Fibre or wireless

Media reports today are suggesting that Telstras upgrade to a 4G mobile network, with speeds of 20-100Mbit/s may threaten the future of the NBN. I think there will always be a place for fibre optic cable. However I don’t think we need it inserted by decree into nearly every home in the country. Users are going to be increasingly interested in mobile data services. The issue is up for debate but sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words.

7 thoughts on “Fibre or wireless

  1. Surely the question is not whether 4G or any other current wireless technology will interfere with uptake and use of NBN by 2005.

    Rather it is what yet to be invented technology, wireless or otherwise, will affect NBN fiber use by that time.

    And the answer of course is that nobody knows.

  2. The NBN is clearly wrong.

    It will cost more than it will be worth.

    The government are planning to dig up or decommission the existing copper lines when they lay the fibre.

    In doing so, they destroy a perfectly functional network.

    The copper lines support ADSL2+, which can currently deliver speeds of up to 24Mbits per second (the speeds decline as the distance between the user and their telephone exchange increases).

    VDSL, which is available in other countries, but illegal here, can deliver speeds of up to 100Mbits per second.

    Aside from that, the copper lines also provide perfectly adequate voice (ie telephone) services.

    What is the value of destroying infrastructure that is currently useful?

    There is no technical reason why the copper must be disconnected in order to connect the fibre.

    The reason the copper is being disconnected, and this has been stated quite clearly by the government, is to ensure that the NBN will have sufficient revenue to finance its existence.

    In other words, the NBN is a venture that relies on monopoly pricing.

    This is very simple and very easy to understand. Why would business spend considerable money to eliminate the competition (an $8 billion pay off to Telstra) and then turn around and offer thier customers a competitive deal?

    It is plain that NBN prices will be arbitrary and inflated.

    The government have said quite plainly that the cheapest possible plan that will be available under the NBN will not be reduced in price over the lifetime of the NBN.

    The NBN is clearly an Internet tax on all Internet users.

    If you want to have an Internet connection at your house, there will be no option but to use the NBN.

    Mobile services will never become truly competitive because the government are charging arbitrary licensing fees to mobile telecommunications providers.

    But with the NBN scheme relying on being a monopoly, as demonstrated by the plan to decommission a perfectly functional network, it is quite logical to expect that mobile services will be regulated to the point where they cannot offer true competition. If the government are willing to spend $8 billion dollars to destroy something of value (in other words, the cost to the tax payer far exceeds the $8 billion, because you must account for the lost productivity of the destroyed infrastructure)…. it follows that there’s really no limit to what they will do to ensure that the NBN has a monopoly.

    The technology question of fibre vs mobile is irrelevant. The reason the NBN will necessarily be either a failure or a massive burden is that it is planned to be a government controlled monopoly.

    We know that simply because it relies on central planning that it will fail to plan effectively.

    We know that simply because it involves price fixing that it will be an inefficient use of its funds.

    We know that because it is a massive entity, only a government could create, it will stifle competitive investment for decades to come, even after the NBN is privatised.

    The NBN is a serious disaster.

  3. Of course you are right, Alex. Interestingly the point you make about the destroying the copper lines has been overlooked by the Opposition. (Well, no great surprise that, it requires access to sentences with more than 3 words since “stop the NBN” won’t cut it.) The clear fact is that if Telstra’s copper lines persist a lot of us would choose to use them. The whole masquerade is built on the concept of replacing Telsta with a total monopoly called NBN. How they get away with it beats me, but they are and will.

  4. Yes, it’s a completely nonsensical plan.

    Australia has had a lack of telecommunications investment? Why? Because there has been a government created monopoly called Telstra that has been supremely dominant, and no competitor would risk making an investment when they know Telstra can outspend them with ease due to their monopoly cash flows.

    The government solution is to create a new government monopoly to replace Telstra. Yet the government controlled infrastructure will be so singularly dominant that it will devastate private investment for decades. They are trying to fix a mistake by repeating the mistake.

    Interestingly, with the NBN, households in WA and Victoria will have to opt in. This is because removing the copper and connecting the fibre requires entry into private property. I believe the Labor State Governments are making provisions to allow entry into private property for the purpose of installing the NBN unless the customer opts out, but in the coalition states, the customer will have to opt in.

    This means people will have to make some sort of decision. The average person is going to find it hard to say no, since part of the $8 billion deal with Telstra is that Telstra will be advertising for people to switch to the NBN (I guess that means it won’t be counted as political advertising). And if people opt out, they will have to pay some onerous fee if they decide to be connected at a later date.

    But still, it’s an opportunity to explain to people why the NBN might not be such a good idea. I’ve been thinking about ways to get the information out there… perhaps with fliers. Facebook is an obvious option but with a flier you can reach people who a probably not very informed about the NBN and still have an open mind about it.

  5. Eric Schmidt: “Let me start by saying that Australia is leading the world in understanding the importance of fibre. Your new Prime Minister as part of her campaign and now as part of her prime ministership, has announced that by roughly I think 2015, 2016, 93% of Australians – which I guess are all the folks in the cities – will have gigabit or equivalent service using fibre, and the other 7% will be handled through wireless services of a nature of LTE. This is leadership. And again, from Australia, which I think is wonderful.”

  6. Bullshit, the NBN will never be built and will exceed 230% of the original cost.

    They haven’t even finished Tassie yet and are not releasing cost figures.

    What a colossal joke.

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