By LAURIE PATTON | 6 January 2019
2019 is shaping up as the year we’ll be forced to face the fact we are building a National Broadband Network that simply isn’t good enough. It’s also the year our major telcos will start rolling out their capital-intensive 5G mobile networks, having spent millions of dollars buying up spectrum from the federal government.
Yet nobody seems to have asked if we really need 5G right now. Why is Australia rushing to adopt 5G when 4G speeds are more than most of us realistically need at the moment, or will need for some time?
The embarrassing fact is existing 4G mobile services are already delivering broadband speeds in excess of those available to about a third of NBN customers – the ones stuck with the inferior FTTN technology using Telstra’s old copper wires.
Continue reading “My New Year’s Resolution – Keep fighting for #BetterBroadband”
LAURIE PATTON | 21 November 2018
As Christopher Pyne has pointed out, “We don’t need to put a handbrake on population growth, we need to manage our population growth sensibly in a country which quite frankly can take a lot more than 25 million people”. Pyne comes from Adelaide, of course, where the state government says it would like to see a lot more people living.
There are numerous regional centres across Australia crying out for economic development and keen to encourage businesses and the people they employ to move there, voluntarily of course – where both would benefit from a lower cost of living, cheaper land and so on.
It’s not about how many people live in our country, or where they come from. It’s about where we’ll all live in the future. And it’s about how we leverage modern communications technologies to make living outside a handful of overcrowded and increasingly dysfunctional capital cities more viable.
Continue reading “It’s poor long term planning, not the size of the population, that’s the problem”
By LAURIE PATTON | 16 November 2018
The contrast could not be any starker. As warnings emerged that Australia’s telcos are seeing their profits squeezed by the end of NBN Co’s short-lived wholesale price discount (with the likelihood that retail prices will rise), across the ditch came word that New Zealanders are about to see their broadband speeds greatly increase while the cost of connecting to the Internet will come down. How could this be?
Continue reading “Time to ditch our dud NBN – beaten by the ‘All Blacks of Broadband’”
By LAURIE PATTON | 6 November 2018
The boss of the ACCC, Rod Sims, has told The Australian “its recent dealings with the retail telcos has highlighted a weakness with the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) access technology”.
For numerous broadband experts, not to mention millions of hapless NBN customers, this might be seen as a classic ‘no shit Sherlock’ moment. However, it is probably the most significant recent development in the long running saga that began with Labor’s 21st Century fibre-based national broadband network, only to end in tears for so many when former prime minister Tony Abbott ordered his heavily-wedged communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to “destroy” the NBN.
Continue reading “ACCC begins search for light at the end of the NBN technology tunnel”
By LAURIE PATTON | 31 October 2018
“Enhanced telecommunications connectivity, data insights, digital planning practices and innovation districts” will underpin the creation of so-called ‘smart cities’. That’s the theme of a Code of Practice released this week as part of Smart Cities Week Australia.
Developed by leading smart cities advocacy group the Smart Cities Council and the Green Building Council of Australia the voluntary code is designed to shorten the ‘transformation’ cycle and is aimed at both government and industry players.
Continue reading “Planning for smart cities – Code of Practice released”
By LAURIE PATTON | 24 October 2018
In my opinion, the National Broadband Network will not be completed until everyone has access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband. On that basis the rollout will take us well beyond the current official deadline of 2020. It looks like a lot of NBN Co customers are in for a long hard ride unless the Government allows it to abandon FTTN (the trouble-plagued technology using Telstra’s ageing copper wires) sooner rather than later.
New NBN Co boss Steven Rue has told Senate Estimates they are still projecting that FTTN will be used until 2040. Experts, including Internet Australia chair Dr Paul Brooks, say FTTN will have to be replaced within 5-10 years of completion, preferably before then.
It’s not Mr Rue’s fault of course. He has been left ‘holding the baby’ – stuck with the flawed multi-technology mix (MTM) strategy introduced by his predecessor.
Surveys regularly show that people increasingly regard access to broadband as an ‘essential service’. Which is why it is essential that we fix the mess that NBN Co has managed to get itself into.
Continue reading “NBN: Won’t be finished on time. Simple as that!”
By BOB CARR | 23 October 2018
Former Australian foreign minister and high commissioner to the United Kingdon Alexander Downer chewed ruminatively on his steak: “If you want a cold war with China, you will get a cold war with China”. I had just been appointed foreign minister and was consulting my predecessors. Downer implied cold war was not smart diplomacy and not in Australia’s interest. But in its biggest policy shift on China since 1971, that is precisely what the US has embarked upon.
Continue reading “Australians have no interest in joining US cold war against China”
By CHRIS MILLS | 8 October 2018
When cattle and sheep are dying in vast numbers across Eastern Australia, how sane is it for the driest inhabited continent in the world not to capture and redirect wastewater and stormwater from our cities and towns into food and beverage production? Energy is a major component of the cost of treating and moving water. Renewable energy sources can become an essential component of responding to the effects of climate change and climbing temperatures.
Fortunately, there are some very bright and committed minds working on this issue, especially in our state and territory water supply agencies.
Continue reading “Renewable water – The next ‘big thing’”
By LAURIE PATTON | 28 September 2018
Despite a nasty and at times irrational campaign by a group known as the Grumpies, the future of Australia’s Internet domain names system was secured yesterday.
Members overwhelmingly approved a new constitution and consequential governance changes to auDA – the company managing our domain names service.
This follows a demand for reform after a review by the Department of Communications and the Arts found the organisation’s governance processes no longer fit-for-purpose.
Continue reading “auDA latest – All’s well that ends well”
By LAURIE PATTON | 23 September 2018
Australia is a country in transition. Although we don’t hear as much about the ‘innovation nation’ these days as we did a few years back, the reality is our future prosperity still lies in embracing a digitally enabled world. As the problems plaguing the National Broadband Network remain unresolved, another critical debate is now reaching a climax. At stake is the management of Internet domain names. These days, nearly every business has a website, so a meeting later this week is shaping up as a watershed moment.
Here are ten things you need to know about what’s happening to the management of our domain names.
Continue reading “Ten things you need to know about changes to Australia’s Internet domain names system”