[LINK] Battery back-up mandatory for NBN?

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Tue Nov 2 10:55:06 AEDT 2010

On 1/11/2010 11:11 AM, Tom Worthington wrote:
> Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
>> On 29/10/2010 9:27 AM, Tom Worthington wrote:
>>> Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:
>>>> On 28/10/2010 9:20 AM, Tom Worthington wrote:
>>>>> My view is that the NBN is intended to replace the current telephone
>>>>> service ...
>> Which isn't replacing anything, it's a new service ...
> The NBN is replacing the copper cable to homes with fibre and replacing
> the analogue phone connection with a digital emulation.
>> ... to a very small  number of users. ...
> Keep in mind that "green-field" NBN sites will include large apartment
> blocks as well as new suburbs of detached houses. There are about
> 280,000 new dwellings built in Australia each year of which an
> increasing proportion will be new apartment buildings:
> <http://www.nhsc.org.au/state_of_supply/2009_ssr_rpt/SoSR_ch3.htm#tbl_3_2>.
>> How many people need lifeline services? Very few, as far as I know.
> There are about 5.4 million emergency calls per year in Australia to
> Triple Zero and the other emergency numbers:
> <http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/1001/pc=PC_311422>.
> I expect we will see increasing numbers of these made by other than a
> voice call. Already there is the 106 text-based emergency number,
> provided by the National Relay Service: http://www.relayservice.com.au/>.
>> The question that I ask, and I think Paul Brooks has asked as well, is
>> "why should everyone have to have a battery if most don't need it?"
> Mandatory safety features are intended to protect the public, even where
> individuals might not wish to pay for that protection. As an example,
> some homes are required to have mains powered battery backed alarms,
> larger apartment blocks have back to base alarms. These are costs which
> an individual home owner might not want, but they do not get that
> choice. I suggest that battery backup for the NBN is in the same category.
>> ... Who is responsible if a battery fails in a life threatening situation?
> If battery backup fails and a death results, it will be for the Coroners
> Court to decide who is at fault. If there are many deaths, then it is
> likely a Royal Commission would investigate. There may also be civil
> court cases. It would need to be determined if there was a failure in
> policy, design or implementation. I act as an expert witness in such cases.
>> I don't know what world you live in Tom, but $90-150m/year forever isn't
>> a few dollars in mine.
> This is about 3% of the cost of the service, which seems reasonable. I
> expect that is less than the cost of the emergency calling services,
> including Triple Zero.
>> And it is reported that the overkill regarding battery number is likely
>> to give rise to environmental problems. I wonder what your students on
>> green ICT courses think of that? ...
> My Green ICT course covers "Materials Use" briefly:
> <http://www.tomw.net.au/green/>.
> Working out the effects of the NBN batteries would make a good student
> assignment:<http://cs.anu.edu.au/Student/comp7310/>.
> ...
For me, the cogent points are:
* Environmental cost;
* Need.
The need is questionable, given that mobile coverage is generally 
superior to land lines. The environmental cost is not justified, given 
that only a tiny fraction of one percent _may_ be needed.

The fact that copper-line phones continue to function when mains power 
fails is convenient serendipity. When fixed line was the only option, it 
may have been arguable that the convenience was a necessity. Given that 
we have mobiles as an alternative, the argument is void.

Batteries may not be a problem for us, but they are a problem. Yes, 
they're recyclable. Recyclable where? Where it's cheapest.

"THIAROYE SUR MER, Senegal — First, it took the animals. Goats fell 
silent and refused to stand up. Chickens died in handfuls, then en 
masse. Street dogs disappeared.

Then it took the children. Toddlers stopped talking and their legs gave 
out. Women birthed stillborns. Infants withered and died. Some said the 
houses were cursed. Others said the families were cursed.

The mysterious illness killed 18 children in this town on the fringes of 
Dakar, Senegal's capital, before anyone in the outside world noticed. 
When they did — when the TV news aired parents' angry pleas for an 
investigation, when the doctors ordered more tests, when the West sent 
health experts — they did not find malaria, or polio or AIDS, or any of 
the diseases that kill the poor of Africa.

They found lead."

As I said, not a problem for us.

For once, let's try thinking beyond our own narrow obsessions.

David Boxall                    |  All that is required
                                |  for evil to prevail is
http://david.boxall.id.au       |  for good men to do nothing.
                                |     -- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

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