Australian broadband adventures, Q3 2019


Australia’s mediocre Internet used to come as a surprise to people overseas, but it continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Iain Morris summarised it well for Broadband World News:

When the NBN idea was originally floated under a previous government, the intention was to extend full-fiber networks to most Australian properties. After a subsequent administration balked at the likely expense, NBN embarked on a rollout using a mixture of access technologies. Just 17% of homes are being covered by fiber, with cable, copper, mobile and satellite networks serving the remainder. It does not sound like the most future-proof system.

I remember a university tutor saying wireless would solve everything too. But unsurprisingly, this hodgepodge has now cost more, in part because economies of scale couldn’t be realised, the existing HFC networks were shockingly not fit for purpose, and because of political lies and spin. Spending more now to future-proof the system would have been worth it, but we don’t even get that.

This week we got these fun stories:

  • Telstra’s CEO claimed Australian Internet would have been faster and cheaper without the NBN. People won’t understand things if their pay cheques depend on them not understanding it, but it was a fun observation nonetheless.

  • Rural customers are being told to not expect fibre connections anytime soon, because their needs are less than those in cities. This from the same minister who said moving to the bush was the answer to housing affordability, but that people need to move back to cities because of failed drought policy and lack of jobs in part due to poor connectivity.

  • NBNco, staffed with the current Government’s pricks—that was supposed to be picks but I’m keeping it—are so fed up with how poorly their network is faring, have released their own broadband rankings in which we outperform Germany and France. Problem solved!

One of those stories was fake. If you live overseas, try to guess which one before clicking any links.

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