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Tech Talk Radio Show 33 of 2010
Transmission date: August 16, 2010
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Ep 33 of 2010
August 16, 2010

Last week, the long awaited Coalition ITC policy was released to less than rapturous acclaim. In a package of minimal spending and conservative politics, the coalition have only allocated $6.3bn over 7 years towards the most important infrastructure upgrade in Australian history. This time a century ago, the copper network was all the go, allowing people to talk on a new device called the telephone. In fact, In 1880, the first telephone exchanges opened in Australia.

It's hard for us today, more than a century later, to appreciate the impact that the new invention of the telephone had on our young country.

Tony AbbotIn what can only be described as a major disappointment, The Coalition’s long-awaited broadband policy will use government funding to leverage a privately run high-speed network to deliver  12-100 Mbps to 97% of households, using a combination of existing HFC cable, DSL and fixed wireless.

As anyone involved in the communications industry will tell you, wireless is by no way a substitution for cable, albeit copper or glass, there is just no way wireless can come anywhere near the speed of fibre optic. It’s only advantage is its cost effectiveness in delivering services to locations and households in remote locations. Chances are though, it’s these remote households that will benefit the most with high speed broadband for education, business and entertainment reasons. It call be said that the Nationals are letting down their core supporter base – the people who they are supposed to represent.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy were in Hobart last Thursday to officially launch the first part of the national fibre-optic broadband network – otherwise known as the NBN. In what was a shock announcement to Tony Abbott and which in turn brought about a barrage of scorn and ridicule towards the Labor party, Senator Conroy announced that fibre-optic speeds will hit 1 gigabit per second, 10 times faster than first thought. This is NOT SURPRISING to those in the business. In fact, these speeds are still rather slow for fibre-optics, but that’s not taking into account a high data flow and lots of concurrent connections.

Conroy said the announcement by NBN Co to increase capacity on the network shows that fibre technology is truly about future-proofing the nation, but one has to ask if this is a conspiracy on behalf of NBN Co protecting its future.

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley denied this revelation of National Broadband Network speeds up to 1Gbps had anything to do with supporting Labor’s election chances, in the face of a Coalition policy that would see his fledgling broadband company shut down. The announcement came just 10 days before election day but Senator Conroy said he was only told of the increased speeds the previous night.

Finally both ITC policies are on the table for all to consider before we chose a government on August 21, and it’s certainly not hard to see which party is looking to future proof Australia, and which party is looking at the short term.

Australia has slipped in internet speed ranking in the past few years, but with the NBN now being built, high speed broadband is now a real possibility for the long term, and will enable us to move back up to where we need to be in the global community.
So for those who need to hear what the NBN is in plain speak, put simply, it’s the equivalent of the industrial revolution from a communications point of view. High speed broadband will affect the prosperity of nearly every Australian and determine the success of every other policy rolled out by all political parties at this election.  Not unlike what copper did over one hundred years ago, and we know how that transformed lives back then.

Copper was the technological plumbing of the 20th century and Fibre optics is the equivalent for the 21st century.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • We take a detailed look at both the major party’s offerings in high speed broadband
  • Adam Turner gives the iPhone 4 the death grip using Australian Telcos
  • Victoria to clamp down on improper video surveillance
  • Telstra warns ISPs to expect "aggressive" competition and
  • Disputed bills saddle Telstra with $90m debt