Why we must have optic fibre, it’s not rocket science.

The full Fibre NBN is the biggest free kick we’ll be offered in our lives: Grab it now or lose it forever.

Businesses end up paying for the network. They will provide the cash for our cheap, reliable Internet and really fast access, because “Time is Money” – it’s far, far cheaper for them to buy a high-speed service than pay the wages for time lost waiting for downloads and especially uploads.

When you understand the technical, economic and social realities of the full Fibre NBN, you appreciate  the Tony Windsor’s quote: Do it once, do it right, do it with Fibre. It’s cheaper, faster and pays for itself to boot.

Reliability: Copper problems are never permanently fixed. Fibre still works when the pits are full of water.

Durability: Fibre doesn’t corrode and suffer electrical problems like copper. The first Australian long-distance fibre laid in 1986 is still running, carrying hundreds or thousands of times more traffic after multiple upgrades. The fibre laid in 2020 will still be running after 50 years and capable of vastly more, simply by swapping the electronics on the ends. Copper-based networks degrade faster and require many times the maintenance and more frequent replacement. They are a 1925 solution for a 2020 network.

Availability: Fibre is automatically remotely tested, end-to-end, from a central location providingideal monitoring and fault resolution. The NBN Techs know before you there’s a problem and will initiate repair before you are aware of it.

Ubiquity: More commercial services will be offered if fibre is universally available. That’s cheaper goods and services to customer, faster service and more turnover for business. This is what the Internet is designed for: doing business and creating new businesses.

Guaranteed and Upgradable services: Fibre speeds aren’t “best efforts” and variable, you getexactly what you pay for. The fibre doesn’t provide the speed, the silicon electronics at each end do. These are cheap and already units are in production at not just 100Gbps, but 96 times that by sharing the one fibre. Off the shelf now, fibre provides anywhere from 0.1Gbps to 9,600Gbps. If you want it, you can have it, without costing the earth. That’s a great deal for any business, researcher or hobbyist who can use high speeds.

Affordability and Utility: Fibre is profitable, with top 25% high-demand users generating all profits and the rest of us getting a free-ride, either at cost or heavily subsidised. Speed tiers allow customers to decide how much money they want to trade for saved time, the “utility” of the service. Single data charges mean nobody is disadvantaged by where they live or how they access. Already, 30% of NBN subscribers have chosen the fastest access rate they can, years ahead of forecasts. On the copper Fibre-to-the-Node we will, presumably, be charged the same way as for current ADSL: “a random speed and one price fits all”.

Uploads and Backups: Your data is precious and irreplaceable, both for your business or home records, videos and pictures. The guaranteed fast upload speeds allow everyone to be able, and afford, to back up locally and to  the cloud. Your data is available in any location, should your home or business suffer a catastrophe or be robbed.

Support services: Computers can be fixed quickly by remote sharing the PC desktop with your ISP support staff. This is only possible with fast, guaranteed upload speeds.

Telephony and VoIP: Every member of the family can have their own number and have conference calls. Decent upload speeds are needed if a couple of people are on the ‘phone whilst someone else is downloading. Fibre “NTD”‘s, the device installed gratis by NBN Co, come withhigh-priority network connections for your telephone, making sure you always have crystal clear calls, especially when the network is busy. This cannot happen with the Copper Fibre-to-the-Node where you plug in your own modem and take pot-luck.

New Services for Telework, TeleHealth, Aged Care: Hi-Def video conference saves a lot of time and money, especially for the old and infirm, not just Teleworkers. It allows Aged Care to be delivered in-home, giving the aged cheap, easy and safe access to family, friends and community support groups. The most cost-effective investment in roads is the NBN by allowing effective teleworking and reducing peak-hour traffic. The Health Dept will find it considerably cheaper to provide cameras, PC’s and NBN connections and avoid hospital or nursing home stays – but only with Fibre and their NTD’s.

Safe & Reliable: Fibre is safe in electrical storms and does not have a lot of sensitive, expensive electrical equipment as is needed in the Fibre to the Node network. These Nodes sit exposed to weather, fire, vandals, vehicle accidents and worse.  Fibre is not going to blow up in a storm, breakdown in the middle of summer or burnout in a few years when ants, termites or mice nest inside. When the power goes out, as it will, Fibre has big batteries and backup-generators, while every Node have their own small batteries which fail within 24 hours, as Canberra residents discovered after the 2003 fires. Checking 250,000 batteries every year and replacing them every 3-4 years is a big, costly waste of time. The Copper solution is barely cheaper but just won’t last, in fact, it’s designed to be thrown away.

Real Choice: You, the subscriber, choose the speed and the plan YOU want and you receiveexactly what you pay for. YOU, not the capricious copper wire network, decide what speed you get. YOU are in charge and choose the “model” that works for you, just like you choose the model car you want, not have it forced on you by Big Brother.

Wise Investment: Invest, not spend, the money once while the interest rates are the lowest in 54 years. This is literally a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and should not be squandered. The whole point of the NBN is that it doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything! Rather the reverse, by 2040 it will have made $50 billion in profits that the Government gets to spend, not have to raise new taxes for. We don’t know if the Copper Fibre to the Node network will even break-even, let alone make a profit. If it is “more affordable”, it cannot be “more profitable” as well. Unless it’s all given to Telstra, who’ll make sure we all pay through the nose, as they’ve done since deregulation in 1992.

Equity: A Universal commonly-priced Fibre NBN is equitable for all, especially rural, regional and remote subscribers. Subsidising, via network charges, those in the country who will benefit most from faster, more reliable networks is more economically efficient and “Cost-effective” than “direct Government subsidies”. It’s more efficient to charge a few percent more for those in urban areas and 30%-50% less in country areas than taxing urban dweller at higher rates, collecting that tax and then paying it to those “in need”. There will also be inevitable inequity, some people getting subsidies they shouldn’t and others needing them, not getting subsidies. Do it once, do it right, do it with Fibre, and the same price for everyone!

It “Just Works”, not “works, just”: “Shared media” networks, like wireless 3G and Cable HFC, have huge problems with contention ratio and performance. Everyone tries to talk at once on the same thin wire. You might have 100Mbps, but it could be shared with 50 or 100 other people. When the school buses get home, kiss goodbye to your internet. With “shared media”, throughput and latency cannot be guaranteed.

A personal view from South Australia:

I heard about a couple who drove to  his mother’s place in a country town to make a video call for an overseas job interview because they didn’t have a reliable internet connection at their home. [He got the job because of it.]

In Adelaide we have suburbs flooded every year in heavy weather and the ‘phones don’t work, sometimes for a couple of weeks.

Beach side suburbs have their Telstra pits filled with salt water. This happens in Port Pirie too with its levies that keep seawater out and flood water in.

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1 comment
  1. I may not be IT savy but I can appreciate this.

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