The Answers to NBN Questions
1. What do we REALLY NEED?
We need reliable, affordable and secure digital communications. The speed of communications is less important.
2. What's the BEST TECHNOLOGY to build with?
Fibre optic cable to the home and business premises is the best long term investment. Fibre should be installed in green-fields sites, such as new housing, where there was nothing installed before. It is not worth installing new hybrid fibre/copper networks. But the existing hybrid fibre/copper pay TV networks should continue to be used up to the end of their economic life. Similarly relatively new copper should be kept, but the oldest replaced. Also use of wireless should be considered alongside cable.
In other words, the Government's NBN plan should be slowed down and some money saved, but the opposition's plan to install new hybrid networks should not be implemented. Both government and opposition plans envisage using wireless for much of the network and this should proceed as planned.
* What happens AFTER we build the NBN?
The fibre will be usable for decades, perhaps hundreds of years, with the electronics upgraded every few decades to increase the speed. There is less scope for speeding up hybrid fibre/copper systems and they should be replaced with fibre eventually. Wireless system will gradually encroach on the market for cable systems, but there will still be a place for cable for high speed, security and reliability.
But the really interesting question is what do we do with all this bandwidth? Apart from ultra-high quality TV, there is no foreseeable "need" for the speed at present. Applications such as education, tele-working and tele-health work fine on current broadband.
What we need to do now is worry about the security and reliability of the NBN: Will it be secure against cyber-warfare? Will it work in floods, cyclones and brushfires?
Also we need to worry about skilling up the Australian workforce to use broadband technology. We don't want to invest in all this expensive technology and just use it to watch telly.
More at: http://blog.tomw.net.au/search/label/NBN
ps: Can I have the $250,000 consultancy fee now? ;-)