Thursday, November 05, 2009

Two short notes and a Government conference

I'm doing one of those periodic tidy ups around my desk. I am a great note taker at conferences and meetings but often they don't go anywhere. ut there are two notes I made at a broadband conference this year - the sources of which I have not retained.

The first says "The Internet is 'a-national' not 'international'". There are some who would dispute that in that the Internet is by physical architecture still US-centric and by information architecture still anglophonic central. However, the distinction being made is important. The governance issues of the Internet are not merely beyond the boundaries of nations but also beyond the boundaries of the standard relations between nations. This is the same distinction as is sometimes sought when trying to describe really big corporations - we moved from international corportations (based in one country but trading in many), to multinational (having many homes in different nations) and finally transnational (transcending nations). But maybe a-national is better (beyond the concept of nation). I suspect this is one of the issues I'm going to discover Bobbitt discusses.

The second reads "Infrastructure - you dig holes and put it down - it is also how you kill a dog". Which I think is a little statement about the attitude we have to infrastructure - that we can think of the infrastructure as an end in itself rather than an enablement of something else.

On which I will note the Government's new conference Realising our Broadband Future. The purpose of the conference, with increasing degrees of cynicism, could be stated as;

1. An appropriate move by the Government as we progress to build the NBN to ensure we have a national agenda to realize the opportunities it produces,

2. An attempt by the Government to refocus discussion on the NBN away from the cost and onto the benefits, in part as a substitute for a full cost/benefit analsis, or

3. Just “bread and circuses”, a diversion from the debate over NBN costs, refugees, the economy to reinforce the Government’s positioning as being concerned with realizing the promise of the future as well as managing the demands of today.

Being the eternal optimist that I am I choose to believe that it is option 1 (though Paul Budde will no doubt insist that it is actually only the Government's response to his call for trans-sectoral thinking).
Readers views would be most welcome!

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