It’s been almost six months since the election and Amy Adams being appointed Communications and IT Minister following on from Steven Joyce.
One of the first things she did in her portfolio was to refuse to release much of the Briefing to the Incoming Minister from her department, MED. The industry, the public and the opposition were refused access to the whole of her proposed actions and workplan for the first six months of this year. I took a complaint to the Ombudsman which, because of their enormous workload, has taken sometime to process.
I am hopeful we’ll soon get to see some of that workplan. In the meantime, here’s an appraisal.
Since 10 February 2012, Amy Adams has issued 15 releases announcing the ultrafast broadband is coming to this region or that region; there will be exciting new broadband services in rural NZ, etc etc…
However, when I asked the Ministry before the Commerce Select Committee recently just how many schools had been actually connected to ultrafast broadband, the answer was” around 34″. Amy Adams doesn’t seem to have been up to much except travelling around the country announcing that ultrafast broadband is coming.
When you look a little closer, it’s going to be quite a while before most places see anything change. Her announcements are merely PR exercises to make it appear that Steven Joyce’s great broadband scheme is on track. The big test will be how many people actually connect because they can a) afford it and b) it’s worth their while to make the change due to interesting new content and services.
Many schools I speak to are deeply sceptical because of the cost involved in making the transition which is largely being foisted onto their operating budgets and the resourcing of teachers and students through ICT training and access to digital devices.
In the last six months, Adams has made just three other announcements. One around spectrum, one on Mediaworks and one on the 111 service. It’s a bit underwhelming. So far, she appears to be the Minister for opening UFB cabinets.