Bullshit over Broadband

Ever since National announced its $1.5 billion fibre to the home policy in May 2008, Labour has told fibs about it. Great big fibs.  As National was pledging an amount around 400% more than Labour, they couldn’t do their normal cries of “It isn’t enough”.

So they claimed it would all go to Telecom, and entrench their monopoly status. And they kept repeating the lie.

And then yesterday when National announces further details of its policy, Labour has the cheek to claim that National has shifted its policy, and adopted Labour’s policy.

So get this – you tell lies about what a party’s policy is, and when it is clear the lies will no longer work, you then claim they have done a u-turn.

In the House Labour claimed:

Can the Minister confirm that by shifting from its pre-election policy of a single, regulated, utility model for delivering broadband to one that is regional, open, contestable, and technology-neutral, National has adopted Labour’s broadband investment policy framework; if this is true, why did National not campaign for that rather than the opposite?

Now let us first look at National’s policy:

National will contribute an investment of up to $1.5 billion in Crown capital alongside additional privatesector investment to accelerate the roll-out of ultrafast broadband for New Zealand, subject to five key principles:

Totally consistent with what was announced yesterday.

That this investment does not line the pockets of or give undue advantage to existing broadband network providers.

Again totally consistent with what was outlined yesterday. And totally contradictory to Labour’s claims over the last year that all the money would go to Telecom.

That the network is open-access so that many service providers can compete to provide broadband services over it.

Again totally consistent with yesterday’s announcement.

Nowhere at all does the policy say National will have a “single, regulated, utility model for delivering broadband”. National made it very clear it was open minded on what the model will be, so long as the principles outlined were adhered to.

I’ve praised Labour for their engagement over the copyright issue. And I think the Comms/IT policies pursued by Labour over recent years have generally been very good. The co-operation and mood in the industry is radically different to five years ago, and Labour’s record has been very good as a major contributor to that.

But this is why I’m pissed off by the fibs/lies they told over National’s broadband policy.  Most of what Labour did was not opposed by National. I think National realised that this is an area where one shouldn’t be party partisan and at the Internet debates in 2005 and 2008, we got more agreement than disagreement.

But Labour, presumably shocked by the fact National pledged 400% more on broadband investment, has done nothing but spread bullshit over National’s policy, rather than actually say “Hey we support this goal”.

Unlike their admirable forward looking position on s92A, Labour seemed caught in the past trying to say that nothing should change from when they were in power. They foolishly attacked the Government for ceasing funding to the massive loss making Govt Secure Network (that almost no one in Government was using) and they complained about replacing a $340 million level of pledged investment with a $1.5 billion level of investment.

Anyway after months and months of lies about how Telecom had written National’s policy, how Telecom had donated to National, how this policy was a $1.5 billion subsidy to Telecom, how it would give Telecom a perpetual monopoly over our futures, maybe the bullshit will stop. I certainly hope so.

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