Fletcher: Governments can't dictate technology adoption

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Fletcher: Governments can't dictate technology adoption
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Alternate policies

Fletcher was unable to deliver any alternative visions for either project.

Asked by iTnews how a Coalition Government might change behaviour to encourage the uptake of e-health Records, Fletcher indicated only that the timeline for the project would be extended.

“The [e-health] concept is a very attractive one,” Fletcher said. “The problem is in turning that vision into a reality in a tight timeframe.

"An incremental and more realistic approach might lead to a better result.”

Fletcher told the audience it was not too late to turn back from the NBN project – which is far from “irreversible” with only a few ten thousand homes currently connected.

“We’ve made it absolutely clear – we’ll not be ripping fibre out of the ground,” he said.

But further rollout projects can be cancelled, assuming the Labor Government hadn’t paid for these projects ahead of the rollout.

On this, he said the Coalition “needs to see the full details of all the projects” before setting ICT policy of its own.

The most likely approach, he said, was to set an inquiry using an instrument like the Productivity Commission, using what Malcolm Turnbull argues is an acceptable speed of 24 Mbps as a base line.

While Fletcher agreed Australia’s position on broadband is the result of a “legacy of dominant monopoly” and that “it would make sense for Telstra to split”, he offered no alternate mechanism to achieve the telco’s separation.

“We will be looking for private sector players to take the network company role,” he said, suggesting that any Government assistance would rely on the private sector also agreeing to offer wholesale, open access to infrastructure.

But Fletcher told iTnews after his conference keynote that the Coalition would most likely allow Telstra to compete in 4G mobile spectrum auctions regardless of whether the telco splits, blunting the one policy instrument the Government has used to achieve separation.

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