Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I Think The NBN Story Is Becoming So Worrying That The Blog Needs To Have More To Say On The Looming Disaster.

Let me first confess a personal interest. Presently I have Optus Cable with their fast option. I get 100mbs download and it is down about 2-3 hours every 2-3 months. So I am a happy camper and do not want to be pushed onto a rubbish slow NBN. (See panels at bottom of blog)
With all that said I see this:

The gap between NBN promise and reality

  • Jul 19 2017 at 5:36 PM
My internet speeds plummeted when I moved house recently. It didn't matter how expensive my broadband plan was, nor the fact I had only shifted a few blocks away.
Rather than being connected to the internet through the hybrid fibre coaxial cable, my new street was still back on the old copper telephone lines.
Adjustments to ADSL technology may have greatly improved speeds over copper lines but given the growing and massive demand for data, the result still seems like putting lipstick on an ageing pig.
Nor is it as if Telstra is too interested in investing much to upgrade either cable or copper given their previous network is being gradually subsumed into the government-owned monopoly of NBN Co, the owner of the national broadband network.
Yet even if my new address is within 20 minutes of the Sydney CBD and in one of Australia's most densely populated suburbs, the NBN is still MIA there. The NBN website tells me I will be waiting until the first half of 2019 before it arrives.
Patience, patience, patience.
But it's now obvious that the arrival of the NBN to millions more homes over the next couple of years is unlikely to mean the end of download and upload woes.
Even more importantly, it is only likely to accelerate the criticism of the Turnbull government's version of the NBN in the lead up to the next election.
It means more and more people will realise the long-promised nirvana of high-speed broadband via the NBN does not necessarily translate into reality.
There are plenty of technical and financial reasons for this but most consumers won't care. They will care they are not getting what they think they are paying for.
That will make them likely to blame the Turnbull government as well as the NBN and retailer service providers like Telstra and Optus.
So rather than the slow roll out of the NBN being a political problem, it will quickly become the reverse. The more households and small businesses are connected, the more complaints there will be.
As usual, it mostly comes down to cost. In this case, it's the requirement for NBN Co to continue the commercial fantasy it can provide a financial return on nearly $50 billion worth of taxpayer investment in the project.
This was an accounting trick first applied by the Rudd Labor government and continued by governments ever since. That's because the promise of a return on investment of a few per cent above the government bond rate means the tens of billions of NBN dollars don't get counted as part of the budget deficit.
Yet the economic forecasts of the NBN always relied on political hype over commercial rationality. As communications spokesman and then minister Malcolm Turnbull promised "cheaper, faster, sooner" broadband via a revised hybrid technology NBN.
Lots more here:
Sounds just awful – and the more I read the worse my fear becomes!
There are two possible fixes it seems to me. First technology may save me – as per this.

Fifield predicts 5G revolution for Australia, ignores NBN

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield clearly believes in the slogan that a former Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, used in her last election campaign: moving forward.
Fifield has moved on to the next phase of his life: yesterday he gave a 2368-word speech at a telecommunications conference in Sydney and did not mention the word NBN even once.
He waxed lyrical about 5G, the proposed next telecommunications standard. You can see the entire speech here.
Fifield said: "I believe that the imminent arrival of 5G mobile technology will be a truly revolutionary event in the telecommunications industry. In fact, the arrival of 5G may well be an inflection point not just for the telecoms sector, but for the entire Australian economy."

One would think that the national broadband network, the project that's often called the biggest such endeavour in the country's history — NBN chief executive Bill Morrow sometimes calls it one of the biggest and most difficult in the world — would have figured even momentarily.
Lots more here:
The other hope my be the ACCC. See this for example

ACCC cracks down on 'misleading' NBN speed claims

Lucy Battersby
Published: July 20 2017 - 6:09PM
Telecommunications companies are misleading customers over broadband internet speeds and the worst offenders will likely face prosecution over dodgy advertising by the end of the year, the consumer watchdog says.
Chairman Rod Sims said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would conduct "compliance sweeps" of broadband marketing and telco websites later this year in a bid to keep telcos honest about speeds available on the national broadband network.  
"Right now, consumers are not getting the basic information they need to make an informed choice. Indeed, they are often being misled," Mr Sims said on Thursday.
"We want to see consumers presented with information based on the realistic speeds they can expect to experience, particularly during busy periods. Not just best-case scenarios."
Broadband was an ACCC compliance and enforcement priority this year, he told a telco industry conference.
"We are investigating and expect to be taking action in respect of misleading conduct around broadband speeds," he said.
As more Australians migrate to the government-owned NBN, tensions are building between consumers and telcos over download speeds, particularly during peak evening periods.
Lots more here:
Let me know but I feel this is an issue we all need to be on top of.
Do please comment and let me know about your experience with the NBN.


Anonymous said...

I get pretty good NBN, but it is fibre to the home and not a condensed population. That said Governments are not setup as a competitive entity the NBN will fall victim to the changing winds of the Tele/datacommunications sector. I think it was another great idea, hamstrung by the machine of government. I am sure the cost will be written off as good debt and if allowed to be sold on cheaply then the tax payer will get some benefit. While it remains an expensive offering to internet providers we will get less than optimal experiences.

Bruce Farnell said...

David, your comments on the NBN ring true based on my limited experience with it. My experience is from a regional perspective and I would like to share it.

Much of the urban part of Bendigo have FTTN NBN but the end-user reports are mixed. My friends with NBN (yes, both of them) can't seem to get download speeds much greater than 34Mb/s with frequent outages. They may be unlucky, although one lives in a fairly new subdivision and he expected better. Perhaps I need more friends... but I digress.

I live in Eaglehawk which does not have NBN. It seems that I am not missing out on too much but I would gladly update to FTTN NBN with all of it's flaws. My vantage point is a rubbish 12Mb/s (if I am lucky) ADSL2 and recently repaired (after 2 years of Telstra denials) intermittent home phone over some really dodgy copper from the exchange to the 'node'. As a bonus, I pay more.

As I said I would swap tomorrow.

The silver lining is the recent announcement of the move to Fibre To The Curb (FTTC) for much of the new NBN rollout. It offers similar performance to FTTdp at a substantially reduced installation cost. As I understand it, the full 100Mb/s download speed should be available.

If the NBN rollout map is to be believed I should be getting FTTC NBN sometime in the first half of 2018. I am looking forward to going from the worst broadband in town to the best. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait and the reliability issues will be resolved by then. Stay tuned.

Andrew McIntyre said...

I tweeted a link to my appalling FTTN speed test and Telstra responded to the tweet. Suddenly seems a lot better?? I was getting 0.44Mbps in the evenings before. Now > 30Mbs most of the time.

Oz Broadband Speed Test

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...

Andrew, well done, clearly the lesson is to complain via Twitter.

Just checked my link with the same test and got 83.8 mbs on Optus Cable.

The 0.44mbs was clearly utterly rubbish and I hope it continues at the higher speed from now.