NBN Final Comment

Our NBN connection is now working after a relatively minor problem was fixed: the ethernet cable that came with the router was faulty. That said, it finally became possible to assess the government’s speed claims and compare them to reality. Is the NBN really faster broadband than ADSL, or is it just a boondoggle to transfer $AU6 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money into the pockets of the ALP’s mates and matesses?

The plan The Git purchased claims a download speed of 12 Mb/s and uploads at 1 Mb/s. Actual measured download speeds have varied between 1.3 and almost 5 Mb/s. That is, when demand on the tower The Git is connected to is high, it is actually slower than my ADSL1 connection was most of the time. At best, it is less than 4 times faster despite supposedly being 8 times faster, and almost certainly considerably slower than could have been achieved over ADSL2. While I doubt that the ~25 Mb/s maximum achievable on ADSL2 was ever possible at The House of Steel, it would certainly have been much faster than ADSL1! Less than 5 Mb/s while claiming 12 Mb/s is definitely fraudband, rather than broadband especially in light of the very much restricted available bandwidth (~10%) at the same price point.

Averaging download speeds (actual, not theoretical) indicate that the connection works at 3.1 Mb/s which coincidentally is equal to the average speed achieved in Australian homes with the NBN rollout barely begun. If you think of Internet data as water flowing down a pipe, then it should be obvious that increasing the diameter of the pipe when it is only a quarter full will have no noticeable effect on the amount of water flowing down the pipe. Indeed, there are NBN users on Whirlpool’s forums attaining download speeds comparable to those experienced by The Git even though they have purchased a 25 Mb/s connection.

Since something of this nature was predicted in the very first post The Git made on the subject of the NBN, why would he have switched early from his adequate and inexpensive ADSL connection to the somewhat faster, but much vastly more expensive NBN? The early NBN rollout areas in Tasmania are now two months away from having their copper disconnected. Only 55% of households in those areas are now connected to the NBN. The latecomers are being told they will have to wait for an NBN connection, possibly in excess of 12 months in many cases. The main subcontractor to the NBN Co looks like declaring bankruptcy as NBN Co put them on hold for many months while their repayments on millions of dollars worth of equipment kept on rolling in. Most of their subcontractors have fled for they could not afford to wait on the rollout recommencing.

The great pity in all of this is what could have been achieved by putting more than $AU5.5 billion where it’s needed, hospitals for instance. Providing every household in the country with three redundant ethernet pots when almost nobody has any use for them has to be one of the most egregiously stupid decisions ever made. But then it was presumably with the approval of the execrable Conroy when he was Minister for Communications. He never seemed to understand what the Internet was all about, or communication for that matter.

“The regulation of telecommunications powers in Australia is exclusively federal. That means I am in charge of spectrum auctions, and if I say to everyone in this room ‘if you want to bid in our spectrum auction you’d better wear red underpants on your head’, I’ve got some news for you. You’ll be wearing them on your head. I have unfettered legal power.”

Story here.

Thought for the Day

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. — Emma Goldman

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3 thoughts on “NBN Final Comment

  1. FWIW

    NBN response: “Your experience including the speeds actually achieved over the NBN depends on some factors outside our control like your equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how your service provider designs its network.”

    ISP response: “All speeds quoted are theoretical maximum speeds that the service can deliver. The actual speed experienced is dependent on several factors including, but not limited to, the technical capabilities of your router, local area network and computer or access device, the source of the content and the method used to transfer it, local and international transit capacity and number of users.”

    Please note that The Git’s internal network has two segments, one serving two computers is wireless and runs at 22 Mb/s, the other also serves two computers and runs at 100 Mb/s. (It would run at 1 Gb/s, but the ISP-supplied router only runs at 100 Mb/s rather than the 1 Gb/s that EscapeNet claimed.) These speeds are well in excess of 12 Mb/s and thus not responsible for the bandwidth limitation being experienced. As well, the NBN tech who installed the Network Termination Unit declared that the signal to and from the NBN tower, clearly visible from The House of Steel, was 100%.

  2. Well, you are still doing better than I am in the hinterlands of Gympie, Qld. The only service I could get was a wireless modem – speed allegedly 4 gb (should have read the fine print). Alas, I’m in an area of worst reception (although only 10 km from Gympie) and have acceptable download speed only in the early morning. For that I get to pay $50 a month for 8 gb data download. I have watched David & Margaret, Birdy and Rake one night on iView when my 8gb was about to run out, but such trivial amusement are rare (although the unusual, for the ABC, teasing of ‘progressive’ ideology on Rake was amusing). This month I will probably have to start driving in to the public library for email and basic work communications.

    A new ‘telecommunications’ tower is going up 3 km to the east, so perhaps the speed will improve, at least on average, and I will move up to 15 gb per month at $95. Meanwhile the tomatillos are infested with 3-lined Potato Beetles and 28-spotted Lady Birds and the cucumbers with Cucumber Worm and the sweet potato with two species of tortoise beetles and a horn worm. I suppose squishing them one-by-one is a better use of my days than dwelling on the internet.

  3. Six days ago, The Git emailed the Telecommunications Ombudsman. Within an hour EscapeNet tech support emailed back with the suggestion that I send the result of speed testing both direct and via the router. There was no speed difference. At 3 am this morning, The Git obtained the following result:

    NBN 1.21 Mb/s download and 0.87 Mb/s upload. This is a little more than 10% of the advertised download speed of 12 Mb/s and only 80% of the speed usually attained over our previous ADSL1 connection.

    Mobile wireless on the 3G network obtained 7.22 Mb/s download with the tethered phone showing three of four bars signal strength.

    This is not what the ALP and NBN Co promised!

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