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NBN in the eye of the beholder

August 7, 2011

Take the following statement by Julian Walmsley regarding projected NBN coverage in Australia:
“93% of Australian premises are expected to receive the FTTP network and then the remaining 7% will be stuck on speeds at 12Mbps.”

This is phrased to sound negative: “stuck on”, but is still factual, so proponents and opponents of the Government’s NBN can take a view. First of all, a politician will avoid such a statement since it contains too many facts. Some viewers who have not yet formed a view could actually see the statement as a positive for the NBN. The intention of the author was to cast doubt by following with: “will the slower satellite and wireless networks be able to cope with the new applications?”. This is a very good question, but is this a valid reason to simply give up on the entire NBN?

Another statement by Julian Walmsley:
“In fact, the speeds available via satellite are expected to have a maximum speed of 12Mbps (just half the maximum speeds available to your typical ADSL 2+ connection).”
Once again, this contains facts, but this time there is one lie. The lie is the use of the word “typical” when referring to ADSL 2+. I live virtually next to an exchange and I enjoy up to 16 Mbps. Many of my friends using ADSL 2+ enjoy 10 Mbps or even slower. So I would guestimate “typical” ADSL 2+ connections to be around 10 to 16 Mbps, despite the theoretical maximum of 24 Mbps.

Regarding the “remaining 7%; what speed and reliability are currently available to the 7%? Surely it is far inferior to the ADSL 2+ comparision used by Julian Walmsley! ADSL 2+ is a city based technology, since the distances to the exchange are extremely limited. You simply need to be within the township to get anything like 12 Mbps. Therefore many remote communities can currently only use slow copper modems or satellite at great expense.

My interpretation of the original statement is that 93% receiving the FTTP network is increadible and something to look forward to. Malcolm Turnbull aspires to emulate the New Zealand 75% coverage announced in June. Let’s say there are 10 million households in Australia in 2020. Turnbull’s 75% coverage will NOT provide any “high speed broadband” to 2.5 million households, and ALP will NOT provide 100 Mbps fibre to 0.7 million households. In otherwords, more than 3 times the number of households will completely miss out under Turnbull’s aspirations, and everyone else will simply get “high speed broadband”, which is what you can already get today with ADSL or satellite!

In contrast, the Government’s NBN we voted for will provide 9.3 million households with 100 Mbps fibre. The FTTP network is not technology specific so therfore is upgradable to 1000 Mbps*. The remaining 0.7 million households receive high speed broadband at 12Mbps, according to Julian Walmsley. Thank you Julian for throwing in that fact.

*someone told me: FTTP may have potential to go way beyond 1000 Mbps – even over 100 Tbps http://bit.ly/qU8VCE & http://bit.ly/jWbiBr

Please leave a comment. Also see my articles on photography and general technology or politics.

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