If you live in NSW, you probably remember that back in 2006, the Iemma government made a big promise to deliver free, city-wide wireless internet access across Sydney and it’s surrounding suburbs. If it helps jog your memory, it was right before the election.
Well, yesterday, the NSW government pulled the plug on the project. After reviewing 15 different proposals from companies keen to provide the network, they decided it wasn’t economically or technically viable.
The NSW Minister for Commerce, Eric Roozendaal, had this to say:
“The overseas experience is that large-scale WiFi projects have
proved ineffective in meeting the needs of local businesses and the community… Most schemes sponsored by overseas governments have collapsed
and require further funding to the tune of tens of millions of
dollars. With technology changing so quickly, I cannot expose NSW
taxpayers to that sort of risk.”
Financially, it does make sense, with free city-wide internet in San Fransisco, Chicago and Houston all failing miserably. But there’s still the lingering stench of bullshit wafting around this – it’s probably the residual odour of a pre-election media stunt, but with the current state of broadband Australia-wide, it just smells a little fouler than usual.