Govt goes into tech overdrive

Govt goes into tech overdrive

Summary: I don't know whether the government managed to catch my blog last week about never getting anything done, but this week it went out of its way to prove me wrong.

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I don't know whether the government managed to catch my blog last week about never getting anything done, but this week it went out of its way to prove me wrong.

It pulled me out of bed on Sunday to write about a deal with Telstra that will see the telco move its customers onto the National Broadband Network. Considering I'd never thought the government and Telstra would ever see eye to eye I was really taken aback.

In an embarrassing blunder from October 2009, Senator Stephen Conroy released an ACCC report that valued Telstra's copper access network at between $8 billion and $40 billion.

Considering that the amount Telstra is going to get from the government to transfer its customers to the National Broadband Network and decommission its copper network is much closer to $8 billion than $40 billion, I'm calling that a victory for the government.

The government also managed to table amendments to the Bill made necessary by the deal.

As if that wasn't enough, Conroy also announced a date for the auctioning of a large chunk of the 700MHz band of spectrum, suitable for long-term evolution mobile networks. The industry has been baying for this for months, wanting some certainty so it can start planning its mobile future.

Needless to say, carriers are euphoric now.

"A 126MHz Digital Dividend will provide the basis for next-generation mobile services to drive productivity and service benefits to consumers and the Australian economy, estimated at up to $10 billion," Optus said yesterday.

The timing for the auctioning of the 2.5GHZ band is still uncertain, but something is always better than nothing.

Last night, the health identifiers bill also passed the Senate. Now there are only a few days before the government had hoped to start issuing the identifiers to Australians, so the planned timeline is unlikely, but the fact that this bill was passed is still a fantastic achievement.

We can finally get on with our e-health strategy and spend some of the $466.7 million budgeted to make sharing health information less of a nightmare.

And all this in the week of a spill which saw the departure of one Prime Minister — and the arrival of first woman to hold that role.

I take off my hat to the government. It's been a ripper of a ride, and one that has made me eat at least some of my words.

Topics: Health, Broadband, Government, Government AU, Mobility, Telcos, Telstra, NBN

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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