Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Home » Australian Politics » Super high speed Broadband and turning the dishwasher on by computer

Super high speed Broadband and turning the dishwasher on by computer

Where I live we had to wait for a very long time to get broadband and now the bets that we can get is adsl1 but the reality is that it is entirely adequate for what we want to do on the internet (yes including the time I spend Blogging 😉 ) My children can play games. My wife can check out what she is interested in on Ebay We can pay our bills on line it gives us enough functionality to do anything we want to do. Rather like the old adage that many hoarders will be familiar with  that  “the amount of Junk expands to fill the available space” seems to me to apply to things like internet capability. Now while some people are told that they will want to be able to do things like down load feature movies most of us would only consider doing so if it is cost effective to do so. The Price of DVD’s has declined so much that rather than using up bandwidth to buy a copy of a film we are more inclined to just building up our collections as we please. What I am saying here is that we have to be realistic about the cost benefit analysis of any big nation wide infrastructure roll out like the NBN under Labor.
I just about fell out of my chair with laughter when Stephen Conroy seriously suggested in the debate yesterday that we need to spend 43 Billion bucks just so that some computer could turn on people’s dishwashers! or so that some people could have doctor’s consultations over the net. In the first instance who really wants to add another level of complexity to their domestic infrastructure to enable such control? and in the second what is the point if actual treatment can’t be delivered over the net anyway?
I think that such things are the stuff of a Sci-Fi utopian story but the reality is that the more complicated you make something the more chances there are that some part of it will fail so instead of a the Utopia that the likes of Stephen Conroy is dreaming of we end up with a dystopia where everyone has all of these flash toys that just don’t work properly most of the time.

So while Labor want to offer Australia a Rolls Royce in every garage the Coalition has a more modest but far more realistic Ford proposition that will do everything that we actually need when it comes to broadband and at a cost to the public purse that is much more modest and affordable.

Mr Abbott said the government had bungled the roll-out of so many programs he did not believe it could deliver the NBN for $43bn.

Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb said the NBN was an example of Labor’s “tax, spend and borrow” approach to government. Rather than create a government monopoly and a “stodgy and cumbersome bureaucracy”, the Coalition was prepared to back the private sector. “We will embrace fierce competition, not stifle it,” he said. “There is a better way.”

Under the Coalition’s plan, 97 per cent of households will have services with speeds of up to 100 megabits per second — and a minimum of 12 megabits — by 2016 through a mixture of HFC cable, DSL and fixed wireless services. It would spend $2.75bn to create a nationwide competitive fibre-optic “backbone” by 2017, expecting it to attract $750 million extra in private-sector funding.

It would also spend $750m on existing fixed broadband services to increase the number of households that could receive a DSL service, and up to $1bn on new fixed wireless networks in rural areas. Up to $700m would support provision of improved satellite services to cover the remaining 3 per cent of the population.

We live on a vast island with relatively few people and frankly when it comes to flash toys like super high speed broadband we have to be realistic about what we can actually afford because I don’t think that I am alone in thinking that I have no confidence that Labor can deliver on the NBN without it costing much more than they claim and that they are sure to have over estimated the number of people who will be willing to pay 43 billion  to have their dishwasher turned on and off by the bloody  computer.

Cheers Comrades


92 Comments

  1. PKD says:

    All you’ve deonstrated Iain is your Luddite ignorance of computing in general.
    The bandwidth is needed by business and by the public sector. Residential use will also happen as video on demand takes off.

    Not sci-fi, but simply the continuation of computing trend I’m terms of usage seen over the last few decades. This will increase even more if cloud computing (feel free to look it up) becomes ubiquitous.

    YOU may mot have a need for an NBN but plenty of others will…but then you are happy driving an obsolete banger around that most woldnt touch with a barge pole. You’re just applying your umm retro approach on cars to computers without even realising your cars philosophy isn’t suitable for the vast majority of people – for cars or computing.

  2. PKD says:

    Oh and the Libs NBN policy already appears to be a votebloser – even the pro Lib Australians online poll is showing a massive thumbs down – 74% against when I did it last night…

  3. PKD says:

    Even Abbott doesn’t know how his plan will work –
    http://m.theage.com.au/federal-election/im-no-bill-gates-abbott-stumbles-on-broadband-plan-20100811-11yi8.html

    so how do you know that it’ll work and be a better plan?

  4. Iain Hall says:

    PKD its like those who hype Pay TV :

    There is very little difference in functionality between my Liberty (which is 17 years young) and the latest offering from Subaru.
    There is nothing obsolete about either of my cars because both perform their design function perfectly well just as my PC does the job perfectly well event though it is only a P4 running XP. Not surprisingly most people never use all of the bells and whistles on most of the appliances they buy and the same thing goes for the much vaunted “upgrades” for the internet. The question you have to ask your self is would all of the people out there who like the idea of “super fast broadband” be willing to pay a great deal more for it than they are paying now? I think that you will find that the majority won’t and it is that reluctance that will condemn Labor’s NBN more than anything else.
    Just as I would love to own a Lambo but I know that its too expensive and I will have to be happy driving my entiorely functional Clubbie.

  5. PKD says:

    So you haven’t heard of cloud computing then.
    What a surprise.

    As for cost NBN phase 1 has already been rolled out and the prices (which you can look up on Whirlpool) are pretty reasonable for the increase in speed. The cost in dollars per Mbps are quite similar.

  6. Ray Dixon says:

    I’m no “tech head” either, Iain but I reckon even I have a better understanding of this issue than your mam Mr Rabbott does. No wonder he stayed away from the launch and, instead, went to “lunch”.

    There is no point spending $6 billion to give us speeds of “up to” 3 times faster than at present because within a few years of completion it will be redundant and unable to cope with the exponential growth of information being transmitted and downloaded on the Internet.

    The plan to use existing wire & wireless systems is short-term thinking and adds no value to the investment whatsoever. It might suit existing providers (like Telstra) but what it won’t do is increase competition.

    The NBN , on the other hand, is a whole new infrastructure of fibre optic cable that will be worth many times the initial investment and provide genuine competition.

    How will it be paid for? Easily. They’ll have no problem raising private investment to offset the $43 billion outlay because it is a new network that will be so superior to existing services that Telstra et al will just have to buy in.

    If you don’t believe this, look no further than the coalition’s own announcement in which they said they would “sell off” the NBN to partly fund their plan, even though the NBN hardly exists yet. That’s how viable a proposition the NBN is.

    To put this in “car” terms, Iain, the coalition’s plan is like spending $6,000 in repairs on your old clunker just to keep it on the road and underperforming for a few more years until it finally conks out. It’s throwing good money after bad.

    This is a real vote loser for Abbott and it looks like they just threw something hastily together in order to say “we’ll save you money” without thinking it through. Abbott’s lack of ANY real policies is right under the spotlight now and I’d suggest the tide of public opinion is well & truly turning against him as the real “Phoney Tony” is exposed.

  7. Indi Warrior says:

    sometimes its best not to say anything about a subject you know nothing about rather than prove it. internet speeds and broadband for most liberal supporters is a total waste of time and money simply because their understanding of the subject matter is minimal therefore why have it they say.
    ignorance is bliss as others might say.

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    What is the best internet that you can get where you are now?
    does it do all that you want it to do?
    Do you use every function on your mobile phone?
    would you pay substantially more for a faster service?
    IW
    I don’t need to be an expert on I T to understand that what is possible with a Rolls Royce can be done adequately with a Ford.

  9. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, ten years ago I hardly used the net as it didn’t offer much and was as slow as all hell. Yes, it’s better now but it also costs a lot more and I’ve been happy to pay for the increased speed and download capacity.

    I’m also happy to pay for Austar/Foxtel TV. Why? Because it gives me more news, entertainment & information. One of the benefits of fibre optic cable is it may eventually bring those services too, thereby offsetting the $90 per month I pay Austar.

    Overall I reckon it will cost me less, not more, but to answer you: YES, I’d be happy to pay higher prices for a superior & increasingly essential product if I have to.

    However, we are at the beginning of its possibilities and capabilities, not at the end. Are you saying I should just be happy with what it presently provides, like .. forever?

    It’s not just about current (very limited) domestic use. There are so many other uses for business, private and government services yet to be even thought of let alone instigated.

    Why you want to mount an argument against the NBN would be puzzling if it were not for the fact that it suits your political stance. It doesn’t make any sense to say we’ll just patch up the existing, barely adequate network. Like I said, you are advocating throwing good money after bad here. And you accuse Labor of waste!!

  10. Trevor2 says:

    What no one seems to be talking about is the rollout in a couple of years of the 4G network. It will operate on the old TV frequencies once the switch over to digital is complete. This is the blunt weapon that Rudd used to bludgeon Telstra with, get on board with our NBN plan or you will be denied the right to participate in 4G. (And yes you can look that up as fact in his speeches if you want to).
    Once it comes on line it will provide 100Mbps broadband as well as mobile phone to pretty well every place where you could get TV reception. Given that the whole world is moving more to mobile devices, smart phones, iPads, etc, having fibre optic in your house is not going to be of any use to these users so they are unlikely to sign up for two different systems.
    Given that 20mbps (ADSL2) is faster than 99% of users would ever use, it can already download a feature movie and play it in real time, 100mbps will be fast enough to turn on your dishwasher or let you consult with a doctor I’m sure. That is if you can find a doctor with enough time to sit in front of a computer and talk to you.

    I notice the statement that “Residential use will also happen as video on demand takes off” and “the cost per Mbps is quite similar”. One feature movie will probably use up most peoples monthly download allowance without them realising and then you’ll see them on Today Tonight with their $1000 internet bills for excess usage.

    Also, “The bandwidth is needed by business and by the public sector. ” Well let them pay for it out of there own pockets or budgets, don’t slap a bill on every household in Australia to support the big end of town. The network proposed by Abbott will still be fibre to the node in cities anyway, wireless is a much better option for the country.

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Trevor, I live in an area that got lousy TV reception before we got digital. I do not want to go backwards by using a system that didn’t work. Also wireless is not the best option for country areas, in fact the wireless connections are much slower than ADSL.

  12. Paul C. says:

    Your talk of Fords and Rolls Royces and dishwashers just simplifies and distorts what the issue is actually about. The NBN isn’t only about meeting the download needs of consumers, it is also about Australian infrastructure remaining on a par with those of our regional and global competitors. Multinational companies based in the US, Asia and Europe simply won’t invest in Australia if our telecommunications structures aren’t up to scratch. We will risk becoming a technological backwater without a high speed fibre optic network. Copper wire is yesterday’s technology and wireless will never be fast enough (most telecommunications data is carried on undersea fibre-optic cables, not by satellite as many think.)

    As for doctors, the service mentioned by Conroy is for them to use tele-visual linkups to diagnose, not to treat. Medical instruments could be connected to a network and transmit real-time data to a doctor on the other side of the country. This would give people access to specialists without leaving their hometown, which would allow for faster and cheaper diagnosis – and much less wasted time and travel. Only a dunce could deny the benefits of that, but there are hundreds of other applications that would be made possible by the NBN, such as telecommuting for work, and the delivery of education (e.g. attending lectures or classes at home).

    So to describe the NBN as wasted investment because it’ll just be used to turn on dishwashers is like someone in the 1500s saying the printing press will just be used to increase the world’s supply of toilet paper.

  13. Trevor2 says:

    Again, not reading. 4G will operate at 100mBps, 4 times faster than even ADSL2.

    And as you have stated your reception has improved now you have digital, mine too. I’m over 200k inland from the transmitter at Bundaberg and get perfect reception of the digital signal, which by the way is still being sent out over the old frequency around here.

    As you should appreciate, broadband is a digital signal also.

    Not only will 4G give enhanced broadband capability it will also provide better mobile coverage for country areas.
    But the biggest bonus of all is the Government will actually make money from selling bandwidth usage to private companies just as with all the previous mobile systems, rather than forking out billions to roll it out.

    I’ve already had approaches from companies asking for an expression of interest in a 4G service. I currently use 3G HSDPA for my broadband and never have to wait for more than a second or two for a page to load. 4G will eliminate even that 2 seconds, ah a world of instant gratification.

  14. Paul C. says:

    As you will be aware, Trevor, the speeds of any wireless service are contingent on the number of users and amount of data being accessed simultaneously. 4G is undoubtedly exciting and will certainly impact on mobile computing. But it will never be as fast, efficient or as reliable as a fibre-optic network.

  15. Ray Dixon says:

    Good for you, Trevor, you obviously have clear line of sight to the tower. Not so around here in the more hilly and treed parts.

    Sorry, I want a hard-wired connection because no one around here can receive adequate wireless broadbamd connection and never will. There are even black spots for digital TV reception and you would not believe what it has cost me just to receive the signal. It is just over the minimum strength and has to be constantly monitored and changed every time a tree grows a metre or so.

    I realise (from previous comments you’ve made) that you think installing fibre optic cable to country areas is a waste of money but I disagree entirely. We need to grow our country areas in population to relieve the congestion in the cities and unless we are included in the network it will be a massive deterrent for people to relocate.

    It’s hard enough as it is to convince city dwellers of the benefits of moving out to the bush, please don’t make it any harder, Mr Rabbott.

  16. Craigy says:

    Yes Trevor2, I live only about 30 to 40 km from the Melbourne CBD and we only got a mobile tower after the Bushfires last year. It was a ‘special’, as the cost to install a tower was never going to be economic in a farming area. It was good for a while but now that more people have moved back home, at night you struggle to get on-line and it is slow. This is because the 3G towers have a limited capacity and it slows down or won’t connect you if it is ‘busy’. Calls to Telstra to upgrade have fallen on deaf ears as usual.

    The best thing about the ALP NBN in my book is removing the monopoly that Telstra has. I hate them, they are a pathetic company with the worst customer service I have ever come across, and it’s been that way for the years I have had no choice but to deal with them.

    Nope, Tony has this one very wrong, we want proper services run by the Government, so that all of Australia can develop business ideas and community projects using the best technology we can get. And we don’t want to be constrained by Telstra’s need to pay its shareholders and so not develop infrastructure for the country areas.

    Telstra had its chance and blew it.

  17. Trevor2 says:

    Well such ill informed comments form you two, Firstly as you will see if you read, I’m talking about the 4G network, not 3G, which operates on a lower frequency and therefore will have better coverage.

    Before you get all high horse and try throwing around arguments about how there can never be coverage in a given area, I started my working life with what was then the PMG, later Telecom then Telstra as a technician working on long line installations of the coaxial cable system that carries most of your phone calls around Australia, went from there to the Air Force working on fighter aircraft avionic systems including radar and radio and electronic counter measures. I then went into private industry installing long range HF radios for remote areas in W.A. I may just have a bit more technical knowledge than either of you although not knowing you I am happy to hear your background if you want to prove me wrong.

    The cost of providing fibre optic to small rural communities of 1000 people (Gillards extra 3%) can never be recovered in any reasonable time frame. And I don’t know what planet you’re on to think that someone is going to suddenly decide to move out there just because it has high speed fibre optic, which they have where they are anyway! I think there is much more important infrastructure needed in rural communities than that to encourage population to not just move there, but to actually encourage locals to stay in the area.

  18. Craigy says:

    Sorry Trev2, but throwing around your CV doesn’t change the fact that many people in the country still don’t get reasonable internet.

    You also contradict your own argument by pointing out that;

    “The cost of providing fibre optic to small rural communities of 1000 people (Gillards extra 3%) can never be recovered in any reasonable time frame.”

    Which is exactly why this needs to be done by the Government, breaking the Telstra monopoly on infrastructure. The private providers can’t charge enough to pay dividends AND develop new services in the bush.

    This doesn’t mean of course, that providing this service doesn’t benefit the country as a whole. Making this service available to as many people as possible will stimulate business and therefore economic activity. The Government won’t get their money back, but the country will be richer in the long run.

    With all your qualifications, which are very impressive, you seem to miss the fact that modern business and communities require increasingly fast connections. You also don’t seem to get the fact that more and more people are working from home or doing a large part of their business from home. Add to this people with disabilities being able to start and run businesses or e businesses and people in fire prone areas will have better, more reliable warnings, the medical services and the developments in on-line TV and entertainment, and Tony’s proposal is looking so last century.

    You are well qualified as a technical person but thank goodness you don’t work on communications policy. Tony seems to also lack understanding in this area.

  19. Ray Dixon says:

    Thanks for the personal history, Trevor, but I already figured that you are quite savvy on these matters. However, wireless digital just doesn’t cut it: The signals here are very tenuous and highly unreliable. To give some small, simple examples, we get an interruption to our digital TV reception whenever there is heavy rain or storm activity (same goes for the sattelite connection to Austar). When my next door neighbour starts up his lawn mower it also cuts out the TV signal. With digital TV you either get perfect reception or none at all and it doesn’t take much for it to drop out. I’ve already mentioned minor ‘obstacles’ like a bloody big hill and trees. Craigy has already mentioned the congestion problems it will bring. Sorry, it’s not good enough to expect us to operate on thin air connections.

    Under Rabbot’s plan there will be NO fibre optic cable to my town (greater poulation of 5,000 swelling often to 25,000 as we attract a lot of tourists) and that is putting us at a disadvantage to the cities.

    I didn’t say people would be “attracted” to relocate here just because we have fibre optic cable, I said people would be deterred from relocating if we don’t have it. Big difference.

    I’m not sure what planet you are living on either but here in Victoria regional populations ARE growing, albeit slowly. Having good Internet (as good as the cities have – at the moment!) is an important factor in both retaining populations and in “not deterring” new arrivals.

    Thanks for the patronising remarks but you seem to miss the point that the NBN will also help to alleviate the concentration of people in the 3 main capitals as we become more & more reliant on working over the net. Mr Rabbot’s plan treats regional areas, which make up a huge proportion of Australia, as second class. No thanks.

  20. Trevor2 says:

    In communities with small numbers, a 4G mobile service providing better mobile communications as well as broadband will be much more use than a fixed system that does nothing to improve mobile phone and mobile computing capability.
    It will also be much cheaper to install saving having to run a fibre many kms out of town to service a single point. Being 30-40 km out of the Melbourne CBD doesn’t really qualify as country compared to the 1000’s of km involved in farming communities.
    Good thing you aren’t running communication policy otherwise everyone in the country would have to sit in their house to do anything.

  21. Trevor2 says:

    Ray you obviously can’t inderstand the improvement 4G will be over current capabilities.
    As you go lower in frequency, hills, trees etc become less of a problem. Lower frequency signals actually follow the curvature of the earth and don’t rely on line of sight. They can actually bend around obstacles. That is why they use HF radio for long range communication.
    Perhaps we best just leave it at that.

  22. craigy says:

    Trev2, you avoid many of the points I make, the Telstra monopoly for example.

    And for a technical person, you seem to lack a lot of information about modern stuff. When did you leave the industry?

    I’m sure you would know, if you had been around this stuff in recent times, that a fiber point is usually connected to a wireless hub? For your information, this can give mobile and internet access to a farmer over long distances.

    Things can pass us by if we don’t keep up……

    I don’t think the NBN will stop investment by private firms in 4G. We will still get it, when they private business case can show a profit. We might be waiting a while though as they are still rolling out 3G and we won’t get 4G everywhere without Government input.

  23. Ray Dixon says:

    Leave it that? Why Trevor? I’d be interested to know if you really understand the capabilities of fibre optic cable. You seem to know a lot about wireless signals but, as I understand it, fibre optic has endless uses & possibilities. I’m not pretending to be an expert but I wonder if you’ve really looked into it or if you’re just presenting a pro-Rabbott argument here.

  24. Trevor2 says:

    First thing. Telstra still has the government as it biggest shareholder doesn’t it, or did I miss the T3 float? Secondly, they are relying on Telstra to provide the infrastructure in the way of cable pit and exchange access to roll out the NBN since no private company would bid for it, so where does the competition come in?

    Craigy, “I’m sure you would know, if you had been around this stuff in recent times, that a fiber point is usually connected to a wireless hub? For your information, this can give mobile and internet access to a farmer over long distances.”

    I can’t for the life of me figure out what you are getting at here? I am well aware that fibre goes to the mobile tower, so are you agreeing then that its better for it to be done that way, than to then take that fibre all the way out to the farm? Because that’s the point I am making.

    So when did you do your technical training Craigy, since you question my current knowledge? Or does it all come from Google?

    No, the NBN won’t stop private enterprise setting up 4G. Given the rise in popularity of mobile devices such as iPad etc, it is going to be a big earner for them. Which is probably why they chose not to put their money into the NBN.

    No Ray, like any pipe fibre optic capability is a finite amount. Once it is reached no more stuff can be forced down it. The size and number of fibres run to an area will determine the capacity. As to reliability, it doesn’t stand a chance against a back hoe as they found out in Brisbane recently and a power outage will take it out just the same as any other system. How many times have you seen the ATM network go down. If you have a mobile tower you already have fibre optic running to your town.

    I had the misfortune to stay overnight in Bright in 1995, I had an early appointment with a local business next day, at one of the accommodation facilities in the main town and found the standard rather appalling. I hope it has improved since then. I never had a problem with my mobile there though, a Motoral a flip phone at the time.

    I’d really like to hear about what sort of home based businesses people in small rural communities are going to be running from home that need 125mBps data service. Out here we don’t even have passenger rail, only narrow gauge goods rail that runs once a fortnight except during harvest season. We can’t even get express mail service as we are outside the areas covered by it.
    Gillard has yet to announce the extra cost of that 3% increased coverage. It will be unlikely to be revealed before the election but given the distances involved compared to the first 90% I would expect it could up it by at least 20%

    I’m going to leave it at that because it has run its course as far as I’m concerned, not because I can’t understand fibre optics.

  25. Ray Dixon says:

    You demonstrate almost zero knowledge of the capabilities & capacities of fibre optic cable, Trevor. Thanks – I reckon I COULD learn more about it than what you have said by going to Google. A lot more. I fugure though, that you just want to put it down because it’s a Labor party policy and that’s why you want to “leave it at that”‘. Fine by me.

    As for saying, “I had the misfortune to stay overnight in Bright in 1995 .. etc”, well my first instinct is to tell you to shove your patronising insults up your arse you anonymous twerp ….. but I reckon your comment says more about you than the place where I live.

  26. Craigy says:

    Umm wireless Trevor2? You never seen a wireless hub?

    Okay ‘Telephone Tech’ Trevor2, it is a device to set up a wireless local area network. You can have a small domestic version or you can put in a high powered one to cover a large property, like an arts community down here has done and it covers the whole valley. Funny that artists are more up to date than an ex-Telstra tech?

    And you don’t seem to have any idea about what the ALP is doing. Yes Telstra are helping build the NBN but the Government will own it and then sell it off a few years down the track to a non-retail company. So no retail firm will have a monopoly on the fibre cables.

    As for what kinds of things people might use 125mbps for, I work in television production and often edit HD quality video and sound at home, my neighbours include photographers, musicians as well as farmers of stud animals (who market on-line), business people (who use conferencing) and many others who find the current speeds slowing their ability to grow their business or making it harder for them to work from home.

    Just for your technical information, 4 minutes of standard definition video is about one gigabyte at the lowest usable quality. Any idea how long that takes to send at current speeds?

    No Trevor 2, you are way behind the times. I am not a ‘Telephone Tech’ like you, but I seem to know a lot more about what the users need and what the Government is proposing. Perhaps that explains Telstra’s total disconnect from its customers over the past 10 years.

  27. lynot says:

    I wonder what speed the broadband spectrum will be running at counting the votes for my beloved te he he.Yea right Abbotts going to win isn’t he?

  28. Iain Hall says:

    Firstly let me welcome you to my blog Paul C I welcome comemnts even when they disagree with me 😉

    Your talk of Fords and Rolls Royces and dishwashers just simplifies and distorts what the issue is actually about. The NBN isn’t only about meeting the download needs of consumers, it is also about Australian infrastructure remaining on a par with those of our regional and global competitors. Multinational companies based in the US, Asia and Europe simply won’t invest in Australia if our telecommunications structures aren’t up to scratch. We will risk becoming a technological backwater without a high speed fibre optic network. Copper wire is yesterday’s technology and wireless will never be fast enough (most telecommunications data is carried on undersea fibre-optic cables, not by satellite as many think.)

    No Paul I’m taking the argument to first principles and asking not what tech-head may like to do because it is possible but what we , as a nation actually need and what we can reasonably afford as for foreign companies being deterred because we won’t have the fasted possible broadband I really don’t think that it will be a deal breaker as long as we have a stable country and a good basic reliable system of communication.

    As for doctors, the service mentioned by Conroy is for them to use tele-visual linkups to diagnose, not to treat. Medical instruments could be connected to a network and transmit real-time data to a doctor on the other side of the country. This would give people access to specialists without leaving their hometown, which would allow for faster and cheaper diagnosis – and much less wasted time and travel. Only a dunce could deny the benefits of that, but there are hundreds of other applications that would be made possible by the NBN, such as telecommuting for work, and the delivery of education (e.g. attending lectures or classes at home).

    Yes all of that would be nice but is it essential? and is it good value for the (lots of ) taxpayer dollars that it will cost? I know that Labor never seem to care about “bang for taxpayer bucks ” (think BER school halls) But this is something taht is not being done with the same unseemly haste so the questions should be asked.

    So to describe the NBN as wasted investment because it’ll just be used to turn on dishwashers is like someone in the 1500s saying the printing press will just be used to increase the world’s supply of toilet paper.

    I’m not saying that the NBN is a wasted investment I’m saying that it is an extravagant one and that at this point in time that such extravagance may not be such a good idea as Trevor has pointed out most people would be more than happy with ADSL2 speeds so the need for something that is even faster is over hyped.

  29. Craigy says:

    Trevor might have pointed out that people are happy with ADSL2 but that doesn’t make it so Iain. It isn’t fast enough for my business and for many other new ones.

  30. Iain Hall says:

    Craigy
    why is it not fast enough for your business?

  31. Ray Dixon says:

    Yes …. what Paul C said here: https://iainhall.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/super-highspeed-broadband-and-turning-the-dishwasher-on-by-computer/#comment-52792

    It must have been in moderation because I didn’t see it before. Anyway, it’s great stuff and so right.

    Iain, you seem to be mainly thinking of what suits your lifestyle and aspirations. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the great opportunities that this would bring. Some of us actually see the great benefits.

    As for it being too “extravagant .. at this point in time”, when would be a good time to do it? It won’t get any cheaper. Oh, okay, “when we repay the debt” then? Funny, I don’t hear Abbott saying he’ll do it “when we repay the debt” (as he’s promised to do). In fact he plans to waste $6 billion repairing an old system that won’t provide such benefits. That puts us $6 billion in the red with no way of recovering it, unlike the super valuable NBN which will be worth ten times its cost once its running.

  32. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    It must have been in moderation because I didn’t see it before. Anyway, it’s great stuff and so right.

    It was in the spam bin for some reason and not recovered until this afternoon because I was out shopping.

    Iain, you seem to be mainly thinking of what suits your lifestyle and aspirations. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the great opportunities that this would bring. Some of us actually see the great benefits.

    No, I’m looking at what people actually need, even those who have very different lifestyles to me. To go back to may car analogy if the purpose of the machine is to get you safely and efficiently from point A to point B there is a minimum number of characteristics and a 17 year old car can do that just as well as one made this year the things that are different are the peripheral things like its trim and styling functionally its the same and under that fancy skin. The Net is no different. As a business owner you obviously want to be able to advertise your business and to take bookings over the net which must be perfectly adequate right now because every time I have done such a thing for accommodation its no problem. How would having faster Broadband make you any more money?
    As for replacing your cable TV what would you want to do that and put your self in the position of having all of your information coming and going through one source?

    As for it being too “extravagant .. at this point in time”, when would be a good time to do it? It won’t get any cheaper. Oh, okay, “when we repay the debt” then? Funny, I don’t hear Abbott saying he’ll do it “when we repay the debt” (as he’s promised to do). In fact he plans to waste $6 billion repairing an old system that won’t provide such benefits. That puts us $6 billion in the red with no way of recovering it, unlike the super valuable NBN which will be worth ten times its cost once its running.

    If the NBN does get built what makes you think that it will be worth even what it costs? That is a very big gamble that is just as likely to be a white elephant that makes the big tunnels in Sydney and Brisbane look like white mice! There are some very dodgy assumptions here, firstly the assumption that the world economy won’t crash in a heap in the immediate future, I’m thinking Greece and span here and about the level of debt in the USA It could get really bad really quick …
    Secondly there is the assumption about take up the sort of prices that I have seen mooted for the super high speed BB don’t seem likely to get every man and his dog putting their names on contracts and if you are not going to get people putting their hands in their pockets to pay for the service then no matter how “great and Good ” it is it will never make a quid or repay the cost to the taxpayer.

  33. Ray Dixon says:

    I’m looking at what people actually need

    With respect, Iain, you cannot possibly speak on behalf of others. I think you’ve really got the self-interested blinkers on here. If it were the coalition proposing the NBN I reckon you’d be all gung-ho about it. Let’s face it, Rabbott only went with his joke of a plan to try to score some cheap political points by saying, “look, I’ll save you $37 billion”. But the reality is, he’d waste $6 billion on a totally useless upgrade of old technology that won’t make any difference. You know what? I reckon he has no intention of even carrying his own inadequate plan out and this is just another ‘policy on the run’ announcement. How come they only announced this 10 days out from election date and before that they had bo broadband policy whatsoever? Tony is a phoney.

  34. Iain Hall says:

    Care to answer my questions Ray?
    My brother is a computer tech and we have discussed the issues quite often not that I am an experts but a straw poll of people that I know revels that most are happy to be able send and receive email, surf the web for information and to do things like internet banking, The people that want this super-fast internet are idiots who want to play computer games like Halo well if they do then why don’t they stump up the 47 billion?
    And I just don’t buy your contention that something that is old is of necessity unserviceable.
    You really should read “The waste makers” By Vance Packard

  35. Indi Warrior says:

    “most are happy to be able send and receive email, surf the web for information and to do things like internet banking”

    again ignorance is bliss……..

  36. Sax says:

    I agree with you Iain.
    Broadband speeds, minimum of 256/56 is available nearly everywhere now, whether hard wired or satellite. That has been the case since Howard. Labor had nothing to do with that.
    If you want higher speeds, that option is also available, under present infrastructure, but you have to pay for it. So it should be ?

  37. Paul C. says:

    a straw poll of people that I know revels that most are happy to be able send and receive email, surf the web for information and to do things like internet banking, The people that want this super-fast internet are idiots who want to play computer games like Halo well if they do then why don’t they stump up the 47 billion?

    I’m sorry to sound disrespectful Iain, but that is errant nonsense. We are not talking about the end speeds for mum-and-dad Internet users or kids playing World of Warcraft. The NBN is about providing fast, reliable bandwidth that will meet the technological needs of government, industry, education, the media, etc. in the 21st century. I have already outlined some ways that it might be utilised, so has Craigy. It has got very little to do with the speeds coming into the home which, as you say, are probably fast enough for most consumers.

    As for your argument that ‘new’ doesn’t necessarily mean better, in some cases that may be true, but not in computing or networking. Back when your 17 year old car was ‘new’ on the showroom floor, the newest MS Windows was 3.1 and the average computer had 256k RAM (smaller than a large .jpg file). Your car still does the job it was built for, but try hooking up a ’93 IBM clone to ADSL2 and it’d probably explode.

    Do you really believe that a nationwide FO broadband network is unnecessary, or are you just cheerleading for the Liberals?

  38. Iain Hall says:

    Paul C
    The problem with your criticism is that your dismissal of my contention that most people just want a basic service because you contend that the needs of business are greater ignores the fact that raison detre for spending so much is that the Mum and dad users are the are expected to take up the service in big enough numbers to make it financially viable. Now I am suggesting that this assumption is flawed perhaps fatally.
    But I say that if business wants a super fast service then it should pay for it and not expect to be subsidised either by the Mums and dads or by the taxpayer .

    “We are in a difficult situation and we can’t be absolutely confident technology is not going to change.” he said.

    University student Shae agreed the Gillard broadband plan would cost a too much.

    She suggested private companies should do the project.

    “I agree with you Shae,” Mr Abbott said.

    “I do think the market has got to be the foundation of the system.

    “That’s essentially what we are trying to do with our policy.”
    The Australian

    I take your point about the sort of computers available in 93 when they were indeed very primitive. But now in 2010 the computer that I now run is by no stretch of the imagination state of the art but it is like my Subaru entirely functional and we are definitely into the area of diminishing returns when it comes to a band new replacement for it. The same applies to faster broadband as nice as it would be to download large image files quicker, or to play “world or war-craft ” all that would mean is that I would use up my data allowance more quickly which would incur extra costs so its a bit like chocolate a second on the lips and an eternity on the hip pocket nerve….

    Do you really believe that a nationwide FO broadband network is unnecessary, or are you just cheerleading for the Liberals?

    Where I live there is never going to be an economic case for an FO cable to my gate and if I was running a business where I needed super high speed BB then I would have to consider moving to a place where I could connect to such a service . but the number of businesses that need such a service are very small indeed In fact I invite you to nominate just what functionality you think this expensive service would provide. You sound like you have a vested interest in the NBN being completed but apart from some vague motherhood statements you are yet to explain precisely what you think people will do with this expensive functionality so please give us your vision of just why this vast expense will be of use to both business and humble users like my self.

    I just read this bit of fluff:

    The 1Gbps speed boost would provide internet download speeds that are 1000 times faster than what many households have today, allowing consumers to download a 4 gigabyte high-definition movie in as little as 30 seconds.
    NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley will reveal the speed boost at an internet industry conference in Sydney today, where he is hoping the announcement will help the public understand the differences between copper, wireless and fibre-based broadband technologies.

    But telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said not all consumers would have a use for NBN’s super-fast broadband.

    “These speeds will no doubt excite all of the nerds and gamers out there but the reality is that only a small percentage actually needs it at the moment, but for businesses this is absolutely fantastic. It will allow businesses all over the country to use not only high definition video conferencing but applications we have not even begun to dream of,” he said.

    So its all about being able to do Hi definition Video conferencing and undefined applications is it?

    Look this is a bit like car makers wanting to put ABS in cars a big expense and extra complication for very limited improvement in function. So I’m asking you to make the case for the Rolls Royce that you claim is necessary. Are you able to do so?

  39. Paul C. says:

    I have already made the case Iain, and both times you’ve responded by suggesting that since your own personal circumstances don’t require faster Internet than what you presently have, Australia doesn’t need a NBN. That is a most short-sighted and selfish position. I’m not going to waste more words repeating what just about every industry expert agrees on: that in the 21st century we will need a NBN to remain up to date, competitive and provide services that keep pace with those available in the US and Europe. If you can’t see that, it’s not my job to teach you.

    I will however address your issue of cost. The NBN is scheduled to cost $43 billion over eight years, however not all is coming from the Federal government. The NBN is controlled by a public-private company and the government is only committed to maintaining a controlling share. Once the NBN is fully rolled out (probably by 2014-15) the government intends selling down its ownership to the private sector. Much of the $43 billion will therefore be recouped, either by private sector investment, share sell-downs or infrastructure leasing. Your paranoia about excessive cost is therefore entirely unfounded. As for relying on the private sector to ‘do it all’, that’s an impossible dream. Private electricity and transport companies are notorious for under-investing in infrastructure, e.g. shoddily maintained powerlines that possibly contributed to the 2009 bushfires. The NBN is too important to be left to a patchwork of private companies whose real function is profit, not service delivery.

  40. Iain Hall says:

    Paul C
    I’ll remind you that you have come here to make an argument :

    I’m not going to waste more words repeating what just about every industry expert agrees on: that in the 21st century we will need a NBN to remain up to date, competitive and provide services that keep pace with those available in the US and Europe. If you can’t see that, it’s not my job to teach you.

    Sorry but I am no fan of appeals to authority like this. I specifically asked you to explain precisely what you think that this functionality is needed for. You fail if you can’t explain what sort of processes and elements of business actually need this sort internet speed. as You apear to be a Tech head this should not be beyond you.

  41. Paul C. says:

    I have already made the case, you just keep ignoring it. Just as you’ve ignored my explanation that your panic about cost is unfounded. Not sure there’s any more point continuing if you’re just going to shout “you fail” but I don’t dance to your whistling.

    Craigy’s suggestion that you look up ‘cloud computing’ is a good one. Also, this article explains why NBN is vital for future business needs:

    http://m.zdnet.com.au/we-need-the-nbn-because-business-does-339304950.htm

  42. Craigy says:

    I have explained why it is needed by many Iain, above….here it is again….

    As for what kinds of things people might use 125mbps for, I work in television production and often edit HD quality video and sound at home, my neighbours include photographers, musicians as well as farmers of stud animals (who market on-line), business people (who use conferencing) and many others who find the current speeds slowing their ability to grow their business or making it harder for them to work from home.

    Just for your technical information, 4 minutes of standard definition video is about one gigabyte at the lowest usable quality. Any idea how long that takes to send at current speeds?

    Why ask for something you have been given already? Or do you go blind when you see facts that oppose your view of the world?

  43. Iain Hall says:

    PaulC
    All you have said is that we need to have a service as fast as someone else “to be competitive” I would like you to explain precisely what services and abilities that you think that this scheme would enable and what makes those things important enough for the cost that will be incurred
    Craigy
    In all the years that you have been commenting here you have never revealed precisely what you do at the UNI and you certainly have never said that you work in television production.
    That said if you bring work home how do you bring the data home now?
    As for your neighbors
    For a musician transmitting a music clip via You tube does not require a fast connection and audio files are not that big either
    Photographs, even large files do not require the sort of speeds envisaged
    And I don’t think that even a stud breeder does either.

  44. Craigy says:

    Hi again Iain,

    I don’t have a problem revealing my job.

    FYI, I had a 25 year career in TV production, working at various TV Networks and running my own business for some of that time. I now work at a University in Melbourne as the ‘Broadcast TV Studio co-ordinator’ and I still work on various productions around the industry from time to time to keep my hand in. The rest of my time is spent re-building my house and property after the 2009 bushfires.

    Just to set you straight on your assertions above.

    1. Recorded video material is still mainly stored on tape, so I take tapes home to edit. This is being replaced by memory sticks (slowly) but at Uni and now in the industry most media is being stored on media servers and accessed by the internet or intranet. At Uni we have a 100mbps network which is only just fast enough to send these files around. The work flow in the TV industry is quickly moving towards on-line collaborative production.

    It works like this:

    A cameraman dumps his stuff on a server that the editor can access, during this process the footage can be seen by the producer and writer who can add suggestions or changes. The edited footage is then accessed by a composer and sound engineer who add their bits and then uploaded to an on-air play out server. As I said, these files are huge and need very fast connections to work. At this stage we would all like to be able to do this over greater distance on the internet, but in Australia it is way to slow.

    2. The farmers breeding stud animals are all running businesses from home and use on-line media as a way to market their animals. High quality images and large amounts of data are used in their sales pitch and in co-operation with other farmers to improve their breed. I have spoken to a few, and faster broadband is something they dream about. As I have said, our current 3G internet is slow and has capacity problems.

    3. Other people in our area in business and the arts all report a need for faster connections, if not now then in the future. What you are failing to grasp is that this is not just about what people do now, but the future creative ideas that people have that they know they can’t realise on the current system.

    So there you have it.

    If I could ask one thing Iain, and that is please don’t assume that because you only watch you tube (which now has HD video that can’t stream well on most home connections) and only transfer small data streams, that you are representative of most people. We have 55,000 students and 5,000 staff at my Uni, and just about every one of them would have a need for faster internet either now or in the future.

    Cheers.

  45. Iain Hall says:

    Craigy
    Thank you for your fulsome explanation why you desire a faster Internet service but I very much doubt that every one of those students and staff would have the same need that you do, now or into the future in fact I expect that only a relatively small number of them have an actual need for a substantially faster service now or into the future no matter how much that they may desire it .

    If I could ask one thing Iain, and that is please don’t assume that because you only watch you tube (which now has HD video that can’t stream well on most home connections) and only transfer small data streams, that you are representative of most people.

    The thing is Craigy once you get out side you own little “hotspot” where you can see a demand for a faster service the vast majority of users are like me and we are being told that That we need something that clearly will be far in excess of the requirements for the way that we actually use the net. So my argument is simply this if the vast majority of users don’t need something should they be expected to subsidise the minority who do have a need/desire for super-fast broadband?

  46. Paul C. says:

    I would like you to explain precisely what services and abilities that you think that this scheme would enable and what makes those things important enough for the cost that will be incurred

    I already have Iain, you’re just not listening. New eHealth programs can be developed using the NBN, allowing outpatients to consult with specialists without travelling long distances; instruments can relay video and data in real time across the country; a specialist in Melbourne can oversee a complex surgical procedure in Broome as if he was there. This will not only save time and money, it will save lives. There will be a myriad of uses in education, such as online programme delivery, interactive programs, national hookups and student forums, etc. The NBN will enhance and streamline the operation of government, defence, national security, passport control, traffic surveillance, etc. It will improve the delivery of media exponentially and probably change the way we think of news and journalism. But the real benefits are for business and employment, as Craigy as mentioned, though he’s only scratched the surface. It’s possible that the NBN will increase telecommuting by 10-20%, allowing companies to cut back on expensive CBD office space and getting people off the road and public transport. The nature of buying and selling will also change, with ‘virtual stores’ rather than basic online shopping sites, electronic stocktaking, improvements to accounting practices.

    That’s part of what we think will happen. But there are also future developments that we can’t anticipate, that will require greater bandwidth at higher speeds. We can’t predict how the Internet will be used in 10 or 20 years time, the only certainty is that it will grow, and that per capita data use will grow with it. Having a reliable high-speed FO network will provide a platform for Australian companies and developers to break new ground in software, media use and service delivery. All for a government-led investment that will end up costing less than $15 billion over a decade, by the time the private sector jumps onboard. To deny this is to deny the future. And to suggest it’s about just turning on dishwashers or downloading movies is ‘reductio ad absurdum’.

  47. Iain Hall says:

    Paul

    I already have Iain, you’re just not listening. New eHealth programs can be developed using the NBN, allowing outpatients to consult with specialists without travelling long distances; instruments can relay video and data in real time across the country; a specialist in Melbourne can oversee a complex surgical procedure in Broome as if he was there.This will not only save time and money, it will save lives.

    As nice as I think that this may be and clearly it appears to be possible but the real question has to be is the cost justified by the expense? and for the number of times that someone from Broome will need specialised surgery it is probably a better option to fly them to the surgeon because if they are not actually doing the cutting the expertise would be of limited value anyway. So unless you are talking about the use or remote controlled robots and last time I checked that sort of technology is very much more expensive than an effective medivac service.

    There will be a myriad of uses in education, such as online programme delivery, interactive programs, national hookups and student forums, etc.

    None of that is as valuable as you seem to think and I ask you again is it worth the tariff? Its nice in the way that Lambo is nice lovely to look at and contemplate but is it value for the money?

    The NBN will enhance and streamline the operation of government,

    How will it “streamline” the operation of government?

    defence, national security, passport control,

    Surely you can’t expect that defence or national security would be dependant on the NBN? and why would something as simple as passport control needs super fast broadband?

    traffic surveillance, etc.

    Are you suggesting that we need to be watched big brother style every time we go for a drive in the car? What’s next a GPS transpondders on every car? 🙄

    It will improve the delivery of media exponentially and probably change the way we think of news and journalism.

    I refer you to the Bruce Springsteen clip I posted in this post having more choices is not an improvement if there is not the quality content to fill it with. and when it comes to news or journalism how much will ever be enough?

    But the real benefits are for business and employment, as Craigy as mentioned, though he’s only scratched the surface.

    Yes and although Craigy does make a case for some individuals having use of super-fast broadband neither he nor you have demonstrated that it is needed enough to justify the expense.

    It’s possible that the NBN will increase telecommuting by 10-20%, allowing companies to cut back on expensive CBD office space and getting people off the road and public transport.

    I reckon that even without the NBN that there could be a great deal more telecommuting and I would suggest that the road block to that is more about corporate culture than it is about internet shortcomings

    The nature of buying and selling will also change, with ‘virtual stores’ rather than basic online shopping sites, electronic stocktaking, improvements to accounting practices.

    In your dreams! You won’t replace shopping with any online process because no matter how flash you make those online stores they won’t provide the same satisfaction in the personal buying experience, as for electronic stocktaking I fail to see why that needs fast speeds or huge bandwidth, and on site computers can handle the accounting of even the largest retailer and even head office won’t need super-fast broardband to recieve accounting reports.

    That’s part of what we think will happen.

    Who is “we”? Come clean and explain what stake you have in this issue if you don’t mind 😉

    But there are also future developments that we can’t anticipate, that will require greater bandwidth at higher speeds.

    So is what you are saying is that you are taking a punt here and you want the Australian taxpayers to buy the ticket?

    We can’t predict how the Internet will be used in 10 or 20 years time, the only certainty is that it will grow, and that per capita data use will grow with it.

    That sounds like science fiction to me and I am very mindful of what has happened with Mobile phones and the fact that so much of the traffic on them is the stuff of nonsense, like people tweeting to the world their self pleasuring and bodily functions.

    Having a reliable high-speed FO network will provide a platform for Australian companies and developers to break new ground in software, media use and service delivery.

    But will it make for a better society or just one that is enslaved by its own technology?

    All for a government-led investment that will end up costing less than $15 billion over a decade, by the time the private sector jumps onboard.

    This assumption has to be predicated on the NBN actually being profitable and that has to be based on normal Mums and dad users like me being willing to pay for super-fast Broadband and are you really sure that it will get enough people signed up?

    To deny this is to deny the future. And to suggest it’s about just turning on dishwashers or downloading movies is ‘reductio ad absurdum’.

    No I’m saying that if your emperor is fully clothed then you are going to have to do better than invoking some brave new world where technology makes everyone’s life sweetness and light.

  48. Paul C. says:

    Iain, it’s pretty clear that your mind is either closed, or that you’re just a cheerleader for Abbott’s ‘no NBN’ policy (or more precisely, his ‘no policy’). I’ve given you some pretty exciting uses for the NBN and all you’ve done is either show a lack of understanding about how they’d work or a contempt for them.

    If 10 or 15 years ago someone had suggested to you that you were using broadband Internet to run a blog, watch Youtube, pay bills and whatever else you do online, you’d probably have laughed at the suggestion. Or said “will it make for a better society or just one that is enslaved by its own technology?” But the future belongs to those with imagination and it seems as though that doesn’t include you.

  49. Ray Dixon says:

    Come on Iain, you only oppose the NBN because Abbott does. And Abbott only opposes it for political purposes. This IS progress, Iain. It is needed and worth doing. By your reckoning we should have just stuck with the telephone and not taken communications any further. Just as well we did though, otherwise Iain Hall .wordpress .com would not exist. And tell me, did you envisage 20 years ago that one day you’d be running this blog by something called the Internet? Imagine what can happen in the next 20!

  50. Iain Hall says:


    Paul
    You seem to be an entirely uncritical fanboy of “progress” which is rather sad for the country in general, but very good for those who want to sell expensive innovation.
    And contrary to your suggestion I am very far from being any kind of Luddite its just that I think that we as a society should be very critical of claims form those with a vested interest (like yourself perhaps) when they tell us that the new whizz bang idea will make our lives better, when some innovation can end up being something that is far from being a social good

    An interesting piece in the age

    But if you consider the type of car that I drive you may realise that I am in fact generally critical of unnecessary elaboration and excessive complication but by the same token I do love ideas that work when they have a proven benefit (like EFI and modern ignition systems).

  51. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    You should know by now that I am critical of technology in general and always want to know if it really will be beneficial regardless of where we are in the election cycle or who is running for office.

  52. Paul C. says:

    You seem to be an entirely uncritical fanboy of “progress” which is rather sad for the country in general, but very good for those who want to sell expensive innovation.

    Iain, the same was said about many developments in our history. Do you know that when they sewered the streets of Melbourne and Sydney in the late 1800s, the popular press said it was an indulgence and a gigantic waste of money? Many, if not most people, were happy tipping their ‘nightsoil’ into the Yarra or the Parramatta rivers. The same was true of the Snowy River scheme, which was touted by many to be a huge ‘white elephant’. Often the things that most benefit a society or allow it to progress cost a lot of money.

    And contrary to your suggestion I am very far from being any kind of Luddite its just that I think that we as a society should be very critical of claims form those with a vested interest (like yourself perhaps)….

    Why do you keep bringing it back to “personal interest”, as they I stand to get rich from the NBN? (I don’t, as it happens.) Can’t you play the ball and not the man? My interest is seeing Australia technologically equipped for the 21st century. An infrastructure based on old single-purpose copper wire will not cut the mustard, and we’ll be left behind the powerhouse economies of the world.

    …when they tell us that the new whizz bang idea will make our lives better, when some innovation can end up being something that is far from being a social good.

    ‘Bill shock’ is a reason not to improve and progress ICT technologies and services? That’s an incredibly feeble argument. Are you suggesting that governments don’t offer services because a few undisciplined people can’t control their spending?

    But if you consider the type of car that I drive…

    This typifies both your attitude in this whole discussion and the general approach of the naysayers: it’s all about ‘me’. Just because you’re happy with an old car and a 256/48 ASDL1 connection doesn’t mean the entire country should be. I drive a 10 year old car and have only moderate Internet speeds at home too, but I can think beyond what I need now to what the consumers, businesses and industries of this country might need in a decade or a generation. Unfortunately you and T. Abbott cannot.

  53. Paul C. says:

    Also (forgot this point) you haven’t answered the question raised by both myself and Ray…. what would you have said 10 or 20 years ago if someone had told you about this blog and the other ways you use computers and the Net?

  54. Craigy says:

    Iain, you may consider a University to be a ‘hotspot’ and not representative of the needs of the general public now, and to a degree you are correct.

    The technology required by the vast majority of people studying here is the pointer to what is required for the future across the broader community. As a dual sector Uni (TAFE and HE), we are training the workers of the future in many fields.

    We, like most large Uni’s have been rolling out our own fibre network and parts of our system now provide up to a 1 GBPS speed while most of the network is a SLOW 100mbps network .

    We are doing this because this is what our workers and professionals need. You can just say ‘no it isn’t’, but you are wrong, demonstrable wrong.

    We teach Architecture, Medicine, Media, Business, Engineering and Science including Aeronautical Engineering and Food Sciences, Education, Design and many hands on TAFE courses and programs. Our aim is to make students job ready and the jobs of the near future require fast Internet with large capacity.

    We have many new online learning tools like ‘Lectopia’, ‘Blackboard’ and ‘I Tunes U’, stuff you would not have heard of. Collaborative works amongst people around the globe in many fields need this technology.

    If you look at what is used in the large teaching institutions you get a good view of what is needed in the future, remember the Internet started amongst Universities as a collaborative tool.

    Your personal needs are not those of the many thousands of young Australians who still have to make their place in the world. If you can’t see that, and keep arguing that black is white, then it could only be for political reasons.

    I can guarantee that, if Abbott is elected, he will have to build a faster system than he is arguing for now. They surely know it is a must for Australia’s future and it will happen regardless of the winner, in my view.

  55. Iain Hall says:

    Craigy
    As I see it the fundamental difference here is those who think that the government should build it and those that think it should be done by private enterprise, I fall into the later category, but I think that improving the system that we have to suit the needs of most current consumers is a better option in a time when the current government has us all in hock after very poorly administered “stimulus” programs have changed our very positive budget under Howard to one of debt and deficit under Rudd/ Gillard.
    Have you heard of the expression“one should cut your coat according to your cloth” ?
    Paul
    I’ll get to your comment after I have made breakfast 🙂

  56. Ray Dixon says:

    The Liberals if elected will most likely change their minds anyway, Iain, as Craigy suggests. Why waste $6 billion on upgrading a system not designed to cope with this “new whizz bang technology” (i.e. the Internet!) in the first place? They’ll come to their senses and realise the value of the NBN. Well, they already do realise its value because part of their present (phoney) plan is to sell off the just opened Tasmanian NBN prototype connected to 3 small towns.

    The Liberals want it both ways and are just putting up this false alternative in the belief that it will show them to be more prudent economic managers. But all it’s proving is that they are prepared to waste $6billion on a useless upgrade. They are seriously underestimating the voters’ intelligence and have now made this isssue into a vote winner for Labor who, by comparison, look like they know what they’re doing.

  57. Paul C. says:

    Your position is wavering on this Iain. First you claim that the technology is not needed because people are happy with what they’ve got, that it’s a niche market and that the IT industry is just feathering its own nest. Then you said that the private sector should build it, not the government. Now you’re saying that the government can’t afford to build it because of the budget deficit!

    Sorry mate, it sounds like you’re just looking for things to back up a preconceived (Liberal) view. I suspect you really do understand the need for this, don’t you?

  58. Iain Hall says:

    Paul

    You seem to be an entirely uncritical fanboy of “progress” which is rather sad for the country in general, but very good for those who want to sell expensive innovation.

    Iain, the same was said about many developments in our history. Do you know that when they sewered the streets of Melbourne and Sydney in the late 1800s, the popular press said it was an indulgence and a gigantic waste of money? Many, if not most people, were happy tipping their ‘nightsoil’ into the Yarra or the Parramatta rivers. The same was true of the Snowy River scheme, which was touted by many to be a huge ‘white elephant’. Often the things that most benefit a society or allow it to progress cost a lot of money.

    Your are missing my point Paul by not even considering the relationship between the cost and the benefit for the ordinary Australians who will pay for this scheme. While I have no problem conceding that counter arguments were probably made in all of your examples the argument was at least had and won with regard to the pluses and the minuses of those grand schemes but once you get beyond more basic issues like sanitation and water projects to things like the NBN then the potentials become rather less sold and more ephereral and that is why it is good to question what we are being sold here.

    And contrary to your suggestion I am very far from being any kind of Luddite its just that I think that we as a society should be very critical of claims form those with a vested interest (like yourself perhaps)….

    Why do you keep bringing it back to “personal interest”, as they I stand to get rich from the NBN? (I don’t, as it happens.) Can’t you play the ball and not the man? My interest is seeing Australia technologically equipped for the 21st century. An infrastructure based on old single-purpose copper wire will not cut the mustard, and we’ll be left behind the powerhouse economies of the world.

    I’ll take you at your word when it comes to any vested interest in the NBN but you do seem to be utterly uncritical of the project. The fact of the mater is that those “powerhouse economies” want our resources and NBN or not they are going to continue to do so for many years to come, But there could very well be a large employment downside for this country as we may see more jobs exported to low wage countries in the same way that there is a plethora of call centres in Mumbai that have replaced centres here. The wealthy may not care but the p[eople who relied on those jobs will…

    …when they tell us that the new whizz bang idea will make our lives better, when some innovation can end up being something that is far from being a social good.

    ‘Bill shock’ is a reason not to improve and progress ICT technologies and services? That’s an incredibly feeble argument. Are you suggesting that governments don’t offer services because a few undisciplined people can’t control their spending?

    No its all about just what increased internet speeds will be used for and what it will cost ordinary consumers who often do not realise what those features will actually cost.

    But if you consider the type of car that I drive…

    This typifies both your attitude in this whole discussion and the general approach of the naysayers: it’s all about ‘me’. Just because you’re happy with an old car and a 256/48 ASDL1 connection doesn’t mean the entire country should be. I drive a 10 year old car and have only moderate Internet speeds at home too, but I can think beyond what I need now to what the consumers, businesses and industries of this country might need in a decade or a generation. Unfortunately you and T. Abbott cannot.

    I have kids and I worry about the sort of world that they will inherit which makes me very critical of all sorts of aspects of modern life but it seems to me that you are captive to the bright shiney future that the tech companies promise and perhaps you need to read a bit more about how things can go wrong with such futures

  59. Paul C. says:

    Your are missing my point Paul by not even considering the relationship between the cost and the benefit for the ordinary Australians who will pay for this scheme.

    Iain, I have already outlined many benefits, you’re just ignoring them. It will create a revolution in health services delivery, in e-business, in education. The economic opportunities will be unparalleled. There will be significant job creation and streamlining, changes to the way people work (e.g. telecommuting) and cost offsets from decreased reliance on all manner of things (transport, fuel, couriers, postage, archiving, paper, optical media, etc. etc.) All for an investment that will probably end up at around a third of the original $43b figure, spread over a decade. Given that we’ve spent $3b a year on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, I hardly think it’s an exorbitant price to pay for our own future.

    I’ll take you at your word when it comes to any vested interest in the NBN but you do seem to be utterly uncritical of the project.

    Not at all, I am critical about certain aspects of how it has been put together and implemented. However I agree with its fundamental purpose.

    No its all about just what increased internet speeds will be used for and what it will cost ordinary consumers who often do not realise what those features will actually cost.

    Iain, if 20 years ago the media reported that 15% of the Web would contain porn and that people would spend $50-100 a month on Internet usage, there would probably have been outrage. Yet here we are. Simply because a minority of consumers overspend and get themselves into difficulty is no reason to deny the majority a service. Do you want to abolish mortgage lending because a proportion of mortgages end in foreclosure?

    Incidentally, you keep leapfrogging and ignoring my (and Ray’s) question about what the Iain of 1990 would have said about iainhall.com of 2010….

    I have kids and I worry about the sort of world that they will inherit which makes me very critical of all sorts of aspects of modern life but it seems to me that you are captive to the bright shiney future that the tech companies promise and perhaps you need to read a bit more about how things can go wrong with such futures

    Oh please, give me a break. It’s a bit rich for someone who is obviously a user of new media to be talking doom like George Orwell. If you really thought that you wouldn’t have your own blog.

  60. Craigy says:

    Umm, it is being built by private enterprise Iain, just funded by Government.

    They plan to sell it within three years once it is finished…….Good plan isn’t it?

    Perhapes you need to read a bit more….
    http://www.dbcde.gov.au/broadband/national_broadband_network

  61. Iain Hall says:

    Paul

    Not at all, I am critical about certain aspects of how it has been put together and implemented. However I agree with its fundamental purpose.

    You have not shown that here in any of the comemnts that you have posted so far so forgive me if I think otherwise.

    Iain, if 20 years ago the media reported that 15% of the Web would contain porn and that people would spend $50-100 a month on Internet usage, there would probably have been outrage. Yet here we are. Simply because a minority of consumers overspend and get themselves into difficulty is no reason to deny the majority a service. Do you want to abolish mortgage lending because a proportion of mortgages end in foreclosure?

    The marketing model for mobile telephony content is very reminiscent of that used by drug dealers get em hooked and milk em dry…

    Incidentally, you keep leapfrogging and ignoring my (and Ray’s) question about what the Iain of 1990 would have said about iainhall.com of 2010….

    You know what I have come a long way in the last twenty years because in 1990 I was very fond of telling everyone that “computers are instruments of the devil” and even though much of that was a piss take and a deliberate provocation to my computer nerd friends I have always treated the medium with a fair amount of scepticism and even now when I spend a fair bit of my spare time on the net I am still critical and discerning about the medium just as any informed consumer should be.

    Oh please, give me a break. It’s a bit rich for someone who is obviously a user of new media to be talking doom like George Orwell. If you really thought that you wouldn’t have your own blog.

    Orwell was a visionary and a great teller of precautionary tales, sadly there are a lot of people who just want their electronic soma and never think about what the true cost may be.

  62. Paul C. says:

    You have not shown that here in any of the comemnts that you have posted so far so forgive me if I think otherwise.

    We are talking about the perceived need for it, and I am not critical of that. I don’t want to get into a discussion about the technicalities of how it is/should be done, and nor I think do you.

    The marketing model for mobile telephony content is very reminiscent of that used by drug dealers get em hooked and milk em dry…

    As is the marketing content for pay TV, McDonald’s and porn sites. What’s your point? And since when was the issue of the NBN only about mobile telephones?

    sadly there are a lot of people who just want their electronic soma and never think about what the true cost may be.

    You seem determined to constantly steer the NBN issue back into this narrowly defined and unsupported claim that the Internet or mobile smartphones are ruining society. Which coming from a bloke who appears to operate several blogs, posts regularly and comments throughout the day, watches Youtube, admits to paying bills online, etc. sounds utterly hypocritical. If it’s such a dangerous medium, why do you use it so much, and why have it in your house where your kids are exposed to it?

  63. gigdiary says:

    It’s not whether we need an NBN, but whether we can afford it on the plan Labor has proposed. When Labor took over in 2007, there was a 20 billion dollar surplus. Labor has spent that plus a whole lot more, and now reckons it can spend double that amount on the NBN, and supposedly run the rest of the country at the same time.

    Where are they going get the money? If Howard and Costello built a surplus of that size because of lack of investment in infrastructure, how are Labor now proposing to bring down their debt, fund these pie in the sky pipedreams and run the country?

    It doesn’t add up.

  64. Ray Dixon says:

    For God’s sake, Iain, you can’t protect some people from themselves. Using your arguments about people getting “hooked” on new technology we shouldn’t have allowed:

    * Motor vehicles, because people will speed or drink drive and kill themselves.
    * Buildings higher than two storeys, because some people will get drunk on the balcony and fall to their death.
    * Tractors, because if you’re not careful they can easily roll over.
    * Alcohol, because some people will get addicted and ruin their lives
    * Hyperdermic needles, because, you know, some people will use them to inject heroin.
    * Belts, because some people will use them for erotic sex and strangle themselves (I can think of one who did!)

    And the list goes on. Buyer beware.

  65. Ray Dixon says:

    GD, how do the Liberal Party policies “add up”? Where will they get the money from? We won’t know because Tony & Joe won’t submit their policies to Treasury for scrutiny. Oh, but they’ll use an “independent” accounting firm. Yeah, right.

  66. Iain Hall says:

    Spot on GD
    Its all about how we can afford that Roller when there is a ford dealer with a perfectly serviceable Fairlane on offer….

  67. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    For God’s sake, Iain, you can’t protect some people from themselves. Using your arguments about people getting “hooked” on new technology we shouldn’t have allowed:

    Its all about the marketing model used as much as anything why else do you think that Phone companies are so willing to virtually give away the hardware? If the phones were sold for what they cost do you think that the would be such earners for them???
    And If those devices gave their users a running tally of how much they were spending that people would run up such big bills?
    Its allright you saying “Buyer beware” but with much of this technology its rather like giving people high powered cars that don’t have a speedo and then saying that its the driver’s fault when they speed.

  68. Paul C. says:

    You’re obsessed with constantly comparing the NBN with cars. Trouble is, I don’t think it’s a particularly helpful analogy, nor is it entirely relevant.

  69. Ray Dixon says:

    “its rather like giving people high powered cars that don’t have a speedo and then saying that its the driver’s fault when they speed.”

    Even without a speedo I reckon you know when you’re doing double or triple the speed limit, Iain. Roughly. Come on, you are supporting my argument here that you can’t protect some people no matter what safeguards you put in place. Sure, argue for the suppliers providing more consumer awareness being built into the Act governing Internet & mobile phone usage, but don’t mount the flimsy argument that because some people will not be able to control themselves we should can the whole idea.

  70. gigdiary says:

    Ray, one thing the Libs can do is balance the books. Runaway spending isn’t one of their faults. While I agree the Lib broadband scheme is at best a continuation of the development we’ve so far seen, rather than a leap forward, perhaps the fact that they watch both sides of the ledger speaks louder to the electorate than investment in technology that most people don’t need.

    I’m not failing to recognise the value to many areas of business and education that the increased internet speed offers, my own small business of 25 years has benefited every step of technological evolution. In the last few years that benefit has been exponential to my daily workload.

    However I don’t see how the figure of $4,000 per household proposed by Labor is warranted when most households and many business have the NBN lower on their list of priorities than most other issues.

  71. Ray Dixon says:

    Well, GD, thanks to the self-admitted Internet-ignorant Mr Rabbott, the NBN vs the Libs old-technology proposal is now VERY HIGH on the issues that will decide this election.

    And what most people are seeing is that the Libs are proposing (foolishly) to waste $6billion without any hope of getting a return on it, whereas the NBN is going to provide real advancement and be worth squillions down the track.

    I think voters are far more intelligent than what your “book balancing”* Liberals give them credit for and can spot a phoney & wasteful policy faster than a 100 GBs. He’s given Gillard a free kick on this one.

    * Still haven’t addressed Joe’s reluctance to put his policies under the spotlight I see.

  72. Iain Hall says:

    Ray why do you think that I am suggesting that devices need some sort of running tally of cost/usage?
    and believe you me as I have been running my car with a faulty speedo for ages it is very much more difficult to remain under the speed limit than you seem to think which is why I suggested the analogy in the first place.
    Paul
    I’m an unrepentant petrol head so I will uses motoring analogies as I please 😉
    but like GD I have embraced those parts of the technology that I find useful in my life and I am very critical of the over blown eulogising of some aspects (like twitter 🙄 )

  73. Iain Hall says:

    Ray

    * Still haven’t addressed Joe’s reluctance to put his policies under the spotlight I see.

    I wrote a post about it and apart from a complaint about another commentator you have failed to address the issue there

  74. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, your “speedo” analogy is wrong because while having no speedo would certainly make it hard not to stray a little over the speed limit, it certainly would not contribute to say, driving at 200 kmh in a 60 zone, which is the more accurate comparison with excessive internet/mobile phone use.

    As for your other post: (1) It’s not up to speed, Iain, and to accuse Swan of dirty tricks as being a reason for Hockey not submitting his policies. That’s crap. (2) GD raised the issue HERE and, therefore, I was asking him to clarify it HERE.

  75. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    No my speedo analogy is perfectly adequate because with these devices you don’t need to do “200Kmh” to run up big bills all you have to do is consistently run a bit too fast on every day of the billing period and then a very big surprise awaits the user when they open their mail.

    As for my other post the accusation that I make is in the first instance, precisely one the Liberal party is making and in the second instance one that makes a refusal to trust a department under Swan’s Control entirely reasonable.

    Would you keep sending your accounts to an accountant who could not keep your information appropriately confidential?

  76. Ray Dixon says:

    You’re taking these motor car analogies too far, Iain. But okay, go ahead and advocate that all mobile phone suppliers MUST issue warning to users as soon as they reach (or approach) their monthly limit. Come to think of it, before I upgraded by broadband to just about unlimited downloads, Telstra would send me regular updates of how much I’d used – so if they can do that so can everyone else. I reiterate, this is NOT an impediment to the NBN, it’s just a legislative need – go ahead and push for warnings as law, you’ll get support, even from the Greens.

    As for the costings on Liberal party promises and Joe’s crap about his reasons for not submitting them to Treasury – well that is just rubbish and a way of avoiding scrutiny. It’s dishonest and an attempt to shift focus. The information is NOT confidential, it’s for public release so who gives a shit if some nerd in Treasury (a young Lib for all we know) let’s it out? It’s going to come out soon anyway … if they submit them.

  77. Paul C. says:

    I’m an unrepentant petrol head so I will uses motoring analogies as I please

    By all means use them as you please, just try to incorporate some reasoning and basic facts, because simplistic analogies won’t convince anyone of your argument.

    I have embraced those parts of the technology that I find useful in my life and I am very critical of the over blown eulogising of some aspects (like twitter 🙄 )

    Again we come back to the weakness in your position, everything is framed relative to “your life”. There is more to the world than your life and it would be nice if you could acknowledge that the future needs of businesses, industry, universities, healthcare and government are going to be radically different to your own needs.

    Also, Twitter has if little, if anything, to do with the NBN.

  78. Iain Hall says:

    Paul

    Again we come back to the weakness in your position, everything is framed relative to “your life”. There is more to the world than your life and it would be nice if you could acknowledge that the future needs of businesses, industry, universities, healthcare and government are going to be radically different to your own needs.

    Also, Twitter has if little, if anything, to do with the NBN.

    Need I remind you that this is my blog and that the content is all about the way that I see the world? I try very hard to get some balance here but I won’t apologise for writing form my own point of view. In case you haven’t noticed most of my commentators disagree with me which I think is a healthy thing when it comes to getting to the guts of the issues. Or are you one of those people who thinks that hanging out with the like minded is the only way to go?

  79. Paul C. says:

    It’s your blog mate and you can write what you like. But you made this pretty silly point about the NBN being a waste of time because it’ll be used to activate dishwashers (wtf?) so surely you can’t be surprised that people will turn up and lay down their case. At least me, Craigy, Ray are thinking of the ‘big picture’ and not saying that something is unnecessary because we personally don’t need it now.

    Anyway, I predict that Gillard will win the election (only just), that the NBN will go ahead as planned, and that in 10 years time you’ll be making some use of it, as you make use of ADSL now, and we will probably all wonder what the fuss was about back in 2010!

  80. Iain Hall says:

    Paul
    I only mentioned dishwashers because because that was precisely what Conroy was saying as a justification for the NBN it was his example and I just ran with it. Or didn’t you see the debate at the press club?

  81. Paul C. says:

    No, I didn’t see it. And I didn’t know Conroy had mentioned dishwashers. But he is a tool, so I’m hardly surprised.

  82. Iain Hall says:

    Paul
    His precise suggestion was that with super fast Broadband a dishwasher could check with various electricity providers over the net and then decide when to turn on for the cheapest off peak electricity. Now while this would obviously require a home computer in control of your dishwasher I can’t see that it would require the capability to send and receive large amounts of data at high speed. Frankly It would make more sense to allow your dishwasher to run on the same circuit as you off peak hot-water system controlled by a signal sent through the power lines but they won’t let you do that.

  83. Paul C. says:

    I see, I have heard of that before (I think they are doing it somewhere in Europe). It might save the consumer a dollar or two but it’s not the best example of an NBN-related advantage. And as my fellow Victorian power consumers would know, off-peak power hours have now shrunk so dramatically that the only off-peak electricity is available between 3.15-4.30am 🙂

  84. Iain Hall says:

    So do you now appreciate why I was so scathing Paul?

    It seems to me that what Conroy was suggesting is the equivalent of cracking a nut with a very large sledgie

  85. Dr Jason Wilson says:

    @ the ianhall: If Abbott doesn’t trust the ALP to run a big and expensive project like the NBN why doesn’t he run it himself? #ausvotes

  86. Paul C. says:

    Iain, I think our difference of opinion has been about the need for the NBN, not Conroy’s role or how it will be implemented. As I’ve said, I’ve got my concerns about that, particularly how the government has marginalised Telstra on the issue. But at least they’re doing something.

    I’ll make a prediction and suggest that if Labor is reelected, Conroy won’t have that portfolio again. My friends in the IT industry say so too.

  87. Iain Hall says:

    Well at least we can agree that Conroy is a Knob-head Paul 😉
    Look I will accept that super-fast broadband would be nice but that still doesn’t answer the cost vs benefits question which I think that we will have to agree to disagree on.

  88. Ray Dixon says:

    “that still doesn’t answer the cost vs benefits question”

    Iain, how about answering the “costs vs benefits question” of Abbott’s plan to waste $6 billion upgrading an outdated system into another outdated system?

  89. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    The premise of your comment is entirely wrong. Our existing system works , maybe not as fast as some people would like but it works. The coalitions proposal would see that system work better than it does now maybe not as fast as some I T people would like but so what? We would all love a Ferrari but if someone offers a turbo WRX most people would happy enough.

  90. Ray Dixon says:

    That’s not a great answer to the question of why should Abbott spend $6billion, Iain. Of course the “premise” of my question is right – our present system is outdated & ad hoc. Everyone knows this.

    So, if we are going to improve it (and everyone agrees we should, even Mr Rabbott) then what is the benefit of spending $6 billion on upgrades that will not create a new corporation with a brand new network that can be sold off to recoup some of the costs?

    It’s $6 billion gone, wasted, down-the-tube. Whereas the NBN is about building a brand new and very valuable world class product that will be worth a motza. It’s going to pay for itself! Abbott + Broadband = FAIL, an election loser.

  91. Iain Hall says:

    You assume that the NBN could be sold at a profit or be able to at least recoup its cost , The people who bought Telstra shares were told that sort of thing and look how they did their dough 🙄

    “Brand new” is not always better Ray especially if it is hugely expensive and if it becomes obsolete before it is finished as this technology tends to do anyway

  92. Ray Dixon says:

    Yes, Howard really sucked the people in over Telstra, didn’t he? Iain, there is no doubt that the NBN will be the bees knees. And how the hell can fibre optic become “obsolete” in the forseeable future? Oh, wireless will suddenly improve? Funny, I didn’t know they were inventing any new airwaves.

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the Sandpit

I love a good argument so please leave a comment

Please support the Sandpit

Please support the Sandpit

Do you feel lucky?

Do you feel lucky?

%d bloggers like this: