Kevin Rudd’s announcement yesterday about the National Broadband Network (NBN) has certainly created a stir. There have been those who have praised the move, and those that are skeptical about the various factors involved in such an enterprise. I’m not going to get into those issues.
Understandably, the most common question being asked is; “What does it mean for me?” And I do have an opinion on that facet.
First of all, you have to remember that this network is a wholesale set up. In other words, you will still have to go through a third party to get the service, which in turn means the likes of Telstra, Optus, iinet etc will still be your provider. The wholesale provider will provide the pipes, but the retailer (Iinet etc) will provide the service plans, extra features (like phone services options, video downloads, gaming services and streaming video content) and they will be the people you pay your money to each month, the same way you do now.
What will be interesting to see is, who will make up the consortia that will be rolling out the new NBN? The government has a 51 percent stake, who will make up the 49 percent of private investment? You would assume the likes of Telstra and Optus would be interested as they have the skill base and technological know how to do it.
Also, the government has guaranteed that the wireless service will now run at 12Mpbs, which isn’t as fast as fibreoptic, but still a huge increase in speed on previous offerings. Particular for the regional customers who let’s face it where not in the room when affordable broadband was being handed out in Australia.
Finally, people in remote areas have also been querying, will they be able to get the new service. It was mooted by the government that all townships with over 1000 households will be part of the network. However, say I live in Griffith (like one viewer on the Today Show this morning who emailed in) and I live five minutes out of town. Will I have an optical fibre network run passed my house or receive a wireless internet connection? Either way it is better than the painfully slow $70 a month satellite service our viewer who emailed in was currently using.