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Government Set Top Box Scheme Blows Out

Government Set Top Box Scheme Blows Out

Posted: 15 Feb 2012

As you know, the Australian Government is carrying out a scheme to install Set Top Boxes to assist disadvantaged people during the Digital Switchover.

In May last year I voiced my concern about how much the government was proposing to spend to install a very simple device in homes around Australia.

New figures revealed overnight show that the cost of each Set Top Box being setup is now costing tax payers at least $698.
The amount of tax payer money the government is wasting on this Set Top Box scheme is absolutely disgusting.
When they initially costed this scheme at over $350 per set-top-box, we thought it was one of the worst examples of waste we had ever heard.
Today’s news that the cost has blown out to around $700 per box is just incomprehensible.
Kogan is able to sell a huge 55” LED TV, with a built-in Set Top Box and Personal Video Recorder, and a 5 star energy rating for under $700, the same amount the government is currently spending on each individual Set Top Box.
Or, you can get a full featured Set Top Box from any Australian electronics retailer for under $70. Kogan can sell one for only $39. All Kogan products include unlimited phone and email support. They all have a one-cable installation process, and Kogan staff can even assist if the elderly are having difficulties. The government wants to spend 1700% more than this.
When you have a situation where a private company like Kogan can sell a 55” LED TV with built in Set Top Box for the same price that the government is sourcing just a small box, you know something is very wrong.
The government needs to recognise that it isn’t an expert at everything. On some things, like technology products, it’s often best to leave the job to technology experts rather than going it alone.
This is an example of gross misuse of tax payer money and government incompetence. Ms. Gillard needs to understand that Australians are amongst the most tech savvy people in the world and will not be fooled by such schemes. We know a Set Top Box is not worth $700 by itself. Where is the rest of the money going?

What do you think? Is the government spending far too much money on what should be a fairly simple operation?

Ruslan Kogan
Founder & CEO

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