Friday, March 23, 2007

Australian Broadband Proposal by ALP

The Federal ALP has proposed a broadband network:
"We're proposing to invest up to $4.7 billion in this proposal in a partnership with the private sector for it to be constructed over a five year period which will deliver for 98 per cent of Australians, a broadband service which is up to 40 times faster than they currently enjoy. ..."

From: Building a National Broadband Network, Kevin Rudd, Press Conference, ALP, 21 March 2007
"With the rollout of a new 'Fibre to the Node' (FTTN) network, it will connect 98% of Australians to high speed broadband services - at a minimum speed of 12 megabits per second, a speed almost 40 times faster than most current speeds.

The remaining 2% of Australians in regional and remote areas not covered by this network will have improved broadband services. ..."

From: Federal Labor's Commitment To National Broadband, Simon Crean, Media Statement, ALP, 21 March 2007
The choice of 12 megabits per second seems to be based on what is possible with current ADSL technology and feasible with wireless in the near future. This would be enough to stream HDTV, regulatory issues permitting.

The ALP proposal seems similar to the G9's "SpeedReach" proposal from a consortium of just about everyone in Australian telecommunications, except Telstra. For Telstra to be included there would have had to be regulatory changes, which the ALP is proposing.

There might also be a place for Paul Budde's UtiliTel proposal for a consortium of power utilities to provide telecommunications.

The issues remain: how to get the data the last few hundred metres from a fibre optic cable into each home and how to service people in rural areas. For for very dense urban areas, such as the apartment building I live in, Ethernet on copper cables can be used. For suburban homes ADSL and copper cables seem most suitable. For rural areas, one solution used in India is their wireless local loop.

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