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Broadband baloney: Kevin Rudd's unhealthy addiction to ICE

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Wednesday, 4 April 2007

The Pledge of Allegiance recited by many American school students daily celebrates the Republic, in part, as a melting pot of people who, while divided by ethnic diversity are united in their God fearing ways:

I Pledge Allegiance To The Flag,
Of the United States of America,
And To the Republic For Which It Stands,
One Nation, Under God, Indivisible,
With Liberty And Justice For All.

While Americans are united as one nation under God, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd would seem to be keen on bonding us, as one nation under the fibre optic cable.


Financing the higher bandwidth Mr Rudd offers will require diving into both the government’s Communications Fund, as well as the Future Fund, to the tune of $4.7 billion. His determination to raid the Future Fund in order to supply high speed Internet Connectivity Everywhere (ICE) is quite simply, fiscally reprehensible.

The extra bandwidth Mr Rudd offers will allow the media and entertainment industries and the telcos (among others) to benefit greatly, by not only selling more of their wares online, but by having the extra bandwidth paid for substantially by the mug public servants, using their super entitlements.

It’s a bit like your daily home delivered newspaper publisher demanding you fund a bigger mailbox so that more publications can be delivered to your door every morning. You end up paying for a bigger letterbox that you never really needed, and you end up subscribing to publications you can’t really afford. It’s a win-lose situation. The media companies win and you lose.

This chutzpah echoes a recent demand by Fairfax Media and News Ltd that the Federal Government purchases bigger aircraft so that its employees (the media’s, not the Government’s) will be able to travel together with senior politicians, when the politicians gallivant abroad. And the media big wigs demanded this with straight faces.

Let’s see Mr Rudd’s plan with a very simple example.

Imagine living in a country town that has no one concentrated retail precinct. Instead, the stores are located over a very wide area. Some in the far north of the town, some in the south. And a liberal scattering of outlets in the east and in the west.


As public transport is woeful, in order to shop, the townfolk must drive their cars great distances to any store. So people are forced on to poor roads, which resemble car parks with countless pot holes, all the while grinding their teeth.

Now imagine that petrol prices have skyrocketed. So much so, that casual trips to the stores for meaningless coffee dates will become but distant memories. And essential trips to the stores become less and less frequent.

Out of the blue, one politician suggests that in order to combat rising oil prices, that all stores be aggregated in one mega shopping centre, a Super Mall. So far so good.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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