bungled its $36 billion high-speed internet rollout” but that he could actually explain how it had managed to do so. Now it is fair to say that I am not one of the greatest fans of the extremely costly Australian government-financed and -operated nationwide fast broadband policy. The National Broadband Network (NBN) as originally conceived to deliver fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to nearly 94 percent of households was, at the original price tag of A$43 billion, the most expensive infrastructure project ever embarked on by the Australian government. In only a few years, the price tag had blown out to A$72.6 billion, and the scheme was running far behind the original deployment targets. Following a change of government in 2013, a review of the project was commissioned, which led to downscaling to a more modest “Mixed Technology Model” (MTM), estimated to incur a net loss to the economy of only A$620 per household, as opposed to the fiber-only A$2,220. Not surprisingly, given the headline, I was expecting to see something along these lines.
the latest Akamai report of Internet speeds around the world. The selection of countries I mentioned revealed a curious observation: Internet access speeds in Japan, Korea, and Singapore declined in the past quarter; Korea and Japan’s speeds have declined for the past year. All of these nations can lay claim to high fiber penetration rates — off the back of generous subsidies and other government interventions that support aggressive fiber rollout and uptake. On the other hand, speeds in countries that have not aggressively pursued subsidized national fiber networks — such as the UK and the USA — have shown consistent and sustained speed increases, on average, over the same period of time. These results say a lot about what investments are necessary in order to build and maintain lightning-fast, “future-proof” networks.