Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Internet in Australia (10/08/2010 12:42:20 PM)

With the Australian Coalition's announcement today to spend $6.3bn for a broadband network versus the government's $43bn on a National Broadband Network, I'm stumped as to where my vote goes. Here are the two core issues:

  1. I fully believe the Coalition can sustain $6.3bn on a network where the minimum speed is 12Mbps - many Australian's already have access to up to 24Mbps so for the few areas remaining with ADSL (and heaven forbid Dialup), this is perfectly achieveable. BUT! With content for multimedia streaming in 1080p rapidly becoming the future, 1.8MB is required per second to achieve a 6.5GB video - a minimum of 14.4Mbps!

  2. The current government's plan to offer up to 100Mbps of family friendly filtered internet at $43bn is a much better option (minus Steven Conroy and his filter). HD Multimedia already requires a hefty stream, and unless you've been sleeping under a rock; 3D content and much better resolutions are coming out for TV that are going to push up the bandwidth required exponentially. This is perhaps the best option we have for Australia going forward over the next 20 years. BUT! ALP have a notorious history for blowing way over budget and over schedule with technology it's ridiculous. Take Myki, Grocery Watch and Ultranet for example. I do not believe such a network can be built for $43bn. Perhaps with an extra "0" for padding we will achieve it. (Granted, Liberal had their own issues with the $84 Million Porn Filter grossly overbudgeted - particularly when a Melbourne Teenager circumvented it).

So... a slower unfiltered network not capable of handling future traffic or a faster filtered network that will blow out millions? A very, very tough question.

Proposed solution? Australia has way too many disparate towns and a low volume of people per square kilometer versuses other countries which can sustain "Super Fast Broadband". So perhaps the best solution is to set up a decent Fibre backbone and push fast internet out to towns that have the population to support it. Getting 100Mbps to a farm 20km from the main town is just not feasible with current technology. Perhaps in the future as we refine Wireless technology, we can deliver faster broadband to the country.

I guess the reality for Australians is don't get too excited about either government about their internet policy. Both are absolutely flawed and are not technologically or economically feasible projects. Sure, I would jump with joy having a 100Mbps internet connection for TV Streaming, Downloading, Video Games etc... but I don't want to have to pay $1,000 per month just to have fibre to my house. It's time to get a little more serious with future proofing Australian's internet to both governments!

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