N for NBN – National Broadband Network
Americans visiting Australia often complain, somewhat imperiously, about the speed of internet connections here. Whenever I’ve been to the USA, I’ve found the internet connections over there slow, so I’m not at all sure who is slower! I never actually measured.
Intercontinental competitiveness aside, Australia’s government is rolling out the National Broadband Network, affectionately known as the NBN.
The National Broadband Network is a next-generation broadband network designed for Australia’s future needs. The network comprises of three technologies – optic fibre, fixed wireless and next-generation satellite – and will provide more reliable, high-speed broadband access to all Australians.
There has been a lot of political fire over the NBN. The opposition don’t want it, the government do. What do the people actually want? Voice your opinion in the comments!
Why would the ordinary citizen like the NBN?
Allen Consulting estimates that if the number of Australian households connected to the internet increased by 10 percentage points, this would provide gains to households of $2.4 billion a year in current prices in terms of the change in the value of consumption that they are expected to obtain. These gains are achieved through time-saving activities such as telecommuting, remote work and study opportunities, information gathering, price/product discovery and access to health services.
That is such a convoluted statement I’m not at all sure what it means to me in real, every day, terms. Anyone care to translate? Hazard a guess?
Irrespective of the wordiness of the site, I personally think it is a good move for Australia. Just because I think it is a good move doesn’t mean I think it is going to happen well. Melburnians will remember the disaster of the Myki and the horrendous budget blowouts and delays. I actually like the ticketing system itself – I don’t like how it happened.
I am surprised the NBN is going to take 10 years to roll out. This means that a change of government could see the whole thing stopped mid-project, or stripped right down. I hear it is already over budget. It always seems that any major project driven by government goes over budget. I’m not sure why: sub-contracting commercial enterprises ripping off the government, or perhaps the wheels of bureaucracy turn so slowly that in itself causes the commercial enterprises performing the work to be unable to meet their time lines and therefore their budgets. Lack of accurate projecting scoping? It does seem to be a repetitive pattern, no matter who is in government.
Australia is a long way from the “rest of the world”. It takes 15 or so hours to fly to the USA (California) and 24 hours to get to the United Kingdom. In Australia many of us are a long way from each other. Most of the population lives around the coast and Perth is a long way from Melbourne and Sydney. It used to take 12 hours to drive from Melbourne to Sydney: I haven’t done it for a few years and there have been road improvements in that time; perhaps it doesn’t take as long now. It is still some distance!
Digital communication is a must for Australia if we are to compete in world markets. Very handy just to compete in our local markets. Our current infrastructure is not going to carry us into the future, something has to be done.
I am not going to argue the technical merits or otherwise of the NBN and alternatives, it is not my area of expertise. Of course, politicians being politicians, there are massive arguments on both sides about what each side is or will, could or should do. Not quite as much noise over this as there is over a few asylum seekers arriving by boat though, or perhaps I just read the wrong articles/publications.
Does business need it? Do our health system service providers need it? Will we, as a nation, benefit?
What I rather wish is that there was an assessment somewhere that I could actually TRUST. I see a lot of argument and both sides can’t be right given they are so diametrically opposed. What I do see is a potentially damn good idea being wrecked by politicians.
That, my friends, is the state of internet connectivity in Australia. How is your country keeping up with the digital age?
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- Blowouts? No. The NBN is very much on track (delimiter.com.au)
- What Costs Taxpayers More: The NBN Or The Australian Olympic Team? (gizmodo.com.au)
- Telstra dash for $2bn NBN bonus (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)
- NBN in Willunga: the low-down (zdnet.com)