In this post, Geoff Webb picks up on the question of infrastructure access.
The concept of ‘universal service provision’ stands in stark contrast to the ‘user pays’ model which is so often cited as a fair method of delivering services to the community, but is it?
Australians have long taken pride in being considered a fairly egalitarian society with an attitude of a fair-go for all. For many years, this was reflected in public policy and in the provision of essential infrastructure to all Australians, whether they be located in major cities and urban areas or in remote and isolated locations.
The history of telephone connection fees in Australia exemplifies the point, where actual costs for individual connections could be several orders of magnitude higher for a connection in the bush compared to connection in town, but a standard connection fee was charged for both. The community at large was, typically, fairly accepting of the idea that service charges, as long as they seemed reasonable, paid by the high number of users in the major metropolitan centres would effectively subsidise the relatively low numbers of remote and isolated services.
While critical infrastructure ownership and operation remained in government hands, Read More →