NBN should be free, says economist

Summary:Why the National Broadband Network should be free, and other stories from another day of the Senate Select Committee on the Rudd Government's telco infrastructure baby.

Joshua Gans from the Melbourne Business School says the media are missing the main game when they keep harping on about the need for the NBN to make a commercial return.

He says the social benefits are the real story, no one is going to make money from selling access, so it should be given away from the start. Independent consultant Kevin Morgan has a different view. He says the whole project lives in the realm of fantasy and secrecy.

These are just a couple of the views expressed at the Senate Select Committee on the NBN's public hearing in Melbourne earlier this month (7 October). In this half hour summary of the one day talkfest you'll also hear from:

  • Greg Wyler from 03b Networks says low orbit satellites can provide the backhaul

  • Elizabeth Barnet from Vernet doesn't want the NBN to be built without considering the high bandwidth needs of the education and research sector

  • Folks from Ballarat ICT Limited tell us what a great place it is to live in — did I miss something?

  • John Dubois & John Weston from Senatas ask for encryption to be built into the network

  • David Ryan and Sharon Tonkin from the Grampians Rural Health alliance talk about the benefits they're seeing from their own regional fibre network

  • Brad Wynter from Whittlesea Council had the foresight to put conduits in greenfield sites, but the carriers still wanted a subsidy to build.

See the full line-up of the day and transcripts of all sessions here.

You can listen to our other podcasts of the Senate Select Committee on the NBN: Sydney 3 March, Canberra 4 March, Canberra 1 October. Got something to add? Be sure to leave your comments, and be nice to each other please.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government : AU

About

Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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