It was nice to start today with more than $5,000 pledged on Pozible for The Register's NBN study – but we're still $94k-plus shy of the target, and our intent is serious.
The main reason we decided to try to crowd-fund a study is simple: with enough money, it can be completely removed from any partisan considerations. With money in hand, we – and I don't mean only Vulture South, but the community we represent – can give a brief to the analysts (Market Clarity and IBRS) we plan to work with, and that brief will be as politically independent as we can make it.
Our campaign started to accelerate over the weekend, racking up nearly one-quarter of the pledges received so far, but we've still got a long way to go to hit our marks:
- $100,000 – what broadband does Australia need? This doesn't define the technology, but the requirements.
- $170,000 – what's the best technology to deliver the broadband Australia needs?
- $250,000 – What will be the entrepreneurial response to universal broadband?
If this sounds like a lot of money, look at it this way: just one analyst firm charged millions for the NBN Implementation Study. Original research, economic modelling, and technology forecasting don't come cheap – but we remain committed to seeking just that.
So: tell your friends, pass around the links: just a few dollars from readers of Vulture South, this will happen.
We'd also like to take a moment to answer this question from a supporter of the campaign:
"Will high speed internet really be a future equaliser of health, education and employment? How 'high speed' will it need to be to achieve that?
"I hope that as a supporter I can ensure the study takes wider socio-economic issues into account rather than purely technical telecommunication issues. eg: how would wide access to high-speed internet in country towns affect those towns and also the 'big cities', particularly in regard to : employment, health, mental health, quality of life, housing affordability etc.
"For example: if my nieces and nephews don't need to live in Sydney, can they move to and raise their families in Coonabarabran without 'missing out' on jobs or having a 'second class life'. If so it creates less pressure for housing in Sydney and a more vibrant and diverse Australia."
This is, in fact, the most detailed comment we've had to date, and it warrants a response.
The reason we've kept our questions broad is so that issues like this can be included - moving the debate beyond the technological merits of particular solutions.
Our first question is designed to set the requirements rather than the technology - and "requirements" include the kind of socio-economic and metro-vs-regional questions you raise.
So yes: if we reach our first goal, such issues will be part of the discussion of Australia's broadband requirements.
Thanks to the reader that reminded us that a link to the study would be useful. It's here. ®