[LINK] Demand 'still not there' for 1Gbps: NBN Co

David Lochrin dlochrin at key.net.au
Mon Feb 13 11:55:40 AEDT 2017

On Sunday 12 February 2017 22:34:43 Paul Brooks wrote:

> Do we need to supply 1 Gbps to the majority of premises today? No.
> Will we sometime in the next 15- 20 years? Absolutely. It's only 10x over what we can provide today. 
> So we should absolutely only spend the money once to provide the specs we need now,  with enough headroom to be also able to provide the specs we'll need over the next decades. Because it costs no more to do it this way.

The problem with this argument is that (a) it's focussed on technology rather than actual human needs, and (b) David Boxall's original post concerned NBN services in the bush not densely populated cities.

Jan points out that speeds have increased by a factor of (say) a million from ~0.0000096 Mbit/s dialup in the early 90's to ADSL2+ data rates now.  But it would be difficult to argue that the economic "utility" of that bandwidth has also increased by a million times.  Voice typically takes less than 20 Kbit/s, better & more interactive web technology takes much more, and the big bandwidth user is video.  However a typical household will comfortably fit all that in 10 Mbit/sec.

Even I Gbit/s is 100 times more again.  And many remote areas now have 0.0 Mbit/sec.

Given that we're dealing with broadband Back o' Bourke and not greater Sydney, the cost of providing 10 Mbit/sec in remote areas is likely to be orders of magnitude less than 1 Gbit/sec.  While I'm no fan of the current Government's approach, all governments have to make package decisions - what is worth doing within the country's economic constraints.

So I suggest arguments about baandwidth in remote areas need to be properly thought through in terms of utility and cost/benefit if they're to get a hearing where it counts.

David L.

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