Wednesday, April 8, 2009

National Broadband Net? Ha!

Beeso's curious as to my outlook on the NBN posited by Kruddy boy. Well, first I'd like to recommend the following link to y'all:

Crikey! to the rescue

The lads at Crikey have provided a reaction-shot to this thing that pretty much mirrors my own thoughts for the moment. I will add only one more thing, though: Kruddy's promise is 90% of Oz homes. Everyone else gets to suck satellite and wireless -- the same sack of useless electro-shit, redolent with latency and dropouts and overcrowding and brutally high user-costs that I'm currently using.

I also note that Australia is basically 90% urban. So if I read Kruddy right, he's laying out $43,000,000,000,000 of our bucks to ensure that people who can ALREADY get broadband will get MUCH FASTER broadband (with inbuilt censorship hardware, no question about it) and those who currently cannot get broadband can suck it.

So -- WTF is new, then?


  1. I think the last proposal for univeral braodband coverage was 85%.

    So I guess what is new is 4%!

    When put like that it doesn't seem like we are getting much for $43,000,000,000,000
    does it.

    And for people in your situation its even less.

  2. Obviously I allow 1% for + or - error.

    Not that I typed 4 when I meant to press 5 or anything.

  3. Breaking the Telstra monopoly is a good thing at that price probably not. Still our internet capacity is well behind other first world nations.

  4. I'm tentatively optimistic actually. I'm heartily sick of the Alston, Coonan and now Turnbull mantra that 2Mbps is good enough for anyone and please, please think of the capacity of any company to extract obscene profits from the largely unprofitable exercise, doesn't anyone care about the poor corporations. I think this is the logical outcome of the need to unscramble the eggs that the idiots who used to call themselves a government served up as an omelet called Telstra. That is, having given away an infrastructure built largely at public expense, the only way to get anything like the infrastructure we need is to do build it again from scratch. And I'm glad they're talking about how maybe it isn't profitable and maybe the government just has to do it. That stuff makes sense.

    Really, if you still needed a reason to piss on Howard's grave, once he has one, that's a good place to start.

  5. Hey there - leaving today - will call you from Lonnie. Bob.

  6. Damian... your 2Mbps looks pretty frakkin' good next to my 512kbps satellite speeds. I'd be pretty happy if Kruddy was making that kind of offer to rural Oz.

    In general -- yeah, I reckon a floggin' great upgrade of Oz communications infrastructure is way, way overdue, and clearly Telstra are never going to get involved. It's something the national community requires, and the absolute, rockbottom weakness of the Capitalist way is that it serves the profit margin and the shareholders, and does not acknowledge the existence of concepts like "the commonwealth" and "public good" or even "public need." So it's a government task, no question.

    But personally, I don't think it'll mean anything once you get past the edge of suburbia.

  7. The positive thing though Flint, is that if you have huge packets of bandwidth available as far as the edges of the suburbs, and at least to the centres of a few larger towns, you can pump a lot of wireless service into those local hubs. Internode have a bunch of cool radio based stuff going out in SA right now, and community-based wifi "mesh" networks are springing up everywhere. When you and nice big fat pipes to the back ends of these things, you can really extend something rather better than 512kbps out to a lot more places.

  8. Erm, "when you add". I need to learn to read before posting.

  9. If turnbull had his way it'd be wireless and satellite for us all.... We really do need better speeds, all of us, to take advantage of the tech that is coming down the pipe.

    It looks like i'll have to hire a backoe and lay that cable myself to your door Flinty, cause a lot of the really cool stuff we could do with the food site needs that fat pipe, well fatter than piss thick 512 and probably $1000 per meg excess fees anyway.

  10. Well another way it can work is like this...

    Is there anywhere on your land that has line of site to somewhere that the fibre is going? If not, anywhere on your neighbor's land? IEEE 802.11n is due to be ratified in the next couple of years, and has the capacity to carry 100s of Mbps over the air. Wireless relays are not that expensive in the scheme of things (in the low tens of thousands if you include solar/wind power and batteries), and a co-operative of local landowners could easily create a very decent private backbone that way.

    Of course there'd be no point if your choices were to either piggy back it off someone's crappy ADSL offering, or run it all the way to a city. But if there's fibre going out to the rural centres, mesh-topology wireless networks could really make a difference.

  11. Trouble is guys that you're trusting the government to do the job proper like.. I'm not disagreeing that relying on the private sector to roll out that sort of thing is unlikely to happen.

    However by freezing out telstra and saying we're going it alone this sounds like a $43 Billion project that is going to make alot of money for soem and still land us with a service that by the time it is finihsed will probably be behind the rest of the OECD nations...

  12. You guys OBVIOUSLY don't do online gaming. Sigh. We're SHIT against those damn yanks and their damn servers.

    Get the FRICKEN network up to WARP FACTOR NINE SCOTTY and give those yanks a good old thwopping.

    I'll happily let my taxes go on that.

    ...and isn't Tassie getting the setup first, Cap'n Negative?.

  13. Moko I do occassionaly but then I've got 20 megs per sec anyway...

    One of the few advanatages of living in the centre of perth

  14. Man, I'm seriously risking troll status here, but you have kicked one of my hot buttons.

    My father's family come from out near Cunamulla and I live in regional Qld so I have some rural chops.
    When one chooses to live in a rural or regional community one weighs up the pros & cons.
    Pros - kids are unlikely to learn how to steal cars & take speed in grade 7 in the one room school. Clean environment, relationships with neighbours & natural beauty yah di yah.
    Cons - Limited facilities taken for granted in the Big Smoke eg; No Choice of Thai takeaways, no high-end medical facilities and limited web speed.

    When I hear a rural community moan that they don't have XY and or Z I think - well you chose to live there.

    Now before you roast me I do believe there should be a certain standard maintained, but (using the medical an example) I can't imagine a time when the very latest MRI facilities are in every 2bit hamlet.
    What is that standard? F*ck knows. It's beyond my payscale. Should that decision be left up to the profit margin of some corporation? definitely not.
    So, do I think 512 is sufficient? well no.
    Do I think the good folks of Bumble-F*ck or Kickatinalong should get exactly the same level of service as the urbanites - it'd be nice but I canna see it happening.
    And if I had my hands on the consolidated revenue piggy bank I'd be spending it on medical & social services long before I upped the intramanet speed. I recognise the arguments about Tele-medicine & Web based education, but for the $ wouldn't rural communities be better off with additional teachers, community nurses, GPs etc?

    Perhaps my thinking is short term & as the network is rolled out new apps will develop to a point where a town with out high end Broadband will be as disadvantaged as a town without a sealed road.
    But from where I stand it aint there yet.

  15. I have a friend that can actually see the flag on top of Parliament House from her window and cannot get broadband. I am just saying...

  16. N-Bob

    You've got it backwards, man. Thing is, there's bugger-all keeping folk in the bush. They're leaving. The little towns are dying. Your whole rural existence is petering out, and the people who COULD make a difference -- people like myself and my wife, with useful skills that can really change a small country town -- don't want to be out here because there's nothing for them.

    Now, for Nat that's not quite true -- she likes the challenge of rural medicine. But she's uncomfortable with the schooling provided for her kids. And she's unhappy with the lack of learning facilities, and the lack of cultural interaction. And myself, as a writer: I don't like being so cut off from my fellow writers. And as a martial arts instructor, I don't like being so far from the mainstream of what's going on.

    The Internet offers really useful answers. Elder Son plays math games online. We get a lot of our Spanish material that way, and a lot of our other stuff too. Natalie takes fiddle lessons from an Irish fiddler in Florida, USA. I keep in touch with you guys -- but also, with my fellow writers and publishers. And I teach via the 'Net.

    Get the picture? It's not about bringing the rural experience up to the city level. N-Bob... I can live without immediate access to live theatre, coffee shops, cinema, markets, funky little stores, social events, nifty foreign cuisine, etc. I'm happy to trade all of that stuff for my clean air, clean water, open sky, and freedom for my kids.

    But the truth is, N-Bob, that you WANT me out here, and my wife. You want the doctor out here who delivers babies and handles outbreaks and deals with industrial accidents. You want the bloke who teaches a generation of kids physical skills and self-reliance and self-discipline. You want the amateur muso, and the writer who's prepared to teach high school kids. You want the three smart kids who bring more than sports, sports and football to the school.

    You want all of us out here, because our presence here makes towns like this one -- which supplies your onions, and your potatoes, and your milk, and your rhubarb -- continue to be viable. And when we've finally had enough... when people like Natalie and I, or our PhD neighbours Tony and Anna who run the nursery, or our neighbours Mike and Eddy who work at the university and so forth... when we've had enough, and we pull the plug and go because we've had a gutful of being left in the Victorian age, you will very soon discover that your city existence is a lot less comfortable as a result.

    Now... if you'll excuse me, that's about to become my next post.

  17. Flint, as quietly as I can say this, I had the impression NBob didn't live in a big city as such either.

    What I was going to say is that funding, while vital and often clearly inadequate, isn't the whole story for all the things NBob was talking about, and some of the problems really can be solved with improved connectivity. The example I'm thinking of is that Queensland has a severe shortage of geriatricians in regional centres, and much worse in rural and remote areas. The funding may well be there, it just isn't possible to attract specialists out there. One project I've had the privilege to be marginally involved with is one that takes a web interface out to nurses in regional places, sets out a fill-in form about their geriatric patients and then provides a comprehensive evaluation of their needs, risks and other issues.

    See, there's more and more that can be done with better connectivity. The more the better really.

  18. "But the truth is, N-Bob, that you WANT me out here, and my wife. You want the doctor out here who delivers babies and handles outbreaks and deals with industrial accidents."

    I hadn't chewed that critical social mass angle.

    %100 fair cop - I hadn't thought about it that way.

    A good point well made sir.

  19. I found your arguments quite compelling, Dirk.

    For the record, a billion is 1,000,000,000. Twelve zeros gets you a trillion.

  20. Oh. Crap. You're right. Sorry about that.