The ABC reports that a Victorian IT consultant, whose home is less than 100 kilometres from the centre of the city has been given a quote by NBN Co for between $800,000 and $1.2M to upgrade his connection to the NBN from satellite to fibre.
The consultant, Alistair Stewart, called the ABC’s John Faine on talkback radio to discuss this saying the quote was outrageous. Stewart’s home was connected to the NBN over fixed wireless – a service NBN Co saying is “working within specifications”. That’s even though he’s only getting 25-30 Mbps on his 50Mbps with 9-20Mbps more common. Latency and dropouts are also an issue and these are affecting Stewart’s business.
He wants to upgrade to the NBN fibre as the wireless service has been slower and less reliable than his previous ADSL connection. NBN Co told Stewart his home is 7 kilometres away from the closest connection point and that it would cost between $800,000 and $1.2 million with NBN CO’s spokesperson saying the installation is a “user pays system”.
All of this highlights something many experts have been saying for a long time. The government’s multi-technology mix, which has proven to be no cheaper or faster to deploy than the originally-promised fibre to almost every home, has created a country of haves and have-nots when it comes to access to fast and reliable internet connections.
There has always been some variation in what performance people received depending on the connection tech that was available. Until the NBN arrived, people had access to cable, ADSL and wireless connections. Those offered different performance and reliability. ADSL, in particular, was problematic because of the ageing infrastructure it depended on and how performance related to distance from an exchange. And wireless was often ver cellular connections that were spotty in many areas and very expensive.
It seems we haven’t really moved that far forward.