Hall of shame

Some superfast advocates are, to put it politely, a little cavalier with their use of data and argument when making the case for superfast. Here we collect some of the more entertaining examples.

FTTH Council Europe : FTTH promotional video

This whizzy video claims “fiber-to-the-home empowers a new realm of services, content and applications” of which the first-mentioned is “remote surgery" (see 0:50). Remote surgery ... at home. Perhaps you point a webcam at your stomach and take out your own appendix with a spoon, under direction of a remote surgeon?

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd : Press conference to announce NBN
Australia's National Broadband Network is a national, government owned network to provide superfast broadband. It is (per capita) one of the most expensive such programmes in the world. In announcing it, then prime minister Kevin Rudd cited just one piece of hard evidence that that it would bring great benefits. He said "innovation from information and communications technology is the single biggest driver of business productivity. It drives 78 per cent of productivity gains in service businesses and 85 per cent in manufacturing".

Unfortunately, he got this one piece of evidence wrong. The underlying data talked about ranges of 59-78% and 65-85% respectively, but more importantly these figures are for all technology innovation, not just ICT. They included everything from the benefits of biotech to those of containerised shipping. Moreover, the relevant analysis covered the period 1984-2002. Broadband (never mind superfast broadband) had nothing to do with it.

UK Government's Departments of Business, Innovation & Skills and Culture, Media and Sport :
Britain's Superfast Broadband Future
This document sets out the UK's vision for superfast. In it the government claimed “an excellent illustrative example” of the benefits of superfast is an Australian trial of the internet being used for remote schooling. This the trial in question took place in 2002 … and had a bandwidth requirement of 64 Kbps.

No comments:

Post a Comment