With complaints about the NBN’s shonky and inadequate service at an all-time high, and after having made compromises that have “rolled his stomach”, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow has decided to jump this sinking ship two years before the project’s completion.
I’ve recently taken the opportunity to discuss with people what really makes communities smart. The answer, of course, is smart people. Technology will underpin the future as we become an increasingly connected world, but technology alone will not provide all the answers. Indeed it will be the smart use of technology that will make the difference.
The years ago, Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing internet users, embarked on a mission to foster more informed debate about the National Broadband Network and its importance to Australia’s future. It was – and is – the view of the board and members that we need something better than a network deploying ageing copper wires. Most technology journalists already agreed with that proposition.
It’s time for charities, not-for-profits, in fact every volunteer organisation to have a good look in the governance mirror – especially their directors and senior executives. And it would be a good idea for the members of NFP’s in particular to critically assess the governance practices of their boards.
Too many volunteer boards are dominated by people who hang on limpet-like for too long – precluding others from contributing and defending past policies and practices long deserving review.
Keeping boards active and relevant to the needs of their members is a major issue that requires constant vigilence.
Perhaps we even need to look at changing the relevant laws to ensure better governance of the sector?
Earlier in the year the head of the NBN Co, Bill Morrow, was appearing before a Senate Estimates hearing. Asked by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam about his organisation’s habit of blocking people who make unkind comments about his inferior broadband network on social media, Mr Morrow had the first of two ‘brain farts’ in which he gratuitously attacked Internet Australia.
Faced with an important editorial decision, the ABC‘s managing director Michelle Guthrie went to dinner instead.
In my opinion the incident highlighted a lack of understanding of her responsibilities as editor-in-chief, not to mention those of the organisation’s most senior executive. The ABC needs to be exemplary when it comes to news management.
One of the biggest threats to our success as an Internet of Things (IoT) nation is a loss of trust by people at large. We need effective collaboration between government, industry and civil society to ensure we foster innovation in a manner that creates and ensures security and confidence.
Another issue is the need for a 21st Century broadband network. Without one we won’t be able to enjoy the Internet of Opportunity.
Yet, as we consider our IoT future, technology is only part of the equation. Making sure that there is market for newfangled technology and technology based services was a key element that led to the DotCom boom / bust. Too many clever ideas with no serious, or only limited, market interest cruelled many a startup back then.