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NBN Connection Takeup And The ‘Real Solutions’ Broadband Statement

Here’s an article by Angus Kidman about the takeup of the National Broadband Network; how many connections have been made to the NBN versus how many are available, and it includes reporting on the Opposition’s new policy titled Real Solutions with reference to the NBN.

NBN Co has updated its internet connection figures for the National Broadband Network (NBN), revealing that as of December 2012 34,500 premises had been connected to actual NBN services. In the same week, the Federal Opposition has released its ‘Real Solutions’ policy document, which contains some details of its own plans for the future of broadband — a future where the NBN’s role is somewhat uncertain. Let’s try and make sense of the NBN data and the new Coalition claims.

The numbers are bound to trigger predictable rhetoric from NBN opponents along the lines of “we’ve wasted all this money and no-one wants it”, while making broadband enthusiasts who aren’t connected yet wonder what’s holding back all those people who could be on the network but aren’t. That’s the nature of NBN discussion. But what have we learned this week?

At the end of December 2012, 34,500 people had connected to the NBN. That number is up considerably from June 2012, when the figure was 13,600. The vast majority of those users to date (23,100) are on satellite, which has the advantage of being instantly available to qualified users if they install suitable receivers. By June 2013, NBN Co is predicting those scales will have tipped, with 54,000 fibre connections against 47,700 satellite and wireless broadband connections. But that’s a prediction, not a current number.

Actual adoption is very different again from potential access. Earlier this month, NBN Co said that it had begun construction in areas with a potential reach of 784,592 premises. By June this year, it is due to have actually passed 286,000 premises — just under 10 times the number of active internet connections right now. The takeup total will presumably be higher at that point, but it will be a long time before it even approaches 50 per cent at this rate.
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/01/understanding-nbn-takeup-and-the-coalition-real-solutions-broadband-statement/

Read More: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/01/understanding-nbn-takeup-and-the-coalition-real-solutions-broadband-statement/

Deloitte predicts worldwide spectrum shortage

A Spectrum shortage will effect network performance like lower speeds and dropped calls as broadband demand exceeds supply in Australia and globally. Heres an interesting article by Stephanie Mcdonald explaining more:

Deloitte has predicted a spectrum and broadband shortage around the world on the back of growth in smartphone shipments and global 4G rollouts.

Deloitte has released the predictions in its 2013 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report. The company has predicted that more than 200 operators in 75 countries will provide 4G by the end of 2014.

“We are likely to see lower prices initially to encourage use, but this won’t be sustainable. Despite LTE spectral efficiency, it will still cost carriers US$5 to US$10 to carry 1GB of data, sufficient for streaming one to two hours of HD video,” Deloitte Australia’s lead telecommunications partner, Stuart Johnston, said in a statement.
He said Australia is currently experiencing a spectrum shortage, which will only get worse.

“LTE, for example, is 16 times more efficient [than] 3G when it comes to moving data. But demand is outstripping technology innovation. In the seven years it took to develop and deploy LTE, wireless traffic has increased 30 times,” Johnston said.

The spectrum shortage will impact on network performance, such as lower speeds and dropped calls and sessions as demand exceeds supply, the Youcompare states.

Johnston said the phablet, which range in screen size from 4.5 to 5.5 inches, will also become a more popular device in 2013. However, the way consumers use smartphones will vary.
“[A] growing number of smartphone owners, close to 2 billion by the end of the year, some 400 million will rarely or never connect their devices to data. This is an important consideration for those organisations developing a ‘mobile centric’ customer strategy,” he said.
Deloitte has predicted that by the end of this year, mobile devices will only make up 15 per cent of Internet traffic, signally that computers are not dead.

Read More: http://news.techworld.com/mobile-wireless/3422030/worldwide-spectrum-broadband-shortage-predicted-due-4g/

Which Country Has The Fastest Internet, And How Does Australia Compare?

The report has been compiled by Akamai Technologies, here is an excerpt from an article recently published in Gizmodo.
Which Country Has The Fastest Internet, And How Does Australia Compare?:

Akamai ranks countries based on their broadband speeds every quarter. In its latest report for Q1 2013, the top-ranking country has an average peak connection speed of 54.1Mb/s. Which country do you think that would be? Hint: Its the third time in a row to be in first place.
Did you guess South Korea? Close. So did Youcompare.The country that gave us “Gangnam Style” tops the list when it comes to average connection speeds, but the best average peak connection speeds are actually found in the city-state of Hong Kong. It was first to break the 50Mb/s threshold in Q3 2012, and at that speed you could download an entire feature film in just a few minutes.

Australia sits way, way lower down the list with an average peak speed of 22.8mb/s, which puts it at number 30. According to the latest report, average peak connection speeds went up by 5.3 per cent for an overall 41 per cent increase since this time last year, but average connection speeds in Australia dropped 2.5 per cent since last quarter to 4.3Mb/s.

Despite NBN Co supposedly having “commenced or completed” fibre network construction in 758,000 premises [PDF] earlier this month, Australia was only one of three countries to decline in high broadband (10Mb/s or greater) adoption, down 13 per cent since the previous quarter.

Read More: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/01/which-country-has-the-fastest-internet-and-how-does-australia-compare/

Australia has a broadband vision – do we?

I spent Christmas and New Year visiting friends in Australia and I took the opportunity to catch up on what was happening with their National Broadband Network (NBN) Co.

In March 2009 I was representing Ofcom at the Commsday Conference in Sydney speaking on standardised Wholesale Ethernet Access when the Labor Government announced that, rather than continue increasingly frustrating negotiations with an aggressively incumbent Telstra, they were going to build the fibre network they believed Australia needed, themselves.
Also in this channel

BT brings forward national fibre roll-outThe original target was the end of 2015, but is now due to complete in Spring of 2014 >>
BT speeds up £1.5bn broadband roll-outBT fibre broadband is coming to 69 more towns >>
BT races to complete on 100Mbps fibre optic broadband roll-out for OlympicsBut super-fast service will only cover 40% of UK > Five challenges for new BT CEO Ian LivingstonIan has five challenges to address >>
Westminster View: Superfast broadband and their lordshipsThe need for superfast broadband in the UK is more than just politics >>
How BT embraced agile programmingTurning 3,000 staff from a cost centre to business enablers >>

There was near universal agreement that this was a bold and visionary stroke, but there were also concerns over the price tag of around $AU 40 Billion, and the technology choices made – Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) plus fixed wireless and satellite. And both the principle and the practise – should the state be building a network and even if it should, could it do so in time and to budget?

And would anyone use it if they did?

Over Christmas and New Year I met with Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, Shadow Minister for Communications, as well as the CEO and CCO of NBN Co and other stakeholders to see where they were in providing answers to these questions.

Well, they have just completed their target of having construction commenced or completed in areas covering 758,000 premises before the end of 2012. They are on track to achieve their end of June 2013 target of 286,000 premises passed. After a ramp up over the next eighteen months they expect to level out at approximately 6000 premises passed per day until 2021.

The network is Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) FTTH to 90% of the country with the rest guaranteed 12 Mbits through fixed wireless (not mobile) and satellite. Controversially NBN Co is also paying Telstra and Optus to decommission their hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks and migrate those customers to the NBN. These HFC networks cover about 20% of the population – the richest, densest, easiest to get to 20%. NBN Co argue they need those customers to make the overall economics of what is a natural monopoly work.

NBN Co will be a purely wholesale play, no retail, and only offering a ‘simple’ layer 2 ethernet service which, not by coincidence, looks something like the standard wholesale access that I was promoting when I worked for Ofcom. This Active Line Access has been formally standardised by NICC – although BT still do not support it.

Australia has a unique network topology, 85% living within 50km of the coast and density is good for networks costs. However, 76% of Australian homes are detached houses as opposed to only 22.5% in England, making for lots of long local loops.

Each home will have a box like today’s Virgin Media or Sky boxes, to enable the delivery of a wide range of Ethernet based services from home movies to telemedicine. Importantly though, each of these set-top boxes will have four Ethernet ports, so the customer doesn’t have to be ‘captured’ by one provider for all services.

At $Au40 Billion it is costing about £2000 per home. In the UK, by contrast, we are spending approximately £2 Billion of public money to deliver FTTC to the ‘final third’ that is around eight million homes. So that’s £250 per home, one eighth what the Australians are spending.

But it is not a fair comparison – firstly there is just the sheer size of Australia – roughly 32 times the landmass of that of the UK. This size has a direct impact on the costs of rolling out Broadband infrastructure in Australia, with the costs to deliver the last 30% far greater to that of the first 70%.

Read More: http://www.computerworlduk.com/in-depth/public-sector/3420910/australia-has-broadband-vision-do-we/

Broadband on way

Work is well under way to bring the National Broadband Network to Corrimal, Dapto and central Wollongong, including Coniston, Mount St Thomas and Mangerton.

NBN Co, which is delivering high-speed broadband throughout Australia either by fibre optic cables, fixed wireless or satellite services, has started construction in Corrimal, Dapto and central Wollongong.

This means NBN contractors are doing detailed design and survey work in those areas for the installation of the fibre optic cables. On average it takes between 12 and 14 months from the start of construction to when residents and businesses can order NBN retail services from an internet service provider.

In the Wollongong council area, the NBN will be provided through fibre optic cables. Rollout maps for Corrimal, Dapto and Wollongong have been released and it was likely residents in those areas would be able to order an NBN service from the end of 2013 or early 2014.

‘‘For any information on where we are with the rollout in the Illawarra, if people go to nbnco.com.au it will give them an indication of where we are constructing at the moment,’’ NBN Co external relations manager Trent Williams said.

‘‘If their area isn’t indicated yet, it means they’re not in our current three-year plan. It doesn’t mean they’re not getting fibre optic cable necessarily.’’

Mr Williams said the NBN had been completed in Kiama and Minnamurra and 45per cent had taken up the service– one of the best rates in Australia.

‘‘So far Wollongong has been very, very positive about the NBN. It really gives that area access to internet speeds and reliability you typically only got in Sydney recently. It’s breaking down the tyranny of distance.’’

Read More: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/1238898/broadband-on-way/?cs=320

Australia’s National Broadband Network still on track

Australia’s NBN now covers 784,592 premises, and the fibre-based portion will reach 93 per cent of homes by 2021. By Sean Buckley.

NBN Co., the company building out Australia’s National Broadband Network, said on Friday that it met its construction goals to reach a total of 784,592 premises by the end of 2012.

The service provider said construction will commence when it issues contract instructions to its contractors for a Fibre Service Access Module (FSAM), a device that can serve between 2,000 to 3,000 premises.

Mike Quigley, CEO of NBN, said that it now has the foundation “to reach the peak rollout target of passing over 6000 premises a day by 2015.”

Read More: http://www.telecomtv.com/comspace_newsDetail.aspx?n=49862&id=e9381817-0593-417a-8639-c4c53e2a2a10

NBN rollout on track

NBN Co, the government owned organisation responsible for building the NBN says that it has exceed its target to have construction commenced or completed in areas covering 758,000 premises before the end of 2012.

The total number of premises was 784,592 by year end, although NBN Co notes that construction commencement is measured when the company issues instructions to its contractors for a Fibre Service Access Module (FSAM), not when the contractor actually starts laying fibre.

The company did not say how many users had been connected to the NBN, which so far have been a disappointment. The company says it usually takes 12 months from the start of work until homes and businesses can connect.

In December last year, Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy said the take up rate was around 25%, or 1 in every 4 people. Opposition MP, Malcolm Turnbull has criticised the government suggesting that 75% of people haven’t been convinced to switch over, and the take-up rate is well below the NBN’s corporate plan released in 2010.

For telecommunications companies including the big four, Telstra Corporation (ASX: TLS), Optus – owned by Singapore Telecommunications (ASX: SGT), TPG Telecom (ASX: TPM) and iiNet Limited (ASX: IIN), the NBN offers an opportunity to provide faster services to their customers, but also a complication.

With wireless broadband services becoming ever popular, and the speed of 4G networks even outpacing copper ADSL broadband, users may opt to pass on fixed broadband, and use wireless instead. Despite the NBN’s predominantly fibre broadband being able to offer much higher speeds, users may choose the flexibility of wireless over speed.

Read More: http://finance.ninemsn.com.au/newsbusiness/motley/8591964/nbn-rollout-on-track

Property buyers now look for high-speed broadband access

BUYERS of homes in new developments are getting a head start on other Sydney residents with access to the national broadband network.

People living in the apartment block Divercity in inner-city Waterloo are already enjoying the benefits of high-speed national broadband network internet access, which residents say is cheaper than their previous plans.

An NBN spokesman, Jonathon Grahame, said that most of the 153 residents who have already moved into the Becton project have signed up for the highest possible 100Mbps plans, while residents in existing homes in neighbouring streets are more than a year away from getting access to the service.

As NBN’s fibre-optic cable will replace the existing copper network, it made no sense to install copper in new estates.

Mr Grahame said the demand from developers for ”fibre” in new developments was very strong. Nationally, the company has 2497 signed applications to deliver the service to 116,308 premises. And the NBN has already rolled out past 22,000 lots in new developments countrywide.

When Andrew Brown, 26, discovered a cupboard full of wires and equipment while he was inspecting an apartment in Divercity, he knew he’d found his new home. ”I already liked the apartment so when I found it was connected to the NBN it was, ‘OK, cool. Let’s go with this’.”

For Mr Brown, a self-employed graphics and web designer who works from home, internet speed is more a necessity than a luxury. ”We get about five times the speed we were getting at our old apartment at Elizabeth Bay,” Mr Brown said.

It is also cheaper than using the traditional copper internet lines. ”It was about $80 a month in Elizabeth Bay but here we’re paying about $60 [a month].”

Far from being the costly extravagance critics have suggested, NBN promoters say that if Australia follows an emerging US trend home buyers will soon make high-speed broadband access as one of the prime factors when they are choosing where to live.

The aim is to have the NBN go past 286,000 homes by June, with access possible at every Australian home by 2021.

The federal opposition says progress has been slow, with only 30,000 Australians signed up at this point. But Mr Grahame says there’s strong demand.

The NBN is already available in 314 new apartment or housing estates around the country, with 86 of those in NSW.

Apart from Divercity at Waterloo, buyers in some projects at Rhodes, the Southern Highlands, Kellyville, Baulkham Hills, Oran Park and Harrington Grove and further afield in Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange are already benefiting.

”The developer provides us with a pit and pipe network encircling the estate then the builder connects all the equipment in the home,” Mr Grahame said. Residents can then request connection from their retail service provider over the phone.

At Waterloo, Mr Brown, who lives with his partner, Andy, 24, is suddenly very popular.

”Friends are coming over to our home and having a go of our new toy. It’s making them consider moving from the eastern suburbs to Waterloo,” he said.

For those who are not in a new apartment block or housing estate, the wait will be longer. To date, homes are connected in Armidale, Kiama Downs and Minnamurra.

Read More:
http://www.theflindersnews.com.au/story/1218460/property-buyers-now-look-for-high-speed-broadband-access/?cs=356

National Broadband Network to help elderly stay in own homes, project boss says

THE National Broadband Network will help older people stay in their own homes longer and their aged care will cost a fraction of what they would pay for a nursing home, the man in charge of building the project says.

NBN boss Mike Quigley also says households will receive better and faster broadband for what they already pay.

Mr Quigley hit back at critics who had derided the NBN’s slow roll-out, saying the decade-long project was like “pushing the pig through the python” but it would hit big milestones in the next 12 months.

Mr Quigley said some of the biggest benefits of the NBN’s high-speed broadband to homes would be in health and aged care. Patients will be able to see doctors on TV screens and have simple tests and consultations via computer.

He said a US study found home health monitoring cost $1600 a year, compared with $13,121 for a visiting nurse or $77,745 for a nursing home.

An Australian pilot scheme by aged care provider Feros Care found the daily cost of using broadband was $3.46-$7.14, compared with $967 for an acute hospital bed.

“Most old people don’t want to leave their homes,” Mr Quigley said. “This could let them stay for a fraction of the cost of a day in hospital.”

The NBN has about 30,000 active customers. Mr Quigley said the aim was to have the network available to 286,000 homes by June.

“I want the public to know it’s now real,” he said. “All of the design work and the architecture work that’s taken years, and the regulatory work and structural separation – all of that’s now been done.”

Mr Quigley said Australia would depend on the NBN with growing demand for video services requiring fast broadband. He predicted governments would use the network to deliver services such as social security, education and health.

He rejected claims of cost blow-outs, saying deals with providers meant more upfront costs but would save money over the life of the project.

Mr Quigley denied the company was wasting taxpayers’ money, following criticism it was spending too much on staff and taxis.

“In a start-up, that normally happens,” he said.

He said no NBN staff flew domestic business class, and trains and taxis were used over limousines.

Read More: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/national-broadband-network-to-help-elderly-stay-in-own-homes-project-boss-says/story-e6frf7kx-1226543755255

ACMA: Australia’s digital footprint expands

Australia has moved from baby steps to giant steps in the online world with its digital footprint expanding rapidly during 2011–12.

At 30 June 2012, nearly half of Australia’s adult population (49 per cent) owned a mobile phone that connected to the internet, double the number from last year.
We are downloading more data (421,147 terabytes), a massive 52 per cent increase on last year and the vast majority of downloads (92 per cent) use fixed broadband.
Nearly half of us (10.8 million) went online at least daily, with the typical Aussie spending 82 hours a month on the internet. These are some of the key findings in the ACMA’s Communications report 2011–12, tabled in federal parliament today.
‘Mobile and internet services are driving growth in the digital economy. Australians are increasingly connected, adopting whichever devices best meet their needs,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
Other report highlights include:
> Australians mostly communicate using mobile phones (48 per cent), followed by fixed-line phones (22 per cent) and email (21 per cent)
> there are 30.2 million mobile services in use across the country—four for every three people
> the number of mobile users without a fixed-line telephone grew by 24 per cent to 3.1 million
> four out of 10 internet users spend more than 15 hours online a week.

Read the full report: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD..PC/pc=PC_600070#

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