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Reg hack spares blushes at Infrastructure NSW, Cisco

Wrong document on website means we may have dropped a sysadmin in it

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Here at Vulture South we're always trying to cook up story ideas, and this week one that wormed its way into our cerebellum was whether the recently-released 'First Things First' plan from Infrastructure New South Wales included any thinking on technology's role in infrastructure planning.

The plan is a centrepiece of the new-ish NSW government's agenda, inasmuch as econocrats and Sydney-siders alike bemoan the city's sclerotic and productivity-destroying transport arteries.

The plan's centrepiece is new roads, and plenty of them, a tactic we thought a little odd given that we keep hearing how technology will mean we can all spend less time commuting.

Technology's impact on infrastructure is addressed admirably, with one section noting that “More and more, work is something you do, not necessarily somewhere you go”. Elsewhere, the plan talks up the importance of broadband and explains that infrastructure it recommends recognises that technology-fuelled shift but also takes into account the reality that:

“... an enduring human need is for connection and collaboration. Workers still need an ‘office’, but less and less of the sort that has been used for the last 50 years or more. This is likely to lead to a different mix of cleverly designed places and spaces where people, workers and citizens can congregate and connect for all sorts of work-related reasons.”

Which is lovely stuff and got us thinking about how Infrastructure NSW cooked up its plans. That line of questioning led us to third-party reports referenced in the plan, one of which came from Cisco.

We downloaded the Cisco document and found it contained two anomalies. One was its publication date of 2011, which seemed odd given footnotes in First Things First referenced a 2012 submission from the networking giant.

The second was the presence of several incomplete references, with the excerpt below typical of the lacunae.

A lacuna in Cisco's submission to Infrastructure New South Wales

No Reg hack would stay on the payroll for long if that kind of error didn't provoke a desire to know if Infrastructure NSW had based its multi-billion-dollar plans on an ill-referenced draft. Your correspondent therefore asked the parties involved what was going on.

Both have sworn on a stack of holy works that the document we downloaded from Infrastructure NSW's website is a draft that was not relied on when the agency formulated its plans.

Cisco told us Infrastructure NSW “did indeed have the final version of our report in hand as they were determining their strategy.” The final version is now online (PDF).

A spokesperson for Infrastructure NSW told us “it was a simple administrative error that we uploaded the incorrect (draft) report to our website.” We do hope the admin responsible isn't in too much trouble.

Both parties thanked your correspondent for noticing the error.

Infrastructure NSW also pointed out, a little sheepishly, that El Reg may be the only member of the public that has bothered reading the Cisco document.

Given its role in the formulation of the overall plan, that's perhaps the most embarrassing thing of all. ®

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