NightKhaos on Digital Freedom

Digital Rights and Technology Blog

There is a debate

leave a comment »

For those of you not following Question Time, please make sure you have a quick look at the #senateQT hash tag. You will notice a trend, the Opposition are going on about the NBN until the cows come home.

All because the Government did not realise a few documents regarding their NBN policy (hypocrisy anyone?). Honestly it’s really starting to annoy me, from both sides of the debate: what precisely is so important in the document that it is going to take you many months to redact it Labor? Just give them the document already, redacted or not.

And then there are the Coalition, who’s Broadband Policy isn’t, lecturing the likes of the Australian Senate almost continuously on how much of a “bad idea” this is, by any means necessary. And I’ve had it. Seriously.

Polarising the debate only serves to remove the best interests of Australians and instead create a situation of “he’s wrong, I’m right.” And why is this important? Because either way, someone in Australia will lose when it comes to Broadband.

Under the Coalitions Broadband Policy (the CBP), however, it my opinion that more Australia’s will “lose” than those who will benefit from it, and it is for this sole reason I support the NBN over the CBP. If the CBP were a measured approach to put forward the steps to ensure that all Australians receive an acceptable quality of service for what is more and more becoming an essential part of Australia life, such as:

  • incentives for Private Enterprise (PE) to build FTTH networks
  • mandates for PE to build open data, carrier and service neutral networks
  • mandates to prevent or reduce vertical integration within PE
  • the structural separation of Telstra and the generalisation of the minimum service mandate (in that a carrier must provide a service, not Telstra must provide a service to every home)
  • mandated restructure and complete review of Telstra Wholesale’s business in order to find and scape inefficiency as well as improve the quality of service
  • redefinition of what what these mandated services entail, such as voice capability either via VoIP with access to emergency services, or a POTS line, with a minimum bandwidth delivery or CDR to exit of network (not “Minimum Peak Speed”) of 1.5Mbps until by the of end of 2011, by the end 12Mbps at the end of 2015, 50Mbps by 2020, etc.
  • government investment in rolling out fibre and next generation wireless solutions to remote areas in order to meet the mandates specified by the above redefinition
  • government subsides for those who are unable to get fixed line broadband and are forced to use an expensive wireless service (such as Telstra NextG)
  • but most importantly, the acknowledgement that privatisation of Telstra has resulting in broadband service quality in Australia stagnating and it is a government imperative to invest in methods to accelerate the deployment of fast (50-100Mbps) services to all homes in Australia within the next decade.

Let me come back to a point I made earlier: “a minimum bandwidth delivery or CDR to exit of network”, many of you will probably already know what I mean, but for those of you who don’t I mean that the network is capable of providing, under normal usage conditions (it is impossible and prohibitively expensive to engineer a network that will always do this) provide a service of at least that speed to their Points of Interconnect (POIs) and within their network to every single user. Note this mandate should apply to all carriage service providers (CSPs) to ensure that there is little to no back haul congestion.

Now if the CBP was along those lines, rather than the patchwork policy they offer now, I would support it over the NBN considering it’d likely cost the government less than “going it on their own” as Labor are doing. But it’s not, not even close, if anything it seems to say all the right words, but in reality things like “minimum peak speed” and investment in HFC over FTTH mean that it will leave a lot of Australians with slow, unreliable broadband. In fact, the CBP isn’t actually that well thrashed by the press so no one can be exactly sure what the CBP will do, because it is much easier for the likes of Mr Malcolm Turnbull to say “look at Labor, they are wasting money” than to say “look at our policy, we are doing nothing to fix the problem” isn’t it?

What about the NBN? Well as I pointed out in my previous post the NBN has some flaws to it’s implementation that mean people like @philhart will be forced off a perfectly reliable, albeit it slightly slower than I’m sure he would like, ADSL connection, and put onto a Satellite connection because the NBN is going to completely replace Telstra’s Copper Access Network (CAN) without even considering, for a moment, that there may be some circumstances where leaving the CAN in place would be better for the consumer. Granted the number of users in his position are scarce, but I thought the point of the NBN was to give better broadband for all Australians?

All Australians deserve access to good quality, cheap, broadband services, not just the majority, under the NBN, and not just the minority, under the CBP. I don’t like picking better the lesser of two evils, so if you really want to get my attention Coalition, put an actual policy on the table.


Written by NightKhaos

November 23, 2010 at 10:11 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: