Load up the NBN camels!

Posted: June 21, 2016 in Ranting
Tags: , , , ,

Last night on QandA, Malcolm Turnbull defended his National Broadband Network, insisting it was better because it was being rolled out faster than would have been the case under Labor. Not a better system. Not a better product. Not a system capable of delivering on the growing demands being made on such technology. No, better because they are supposedly rolling out a substandard system faster.

The warnings were out there before the 2013 election but I do not think enough people understood what Turnbull was proposing. The proof is now in the pudding being served up to us across the nation. People now stuck on the NBN are reporting significant drops in their Internet speeds and substandard service. But it is supposedly being rolled out to them faster so according to Turnbull, that makes it better.

I used to live in the Gungahlin area of Canberra back when all we had was dial-up. And the copper-based landline system there was carrying far more connections that it was capable of carrying properly. To get a proper system through your modem, you had to change the settings of your modem to slow down the performance speed otherwise the peaks and troughs in signal strength made your connection next to useless. Continued reliance of copper wires across the bulk of our home communications system – the same stuff Bell used for his original telephone and until recently, still the primary installed in our telephone connections – running from central nodes to households, simply creates the same problem. You could have the world’s fastest and best system delivering to those nodes – the distribution centres – but substandard systems between those nodes and households grabs that speed by the nose and drags it doooooown.

To illustrate – let us assume we have the best and fastest delivery system getting things into the main delivery centre for a product we all want and need. It does not matter how brilliantly super-fast the delivery is into the local delivery centre, it is how things are then distributed from that centre to households that is key to how fast that delivery ultimately is. And if the packages are all being delivered by camel train, then the performance of that whole system has been completely compromised.

Our government continues to invest billions in outdated technology including buying an old system from Optus that Optus needed to either massively upgrade or simply replace. But it was good enough for Turnbull’s NBN. Turnbull is unrepentant about his insistence as Communications Minister in rushing through a half-arsed system that relies on what is a chronic technological flaw at is most basic level. Sure, he made many millions investing Internet systems earlier in his career. But was he building the systems? Was he the technician designing them? Answer to both questions is NO! But he is suddenly THE expert in the subject.

Let us assume a diabetic was seriously ill, waiting on delivery of life-saving insulin. It doesn’t matter how super-fast the delivery is on the first part of that delivery journey to central warehouses. It is how fast it ultimately gets to the diabetic on the final part of the journey that matters. And our friend the diabetic is probably going to be dead by the time the camel arrives at the front door with the insulin. But that is what we are faced with under the Turnbull NBN.

The reality – we HAVE fallen significantly backwards in comparative average Internet speeds and therefore capacity. Recent claims that Australia has fallen from 30th place in international Internet delivery speeds down to 60th place over the past three years have been shown to be correct ie we are going backwards. Technology is being built that requires that faster, better delivery system across the entire delivery system. But here in Australia we are busy saddling up more camels.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, insists is a BETTER system.

Ross sig

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