Last night on the 7:30 report, Tony Abbott was grilled by Kerry O'Brien about his party's recently announced broadband policy. Or embarrassed by Kerry O'Brien, to be more correct. In Abbott's own words: "I'm no Bill Gates here".
Over the course of the interview, Abbott showed again and again he had no idea about his party's broadband policy. For example:
KERRY O'BRIEN: OK. You've committed a billion dollars for a metropolitan wireless network in place of Labor's commitment to build fibre delivering high-speed broadband to every metropolitan home. How many hundreds of thousands - hundreds or thousands of towers would you have to build? How many thousands of kilometres of fibre would you have to lay to connect them all? And what spectrum would you use to deliver the wireless network?
TONY ABBOTT: Kerry, look, just as the Prime Minister says, I say as well that I'm no Bill Gates here and I don't claim to be any kind of tech head in all of this. But we are going to have broadband running past we say 97 per cent of households and, yes, we're not guaranteeing 100 megabits, but we are guaranteeing upwards to 100 megabits. And as I said, we just don't believe that re-creating a government-owned telecommunications monopoly is the way to go. We think that competition and diversity of technology is the way to go.
TONY ABBOTT: Again, if you're gonna get me into a technical argument, I'm going to lose it, Kerry, because I'm not a tech head. But we are offering 12 and up and we think in the vast ...
KERRY O'BRIEN: But you're guaranteeing 12?
TONY ABBOTT: That's right. But in the vast majority of cases, it will be a lot more than that, a lot faster than that.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, are you sure about - can you really give that guarantee when you don't seem to know what peak speed is. I'll tell you what it is. It's quite an easy concept to understand. Peak speed is the best speed at which you can download material, usually when people are least likely to be using the internet, like at midnight. At other times, when there is congestion on the net, the speed will be much lower than that. So how can you say as a matter of course that the speeds your system will deliver will actually, more often than not, be much more than 12?
The interesting thing about this interview is that, in conjunction with the Liberal announcement yesterday and the ICT debate, NOBODY from the Liberal party can give us any indication of how the technical elements will work - how many towers, what spectrum they're planning on using and even how many homes will receive speeds faster than the baseline 12Mbps speeds.
The ABC don't let you embed videos (yet), but you should click through and watch the video. It's amazing to watch.