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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