[LINK] tRe: NBN white-elephant-to-be ...

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Fri Aug 27 17:30:57 AEST 2010

On 2010/Aug/27, at 4:28 PM, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:

> Kim Holburn wrote:
>> On 2010/Aug/27, at 12:10 PM, David Boxall wrote:
>>> On 26/08/2010 3:56 PM, Kim Holburn wrote:
>>>> ...
>>>> Say between Canberra and Sydney, how many towers,
>>>> how many relays, how much power for say 45Mb compared to one fibre?
>>>> Maybe a relay or two but all but built in to the cable. ...
>>> So, long term, fibre is the green alternative?
>> Cheaper, greener.   Perhaps cheaper is the more important here.
>> Fibre is much cheaper and less energy intensive to make and far  
>> less  energy to run than copper.  So far it has been the  
>> terminations and  optical transceivers that are more expensive.  I  
>> imagine this will  change eventually.  For instance if nearly every  
>> household in  Australia has one - it might help bring the price down.
> Something there has been limited discussion of is training programs  
> for the people who would build and maintain the network,  
> particularly in "the bush".

Isn't the NBN a kind of company?  Are we going to try and micromanage  
the whole process?  They've planned it, why not let them get on with  
it?  As for training and people: what they have to do isn't a lot  
different to what Telstra does.  I would think there are lots of  
people who could lay cables, set up nodes etc.   We already have fibre  
to nodes.  People are already doing it.  Laying cable is laying  
cable.  Training staff is training staff - is what projects have to do.

> When this was raised at the briefing, the glib response to the  
> Australian content of the project was that the trenches would in  
> Australia. This side of the NBN hasn't had much media coverage - or  
> I missed it.
> By contrast here is an example of the US pitch:
> <http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/06/09/usda-broadband-report-highlights-role-recovery-act-bringing-connectivity-rural-ameri 
> >

I'm not sure what your point is here.  Most of the equipment is  
manufactured in China or Asia, same situation in the US.  Australians  
will be installing and maintaining it, won't they?  I heard several  
people in the election frenzy talk about how the NBN would help jobs  
in the country.  Would allow country people to access resources  
available in the city.  That's all your link appears to be talking  
about AFAICT.  People in the country are desperate for this.  Why do  
you think people are leaving the Nationals and becoming independents?   
I particularly remember the Mayor of Mt Gambier saying they had a  
beautiful place and could easily expand if they had resources like  
access to decent internet.

That's what the NBN is about.  It's not economic for private companies  
to do this in a place as spread out as Australia.  It wasn't economic  
to put in roads or the telephone system.  Unless we want to turn our  
backs on the country we need to put in infrastructure.  Unless we have  
a group leveraging the cheap, dense productive networks like the  
cities and using that to pay for the country we'll end up just paying  
for the country while companies grab the rich pickings.  Privatising  
profit and socialising loss. And the owners of the last mile will  
continue to squabble and rip each other off to our detriment.

We need a legislative framework before we can let free market forces  
loose on this.  The framework would be an owner of the last mile  
infrastructure (or last 100 miles or whatever in the outback) which  
wasn't allowed to compete on content.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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