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Broadband Becomes a Battleground

You wouldn't have predicted before this election campaign that broadband would turn out to be a decisive difference between the two major parties. The past few days has seen it become a central issue separating the government and opposition.

It has also seen the geek vote made a whole lot easier. Whilst both major parties are really sickening me at the moment, the Coalition has done it more-so. Their plan to scrap the NBN rollout and rely on a mish-mash of outdated technologies to offer an alternative to the NBN is an absolute joke of a policy. Added to that they don't even see any sense in structurally separating Telstra, which is a monster that they created when they privatised it.

Why can people not see an massive problem in current state-of-affairs regarding Telstra and internet access? For example: in recently changing between two non-Telstra ISPs, I had to wait 2 weeks for a Telstra technician to do the physical swap at the exchange, but if I had been changing to Telstra it would have been done the next business day! What about all the poor people suck behind pair-gain or RIM-based connections that can't get decent and competitive internet in the first place?

Whilst a national fibre network is arguably not 100% 'needed' at the moment, in 5 or 10+ years it definitely will be. Ten years ago nobody had heard of Google, and there was no YouTube or Facebook. Imagine what the tweens of today are going to do with the internet in 10 years time! In 20 years the $43 billion investment to build the network will seem like a bargain for the type of rewards (let alone market openness and competition) that it will usher in.

I'm normally right-leaning in my political views, but I really can't support or endorse an alternative government with such a narrow view regarding such an important issue.

I'm very grateful that I live in Griffith which means my lower house vote won't really make much of a difference, otherwise I would have had a tough choice. For the Senate though, i'm increasingly leaning towards the Greens. Whilst I don't support all of their policies, most of them are common-sense standpoints (e.g. 'yes' on the NBN, 'no' on compulsory internet filtering). It's looking like the best result for most technological-minded people from this election will be a Labor Government with the Greens controlling the balance of power in the Senate.

2 thoughts on “Broadband Becomes a Battleground

  1. I expected better from you, Lucas. The NBN is welfare for Geeks. Do you really think that $2000 per head of population is justified?

  2. I'll take either the NBN, or: a complete structural separation of Telstra, and upgrades and new lines for everybody behind a RIM or on a pair-gain line, and a refresh/building of exchanges so that people in metro areas are less than 3km away from DSLAMs, and better rural and regional city competition and coverage, and..., and....

    I mean really? Are we really going to continue with aging copper pairs controlled by a wholesaling/retailing privately owned monopoly forever?

    It's all good for people with a decent copper line within 3km of an exchange that has multiple providers' equipment in it, but what of all the others who have to put up with internet of less than 2mbps (if that, only if they can get in depending on their conditions) with no choice except Telstra wholesale ports, or those whose only other option is to resort to unaffordable wireless (or the duopoly of HFC in Telstra/Optus if available)?

    And that's only in capital city metro areas! What of all the regional cities without HFC and/or wireless coverage and enough competition?

    So yes, I do think that the price is justified, and the benefits will be obvious over the next 50-100 years, which is how long this copper network has been around. Reasonable internet access with enough retail competition and choice should be a basic service provided to every home just as telephony is at the moment.

    $2000 per head will seem like a bargain in 30 years time.

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