We thought we were going to enjoy 100Mbps of speedy internet access, then the politicians got involved and we ended up with something of a dog's breakfast - or dog's vomit according to some. So, what are the connectivity options that the NBN will deliver and how do they differ? Let's take a look.
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Poor bandwidth makes downloading content and working in the cloud impractical. Like many Australians, these are two activities that have become critical to the way I live my life. When the NBN skipped my house because it was in the older stages of the estate I live in, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Over the last 10 years, the NBN has gone from a relatively straightforwards fibre-only network to a complicated mess of speed tiers and different technologies. Amaysim has released a video that it says is a 90-second explainer for anyone confused with the network, on the day it switches on its own NBN coverage.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest figures on internet activity in Australia show a huge jump in the number of people with advertised speeds of greater than 24 Mbps (that’s megabits per second, a measure of data transfer speed).
That trend is significant because it suggests that Australia’s appetite for faster broadband is growing apace, and that the NBN may be helping to drive adoption of higher speed internet.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest figures on internet activity in Australia show a huge jump in the number of people with advertised speeds of greater than 24 Mbps (that’s megabits per second, a measure of data transfer speed). That trend is significant because it suggests Australia’s appetite for faster broadband is growing apace, and that the NBN may be helping to drive adoption of higher speed internet.
The NBN is a complicated piece of technology — the largest infrastructure project in Australian history. From its inception in 2007 as a mostly-fibre network to the multi-technology mix of 2017, it's evolved into a Byzantine mess both for customers to understand and for internet service providers to manage. The main pain point is congestion — a lack of virtual capacity on the network that slows some connections to a crawl. It's bad enough that some smaller ISPs are provisioning their own networks rather than relying on existing backhaul from NBN and their own competitors.
If it wasn't such a laugh, you'd cry. NBNCo, the company that will be delivering a patchwork of network technologies in order to bring fast broadband access to all of us has conducted a test using technology from Nokia that could deliver 10Gbps performance - if only FttP was on the menu for all of us.
Ongoing NBN installation faults have delayed the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) rollout, while red tape has left hundreds of homes in broadband limbo for months – with relief finally on the way following Fairfax Media investigations. The move comes as NBN pushes to accelerate the nationwide rollout, recently putting another 90,000 complicated connections on hold amid the growing complexity of the Multi-Technology Mix rollout.
No one said building a fast, nation-wide broadband network would be easy. But imagine if the NBN skipped your house or business because it wasn't easy enough? A report by the ABC's Emily Laurence has revealed that if a property is "categorised as Service Class 0", NBN Co will almost certainly give it a miss, even if you're in a rollout area.
A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also flags Australia’s broadband speeds as among the worst in the OECD, beating only Mexico, Chile and Greece in terms of internet speed and penetration. This raises questions on NBN’s continued use of fibre to the node (FTTN) over a large proportion of the total NBN footprint.
In an industry first, rental search site Rent.com.au has added NBN status to its full listings, making it much easier to find a property with access to super-fast broadband. With a click of a button, prospective renters can see whether a house or apartment currently has access to the NBN - as well as the type of technology being used. The number of connected homes is higher than you might think.
Australia continues to fall behind most of the developed world when it comes to home broadband internet speeds. According to Akamai's latest State of the Internet Report, our internet connection speeds are now slower than 50 other nations, including the likes of Thailand, Estonia, Bulgaria and Kenya. Here's the full list of countries with better internet than Australia. (It makes for painful reading.)