Byte Me Article 399 – Review of Internet Connections

I was principally going to write this week’s article as a review of the currently available Internet connections, however I have largely covered this material in previous articles and we also have this information available via our website.  Today I would rather talk about our NBN challenges.

Last week I wrote about a friend’s experience with transitioning from a failing ADSL 2+ connection to one of the latest NBN fixed wireless connections.  They signed up to an Optus plan that was purported to offer download speeds of up to 50Mbits, however in reality this is not close to the case.  Maximum speeds since the connection went in 2 weeksago were recorded once at 21Mbits at around 4am in the morning!

This speed quickly lowers to around 10Mbits by 8am and stays at that level all day until after 10pm at night at which point it will slowly climb to a normal maximum of 18Mbits at the 4am.  I don’t know how useful a fast Internet speed is to most people when it occurs at 4am – but I can take a guess at suggesting – not much use at all.

So, what is happening here?  Is the antenna on the roof miraculously growing larger at night and shrinking during the day?  Certainly not.  Is the router more powerful at night? No!  Is the distance between the user’s house and the tower (which is only 450 meters) shrinking at night? Hardly!  So why the speed differences of between 8.5Mbits and 21Mbits that they have seen?

I can only suggest the that uplink or backhaul link between the tower and its next upstream point (possible the local telephone exchange) is limited in bandwidth.  This tower and this link are both owned by NBN Co and a portion of the bandwidth is sold to ISP’s like (in this case) Optus.  So, is Optus not paying enough?

The above answer will not be easy to find because Optus would never admit to such cheap skating and none of us are able to talk direct to NBN Co.  So here we have an Australian enterprise (NBN Co) that is indirectly offering us a service and we can’t even talk to them!!!  Who paid for NBN Co in the first place?  Yes – we all did, we still do!

Has our NBN hit all its initial targets?  Absolutely not.  Australia’s NBN has shown a very wide degree of hitting and missing targets.  We have some services such as the FTTN service at our shop which consistently gives us around 96Mbits of the 100Mbits that we pay for.  Then you have some customers, particularly on NBN fixed wireless that get less than 5Mbits of the 25Mbits that they pay for.

So, who can we hold responsible?  Well, it is too late to hold NBN CEO Terry Morrow to account for some of these missed targets.  He has taken his 3 to 3.7 million dollar per year salary package paid by the Aussie taxpayer and resigned from his spot.  I can’t confirm however he has most likely gone back to the US as a very wealthy individual – happy to put Australia’s Internet connection woes well behind him.

It leads me to question – who set his salary, why was it so much and why was there no accountability?  Could we not have given him a lousy half a million a year and made the rest of the salary contingent on hitting certain goals?  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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