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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Déjà vu

This past week I was reminded of two earlier posts in my blog. The first was last Monday, when the Information Technology Ministry announced cheaper broadband access for all. The other was a couple of days ago, when the Urban Development Ministry announced that the government is preparing to publish a report regarding the viability of rebuilding the Royal Opera House in Valletta.

Last May I commented about how the Malta Communications Authority and Maltacom are contributing to the digital divide in Malta. This week's announcement coincides with the launch of the annual IT fair in Naxxar. I believe that it is a step in the right direction, but I seriously doubt that most Internet Service Providers are happy about this move.

It's quite interesting to observe that the Minister's announcement included a proclamation in favour of the erosion of dial-up internet access. Thinking of Broadband Internet as a necessity rather than a luxury is certainly most welcome by anyone who believes in the welfare of the working class and those struggling to make ends meet financially. However, ISPs are businesses who like all other businesses do what they do to ensure that their bottom-line remains black.

I am not surprised that the government has moved in this direction, but to be quite honest I did not expect this service to be rolled out so soon.

On the other hand, I was totally expecting the announcement that the best use of the old Opera House site is for a new parliament building. Royal Opera House in ruins during World War IIMaltese culture is oversaturated with party politics. The fine arts and the performing arts are almost all mimetic in Malta. And the media is dominated by the political parties. Therefore, it stands to reason that in such a country the prime location formerly dedicated to the performing arts should be rebuilt as a house of representatives.

Forget opera and theatre. The most vibrant live performances in Malta are in parliament. I will not make any reference to brilliant performances in the past, or even recent history. Just wait until the Budget debates start next month. Best of all you'll hear better use of the Maltese language than you do on radio or TV at most other times.

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