[LINK] Canadian expert tells Australia to Cancel Broadband tenders

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Nov 26 08:25:15 AEDT 2008

Greetings from the "Symposium of Sustainability of the Internet and 
ICT" in Melbourne 
Bill St. Arnaud from Canarie opened the event on Tuesday, by video 
link from Canada. He strongly asserted that VDSL was an energy 
inefficient interim technology and that the Australian Government 
should not invest in it.

Tenders for the National Broadband Network (NBN) close today, so I 
asked Bill if he was talking in generalities: was he really saying 
the Australian Government's current NBN process should be abandoned? 
He said "yes".

Bill, and some of the people at the ARC Centre for Ultra-Broadband 
Information Networks <http://www.ee.unimelb.edu.au/research/cubin/>, 
where the symposium is being held, believe that fibre to the home is 
feasible, even in rural areas and a better long term investment than 
ADSL. I am not sure if this is affordable at present, but it might 
not be a good idea to roll out large amount of ADSL in Australia right now.

I therefore suggest that Australian Government cancel the current 
tender process for broadband. They should reformulate the process to 
take into account energy use and greenhouse gas emissions issues. At 
the same time they might take the opportunity to divide the project 
into several smaller, more targeted projects. The government could 
target priority areas, such as broadband for schools and priority 
rural users, for early adoption. The issue of higher speed broadband 
for urban areas, which are already serviced by ADSL, could be left 
until it is clear fibre to the home is affordable, or other 
technology options are available.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  

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