Remember the Howard Government's 'Broadband Blueprint'? It came out in September 2006. The communications minister of the day, Helen Coonan had been talking it up big time for months: "The Broadband Blueprint will articulate a plan for a prosperous, knowledge-based information economy underpinned by world-class next generation broadband infrastructure.
"This infrastructure will facilitate industry productivity, strong economic development and the provision of key government services including health and education. The Blueprint will ensure that the rollout of next generation broadband is coordinated across jurisdictions with clearly delineated roles for State, Territory and Local Government to meet the needs of end-users."
When it came out Conroy, then shadow minister, quite rightly dismissed it as 'just the latest in a long line of talk fests and Broadband Bandaids," and he went on to name more than a dozen of these.
Heading the list was the National Broadband Strategy, an accompanying Action Plan and a National Broadband Strategy Implementation Group. The National Broadband Strategy preceded the Blueprint by only a couple of years and it was quite astonishing how Coonan conveniently completed ignored its existence when talking up the Blueprint.
Not that the preceding Labor Government had done any better in producing reports on Australia's communications future that actually generated any concrete progress. There was the Fibre Optic Systems Experts Group which morphed into the Broadband Services Experts Group whose initial report was obsessed with content and ignored infrastructure entirely. But back to the latest initiative...