"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

High-fibre diet

Jamie Baker reports in Tuesday’s Telegram:

Province will pay $15million-$20 million extra to light up fibre: AG

Newfoundland and Labrador, [Auditor-General Noseworthy] said, is the only jurisdiction in the country not to have access to an alternate fibre-optic provider.

That means, for example, benefits such as improved access to medical and academic research efforts, as well as economic benefits from network construction and operation.

Those are the benefits from a government and business perspective.

But what about the average Newfoundlander and, more specifically, Labradorian?

An external review listed in Noseworthy's report found the upgrades to government systems would mean faster, improved access to government services such as online health and education opportunities.

But looking at the direct benefits for residential Internet users in Newfoundland and Labrador, the results were somewhat less conclusive.

Noseworthy found, while there will be increased broadband availability for people on the island portion of the province, "there will be no significant cost savings."

In addition, he noted Labrador would be "connected to the network through a separate project under the (government broadband initiative) at a later date."

"The Labrador component of the government broadband initiative is not resolved at this point, "Noseworthy said.

"Government has it included in the 10-year (government broadband initiative) plan but details are a little scanty."

Scanty? Not at all!

Danny Williams is going to talk!
A Progressive Conservative government in its second term will:

• continue discussions on the concept and feasibility, including engineering and environmental-related work, of a fibre optic link throughout Labrador
And his government has already indicated that, because it’s in Labrador, they expect the federal government to pay for it.


What’s really interesting in Noseworthy’s report, though, is the Figure (IT’S A TABLE, NOT A FIGURE!) 3, on p. 17. It itemizes something called
Payments to [Electronic Warfare Associates Canada] for [the Government Broadband Initiative] by the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development Fiscal Year 2006-07
EWA got a nudge over $40,000 for what is called a “Technical and Financial Feasibility Analysis on Potential Fibre Optic Connection through Labrador”

In the last provincial election campaign, the PC platform promised:
A Progressive Conservative government will:

• Release to the public every government-commissioned report within 30 days of receiving it, indicate the action government will take on a report's recommendations within 60 days, and ensure prompt public access to all government reports in hard copy and on the Internet.
Which means that if the Fibre Optic feasibility analysis was received more than 30 days ago, it should already be out on the government intertubes somewhere.



At 8:57 AM, September 19, 2007 , Blogger Unknown said...

New information comes to light on the fiber spend. From the PC election platform, p40 under the "strong minds" section: - proceed with the Government Broadband Initiative, extending high-speed internet access to public offices throughout the province, thereby opening up new access points through which private utilities, with federal CRTC approval, can extend broadband access to communities throughout most of Newfoundland and Labrador. (well, seeing that the fiber runs on the Island only, I guess that leaves Labrador out - but, as you say, they'll "talk. Don't hold your breath waiting for Aliant, Rogers or Person to build it, they won't compete with Government.) This plus the $200 Million mentioned in the AG's report (section ii, p.7) could add up to NL owning a new telecommunications company financed by the taxpayers. I wonder who will be on the board of directors? I hear there's a couple of his buddies in the industry are looking for new jobs.


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