I feel now that the coalition has released their “brodband” plan (or lack there of) that it would be appropriate to comment on my views of the plans on the table for the future of Internet in Australia. I am not affiliated with any party but as an Internet based business I feel I have a good understanding of what is the best option for the future of Australia. Blow I have highlighted some of the some of the key points of both plans in order to be fair with my comments.
- offers speeds between 12mbps (for wireless) up to 1gigabit (was 100mbps up until the 12/8/2010)
- As the bulk of the roll-out is with optical fibre it is somewhat future proof as if the now 1 gigabit is not fast enough they can always upgrade the hardware in the exchanges and offer 10gigabit or more as the theoretical maximum capacity of a single optical fibre strand is at least 100TBPS (100000 times faster than the current proposed maximum)
- 93% of Australia’s population will be covered by the optical fibre network
- the remainder of Australian homes and businesses will be serviced by a combination of next generation wireless and satellite technologies with a minimum speed of 12Mbps
- cost up to A$43 billion
problems with Labor’s plan
- while not strictly part of Labors NBN plan it is a key related issue and that is the mandatory internet filter which is a good idea in theory there are a lot of major problems with it. It will slow down internet throughput, it is mandatory, what is blocked is secret and could be abused making us like china and other states with similar filters restricting free speech, it is easily bypassed with a proxy server and so is unlikely to stop anyone who wants to get access to the banned content anyway.
These are direct quotes and paraphrases from http://www.liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2010/08/10/Real-Action-on-Broadband.aspx
- To offer speeds between 12 to 100mbps
- total cost of $6.315 billion over seven years completed by 2017
- $2.75 billion to build a nation-wide competitive fibre optic ‘backbone’
- $750 million for Fixed Broadband Optimisation to significantly increase the number of households which can receive a DSL service or high speed equivalent.
- Up to $1 billion in grant funding for new fixed wireless networks in rural and remote Australia.
- Up to $1 billion in investment funding for new fixed wireless networks in metropolitan
- $700 million to support the provision of improved satellite delivered broadband services to the last three percent of the population.
- Access prices will be set under the telecommunications access regime administered by the ACCC
Problems I can see with this plan
- Short sighted reusing an old plan from when they were last in power.
- Unlikely to improve internet speeds for people who are stuck on a Telstra rim at least for a while
- Relies on the market to drive build and invest in the networks which they have and would already be doing
- Relies somewhat on 4G mobile technology which at this stage is still in testing and can\’t be fully rolled out until the analogue TV signals to be switched off. This technology is always going to be rolled out by the phone and other companies. In theory 4G wireless internet has a maximum speed of 1gigabit but in reality you would only be able to get about 1 1/10th that much and could well be a lot slower than that if more than 1 person is also downloading from the same tower.
- Wireless internet is more convenient for not being tied to 1 place true but there is a very significant price premium for this option and download capps are still very small compared to fixed line internet.
- The 100mbps fixed speed connections will only be available to Telstra and Optus cable customers and possibly only in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane
To sum up With Labours plan we will get a future proof offering to 93% of housholds at a cost up to A$43 billion and a mandatory internet filter. Or with the Liberals a short-sighted patch job which will not deliver anything new to the majority of Australians and to keep the Telstra monopoly going.