With an average of more than ten devices connected to the house internet, you ought to expect a fast and reliable service. So was expected when the Australian government announced in 2009, a high speed Internet broadband by the name National Broadband Network. With Australian internet consumption increasing every year, this would solve Australia’s slow speed internet problems.
NBN with its reliable optical fibre cables promised an uninterrupted high speed internet. This posed a great relief for the businesses and daily consumers that relied greatly on internet for their daily operations.
However, with NBN nearing its completion due 2020, things aren’t as were expected and here’s why.
Initially, when National Broadband Network was announced, the service was promised to be provided with the new optical fibre technology directly to the consumers. Optical fibre has great advantage over copper cables in terms of speed, security and reliability. Moreover, the greatest advantage it has over the outdated copper cables is the consistent strength of the signal over large distances. This technology is perfect for corporates and businesses that wish to operate more efficiently. However, in case of NBN, the service is provided with a mixture of copper wires, optical fibre and other technologies instead of the single optical fibre technology as marketed.
Only 17% of the NBN users were connected to the internet through the promised fibre-to-the-premises connections. Similarly, 22% consumers are connected through the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial connections and nearly 36% consumers are connected via fibre-to-the-node connectivity. Rest of the consumers have no option, but to settle down for other connectivity options such as fibre-to-the-curb and the classic copper cables. If that is not troubling enough, picture this – less than one in four FTTN connections are expected to achieve top speeds. This is a disaster for NBN consumers especially businesses that opted for the sake of direct optical fibre connectivity in the first place. Similarly, only 22% consumers are connected through the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial connections.
Mile Quigley, the former Chief Executive Officer at the NBN believes that the project would have been better off if the government had stuck to the original FTTP idea. He also believes that while the project surely must have taken longer to complete, it could have been cheaper and much faster than what the project offers today. The Minister of Communication, Senator Mitch Fifield disagrees by saying:
“By taking this approach, the NBN will be completed by 2020, which is six to eight years sooner than otherwise would have been the case. And $30 billion less cost.”
The minister further ensures that the NBN is at par in terms of service. The minister further emphasizes that every technology calls for update through its life and that NBN is seeking to do so and that it provides consumers with what they need. This statement, however, contradicts the experiences of many NBN consumers facing blackouts every now and then drastically affecting their internet-reliant operations. To which the minister reasons that as the NBN project completes, consumers would experience consistent high speed internet.