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Coalition broadband: a wireless tower in every street

“Wireless can never deliver equivalent services to fibre,” according to network engineering consultant Narelle Clark. But what the Coalition’s “affordable broadband” policy could deliver is a wireless base station at the end of every street in the outer suburbs and country towns.

Unlike most of Labor’s National Broadband Network (NBN), which uses optical fibre to deliver data, the Coalition’s Plan for Real Action on Broadband and Telecommunications would see carriers roll out fixed wireless networks where existing fixed-wire networks could not be upgraded. “We will commit up to an additional $1 billion in investment funding for new fixed wireless networks in metropolitan Australia, with an emphasis on outer metropolitan areas,” the policy says.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott continued to talk up the merits of wireless broadband on ABC-TV’s Insiders yesterday. “Let’s not assume that we should put all our eggs in [Labor’s] high fibre basket either,” he said.

In an interview recorded for this week’s Patch Monday podcast, Clark said that because fibre is a contained medium, you can use 100% of the available electromagnetic spectrum.

“In wireless, you’ve got to do a spectrum plan, where you carve up slices of the available spectrum, and only broadcast on the bits you’re allowed to broadcast on,” she said. The limited spectrum is shared by every customer who’s connected via the same cell tower. If fixed wireless becomes the main internet connection for every household, each customer ends up with only a small share of the total — unless you add more towers spaced more closely.”

What would that mean? “In order to get those 100 megabit speeds and beyond you’d need to be installing a base station around about on every suburban block,” she said. “At the end of every street there’d need to be a base station.”

It is possible to design base stations so they look like trees, or like street lighting.

“Certainly if there’s one at the end of every suburban block then you’ll get used to them and they’ll get very good at blending them in,” Clark says.

Narelle Clark is vice-president of the Internet Society of Australia and sits on the board of trustees of the Internet Society globally. She has worked with Singtel Optus and was until recently the research director of the CSIRO’s Networking Technologies Laboratory. (Clark said her opinions are her own and not those of the Internet Society.)

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  • 1
    Astro
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Wireless broadband is a joke, the speeds are terrible.

    Labor plan is also a joke as they will allow the NBN to hang the fibre cable from power poles if Optus / Foxtel is already hanging on those poles.

    They will make our streets looks even more uglier.

  • 2
    Meski
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    What about the radiation? WONT SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!! :^)

  • 3
    Russell White
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I smell an Abbott / Pell conspiracy to install very tall crucifixes at the end of every street, all cunningly disguised as Wireless Broadband base stations …

  • 4
    Trevor Harrison
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    One sidelight of the planned NBN is the reduced need for phone exchanges, by up to two-thirds I’ve read somewhere. These are all on prime development land which would become available once households were wired to fibre.
    There’ll likely be rich pickings for local developers, builders, tradies and estate agents in many communities around Australia, many of whom will be thinking of voting for the Coalition and thus denying themselves a piece of the action.

  • 5
    Trevor
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Of course wireless technology will always be part of an overall broadband solution. I am a big fan of the govts NBN proposal & will go into a huge sulk that I may not come out of if Tony gets in winds up NBN Co. However assuming the NBN gets built I will still be carrying around my 3G stick so I can connect my notebook to the net while I am out an about similarly using my Iphone for online apps.

    To suggest it has to one or tother is nonsense, they both have their place. But anyone with a sliver of knowledge about how these things work will tell you wireless will never hold a candle to fibre for performance.

  • 6
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Most of the cable is going underground.

    My friends call Abbott’s “plan” nothing but carrier pigeon service.

  • 7
    Deedzy
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    2,000,000 people miss out on the NBN fibre to the home. Where do these people live?

  • 8
    Douglas Mackenzie
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition’s “plan” for a broadband network is simply a technological mess: one step forward and several back. It would relegate Australia to the status of IT and communications “third-world” backwater for many years, if not decades.

    Much of Australia would be left with the old copper-wire network, with its abysmal speeds, congestion and unreliability. The Liberal Party policy document (on its Web site) glibly states that the plan will be accomplished “with the expectation of leveraging at least $750 million in additional private sector funding”. Anyone who believes that the private sector would willingly put such money into broadband networking outside the high-profit Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane triangle would have to be pretty naïve.

    Here is some of what Professor Rod Tucker* wrote in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on August 10:

    The idea that we could use very fast broadband based on mobile technologies and existing fibre defies the laws of physics … very fast broadband … cannot be delivered to the entire population using wireless and existing fibre. It would require mobile telephone towers along every suburban street …

    The result would be thousands of kilometres of new fibre - much the same as will be required for the broadband network - and ugly streetscapes across the nation. It would also consume about 200 megawatts more electricity.

    It has been argued that market forces should be left to determine the future of Australia’s broadband network. But true competition in telecommunications cannot occur in the shadow of a large vertically integrated monopoly. And it is very difficult to achieve facilities-based competition in a sparsely-populated country such as Australia.

    The national broadband network plan is a brilliant solution to both of these problems. By dismantling Telstra’s ageing copper access network … the [NBN] provides tremendous opportunities for innovative retail products and real competition.

    … and the Australian public is provided with truly world-class broadband access and a rich variety of new services.

    A recent report commissioned by the city of Seattle found that a fibre-access network would produce indirect benefits of more than $1 billion a year… and reduction in annual greenhouse emissions … of 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

    Scaled to a country the size of Australia, these benefits would amount to more than $5 billion per annum. The $43 billion price tag on the broadband network is starting to look like a bargain.”

    * Rod Tucker is Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He is Director of the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES) and Director of the Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN), in the University of Melbourne’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

  • 9
    Kristian
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Hehe, what a cleverly written piece. You haven’t written your opinion of the (albeit extreme) concept of base stations on every corner, but let the wackiness speak for itself. Well done.

    @Trevor, as far as I can tell from following NBN’s briefings, there still going to need the exchanges. Most of them, anyway.

  • 10
    paddy
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Deedzy

    Where do these people live?

    Sadly, at my place. Misses me by 5 Km
    Bastards!! :-(

  • 11
    Alex H
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Deedzy, 2 million without access to fibre means 20 million or so with access to it. You can’t expect identical services to be available to all Australians when some live in dense urban areas and some live in small remote communities. Expecting uniformity would in effect drastically curtail what is reasonably able to be done for the majority of Australians.

    What we should expect from a government is a plan to get a good system to as many as possible and to give consideration to other solutions for harder to service areas. This would probably mean that there would be more cost per person in remote areas to deliver lower performing services, but that is the reality of service provision.

    Urban dwellers shouldn’t begrudge the remote dwellers for costing the public purse more for their services and remote dwellers shouldn’t begrudge urban dwellers for having access to better services.

  • 12
    Lee Wilkinson
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Point 1: A basestation at the end of every street means fibre to the end of every street to backhaul it. This is what people who think wireless is the answer always forget. Every mobile basestation or wireless broadband basestation is connected via fibre or point to point microwave to get it connected to the core network.

    Point 2: Pretending for a minute we can get 1Gb off a basestation sector (you can’t now, at least 4-5 years away) you can’t predict what sort of bandwidth any particular subscriber is likely to get. Compare this with fibre, where it just depends on the equipment you drop on the end of it.

    Point 3: How can any Retailer know which service they can provide from one household to the next? Can I get HD TV? Maybe with wireless, maybe not. You’re left with lowest common denominator services, a bad result for providers and consumers.

  • 13
    Deedzy
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Many of the 2 Million people will live in “difficult” urban areas. There is no guarantee the cables will go down your street.

  • 14
    Holden Back
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    @ Alex H The lovely myth of the Universal Service Guarantee dies very hard. You’re robbing people of the opportunity to whinge - that’s un-Australian!

  • 15
    paulieM3
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Wireless is a suitable option as opposed to digging up Australia and I thoroughly disagree with Narelle’s basic take on this…

    Initial testing of 4G networks shows speeds of ~ 50Mbps are possible. Telstra are also currently testing a wireless product capable of 172 Mbps

    This is only with the wireless carriers funding it themselves, imagine what could be achieved with some gov’t funding.

    Suggesting a tower would need to be placed on every street corner is near sighted and we are now all just stupider for having read that. Tough to swallow given how easily “non-tech heads” will accept it as truth from someone who should know better.

    One large issue is the various cabbage heads that populate Australia have been too cheap to upgrade to digital TV in a timely fashion, and as such the analogue TV frequency spectrum remains unavailable.

    Once this frequency band becomes available wireless will become a much better solution, however I can already get ~ 5Mbps even on Optus’ meager network, which is already competitive with current fixed solutions

    I, for one, would prefer the NBN as fibre to the premise can’t really be matched. However I felt compelled to comment given the general drivel quoted in this article.

  • 16
    ggm
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    @paulieM3: bit quick to call it drivel. AFAIK the number of people simultaneously on any wireless network profoundly alters the visible bandwidth to *all* of them at that time. Either you have more antenna, or you have less bandwidth per user. You can’t have it both ways.

    Finding spectrum to use for this class of service to a wide horizon with few towers represents a challenge. Hint: why did AAPT bid for a bunch of microwave licences a few years back. Hint #2: why did they use so little of them? Hint #3: why do the US carriers want to use the 700mhz ranges freed up from TV, and why do they want to use it for highly asymmetrical service delivery, not 2-way open-slather? -Those Gigahertz bandwidths being used for your local Wifi have sharp distance dropoff, but the longer the radio waves go, the more congested, and the slower the service.

    Radio can be glued together with microwave and radio, yes. But it suffers a range of problems, including rain-fade and congestion, because all the high-bandwidth point-to-point links start interfering with each other. In the end, you *do* wind up trying to feed them by buried fibres.

    If you believe the drivel being sold you about nationwide wireless ‘catching up’ with landline services, you’ve been sold a pup. There isn’t a network admin in the country who wants to choose radio over fibre, given pricing and regulatory parity.

    Open-access layer-2 national network? Bring it on!

    -G

  • 17
    Meski
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Google “wireless network congestion” for some good reasons on why fibre is going to be better.

  • 18
    paulieM3
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    @GGM - By 2013-2015 etc, Telstra, Optus & Co will likely launch the next generation wireless product with a theoretical speed higher than 100Mbps

    All with their own wallets and no $43BN tax

    Yeah not as good as fibre but much cheaper and still effective.

  • 19
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    It does seem to need repeating again: When you see wireless speeds being quoted, that’s shared amongst all users of that base station.

    All sorts of tests are being conducted with various wireless technologies under the name LTE for “long term evolution”. But all of the speeds you’re seeing quoted are for a single user with a clear line of sight to the base station.

    4G networks are indeed capable of 100Mb/s. Shared amongst all users. If you’ve got 20 houses in the street, at peak times that’s 5Mb/s per household. Assuming perfect transmission conditions. That is, around a quarter of what ADSL2+ delivers now. If there’s 200 houses subscribing to the base station, or 2000… well, you do the maths.

  • 20
    mook schanker
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Labor plan is also a joke as they will allow the NBN to hang the fibre cable from power poles

    Astro - Do you think wireless base station delivery has no cables? Of course they do and fibre most likely too….For an inevitable essential technology, just wear it and get over it, much like we do with roads, telegraph poles and power lines….

    Here’s a indicative pic of the infrastructure at street delivery…
    http://www.nbnco.com.au/content/upload/files/physical_infrastructure_representation.jpg

  • 21
    John64
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    So really, the title of this item is wrong. It should be “a wireless tower on the roof of every home”.

  • 22
    JamesG
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    @douglas mackenzie
    if you don’t now how to insert a link into a comment you probably shouldn’t be entering into discussions about the internet.

    @stilgherrian
    unless it’s Monday night and all those households are simultaneously illegally downloading the latest episode of True Blood then they will probably achieve on average something better than 100Mbs/N.

  • 23
    harrybelbarry
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I think a lot of people have THEIR products to push and when NBN Fibre to the door, who will need Foxtel .

  • 24
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    @JamesG: And how do they achieve speeds greater than the total speed available on the base station? I repeat, a base station that can deliver 100Mb/s is doing so in total for all users of that station.

    I agree that uses such as email and messaging and web browsing mean little bursts of traffic. In that scenario, users can achieve quite high average speeds — but obviously still less than the total speed available. But with increasing use of video and other continuous-bandwidth application — and that’s precisely what will drive the need for more bandwidth — it’s harder to share.

    The contention ratio — that is, the amount by which bandwidth is “over-sold” to multiple end users — will become ever more important. Wireless automatically has a high contention ratio.

  • 25
    Tremere
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Wireless plant would consume a bit of power as well, take a look at this presentation out of the CUBIN research lab at Melb Uni (disclaimer for disbelievers: its authored by Rod Tucker)
    http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac50/ac207/crc_new/events/assets/cgrs_energy_consumption_ip.pdf

    >150W per user and thats only at a paltry ~12Mb/s (slide 19). PON is around 8W per user up to 100Mb/sec

    This includes consumer premise equipment.

    Now, power prices are going to go up in the coming years, right?

    I haven’t looked but it wouldn’t surprise me if fibre-to-the-home has a negative (i.e reduces) carbon footprint.

    @PAULIEM3: Repeat after me, T-H-E-O-R-E-T-I-C-A-L. Hint: 4G wireless (and even 3G) are near the theoretical bandwidth limit of wireless technologies (Shannons theorem). If you want more bandwidth, you either decrease cell size, throw more spectrum at it or both.

  • 26
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Are there any potential health issues associated with massively increased use of wireless communications at the frequencies that will be used for broadband?

    That’s a question, not a statement.

  • 27
    sprocket_
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    with a wireless connection, a boatphone will still work fine - and that is all that matters!

  • 28
    mook schanker
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    So says the so called “expert” Paulie M3. So you mention the wonders of wireless 4G and no mention of any extra the fibre infrastructure to deliver a projected increase in bandwidth? And wireless 5Mbps, pah! I sometimes use Optus wireless broadband at work in the city (Melbourne) and during the day it crawls slower than a 56k dial up and the Optus building is across the road! “Theory” is fine until people use it….

    I remember years ago arguing with a friend about 80Mb hard disks and he reckoned that no more was needed as Dos 5.0 was awesome! We even argued that HDD couldn’t get cheaper than a $1 per/Mb. All I am saying that in years to come businesses and people alike will certainly use the extra bandwidth on offer from NBN. People who cannot see possibly what for, lack innovative thought in this area…..This sums at the Libs policy….

  • 29
    corbie68
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Anyone here heard of Moore’s law? Aside from a few posts it seems not, eventually we will probably be leaving behind silicon chip technology in computers and hand held devices, in favour of cloud computing… Which means we’re going to need a better network for us all to hop on the cloud to edit our word docs and the like that we store on the cloud. This doesn’t even begin to go into the benefits for Australia in terms of decentralisation.

    But it seems many are quite content to save some pennies now to remain a technological backwater that doesn’t produce anything other than crops, rocks and spots. Hardly giving us young people a future :(

    Which reminds me that I should call my grandma and tell her why she should vote for the NBN.

  • 30
    Kristian
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Mr Tony’s radio will give me more of the G.B’s for my internets when I’m on the email.

  • 31
    corbie68
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t see your post mook schanker, you summed up this debate beautifully :)

  • 32
    JamesK
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    To laugh or cry at silly self-centred lefties in full flight?

    $2000 for every man, woman, child and infant in the country.

    That includes the 2 million that won’t be able to have access.

    That includes the 10 million that won’t pay to subscribe.

    That includes the 12 million of the remaining that will not require but a small percentage of the speed of Labor’s ill-conceived-punch-drunk-response to frustration of their original NBN that they offered at the last election for a mere $4 billion.

    Hey there is that 10 times multiplication factor again.

    With the MSM’s help Rudd-style Labor insanity marches on.

  • 33
    Douglas Mackenzie
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    @JAMSEG Of course I know how to insert a hyperlink. I thought it would be more convenient for (almost) everyone for me to paste in a summary of the more cogent points that Rod Tucker made. If you insist, see Rod Tucker in The Age.

  • 34
    harrybelbarry
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    my mother is nearly 88 years old and is not interested in this inter-google net and have tried to put a computer in her house. Dead against it , but when doing those hard cross words , she rings me and i look it up while i talk to her. i think i will have to lock her in her house on Saturday ( Liberal voter ) She reads the c. mail in QLD , and watches ACA ,TT , enough said . How can they call it Wireless , when its connected by fibre between the Cancer Towers . Should we ask Abbott where he wants to put all those towers before the election.
    Corbie 68 well said, its not our future, its the young’s future that Abbott wants to wreck, to help his rich friends get richer. I am sick of paying through the nose for slow speeds and sharing it. 400 - 500 metres at the end of my street is a fibre-optic cable going past to Springfield Data Centre Tower (bullet- proof glass ?) and the going to be the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere , how can i hack into it ? I am less than 2 kms from my exchange by road and are on a 1.5 - 20 MB plan(adsl) and have just done a speed test and got only 6731 Kbps max on 4 attempts?

  • 35
    harrybelbarry
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    $2,000 per person is pocket money jamesk, to future proof this country over the next 50 years. fibre optic can be upgraded by changing the boxes at each end and it doesn’t matter how many users are using it at the same time. Its infrastructure that your grandkids will thank Labor for. China started back in 2001 laying fibre , Howard has really let us down and Abbott is Howard lite and will do nothing till 2014 except give away Billions to their mates to do nothing, that is waste. So even at $30.00 a month with a free phone line (just pay for calls) x your 12 million users = $3.6 Billion a year. So even on your half empty glass figures , it would pay for its self and don’t forget the old copper wires will be ripped out and recycled ($$$$$) $ 7,000 a tonne roughly. It would mean that you don’t have to live in big cities to fast B/Band and work , also needed for E-health , small and large businesses etc etc

  • 36
    JamesK
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    @Harry

    Whose pocket money Harry?

    Do you spe3ck for each of the $22 million of us?

    What bout that pocket money for the 2o million of us who won’t use or don’t require FTTH?

  • 37
    JamesK
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Mind you Harry……… it only really matters if you are taxpayer or will become one…….

  • 38
    ggm
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    @jamesk go back in time and ask yourself how much the cost of the sewerage was in 1950 dollars and now dial forward. Likewise electricity, which was deployed during the great depression. If you tried to build it now.. you’ll wind up with the costs of Anna Blighs attempted desal solution for water. Not pretty. It won’t get cheaper by waiting for some phantom future technology (the first modems which did 1200/75 characters per second cost thousands btw)

    It wont be $2k per person. it won’t be $43b overall. its a wild over-estimate, its not a single-year spend, it even includes notionally $20b of capital from the market.

    Can you stop fudging this and crying poor because it invites a reductio ad absurdiam on how much of your bloody tax dollars go on things you ‘dont want or use’. Presumably you don’t want a neonatal ventilator, or Breast cancer screening either.

  • 39
    EngineeringReality
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Time to explain the physics for a few people.

    Data transmission bandwidth is a function of the frequency of the carrier signal.

    Wireless uses radio waves as the carrier signal. Radio signals interfere with each other. As you go for higher frequencies (because higher frequencies are the only way to increase data transfer) the signals become increasingly line of sight - because GHz and above have smaller wavelengths and become more like light and less like radio waves. (i.e. they bounce off things and don’t penetrate through as AM (kHz) or FM (MHz) radio does)

    Also with more users you get more and more interference as hundreds or thousands of radio signals are all bouncing around the area. Its like being in a loud pub with everyone yelling to be heard over one another. All the other signals look like interfering noise from the point of view of your signal. The only speed increase wireless has been making lately is in the sophisticated signal processing to remove all the noise of the other radio signals in order to decode your signal.

    With higher and higher interference the only answer is to increase signal power. That increases the signal to noise ratio - but not if the noise is actually everyone else’s wireless signals. Very soon you reach capacity - as we have now.

    Contrast this with optical fibre. The carrier signal are lasers at PHz (petahertz) carry millions of more data per second than radio waves - based on the physics of light and radio waves - something no policy can change. Inside a fibre the laser light bounces inside & travels at the speed of light. You can shine lasers of different colours (wavelengths) down each fibre and the different colours don’t interfere with each other.

    Fibre optics are glass. They won’t degrade or corrode. Once installed they won’t become outdated because we are already sending light down them as fast as the speed of light. Nothing in the future will be able to travel faster.

    NBN is a necessary and urgently needed investment in the future of Australia. Without it we will become an informational backwater.

    Don’t forget Google was started in 1996 by two guys in their garage. Today it provides billions and billions of dollars of foreign income to the US - and it would never have been started without an internet. It is a business that was born out of the internet.

    Leaving Australia as an internet and telecommunications backwater will deny our country the opportunity to benefit from future technology and leave us with a mono-dimensional economy - vulnerable to commodity prices.

  • 40
    JamesK
    Posted Monday, 16 August 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    @Engineeringreality

    Prove that the alternate to Labor’s hastily assembled ‘plan’ would imply that Australia would be left
    “as an internet and telecommunications backwater’ as you unquestioningly assert as if ‘twere self-evident..

    Why would that leave us with a mono-dimensional economy - vulnerable to commodity prices”?.

    I think you are making unfounded assertions without a moments consideration, ER.

    Or perhaps you could provide evidence for those wild assertions?

  • 41
    jeebus
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    @JamesK, you could make a similar point about any government investment in infrastructure, be it water, roads, or electricity. If we didn’t run power poles or roads to rural properties, small towns, and mines out west, we could save a bucket load of cash!

    Though there goes a chunk of Australia’s export currency which is used to sustain imports of things like computers and technology for the city folk.

    Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of costs and benefits, mate.

  • 42
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    While Labor’s internet plan sounds the best to me (apart from the filter fiasco) I am no expert and wouldn’t know if is actually the best. While I’m a confessed Labor voter at this stage, I reckon the whole broadband delivery debate-or should it be non-debate, is a perfect example of how the media has failed us since Rudd’s election.

    The media has allowed the Liberals to spend 2 years waffling now and indulging themselves , sometimes encouraging them, in leadership squabbles when they should have re-grouped quickly and started to formulate policy.

    The Libs had a highly intelligent leader in Turnbull who if given full backing from his party could have revived their fortunes. To his credit, Tony Abbott has surprised me with the quick re-make of his image in 6 months. If he had spent a few years doing that he wold be a shoo-in.

  • 43
    skink
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    interesting piece on Lateline about how Abbott has misread the strength of feeling in regional areas regarding internet speeds, with some poor bloke in the country with his feet on the table waiting for his business data to download.

    I like Jamesk’s argument about paying tax for things you don’t use.

    and as I don’t have kids, why should my tax pay for schools?

    since I am healthy, why should I pay for hospitals which are just transit lounges for the elderly?

    can I get a refund?

  • 44
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    EngineeringReality- thanks for an understandable explanation which I’m taking as fact on your word.

    If I can get faster broadband in Bangkok-which I can-I really expect it here and I think even those who have lived under a rock for the past 10 years now know that the net rules our lives.

    Again I moan-we should have been having this debate since the end of the last election and if the media has a role in society it should have been forcing all pollies from all parties to put their cards on the table particularly with Australia’s short election cycle.

    But what have we had instead- the media have become the story so a Latham or Laurie Oakes can command centre stage plus endless waffle on a Tony’s swimming costume or Julia’s hair and living arrangements.

    And to make matters worse-whilst promoting all this flim flam stuff the popular press then turn around and blame politicians because they have been forced into a beauty contest.

  • 45
    Spare US
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    @#Qanda last night was pathetic performance by POTS (Plain Old Telephone System aka copper wires) Tony. Why doesn’t somebody inside his party tell the ‘boxer he has no clothes’ when it comes to the Internet and Broadband. POTS Tony got left behind decades ago along with Howard et al. How anybody can even contemplate voting for these navel gazers is just amazing and goes to show that education has a very long way to go in this country. Mind you he does belong to a long tradition of denying anything other than the ‘gospel truth’. Scary, very SCARY!!

  • 46
    mook schanker
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    JamesK or MPM or whatever your name is….

    $2000 for every man, woman, child and infant in the country

    Thanks for your “economic analysis” on cost. Did you do the sums and give them to Tony? cost/population, is that all? P1ssweak……

    How about some form of “benefit” out of cost benefit analysis? Let me help you, the monetary benefits direct and indirect from:-
    * Annual revenue streams
    * Productivity
    * Improved communications
    * Asset transfer at end of period

    Or should we just look at the cost of any project on its capital costs?

  • 47
    Spare US
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    @SKINK - and you don’t plan to be elderly anytime in the future? You don’t use the mobile phone to call anybody? Oh, you do! Then VHSBB (very high speed broadband) is the product for you - try Skype over 3G network - free - try VoIP phones etc etc. Don’t watch movies at home? Maybe you do it the POTS Tony way - drive to a video (cassette type) store pick up a movie and drive back to return it. Good on you!

    Please go join POTS Tony, Howard and that lot of neanderthals.

  • 48
    JamesK
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Obviously a full moon last night……….

    Your preferred Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull has something to say about Labor’s NBN:

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Telstra-broadband-NBN-Labor-Gillard-Rudd-wireless-pd20100816-8D3V8?opendocument&src=rss

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/commentary/seven-reasons-why-the-nbn-will-fail/story-e6frgd0x-1225906080793

    Besides, without spending a penny of taxpayers money two thirds of the population that Labor’s NBN could deliver to can almost instantly deliver 100Mbps to nearly three million households in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane by tapping Telstra and Optus’s HFC cable networks.

  • 49
    listohan
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    How long will it take Tony’s wage index linked paid parental leave scheme targeted at the wealthy to reach the cost of constructing the NBN, an asset with a life of over 50 years?

  • 50
    mook schanker
    Posted Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks JamesK for linking the dribble from Malcolm Turnbull.

    MT goes on about market forces should dictate the network but then talks about $6 billion subsidy, what the? Then he goes on about monopolistic environment. Hello MT, no need to duplicate the network just so we can have a “market”, a regulated monopoly will be fine, else we will have two train tracks everywhere else as well won’t we? (Let’s not talk about the Coalition efforts in privatised monopolostic behaviour in the comms market and where we are now eh?). Or if he is proposing wireless as an alternative to fibre then he really doesn’t understand the technology. And the horrors of Government control, I guess we better start selling off some schools, hospitals and roads I guess…MT also completely fails in assessing broader economic benefits (from a so called businessman). He also doesn’t even mention the lifecycle of the coalitions proposed patchwork compared to the NBN which pretty much shows a lack of vision from MT in capital investments requirements over many years….I guess he is trying to sell a dogsh1t of a policy though, nice try…..

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