The Australian National Broadband Network (NBN)

Just a few quick thoughts.

One, Australia had a chance with the NBN to do something truly nation-building – to rip up old infrastructure in the form of cabling and provide Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) for all properties in Australia barring the toughest of logistical situations.

Instead, our country was given an inferior option – the Coalition (Australia’s version of the Republican Party) came to power and their version of the NBN took hold – an arguably cheaper and quicker-to-deploy option based on Fiber-to-the-Node, which can be to street cabinets, etc.  Crucially, in some cases they’d not lay special optical fiber to premises but hang the service off existing copper or coax.

The reasoning they gave was cost and speed of completion.

I hated their argument then and I hate the result now.  Sure, internet speeds for NBN customers are almost universally much faster, but it could have been so much more.

At the time of writing, the airwaves and written media are filled with complaints from across Australia about the service, reliability and speed of the NBN.

Yes, the NBN is clearly massively-complex and it is extermely easy for the common person to fail to understand that a telco issue can cause issues for NBNCo and still have that person lay blame at NBN’s feet.  But irrespective of such misunderstandings, its clear that this rollout has been far from seamless.


 

From my point of view, roll-outs are buggy and hard to manage.  This, I can appreciate and deal with.  But it’s the underlying built-in limitations of the tech that piss me off.

I can totally see media outlets interviewing an aging Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott some years from now, asking them why they gave the nation a clearly-inferior solution that dogged citizens for years and arguably pushed us down the rungs of the global efficiency measures until a later, more complete overhaul of networking infrastructure was done by a party less concerned with an ideological point of difference with the Australian Labor Party.

 

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