We thought we’d bring you a quick heads-up guide as to how the change in Government in Australia may affect the roll out of high-speed broadband, and their differences between the Labor Party pitch and the LNP offering. Note that this is quite a simplified overview as many factors such as community disturbance (during infrastructure install) and employment opportunities that each project creates are not considered.
Why is it so important that we have super-speed broadband?
This seems to be the one area of the discussion which most people will agree on. It is not so much about faster downloads or quicker email, but rather a host of ‘enabling’ services that the current infrastructure cannot support. At this stage, there are two main benefits for developing a super-speed broadband network:
- Access – greater bandwidth allows those with accessibility issues, either geographically or physically, to ‘dial in’ to meetings and conferences via video or call conferencing methods with consistent and smooth connectivity. Greater bandwidth also allows much more streamlined access to company gateways, intranets, and VPN’s when working remotely, and with larger files. Greater bandwidth could potentially revolutionise the idea of remote workplaces and flexible working conditions (ie working from home or offsite).
- Facilitating the future – there will be bandwidth requirements in the future that we don’t even know about yet, but by having super-speed broadband (and greater bandwidth), progress will be enabled. As it is, the new raft of 4K televisions require an immense amount of bandwidth to facilitate all of their features which current typical ADSL2+ connections will struggle to facilitate. In the future, technology will ask more from the national network so best we take this into account.
The variations in the offerings (note some basic definitions below the table)
|Total estimated cost by close of 2012||$22 billion||$37 billion|
|Retail pricing||Based on a wholesale price cap set by competition regulator. Retail providers allowed to charge less than the price cap in dense markets.||Based on NBN’s wholesale prices which are the same across the country and technologies, monitored by competition regulator. Retail prices based on speed and data packages.|
|Rollout time frame||6 years||10 years|
1 Fibre-to-the-node refers to connecting fibre-optic cables to a box which then utilises existing copper networks to deliver services to the home.
2 Fibre-to-the-home (also referred to as fibre-to-the-premises) refers to connecting fibre-optic cables to the actual premise (house, business, building of some description etc) bypassing existing copper networks.
We are quite often engaged in discussions around the future of broadband in Australia as it has the potential for changing how business is conducted. Whilst the reality is that until it is built and experienced, the discussions are merely an exchange of opinion, but hopefully the above assists you in identifying the different offerings that have been discussed in the media.