Many commentators have understandably equated Labor’s approach to its NBN with the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy of the Kevin Costner character from the 1989 fantasy feel good movie Field of Dreams, who built a baseball field in the middle of his Iowa corn farm in the belief that once built, it would lure back past baseball stars from the dead.
While Costner’s character and Rudd Labor have a lot in common with their fantasy land approach to projects, at least the Iowa farmer didn’t hit taxpayers with the bill for his fantasy.
The one year anniversary of the NBN II announcement is also another stark reminder that since the Rudd Government came to office their only broadband outcome has been to prevent 900,000 under-served households from receiving better and more affordable broadband through the cancellation of the previous Coalition Government’s OPEL contract.
After wasting 18 months and $30 million on its first NBN tender which failed to clear the tower, these under-served households are left stranded on a promise of something in eight years time, when they would have received upgraded broadband services by last Christmas.
We all want to see better, faster, more affordable broadband, but to claim, as Labor does, that the only road to that destination is one that costs $43 billion with taxpayers owning the risk, is transparently absurd.