Posted by Tim Harrison
I am flabbergasted. And I don’t use such terms often so you should be flummoxed yourself…
Why am I flabbergasted? Well, you see, I’ve been keeping half of one geeky eye on the government plan to roll out the ‘NBN’ – the National Broadband Network. The minister in charge, Senator Stephen Conroy, has been singing the praises of moving forward at 100Mbit speeds (about 10-20 times faster than regular ADSL). This speed is what he believes will increase productivity yada yada yada.
Then, the opposition, led by Mr Rabbit — sorry — Mr Abbott came out and said that the NBN was too dang expensive and that their plan was much (much much) cheaper and would deliver speeds of “at least 12 Mbit, more in most cases”. Now, in case you’re not a nerd like me (which, thankfully most of you are not) 12Mbit is nothing to be that worked up over. People living all over Melbourne have been enjoying that sort of speed on ‘ADSL 2+’ for a few years now. Cable internet customers are already having 100Mbit speed delivered to their PC now.
But, and this is the flabbergastifying part… By some miracle of modern technology (and political spinning no doubt), Mr Conroy has just announced that the NBN can deliver 1Gbit (or 10 x 100Mbit) speed. They apparently just discovered this.
Now, call me a pessimist, but this surely smacks of something sus. If the opposition hadn’t denounced the NBN, would the government plan have rolled out the NBN at 100Mbit speeds? And why, now that the bits and bytes are laid on the table, have we only just been told NBN can deliver 1Gig? It seems a little bit convenient that this announcement appears less than ten days before an election and only a day or two after the opposition says the NBN is too expensive.
As far as this country goes, our Internet access (via ‘ISPs’) is too expensive and too darn slow. Europe has had cutting edge Internet for years, and the US has been delivering speedy connection via cable since Seinfeld went to air. So what’s so wrong with us? Yes, we’re geographically s-p-r-e-a-d out, but that’s no excuse for years and years of inaction. And now, with the NBN on the table, it’s come down to a fight over whose bytes are faster.
Whatever happens, as a nation, we need the politicians to stuff fluffing around with “my network’s faster/cheaper/more impressive than yours” and get on with it!