Rudd’s surprise announcement this morning that a new company, National Broadband Network Corporation, will be created to build the new Broadband network, jointly owned by the Government and the private sector, has sent the twitterverse aflutter, with mostly positive, and flabbergasted, feedback.

The Opposition has slammed the announcement, with Shadow Communications Minister Nick Minchin labelling the decision to reject all previous tenders “a monumental policy failure.” But  Michael Egan, chairman of the Terria bid consortium that includes Optus, iinet, Internode, Macquarie Telecom and Primus Telecom told Business Spectator, “It is a fantastic announcement. A real nation-building announcement and a critical piece of major micro-economic reform. It will mean a very competitive telecommunications and media industry in Australia. It will be great for consumers. It will be great for competition in the industry.”

The major commentators are still digesting the news, but here’s what they’ve had to say so far:

The broadband bellwether: The failure of the government to secure private funding for its major infrastructure showpiece, the national broadband network, reflects much more than the well-publicised customer difficulties that the project faced. There has been a dramatic change in the infrastructure funding market which will affect not just the broadband network but all the infrastructure projects the government has on the drawing board. Unless the government comes to grips with the new rules in the post BrisConnections environment then there will be no new private funding of infrastructure and the massive Rudd program will have to be slashed. — Robert Gottliebsen, Business Spectator

Dismantling Telstra: For the first time in Australia, the move will create a truly independent wholesale network. That’s the good news from the plan unveiled by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this morning, behind the inevitable focus on the affordability of the program and the raft of unanswered questions. In case Telstra doesn’t play ball between now and when the new network is completed, the Government has floated the concept of forcing it to sell its 50 per cent stake in Foxtel and or its HFC cable network. — John Durie, The Australian

NBN Delay Sucks, But Government Broadband Plan Is Still Good News: The government’s decision to make the National Broadband Network a private-public partnership is good news, even though it will inevitably delay the rollout even further. We’ve been waiting since late last year for the government to announce who would build the National Broadband Network (NBN), one of the core promises made when it was elected in November 2007, which is supposed to supply high-speed broadband at a reasonable price to pretty much everyone. There’s been plenty of exciting sideline drama, including Telstra’s exclusion from the process, but not many people anticipated that at the last minute the government would ditch the original plan to have the network built by the private sector via tender.The government’s decision to make the National Broadband Network a private-public partnership is good news, even though it will inevitably delay the rollout even further. — Angus Kidman, Lifehacker

This could make us a broadband frontrunner I’m gobsmacked. If they do what they promise, they’ve actually got it right, and we might just turn into a broadband front-runner country ten years from now… after all. It’ll be interesting to read the fine print – and there will be a lot of it. Telstra can’t complain (though they will!) – because after ignoring the chance to be a nation builder themselves by building an FTTH network themselves (and they’re still welcome to do so), and which they could have afforded to do – the government will instead build a new, wholesale only, end to end fibre network that every carrier (including Telstra) has equal access to. — Simon Hackett, CEO Internode, Whirlpool Forum

Meanwhile, on twitter…

  • Australia has been saved from digital irrelevancy . This is a BRILLIANT decision – 100MB Fibre to the HOME!!! I’m a bit weepy — Ed_Dale
  • Dear @kevinruddPM we raised $3.17 through crowdsourcing for #nbn. (BTW Taxes need to be disintermediated too ) —Silkcharm
  • #NBN The sad thing about Australia’s bb plan is that the govt hopes to achieve 100MPBS within 8yrs while the Koreans plan for 1GBPS in 3yrs — mikewalsh
  • Fibre to the home is huge. But it’s not the Harbour Bridge. It’s akin to TransACT: high speed, bad service. But let’s fix that in 2015. #nbnkatecrawford
  • One thing that hasn’t been asked: will the NBN deliver 100mbps before OR after the GreatFirewall. It might actually be 250mpbs up front 🙂 — duncanriley
  • cautiously optimistic about the #nbn announce… almost looks like there’s room for some trojan horse policy action to split telstra! — jdub
  • If the #NBN is to be built in the ‘public interest’, it’s time for the government to break from ‘business as usual’.–  ABCunleashed
  • I wonder if 100Mbps will be enough in 8 years. Was only a few years ago 56Kbps seemed really fast. #nbn39 minutes ago from twhirl
  • I don’t understand the #nbn optimism; either there will be collusion between ISP’s over pricing, or many of them will go broke! — fatticus
  • Did people think the “original” #nbn was going to be rolled out before Xmas? It was always a 5-6 year job, just being done properly now. — MichaelQ

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