A great opinion piece in this months Unlimited magazine by Rod Drury.

In it Rod discusses the desperate need in New Zealand for internet infrastructure spend. In it Rod correctly states that the three year electoral cycle is a real impediment to infrastructure spending, given that the payback from something like broadband investment is significantly longer than the three years in an electoral cycle. In his article Rod argues for a bond-type risk vehicle for funding broadband infrastructure than the sharemarket methodology which is more valid for short and medium term return investments (such as service provision etc).

Rod concludes that a cross party solution to this problem is the only way forward to stop it being kicked around like a political football. Rod fails to state that one of the reasons that a cross party agreement on broadband infrastructure investment might be viable is that the usual party political attitudes general don’t apply to broadband.

If we were to look in comparison at roading there is little chance of getting cross party buy in to a long term roading network investment. The fact of the matter is that across the various parties there are diverse views as to transportation priorities – from public transport weighting on the left of the divide to pure roading on the right.  These political divisions do not exist when it comes to broadband infrastructure – politicians from all parties agree that we need a fast, reliable and world class broadband network as a tool to help grow our economy.

So we need to encourage a long term view towards spending on infrasturcture and we need to encourage the leaders of all the political parties to sit down and work out a methodology that will not be rocked by the vagaries of our electoral cycle.

The time is ripe given the Telecom structural separation, and kiwisaver. It is eminently viable for a centrally seeded, profit making broadband entity to be created and it makes sense for it to be funded from kiwisaver. Thus investors will benefit directly from the profits made by the entity and then secondarily via the economic gains to be made by having good, fast reliable internet available to all.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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