How viable, and what is, the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) ?
With a cost of $43 billion to fund a national broadband network of “Fibre-to-the-Home” in Australia, what do we actually get from it, and what is the cost per person ?
The easy question to answer is the cost.
$2,000 per person or about $6,000 per household.
Those costing figures make me wonder just what will we get from such government spending.
Governments have a duty to provide the public with value for the money that they collect from us, and spend on our behalf.
Should that money be spent on a faster Internet for those of us who like the high speed, or should it go towards something like Education, Medical or similar things ?
The above are my initial thoughts, before really knowing what the NBN will really give us.
So, what will we get from the NBN ?
An increase in network speed, up to 100 megabits per second being quoted.
Currently I am on 8 megabits per second, but looking forward to the day that I can switch over to ADSL2+ (my area is a bit behind in this).
Many areas have had ADSL2+ for some time now, and get a speed of up to 24 megabits per second.
I know people who are still on half a megabit per second, or just 1.5 megabits per second.
I must admit I would hate to be on such slow speeds these days, and 100mbs does sound nice. I could download a movie much faster, but it won’t make me read a web page much faster.
I am just not sure if it is worth diverting that sum of money away from Health and Education.
If the tax coffers were overflowing, then yes, why not, all of us could enjoy watching movies via the internet etc. But the tax coffers are NOT overflowing.
Are our priorities right ?
Some people say we need it for big businesses to get ahead. But can’t they already do this, using their own money ?
I tested my own speed on http://www.speedtest.net and got this result
But that site also compares my results against others, and this was the comparison result:
Looking at this, and delving a bit further, I was able to see that my best speed of 6.93Mb/s is faster than the QLD average of 5.64Mb/s, but slightly slower than the world average of 7.24Mb/s.
How did I get that speed ? I paid a bit extra to my Internet provider to increase my speed, in the same way that many of us can.
How do we really compare to the rest of the world ?
Many reports show that we are way down the list, I hear from many British that the Australian network speed is much slower than in the UK, so lets look at the World rankings, from www.speedtest.net
Yes, there we are, right down the bottom of the fastest 40 countries, in position 38 (at 6.9Mb/s), just below the United Kingdom at position 34 (7.62Mb/s).
The United Kingdom had all its streets dug up to lay these cables to each house some years ago, but they are still only 10% faster than Australia ?
Is this $6,000 per household going to make us equal to the UK or much faster ?
Will we be as fast as the fastest on the list ?
South Korea has an average speed of 31.86Mb/s, that is over 4 times as fast as Australia, BUT…
The South Korean tests are shown over 220,500 different user IPs
The Australian results are from 3,557,000 different user IPs, and the UK results from 10,834,000.
From this I wonder if only the inner city areas will get the best results.
There are many questions in my mind on this. Will it be as good as they say ?
But my main question is: Would $43 billion dollars, or $6,000 per household, be better spent on Health and Education ?