Government purchasing

Further to Steve Kates’ post on the school computer scandal where the Government funding is running out with the Age reporting

THE federal government’s scheme providing high school students with laptop  computers is on the brink of collapse, leaving parents with hefty bills and  educators with a chaotic start to the school year.

Peter Garrett claims the program has been

 delivered on time and within budget

with 957,805 computers being purchased at a cost of $2.4 billion. That’s $2505 per computer.

Harvey Norman, which is rarely the cheapest place in town, is selling Toshiba Satellite C850/05D Laptops for $698 each. If Garrett had gone to the Harvey Norman website clicked “add to cart” and selected 957,805 computers it comes up with $668,547,890 (try it – it works!) with free pick up at the store or delivery “usually shipping within 2 days”.

You’d normally think that a bulk purchase would be cheaper, but not with this government. If the program is running through its appropriation, it’s because they are paying too much per laptop.

UPDATE

If anyone is interested, here is the original request for costing under the Charter of Budget Honesty for the 2007 election.ALP036_Request_for_Costing_-_Labors_Education_Revolution_-_Computers_in_Schools

About Samuel J

Samuel J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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84 Responses to Government purchasing

  1. Dexter Rous

    Who left that idiot Garrett in charge of our money….again. Don’t they EVER learn?
    Yes I know; rhetorical question.

  2. Sinclair Davidson

    Alex Robson and I did an analysis of the policy when it was first announced.

    Mr Rudd promised one billion dollars over four years to “turn every secondary school in Australia into a digital school”.

    Under the policy, schools can apply for grants of up to $1 million for computers or computer related expenditure.

    The ALP says its secondary school grant scheme will cost $1 billion over the forward estimates out to 2011. This figure is very interesting because Rudd used it last week when he claimed that he was the more fiscally responsible candidate.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there were 2,659 schools with secondary students in 2006.

    Straight away you see the problem. If each eligible school applies for a $1 million grant, that actually implies a budgetary cost of $2.659 billion and not $1 billion.

    So much for fiscal responsibility and “economic conservatism” – Labor’s policy has a gaping black hole of $1.659 billion.

  3. Grey

    Under the policy, schools can apply for grants of up to $1 million for computers or computer related expenditure.

    Happy to help out – as always.

  4. Samuel J

    Sinclair and Alex were prescient. If you have a policy where schools can

    apply for grants of up to $1 million

    it is reasonable to expect that they will in fact apply for $1 million.

  5. Grey

    it is reasonable to expect that they will in fact apply for $1 million.

    No it isn’t. It is reasonable to expect the program will have criteria that will grant 1 million to the largest schools and lesser sums to smaller schools.

  6. Sinclair Davidson

    Oh dear – Grey, have some dignity.

    A $1 billion program ended up being well over budget and late – yet the meeja doesn’t check up.

  7. Jock

    I assume the number of bureaucrats overseeing this programme ate into the overall cost. Is there any info about this?

    My interest arises as I am reminded of an Aboriginal Housing initiative for the Feds where the $10m allocated was mostly used in PS salaries.

  8. jupes

    Happy to help out – as always.

    Thanks Grey. You always do.

    This time you expose the obvious incompetence of a government which has a budget of 1 billion but then tells 2,659 schools that they can have up 1 mil each.

    What are the rules – first in best dressed, or do they all get what they asked for with the inevitable budget blowout? As the cost is 2.4 billion, don’t answer, it’s a rhetorical question.

  9. Grey

    Laptops are going to need software, while there are freeware versions I am guessing they are going to get the educational version of Office, they need a anti-virus capacity. The school needs networking capabilities in order to utilise the laptops properly. An investment in warranty might be a good idea as would be some kind of asset tracking registry. Don’t forget training – particularly for the smaller remote schools.

    This doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem, just that dividing the budget by a unit price doesn’t reveal anything. And if you think there is a problem, I understand there are statutory independent audit offices for the Federal government – if it so obvious ask them to have a look.

  10. Rabz

    … if it so obvious ask them to have a look.

    Hey genius – why don’t you ask them?

    Oh, that’s right, such staggeringly stupid, criminal profligacy is of no concern to numpties such as your good self.

  11. Grey

    Hey genius – why don’t you ask them?

    I can’t do everything. At the moment I am focused on clearing Craig Thomson and investigating murder (if it is murder – no body) mysteries in Hobarton.

    I also have to address myself to the vexed issue of Jill Meagher’s handbag – its on the to do list. And help Dr Davidson with his economic modelling here at Catallaxy.

    I have got enough my plate already, thank you. But you have my full support in your endeavours.

  12. Rabz

    Wonderful, thanks Ghey.

    You do indeed appear to have your paws full.

  13. jupes

    Don’t forget training…

    Good point. I wonder who cleaned up with that contract?

  14. Grey

    Good point. I wonder who cleaned up with that contract?

    I hear the WA branch of the AWU have an excellent track record in provision of that particular service.
    Or was it the AWU Workplace Reform Association?

  15. Samuel J

    Grey – the computer I chose was just an example, but it includes Windows 8. As for software, there is plenty of freeware available (including for anti-virus checking) but even Harvey Norman are selling the Norton anti-virus checker for only $48. As for a warranty – that would be a waste of money; the program was to provide a computer not to provide an endless series of computers. If a student loses or destroys a computer that’s their problem.

    Also, the program was not about networking schools and training (do you really think that kids need training to use computers??). It was to provide a laptop.

    As for administrative expenses, we are talking about $2.4 billion being spent. How much do you think would be appropriate for admin expenses? $5 m/$10 m? More? If it is much more than $10m than the program design is badly flawed.

    No, the principal cost driver of the $2.4 billion must be the price of the laptops themselves (it is obvious really when you think about the quantity of laptops being purchased). So maybe $2505 per laptop is a slight overestimate (if one takes account of admin costs), but it is in the ballpark. And it is ridiculously over the top. I didn’t read that the program was to provide the highest spec most powerful computers. I didn’t read that the program was designed to provide a continuing supply of computers.

  16. Samuel J

    The official website states

    The Government is providing funding of $1,000 per computer and up to $1,500 to support the installation and maintenance of that computer.

    there’s your $2500. So why installation and maintenance more than the purchase? Quite strange.

  17. Alfonso

    Oh, so a socialist Minister attempted to discover price?
    Pete, baby, it’s beyond your ken.

    I know that in a perfect world of bwaaaa….perfect State price setting….. bwaaaa, then Pete knows the price of computers and can budget.

    Oh my sainted Aunt……

  18. Aliice

    Rip off I would say
    Maintenance of bloody computer contract to donator?

  19. Aliice

    I have a son who would love that installation work at one tenth the price and does a damn fine job so who is ripping us off again?

    Remind me which dickhead in which dickheads pocket in government got this juicy little contract.

    Lies lies and damned government opaque tenders.

  20. Econocrat

    This is the Government that spend $400+ giving pensioners a set top box.

  21. Grey

    Samuel J, what you think ought to be in the program and what are in the program are two different things.

    Budget for the Digital Education Revolution initiatives was 2.4 billion. Provision of laptops was a key but not the sole component of this.
    If you want to find out exactly how the money was spent can I suggest you contact [email protected]
    Or read the resources page here
    deewr.gov.au/digital-education-and-technology-schools?resource=
    This will give you an idea of the other projects alongside provision of laptops that were being run.

  22. Aliice

    Sam J says

    “So maybe $2505 per laptop is a slight overestimate (if one takes account of admin costs), but it is in the ballpark.”

    This is bullshit, good laptops can be found for $700 these days and certainly good enough for schoolkids.
    Add a few hundred (max $200) to set up and install that is all.

  23. Gab

    It’s like a scene out of Yes, Minister.

    Senator MASON: CN668561 is the mid-program review of the Digital Education Revolution. The contract value is about $539,000. I understand this contract has now concluded. What did this review of the Digital Education Revolution entail?

    Mr Manthorpe : I do not think it has concluded. My briefing says that the contract is running from April this year through to November, so it has not quite concluded.

    Senator MASON: I have got April through to 28 September. It is still going, is it?

    Mr Manthorpe : My understanding is that it is still going. It is moving towards its conclusion, but it is not yet finished.

    Senator MASON: Will a report be compiled and made publicly available?

    Mr Manthorpe : A report will be compiled and the department’s expectation, consistent with commitments that I think have been given to the JCPAA, is that we will release the relevant findings within three months of its completion.

    Senator MASON: What date are we looking at for completion and publication?

    Mr Manthorpe : As I understand it, completion within the next couple of months—and I will correct the record if I am incorrect there—and, therefore, publication of the relevant findings will be within three months of that, so some time in the early part of next year.

    Senator MASON: The review of the DER is a review of what? What does the review actually entail?

    Mr Manthorpe : It is an evaluation of the extent to which the DER has realised its goals. It is not merely about, for example, the number of computers—

    Senator MASON: That takes you back too. Heady days, I remember.

    Mr Manthorpe : Indeed. It is not specifically about that; it is about the broader outcomes of the DER framed against the—

    Senator MASON: That is fine. This one sounds similar but it is a different contract. CN917671 is an audit of a sample of schools funded under the Digital Education Revolution National Secondary School Computer Fund. That is a different one. The contract period is from 3 September to 21 December this year. The contract value is about $113,000. How is this contract different?

    Ms Potter : There was a performance audit undertaken by the ANAO—Audit report No. 30 of 2010-11.

    Senator MASON: By the Audit Office?

    Ms Potter : That is right. One of the recommendations was that DEEWR consult with education authorities to design and construct an audit of a sample of schools funded under DER in relation to the computer to student ratio. This contract is for the audit to be undertaken. That work is expected to happen during November.

    Senator MASON: Will it be published? I suppose it would be.

    Mr Manthorpe : That will be a matter for the government.

    Senator MASON: So it might be?

    Ms Paul : I am not sure that it culminates in a report that would be published. We might have to check that.

    Senator MASON: Can you check that?

    Ms Paul : I am happy to.

    Senator MASON: If it will be published.

    Ms Paul : If it actually culminates in a report, will it be published? That is fine.

    (Mz Paul and Mr Manthorpe are public servants cluelessly operating within Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations)

  24. Makka

    The surprising this is…… so many are surprised. Has this incompetent bunch of knuckledraggers ever done anything they have promised to do?

  25. tbh

    The purchase price of computers is only one part of the equation. There are total cost of ownership considerations as well. For example, we lease our machines at work, but obviously have on-costs, such as software and administration.

    Our chosen brand is Lenovo and the purchase price for one of these machines (with a Windows license included) is circa $1600. The leasing agreement has a pretty low interest rate and we don’t pay a lot more than that over a three year period. An Office license is around $450 for us, plus anti-virus and systems management software (Novell Zenworks).

    Over three years it works out to be around $4000 if you include the cost of the staff, network etc. That’s a better deal than the government is getting on these machines I suspect and we don’t have anywhere near the scale or buying power that they have.

  26. blogstrop

    From slam dunk to troll feeding in one easy thread.

  27. bc

    Doesn’t surprise me. My department recently purchased several hundred mobile phone handsets at about 20% more than the average retail price. Preferred supplier who had tendered for the contact i was told when enquiring about this.

    I’m in the wrong business. I need to become a government supplier.

  28. Milton von Smith

    The 2008-09 budget provided for $1.2 billion for this program out to 2011-12. On Garrett’s figures it ended up costing twice as much as what was budgeted for. Not sure how that qualifies as being “on budget”.

    Oh, and don’t forget – who was the education minister responsible for introducing and costing this policy?

  29. Gab

    Oh, and don’t forget – who was the education minister responsible for introducing and costing this policy?

    And don’t forget the same person was warned at the time:

    In 2008, letters were leaked that revealed that the Minister of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Julia Gillard was told that the policy was not thought through and severely underfunded.[13] There were concerns that the lack of funds would be compensated for by financially crippled families or some computers left in boxes, unopened. The states were noncompliant upon learning that each would have to contribute up to A$3 billion altogether, a contribution that was not mentioned by Rudd or Gillard in the election campaign.[13]

  30. William Bragg

    Its about Greys 7: Cats 0 so far on my count.
    But that has never stopped Cats from pretending the opposite before, so presumably Samuel’s jaundiced critique of the program will quickly become just another part of this site’s blinkered and biased folklore about the ‘failings’ of the current administration.

  31. boy on a bike

    Junior’s school got a wireless network plus a techo for 3 years. I think the biggest cost is the onsite tech support dude – who will be unemployed shortly when the funding runs out.

    As I mentioned in another thread, 40% of Junior’s classmates had non-functioning laptops at the end of last term. The rest had been damaged and repaired at some point during their life. If you give a teenager a piece of junk for nothing, don’t expect them to treat it with any respect.

  32. Samuel J

    I’m glad you think the program is a success William. What would qualify as a failure in your eyes? Perhaps the same program run in the same way by a Coalition government?

  33. Samuel J

    From my observations, anything delivered by DEEWR ends up costing more and providing less than the original promise. If you want to get the least bang for your buck, send it through DEEWR.

  34. .

    Its about Greys 7: Cats 0 so far on my count.

    Um yeah ok.

    Millions for shitty laptops that don’t work (2500 AUD each).
    $400 for a set top box installation.
    0.00385% of homes reached (conflating commencements and completions, and with only a 40% uptake rate) by the NBN 2.5 years into a ten year programme with costs blowing out before they get stuck into any intense phase of urban construction and cabling.

    Yes Bragg, it’s all going along just swell.

  35. boy on a bike

    I’ve always wondered what the purpose was behind handing out laptops. I think it was more a case of, “Private school kids have them – so we must give them to everyone at public schools” – forgetting that the private schools have spent years building up the necessary support infrastructure to make use of them.

    Giving laptops away without the underlying support is as useful as giving an African villager a Ferrari.

  36. tbh

    BOAB, bingo on all counts.

  37. entropy

    $2500 sounds pretty standard for the lease and maintenance of a laptop including software. Just sayin’.

    Nobody is expecting the kidlets or their long suffering parents to be the bug fixers.

  38. tbh

    Ent, the question is how much of the TCO is included in that figure of $2500 per machine.

  39. entropy

    it would be three year lease woundlnt it? For $2500

  40. tbh

    That’s hard to determine from the available information, though it looks like an outright purchase of each machine at an average of around $2500 each, plus $1500 per machine for maintenance.

    As I said above, a mid market multi-national like us can do it cheaper than that and with better hardware.

  41. boy on a bike

    Let me run through how the laptops were used (or not used) at Junior’s school. Here’s how I would expect them to be used:

    1. Improved communication between students, teachers and parents via email and/or an intranet. Reality – teachers refused to hand out their email address as it would entail “more work” and “possible parent contact after 3pm”. Home work and assignments never distributed or collected via email.

    2. On line learning, especially for subjects like Maths. Result – never used. Not budgeted for. Teachers had no idea how to make use of existing on line courses.

    3. Regular on line tests to assess performance. Result – never used. “Testing is bad for their self esteem” etc, and teachers had no idea how to do it.

    4. Note taking in class. Reality – keyboards to small to type effectively for any length of time. Everyone reverted to spiral bound books, or collecting photocopied handouts.

    Unexpected results:

    1. Wholesale copying of information from Wikipedia etc for assignments.

    2. Massive piracy of music and video.

    3. Assignments turned into exercises in making them look pretty using photoshop etc, rather than bothering with the content.

    Summary – WOFTAM. (Waste of F*cking Time and Money).

  42. It’s none of the Governments business how parents spend their money on their kids education. Some kids would have been better off with a new drum kit, Lego Mindstorms or soccer boots. It was all about pandering to the Teachers Union and unionisation of the IT industry.

    What could a wealthy Sydney north shore ex Rock Star possibly know about the educational needs of someone else’s kid.

    The kid’s parents, and probably the kid, will be paying off the debt the Trade Union Party is racking up (8 Billion a month) for 20 years.

    And the poor bastard will be paying extra for his or her first beer so Nanny Roxon can retire at 45 to ‘be with her kid’!

  43. Andrew

    Here’s a radical idea: Part of the “learning experience” can be to install their own f*ing Office and anti-virus freeware! It’s not rocket science!

    And maybe they have some qualified individual in the school who can assist? What are they called? Oh – Computer Science Teachers!! Surely if the govt is splashing out on laptops, the teachers should be so grateful that the curriculum can accommodate basics of computer ownership and maintenance?

  44. Gold.

    I’ve posted it on Facebook under “Are you smarter than a government minister?”

    I’ve got a 9 year old and a 6 year old who are smarter than the current one. Come to think of it, I also have three guinea pigs and two japanese fighting fish who are arguably smarter as well.

  45. Andrew

    PS mind you, I’m quite astonished that the govt managed to deliver laptops to almost 65% of the promised students and for just 6x the market price – that’s pretty good by their standards.

    Grey seems to find the ratio between laptop and installation quite reasonable – $1k ea for the hardware and then $1.5k for everything else. That being the case, why didn’t policy geniuses Rudd and Gillard (then Education Minister I think) anticipate that on-costs would be 150% of the cost of the program, and therefore underbudget it? Was this incompetence or election costing dishonesty?

  46. JC

    Braggs

    I hope you’re not in the private sector, or let me rephrase that. I hope you are in the private sector so that the public sector ie taxpayer is funding an imbecile like you.

  47. Harold

    Looking elsewhere I see you can pay $600 for that Toshiba.

    1 unit.
    Includes seller margin.

    If you’re buying 1 million units surely you don’t have to use a middle man, so get rid of the margin, and add the bulk purchase price. Down to $400 or so?

    I worked with a young guy once (software company) who announced he was leaving to start his own IT business. Not long after there were reports in IT reseller mags about resellers being upset that the state government contract to supply schools had gone to our ex-employee’s business – only just set up. His dad just happened to be the outgoing head of the education department (this was well known, he previously worked there).

  48. “Happy to help out – as always.”

    Grey, imagine you’re a school principal. No, it’s okay, we won’t laugh much. You can apply for a grant up to $1 million.

    How big a grant do you ask for? Take as long as you like…

  49. Splatacrobat

    The same goes for the set top box debacle. Cost of a set top box is about $50 but installations was $250+.
    I seem to recall the average cost of supply and install was about $650.00 each.

    Its easy to spend other peoples money.

  50. Harold

    The set top box was ‘needed’ to connect their old cathode-ray TV to a digital signal.

    New 68cm flat screen TVs with digital reception were available for around $500.

  51. Is this to improve our standing in maths, english and science. give the kids some of those things made of paper called books and buy a few stockwhips that will improve things.

  52. Harold

    Do people still actually buy anti-virus? 20 years since I graduted from Comp Sci and never paid for it. Presently Microsoft gives it to you free, resident protection and malware scanner. Previously there was always a free alternative.

  53. Yobbo

    I am 6’4″ and I can type on a laptop without too many problems.

    I find it hard to believe that a 12 year old kid would find a laptop keyboard too small.

    Laptop keyboards aren’t much smaller than desktop keyboards, they just omit things like the numerical keypad.

  54. Yobbo

    Yeah there’s no need for paid antivirus, there’s hundreds of free ones. There is also OpenOffice, a free program that does everything MS Office does.

    And a $700 laptop would come with Windows already installed. I fail to see what the $1500 installation fee is for. Installing it in your school? It’s a laptop, installation involves placing it on your desk and plugging it in.

  55. I suspect that if you asked Apple for a special order of one million Macbooks, with protective covers and all softwear supplied, you’d get them for less than $500,000,000.
    I also suspect that it never occurred to a single member of the federal government that such a large order could be had for less than the wholesale price.

  56. Fisky

    Hey Greys – get over here now and explain why Murdoch’s Newspoll is sinking the Slapper. You had better have a good explanation, Greys, because you were doing the Leftist insider routine and claiming to be in the know.

  57. 2dogs

    “$2505 per computer”

    Corporations often pay amounts like that after it gets through the IT outsourcing firm, but then the laptop is supported.

    However, many school laptops are left in a state of disrepair, unsupported.

    Somewhere, there is an IT organisation being paid a lot of money for no work. (cf: HSU newsletters)

  58. entropy

    Laptops with a full size keyboard are fine.. Netbooks don’t have a full size keyboard. They are crap, always were crap, and inevitably find their way to the bin much sooner than a real laptop.

    Oh, I am not sure if Apple ever discounts. Not in their DNA.

  59. .

    Let’s recap on the genius of Stephen Controy, the stupid apsirations of thousands of whirlpool and free subsidised porn fanbois like monty and Grey and Bragg’s PR spin:

    Millions for shitty laptops that don’t work (2500 AUD each).

    $400 for a set top box installation.

    0.00385% of homes reached (conflating commencements and completions, and with only a 40% uptake rate) by the NBN 2.5 years into a ten year programme with costs blowing out before they get stuck into any intense phase of urban construction and cabling.

    (What the FUCK is Mike Quigley paid again? 2 million AUD plus a 300k BONUS? FFS! Note the NBN Co. chairman recently said [paraphrased] “we don’t have to deliver a commercial return, this project is 20-30 years long”).

    Yes, I can see why we’re gonna become world beaters with this socialist scheme for telecommunications. Watch out, South Korea!

  60. Grey

    Hey Greys – get over here now and explain why Murdoch’s Newspoll is sinking the Slapper. You had better have a good explanation, Greys, because you were doing the Leftist insider routine and claiming to be in the know.

    Oh Fisky, you are so naive. How else can Gillard be eased out in favor of someone people might vote for when not blind drunk? Besides, we know Chris Mitchell reads Catallaxy and after reading my revelations he probably rang up Newspoll and threw his toys out of the cot.

    All I have said there is a desire in the elite for the carbon tax to stay because they believe we will just have to reintroduce it a few years down the track. They would be quite happy for Tony Abbott to win, provided he doesn’t hammer his colors to the mast on repealing the carbon price. The recent volatility of Newspoll as been simply an attempt to try and lead opinion – and about as successfully as Gallup with Truman v Dewey. But Newspoll is not the only arrow in the quiver.h

  61. Rabz

    a desire in the elite for the carbon tax to stay because they believe we will just have to reintroduce it a few years down the track

    Good luck with that.

    The whole gerbil worming sham will be deader than a dodo “a few years down the track”.

  62. .

    All I have said there is a desire in the elite for the carbon tax to stay because they believe we will just have to reintroduce it a few years down the track.

    You are not part of “da elite”, Grey.

  63. Yobbo

    Netbooks don’t have a full size keyboard

    Netbooks cost more like $400 though.

  64. Wolfgang

    To boab 10:42pm,
    Under un-expected results add-
    96% used for social enjoyments eg: u-tube/facebook/chatting/gaming etc: (perhaps a few other little nasties).

  65. “Watch out, SouthNorth Korea!”

    There, I fixed it for you.

  66. m0nty

    The purchase price of computers is only one part of the equation. There are total cost of ownership considerations as well. For example, we lease our machines at work, but obviously have on-costs, such as software and administration.

    Exactly, tbh. Samuel has NFI what he’s talking about.

  67. .

    Right.

    Please show us the breakdown of costs for a school of 250 kids where there is one IT guy.

    If the support costs are $1500 per computer -

    Does he really earn about $125k p.a for three years?

  68. As pointed out above:

    The 2008-09 budget provided for $1.2 billion for this program out to 2011-12.

    How the fuck did that balloon out to $2.4 billion, and how come Garrett still gets to claim the program has been

    delivered on time and within budget

    ?

  69. Gab

    65% delivered and budget more than doubled. Of course it’s Laborspeak for “on time and within budget” just check the Macquarie dictionary.

  70. thefrollickingmole

    Ok I rent out hundreds of laptops, my customers budget is usually under $1200.
    The Government is paying close to the same amount for their laptops as I do as a rental organisation.. and we are considered “bad” by the self same government.
    That includes setup, 2 years antivirus and warranty repairs (not screens)..

    99% of my customers use wireless dongles for their internet connections I would get back 1-2 a month for repairs.

    Now heres another complication for Mr Conroy. Most of my clients are low income/pension types, even if he runs his fibre up to the house they wont take it up. Most dont have fixed line phones as they then get “humbugged” for other peoples calls.

  71. Fisky

    Oh Fisky, you are so naive. How else can Gillard be eased out in favor of someone people might vote for when not blind drunk? Besides, we know Chris Mitchell reads Catallaxy and after reading my revelations he probably rang up Newspoll and threw his toys out of the cot.

    There is no “easing out”. You claimed that “they” wanted Gillard and Newspoll was fixed to support her. You have not described the mechanism by which Newspoll has fallen into the hands of hostile forces.

  72. “Does he really earn about $125k p.a for three years?”

    With the right Labor connections…..

  73. Jannie

    Makes you wonder how the NBN rollout is going. After all, who needs a cost benefit analysis?

  74. .

    Makes you wonder how the NBN rollout is going. After all, who needs a cost benefit analysis?

    Jannie

    See above

    0.00385% of homes reached (conflating commencements and completions, and with only a 40% uptake rate) by the NBN 2.5 years into a ten year programme with costs blowing out before they get stuck into any intense phase of urban construction and cabling.

    (What the FUCK is Mike Quigley paid again? 2 million AUD plus a 300k BONUS? FFS! Note the NBN Co. chairman recently said [paraphrased] “we don’t have to deliver a commercial return, this project is 20-30 years long”).

    Yeah, it’s fucking shithouse.

  75. boy on a bike

    They are armed with an enterprise version of the new Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft Office, the Adobe CS4 creative suite, Apple iTunes, and content geared to students. Although the netbooks are loaded with many hundreds of dollars of software, 2GB RAM and a six-hour battery, the cost to the NSW Department of Education is less than $500 a unit.

    link

    and

    Over 400 technical support roles will be created in high schools statewide to manage and maintain netbooks and IT systems rolled out under the digital education revolution, the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) has revealed.

    link

    The keyboards on the Netbooks are ridiculously small – so small, it took me about 6 attempts at typing my name the first time I used one.

  76. boy on a bike

    Is this what we paid $2.5 billion for? For kids to become faster typists?

    Would have been cheaper to have sent them all on a two week typing course using golfball typewriters – that worked for me when I was at school.

    HIGH school students in NSW are becoming faster typists, and software experts, thanks to the computers in schools program.

    Shay Silver, who teaches English at Balmain High School in Sydney’s inner west, said participation rates among students had improved.

    “With the laptop I’ve seen them become really engaged and excited,” Ms Silver said.

    “We’re building the workforce of the future in NSW.”

    Another residual benefit of the computers program is that the students have become faster typists.

    Year 9 student Kartika Brand said her typing skills had vastly improved since being given the netbook.

    From my experience the “excitement and engagement” lasted about a week. The “workforce of the future” went back to playing video games and swapping pirated movies.

  77. Stung parent

    My son started year 9 this year and we have to lease at $250 per year for 4 years an Apple Macbook. $40 after the 4 years to buy it. I am told a teacher is fanatical about Apple so Apple it must be even though we have no other Apple products. Next year they have to “lease’ Apple Air which is lighter and would have preferred that at least, but didn’t get options. Could have bought my own to their minimum standards far cheaper. If the Govt. gave the school any money I didn’t see it and figure I am paying about market rate.

  78. Grey

    You claimed that “they” wanted Gillard and Newspoll was fixed to support her.

    No, I didn’t. I said certainty in carbon pricing policy was wanted. Just as in 1998 the possibility of GST failing a 2nd time was not an option, there is no desire to see carbon pricing to become a poison chalice either. The easiest is way is to have ALP re-elected – although if Tony Abbott were to give assurances he had no intention of keeping his promises in this area that would change the equation entirely. I have fairly consistent in saying this.

    BTW, do you think the timing of the Craig Thomson arrest was a bit odd? No new information seems to have come to light, it just appears to be based on the credit card statements that have been in the public domain since 2010. No chance they were timing it so there was no chance that a premature byelection could bring down the government?

  79. Dot
    All the good internet countries have a socialist programme that is just how it has to be. The question is about cost benefit only for a spread out country like us and the higher costs of labour.

  80. John

    The boys at mu son’s school call the govt issued laptops craptops.

    Their teachers tells them not to bother trying to use photoshop on them because by the time the file is ready they will have already finished their HSC.

  81. Has this incompetent bunch of knuckledraggers ever done anything they have promised to do?

    Yes, they have. Unfortunately for the nation, that’s not the same as saying that anything they promised wasn’t worse than fucking useless; nor is it the same as saying that anything useful they tried to do was done competently.

  82. johanna

    “Year 9 student Kartika Brand said her typing skills had vastly improved since being given the netbook.”

    lol

    Who names their child after a typeface, with the surname “Brand”?

    I think someone is having a lend.

    The next line should be: “However, her friend, Times Roman Generic, disagreed.”

  83. .

    You claimed that “they” wanted Gillard and Newspoll was fixed to support her.

    No, I didn’t.

    Yes, you did, and it’s on record.

    I said certainty in carbon pricing policy was wanted.

    Yes people want certainty. They certainly want it repealed, forever.

  84. .

    Dot
    All the good internet countries have a socialist programme that is just how it has to be. The question is about cost benefit only for a spread out country like us and the higher costs of labour.

    Bullshit.

    America’s internet is socialist? Who the FUCK are ComCast then?

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