Rants, Raves, Reviews

Goverment to subsidise rural broadband?

By Gary R, in , posted: 16-Apr-2007 09:21

I have been hearing rumours of this initiative for a while. On Stuff this morning it is reported that the government is considering subsidising the cost of satellite equipment. 

According to this recent report on Stuff Fonterra has increased its milk solids payout forecast which could earn farmers an additional $67,500 based on the projections.

We all know the importance of the rural sector to our economy and there has been much written about the woeful state of rural broadband. But as a tax payer I am concerned at the thought of broadband for 'rich' farmers being subsidised by the government using my money. Yes, the satellite equipment is more expensive than your standard DSL setup but no more expensive than a medium sized LCD TV or the leather trim option on a new Holden Commodore.

I do find it ironic that Labour (the Socialist champion of the poor and the financial under dog) would even contemplate throwing my money at a 'rich' farmer so his kids can watch YouTube. Wink


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Comment by freitasm, on 16-Apr-2007 09:44

Wow... The payout alone is more than a lot of people make in a year living in cities, and we don't see many companies giving bonus to their employees!

Comment by juha, on 16-Apr-2007 10:55

It's a rumour only at this stage but... the government has subsidised rural broadband already, with PROBE. That cost $50 million approx. and covered the remote schools. To say rural broadband is only for rich farmers so that their kids can watch YouTube clips isn't fair, IMO. Farming is quite tech intensive these days, and about the only productive thing left in NZ, so helping it bring in more money makes sense.

I wonder why satellite is being considered again though, instead of wireless.

Author's note by Jama, on 16-Apr-2007 11:01

You are right Juha it was not a fair comment, hence the winking smiley on the end. Of course farmers are tech savvy and of course they need broadband which is vital to their business. Therefore the farmer should pay for it and I shouldn't have to subsidise it!

Comment by juha, on 18-Apr-2007 18:20

The problem is though... we're all subsidised to some extent. In principle, it is right to help the lower end of society to lift its game, because it helps us all.

In practice however, the rich and clever without ethics and morals abuse this.

No, I don't know what the solution is either.

Comment by seaowl, on 19-Apr-2007 03:25

The "rich farmers" won't be the only ones to benefit. The rural communities have many more folks who are not rich. These areas have a real need for high speed internet access. Applications like telemedicine, real time distance education and e-government - not just You Tube are important to their everyday lives.

CWA's website http://www.speedmatters.org/ has some ideas on how we can accomplish low cost High Speed Access for all americans.

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