Malcom Turnbull is priapic. He may not be my first choice of dinner party guest* but as I’m sure his wife Lucy would tell you, the man knows how to mount an argument. When Mal, the sultry silver fox did the much anticipated policy reveal last week I found myself quietly nodding along. Much of what was said reflected my thoughts on the matter. It may surprise you to hear that I occasionally ponder issues of national governance. It can be quite discombobulating. One moment I am happily contemplating Jermaine Clements “sugar lumps”, the next I thinking that delivering optical fibre to every Australian household is overkill. Wazz up wit dat?
What irritates me about the whole shebang is that the politicians can pretty much say what they like. Most punters have zero understanding of the issues and are unlikely to educate themselves on it. With good reason – this stuff is as dull as dog shite. Tony Abbott himself could only recently be arsed boning up on it. The large pharmaceutical companies should bottle NBN speak and sell it as a cure for insomnia.
Back when I had an impressive job title our Communications Analyst would rave about fibre to the node, fibre to the curb and the wireless spectrum etc. Eyes would glaze over. By contrast the team was all a lather when I spoke about large scale engineering construction projects in the mining industry. That stuff put the Fun in Funds Management back in 2006. Anyhow there’s one person in Australia who is completely across the NBN argument and he needs no introduction It’s Dadabulous! I asked him about it last week and was delighted to receive a lecture. Dadab’s main thrust is summed up in bullet points below.
- You all know that fibre optic cable can transmit more data more efficiently than the network of gawd awful copper wires we currently have.
- The future’s going to be one of virtual reality immersion so we need as much data as we can get.
- The ALP plans to run this fancy schmancy fibre optic cable right into every household in Australia (well 93% thereof, the rest will have to suffer with wireless). This is known as “fibre to the premises” or in funkier circles, “fibre to the curb”.
- The Coalition want to run the fibre to a network of boxes on street corners called “nodes”. The old fashioned copper wires will carry data to the households from there.
- The ALP’s plan will deliver epic broadband. According to Dadab, every home will have enough grunt to download four lots of high resolution porn on big screens simultaneously. Whoa – Talk about megabytes. I know I’m excited.
- Sadly as Dadab calls it, Labor are taking so freakin’ long to get the fibre down, it’ll be the end of the century before the roll out is complete. Frankly the human race isn’t going to last that long. The inevitable zombie apocalypse will render our chunky broadband a useless monument to human frailty.
- Also Dadab sees no logic in the role out process. In his view it should be delivered straight to the folk who’ll make good use of it, the business districts, hospitals, schools, universities and hard core deviants. Rather they are prioritizing towns like Armidale (which may well be home to hardcore deviants).
- The Coalition’s broadband will not be as epic but it will be sufficient to meet the current needs of most households. On the plus side, the fibre will be delivered to sites where the demand justifies it – business centres, industrial and commercial parks, schools, hospitals, medical centres and universities. (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/coalitions-broadband-policy-at-a-glance-20130409-2hioq.html#ixzz2QVWIrqkj). It’ll also be dumped straight into new housing developments.
- The Coalition are allowing households to opt for fibre to the premises but in keeping with all things coalition the user pays. In other words , you can have fibre up your node and straight into your house as long as you fork out.
So far, so reasonable, Team Ab thinks. The issue becomes as tangled and frayed as the mess of copper wires itself when you try to predict the future. The broadband strength promised by the Coalition is enough for most homes given today’s technologies. Many tech heads argue that 10 years plus down the track, it wont be. Broadband will become yet another rung on the ladder of inequality (if that metaphor makes sense). The wealthy will fork out the $5K for their fibre and revel in Tony Stark-esque techno fabulousness whilst the huddled masses are left behind.
I’m ignoring the thorny issues of paying out F*&king Telstra, industry competition and costing because that would involve actual research. In the meantime please feel free to pick holes in the argument. I bet you wont though. As I said before nobody understands this stuff, except Dadabulous.
And for your viewing pleasure here’s Flight of the Conchords with Sugar Lumps. I’m sure you’ll agree that FOTC are a worthy misuse of bandwidth. Dont know about you but I can handle 100 mbps of these funny honey bunnies.
* As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (might have been Thinking Woman’s Crumpet Part 1) my choice of dinner party guests would be Dr Karl and James May. The ensuing pissing competition as to who was cooler would be pure gold.
*Oh my- but that’s a tasty picy of RDJ. I think I need to go into rehab for crumpet addiction.