The real scandal of the contest between the Coalition and Labor over which might deliver the best broadband is that it is happening at all.
The discussion about how to make Australia one of the most connected economies in the world should have happened 10 or more years ago - as it did in other countries from Iceland to South Korea. They had the arguments and the costings - and did it.
If you go to either of those countries today, you will be amazed by how fast and ever-present super-speed connection is. On the underground trains in the South Korean capital, commuters watch live television streamed to their phones and tablets.
In contrast, Australia has been having the argument about national, high-speed broadband for at least 15 years.
According to the Speedtest Global Index, Australia has the 54th-fastest home broadband in the world, a place behind Bulgaria and a place ahead of Jordan.
On connection to phones, we do much better: 10th, just below Switzerland and above China.
But it's the connection to homes which is the embarrassment. It is now a political issue, set to be a dividing line in the election whenever it comes in the next six months.
Labor promises to spend $2.4 billion to connect 1.5 million more homes and businesses with fibre-optic cables - the fastest means of delivering data. A Labor government would provide "world-class gigabit speeds", we are told.
Labor says that would mean 76 per cent of premises in every state and territory would get very fast internet speeds by 2025.
It is not clear how this might play out politically. Labor's promise is attractive, but its pollsters and analysts may worry about whether it will frighten reluctant voters who associate Labor with high public spending.
From the other side, Scott Morrison is promising $100 million for research into cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. This will not increase the speed of the internet in your home or office - though it may well be valuable technology, particularly for defence.
We are now in danger of the total cost of the repair being greater than the cost of the original project.
The National Broadband Network has been dogged by politics and indecision since it was proposed by the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, in 2007.
The grand plan was to build fibre connections to the door of nearly all homes, but costs rose from the very high to the even higher until in 2013, Tony Abbott, as prime minister, went for a cheaper option: fibre connections to "nodes" near homes, and then existing, slower copper cabling for the final stretch.
The difficulty with this compromise was - and is - that the speed of a system is constrained to the speed of its slowest section. It doesn't matter how fast the fastest section is if everything still has to go through the bottleneck.
We are now in danger of the total cost of the repair being greater than the cost of the original project. It is an experience which any home owner knows: cutting corners bumps up the final cost. Sometimes it's better to go for the more expensive option at the start.
We do not know if Labor's proposal is sound economics. It depends on detailed cost-benefit analysis.
But we do know that this kind of analysis is best done in a dispassionate, clear-headed way - an apolitical way. The run-up to an election is exactly the wrong time to provide an atmosphere for that kind of analysis.
In the meantime, Australia's broadband speeds remain execrable, and in an era when the speed of information transfer is the key to prosperity and security. Prosperous countries are connected countries.
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