Vent It: Will the NBN be fast enough?

Will the NBN be future proof, or will Australia continue to fall behind OECD benchmarks?

Senator Conroy's Request For Proposal on the National Broadband Network has slated a minimum NBN speed requirement of 12Mbps for 98 percent of the nation.

Shadow communications minister Bruce Billson has said that ISPs, call centres, educational institutions, data warehousing and image processing businesses are concerned that their requirements will exceed the 12Mbs benchmark well before the Rudd Labor Government's plan even makes a start, let alone finishes, which could be 2013 or beyond.

The Coalition subsequently launched a Senate inquiry into the NBN RFP, amid industry criticism that the tender documents are too vague to ensure the network will be open-access and pro-competitive.

With the OECD citing a study predicting downstream requirements of households would peak at around 50Mbps by 2011, the Federal Opposition and telecommunication analysts have warned a 12Mbps minimum speed network will see the broadband gap between Australia and OECD countries continue to grow.

Other analysts have pointed out that the 12Mbps is a minimum speed requirement, and most will enjoy speeds upwards of 30Mbps.

But the would-be consumers of the services the NBN will offer don't really care, all they want is a high speed national broadband network capable of delivering a wide range of services that meet the needs of businesses and residents alike, in a competitive, innovative and open manner.

Has the federal government been ambitious enough in its 12Mbps minimum speed requirement? Is it a concern many Australians with ADSL2+ connections can already get 12Mbps? Given it may be 5 years from completion, should we be aiming for minimum speeds of 30Mbps to 50Mbps? Or higher?

Will the NBN be future proof, or will Australia continue to fall behind OECD benchmarks?

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12Mbps is only a political soundbite

The elections wouldn't have given Steve the time to formulate a solid broadband plan. And he had to get one up on Coonan who was barking on about supplying Uluru with some type of wireless Internet. Who can blame him for googling "super fast broadband" and taking the numbers from the first result - which just happens to be ADSL2+.

Andrew Hendry



12Mbps is way to low

The government has said 12Mpbs is a MINIMUM speed, but who exactly will get that minimum - people that dont live in big cities, people with a long loop, and how many? Its too vague.

I think we should be aiming for 30Mbps minimum, look at other countries like Japan, Sweden etc and u realise any less is not going to cut it in ten years time.

If we're really going to spend that much deploying FTTN and risk getting the same speeds as ADSL2+, I'd rather wait a little longer and go the whole hog with FTTP.. Copper has to go eventually, lets not rush into FTTN (well, we're not exactly rushing are we conroy, fttn by when - 2015?) if waiting a little longer and a little more spending can get us FTTP, then we really could be at the forefront of developed countries broadband




It's too slow

In 5 years' time 12Mbps will be laughable. But the joke is on us as we will have lost $5b of our tax dollars on it. The absolute min. speed should be 50Mbps and more realistically higher

Kevin Bedford


Download speed is only half the picture

Everyone keeps focusing on download speed but to be truly useful especially for business we need faster upload speeds as well. Telstra are busy telling you how fast their cable network is but the upload is still capped at 128k. Just try sending someone a couple of average photos. ADSL2+ is nice if you can get it but the upload is only 800k.

Many relatively small businesses have multiple premesis these days and to be competitive need to be able to transfer data between them.

imho FTTN is where we should be heading with a minimum symmetrical 10mb bandwidth. That's the speed of early LAN's



In my opinion I agree with an FTTP decision. This will definitely allow for future upgrades, as a FTTN network is limited by the physical copper. FTTP will allow multiple services to be delivered into the home on one cable, which should stimiulate more competition in other industries such as PayTV. Fibre also means that last mile users should still see the same speeds as city users.

Also .. has there been any discussion about the price of data? It's all well and good to have an awesome 50mbps symmetric fibre connection, but it will loose it's potential with strict data caps.



NBN for the 20th century

Many people in Australia, including myself, have had 10megabit downloads speeds since last century.

If we are going to blow close to 5 billion on this PLEASE just roll out fibre to the home. Its the only truly scalable broadband connection media. Anything else is an NBN for yeaterday, not the future.

Let the public own the fibre and let business provide the connections.



All of this points to the necessity to make the bulk of the NBN (90%+) fibre to the premise. One hopes that the lengthy negotiations are headed towards this goal. As to the data cap issue. This is entirely due to Telstra price gouging us for backhaul and overseas connections. The former issue will be corrected in the NBN by building an entirely new backhaul network. The latter issue is being addressed by Pipe.

I'm glad this article is advancing the discussion because most journalists are utterly spellbound by Telstra spin, and haven't yet figured out that the 100Mbps cable upgrade is actually 3Mbps during peak periods.



Canadians can already sign up for a 120MBps broadband plan today. (Sept 2010). And the technology supports up to 320MBps over hybrid fibre coaxial cable.

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