Byte Me Article 343 – NBN Woes

11th November 2017

Don’t Blame Others for NBN

In the last few weeks, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labels the NBN rollout as a “Train Wreck” and surprisingly he blamed Labour!  NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow suggests that customers need to pay a new levy to help fund the NBN – he wants more money!  NBN customers are up in arms about speed issues.  ISP’s blame NBN Co for speed issues.  NBN Co blame ISP’s for speed issues.  So what do I think?

The NBN rollout has had very varying degrees of success and with a project as large as this which has also had to endure changes of government and policy it is near impossible to point the finger in just one area.  The vastness of our country and sparsity of dwellings in many areas adds unique challenges to fixed line communications that are non-existent in many other countries.

I still say that this project should have been researched and administered by a non-political team of experts that were paid on results.  Why we had to grab an American guy and make him CEO and richer regardless of the end result is beyond me.  At least we could have done the same to some lucky Australian bloke.

There is no doubt that deregulation and the resulting private enterprise competition works in some industries however when it comes to communications I am not sure it is the way to go.  Now we have everyone from around the Planet including Singaporean based companies (as an example) purchasing bandwidth from NBN Co and offering retail services to us – and for what reason?  Do they just love us or are they chasing a dollar!

Very basically, to make money from being an ISP (Internet Service Provider) you purchase bandwidth from NBN Co and resell it (as dear as you can market it) to end consumers.  The less bandwidth that you allocate to individual consumers the more money you can make.  So what is the key to having plenty of individual bandwidth?  Good question!

This falls under the technical name of CVC (Connectivity Virtual Circuit) and exact figures could be published for individual ISP’s for different areas – however we are not privy to these figures – yet!  So we have the situation where I have 2 of my techs living right next door to one another here in Rockhampton and the one that is with Telstra constantly gets around 70MBits download whereas the other tech who is with the 2nd largest ISP gets 30MBits at best (both on 100MBits plans).

The Telstra plan was a little bit more per month however the other tech is now going to change to Telstra because of the speed differences.  It is not unlike paying for a V8 car and only getting the performance of a 4 cylinder.  ISP’s should be made to publish their CVC figures so that end users can make informed decisions about who they are signing up to.

There are literally 10’s of thousands of complaints already about NBN speed issues so this new system is fast getting a bad name.  I see that Turnbull has been in power for over 2 years now and still blames Labour for the Train Wreck.  If I had been our PM for the last 2 years I would have busied myself trying to fix things during that time.  Laying blame is simply becoming part of the problem.

A proper solution in this country would have been FTTP in our denser populated and commercial areas – where businesses will always take advantage of the benefits that fixed line technologies have over wireless.  It would also involve the ramp up of offerings from 4GX or now – 5G technologies and their ability to hit large numbers in residential areas at economical implementation costs.

We have to demand more information on the performance of individual ISP’s and we have to stop blaming everyone but ourselves.  We need people such as PM’s to stop being part of the problem and instead become part of the solution. 

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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