[LINK] National Broadband Network - except it's not national.

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Fri May 7 10:31:32 AEST 2010

On 6/05/2010 4:30 PM, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
> So the NBN is not "a contiguous national network". It's a collection
>  of regional hubs connected to access points (homes and business)
> with backhaul to provide connectivity where it has not been
> commercially viable. (see page 29, Exhibit 1-7) ...

Yes. This is similar to the successful strategy adopted by the
Australian Government for the national railway network. The government
set up a non-profit company which has not built much new railway track, 
except some to ports. Instead it has refurbished the track, put in a 
standardised signalling network and agreements so that train operators 
can have access:

I see the NBN as similar: join up the networks we have, allow
competing services on the network and add the missing links. The real
challenge I see is from wireless mobile access.

If the primary way to access the Internet is from a wireless mobile
device, then most of the need for fibre to the home disappears.

It might be a bit cheaper and provide a slightly higher speed to use
your wireless device via WiFi when at home, but may not be worth the

This would be similar to the early days of mobile phones, when there
were some dual system handsets. You could buy a mobile phone handset
which would also work with a home base station as a cordless land line 
handset. The logic behind this was that it was cheaper to use the 
landline than the mobile service. Also it allowed calls in on your 
normal landline number. But mobile services are now cheap enough and 
normal enough that few would bother with this arrangement.

Similarly it might be worth having a fibre optic link for IPTV on the
big screen in the lounge room, but not for other devices in the home. 
Most of the Internet devices in the home will be portable and so you 
will want to take them with you and have them still work.

ps: My railway analogy breaks down when it comes to Very Fast Trains for
passengers. The current Australian national network is for
freight. Passenger services would require a new network, somewhat like
putting in a new fibre optic backbone. Last year I suggested using very
fast trains and broadband in place of the second Sydney airport. Selling
land in new towns with broadband access along the route would cover some 
of the cost:

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/user/3890

More information about the Link mailing list