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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Howard governments wireless broadband plan

The 7.30 Report - ABC

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The government argues the private sector is ready to move in with a fibre-to-the-node network, in the cities at least, without spending public money. Today, the Government put its long awaited broadband alternative on the table. The Government plan will see open competition for fibre roll-out in the cities and a joint venture with $1 million of public money for a wireless network in the bush and regional centres, a system called WiMAX.

The mystifying thing here is how wimax can be seen as a legitimate long term substitute for fibre.

While Moore's law has "taken care" of the fibre speeds (ie same basic fibre, but faster and faster speeds In fact fibre has increased 200 fold in 10 years), wireless has not (to date) increased at the same rate and importantly has never even been close to fibre speeds. Cables may be annoying but they are still the fastest!

I read on a blog that by the time we deliver these new technologies, then we risk them already being redundant. I agree. I am on Telstra cable (15mbit) and can’t get ADSL II. I want (neigh, I DEMAND) the highest speed possible and I'm prepared to pay it. More more more! Wimax will offer 12Mps max. TOO SLOW already! Add to that the line that Telstra use when mobiles drop out "anything wireless is not a guaranteed service..." (only land lines have a service guarantee) and the bush folk will feel very short changed.

I think the sooner we recognise that state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure is as important as roads and schools, then the sooner we may realise that the government needs to build it and lease it back to the "competing" companies. Parallel networks will be overkill and expensive (we will all be paying for their overspend) and it is ridiculous to have company like Telstra build FTTN and then force them to lease it to the likes of Dodo who contribute nothing other than appalling technical support (and cheap prices).

But we are talking about a minister who doesn't know a megabit from a megabyte, and please don't get me started on Richard Alston's "competence".

Here's a suggestion for both parties- get a superstar candidate from a web 2.0 company and make them the minister...?

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posted by thr at 11:38 am

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