Net Filtering vs NBN – What’s it Gonna Be?

As the last few years (and particularly the last few months) have unfolded, we have seen the mandatory web filtering debate get knocked around the press whilst the NBN (only now coming online in a few towns conveniently before an election) got its fair share of airtime. Apart from the issue of credibility and electability of the two major parties and their leaders, this election boils down to two main issues for me:

  1. web filtering (because I don’t trust the ALP will keep it on hold indefinitely),
  2. the NBN (because the Coalition want to scrap it for a vastly inferior wireless solution).

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place this election. I think the ALP have made a farce of their first term in power but the Coalition have not gotten their act together to provide a solid alternative to the incumbent. I’m also a big fan of the NBN but strongly oppose the web filter as I believe it damages the openness of the Internet as a resource.

The Greens represent some form of a medium as they support the NBN and oppose internet censorship in favour of education. Apart from that, I have not seen enough in terms of policy to make me confident in me giving them my vote. Perhaps I need to dig a bit more to gain some assurance if I were to pursue this route.

I think the geeks amongst us and the technology industry in general want the NBN to get a leg up and be a huge success. The Coalition clearly has no idea how successful it can be let alone how easily the NBN can receive speed upgrades without ripping out the physical fibre. Their continued faith in wireless technology and spectrum is admirable, spectrum is a finite resource and their strategy appears to come at the expense of competition in the Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 4G stakes in the decade to come. So it would appear that we get shafted on fixed line broadband and mobile broadband too.

I don’t think I am any closer to making a decision come the election (and I don’t think I have been any help for anyone else). It seems that for any positive in this election comes some hefty consequences. I can only hope that whoever wins the elections does so under hung parliament conditions with a Senate hostile to the backward ideologies of canning the NBN and allowing the web filter to proceed.

It’s a terrible predicament that might see little take place until the next election but I think we are at the point of containing any damage any of the major parties may inflict on our country.

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