[LINK] Australia's NBN has become a national shame

David Boxall linkdb at boxall.name
Tue Feb 14 21:09:44 AEDT 2017

Somebody must hang!
> When will Australia's chances of getting a decent broadband — as 
> opposed to fraudband — network improve? When the government's 
> neoliberal thinking that every public project must yield a profit from 
> day one is set aside.
> Last week, we were given a classic example of what happens when one 
> expects every public utility to make money from day one. (And it is 
> day one for the NBN; the damn thing is not even completed).
> A statement attributed to NBN Co chairman Bill Morrow, that 
> Australians would not use super-fast broadband connections even if 
> these were offered gratis, says it all.
> Morrow made the comment shortly after announcing the company's 
> half-year results which showed the loss on the rollout had blown out 
> to $1.83 billion.
> The fact is, the prices for the connectivity virtual circuit, which 
> provides a consumer bandwidth from the point of interconnect and is 
> priced depending on usage of data, are too high. But do you think 
> Morrow will offer the average punter that perspective? No, he would be 
> out of a job on the morrow if he did. And when you are pocketing $3.3 
> million an annum, you don't want that happening, do you?
> Why is it that no ISP offering NBN connections has plans that will 
> give anything more than 100/40Mbps? Because, even at these pitiable 
> speeds — and when one is thinking of fibre the word pitiable is apt — 
> the cost is far too high.
> To many people, the sight of a 25Mbps plan is enough; they have been 
> struggling with connections that provide single-digit bandwidth and 
> anything better is welcomed. Then, once they are connected, they find 
> out the truth: in many cases their old connections were faster.
> The fine print on any ISP's plans page tells the story. Here is a 
> typical statement, this being from iiNet: "These speeds are maximum 
> connection speeds as provided by NBN Co. Actual throughput speeds may 
> be slower and could vary due to many factors including type/source of 
> content being downloaded, hardware and software configuration, the 
> number of users simultaneously using the network and performance of 
> interconnecting infrastructure not operated by iiNet. Devices 
> connected by Wi-Fi may experience slower speeds than those connected 
> by Ethernet cable. The Basic speed option has a maximum upload line 
> speed of up to 1Mbps. The Boost speed option has a maximum upload line 
> speed of up to 5Mbps. The Max speed option has a maximum upload line 
> speed of up to 40Mbps."
> So what happened to the great plan hatched by Malcolm Turnbull and the 
> NBN Co to make Australia agile and innovative? Seems to have fallen 
> off somewhere in the great Australian desert and disappeared under a 
> pile of dust.
> In no other country has this kind of unseemly mess been created over 
> something that could only take the nation in one direction: forward. 
> Australia is unique in this respect, but it is nothing to be proud about.
> If the government of the day had sought to make a profit off the 
> electricity network when it was being rolled out, we would be still 
> using kerosene lamps. If the people in power had wanted returns from 
> day one for providing gas to premises for heating and cooking, we 
> would still be using firewood.
> And if the bottomline had taken precedence when providing piped water 
> to the home, then we would all be still making trips to the community 
> well, buckets in hand.
> The whole point of the NBN is that it opens up the chance of doing 
> business in a remote location without actually having to be up there. 
> The dullards in Canberra fail to recognise this, never mind their 
> avowed devotion to business. They can understand the concept of 
> handing over cash via tax cuts to their mates in business; they 
> cannot, even if they tried, comprehend the benefits that a reliable 
> broadband network, which allows the transfer of bits and bytes 
> quickly, can bring.
> When their own interests are threatened, pollies can be eloquent. 
> Senator Ian Macdonald was at his voluble best last week when he argued 
> for retention of the travel gold pass, the one that gives retired 
> pollies the chance to gallivant around and bill it to you and me. But 
> when it comes to the NBN, what's in it for Macdonald? You can't use it 
> for free trips.
> On Wednesday, I had a call from a friend who was trying to transfer 
> some audio files from his laptop at home to a server at a place he 
> works; the files are small but given recent rains in the area, data 
> transfer speeds have slowed to an absolute crawl in the area he lives. 
> This is just the small picture of how people are inconvenienced when a 
> network cannot provide speedy data transfers.
> Finally, he gave and put the files on a flash drive and drove to his 
> workplace.
> The original concept for the NBN had its flaws. One could argue that 
> it was not properly planned. But the technology was the right one. It 
> pains me to have to repeat all the arguments put forward since then. 
> You, gentle reader, have probably heard them a dozen times or more.
> We are stuck in a morass at the moment, where political parties feel 
> they have to prevail, else they will lose face. The populace be damned.
> In 2025, it is quite likely that there will be election promises to 
> rebuild the NBN. That's the direction things are taking. From being 
> something to be proud about, the NBN has now become a national shame.

David Boxall                    |  For when the One Great Scorer comes
                                 |  To mark against your name,
http://david.boxall.id.au       |  He writes-not that you won or lost-
                                 |  But how you played the game.
--Grantland Rice

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