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This is what the future looks like. NBN cable going down Flemington Road

johnboy 17 November 2011 69

cable laying

Gungahlin Al has spotted this cable being laid alongside Flemington Road and has confirmed with the workers that it is indeed for the NBN.

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69 Responses to This is what the future looks like. NBN cable going down Flemington Road
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milkman milkman 7:27 am 21 Nov 11

Fibre to the node would be a better solution, I reckon. Then people can choose whether to connect using existing copper or upgrade (at their own expense) to fibre. Far cheaper, and allows more flexibility.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 11:24 pm 20 Nov 11

2604 said :

So, why not just fund or subsidise wireless and satellite to those few remote users, and let the rest of the population get its broadband through cable, DSL and wireless services provided by the private sector? Much less duplication, and much lower cost to the taxpayer, while ensuring those folks in remote areas get their broadband.

Essentially, because when it comes to the NBN, the city is funding the bush. The reason that we can provide services that are guaranteed to lose money in the bush, is because there will also be services that will make money in the city.

As for the private sector funding any type of decent infrastructure, I’d ask why they haven’t done it already? The private sector has a pretty dismal record here…Telstra have the only really decent wireless network in the country, and if you live in parts of Sydney or Melbourne, you may be able to connect to overpriced Telstra or Optus cable. DSL technology isn’t going to move forward – it’s essentially reached its peak. That’s mainly due to the fact that Telstra isn’t going to spend the money to bring its aging copper network up to scratch – this is the company that was happy to put people on RIMs and pair gain connections, which effectively limited many people to ADSL1 speeds or worse, and still plagues many to this day. Hence, Gunghalin is one of the phase two releases sites.

Let’s look at what’s being duplicated too. In many parts of the country, the copper network is pretty much at the end of its life. Telstra has reduced its spending on maintenance, to the extent that it took me almost two years after moving into this house, to get faults that rendered my ADSL connection almost unusable repaired.

2604 said :

Look, no-one is disputing the technical advantages of cable or its performance advantage vis-a-vis wireless or other existing technologies such as ADSL. The issue is cost. The benefit of those advantages needs to reflect the $36bn of expenditure, which has an opportunity cost in areas (such as adding medicines to the PBS) whose benefits are much more tangible. Most large workplaces already have sufficiently fast internet for nearly all purposes, including videoconferencing. And existing speeds for ADSL and wireless are probably sufficient to meet the needs of 80-90% of users.

What, so someone not needing to travel to speak to a doctor isn’t a tangible benefit? Attending a class remotely? Working from outside the office (whether that office is local, or on the other side of the country)?

And why are we talking about existing speeds here? The fact is, that without a change to technology, those existing speeds are also the maximum speeds that people can achieve. So what happens in a few years time when those speeds aren’t sufficient any longer, because data needs have increased? Even if your own habits don’t change, the world will change around you and what you do today will undoubtedly use more data in the future than it does now. Think of it like inflation – you get the same stuff, but it costs more. As your pay packet (hopefully!) increases to match inflation, your data access needs to do the same.

2604 said :

The issue is that tax cuts would benefit everyone. Not everyone needs “a good wireless data plan”, ie one which exceeds the capabilities of current technologies. The NBN will only benefit the proportion of the population whose needs are not being met by existing and future wireless and ADSL technologies.

I sure as hell don’t consider a ‘good’ wireless data plan to be one that exceeds the capabilities of current technology. I consider that plan to be, right now, imaginary. As it stands right now, Telstra’s 4G mobile data plan will give me 15GB a month, for $80. They claim, that as long as you’re within 5km of a capital city CBD, or 3km of a regional CBD, that I can expect my performance to be somewhere between 2Mbit/s and 40Mbit/s. If I’m outside of those areas, I can expect that those numbers will decrease. That’s quite a spread really, and in practice, that 40Mbit/s top speed would be almost impossible to achieve. I’d be impressed if you could reliably get a 1/3 of that speed.

Compare that to one of Internode’s NBN plans, where $75 would get me 30GB of data, on a 100Mbit connection. Or 300GB of data on a 50Mbit connection.

I think you’re being short sighted. The NBN isn’t just about infrastructure that will make things better today. Once in place, I fully expect it will have the life of the copper network – the money spent today, will benefit us for decades to come. Where would we be if at the time the copper network was planned, we decided that there was probably something better around the corner, so we really should hold off for a cheaper option?

thatsnotme thatsnotme 10:40 pm 20 Nov 11

justin heywood said :

Yep, I understand your point as well, and we shall see. I’m no tech-head but I am continually astounded by the pace of new technology, but who knows? I hope the RiotAct. is still going in 10 years, so the winning side of the argument can resurrect this thread.

Fingers crossed! Who knows, in 10 years time, we may be able to catch up in the RA’s video conferenced debate forum. I’ll join from my fibre connected home, while you’re free to join over your wireless connection – whereupon I shall win by default, once someone in your area initiates a large download, and your connection drops out.

(I jest, I jest!)

justin heywood justin heywood 9:30 pm 20 Nov 11

thatsnotme said :

Ok, I take your point. Let me modify my statement to say that any type of wireless solution that is capable of servicing the broadband needs that already exist (ie, both mobile users, and home users) does not yet exist. I believe it would take a number of years before the technology to service our current needs exists, and by the time it is developed, our needs would have expanded and it would face the same shortfalls that wireless faces today.

Basing the NBN on fibre technology is not a bet that wireless, or some other technology, will never take a leap forward and be able to service demand. It is however an acknowledgment that today, fiber is the best connection we have available, and is likely to be the best available for many years yet. I believe that using wireless as the delivery method in the hopes that at some stage in the future, it will have developed to a point where it’s actually a suitable technology, is a far bigger gamble.

Yep, I understand your point as well, and we shall see. I’m no tech-head but I am continually astounded by the pace of new technology, but who knows? I hope the RiotAct. is still going in 10 years, so the winning side of the argument can resurrect this thread.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 6:57 pm 20 Nov 11

justin heywood said :

thatsnotme said :

…I just get so frustrated at the idea that there’s some magical wireless solution just around the corner now, that will give everyone all the bandwidth they need, while somehow avoiding all of the limitations inherent in a wireless connection. It just won’t happen.

It is a dangerous thing to claim that any technology ‘wont happen’, even more dangerous to make a strong bet that it won’t, as we are with the NBN. For example:

1. We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

2. There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.

3.There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” — T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).

4. There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932

Innovation usually follows demand. Where is the demand in computing? It’s for mobility. (Yes I know certain industry sectors will benefot from cable, but the NBN is about running fibre for domestic use – a huge overkill).

Ok, I take your point. Let me modify my statement to say that any type of wireless solution that is capable of servicing the broadband needs that already exist (ie, both mobile users, and home users) does not yet exist. I believe it would take a number of years before the technology to service our current needs exists, and by the time it is developed, our needs would have expanded and it would face the same shortfalls that wireless faces today.

Basing the NBN on fibre technology is not a bet that wireless, or some other technology, will never take a leap forward and be able to service demand. It is however an acknowledgment that today, fiber is the best connection we have available, and is likely to be the best available for many years yet. I believe that using wireless as the delivery method in the hopes that at some stage in the future, it will have developed to a point where it’s actually a suitable technology, is a far bigger gamble.

phototext phototext 2:59 pm 20 Nov 11

#58.

“But these very same people claim that wireless technology is stuck in its present state of development, and that wireless technology has advanced as far as it will ever go.”

At what point in my post did I say that wireless technology has advanced as far as it will ever go?

It is not what I said nor what I think.

Disinformation Disinformation 12:30 am 20 Nov 11

Lazy I said :

For those championing wireless and it’s amazing future developments, have a quick skim of this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavelength-division_multiplexing

This isn’t some fanciful “In the future…” “Just around the corner” crap, this is happening right now with off the shelf hardware.
.

It was actually happening a long time ago. I assisted in the installation of the first wavelength division multiplier in Australia using Cisco gear between CSIRO in Limestone Avenue to the ANU. The laser from the gbics was so powerful it required six spacers of free air attenuation before it wouldn’t overload the other end. The coarse unit was only good for twelve frequencies though, using different frequency gbics and prisms to refract each beam off the common fiber. We used to joke it was the only Cisco gear that would survive a lightning strike as the CWDMU had no electronics in it. The second demo was used between two Telstra buildings. This would have been at least nine years ago and maybe ten. Things have quite advanced since then too. The 144 frequency electronic units were in development at that time so they’re way ahead by now.

2604 2604 11:56 pm 19 Nov 11

thatsnotme said :

Think about the benefits to someone in those remote areas though. Instead of having to travel hundreds of kilometers (several hundred kilometers for some) to see a doctor, for some stuff you could do it via a video link. Children in those areas, instead of only knowing their classmate’s voices via a radio, will be able to see their faces, as they participate in a video classroom.

Now for many of these people, the government has already decided that FTTH isn’t feasible – it’s not like every residence in the country is getting fibre rolled up to the front door. Wireless and satelite services will be what the most remote users connect to.

So, why not just fund or subsidise wireless and satellite to those few remote users, and let the rest of the population get its broadband through cable, DSL and wireless services provided by the private sector? Much less duplication, and much lower cost to the taxpayer, while ensuring those folks in remote areas get their broadband.

thatsnotme said :

And still, we get back to the whole ‘just let me connect to a decent wireless connection’ argument. You want a wireless data connection that’s a fast and reliable as fibre? Sure, let me just construct a base station in your backyard then. Or, I could just have a fibre connection into your home, which you hook up your wireless router to, and have all the wireless bandwidth you need. The plus will be, that when you are actually away from home, when you need wireless data, you’ll only be competing for that data with other remote users.

Look, no-one is disputing the technical advantages of cable or its performance advantage vis-a-vis wireless or other existing technologies such as ADSL. The issue is cost. The benefit of those advantages needs to reflect the $36bn of expenditure, which has an opportunity cost in areas (such as adding medicines to the PBS) whose benefits are much more tangible. Most large workplaces already have sufficiently fast internet for nearly all purposes, including videoconferencing. And existing speeds for ADSL and wireless are probably sufficient to meet the needs of 80-90% of users.

thatsnotme said :

By the way…you do understand that the 36 billion isn’t being spent all at once, right? That cost is spread over 10 years or so? So your tax cuts would be worth maybe a couple hundred bucks a year. Now go and compare the cost of a good wireless data plan, with a similar NBN plan, and let me know if that couple of hundred bucks is enough.

The issue is that tax cuts would benefit everyone. Not everyone needs “a good wireless data plan”, ie one which exceeds the capabilities of current technologies. The NBN will only benefit the proportion of the population whose needs are not being met by existing and future wireless and ADSL technologies.

justin heywood justin heywood 10:52 pm 19 Nov 11

thatsnotme said :

…I just get so frustrated at the idea that there’s some magical wireless solution just around the corner now, that will give everyone all the bandwidth they need, while somehow avoiding all of the limitations inherent in a wireless connection. It just won’t happen.

It is a dangerous thing to claim that any technology ‘wont happen’, even more dangerous to make a strong bet that it won’t, as we are with the NBN. For example:

1. We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

2. There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.

3.There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” — T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).

4. There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932

Innovation usually follows demand. Where is the demand in computing? It’s for mobility. (Yes I know certain industry sectors will benefot from cable, but the NBN is about running fibre for domestic use – a huge overkill).

Lazy I Lazy I 9:47 pm 19 Nov 11

thatsnotme said :

justin heywood said :

So, to summarize this particular argument, the NBN supporters are damn sure that improved technology will create a use for the increased bandwidth which the cables will provide. (Technology is always improving blah blah).

But these very same people claim that wireless technology is stuck in its present state of development, and that wireless technology has advanced as far as it will ever go.

And they call the NBN naysayers the Luddites?

So this wasn’t in reply to one of my posts, but I’ll assume that as someone who believes that wireless technology isn’t the right fit for homes and businesses, that I’m one of these ‘people’ you’re talking about.

No, wireless technology has certainly not reached its limits. It will certainly improve with time, it will become more reliable, it will be faster, and it will likely be cheaper. I have no issues with that at all.

I just seriously cannot see though, why anyone would think that a technology that is best suited to those who are mobile, is the best fit for every absolutely stationary home in the country. Please, prove you’re not a luddite, and explain it to me? Why should the speed and reliability of my connectin be dependent on how many people are currently connected to my local tower?

Why should my home connection be in competition with anyone who is just passing through my area, and using mobile data? Why should I expect to have worse performance in peak times, when everyone in my area is using their connection?

So if wireless is the way to go, how long should we wait before adopting it? Right now, it struggles to meet the bandwidth needs of mobile users, let alone moving home users over. So do we wait until 4G is the norm? Oh…home and mobile users are now using more data, and 4G isn’t sufficient. Hrmmm, so let’s wait for the next advance. Rinse, repeat.

Right now, fibre to the home is a solution that provides enough bandwidth, and is future proof. The cables being laid right now, will be useful for decades to come.

I just get so frustrated at the idea that there’s some magical wireless solution just around the corner now, that will give everyone all the bandwidth they need, while somehow avoiding all of the limitations inherent in a wireless connection. It just won’t happen. Essentially, it’s down to the difference between a FTTH service that is shared with nobody else, and a mobile tower that may be shared with hundreds of people.

I don’t actually think you’re a luddite – I do think that you have no technical understanding of the technologies you’re advocating though.

+1

For those championing wireless and it’s amazing future developments, have a quick skim of this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavelength-division_multiplexing

This isn’t some fanciful “In the future…” “Just around the corner” crap, this is happening right now with off the shelf hardware.

Not sure how many strands they are rolling out with the NBN, but it looks Darrell Lea Liquorice size at a minimum.. that is a tasty amount of fibre. nom nom nom

Also, let me know when consumer grade wireless gets even close to 10Gbit… which is what you can easily achieve on a desktop on commodity hardware today (turn your microwave oven off while you do the testing and also get the neighbour to turn off their cordless phone in case they interfere with your signal).

I just wish Telstra wasn’t involved.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 9:14 pm 19 Nov 11

justin heywood said :

So, to summarize this particular argument, the NBN supporters are damn sure that improved technology will create a use for the increased bandwidth which the cables will provide. (Technology is always improving blah blah).

But these very same people claim that wireless technology is stuck in its present state of development, and that wireless technology has advanced as far as it will ever go.

And they call the NBN naysayers the Luddites?

So this wasn’t in reply to one of my posts, but I’ll assume that as someone who believes that wireless technology isn’t the right fit for homes and businesses, that I’m one of these ‘people’ you’re talking about.

No, wireless technology has certainly not reached its limits. It will certainly improve with time, it will become more reliable, it will be faster, and it will likely be cheaper. I have no issues with that at all.

I just seriously cannot see though, why anyone would think that a technology that is best suited to those who are mobile, is the best fit for every absolutely stationary home in the country. Please, prove you’re not a luddite, and explain it to me? Why should the speed and reliability of my connectin be dependent on how many people are currently connected to my local tower? Why should my home connection be in competition with anyone who is just passing through my area, and using mobile data? Why should I expect to have worse performance in peak times, when everyone in my area is using their connection?

So if wireless is the way to go, how long should we wait before adopting it? Right now, it struggles to meet the bandwidth needs of mobile users, let alone moving home users over. So do we wait until 4G is the norm? Oh…home and mobile users are now using more data, and 4G isn’t sufficient. Hrmmm, so let’s wait for the next advance. Rinse, repeat.

Right now, fibre to the home is a solution that provides enough bandwidth, and is future proof. The cables being laid right now, will be useful for decades to come.

I just get so frustrated at the idea that there’s some magical wireless solution just around the corner now, that will give everyone all the bandwidth they need, while somehow avoiding all of the limitations inherent in a wireless connection. It just won’t happen. Essentially, it’s down to the difference between a FTTH service that is shared with nobody else, and a mobile tower that may be shared with hundreds of people.

I don’t actually think you’re a luddite – I do think that you have no technical understanding of the technologies you’re advocating though.

justin heywood justin heywood 6:36 pm 19 Nov 11

phototext said :

“Try to make a business case for this huge expenditure, please?
Every argument I’ve heard is lame. eg. I can watch HQ movies, skype to my Mum etc.”

See, that’s the thing, back in the day when they where rolling out the copper network, the current uses beyond basic telephone services hadn’t been thought of, but they did it anyway and the telephone as a means of communication (personal and business) changed the world profoundly.

This century data is going to be a big thing, big chunks of data, getting bigger and bigger by the day. Moving all that data all over the place is going to be important. Having the infrastructure in place that is quick and reliable puts our country in a good position for this century’s railway/ highway system and we all know how important the railway and highway system is to growing an economy.

You just have to look at some of the most important and influential companies at the moment and what is being played out between them, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. It’s all about data, big effin chunks of it and making it accessible. Wireless is part of that plan but only part. Wifi iPads outsell 3G models for a reason.

Now I’m no friggin genius but you can bet there are fair few going through the education system in China and India at the moment and god knows what they will come up with that takes advantage of those fat data moving pipes that changes our world.

Off the top of my head, beyond faster movie downloads, what may be a use for the NBN.

3D printers are pretty cool, could see a really amazing version of that in every home in ten years, log into Amazon, buy a new toaster, data downloads, 3D printer prints it out, instant toaster, the deluxe version comes with toast in it.

Way out there I know but everyday teleportation gets closer and closer, instead of a 3D printer perhaps every home has a teleporter and Amazon zaps the goods to you. That would require an effin big pipe.

As I said I’m no genius, but they are out there and hopefully they have a better imagination than all the NBN naysayers.

So, to summarize this particular argument, the NBN supporters are damn sure that improved technology will create a use for the increased bandwidth which the cables will provide. (Technology is always improving blah blah).

But these very same people claim that wireless technology is stuck in its present state of development, and that wireless technology has advanced as far as it will ever go.

And they call the NBN naysayers the Luddites?

thatsnotme thatsnotme 4:24 pm 19 Nov 11

OpenYourMind said :

thatsnotme, there’s some great points you make, but unfortunately you aren’t thinking big picture enough. Now when our country is investing FTTH money, you have to think really big.

Perhaps a better way to approach this is to use the analogy of music recordings. For years people sought better and better quality. If you asked someone 12 years ago what mattered with their recording, the answer would be quality. Along came mp3s and mp3 players and overnight the game changed. People settled for slightly compromised quality in exchange for other benefits. My example of the LAN where wireless is opted for over copper or fibre to the desktop is to demonstrate that a paradigm shift can result in losing what you think are the highest requirements. It’s not that the engineers who settled on the wireless solution don’t know and understand copper and/or fibre, it’s that the wireless achieves what is required and provides other benefits. I switch between a 100meg and a 1gig link for my desktop at work and except for really large file transfers, I can’t tell the difference.

Don’t think this year, or next year, think about the enormous investment and then think about the leaps and bounds wireless has taken together with shifts in computing in unlikely directions. Some time in the future, well before the enormous costs of FTTH are ever recovered, the game will have changed. It’s a big bet for our country to be making.

Your analogy, and comparing it to an office environment, simply doesn’t work. I’m sorry, but your example is completely broken – no normal user in an office environment ever goes close to touching the sides of the bandwidth they have available on a LAN. Normally, people working in an office simply don’t handle large files. For precicely this reason, there is an option to replace fixed wiring in the office with a WLAN, knowing that the reduced bandwidth will likely have little impact. Even then though, that option will only suit environments where everyone has a wireless cabable device. Standard desktop PC’s don’t come with a wireless card as standard, and don’t move around an office. I’d argue that offices that have implemented an all-wireless LAN are the exception rather than the norm, and that the business of that office would have to be fairly unique to allow that type of freedom. 99% of users in an office environment probably wouldn’t really see any negative impact if their LAN was dialled back to 10 base

The whole argument that wireless is progressing in leaps and bounds – well, the fact of the matter is, the NBN is being rolled out today, and basing that rollout on the hope that at some undefined time in the future that wireless will be fast enough and reliable enough to replace fixed connections just doesn’t make sense. Do you think that fixed fibre technology has reached its maximum capacity, and will fail to progress? Absolutely not – and I’d put a lot of money on a bet that said that by the time that any wireless technology is able to service a household as quickly and reliably as fibre is able to right now, that fibre will be at least 4 times faster than it currently is. That’s the thing with a fibre optic cable – it’s simply a glass tube, that transmits light. It’s the equipment on the end of the cable that determines how fast data can be pushed down that tube, not the cable itself – so FTTH is a future proof solution, that will have the ability to grow for decades to come.

I honestly believe that a wireless NBN would be a far bigger bet than a FTTH NBN will ever be.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 3:10 pm 19 Nov 11

2604 said :

I agree with you mate. If it were possible to get any sort of decent ROI on FTTH, the private sector would be doing it already. Instead, we have $36 billion being spent on NBN with no proof at all that it will improve productivity or add to national income, or (god forbid) whether that expenditure will ever be repaid through dividends or increased tax revenue.

Also, if the NBN will ever be privatised – which surely should be the government’s long-term goal – the cost of the network will need to be written down to well below $36 billion. Unless it can make a reasonable profit after all the maintenance expenditures are taken into account, the gov’t will never offload $36 bn worth of NBN shares.

The fact is that we live in a large, thinly populated country. One of the drawbacks of that geography is that you can’t provide gold-plated infrastructure to every last person without spending an absolute fortune. It would be great if a dual carriageway could be built to every person’s door, but the cost would make it prohibitive. Some people need to be serviced by two-way roads, some by single-lane roads, some by dirt roads. Likewise with broadband, not every Australian can be provided with the type of broadband speeds that are available in more densely populated Asian and European countries.

Like the “every Australian schoolchild will have a laptop” thought-bubble, this was a noble idea but one that will prove enormously expensive and complex to implement. I would have preferred $36bn worth of income tax cuts, and then anyone who wanted faster broadband to work from home or telecon would have had the extra money to pay for a decent wireless connection.

I guess this is where I have a fundamental difference of philosophy. I believe that the government needs to implement something like this, precicely because it’ll never be implemented by the private sector. We do live in a unique environment, where our population is spread by such huge distances, and no private investor would ever go and lose money on users in remote areas.

Think about the benefits to someone in those remote areas though. Instead of having to travel hundreds of kilometers (several hundred kilometers for some) to see a doctor, for some stuff you could do it via a video link. Children in those areas, instead of only knowing their classmate’s voices via a radio, will be able to see their faces, as they participate in a video classroom.

Now for many of these people, the government has already decided that FTTH isn’t feasible – it’s not like every residence in the country is getting fibre rolled up to the front door. Wireless and satelite services will be what the most remote users connect to.

And still, we get back to the whole ‘just let me connect to a decent wireless connection’ argument. You want a wireless data connection that’s a fast and reliable as fibre? Sure, let me just construct a base station in your backyard then. Or, I could just have a fibre connection into your home, which you hook up your wireless router to, and have all the wireless bandwidth you need. The plus will be, that when you are actually away from home, when you need wireless data, you’ll only be competing for that data with other remote users.

By the way…you do understand that the 36 billion isn’t being spent all at once, right? That cost is spread over 10 years or so? So your tax cuts would be worth maybe a couple hundred bucks a year. Now go and compare the cost of a good wireless data plan, with a similar NBN plan, and let me know if that couple of hundred bucks is enough.

Watson Watson 1:24 pm 19 Nov 11

But wouldn’t it be hilarious if in the next few years someone would invent a way to compress data to a mere fraction of it’s unpacked size? We’ll all have massive bandwidth and a movie will be a 100kb download.

2604 2604 1:20 pm 19 Nov 11

Watson said :

OT, but the income tax cut for laptops for school children is already there. Education Tax Rebate.

The government’s original promise was that it would supply children with laptops, not just provide a tax rebate.

phototext phototext 11:30 am 19 Nov 11

“Try to make a business case for this huge expenditure, please?
Every argument I’ve heard is lame. eg. I can watch HQ movies, skype to my Mum etc.”

See, that’s the thing, back in the day when they where rolling out the copper network, the current uses beyond basic telephone services hadn’t been thought of, but they did it anyway and the telephone as a means of communication (personal and business) changed the world profoundly.

This century data is going to be a big thing, big chunks of data, getting bigger and bigger by the day. Moving all that data all over the place is going to be important. Having the infrastructure in place that is quick and reliable puts our country in a good position for this century’s railway/ highway system and we all know how important the railway and highway system is to growing an economy.

You just have to look at some of the most important and influential companies at the moment and what is being played out between them, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. It’s all about data, big effin chunks of it and making it accessible. Wireless is part of that plan but only part. Wifi iPads outsell 3G models for a reason.

Now I’m no friggin genius but you can bet there are fair few going through the education system in China and India at the moment and god knows what they will come up with that takes advantage of those fat data moving pipes that changes our world.

Off the top of my head, beyond faster movie downloads, what may be a use for the NBN.

3D printers are pretty cool, could see a really amazing version of that in every home in ten years, log into Amazon, buy a new toaster, data downloads, 3D printer prints it out, instant toaster, the deluxe version comes with toast in it.

Way out there I know but everyday teleportation gets closer and closer, instead of a 3D printer perhaps every home has a teleporter and Amazon zaps the goods to you. That would require an effin big pipe.

As I said I’m no genius, but they are out there and hopefully they have a better imagination than all the NBN naysayers.

Watson Watson 9:35 am 19 Nov 11

2604 said :

OpenYourMind said :

Everyone is getting all defensive. I, and I’m sure others are not suggesting that fibre optics isn’t the gold solution for most big comms applications (eg. fibre to wireless towers). I happen to work in an IT comms related field. I understand the benefits of fibre. But, and this is the important but, trying to justify the costs of running fibre to every home is the stumbling block.

Try to make a business case for this huge expenditure, please?

I agree with you mate. If it were possible to get any sort of decent ROI on FTTH, the private sector would be doing it already. Instead, we have $36 billion being spent on NBN with no proof at all that it will improve productivity or add to national income, or (god forbid) whether that expenditure will ever be repaid through dividends or increased tax revenue.

Also, if the NBN will ever be privatised – which surely should be the government’s long-term goal – the cost of the network will need to be written down to well below $36 billion. Unless it can make a reasonable profit after all the maintenance expenditures are taken into account, the gov’t will never offload $36 bn worth of NBN shares.

The fact is that we live in a large, thinly populated country. One of the drawbacks of that geography is that you can’t provide gold-plated infrastructure to every last person without spending an absolute fortune. It would be great if a dual carriageway could be built to every person’s door, but the cost would make it prohibitive. Some people need to be serviced by two-way roads, some by single-lane roads, some by dirt roads. Likewise with broadband, not every Australian can be provided with the type of broadband speeds that are available in more densely populated Asian and European countries.

Like the “every Australian schoolchild will have a laptop” thought-bubble, this was a noble idea but one that will prove enormously expensive and complex to implement. I would have preferred $36bn worth of income tax cuts, and then anyone who wanted faster broadband to work from home or telecon would have had the extra money to pay for a decent wireless connection.

OT, but the income tax cut for laptops for school children is already there. Education Tax Rebate.

OpenYourMind OpenYourMind 11:48 pm 18 Nov 11

thatsnotme, there’s some great points you make, but unfortunately you aren’t thinking big picture enough. Now when our country is investing FTTH money, you have to think really big.

Perhaps a better way to approach this is to use the analogy of music recordings. For years people sought better and better quality. If you asked someone 12 years ago what mattered with their recording, the answer would be quality. Along came mp3s and mp3 players and overnight the game changed. People settled for slightly compromised quality in exchange for other benefits. My example of the LAN where wireless is opted for over copper or fibre to the desktop is to demonstrate that a paradigm shift can result in losing what you think are the highest requirements. It’s not that the engineers who settled on the wireless solution don’t know and understand copper and/or fibre, it’s that the wireless achieves what is required and provides other benefits. I switch between a 100meg and a 1gig link for my desktop at work and except for really large file transfers, I can’t tell the difference.

Don’t think this year, or next year, think about the enormous investment and then think about the leaps and bounds wireless has taken together with shifts in computing in unlikely directions. Some time in the future, well before the enormous costs of FTTH are ever recovered, the game will have changed. It’s a big bet for our country to be making.

2604 2604 10:35 pm 18 Nov 11

OpenYourMind said :

Everyone is getting all defensive. I, and I’m sure others are not suggesting that fibre optics isn’t the gold solution for most big comms applications (eg. fibre to wireless towers). I happen to work in an IT comms related field. I understand the benefits of fibre. But, and this is the important but, trying to justify the costs of running fibre to every home is the stumbling block.

Try to make a business case for this huge expenditure, please?

I agree with you mate. If it were possible to get any sort of decent ROI on FTTH, the private sector would be doing it already. Instead, we have $36 billion being spent on NBN with no proof at all that it will improve productivity or add to national income, or (god forbid) whether that expenditure will ever be repaid through dividends or increased tax revenue.

Also, if the NBN will ever be privatised – which surely should be the government’s long-term goal – the cost of the network will need to be written down to well below $36 billion. Unless it can make a reasonable profit after all the maintenance expenditures are taken into account, the gov’t will never offload $36 bn worth of NBN shares.

The fact is that we live in a large, thinly populated country. One of the drawbacks of that geography is that you can’t provide gold-plated infrastructure to every last person without spending an absolute fortune. It would be great if a dual carriageway could be built to every person’s door, but the cost would make it prohibitive. Some people need to be serviced by two-way roads, some by single-lane roads, some by dirt roads. Likewise with broadband, not every Australian can be provided with the type of broadband speeds that are available in more densely populated Asian and European countries.

Like the “every Australian schoolchild will have a laptop” thought-bubble, this was a noble idea but one that will prove enormously expensive and complex to implement. I would have preferred $36bn worth of income tax cuts, and then anyone who wanted faster broadband to work from home or telecon would have had the extra money to pay for a decent wireless connection.

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