Internet Upgrade Not Fast Enough
For this third & final article about our ‘Internet Connection Speeds’, we look at what the NBN is or was promising. As pointed out previously, the underground copper cabling that was in some cases laid decades ago was never designed to carry the amount of information that modern and future Internet connections need. Fibre optic cables are the ‘replacement’ technology and they offer no drawbacks except for the initial cost of implementation.
We have already seen the Labour government propose a plan of laying fibre the full distance to our individual homes and businesses – a plan that was already underway, until a federal election saw a change of government. The Labour party of the time projected the cost of this project to be $43 billion however the company responsible for building the network (NBN Co) projected the cost to be around $37 billion.
The Coalition have totally ‘rejigged’ the scope of the project to only offer fibre to the ‘node’ – which sees the existing copper cable remain in use for the last part of the connection. This last connection distance being as little as 20 metres through to even as much as 500 metres, but it is still copper and still decades old in many cases. This is a very poor solution which traps Australia into massive future maintenance costs as well as severely limiting our average connection speeds.
Fibre to the premise offers connection speeds that can easily be 100,000kbps and even up to 1,000,000kbps which are the sort of figures that a future ‘Internet of things’ really demands. Instead with fibre to the node, we now face a complete technical compromise that offers an average connection speed of around 46,000kbps. What is beyond reason are the latest costing reports on this substandard solution.
Yes, the latest estimates put our current Coalition backed Internet solution as costing the country anywhere between $41 billion and $56 billion! What on earth is going on here? It all smells too much like political point scoring instead of working out exactly what our country needs. How do we move forward if we can’t get a ‘real’ independent review and an unbiased report on the best & most cost effective solution for Australia – because we clearly don’t have this yet!
We need to change some basic parts of our governing systems if a long term major national project like the NBN can be embarked upon during one term of government and then totally changed by the next guys at the helm. One of the key factors in this case is the length of time it is going to take to finish the NBN project under either technical guise. We could be looking at the year 2030 before completion (yes a full decade and a half from now).
You then have to wonder what future changes of government will do to this project during this timeframe. There is however one certainty over the next 15 years which is that our dependence and need for a reliable & fast Internet connection will grow beyond most expectations – because history already proves this point.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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