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

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Tue May 11 09:56:17 AEST 2010

Tom Worthington wrote:
> David Boxall wrote:
>> On 7/05/2010 10:31 AM, Tom Worthington wrote:
>>> ...
>>> 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.
>>> ...
>> That's a big if. ...
> Wireless mobile is becomming mainstream. Smart phones are getting 
> cheaper and more common. Netbooks are now under $500 and a crop of 
> cheaper iPad inspired tablet computers is on the way.
> The cost of wireless Internet access is dropping and can drop much more: 
> never mind mining, the government should put a super-profits tax on 
> wireless Internet. ;-)

Nobody's denying the popularity of wireless. The question is whether its 
capability is comparable to a 100 Mbps FTTP solution. I say no; the 
Shannon-Hartley theorem says no; even some of the wireless vendors 
(Ericsson is on the record here) say no.

What frustrates me about the wireless-versus-fibre discussion is that 
it's unnecessary. There's no reason to treat the choice as exclusive. 
The cellular base stations will benefit from ubiquitous fibre anyway. 
But saying "skip fibre, build lots of base stations instead" gets the 
wrong end of the stick, in terms of network performance, network cost, 
and energy demands.

One reason - not the only, just one - that some people are willing to 
skip the fixed line is because of the hassles involved in moving (given 
the highly mobile nature of about 10% of people). But if the fibre is 
there, and there's no conflict of interest getting in the way of 
relocation / activation, would their behaviour remain the same?

> Many of the people I see each day have a mobile gadget in use much of
> the time, either a smart phone or a netbook computer, or both (few
> tablets so far). Admittedly these are early adopters, not a
> cross section of society.
> A few weeks ago I came across Dr Genevieve Bell, Digital Home Group 
> Director, User Experience Group, Intel Corporation, at the cafe of the 
> State Library of South Australia, with a smart phone in one hand and a 
> laptop in the other. Each device had a wireless connection and she was 
> looking from one to the other, while holding a conversation on the 
> relative merits of the iPad versus Kindle: 
> <http://blog.tomw.net.au/2010/04/adelaide-north-terrace-cultural.html>. ;-)

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