While NBNCo would like us to all wait patiently for their trucks to roll along our streets and connect us to the national network, the reality is that a combination of impatience and mixed reports of network performance have many people considering the alternatives. While the NBN garners lots of attention and a connection to your home is mandatory, you don't actually have to use that connection. There are alternative services that mean you can sidestep signing up with the NBN/RSP combination. Here are some of the alternatives.
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Australia's NBN project has been dogged by criticism of high costs, poor service and political interference. Despite that, many people do now have better services than a decade ago at lower costs - or at least for no more than they paid back then. But where do we rank globally when it comes to costs and performance? Let's look at some of the most recent data.
It's fair to say the NBN has faced more than a few hurdles over the last few years. With shifts in technology direction, changes in board and leadership roles and political "assistance" it's little wonder the ambitious engineering project has been dogged by controversy. But the company says they are on target for a 2020 completion of its franken-network.
As the troubled NBN project continues to roll out, other companies are stepping up to fill the need for customers who want faster connections or don't want to wait for the NBN to arrive in their suburb. One of those companies is Uniti Wireless - and it's coming to most major cities in Australia.
History is littered with grandiose statements that seemed reasonable(ish) at the time but were proven to be completely ludicrous. There's the statement made by Bill Gates that 640K of memory ought be enough for everyone and Thomas John Watson, the Chairman of IBM saying there was a market in the world for just five computers. And now, NBNCo has come up with their own version - the 100Mbps speed limit.
Teresa Corbin, CEO of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network CEO (ACCAN) has presented to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network. Corbin highlighted some significant issues with the NBN project and is calling on the government to take action as hundreds of thousands of people are either significantly inconvenienced or are left behind as the network's deployment continues to lurch forward.
Based on the conversations I've had with many businesses, one of the concerns they have with connecting to the NBN is a worry that critical business tools like EFTPOS machines, alarm systems and other services won't work on the new network. In order to assist ICT consultants supporting those businesses as they make the switch, NBNCo has new channel that provides ICT consultants with information about the steps businesses need to take when connecting to the NBN as well as a other support services.
Here's an issue that likely wasn't planned for when NBNCo started building their NBN nodes around Australia. Those big green boxes on the side of the road might be prone to flooding, rendering them useless, or they might even be taken out by a vehicle. That's what happened in Kellyville, NSW recently.
So what happens when a car hits an NBN node?
Many of the complaints levelled against the NBN stem from poorly executed migrations from older internet or phone services. And while slow performance is a pain, losing access to your phones, email and other communications can be crippling to a business. With the first round of disconnections from old systems now underway, NBNCo has added some new service options to help with the migration.
Back in 2006, when the first seeds of the NBN were planted by then opposition leader Kim Beazley, we were promised a super fast network. By the time Rudd 1.0 rolled into Canberra, more detail was provided with the promise of optical fibre cables being distributed to almost every house and business in this wide brown land.
But then Rudd 1.0 imploded and by the time Rudd 2.0 was bundled out of office, the Abbott, and now Turnbull, government opted for a multi-technology mix that uses cables laid last century. So, why don't we need FttP?
NBN Co announced their half yearly financial results today, highlighted by a doubling in revenue for the six months to December 31, 2017. Further to this announcement, the company revealed that they are already seeing increased uptake on high-speed 50/20Mbps since offering wholesale discounts in December - and they expect a million users to be on the 50/20Mbps tier by the end of the year.
Let's be honest. There are a lot of things that have not gone well for NBNCo. From sweeping policy changes that the Coalition Government introduced, to deployment challenges and some "creative marketing" on the part of RSPs (Retail Service Providers), there are some things that clearly could be done better. But not everything that is wrong with broadband access is the fault of the NBN.
While many of us are going to wait quite a while longer for the NBN to roll up our streets, 400 Australian Defence Force sites have been tagged to get access to the "world class broadband network". The sites will be upgraded so personnel serving on them will be able to access high-speed broadband to keep in touch with their families and friends all over Australia and the rest of the world.