The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Economist: NBN costs taxpayers 24 times South Korea at 1/10th speed

This is the latest analysis of the relative merits of different government approaches to subsidising broadband, which was carried out by the independent Economist Intelligence Unit. The size of the bubble in the first chart shows the cost of the national broadband networks. Something sticks out like a bull's balls: compare Australia to the US and UK, for instance. The news gets worse. In The Economist's Government Broadband Index, which is illustrated in the table beneath the chart, Australia ranks just 9th out of the 14 countries assessed. This begs the question as to whether one really needs to spend $43 billion on this solution. If you want to read the definitive appraisal of the NBN strategy, which was published by the ABC and formed the basis of the Opposition's (very belated) response, click here.

The SMH reports:

"Australia's national broadband network will cost taxpayers 24 times as much as South Korea's but deliver services at just one-tenth the speed, new research claims.

The opposition claimed the research vindicated its position that the NBN was a waste of public funds, while the government countered that comparing Australia to South Korea was "like comparing apples to oranges".

The research from the Economist Intelligence Unit published today shows Australia is spending an estimated 7.6 per cent of annual government budget revenues on its broadband network.

Advertisement: Story continues below "In South Korea, by comparison, the government is spending less than 1 per cent of annual budget revenues to realise its broadband goals, achieving targets by encouraging the private sector to invest in the country's broadband future," the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a statement."