Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Green Party push their internet strategy into high gear...

Only it's not good. In fact it's even worse than Fine Gael's desperately bad Valentine card. I'm not going to even link to it. It's just too dire. It was the worst online effort in #GE11 so far. But then the Green's did something worse - even worse than even not doing anything at all.

I was in the middle of gathering my thoughts about the challenges facing internet businesses in Ireland and the complete lack of them on anybodies radar. The challenges I'm referring to aren't about driving traffic or recessionary but a look at the wider challenges of a developing but diverse Irish Internet scene. Gateway providers, retailers, enablers and consumers are faced with a growing range of problems that are not being addressed or even heard of at a national and political level.

But, despite these the Green Party has decided to be completely unhelpful. They've suggested that we tax data usage on the internet. Just trying to do that would be an exercise in futility but it would seriously damage our international competitiveness, our fledging internet businesses and our campaigns to make internet access more universally acceptable (and this after we're already behind). I'm shocked and slightly outraged to be honest. Cynically, I've wondered if this was a bit of a political "smoke screen" - designed to create a diversion - but why would you want to divert people by destroying your own name? Something they learnt while in power perhaps,...

They suggest that this would be a good replacement for the TV Licence. Granted, the TV licence should go. Afterall, it subsidises RTE's overpaid staff - allowing them to charge less for advertising (pushing more effort on the independent channel TV3) while pretending to carry the voice of the national as the "national broadcaster". Got to love the recent Edelman Trust Barometer that highlights that Google is now more trusted than RTE by the public as a news source. And its not even a news source...

It does highlight the plain ignorance and almost contempt that Irish politicians treat the internet with. Comparing a data download tax with the TV Licence assumes that data is nothing more than idle 21st century consumerism - digital "Fair City" if you will.

Ireland's future is intertwined with the Internet - it will either take us into the future as product developers and technology owners or it will drag us there, enslaved because we failed to identify, adopt and embrace it.


  1. I think you're being a little unfair on the Greens. Mary White proposed a 1 cent tax on sms messages more than two years as you've linked above but was rapidly shot down by her own party members amongst others. Apart from anything else, she miscalculated the likely revenue by an order of magnitude.

    There was never a proposal to tax data usage on the internet. While Eamon Ryan was minister for comms, broadband fixed line penetration increased by two thirds to nearly 1 million. The NBS rollout was completed, connecting 250K mostly one-off houses to a minimal 3g standard. The final 1% of buildings will be connected by the rural broadband scheme by the next government.

  2. @anonymous Eamon Ryan literally proposed this today.

  3. The Green madness doesn’t stop at taxing data usage on the internet. Eamonn Ryan, as Minister for Communications has already failed to make proper provision for communications infrastructure whilst in government. He waxed lyrical about broadband in his rosy interview with Silicon Republic yesterday. Yet, broadband availability is really patchy outside of the main urban centres. In addition, in Ireland, unlike any other EU country, holiday home businesses have to pay 1 license fee per house, whereas a hotel only pays 1 license for the whole hotel. Minister Ryan would never meet with industry lobby groups to discuss this issue but kicked to touch for years about reviewing it. In other countries tourist accommodation is on a level playing field regarding TV license fees – there is a sliding scale that applies to both hotels and holiday homes. Eamonn Ryan is all talk and no action. It's a case of “been there, didn't do that” for Ryan and the Greens. And their efforts at strategy are ludicrous. It’s a concern as to who Fine Gael might cosy up to in Government– a coalition is always the Government that nobody voted for and gives minority groups, such as the Greens, inordinate power. Oh for a leader with passion & vision and a powerhouse party that would form a majority government…

  4. Hi @Helen. You have to wonder if Eamon Ryan hasn't pressed some sort of self-destruct button. The impact of the Greens is, proportionally speaking, as bad as their partners [in crime]. They went in on the higher moral ground on Education, Environment, Health and everything else -- and then left us with this, Genetically Modified food (health and environment).