Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The price of evidence based policy

An interesting item in today's SMH that the Realising Our Broadband Future conference will cost $528,498. Interesting that the sum is so precise so far out from the event - but I haven't looked at the "tender document" referred to in the article to comment more.

I did venture earlier that one could take a cynical view of this conference, but if we don't is this a reasonable figure? I guess the interesting comparison is how much money other participants in the sector can command.

The recently formed ACCAN is everyone's envy in consumer land because they have an annual budget of $2M. By recollection the industry body Communications Alliance has a budget of not much more than that (maybe 50% more). There was one broadband conference organised by CommsAlliance and Telstra that was rumoured to have cost that much, but funded by Telstra.

If we are living in a world in which "money talks", the question is how do we really engage in meaningful conversation if the only way to achieve it is at conferences that are financially unviable for anything but Government or large firms?

Just a question....

1 comment:

Ross Kelso said...


Regarding ACCAN's budget (admission: I've just been elected as a director of ACCAN), please note that apart from this money consumer groups in this domain have bugger all else other than non-funded personal endeavours to influence happenings, whereas Comms Alliance has behind it quite a number of well-funded service providers - so the comparison is hugely unequal.

On the matter of the forthcoming broadband conference, to borrow a theme from a colleague, the cost amounts to another 528,498 reasons why there won't be much independent scrutiny of the government's NBN policy & resultant programme: once almost all parties have been bought off with grants and (consultancy) contracts, there is precious little free talking outside of the money beltway around Conroy's office.


Ross Kelso