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Australia To Build Fiber-To-the-Premises Network

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the no-censorship-on-the-wire-of-course dept.

Networking 300

candiman writes "The Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, has just announced that none of the private sector submissions to build a National Broadband Network was up to the standard, so instead the government is going to form a private company to build a fiber to the premises network. The network will connect to 90% of premises delivering 100Mb/s. The remaining 10% will be reached with wireless and satellite delivering up to 12Mb/s. The network cost has been estimated at 43 billion AU dollars over 8 years of construction — and is expected to employ 47,000 people at peak. It will be wholesale only and completely open access. As an Australian who voted for the other guys, all I can say is, wow."

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300 comments

What's the point (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485625)

Australia is a censor black hole. If anything this is a trick to install filtering equipment everywhere.

Re:What's the point (2, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 years ago | (#27485657)

How did this get modded up?

For the last time, this has already been voted down in parliament once. Every new government tries something like this only to see it shot down. Labour could never hope to get this passed without the support of the Greens and they don't have the support of the Greens.

Re:What's the point (5, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 5 years ago | (#27486089)

For the last time, this has already been voted down in parliament once.

Sure. But until it is slapped down definitively, Conroy is going to keep talking the thing up. Trouble is, there are still far too many nanny-state idealogues in Parliament, and I am not nearly so confident that this censorship won't be imposed. There are also too many naive twits there who fail to see the "thin end of the wedge" aspect of the thing with regard to freedom of speech.

Re:What's the point (5, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 years ago | (#27486207)

Conroy and labour lost the support of Xenofon (Anti-gambling) and the Greens (anti-pollution) so unless he gets 6 Liberals to help him out this is all but buried.

To be totally honest I don't think that Conroy hasn't got much of a career left, if labour has any brains they'll drop him for the next election. The Greens and Xenofon want the public to forget that they were ever in favour of this because they need the public to vote for them as they don't have what the major parties consider safe seats.

For all the idealoges in Australian parliament there is enough people who rely on public popularity and sentiment just to stay in parliament to counter them. Conroy's getting plenty of negative press regarding the internet filter (which is why the NBN announcement came from Kevin Rudd not the Minister of Communications), although enough people see through the "think of the childern" rhetoric (the more he says child porn the less people beleive him) but that's no reason for us to let up on him.

Re:What's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486211)

"How did this [What's the point (Score: 0, Flamebait), by Anonymous Coward at 02:24 AM] get modded up? at 02:33 AM"

I guess you're just an impatient asshole?

Filtering (5, Insightful)

james.mcarthur (154849) | about 5 years ago | (#27485627)

Wow, a fibre-to-the-home network by the same Government that wants to filter the internet out of existence.

Re:Filtering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486393)

Shared culture, free knowledge and protected privacy: Support the creation of Alexandria 2.0

It's always the same 90% (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485631)

90% of premises already HAVE access to high-speed internet in the form of ADSL2+ or cable. And these are the same premises which are going to get upgraded while those with only low-speed DSL and dialup are going to be ignored again. Rage.

Re:It's always the same 90% (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#27485639)

Start your own company providing WiMax.. Australia has some of the most open regulations in the world when it comes to broadband providers.

Re:It's always the same 90% (2)

eclectro (227083) | about 5 years ago | (#27485717)

Cable and dsl no matter how fantastic is still a dirt road compared to 100 Mb/s coming from fiber.

Re:It's always the same 90% (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#27485783)

Uh Euro DOCSIS 3 is either 222/122 or 444/122 depending on the number of channels, so significantly faster than 100Mb. As long as node sizes are kept reasonable DOCSIS 3 really is fast enough for just about all home applications I can think of for the next 5 or so years and with future extensions to allow for more channel bonding it is projected to reach gigabit speeds.

'Cept it's shared (2, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 5 years ago | (#27486069)

Better hope that you have no more than 4 customers on your node, and that they think "torrents" are what you see in Fargo streets.

Re:It's always the same 90% (4, Informative)

SlashWombat (1227578) | about 5 years ago | (#27486115)

But DOCSIS is on a shared cable, so you cannot get those speeds 24/7. If 100 subscribers are all on the same bit of cable, the ultimate potential bandwidth could well drop to only 2.2 or 4.4 megabits per second!
You might think this is not reasonable, but if Video on demand becomes popular, there might well be very little bandwidth left. Where as, with 100 mbit fibre, you are not going to be sharing that bandwidth.

If Australia wants to maintain, or even improve its status with OECD countries (WRT education/poplations intelligence), this is exactly the right way to go!

Re:It's always the same 90% (2, Informative)

snaz555 (903274) | about 5 years ago | (#27486297)

DOCSIS is TDMA, which just doesn't play nice with TCP congestion control. This is why once the time slots become more intermittent as utilization goes up TCP performance tanks.

Re:It's always the same 90% (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 5 years ago | (#27485885)

Cable and dsl no matter how fantastic is still a dirt road compared to 100 Mb/s coming from fiber.

This is true, but dirt roads are better than none at all. Although I have an OK dsl2+ connection at home, I spend a lot of time in rural areas, and connections there are woeful. In large areas of Tasmania, for instance, there aren't even any copper phone-lines, so not even any dialup. If you are very lucky, you might be able to get a satellite signal, but if you want to use it for VOIP you can forget it, as the upstream latency is too horrendous for it to be usable.

Re:It's always the same 90% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485971)

The downstream latency blows too -_- I lived in rural Massachusetts for 21 years, where the options were 26.4kbs dialup or 1.5mb/s tops satellite...It was like voting in an election, picking the least of two evils

Re:It's always the same 90% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486189)

hey tasmania guy have you bothered reading the stuff around the place? you're getting it FIRST. They are planning to rollout Tasmania starting June/July 2009. They are negotiating the terms right now as I type this with finalisation to take 24 hours.

RTFA (5, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 5 years ago | (#27485789)

The other 10% will get satellite or wireless support, at 12 Mbps. It's still a big improvement for many.

Fact is, it's a big country, and running FTTH to every cattle station out in woop-woop is just silly. Can't please everyone.

Re:It's always the same 90% (5, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | about 5 years ago | (#27486071)

Rubbish. Do a tiny bit of research. NO ONE in Australia has access to 100mbps. SOME people have cable (10mbps) and SOME people live next door to the DSLAM and get 24mbps ADSL2+. I live in the inner-city, but I'm stuck between two exchanges so I only get 8-10mbps. Me, and 90% of Australia will be getting fibre to the home and speeds of 100mbps. Unfortunately for rural folk, it's completely un-feasible to roll out fibre to every backwater town. So to make up for that, they're getting what they were promised at the last election - 12mbps.

Re:It's always the same 90% (1)

stryyker (573921) | about 5 years ago | (#27486307)

It is maybe you that needs to do some research. Some suburbs currently have FTTH and do have 100 mbit. Internode Home Fibre is one such product. I'm sure there are suburbs serviced by other carriers too. Some cable people currently get towards 30 mbit. As for your slow international connection then that is your network stack tuning, source, ISP or other issues. I can pull data at 700 KB/s from Astraweb's newsgroup service on ADSL 1 connection.

Units! (1)

kandela (835710) | about 5 years ago | (#27486447)

It's completely impossible to follow this discussion. Are you people talking about Mb/s, mb/s, mB/s, MB/s, mb/ps, Mb/ps, MB/ps, mB/ps, mb/Ps, Mb/Ps, MB/Ps, mB/Ps or one of the other combinations I've forgotten about?

Re:It's always the same 90% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486317)

it's completely un-feasible to roll out fibre to every backwater town

Problem is, everything outside the states' capital city is considered rural...

Re:It's always the same 90% (1)

Malc (1751) | about 5 years ago | (#27486119)

Seems to me that the bottleneck is the inter-continental links. My line hasn't been upgraded to ADSL2+, yet I occasionally see 600+KB/s downloads in Firefox when I hit a local server (or maybe a CDN like Akamai with local content), but rarely more than 150KB/s for most things, and frequently slower. Reach.com in Sydney seems to have latency problems with some of my connections before it even crosses the Pacific to California. Grrr. I'd bet most people in Australia who already having throughput problems are not bottlenecked by the last mile.

It's also costing $2,000 per person (far higher per tax payer)... it seems this kind of money could be better spent.

Re:It's always the same 90% (1)

williamhb (758070) | about 5 years ago | (#27486223)

It's also costing $2,000 per person (far higher per tax payer)... it seems this kind of money could be better spent.

Hmm, by the time they wholesale out to ISPs -- perhaps in the same manner that electricity is retailed in Queensland -- and perhaps charge broadcasters for access to the network, the return on investment might be less than a decade. That's not bad for a government infrastructure project. Especially when a fair chunk of the money spent comes right back to the government in income tax, company taxes, etc.

Who pays the ISP's bills? (3, Interesting)

the_raptor (652941) | about 5 years ago | (#27486331)

Oh, that's right THE CUSTOMER DOES. This is the taxpayer paying off the taxpayers debt. The only way this is worthwhile is if it leads to an increase in production. Otherwise it is just bread and HD porn for the masses.

It isn't like I don't want high speed internet, but with some states nearly going broke and having trouble keeping the health system running, this is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.

Re:It's always the same 90% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486173)

I choose to live in the city. I get fast broadband and polluted air. both are due to high population density. You choose to live in the sticks. you get dial up and clean air. both of these are due to low population density. there's nothing stopping you changing your decision if you're not happy with it, I'm not changing mine

Re:It's always the same 90% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486403)

Rubbish. I don't know where you live, but in Western Australia you can consider yourself very lucky if you get a stable ADSL 1 at 1.5mb let alone full ADSL2+ speeds.

If I was cynical (4, Interesting)

davisk (664811) | about 5 years ago | (#27485635)

And I am, I'd label this an attempt by Senator Conroy to backdoor his internet filtering into existence by tacking it onto a massive government controlled network. Also, being Australia, we'll likely have to pay $100/month for access and be limited to 20GB of data traffic (both up and downstream) per month.

Re:If I was cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485659)

Either the 100Mbit/s will converted to 1Mbit/s by Conroy's censorship system, or Conroy will have to give up on the idea. 10 x the data flow = a 10 x bigger job for the censors.

Re:If I was cynical (5, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 years ago | (#27485681)

And I am, I'd label this an attempt by Senator Conroy to backdoor his internet filtering into existence by tacking it onto a massive government controlled network. Also, being Australia, we'll likely have to pay $100/month for access and be limited to 20GB of data traffic (both up and downstream) per month.

Not cynical enough good sir. The next Liberal government will just privatise the entire network just like they did to every other bit of government infrastructure to raise enough cash to give themselves a pay rise.

Actually that's already in the plan (4, Informative)

baileydau (1037622) | about 5 years ago | (#27485781)

Not cynical enough good sir. The next Liberal government will just privatise the entire network just like they did to every other bit of government infrastructure to raise enough cash to give themselves a pay rise.

Actually, according to the Whirlpool [whirlpool.net.au] homepage story they are already planning it's ultimate sale (in the not too distant future)

Private industry would contribute up to 49% of the funds, and the government would sell the company after operating it for 5 years, he said.

Re:Actually that's already in the plan (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486123)

I doubt there is a business case for private industry to buy back a $50bn investment in a fibre network. The buyers would be lucky to turn in $2bn in revenue from household and business use of the network. Much of that revenue the industry is already making via use of existing broadband technologies such as ADSL, Cable and private fibre networks. "Up to" 100Mbps internet by 2018 is not an impressive aim either. Many large businesses in Australia already have access to private 1Gbps private fibre networks within cities. Many consumers already have access to internet speeds of 20Mbps.

There is no doubt a national fibre network is a desperately needed infrastructure project for Australia. Currently it costs ~$30,000 to get a premises connected via a 200-300m fibre run to a private fibre network. If the number of houses connected to broadband is 5 million, it works out to each household costing $10,000 to connect (and the actual value is much less considering the number of businesses that would also connect, the number of new household connections, etc).

If you compare ~$30,000 vs ~$6,000 for connection to a fibre network, it really does make sense to make this a national project. Infrastructure rollout becomes dramatically cheaper when everyone is connecting at once.

I just don't see how private industry would be interested in investing their money into this network when the return on investment period is probably going to be as long as 30 years.

Another problem is Australia will turn into a Korea/Japan situation where internal bandwidth capacity within the country is impressive, but external transit to the rest of the world is still expensive/in short supply.

Re:Actually that's already in the plan (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 years ago | (#27486253)

Another problem is Australia will turn into a Korea/Japan situation where internal bandwidth capacity within the country is impressive, but external transit to the rest of the world is still expensive/in short supply.

What do you mean by "will"?

Internal bandwidth already outstrips international bandwidth, and the average broadband speed is 1.5 mbit/s. Australia only has 3 pipes out of the country.

Re:If I was cynical (1)

enoz (1181117) | about 5 years ago | (#27485793)

Privatisation is no secret, infact it's part of the plan:

Once the project has been up and running for five years, the Government will begin selling its stake

Re:If I was cynical (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 5 years ago | (#27485993)

The next Liberal government will just privatise...

Sure. Just like the present Liberal government. ;-)

Although I was one of those who helped elect Rudd, I was never under any illusions that current Labor party policy is in any way distinguishable from the Liberals'. We just needed to get rid of that vile little twerp John Howard and his posse of jackbooted fascists.

Rudd's short tenancy has been characterised by the odd ray of sunshine here and there, but for the most part he has been a sheep in sheep's clothing.

Re:If I was cynical (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 5 years ago | (#27486225)

Although I was one of those who helped elect Rudd, I was never under any illusions that current Labor party policy is in any way distinguishable from the Liberals'. We just needed to get rid of that vile little twerp John Howard and his posse of jackbooted fascists.

So did I (well Greens, but preference).

Its sad that we have to chose between a government that wants dictatorial control over our work lives and a government that wants dictatorial control over our personal lives but what are our options?

We have two as far as I see it:
1. The American solution, we periodically shoot all politicians.
2. The Russian solution, we periodically throw all politicians and rich people off a balcony onto spears.
I like to think that as a people, we've advanced beyond the necessity for such means.

Re:If I was cynical (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about 5 years ago | (#27486387)

Human greed and other assorted motivations towards corruption have not changed, and they're unlikely to. The results will not change, and it's extremely unlikely that the method of dealing with them will change.

The only innovation in the field, I suppose, has been the work of M. Gandhi. Something tells me that throwing off a foreign oppressor in the current political landscape of Australia will be tough.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Pogo

Re:If I was cynical (4, Interesting)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 5 years ago | (#27485839)

I'd label this an attempt by Senator Conroy to backdoor his internet filtering into existence

He doesn't need to spend $43B to do that; passing legislation to force ISPs to do it for him is quite sufficient.

we'll likely have to pay $100/month for access and be limited to 20GB of data traffic (both up and downstream) per month.

We'd be wishing for $100/20GB, if Telstra built the network. Because this is wholesale-only (no Telstra-style conflicts of interest), ISPs can compete fairly.

The other side of the coin is our overseas links. Right now there's a comfortable duopoly keeping prices high (and quotas low), but that may change a little when PIPE Networks gets their Guam cable [pipeinternational.com] built. We're going to need a lot more, though, when 19M people get their connections bumped up to 100Mbps.

Re:If I was cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486377)

Or, god forbid there be australian content worth consuming that wouldn't require an overseas connection

Re:If I was cynical (1)

Spit (23158) | about 5 years ago | (#27486415)

We'd be wishing for $100/20GB, if Telstra built the network.

Oh man will it be sweet once the real ISPs like Internode and iiNet can fuck off Telstra for good.

Re:If I was cynical (1)

rdnetto (955205) | about 5 years ago | (#27486325)

Take a look at www.iinet.net.au. For that price, you can get a 60-100 GB cap right now, provided you bundle VOIP.
iiNet is the 3rd largest ISP in Aus, yet they don't advertise for some reason. IMHO, they certainly beat Telstra & Optus hands down (not that that's saying much).

What a bummer (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#27485643)

They have the opportunity to do things right. The smart answer on this is for the feds to build a MINIMAL monopoly. Basically build out a fiber (or wireless) from a block-level, or even subdivision level green box to the end point. After that, allow the private enterprise to connect to the boxes and then provide various services. If they do that, they would see prices drop QUICKLY.

Re:What a bummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485671)

I've been following this since this morning. It's a massive opportunity to fix what's stuffed with broadband in our country. The censorship issue IMHO is being blown out of proportion. The electorate doesn't support it. It'll get removed as soon as a non Labor government gets voted in and it's extremely unpopular. The fibre network idea meanwhile is very popular and has massive popular support. I think the government will be forced to back down on censorship. Either way an announcement on this network has been long overdue. The conservative "Liberal" party has been stuffing around this issue for years.

Re:What a bummer (1)

kingturkey (930819) | about 5 years ago | (#27486085)

You put 'Liberal' in quotes and say 'conservative' as if there is a socially liberal alternative. Neither major party in Australia is socially liberal as a whole; as evidenced by the filtering plan, Labor are a bunch of populist fascists. The Liberal party includes both small-l (social) liberals and right-wing conservatives, they're all "liberal" in the economic sense.

Like the previous NBN proposal (5, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 5 years ago | (#27485941)

build out a fiber (or wireless) from a block-level, or even subdivision level green box to the end point. After that, allow the private enterprise to connect to the boxes and then provide various services.

Building out the last mile but not the backhaul would still entail spending 96% of the money, and wouldn't leave you with a working network. This way, the whole thing is out of the control of Telstra, so that access can be sold wholesale without any conflicts of interest. ISPs will still get to compete on price (even small ones), and the bigger ones could still replace the backhaul segment with their own connection if they felt it gave them a competitive advantage.

Politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485645)

The best part about this story is politicians who are opposed to it.

One of the arguments was (I'm not kidding, I heard it on ABC Radio at lunchtime): " 100 'megabytes'!!! To the home!!! Who will ever need that. Kevin Rudd thinks its the year 2050. What a waste of money".

Wait ... what. 2050 until we'll need 100Mbit to the home? Really? Didn't people stop creating arbitrary future usage figures ever since Bill Gates said '640k will be enough'?

Telstra??? Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485677)

Thank God! Today the whole of Telstra's Northern Territory network (think - Darwin) died (17,000 voice lines, 33,000 data services etc... and it didn't hit the news??!!

But of course, everyone forgets that Telstra use to be known as "TELECOM" - and who owned/ran Telecom??
The australian government....

Anything to get better bandwidth here has got to be good!

Re:Telstra??? Who? (5, Insightful)

Tim99 (984437) | about 5 years ago | (#27486067)

But of course, everyone forgets that Telstra use to be known as "TELECOM" - and who owned/ran Telecom??

It was originally the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG) and was set-up 1901 at Federation. In 1975 it was split into Telecom Australia (now Telstra) and Australia Post.
After privatisation by the last Liberal government in 2006, the service has gone from poor to very bad. It would seem that Telstra will always be 'on a loser' with the current Labor government. The Labor people can say, "See, we told you not to privatise it - Now look how bad it has become, if we had kept this in public ownership we could have controlled it and fixed it". Maybe they intend to create a new infrastructure that does not rely on Telstra and then allow Telstra to fade away.

Western governments seem to be unable to understand that when you privatise basic infrastructure, you generally replace an inefficient public owned monopoly with an inefficient privately owned monopoly that charges the customer more - The private investors need a return on their investment. The new private monopoly's purpose is to make money, the public monopoly's purpose was to provide a basic service. An example would be power generation - The government gets into trouble with the electorate if the power goes off due to heavy loading - A private company is generally unwilling to purchase extra power stations that are only needed for 6 weeks a year, they are idle for 46 weeks, a very poor use of capital. If the power goes off the private company does not care, you generally cannot get your electricity from elsewhere...

Re:Telstra??? Who? (2, Insightful)

owski (222689) | about 5 years ago | (#27486275)

"replace an inefficient public owned monopoly with an inefficient privately owned monopoly"

That's the problem, when the "privatisation" isn't truly private, so you still have a government protected (usually through strict regulation) monopoly. You end up with the worst of both worlds: private profits and public risks.

Re:Telstra??? Who? (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | about 5 years ago | (#27486293)

Yeah, what's worse is that they are planning to privatise this network as well after a few years.

I'm a bit stunned by this announcement, as it's what I thought they should do (and the only sane approach) several years ago. Therefore I never expected it to actually happen.

Fortunately I'm cynical enough to still believe it'll never happen, or if it does happen it'll be ridiculously overpriced and underperformant. At best it'll be great for a short while until the next "think of the children" senator holds a crucial seat and then the government of the day will do their level best to screw the citizens over in order to win their vote on some unrelated legislation. Either that or they'll screw us on behalf of the media cartels.

Sounds Great (5, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | about 5 years ago | (#27485697)

It sounds great in theory, and I applaud the thought, but the cynic in me says "I'll believe it when I'm connected to it".

Re:Sounds Great (1)

jaspotn (1330307) | about 5 years ago | (#27485825)

Ditto this, I have heard so many times about plans that will improve something but are either argued about for 10 years then thrown out because they are out-dated, started but then scaled back due to lack of funds or proper planning or modified so heavyily during the implimentation that the whole point of it is lost.

Re:Sounds Great (1)

Firrenzi (229219) | about 5 years ago | (#27485973)

Particularly when it comes to the Australian govt on telecommunications. Their track record leaves a bit to be desired

Won't someone think of the tax payers!? (1)

fabs8611 (1487177) | about 5 years ago | (#27485703)

They give away $900 to everyone in the country. Decide to spend $43Billion on providing broadband Net access to everyone. Will spend $x to try and censor it. Does this not feel somewhat like misuse of taxpayer dollars? Surely there's a better solution.

Re:Won't someone think of the tax payers!? (1)

gilgoomesh (966411) | about 5 years ago | (#27486013)

Remember the "budget surplus" Australia has had for the last few years? Australians have already saved most of the money involved in these payouts. It's basic "saving for a rainy day" policy.

What a shame for America that W. Bush managed huge deficits during the boom there.

Re:Won't someone think of the tax payers!? (-1, Troll)

Techman83 (949264) | about 5 years ago | (#27486039)

Yeah that "Surplus" is about to be turned into a "Deficit". Bloody Spend happy Labour government

Re:Won't someone think of the tax payers!? (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 5 years ago | (#27486021)

Well, they didn't give $900 to me. Despite the fact that my income for the year was zero, and all the rest of it. If they actually spent the money on infrastructure such as this, I would be much more convinced of their bona fides than I am with these much-hyped handouts which never eventuated.

Never believe a politician.

Re:Won't someone think of the tax payers!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486257)

As someone who paid taxed, and loves the internet. HELLS YES THIS IS WHAT I WANT. I don't trust any Aussie ISP (xcept maybe Internode), to actually make a NBN. But I do trust the government to do it, maybe at a high price - although I'm pretty sure they'll sell it for more than they built it esp as it'll be come more profitable over time.

Telcos in the United States (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#27485765)

took the Federal money that was to be used for fiber to the home, and used it for other things instead.

Now, they are complaining about Cable monopolies and the cost of taking fiber to the home, in order to combat cable.

Boo hoo. We have lots to complain about, with these cable companies. But the telcos are as guilty for creating the status quo as anyone else.

Bigger internet pipes first? (5, Insightful)

WaXHeLL (452463) | about 5 years ago | (#27485773)

Too bad Australia needs a bigger pipe to the rest of the world first before this will be a decent benefit.

Re:Bigger internet pipes first? (2, Insightful)

dakameleon (1126377) | about 5 years ago | (#27485813)

Exactly what I was about to say - all well and good that we can chuck bytes at each other fast, but we're constrained by the puny pipes out of the country to the US (shared with 3 million in NZ), Japan and Singapore.

OTOH, lag on Australian servers should be non-existant - that's got to be incentive to host locally. Not bad for my future employment prospects.

Re:Bigger internet pipes first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485901)

Pipe Networks is about to complete their undersea cable to Guam, the southern cross cable is going to get upgraded and Telstra is building a new cable to the US. Is that enough?

Three upgrades are coming (5, Insightful)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 5 years ago | (#27486029)

  • Southern Cross have upgraded [southerncrosscables.com] their US link from 600Gbps to 860Gbps.
  • Telstra and Alcatel are landing their new 1.3Tbps cable [itnews.com.au] to Hawaii
  • PIPE Networks are on track [pipeinternational.com] with their 1.9Tbps cable to Guam.

Woah, they actually did the right thing? (1)

complete loony (663508) | about 5 years ago | (#27485779)

This sounds almost like the right direction, but the devil may be in the details. A private company that the government will later sell will end up with monopoly control over the last mile of everyone's internet connection. Whoever ends up owning this network will want to maximise profits and recoup the cost of their investment. This still has the potential to end up horribly wrong.

Re:Woah, they actually did the right thing? (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 5 years ago | (#27485913)

A private company that the government will later sell will end up with monopoly control over the last mile of everyone's internet connection.

Sad but history does have a habit of repeating itself. By all means sell of the retail arm (of which this new company will have none if I understand correctly) but to sell off the wholesale part like they did with Telstra is just stupid.

IMHO, it makes sense for a telecommunications network infrastructure to be government owned, because it's simply not something that works in a purely profit driven environment - if it's run by shareholders then the infrastructure build will be done where the money is.

Re:Woah, they actually did the right thing? (1)

kaos07 (1113443) | about 5 years ago | (#27486091)

They've committed themselves to structural reform and floated not only the idea of complete open-access for this network (which is a given, this lot is far more clever than the previous bunch) but forcing separation on the existing copper network.

Re:Woah, they actually did the right thing? (1)

kingturkey (930819) | about 5 years ago | (#27486117)

This still has the potential to end up horribly wrong.

Possibly, but at least they haven't made a new Telstra by keeping the retail separate, the new company will be wholesale only and I would think they'd legislate to keep it that way, so all of the resellers will be competing on an even footing, unlike the current situation - where Telstra wholesales to its retail competitors.

Wahoo! (5, Funny)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 years ago | (#27485801)

Soon, people down under will be able to hit their download caps in a matter of minutes! Yay progress!!!!

Re:Wahoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485959)

I thought the same thing when I saw this. I'm a US citizen living in Australia for a few years and download caps are something that have taken some adjusting to.

Telstra's back door (2, Interesting)

ghostdoc (1235612) | about 5 years ago | (#27485803)

So Telstra got kicked out of the previous attempt, so they lean on a few of their mates in government and sure enough the old plan is scrapped and a new one is started.
Only the new plan is completely taxpayer-funded, subject to no open tendering process, and managed by some demonic clique of Aussie politicians.

Plus, Conroy can give up on his plan to make the commercial ISP's filter content when he can just wedge his filtering plans into this (and any vote becomes 'have nothing or have a filtered feed'). and once it's in it's a simple step to force all ISP's to use the govt's filtered backbone ('the only people using commercial ISP feeds are perverts and pedophiles and we need to stop them from doing that').

I don't know whether I'm too cynical, or not cynical enough.

But there's one last hope that this might actually be done right. I hope all the campaigning that went on to shut Conroy's first attempt down will work and we'll actually get it right.

Re:Telstra's back door (5, Informative)

marcushnk (90744) | about 5 years ago | (#27485919)

eh?
It's 51% taxpayer funded, 49% private investment then wholly sold off after 5years of running (Like Telstra, for a fucking huge profit).

Huge bonus' to this plan.. (stolen from the good Simon Hackett shining knight of Aussie ISP's)
Best path: FTTH (not FTTN) (Fibre To The Home/Node)

Retain ADSL2+
Abandon flawed FTTN approach
same (high) speeds for everyone
Retain copper access regime
New infrastructure in parallel
Retain competitive tension
Retain innovation
Retain competitive pricing
No overbuild protection needed
No legal battles needed
more innovation, more choice
long term consumer benefit

Re:Telstra's back door (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 years ago | (#27486175)

It's not Telstra's backdoor - it's telling Telstra to go get buggered and setting up a new version of a bit of Telstra. Even the conservatives who were always preaching "government should be run like a business" should have realised by now that selling of Telstra and putting a politically well connected clueless ex-farmer and Sol in charge of it should have seen how bad an idea it was in every sense - paticularly bad for business. We took the US example of bad telephone company behaviour as inspiration and exceeded that tenfold.

100Mb/sec? (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#27485845)

Why bother? Did I miss the memo where Gigabit Ethernet was uninvented? For 8 years effort and billions of dollars I want fiber to my gigabit ethernet card, sheesh.

Re:100Mb/sec? (1)

blake1 (1148613) | about 5 years ago | (#27485935)

Do you remember when the only thing you could get on copper was an analogue dialup signal? It's much easier to achieve higher speeds with the infrastructure already in place than without it....or you could just move 100m away from your telephone exchange and use as much of your beloved gigabit ethernet as you like.

Re:100Mb/sec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485939)

Laying the fiber is the expensive part. The hardware at the ends can be upgraded as necessary. Still, it would be wise to be forward thinking, and laying (say) 10 times the necessary fiber.

Re:100Mb/sec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485963)

In Australia, most internet traffic is international. The current international links wouldn't stand a chance with everyone of Gb internet.

Re:100Mb/sec? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#27486007)

Yeah, cause that'd be such a terrible problem to have.. insanely great bandwidth inside our own country.. I can't even imagine what the economic result of that would be. Oh wait.. yeah I can: the election promise made by the Labor government.

Re:100Mb/sec? (1)

Blackheim (661904) | about 5 years ago | (#27485965)

I thought the same, 8 years.. especially with what they are planning now isn't exactly bleeding edge and in 8 years its going to be a gen or two behind.. Still I know the country areas need some love.. hopefully Telstra will keep their mitts out of this.

Nerds voting for technophobes? (1)

Arglebarf (1107929) | about 5 years ago | (#27485847)

Voted for that Bush-toadie Howard (remeber how proud he was when W called him a deputy sheriff) and his slack-jawed lackeys? Guess it goes to show that you don't have to be smart to be a nerd.

Obama, take note... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485851)

President Obama should be looking over the shoulder of this guy and try to learn a thing or two.

I think that it is great to see a Government deciding to create an entity that delivers only "naked", "wholesale" service and then requires other entities to sell it. It opens the door in a serious way to everyone that wants to be an Internet provider or whatever.

What's really attractive about this press release is that it apperas the Government is willing to change the legislation if the incumbent telco (Telstra) attempts to use the courts to delay the deployment of the project - which of course threatens their copper network. he he.

There are soooo many things right about this... it just makes me wish I was living there when it is available!

Sounds like a politician's promise! Who's ever... (1)

soporific16 (1166495) | about 5 years ago | (#27485905)

... heard one of them? No, seriously, everyone get excited about THIS promise by a politician, all the other ones weren't about mega-fast pornband, sorry, i mean broadband.

The other guy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485925)

As an Australian who voted for the other guys...

This is the Australian equivalent of voting for Bush, so judge accordingly.

Re:The other guy. (1)

kingturkey (930819) | about 5 years ago | (#27486193)

That's not a valid comparison. Firstly, it's much more like voting for the Republicans in the House elections since the PM has legislative power rather than just executive. More importantly, the elections were run on completely different issues. Howard didn't run the budget at a huge deficit. Rudd had very little policy differences to Howard. The Republicans are far-right by Australian standards, the Liberals are centre-right. They don't outrightly oppose socialised health care, for instance.

But why? (-1, Redundant)

WCD_Thor (966193) | about 5 years ago | (#27485949)

Why build such fast internet when no one will have anything to use it for? They are filtering so much stuff out that by the time this is available people won't need over a 1Mb/s connection. Hell maybe by that time they will only need a 256Kb/s connection for basic web surfing only. Seems pointless to me. Let people use the bandwidth you provide, otherwise why waste all that money?

Re:But why? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 years ago | (#27486341)

Both major parties have had plans and trials to filter the internet since before DSL and cable were available, still hasn't happened. The reason for this is that we have occasionally have independent senators who's votes need to be bought. It's sort of like 1984's continous war except it's aim is to keep censorship nuts running in circles.

Labor promised that a clean feed would be available to every connection a child could access, nowhere have they stated that their policy is a mandatory filter for everyone. It was and is a hollow promise since the previous government has already set up such a voluntary filter after a similar trial that included mandatory filters and an independent senator with a censorship platform.

In other words it's same political theater we Aussies have been watching for over a decade.

We don't have free speech enshrined in the constitution but our governments are theoretically bound by article 19 of the UN declaration on human rights [un.org]. I say theoretically because there have been some specific instances of censorship over the last decade. One related to a senator's "right to die" website, the other to an Islamic fundementalist book in a university library. Kiddie porn is evidence of a crime and I have no problems with authorities following the trail to the perps and subsequently dismantling their distribution networks using due process.

You voted for the other guys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486121)

All I can say is, wow!?

Someone should tell them (1, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 years ago | (#27486191)

Someone should tell them that fibre to the premises doesn't mean sheep's wool. That'll piss on their barbie.

Unsurprising (2, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | about 5 years ago | (#27486195)

none of the private sector submissions to build a National Broadband Network was up to the standard,

Living in Australia at the moment, this phrase doesn't surprise me in the least. The best thing you can say about Telstra is. "Their incompetence is the only thing saving us from their evil.". Right now I'm paying $70 AUD for ADSL2 with a 150GB. There's no fuzziness on what's permissible use either; they do provide 150GB... Telstra on the other hand, for $80 gives 12GB at 1.5Mbit, $100 if you want ADSL2, $160 if you want 60GB. What's worse is that my company rents lines from Telstra, so you'd think they could be AT LEAST as good as their competitors.

Escape from the Telstra monopoly (2, Interesting)

wrmrxxx (696969) | about 5 years ago | (#27486245)

This seems to me to be not just about getting better internet connections, but about ending Telstra's monopoly on wired communications.

At the moment, Telstra has a monopoly on the phone network due to their control over the copper lines, but as a company that's about the only thing it's got going for it. They sell access to the network both as a wholesaler and retailer. This new broadband network proposal won't be controlled by Telstra, so once users have an attractive high bandwidth alternative Telstra's business model might be in trouble.

What a waste (1)

ygslash (893445) | about 5 years ago | (#27486251)

The Aussies spend all that money to install high-capacity bandwidth, then they choke it off by slapping on content filtering.

100Mb/s - govt porn filter (1)

yizzel (1259842) | about 5 years ago | (#27486267)

100Mb/s isn't that fast once you factor in the drop in speed caused by the govt porn filter.

Sounds good in theory but..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27486329)

Call me a cynic but are we really going to be better off? Initially the network will be govt owned and prices regulated but then no doubt in ~10 years time it will be sold off and we will have a private company wholesaling broadband. That private company have a monopoly on the wholesaling market and we will end up paying a fortune.

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