Political economy of telecommunication infrastructure: An investigation of the National Broadband Network early rollout and pork barrel politics in Australia
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It has been argued that infrastructure unevenness rigidifies into more lasting structures of socio-economic and political privilege and advantage. This paper focuses on telecommunication infrastructure as the backbone of the fast-growing digital economy, and raises important questions about the early National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout in Australia. The paper asks whether there was any case of pork barrelling in the selection of early release sites that enjoyed a regional competitive advantage against other localities that had to wait several years to receive the infrastructure. The answer to this question then leads to a second question about the degree to which voting in the early NBN release sites has swung following the infrastructure rollout. In order to answer these questions the paper examines the voting patterns in the earlier NBN release sites versus all electorates in the Federal elections in 2007–2013 using the data available via Australian Electoral Commission. Findings show trends of politically targeted funding, followed by vote swing in the very next election.
Computer Communications Networks