It’s poor long term planning, not the size of the population, that’s the problem

LAURIE PATTON | 21 November 2018

As Christopher Pyne has pointed out, “We don’t need to put a handbrake on population growth, we need to manage our population growth sensibly in a country which quite frankly can take a lot more than 25 million people”. Pyne comes from Adelaide, of course, where the state government says it would like to see a lot more people living.

There are numerous regional centres across Australia crying out for economic development and keen to encourage businesses and the people they employ to move there, voluntarily of course – where both would benefit from a lower cost of living, cheaper land and so on.

It’s not about how many people live in our country, or where they come from. It’s about where we’ll all live in the future. And it’s about how we leverage modern communications technologies to make living outside a handful of overcrowded and increasingly dysfunctional capital cities more viable.

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Time to ditch our dud NBN – beaten by the ‘All Blacks of Broadband’

By LAURIE PATTON | 16 November 2018

The contrast could not be any starker. As warnings emerged that Australia’s telcos are seeing their profits squeezed by the end of NBN Co’s short-lived wholesale price discount (with the likelihood that retail prices will rise), across the ditch came word that New Zealanders are about to see their broadband speeds greatly increase while the cost of connecting to the Internet will come down. How could this be?

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ACCC begins search for light at the end of the NBN technology tunnel

By LAURIE PATTON | 6 November 2018

The boss of the ACCC, Rod Sims, has told The Australian “its recent dealings with the retail telcos has highlighted a weakness with the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) access technology”.

For numerous broadband experts, not to mention millions of hapless NBN customers, this might be seen as a classic ‘no shit Sherlock’ moment. However, it is probably the most significant recent development in the long running saga that began with Labor’s 21st Century fibre-based national broadband network, only to end in tears for so many when former prime minister Tony Abbott ordered his heavily-wedged communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to “destroy” the NBN.

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Planning for smart cities – Code of Practice released

By LAURIE PATTON | 31 October 2018

“Enhanced telecommunications connectivity, data insights, digital planning practices and innovation districts” will underpin the creation of so-called ‘smart cities’. That’s the theme of a Code of Practice released this week as part of Smart Cities Week Australia.

Developed by leading smart cities advocacy group the Smart Cities Council and the Green Building Council of Australia the voluntary code is designed to shorten the ‘transformation’ cycle and is aimed at both government and industry players.

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NBN: Won’t be finished on time. Simple as that!

By LAURIE PATTON | 24 October 2018

Oh dear! New NBN Co boss Steven Rue has told Senate Estimates they are still projecting that FTTN (the trouble-plagued technology using Telstra’s ageing copper wires) will be used until 2040.

Experts, including Internet Australia chair Dr Paul Brooks, say FTTN will have to be replaced within 5-10 years of completion, preferably before then.

It’s not Mr Rue’s fault of course. He has been left ‘holding the baby’ – stuck with the flawed multi-technology mix (MTM) strategy introduced by his predecessor.

Surveys regularly show that people increasingly regard access to broadband as an ‘essential service’. Which is why it is essential that we fix the mess that NBN Co has managed to get itself into.

In my opinion, the National Broadband Network will not be completed until everyone has access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband. On that basis the rollout will take us well beyond the current official deadline of 2020. It looks like a lot of NBN Co customers are in for a long hard ride unless Mr Rue and his team can convince the Government to allow them to abandon FTTN sooner rather than later.

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Australians have no interest in joining US cold war against China

By BOB CARR | 23 October 2018

Former Australian foreign minister and high commissioner to the United Kingdon Alexander Downer chewed ruminatively on his steak: “If you want a cold war with China, you will get a cold war with China”.  I had just been appointed foreign minister and was consulting my predecessors. Downer implied cold war was not smart diplomacy and not in Australia’s interest. But in its biggest policy shift on China since 1971, that is precisely what the US has embarked upon.

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Renewable water – The next ‘big thing’

By CHRIS MILLS | 8 October 2018

When cattle and sheep are dying in vast numbers across Eastern Australia, how sane is it for the driest inhabited continent in the world not to capture and redirect wastewater and stormwater from our cities and towns into food and beverage production? Energy is a major component of the cost of treating and moving water. Renewable energy sources can become an essential component of responding to the effects of climate change and climbing temperatures

Fortunately, there are some very bright and committed minds working on this issue, especially in our state and territory water supply agencies.

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auDA latest – All’s well that ends well

By LAURIE PATTON | 28 September 2018 

Despite a nasty and at times irrational campaign by a group known as the Grumpies, the future of Australia’s Internet domain names system was secured yesterday.

Members overwhelmingly approved a new constitution and consequential governance changes to auDA – the company managing our domain names service.

This follows a demand for reform after a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts found the organisation’s governance processes no longer fit-for-purpose.

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Ten things you need to know about changes to Australia’s Internet domain names system

By LAURIE PATTON | 23 September 2018

Australia is a country in transition. Although we don’t hear as much about the ‘innovation nation’ these days as we did a few years back, the reality is our future prosperity still lies in embracing a digitally enabled world. As the problems plaguing the National Broadband Network remain unresolved, another critical debate is now reaching a climax. At stake is the management of Internet domain names. These days, nearly every business has a website, so a meeting later this week is shaping up as a watershed moment.

Here are ten things you need to know about what’s happening to the management of our domain names.

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Déjà vu – How Rupert Murdoch helped engineer the dismissal of the Whitlam Government

By JOHN MENADUE | 21 September 2018

Rupert Murdoch has form in conniving to get rid of prime ministers from 1975 to 2018. The evidence continues to mount against those who collaborated in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

To obfuscate and cover their tracks, those who collaborated in ‘The Dismissal’ and their establishment friends spare no effort to criticise the performance of the Whitlam government. Those attacks are becoming quite threadbare. It is amazing what people with guilty consciences do to try and justify outrageous behaviour or avoid responsibility or change the subject.

The fact is that they collaborated in the dismissal of a democratically elected government. In contrast, Gough Whitlam, after 40 years, was more and more vindicated.

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