NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What if they built a high-speed broadband network and nobody signed up?

Well, actually just 200 people.

Telstra's high-speed internet service, which offers speeds of up to 100mbps has only been taken up by about 200 customers since its launch last year, throwing the viability of the NBN into question.

Joshua Gans points to a new study that tries to work out whether people are prepared to pay for the sort of speeds our government is to spend hundreds of billions providing.

Coming from a slow broadband service, consumers would pay $48 per month for a move to something like 100Mbps. But if they already had 2Mbps, they would only pay an extra $3 a month for the extra speed.

Guess what? Many many of us already have 2Mbps.

Why move? Unless pushed. As the government will probably have to do by getting Telstra to disconnect Telstra's copper wires.

It is going to spend hundreds of billions to force us to pay more than we are now for something we don't much want. Right?

Even then we probably won't. We'll go wireless.

Now about the Budget savings both sides say they are looking for...

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. Conroy thinks our internet is slow

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