[LINK] Australia begs residents to accept free fiber connection

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue Aug 3 09:43:36 AEST 2010

Tom Worthington wrote:
> Kim Holburn wrote:
>> http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/07/australia-begs-residents-to-accept-free-fiber-connection.ars
>>> Australia begs residents to accept free fiber connection
>>> ... if the installation was free, and if the fiber hookup had no effect on your  
>>> existing phone or cable service and committed you to nothing...  
>>> wouldn't you take it? ...
> Scene: Average suburban home, engineer in a hard hat with "NBN" on it 
> knocks at front door. Door opened by householder with a toddler in each 
> hand.
1. Carriers are required to give notice. The tech doesn't just turn up.
> Technician: "Good morning, we are installing the NBN in you street,
> would you like a connection?"
> Householder: "I didn't order one."
> Technician: "We are making a free connection offer to everyone in the
> street."
2. It's not a "free connection offer". It's a wholesale infrastructure 

3. Although NBN Co is being polite in Tasmania, consent is not required 
for a "low impact facility" (although make-good is a requirement, and it 
makes good publicity sense to avoid unnecessary conflict with the punters).
> Householder: "What will it do for me?"
> Technician: "You get very high quality Internet and digital TV"
4. See (2). Also note, "Since Telstra is decommissioning its copper, 
you'll need this to maintain access to the telephone, and to any fixed 
broadband services you may be purchasing".
> Householder: "We already have Internet and digital TV"
> Technician: "This is better."
> Householder: "And it is free?"
> Technician: "The installation is free and endorsed by the
> Australian Government."
> Householder: "That is what the people who installed the ceiling
> insulation said. I am still trying to get the smell of smoke out of the 
> carpet."
5. Am I the only person in the country that can read a statistic? 200 
house fires (maybe, since some are still under investigation) out of 
400,000 houses insulated?

There are 10,000 house fires in Australia each year. So 2% of these may 
have been insulation caused; and these 200 represent a failure rate of 
0.05% of the total homes insulated.
> Technician: "This will give you access to the new communications world."
> Householder: "Like on my iPhone?"
6. Not like the iPhone. Faster downloads than the iPhone; cheaper, on a 
per-GB per month basis. When do you expect (say) 20 GB per month iPhone 
plans to be less than $50 per month?
> Technician: "No, we need to put in a cable."
> Householder: "But my iPhone and digital TV don't need a cable."
> Technician: "This is much better."
> Householder: "Okay, but I have to go out in half an hour, so you will 
> have to be quick."
> Technician: "The trench digger is just around the corner."
> Householder: "You want to dig a trench through my garden! To install 
> something I don't want? Go away!"
7. Which returns to (1), that the NBN Co will be giving notice, not just 
"turning up", and that in most cases, no trench will be required anyhow 
because a conduit already exists. This is why an arrangement with 
Telstra is so important.


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