“SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Monday announced a 2.0 billion dollar (1.68 billion US) plan to provide fast and affordable Internet access across the vast country.
Howard said Optus, the Australian offshoot of Singapore telco Singtel, had been awarded a 958-million-dollar contract to build a broadband network in the bush with rural finance company Elders. The joint venture, known as OPEL, would contribute a further 900 million dollars to provide broadband of at least 12 megabits per second by June 2009.
"What we have announced today is a plan that will deliver to 99 percent of the Australian population very fast and affordable broadband in just two years' time," Howard said.
An expert group will also develop a bidding process for the building of a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband network, funded solely by private companies, in major cities.”In short, they are going to have wireless for the rural areas through a joint government-private initiative and purely privately-financed fiber optics for the cities. Both are going to earn money as users, both government and private households, are going to pay for them. They are going to be run by the private sector as business endeavors. The speed? 10-12 megabits per second! We are talking about a clear way of bridging the digital divide. Take note the important role to be played by the private sector.
In contrast, DOTC’s deal with the ZTE ($329 million loan) will be for the sole use of government agencies. It will be financed through loans (with no bidding) that will be paid by each taxpayer for 20 years. It will be run by DOTC salarymen financed from money allocated yearly by Congress (read: taxpayers' money). But the taxpayers are not going to benefit from it because those broadband connections are for government use only! Private citizens are supposed to connect instead to private broadband providers.
DOCT says about 50 percent of the barangays are going to get connections. How are the barangay officials going to use the broadband connection boggles me. For "better governance"? Oh please! Those broadband connections are likely to be used primarily by barangay officials for watching porn—at taxpayers’ expense!
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