorld. Needless to say, it's a fascinating, if a little biased, argument on the benefits of building an NBN. The question is whether it will convince any of the supporters of the Liberals $6 billion plan that the NBN is a worthwhile investment.