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Bad buffering

By Andrew Leigh MP 27 June 2016 20

NBNCo Palmerston 010

I was 11 years old when I bought my first computer. It was 1984, and the machine was a Mattel Aquarius. Rubber keys, cassette tape drive, less than 4 kilobytes of memory, and black and white television as a screen.

Back then, the only way to transfer data was on a cassette tape.

There’s been a trail of inspiration and innovation to get us from magnetic tape to cloud storage. We didn’t get from the Aquarius to the iPad Air by settling for second best. In technology, standing still is going backwards.

But the Liberal government wants take a step backwards in time. In the past few years, they’ve bought millions of metres of copper.

Since the change of government, and Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to abandon a fibre-to-the-premises strategy in favour of a copper-based broadband strategy, Australia has fallen from 30th to 60th in global internet speed rankings.

The NBN is critical 21st century infrastructure. More and more people rely on the smooth flow of data for their work, study and daily activities. Internet speed and access are now key considerations for almost every household and business.

These days, a single fibre optical cable can carry over 3 million phone calls or 90,000 TV channels. The capacity of optic fibre is being improved every month. Once we start to compromise on the key parts of our telecommunications infrastructure, we throttle the momentum of innovation and progress.

I like to think of the internet as the information superhighway. Copper is the equivalent of a road made of dirt, fibre is a highway built with concrete.

Copper was a great technology – for the 19th century. Yet the Liberals believe we should be buying it to build a 21st century network.

Labor wants to invest in fibre – the future’s technology – because it’s stronger, safer, more flexible, more durable, and almost impossible to overload.

We’re not particularly good at forecasting where technology will take us. Through inspiration or iteration, innovations spring up in unexpected places and forms. But this can only happen if we anticipate change when we plan our technology infrastructures.

Back when I had my Aquarius, the Sydney Morning Herald’s computer columnist predicted that no computer program would ever need more than 16k of memory. Today, I receive emails containing more than 16k of data about once a minute.

Malcolm Turnbull seriously believes Canberrans will only ever need 25 megabits per second of data. Yet 100 megabits per second is already the urban standard in South Korea, and that country is now rolling out 1000 megabits per second services.

Good luck keeping up.

Speedy data transfer means large files can be moved quickly around the world, allowing global collaboration and competition. Smooth, reliable streaming will enable remote health consultations with specialists, masterclasses with global experts, and easy connections to family and friends.

It means that as the number of people using the internet as their primary media channel continues to increase, speed and access won’t dip drastically in peak times.

The Liberals don’t understand how critical superfast broadband is to business and education. They don’t understand how the best connectivity can vastly expand the market-reach and productivity of a small business. They are content with Australia being a 60th-best nation.

Already, ACT tech businesses are voting with their feet by setting up in Gungahlin, where Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises connections are available.

But the Liberals want to connect most of the rest of the northside up to an inferior system. Nationally, Malcolm Turnbull’s broadband is costing twice as much as he promised, and taking twice as long to complete.

The Liberals have scandalously derailed the NBN. They are threatening Australia’s broadband future.

I want you to join me and sign the petition to demand a better solution, sooner.

Andrew Leigh is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, and his website is www.andrewleigh.com.

What’s Your opinion?


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MarkE 12:41 pm 01 Jul 16

Why all this focus on fiber v. copper? The physical layer is only one layer on a 7 layer OSI model.

The fact it is NBN remains a huge government owned monopoly that will be slow to innovate and has blocked all competition from the market that will stifle Australian telecommunications developments for decades.

If you want quality Internet break up the NBN and sell it off.

JC 11:16 pm 29 Jun 16

HiddenDragon said :

Why just the northsiders? I am in Woden, and the best I can get is 500Kbps per second on ADSL2. We don’t even have VDSL here. Meanwhile gungahlin got and is still getting even under liberal, fiber to the home, its the only place in Aus still getting FTTH except for new greenfields developments, check the rollout map if you don’t believe me.

So I presume this is the belconnen northsiders you’re campaining for since gungahlin is already covered. Soon as you change the petition to include southsiders as well I will sign. At least belconnen has VDSL unlike most of us down southside, not as good as fiber but way better than the ADSL were still on.

Maybe because Andrew Leigh who wrote the is the member for the electorate that essentially covers the Northside.

No_Nose 5:00 pm 29 Jun 16

devils_advocate said :

That’s like saying “the limits of gravity are being solved”..

They haven’t been?

Should I cancel my flight to Brisbane on Friday?

Dilandach 10:34 am 29 Jun 16

Maya123 said :

The NBN has to obey the laws of cost benefit analysis.
As pointed out above there are two news stories anticipating commercial realisation of technologies that are already beyond the offering of NBN.

Costs per km are related to manual installation, which requires armies of people to deliver. A number of the contractors have gone belly up, others got short changed on their work. Costs are now increasing.
Most countries putting in fibre networks have relatively low labour costs.

I’m not sure how I could make it more clear.
So current tech proven by Telstra and others is over 1000mbps. Using existing networks.
5g in the lab can do 1000,000mbps.
Even if only 1% of that is available then its 10Gbps. 100 times the speed of current NBN.

You seem to be under the mistaken belief that fibre is a technology that is an obsolete medium being pushed on the NBN.

Why do you think every single IT professional in the country screams ‘do it right, do it with fibre’? It’s because we understand current and future requirements and understand the underlying decisions behind choosing fibre.

Looking at current speeds for fibre provided NBN is a sideshow, as network technologies hit the market for the end user that increase throughput the only things that need to be changed in regard to a fibre network are the endpoints. There is no requirement to dig up cables and replace them with ‘faster’ cables (such as upgrading the waveform devices at each end),

You like numbers? I like numbers. Let’s have a look at the current rates that can be pushed over fibre and the ‘lab’ performance numbers then we’ll move on to your figures.

In 2013 NEC was able to push across 1.05 Petabits across a single fibre in a lab environment. Which is 8,000,000Gbps. That was in 2013.

http://optics.org/news/4/1/29

The current connection between the US and Australia within a cable known as the unity cable system (a collaboration of multiple companies) EAC-Pacific is the name given to two pairs of fibre that are independently managed by PACNet that provide 1.92 Tbit/s of capacity. There’s no string of 5G towers across the oceans… I wonder why?

5G in the lab… The conditions are highly controlled in a way that they’re not even comparable to real world conditions. In the real world are you really going to be standing within 50 metres of a tower at all times in perfect line of sight with no other devices connecting to the same tower at the time with zero other signals on the spectrum to contend with, no physical barriers such as walls, trees, buildings, weather? No, you wouldn’t. The real world speeds of 5G i’ve seen touted have been between 500Mbps and 3Gbps download which is good and I’m by no means poopoo-ing 5G but by the same token I’m no under any illusion that this is a reason to ever move away from fibre, no matter what 5G can achieve in the lab or real world it will always *always* lag behind what fibre can achieve, both actual and theoretical. What do you honestly think would be feeding all the 3/4/5G towers? Its not more towers, it’s also not copper.

5G is not scheduled to hit before 2020 and it enters the race where fibre has already done ten laps and only ever increasing the gap. Mobile technologies are just that, they’re meant for data access in mobility situations or where access isn’t available.

Mordd 8:40 am 29 Jun 16

Maya123 said :

devils_advocate said :

DcCbr said :

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

That’s like saying “the limits of gravity are being solved”.
Wireless has to obey the laws of physics, and it has very severe limitations in terms of contention, latency and cost that simply do not apply to optic-fibre.

As pointed out above, many many advanced economies are now streets ahead of us in terms of telecommunications access as a direct result of the Liberals’ choice to scotch the NBN in favor of their own poorly-performing and higher-cost short-term bodge.
As countries that are rolling out FTTP have demonstrated, year-on-year costs per installation and costs per km are falling for these modern technologies.
By contrast, FTTN (which was always really a Canute-like attempt to protect Foxtel by denying consumers access to high bandwidth fixed lines) has seen escalating costs in exchange for installations that have no long-term future and will inevitably need replacing with fibre-optic cables in the near future.

The NBN has to obey the laws of cost benefit analysis.
As pointed out above there are two news stories anticipating commercial realisation of technologies that are already beyond the offering of NBN.

Costs per km are related to manual installation, which requires armies of people to deliver. A number of the contractors have gone belly up, others got short changed on their work. Costs are now increasing.
Most countries putting in fibre networks have relatively low labour costs.

I’m not sure how I could make it more clear.
So current tech proven by Telstra and others is over 1000mbps. Using existing networks.
5g in the lab can do 1000,000mbps.
Even if only 1% of that is available then its 10Gbps. 100 times the speed of current NBN.

ROFL! Telstra current 5G trials have acheived 11Gbps in a lab. You will get 1% of that which is around 0.1 Gbps. It is not 100 times the speed of the NBN.

gooterz 9:33 pm 28 Jun 16

devils_advocate said :

DcCbr said :

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

That’s like saying “the limits of gravity are being solved”.
Wireless has to obey the laws of physics, and it has very severe limitations in terms of contention, latency and cost that simply do not apply to optic-fibre.

As pointed out above, many many advanced economies are now streets ahead of us in terms of telecommunications access as a direct result of the Liberals’ choice to scotch the NBN in favor of their own poorly-performing and higher-cost short-term bodge.
As countries that are rolling out FTTP have demonstrated, year-on-year costs per installation and costs per km are falling for these modern technologies.
By contrast, FTTN (which was always really a Canute-like attempt to protect Foxtel by denying consumers access to high bandwidth fixed lines) has seen escalating costs in exchange for installations that have no long-term future and will inevitably need replacing with fibre-optic cables in the near future.

The NBN has to obey the laws of cost benefit analysis.
As pointed out above there are two news stories anticipating commercial realisation of technologies that are already beyond the offering of NBN.

Costs per km are related to manual installation, which requires armies of people to deliver. A number of the contractors have gone belly up, others got short changed on their work. Costs are now increasing.
Most countries putting in fibre networks have relatively low labour costs.

I’m not sure how I could make it more clear.
So current tech proven by Telstra and others is over 1000mbps. Using existing networks.
5g in the lab can do 1000,000mbps.
Even if only 1% of that is available then its 10Gbps. 100 times the speed of current NBN.

gooterz 7:38 pm 28 Jun 16

Genie said :

DcCbr said :

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

Fttn is also increasing in speed.

The big issue as i pointed out is backhaul. How are do you get isps to pay the expensive CVC price? Many are offering lower speed plans compared to the old networks.

The fact that you used FUD just shows you are just regurgitating what was in the whirlpool thread of the same name

The limits of wireless… /picardface.

Wireless is a technology that works in conjunction with wired technologies. Its purpose is not to be the primary transport medium. It’s strengths are mobility, flexibility and provision of last mile access at a cost of never ever providing the same or better speed, reliability and security that fibre technologies provide.

Better tell that to the signal co

gooterz 7:38 pm 28 Jun 16

devils_advocate said :

DcCbr said :

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

That’s like saying “the limits of gravity are being solved”.
Wireless has to obey the laws of physics, and it has very severe limitations in terms of contention, latency and cost that simply do not apply to optic-fibre.

As pointed out above, many many advanced economies are now streets ahead of us in terms of telecommunications access as a direct result of the Liberals’ choice to scotch the NBN in favor of their own poorly-performing and higher-cost short-term bodge.
As countries that are rolling out FTTP have demonstrated, year-on-year costs per installation and costs per km are falling for these modern technologies.
By contrast, FTTN (which was always really a Canute-like attempt to protect Foxtel by denying consumers access to high bandwidth fixed lines) has seen escalating costs in exchange for installations that have no long-term future and will inevitably need replacing with fibre-optic cables in the near future.

Nice strawman

Dilandach 2:02 pm 28 Jun 16

DcCbr said :

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

Fttn is also increasing in speed.

The big issue as i pointed out is backhaul. How are do you get isps to pay the expensive CVC price? Many are offering lower speed plans compared to the old networks.

The fact that you used FUD just shows you are just regurgitating what was in the whirlpool thread of the same name

The limits of wireless… /picardface.

Wireless is a technology that works in conjunction with wired technologies. Its purpose is not to be the primary transport medium. It’s strengths are mobility, flexibility and provision of last mile access at a cost of never ever providing the same or better speed, reliability and security that fibre technologies provide.

bungers_boy 1:34 pm 28 Jun 16

Anyone can still get FTTP they just have to pay for it themselves if they want it rather than expecting the taxpayer to pay it for them.

HenryBG 11:53 am 28 Jun 16

DcCbr said :

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

That’s like saying “the limits of gravity are being solved”.
Wireless has to obey the laws of physics, and it has very severe limitations in terms of contention, latency and cost that simply do not apply to optic-fibre.

As pointed out above, many many advanced economies are now streets ahead of us in terms of telecommunications access as a direct result of the Liberals’ choice to scotch the NBN in favor of their own poorly-performing and higher-cost short-term bodge.
As countries that are rolling out FTTP have demonstrated, year-on-year costs per installation and costs per km are falling for these modern technologies.
By contrast, FTTN (which was always really a Canute-like attempt to protect Foxtel by denying consumers access to high bandwidth fixed lines) has seen escalating costs in exchange for installations that have no long-term future and will inevitably need replacing with fibre-optic cables in the near future.

gooterz 10:19 am 28 Jun 16

chewy14 said :

dungfungus said :

Mobile broadband is going to take over.

I haven’t seen someone say that since the coalition propaganda campaign from 2009… That entire statement is FUD. I’d love to properly explain it, but because you believe that statement is true tells me that you don’t have any knowledge of physics, and shouldn’t be discussing the subject in the first place.

If I avoid the technicalities and nuances, the laws of physics mean that the main limitation of wireless (throughput capacity) will never be solved. Unless we the laws of physics are somehow re-written, wireless will not be able serve as an alternative to fibre.

There’s a reason why nearly every other western developed country is ripping out their copper and replacing it with optic. Wireless has its place, but it will never replace fixed connections. Ever. The world is focusing on Fiber because even at current standards we’re not even using a fraction of its theoretical bandwidth….

The FTTN will be obsolete in 10 years. The coalition has literally wasted billions of dollars simply so they could get elected. The NBN is the greatest example of how the coalition being good “economic managers” is a myth, and it’s exactly why the party is known as a joke among respected right-wing economic circles & newspapers.

PS: Countries with extensive wireless networks (e.g. Japan) run off a large fibre backbone

dungfungus said :

Yet the NBN in comparison only offers 25mbps unless you are willing to pay over $100 a month.

The higher speed “tiers” of the NBN were never supposed to cost so much. After the Liberals hijacked the NBN board and replaced it with yes-men, they changed the pricing to push their political agenda. The price has been politically designed so people don’t take the NBN at the high speed levels, which gives the government an excuse to bash the plan that Labour had.

The limits of wireless are being solved.
The higher speed nbn was always expected to cost this much the high CVC was the only way to cover the huge cost of the network.

Fttn is also increasing in speed.

The big issue as i pointed out is backhaul. How are do you get isps to pay the expensive CVC price? Many are offering lower speed plans compared to the old networks.

The fact that you used FUD just shows you are just regurgitating what was in the whirlpool thread of the same name

pink little birdie 9:31 am 28 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

Fixed line connection days are over. A large percentage of people don’t even have a home telephone.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/telstra-to-launch-5g-network-tests/news-story/094565a784c895c6d3dcb4fb4a893e6d

This always an odd argument to me. Yeah lots of people won’t have a fixed telephone line but that could be because the for 30 year olds now had crackling and dropouts due to the old copper lines when we were 15-16 and talking on the home phone.
Every rental I’ve been in we haven’t had a fixed line phone but we sure have had fixed line internet. Same goes for my vast majority of my friends (a few have been in apartments where the only option has been wireless -but then had speed and capped internet).

The copper needs replacing (and has since Howard’s day) and we still use fixed line communications now it needs to do voice and internet with the bulk of usage internet.

rosscoact 8:57 am 28 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

I find it interesting that the network the ACT government helped build now offers a minimum speed though iinet of 100mbps. Yet the NBN in comparison only offers 25mbps unless you are willing to pay over $100 a month.

NBN is just too slow, too big, too expensive, and going to be outdated by 2020, its like a national light rail.

Baloney, you really should do some research.

I pay $89 a month for NBN and phone 100/40mbs (usually achieve ~97/39mbs) 1tb downloads.

I am a Rabbit™ 2:42 am 28 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

Mobile broadband is going to take over.

I haven’t seen someone say that since the coalition propaganda campaign from 2009… That entire statement is FUD. I’d love to properly explain it, but because you believe that statement is true tells me that you don’t have any knowledge of physics, and shouldn’t be discussing the subject in the first place.

If I avoid the technicalities and nuances, the laws of physics mean that the main limitation of wireless (throughput capacity) will never be solved. Unless we the laws of physics are somehow re-written, wireless will not be able serve as an alternative to fibre.

There’s a reason why nearly every other western developed country is ripping out their copper and replacing it with optic. Wireless has its place, but it will never replace fixed connections. Ever. The world is focusing on Fiber because even at current standards we’re not even using a fraction of its theoretical bandwidth….

The FTTN will be obsolete in 10 years. The coalition has literally wasted billions of dollars simply so they could get elected. The NBN is the greatest example of how the coalition being good “economic managers” is a myth, and it’s exactly why the party is known as a joke among respected right-wing economic circles & newspapers.

PS: Countries with extensive wireless networks (e.g. Japan) run off a large fibre backbone

dungfungus said :

Yet the NBN in comparison only offers 25mbps unless you are willing to pay over $100 a month.

The higher speed “tiers” of the NBN were never supposed to cost so much. After the Liberals hijacked the NBN board and replaced it with yes-men, they changed the pricing to push their political agenda. The price has been politically designed so people don’t take the NBN at the high speed levels, which gives the government an excuse to bash the plan that Labour had.

Mordd 9:42 pm 27 Jun 16

Why just the northsiders? I am in Woden, and the best I can get is 500Kbps per second on ADSL2. We don’t even have VDSL here. Meanwhile gungahlin got and is still getting even under liberal, fiber to the home, its the only place in Aus still getting FTTH except for new greenfields developments, check the rollout map if you don’t believe me.

So I presume this is the belconnen northsiders you’re campaining for since gungahlin is already covered. Soon as you change the petition to include southsiders as well I will sign. At least belconnen has VDSL unlike most of us down southside, not as good as fiber but way better than the ADSL were still on.

gazket 7:10 pm 27 Jun 16

Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises connections

Pretty sure the NBN is ours the taxpayer not Labors.
and just like ADSL you are not getting speeds that are being advertised.

We all know Labor fudged the NBN under construction maps before they were booted out of Government for good reason.

gooterz 7:05 pm 27 Jun 16

I also note the petition is only for northsiders. There is no labor led campaign for better NBN on the southside. I’m sorry Mario but your princess is in another party.

gooterz 7:02 pm 27 Jun 16

What’s worse saying the minimum should be 25 mbps or saying the maximum is 100mbps and have zero backhaul or extremely expensive CVC.

If Labor was truly interested in getting a network up quick it would have stuck with the tender process.

Most of the NBN is 20th century technology that’s expensive to roll out to individuals and creates a new monopolistic Telstra.

Unless the NBN comes out before 2020 at speeds of 1gbps or more to 99% of us.. Mobile broadband is going to take over.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31622297

Fixed line connection days are over. A large percentage of people don’t even have a home telephone.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/telstra-to-launch-5g-network-tests/news-story/094565a784c895c6d3dcb4fb4a893e6d

So it seems a fast rollout of a 25 mbps network seems appropriate.

I find it interesting that the network the ACT government helped build now offers a minimum speed though iinet of 100mbps. Yet the NBN in comparison only offers 25mbps unless you are willing to pay over $100 a month.

NBN is just too slow, too big, too expensive, and going to be outdated by 2020, its like a national light rail.

Lurker2913 4:43 pm 27 Jun 16

I moved to Canberra seven months ago and purchased a property. FTTP was my primary consideration.

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