Governments should build infrastructure
It just makes sense for governments to build infrastructure. There are a whole bunch of economic and social benefits to having good infrastructure, well above and beyond the money you’d make charging for use.
If we left road-building up to private enterprise, you’d pay dollars in tolls to get to the local shops and you’d need a four-wheel-drive to get to anywhere outside of the capital cities. Many of the older generation (i.e. almost all of our elected representatives) don’t yet see the internet as part of our vital national infrastructure - they grew up without it, they’re fine with what’s commercially available now and don’t see what all the fuss it about.
Then again, it seems like selling off vital infrastructure (roads, power, water, comms) is a popular thing for Australian state and federal governments to do - giving up future revenues and the responsibility for maintaining the infrastructure for a quick buck. We’ve been down that road, we know where it leads but somehow we’re always eager to start down it again for a quick budget fix (not that state governments have many other options for balancing their books).
I find it perplexing and greatly disheartening that Labor have the vision to build the NBN, but the short-sightedness to flog it off as soon as it’s done.