Government releases 'MyBroadband' data (kind of)

File only contains final quality and availability ratings for areas

The Department of Communications has released the data used to generate the MyBroadband website.

The MyBroadband website, launched last month, allows people to see the broadband availability and quality ratings for their local area. After a user enters an address, the website gives an assessment of the availability and quality of fibre to the premises, hybrid fibre-coaxial, fibre to the node, fixed wireless and ADSL available in the surrounding area. It also indicates the quality of mobile broadband coverage in the area.

The data used to generate the broadband quality and availability ratings are now available in an Excel file from the MyBroadband site.

However, the file released by the Department of Communications only includes the final ratings for different localities, not the base data that was used to generate the rating.

The accuracy of MyBroadband has been a subject of criticism. At a hearing in Terrigal yesterday of the Senate's National Broadband Network Select Committee, the site's data was described as "jest at people's cafes and pubs because it is not authoritative". David Abrahams of the Central Coast Broadband Alliance said the MyBroadband site had made a "clumsy attempt" to represent the local area.

Abrahams said he suspected the data came from "Telstra's theoretical ADSL map, which we all know is on a parallel universe because it has never existed or actually gelled with reality in this particular part of the world."

According to the Department of Communications, the MyBroadband site's data is sourced from "several different telecommunications carriers", the Telstra Wholesale website and "Over 20,000 real world observations on ADSL usage and the factors that affect ADSL usage".

"I bring two tests," Abrahams told the senate committee. "Both McMasters surf club and Killcare surf club reportedly have 17 megabits per second potential speed for their download capacity over ADSL 2 [according to MyBroadband].

"I can report from committees of both those clubs that there is no broadband infrastructure in those two surf clubs, zero, nothing. We once had ADSL 1 but, because of the congestion, we have nothing."

Patrick Spedding, the founder of technology advisory SeaChange Solutions and a member of Gosford City Council's employment and economic development committee, dubbed the website "myfraudband" during the hearing because of its alleged unreliability.

MyBroadband's launch coincided with the government's release of its full Broadband Availability and Quality Report, which compares broadband quality and availability to home and businesses in more than 78,000 local areas across Australia.

The report found that up to 1.6 million premises across the country have either no access to fixed broadband or access only to very poor broadband connectivity.

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Tags broadbandnational broadband network

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