High Speed Down Under

Australia invests in a multibillion-dollar national broadband network

4 min read

An Australian national broadband network began as a 2007 election campaign promise. Liberal party Senator Helen Coonan, then communications minister, said it couldn’t be done. The Labor party’s telecom expert, Senator Stephen Conroy, thought otherwise. Now that Conroy’s party is in the majority, he’s taken over as communications minister, and Australia plans to invest AUS $4.7 billion (US $3.1 billion) in a national network. After numerous delays and worry that the government would not follow through, the project seems to be on track—telecommunication companies vying for the job are to submit their proposals by 26 November. The government plans to pick a winner in early 2009.

The Australian plan calls for a fiber-optic network. But because of costs and practicality, analysts say, it will likely include a mix of fiber, WiMax wireless systems, and satellite services. How much of each nonfiber technology the government will go for is the big question that bidders are struggling with.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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