For predictable, spiritless repetition, Australia’s broadband network debate beats Groundhog Day hands down. It’s like being condemned to spend eternity on tour with a geriatric opera: the same actors for each performance croak out the same parts with the same orchestra in the pit, the chorus limply recites its lines, and …
I can't even get 3G consistently through-out Melbourne. Residents in our nearly-new development in inner north Melbourne who didn't move in early enough to snag one of the few precious DSL (ADSL1 only, can't even get ADSL2) ports have been sold wireless and the performance is atrocious.
At this point in time anybody who tries to sell wireless as a viable alternative to wired Internet *throughout* Australia is:
a) a fraud
b) doesn't know what they're talking about
c) has a political agenda
d) all of the above
Heck, I wish it weren't so! I would LOVE to get 100MBit/sec wireless with low latency (VoIP, video-conferencing for tele-working and online gaming). For the same or less than the same quota on a wired connection. If your company sells it in Melbourne, let's talk! Until then, please shut up!
As an aside....
Have you ever tried talking to Telstra?
It seems like you get someone (no offense meant here) in India or the Phillipines who hasn't a flipping clue what you're on about and you've got to personally go down to their office to talk to a human face to face to deal with the problem (and even then, it's a successive no. of humans till eventually there is one who can actually fix the problem - which was, believe it or not, just to get a new second mobile phone properly activated with the correct plan!!! ).
I bought a mobile phone from Telstra mainly because of its reputation of having the best coverage outside of metropolitan areas - thus far, compared to Optus (personal experience) unfortunately this is true, so I have to keep dealing with this shower....
Doesn't mean I like them though.
Very disgruntled Telstra customer who sees no alternative at present.
My rural reception with Optus has massively improved since updating to an iphone 4, a 900MHz-capable device. I still retain a Telstra handset for alpine cycling but on the cheapest plan; it's just for emergencies.
Sanity for a change
What a rare joy it is to read a objective, non-partisan piece on this topic. In a land i which most people live comfortably there is a sad tendency to turn every molehill into a mountain.
Why can't we just relax and let the best technical solution provide the most appropriate service for the need at hand? When the NBN is installed and working, we will find even more issues to debate...in even more detail.
Meanwhile old issues like obesity continue without debate or solution.
“We’re … driving both wireless takeup and fixed takeup; we really do honestly believe they can co-exist.”
That would be the most intelligent statement I have ever heard from a Telstra CEO. A far cry from their usual implied "Give us all your money, now bend over".
I want my fiber, I want my 100Mbps connection. And I don't want to have to use my home network with a high speed, shared pool that drops out every time a cloud wanders past. If I am on my laptop roaming around in another city then mobile is great.
Then there are the alternate uses for the NBN, like completely replacing the entire copper phone network with VOIP, giving a higher sound quality phone call.
If that was done, imagine all the money Telstra could save in staff, operating and maintainance costs by retiring the equipment that pushes the 48v signal constantly out every phone line in the country. Then there is the fact that in a lightning storm there is no risk of lightning frying telco equipment (or end users on the phone during the storm) when the cables get hit.
So as I see it, combining the NBN with VOIP and retiring the copper network is Cheaper, More environmentally friendly, Safer and Better Quality.
most certainly NOT vaporware
You cant get 3G because you are not on Telstra NextG. There are countless testimonials as to the quality, performance and coverage of NextG - a simple google will find them. The LTE rollout will provide for even better speeds. It is not a replacement for a fixed fibre solution but will meet the needs of many customers for now and well into the future (me included).
Right now the NextG network supports up to 42Mbps theroretical max in capital CBDs/some major metros. Real world speeds are in the 10-20Mbps with latencies around 30ms (from my personal experience).
As for the original article - Telstra already has fibre conenctions to pretty much every base station and has had for some time.
"Real world speeds are in the 10-20Mbps with latencies around 30ms (from my personal experience)."
Speedtest.net or it didn't happen.
speedtest as requested
Sydney CBD, 7:20 AM:
latency not so good - busy time of day and I suspect the miror is having an im[pact as well. Speed "OK".
Thank you ... you made my day.
ROTFLOL ... thank you for that article, it so precisely describes what is going on. I love that movie, perfect role for Bill Murray. Now if we can get Bill Murray together with his ghostbusters to send all of the following into a never ending groundhog day that would be even better: Telstra, Tony, Conroy, John Howard for privatizing and Turnbull for his incredible technical knowledge.
I live in Western Australia
...and we are still waiting for dial-up to arrive....the Eastern States already do very well indeed.
Well not really, but you know what I mean.
NBN and wireless
Technically, the technologies don't compete, they complement. Consider that without the cheap backhaul of the NBN then delivering a base station density for high speed wireless is near impossible.
My criticism would be that those base stations should be installed as part of the NBN rollout, along side the street cabinet needed for the NBN last mile fiber.
Australia has a huge amount of mobile tower duplication -- much to the despair of local government -- and that could be fixed at a low price as part of the NBN.
On the right track
I like where you're going with this; mobile telcos and NBN are complimentary, but I think the responses don't need to extinguish the mobile telco tower investments (as public ownership would do, at cost to the tax payer).
A more elegant solution might be to mandate "reasonable" inter-telco roaming - a policy that any "local roaming" (ie: using a tower that is operated by a telco, in Australia, to which the user is not a subscriber) charges are borne by the subscriber's telco (thus preventing the disasters that are cell networks in the USA, India, etc.).
A response from the mobile telcos in Australia, without sufficient backhaul of their own, would be to buy bandwidth from the NBN - that is why it's being built.
The effect is likely to be that Telstra's investment in extensive fibre networks would offer a competitive advantage, eroded as the NBN comes online (great result); and the incentives for building unessesary mobile towers would be reduced (another great result).
I think mobile broadband might complement fibre rather than cannibalise its userbase. I don't think too many people would voluntarily have wireless (given its record of flakiness here) as their main home connection.
It may well seem logical to you that mobile complements the fibre userbase rather than cannibalises it but that is before you take into account that Aussie providers charge like a wounded rhino and the vast majority will choose one or the other. I accept your statement over wireless flakiness and posit that they will choose NBN. They may have NBN + 3G (as you need something for your phone and it's hard to get less) but I believe it will be quite some time until 4G becomes so rudimentary that users will have both on cost grounds alone.
In relevance to the article, Telstra are pricks and charge the most for both services especially when they get a sniff of being practically a sole provider in an area. An example being their NextG network. When I got my mobile contract the same service (calls + data) on NextG was almost twice the price. As far as I'm concerned it may be fast but they can rapidly shove it up their arse unless the price is right (for once).
Wireless in this country is next to uselss
We cannot even get reliable 3G connection to make a call, let alone internet. Fully agree with Michael on this one (the answer is all of above).
I live in the "city", yet I cannot get reliable ADSL 1 connection, and mobile coverage for phone call. Tell me about this wireless bullshit. NBN is the only way to go.
Better the devil you know?
I'm a Pom by origin, but escaped the country and came to 'straya 7 years ago after a four year layover in La Republique du France. So I suffer mental scarring from the poor customer service and high prices of the privitised telcos of BT and France Telecom (avec l'orange).
Telstra have always followed in their footsteps. Proactively trying to destroy the information economy at the Consumer level by consistently high pricing at rip-off rates. Pricing of course is made up by rich suits in the Melbourne CBD, and mad CEOs who claim we are racist (Adios Amigo! Its because you're American ;-). But to be fair, they have an ageing infrastructure that has suffered from a lack of investment over a country the size of mainland Europe (ish); and have had to roll out the 850MHz NextG network at significant cost.
But you do get what you pay for. I am one of many who, in the CBD of Australia's third largest city (Brisbane) have been suffering at the hands of Vodafone whos crappy network and even worse customer service has been going downhill for the past two years, way before the "Infinate" plans were thought of. Optus/Virgin also have the same issues but have improved slightly.
Luckily after a polite letter or two, and making it known I am a signatory to www.vodafail.com, I've been released 22 months early from my contract; and I feel very dirty to have the word "Telstra" on my phone, but their wireless network coverage is reliable and acceptable. Hate to say it, but after the Vodafail experience, you do get what you pay for.
POTS-based ADSL is a joke in Australia; overly congested and most exchanges are oversubscribed. Multi-channel delivery of a full Fibre-based NBN and wireless network is the only way to go.
Until of course Senator Conroy (another Pom, from Oxford or somethere) forces through his draconian internet censorship plan and kills off what is left of IT investment in this Great Southern Land ...
I have 100Mb cable in East Melbourne on a Telstra pilot, i happily get 3000-7000kb a sec downloads depending on the time of day.
Why don't Telstra just roll this out, would be a lot cheaper than NBN :)
As soon as I heard this announcement all I could think of was the Clacks 'upgrade' announcement from Terry Pratchett's Going Postal; coincidentally the TV adaptation of said book was shown on Aussie TV just a few days previously.
"The aim of business is not to provide the best service, it is to provide the only service" - Reacher Gilt (Terry Pratchett, Going Postal)
PS. I didn't care much for the adaptation.