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Obama Looks Down Under For Broadband Plan

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the put-another-bit-on-the-barbie dept.

The Internet 387

oranghutan writes "The Obama administration is looking to the southern hemisphere for tips on how to improve the broadband situation in the US. The key telco adviser to the president, Sarah Crawford, has met with Australian telco analysts recently to find out how the Aussies are rolling out their $40 billion+ national broadband network. It is also rumored that the Obama administration is looking to the Dutch and New Zealand situations for inspiration too. The article quotes an Aussie analyst as saying: 'There needs to be a multiplier effect in the investment you make in telecoms — it should not just be limited to high-speed Internet. That is pretty new and in the US it is nearly communism, that sort of thinking. They are not used to that level of sharing and going away from free-market politics to a situation whereby you are looking at the national interest. In all my 30 years in the industry, this is the first time America is interested in listening to people like myself from outside.'"

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Search for More Democratic Victories (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906467)

Don't stop voting out Republican hypocrites until we get our country back. That means more than 60 votes in the Senate.

Re:Search for More Democratic Victories (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906697)

You actually think either party represents you. You're a stupid nigger. Even if you're white. Please don't ever vote or reproduce.

We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadband (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906473)

Oh good lord.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (4, Interesting)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906483)

Seriously why not Japan, or most European countries?

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (3, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906517)

Why can't we be a leader and make our own plan?

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906585)

That's what we've been doing, and it sucks.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (3, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906619)

Most of the problems I see presented on this issue stem from the fact that competition is artificially limited through regulation.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (3, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906739)

Or rather, competition is reduced by a natural (mono | duo)poly in most areas, and current regulation prevents utter ridiculousness, but isn't enough.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (0)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906805)

There is no 'natural' monopoly or duopoly. These situations are only created through Government intrusion into the market.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (4, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906909)

Well pulling cable is going to get pretty pricey if you have 20 different outfits doing it.

Are you going to be able to pay $small_ISP $20k to rip up the street and pull you a run of fibre? But once you do, your neighbour can get it for $1k, so the rest of the street will naturally follow suit, rather than going to a different ISP and also having to put down the initial $20k.

Having a bunch of different ISPs serving different houses on the same block really isnt feasible.

I think, ideally, the last mile would be municipally owned, and they then lease the lines to $small_ISP of your choice, at a flat rate. That's the only way I can see a bunch of ISPs working out.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (2, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907013)

Why would companies choose to go into areas that are heavily saturated? This would only be feasible if they have some dramatic innovation to offer, which would benefit the people living on that street.

If I choose to pay for the fiber, then I make the deal to get profits from additional customers gained on that line of fiber, if not, good for my neighbor! And I've just voluntarily subsidized my entire street.

Why is it not 'feasible' to have different ISPs on the same block? And why would they operate this way? The whole problem is how we view the service itself. The service, as it is, cannot innovate because of the regulation. The innovation of firms left to their own is much more imaginative than what you or I or certainly some bureaucrat can think of. I never thought of Netflix or using the Internet in that way, but I signed right up for the service! Did the USPS work with the FCC to create that? No, it was a spontaneous product created by innovators.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (5, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906979)

These situations are only created through Government intrusion into the market.

Without "government intrusion" there would be no telecommunications market. Do you think that private companies are going to bury millions of miles of fiber and then just let their competitors use their cables? And how do you think these telecoms are going to get access to dig up all these endless miles of public property? Taxpayers pay = you answer to our elected officials.

There is no 'natural' monopoly or duopoly

So wrong it doesn't deserve a full answer

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29907019)

Sure there are natural monopolies.

- Rail network
- Water / Sewerage

Society would be significantly worse off if we had many rail networks and many water suppliers, each with their own tracks and pipes. Large amounts of resources would be wasted.

These are cases where pooliing of resources into a monopoly is better for society as a whole, *provided that* the government effectively regulates such entities so they don't extort their customers.

This is less so for things like power and communications, because cables are not as expensive or bulky as pipes and tracks. Still, society would probably be better off if the amount of resources used for building cables were minimised, since expenditure on cables does not directly aid the productive capacity of society.

From society's point of view, the ideal would be to have one set of infrastructure with either a heavily regulated, benevolent provider of services (ha), or one set of infrastructure with many competing services utilising it.

The problem is the *lack* of government intrusion into these markets to facilitate competition. Hence, one set of infrastructure, one / two providers who gouge their customers.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (4, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906645)

It only sucks because the government didn't force companies to upgrade their networks when they took money from the government to.......upgrade their networks.

All the government had to do was actually enforce the measures they enacted and we wouldn't be having this conversation. So yes, while the companies are definitely in the wrong for essentially embezzling the money, the politicians who gave them the money and then let them just pocket it are even more in the wrong.

**Apologies for any typo's - Firefox doesn't want to run on my system without crashing every 5 seconds since I overclocked it (everything else runs 100% fine, and no system crashes - so the problem is with Firefox) and good ol' Shiternet Explorer doesn't have spellcheck.**

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906807)

No, it doesn't suck. We have a 45mbit symmetrical plan, have had it since 1996 - ain't nobody suing the fuck out of the Telcos and cable companies to force their ass to roll it out, uncapped.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907015)

How would you even know you were a leader if you didn't look at the other plans first? If you ignore the lessons other nations have learned on what works and what doesn't then you won't lead anything.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1)

rabiddeity (941737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906543)

Seriously why not Japan, or most European countries?

Indeed. I had 100Mbps fiber in northern rural Japan, in 2006. That's fiber from the pole through my wall and into my apartment, by the way, and I never experienced throttling or arbitrary caps. Total cost? Around US$70 per month.

Then I come back to the USA, move into a neighborhood right next to a university in a city of a million people, and the best I can get without some crazy business plan is 1.5M/128K ADSL, for about $40 per month. And the connection from my department on campus is actually slower than the fiber I had there. What the fuck is with broadband in this country?

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906579)

Because Japan doesn't have the landmass... they have fewer lines to lay and less overhead.

I question if looking to Australia is still a bad idea because they generally have most of their population along the shores, right? Our problem is that we have such a landmass with people spread out. Obama always likes to think of "everybody" when he does something and thinks that my parents who live 50 miles from the nearest major city need ultra fast broadband.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906595)

How is more landmass an excuse for why a rural area has better connectivity than the middle of a city of a million people?

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906813)

The fact that you have to run a wire to someone's house is a cost. You must buy the cable from somewhere. Depending on the range of the connection you might even need repeaters that need an additional cost of running electricity along the line. If everyone lives in a small location you can run one line and split it up later but if someone lives far away from the center you have to run a direct line to their homes.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906985)

If that rural area has more connectivity, it's just because a telco exec lives in the area.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906775)

When you are calculating ROI on a project like this you have to remember the longevity of your investment. Communications is very important to almost the entire population, the way it looks it's not like they are going to lay the cables and find out a couple of years later every one went back to paper print. While the initial cost will be greater compared to that of Japan or other more advanced layouts once the layout is complete how will the system preform over a length of time? Will laying fiber involve less attenuation resulting in fewer base stations? (which contributes to a possible point of failure) Yes, it will. Will fewer points of failure contribute to a more profitable system once the cost of the layout is consumed? Yes, it will. Will a fiber layout require less maintenance over time compared to the current coaxial/twisted pair? Likely. Will someone eventually move into the same neighborhood as you parents who live 50 miles from any particular point in your country who does want more then satellite / dial-up and curse nschubach to the heavens on Slashdot? Yes they will.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906825)

"Because Japan doesn't have the landmass... they have fewer lines to lay and less overhead."

If we lit up all of our dark fiber we'd surpass most nations. the telcos and cable companies aren't doing it, though, preferring to overcharge and under-deliver.

They should be sued for $200 BILLION for fraud and contractual violations.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906871)

If you think it'd be a waste trying to get broadband to your parents, then I don't think you'd want to be looking at Japan with regards to formulating a plan for broadband. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8068916.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906587)

It's the market deciding for you. No evil communist government building infrastructure.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (2, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906599)

Do you suppose the Japanese pay something additional in taxes to get those high speeds?

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906745)

Of course they do. Then again, they also give a shit about the future of their children, and their children's children. So, you know, good with the bad.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (0, Flamebait)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906791)

So why have they saddled them with massive amounts of debt that they can never hope to pay off? Why does the suicide rate continue to rise? These things to don't seem like fair trade-offs.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (2, Funny)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906989)

So why have they saddled them with massive amounts of debt that they can never hope to pay off? Why does the suicide rate continue to rise? These things to don't seem like fair trade-offs.

Yes, good thing that the US doesn't have a huge amount of debt! We'll show them!

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907001)

What is with it is called profit taking. Some might think of it as organized crime, but it isn't very well organized and in the US it isn't criminal either.

Doing thing the US way in the US is taken as being the best way regardless of evidence to the contrary. In particular doing things the US way means not even looking at outside ways of doing things other than as a way to rule out how not to do something no matter how well it is done elsewhere; if it is done elsewhere a particular way then that way is ruled out as non-American.

$70? (1)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907033)

Mine was $50 in a small city, and right when I left they did introduce bandwidth capping -- they asked us to please refrain from uploading more than 500 gigabytes per month, with no download cap. Japan makes the US internet situation look paltry.

For the record (for those claiming the landmass has anything to do with it), the way Japan regulated was that it encouraged/forced ISPs to work together to cooperatively build and share lines all the way up to the DSL station. From there, each company was responsible for setting up wires from the station to each individual house. That way, it kept a free market-type approach, but it rid the need of companies that want to set up shop in some area to have to roll out lines across the entire country just to get to that area.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906709)

Seriously why not Japan, or most European countries?

The .jp or .eu plans might make suitable models for the East coast, but looking to Australia makes pretty good sense for the rest of the USA. Even though the population of the USA is about tenfold that of Australia, Australia presents many of the same hurdles for ubiquitous broadband coverage as does the USA. Both have vast areas to cover across a range of climatic conditions and timezones. Both have an overall low population density, with several concentrations of very high population density in and around a few coastal cities. Whatever we do in .au would be well worth looking at - whether we get it right or wrong.

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906609)

Agreed, but probably for different reasons...

Why can't people get their own internet (from this article I read we are looking for gov run internet, correct?)?

Reminds me of healthcare (hands out flame throwers).

Oh fyi I am not trying to be a troll :)

Re:We're looking to AUSTRALIA for advice on broadb (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906859)

As an Australian I agree, why not look to Zimbabwe for an economic recovery plan?

I exaggerate, but there are surely better places to look.

Not suprised (1)

dUN82 (1657647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906477)

Not a total surprise since Australia facing a similar dilemma of low population density in their country and the cost for initial infrastructure, giving the track record of trying to filter the whole country's net traffic last year, I serious hope they wanna complete their project using us tax money~

Re:Not suprised (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906631)

We have about 1/10th the overall US population density. OTH our urban population density would be quite similar.

Unfiltered, I hope. (1)

erichill (583191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906479)

I hope they don't follow Australia's censorship model.
(First post!)

Re:Unfiltered, I hope. (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906497)

rather (!First post) /ducks

Re:Unfiltered, I hope. (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906771)

I hope they don't follow Australia's censorship model.

Who's model do you think they should follow?

Tim S.

Re:Unfiltered, I hope. (4, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906943)

No ones. they should be leaders, not followers.

force the telco's to either invest the billions they were given or return the money.

If it was me, i'd roll out government owned last mile fiber or high quality copper in population densities greater then 100 people per square mile, and allow private enterprise to use this for a nominal fee and have them provide the backhaul and support services. in area's with lower population density auction off spectrum to ATLEAST 4 different providers in any area.

this way poviders aren't trapped into making huge investments they won't see a return on, and customers aren't trapped by monpoly providers. everyone wins without tax payers having to foot 100% of the bill or making the bill larger then it needs to be.

Would you like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906495)

an INTERNET FILTER (gasp!) with that?

Bad Idea (5, Informative)

The Solitaire (1119147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906511)

I live in Australia. Our broadband *sucks*. Try Korean or Japan if you're after inspiration.

Re:Bad Idea (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906523)

yes, our broadband sucks. But it won't suck after the NBN has been built. Hence why they're talking to people about the NBN.

Try reading the summary. (I realise RTFA is too much to ask)

Re:Bad Idea (4, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906651)

Ha! I'll believe that when I'm connected to it.

Re:Bad Idea (2, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906829)

Ha! I'll believe that when I'm connected to it.

Sounds about right... the Australian government is notorious for under delivering. Expect this roll-out to complete in a decade, by which time the average consumer will have 10 gigabits wired directly into their brain.

Re:Bad Idea (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906927)

the Australian government is notorious for under delivering.

And what government DOESN'T?

Re:Bad Idea (3, Informative)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906655)

But we have a buffoon who's attempting it, he just made recent blunder [smh.com.au] . Read the PDF, it seems like he's still pushing the whole FTTN + VDSL angle, which when I met him, argued that the premise, whilst an improvement on what we have, is seriously flawed. Telstra will still control the "Last Mile", meaning that they can still gouge us. Now if they are going to go with FTTP, then that changes things a lot, but it isn't going to close to even being started in their current term and I have a feeling they may not make it to a second term. Combine all of that with the fact Senator Conroy changes his story on a daily basis, so I wouldn't be watching us at all!

Re:Bad Idea (4, Interesting)

shitdrummer (523404) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906849)

Telstra will most certainly not control the last mile. Well, at least not Telstra in it's current form. This is why the Government is pushing for a split of Telstra into wholesale and retail.

I won't try to defend our Communications Minister, but there are some very smart technical people involved with this project. It will be a huge success for Australia.

Almost everyone who works in communications in Australia agrees this is a great idea, as I do. Some are skeptical about the dollars, but this infrastructure will be in place for many many decades and will be profitable in the long run. A cheer went up in my IT department when this was announced, literally people standing up at their desks saying how awesome this will be for Aus. You should have seen the celebrations when it was announced that Telstra would be split into wholesale and retail. :)

Re:GOOD!!!!! Idea (1)

ufoolme (1111815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906901)

The National Broadband Network, also known as NBNCo is a Fibre to the Home (FTTH) network.

Re:Bad Idea (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906685)

Gah. The NBN. 43 Billion is about $5000 per home. It's just too expensive.

Why didn't they stick with the original idea? Fiber connecting the cities, then rent out bandwidth to local providers, who could do the last few miles using whatever technology the customers wanted. Some people want wireless (and yes, there are issues). Some people want fiber. Some people just want a cheap connection, because they only use the internet for email and banking. It would have been a little more expensive for the people who wanted fiber, and a lot cheaper for people who wanted something different.

Re:Bad Idea (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906761)

"But it won't suck after the NBN has been built." Are you a politician? Because you're full of shit.

Good luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906513)

I can't see this going well for everyone in the USA - hope your government makes a national government owned telco (which they proceed to privatise) that has a monopoly and sues anyone who tries to make them not, that cries every time the government tries to assert control but still wants them to pay for half their expenses.
Unless they're looking at the Australian telco situation to know what NOT to do, of course.

Awesome (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906537)

This is good news. We all hate Americans so it seems good to hear that while we're screwing ourselves we're screwing you too.

Why is broadband a priority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906555)

Obviously one can think of some useful applications like telemedicine, but by and large it seems that having big fat pipes into every home would just accelerate the trend of making us fatter and dumber than we are already.

Are you kidding?! (5, Informative)

sammcj (1616573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906557)

Is Obama going mad? Here in NZ we have one of the WORST internet "solutions" in the world! Its: -Slow -VERY expensive -Lots of area's don't even have access to internet -Heavily Data Capped (I pay $120 NZ for 10mbit (which is more like 7mbit) with only 40GB of data!)

Re:Are you kidding?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906573)

Mod this up, I'm from NZ too and he is right.

Re:Are you kidding?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906637)

NZ too, but TBH, i think the idea of "unlimited" internet transfer is unrealistic. I much prefer the 'truth' of a Pay as you consume model, versus all sorts network shaping and service slowdowns. I get around 4Mbps (DSL), but get free off-peak, in which i achieve around 3.5Mbps, and across all other hours of the rest of they day, data is just $1 per gig. I don't find that unreasonable.* * i seed on a vps account which is much much cheaper.

Re:Are you kidding?! (1)

drdoot (1467353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906677)

Yes but most of NZ has access to this type of speed. NZ is also getting VDSL2+ in the near future which will provide up to 100mbps. The problem with NZ/AU is while internal bandwidth is plentiful and fast; the countries connections to the rest of the world have nowhere near the physical capability the users (you and me) have on the 'internal' connections to the ISP. Whereas, USA already has massive extenal bandwidth and they are looking to build it up internally.

Re:Are you kidding?! (2)

KiwiSurfer (309836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906797)

IMHO, New Zealand is pretty good with broadband coverage. NZ currently have ADSL coverage to over 70% of the population and UMTS (3G broadband) coverage to 97% of the population with two different carriers providing that service. We might not have the best speeds et al but a much higher proportion of the population can actually get broadband compared to the US.

The US current approach is odd -- they're rolling out fibre to the home in some areas, despite the fact a large proportion of the US population is still stuck on dial-up and 2G mobile coverage. If they had followed the NZ approach they would have invested the money allocated to FTTH to expanding baseline broadband and/or 3G coverage instead.

I think for rural areas there needs to be a shift away from ADSL/Cable style services to 3G broadband services. They are more cheaper to operate and provide better service.

I do agree the US should also look to Asia/Europe for inspiration -- however their population distribution doesn't really make Asia/Europe a viable model for the US to follow. Australia (and to a lesser extent, New Zealand) would probably give the US a better idea of how to develop their broadband networks.

Re:Are you kidding?! (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906891)

Obama believes that the federal gov (not free market supply/demand) has all the answers. He believes that people like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and all of his Tsars are the all-knowing solution providers that know what's best for the rest of us. Yes, even smarter than everyone here on Slashdot.

So is Obama mad? Nope. He's being EXACTLY who he is. Half the country elected him because of his philosophies and worldviews, right?! Surely it couldn't have been because of his speeches of baseless and empty platitudes...

Sharing (1, Troll)

allknowingfrog (1661721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906561)

It seems to me that America is largely founded on the principle of figuring things our for ourselves and believing that everything we have or do is the best. Also, we believe that sharing is for the weak...and communists.

Re: Obama ... the Replete Paranoid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906571)

Obama-dearist is displaying paranoia.

Good!

Perhaps, before his mis-bigotten days as the "Emperior in Chief" end in nuclear confligration, he will kill himself, just like dearist friend Adolf, and save the USA and the Russian Red Army, the bloody trouble.

WTF!!! (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906575)

Worst. Idea. Ever.

As an Australian living in Australia.... (4, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906593)

If Obama is asking Telstra / Australia or the Australian government ANYTHING about broadband than my American friends, I am very very very sorry for you, quite sincerely - this can not end well at all.
Telstra is one of the most vile companies in existence, Microsoft may get mocked a lot here but that's only because the evils of Telstra are not known internationally. (We're talking about a company that first introduced Bigpond cable with a 100mbyte per MONTH limit, no - I'm not joking)

As for the broadband network, it's a load of cobblers, we won't see it for a decade at least, it's one of those dopey empty promises which mean absoloutely nothing (no, I'm not a liberal, not even close)

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (4, Informative)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906681)

(no, I'm not a liberal, not even close)

To anyone who doesn't know, the two major political parties in Australia are the Labor party (left-center) and the ironically named Liberal party (right conservative). The term "liberal" in Australia is therefore rather ambigious a lot of the time.

The new broadband network is being proposed by our current Labor government.

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (1)

graft (556969) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906719)

It's not ironic, it's the old use of the word "liberal", as in, "free", as in "free market". A "liberal" in the old parlance is someone who favors laissez-faire economic policies and limited government. You know, what we call a conservative here in the states. Now we call this "libertarian" but the etymology is the same.

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906721)

For me, Liberty is more of a right wing concept. So if the Australian Liberal Party were a right wing party it would make sense for them to use that name.

I don't understand why Liberal refers to left wing politics in the US. That makes little sense to me.

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906965)

For me, Liberty is more of a right wing concept.

Which is very odd. Do you say that, just because of how you want to define right-wing, rather than what right-wing actually means?

So if the Australian Liberal Party were a right wing party it would make sense for them to use that name.

Again, very odd, because liberalism is not strictly a synonym of "liberty" - although liberalism includes the ideas of freedom and rights, it connotes more about progressivism and reform.

I don't understand why Liberal refers to left wing politics in the US. That makes little sense to me.

Of course it makes little sense, when you have so little understanding of the terms. Liberal does not refer to left-wing politics, either, and outside of a few random anarchists and socialists there isn't really a left-wing in US politics.

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906779)

(no, I'm not a liberal, not even close)

To anyone who doesn't know, the two major political parties in Australia are the Labor party (left-center) and the ironically named Liberal party (right conservative). The term "liberal" in Australia is therefore rather ambigious a lot of the time.

The new broadband network is being proposed by our current Labor government.

It's a large government project that doesn't involve the military. OF COURSE it's coming from the Left! They just love spending other people's money. Seriously, it gives them a hard-on. Jesus Christ, you redundant bastard. Next thing ya know, you'll shock and amaze us by saying that your Leftist party is proposing social spending that you can't really afford.

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (0)

apez1267 (1311469) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906877)

mabe but bush did some how magicaly make us go from extremly rich to almost bankrupt , obama isnt perfect but atleast he is atleast useing our money properly and not so his oil buddys could get cheep oil and if u disagree then ask ur self , why had bush not killed any of top ten alkida leaders and obama has taken out 3

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906713)

You may not see it in a decade. I, on the other hand, will be using the new NBN within 18 months thanks to their idea of beta testing on Tasmania. I'm looking forward to it.

Re:As an Australian living in Australia.... (3, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906767)

You're kidding yourself, absoloutely and utterly kidding yourself, your faith in government is incredible.
I'm only 31 and I've worked in the state govt for 4 years now, I know how things work - most people should, do you not read the paper or follow the news?
3 to 5 years, maybe - if you're in a specific targeted 'beta' area (probably new housing estates)

Good luck.

Don't follow us (4, Informative)

labnet (457441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906621)

Goodness, the $40B broadband plan will be a disaster.
Lets see.
About 10 Million possible connection points (Business + Households) with say 25% takeup (after they will still be competing with ADSL/Cable which is already > 10 Mbits/sec to most)
Thats $16k per connection. Lets assume cost of capital (6%) + maintainence(4%) is 10%/annum.
So it will cost $1600/annum or $133/month before we add any data costs.

So USA, don't follow our example.
Our dear leader K.Rudd is intent on sending us as broke as you.

Re:Don't follow us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906693)

No, ADSL in Australia is not > 10Mbit/sec to most people.

Whirlpool's latest survey showed that half the connections are running at less than 10Mbit/sec.

Re:Don't follow us (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906885)

No, ADSL in Australia is not > 10Mbit/sec to most people.

Whirlpool's latest survey showed that half the connections are running at less than 10Mbit/sec.

Yeah, but that's today. The national broadband system won't be rolled out for at least a decade, by which time that will have improved. A lot. Telstra is about to start rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 for their cable broadband, which starts at around 40 Mbps, and can go much higher.

Re:Don't follow us (1)

shitdrummer (523404) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906759)

Now consider what the bandwidth of the NBN will be used for. TV, Telephone, Internet, Video Calls, remote diagnosis by doctors, huge benifits for schools, library's, research institutions, small/medium/large businesses and more.

The NBN will form the backbone of Australian communications for many many decades to come. The return on investment will take many years, but this is a long term project that will eventually be extremely profitable as well as hugely benificial to all Australians.

I work in the Comms industry. We have been crying out for this for years. Coupled with a split of Telstra into Wholesale and Retail, this is a brilliant project for Australia.

The US should follow our example, we have similar geographical problems and everyone who knows anything about communications agrees this is technically a great idea. Some may be skeptical about the $, but all agree it's technically a brilliant idea.

And using the term "our dear leader" shows your foolishness. Do you understand communications technology at all, or are you just repeating something someone told you?

Re:Don't follow us (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906949)

We don't need an NBN to deliver telephone (at a whopping ~30kbit/s), or internet or video calls, "remote diagnosis by doctors" is a bit of a creepy thought even if it really did need far more bandwidth. And the little TV I watch I get via satellite or radio, why waste money delivering broadcast content packet by packet to each individual?

Huge benefits for schools/libraries/research institutions like what? Do people go to libraries to use the net? Would they after they've had super-expensive broadband shoved down their throat?

I think some reform is needed on Telstra, but the private sector seems all too ready to develop our broadband for us when it gets a chance, without the huge sums of taxpayer money and having to put up with Steven Conroy's incompetence.

I suppose when they're handing money out to everyone they might as well spend some on infrastructure, but it really seems like it's destined to failure. You say it'll last for decades etc, but with technology advancing at the rate it is is it really a good idea to buy the most lavish system possible today and hope you won't be kicking yourself in a decade when NZ are rolling out their equivalent network for a fraction of the cost?

If you have some comms industry wisdom to lay on me I'm interested to hear it, but I hope it's more than fantasy about how great things will be.

Re:Don't follow us (2, Informative)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906823)

What the hell?

All of that nonsense relies on the absurd assumption that the NBN will be some side by side competitor with the existing ADSL network.
FTTN refers to running fibre lines to the very nodes where the ADSL network currently has copper, do you really believe we're going to keep maintaining the copper wires sitting next to the fibre?

Re:Don't follow us (4, Informative)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906847)

So it will cost $1600/annum or $133/month before we add any data costs.

That obviously isn't true because at that price no one (who had an option) would take it up. Whatever it costs to build access to it will have to be priced according to what the market will bear. Obviously that means someone (presumably the taxpayer) taking a hosing but that's where infrastructure usually comes from.

Australia is probably a worst case scenario for internet access. We have a low population density, our population centres are vast distances apart, our absolute population is pretty low and we don't have a lot of neighbour countries

With that in mind I don't think our access is all that bad. I can get 100gigs of ADSL2+ for $50 a month which isn't too bad.

Re:Don't follow us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29907017)

Your dear leader, maybe. I voted for Kodos.

Planned, not actioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906629)

> the Aussies are rolling out their $40 billion+ national broadband network

This hasn't started yet. Its just a promise made by a politician, so far, which is hardly the most reliable promise to be made. Its certainly a long way from reality.
If this network does ever get built, I'd expect it to go live in no less than 75 year's time, but maybe I'm just a pessimist.

Prediction (2, Insightful)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906673)

Dozens of dittoheads will pan this without even considering that it's worth talking to people who built national broadband networks so that we don't repeat their mistakes.

Re:Prediction (2, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906981)

We're in the process of making the mistakes right now. Our new broadband plan is like a beautiful locomotive gliding through the air in super-slow motion, but if you have some foresight you can see you're watching a train wreck in slow motion

This is from the same guy who threw millions at stopping internet bullying with a mandatory nationwide blacklist of disgusting sites, then leaked the list of disgusting sites. Just the other day he released confidential figures revealing the confidential value of our main telecom company's assets, this is our telecommunications minister and I really doubt the US counterpart has anything to learn from him or his plans

Susan, not Sarah (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906687)

The key telco adviser to the president, Sarah Crawford...

It's Susan Crawford [wikipedia.org] .

Markets work, when you let them (1)

zigmeister (1281432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906695)

Read this [broughturner.com]
He explains that networks would make more cash by opening their networks to smaller individual ISPs. Markets work when they are unencumbered. I can't even begin to describe how the telecom situation in the US is so far from a free market it's not even funny.
No I'm not postulating de-regulation but simply regulation where it counts and none where we don't need it. Our current regulatory structure in the US is stuck in the 50's. As long as it stays there the only way to bring us forward is with a gov't solution. Otherwise we could always update the laws and see what happens but that would like, you know, be asking politicians to think like engineers (i.e. with their heads)

Re:Markets work, when you let them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906905)

What is it with you people and the free market? Why the hell would you ever trust someone whose entire reason for being in business is turning as big a profit as possible to be altruistic? You at least have some sort of say (without having to be a large stockholder) who's running things when the government's involved. And hey, if they roll out broadband it'll give companies an incentive to do better, for anyone stupid enough to pay more for their services.

Re:Markets work, when you let them (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906961)

Competition is the best way to spur innovation. If the revenue of the firm is based on providing a more desirable service, then they will do whatever they can to offer the most desirable service. It is not about altruism.

The Government is also not a philanthropic organization and does not even get revenues through voluntary transactions or by providing more desirable services. We have no say on how the Government spends its money. People called their Federal Representatives and Senators in record numbers to protest the TARP bill and look how much good that did. The Government is run by K Street and Wall Street.

If the Government rolls out its own broadband, it will cause the other companies to go out of business because investors know that the Government will take revenues from taxes to support the operation whereas private industry is limited to voluntary transactions. Once the Government is in control innovation will cease and bureaucracy will take over.

Nothing I'd rather have the government doing... (1)

Butterwaffle Biff (32117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906763)

I can certainly think of a lot of things the government should be doing, but socializing network access isn't one of them. Why not try clamping down on fraudulent advertising that claims unlimited service for a fixed fee or abuse of monopoly power or patent reform? Government shouldn't be telling industry what to do (or trying to do it via some "public option"). Rather than telling industry what to do, it should telling them what not to do. The role of government is punishing those whose behavior encroaches on the rights of others, not trying to predict and preempt bad behavior — that's like trying to legislate utopia and it's got us to a place where the government dictates policy by throwing cash prizes out to a few huge and largely unaccountable companies implement it. Not good.

It is quite simple really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906769)

Here is the problem as I see it.

We need true internet providers that do not have conflicts of interest in giving us high speed low latency internet.

The phone company will put its self out of business if it gives you the internet service it is capable of. Think voip service.

The cable company doesn't want to cut into its profits as well. They are scared to death that content will be available on demand over the internet as the customer wants it, thus negating the need for cable in the first place. (think netflix, hulu, blockbuster) Why do you need cable if you can watch any movie or tv show you want over the internet?

As long as the two dominant internet providers in the country are the cable company and the phone company, don't expect any kind of amazing blazingly fast low latency internet service.

Of course this is all just my opinion, but it is about the simplest answer for why we are so far behind other countries in decent internet connections.

Look to South Africa (3, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906781)

Foolish man Obama looking to Oz and NZ when South Africa has it all wrapped up. No infrastructure, no data lines, hubs, switches or routers to support. They just use data pigeons! Not only are they cheap, they're as fast as broadband and they appease the tree huggers!

Re:Look to South Africa (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906883)

The internet vs pigeon test was done here just the other day [itnews.com.au] ( spoiler: the pigeon won )

You don't have to look outside the USA (5, Insightful)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906801)

As a town in Minnesota [arstechnica.com] discovered, all you have to do is threaten to roll your own. Suddenly 50Mb/s for $50/month is available.

The problem isn't technology, population density or land area. The problem is that local government provide a monopoly (or oligopoly), so there is no incentive to truly cut margins and invest in infrastructure. Stop that, and companies will find a way to keep getting that check in the mail.

Re:You don't have to look outside the USA (5, Insightful)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906897)

Sounds a lot like a Public Option.

Gah, this is so simple! (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906835)

The problem with Internet access in the USA is the local mono/duopolies. There is no reason whatsoever why Internet access should not be the fastest and cheapest found anywhere in the world in the dense population centers. Although many people will say: "but what about the rural areas" -- the reality is that most people live in densely populated areas.

So, what to do about the local mono/dupolies? The obvious place to start is to allow cities to build their own last-mile connections to houses and rent these out to whoever (don't let states pass laws to stop this). Putting in the back-haul is far less expensive so one could expect multiple suppliers to offer services and actually compete with each other.

I am skeptical that forcing a Comcast or AT&T to share wires (allow other companies to run services down the wires) will never work. These companies will make it more expensive or less reliable to use a competitor. A few years ago, I was moving house and wanted to switch phone company at the same time. In the end, I did not change phone company at that time -- why not? Comcast would not release my phone number.

As an alternative to cities putting in the last mile, a private company could do this -- as long as this company is not allowed to ollowed to offer services beyond the last mile. There was a reason that AT&T was split up and I don't believe that the reasons for it no longer exist.

Re:Gah, this is so simple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29906895)

not releasing your phone number, isn't that illegal?

Look to the local talent (5, Insightful)

Raidion (1568981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906863)

There has been several cases where Broadband quality has been drastically improved when the local governments get fed up with the slow speeds and move to install new networks of their own. The Telcoms either jump to provide better service or the residents get better service from a local government run Telcom. It's a win-win situation: nothing like a little competition (especially in a near monopoly) to shake up the status quo and get the results we want.

Before you bash him... (3, Insightful)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29906889)

What am I saying, this is slashdot, bash away before thinking about it...

But honestly, Nowhere does it say "Obama has hired Austrailian Telco Analysts", or "Obama is modelling the effort after the Austrailian effort". Looking for inspiration means asking around and picking up ideas. Just like a software engineer who goes to Google to look for inspiration. The bad ones just copy and paste, but the average and above just look at the other results and try to mold a better solution. I would say this is allegorical. We'll see what happens.

Call for desperate measures (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29907037)

We need to be taking our examples from better sources, so this calls for drastic measures before it is too late. We must declare war on Japan, then immediately surrender to them. They will have no choice but to occupy us to ensure a safe recovery from the war, especially with reconstruction. When the Japanese realize our horrible internet situation, they will declare a humanitarian emergency. This should secure us UN funding to upgrade our networks while ATT and Comcast have sanctions imposed against them. Problem solved.
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