Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fibre to the nerd? – if it sounds too good to be true…

When the Rudd government came to power in Australia it was partially on a promise to deliver a much waited broadband roll-out. The promise was based on a fibre to the node concept, depending on Telstra’s copper wire network to deliver to homes and businesses from local exchanges.

Instead of cooperation from Sol Trujillo’s Telstra we ended up with the highest stakes poker game this country has ever seen. Telstra’s arrogant non-bid to roll out an acceptable service has now been countered by Rudd’s plan for fibre to the nerd, T1 to every doorstep. Telstra is effectively cut out of the great communications revolution.

Okay, for the nerds among us it was an exciting, but unlikely proposal. Most Australians, including the federal opposition, have no concept of what a high speed connection really is, even a stable internet connection is problematic.

Telstra and institutional shareholders understood, however, when Rudd slid his $42 billion worth of chips onto the table. This had become a high stakes game. Telstra shares had already lost $9 billion in value in the earlier rounds of the table; there is every reason for tem to now fold and try and get back into the game.

Sol is a lousy poker player, but he is already on his way out of the game here. The Liberal/National opposition are looking like the perennial suckers, folding quickly then sniping from the sidelines. My guess is we will return to a fibre copper mix with Telstra grabbing back what it can on Rudd’s terms.

Consumer perspective

I’m just a humble end user; well an unhappy end user perhaps. There are several long running and unresolved issues I have with providers – Optus (Singapore government owned) as ISP and Telstra as line provider. We pay top dollar here for a broadband service which often slows below even dial up speed and is prone to constant drop outs.

Opus refer the connectivity problems to Telstra and Telstra technicians claim cut backs for their inability to address identified problems. It could well be a decade before we have a reasonable broadband service, but even a reasonable dial up level would be helpful.

A second issue is denial of service. I have been a regular contributor to ragebot.com for some time, no longer. My ISP has ragebot’s host server on a blocked list. These heavy handed attempts at internet censorship are bound to become increasingly annoying, and arbitrary.

It could be that the particular server hosts some objectionable material, but the approach seems to be, ‘block the lot!’ It is a blunt instrument approach limiting the usefulness if the internet while probably missing the real target. Frustratingly service providers really don’t care all that much about the needs of end users.

I expect to continue my personal campaign to address some of the issues plaguing me, but would much rather engage in discussion on the net rather than about the net.


abi said...

Sorry to hear about all your connection problems. I'm not savvy about network transmission details, but I would think that in this age of wireless, we could find a way to avoid using cables of any kind. But it may be that the transmissions would be so powerful that people near the broadcast points would fry. Small price to pay for fast internet service for the rest of us, tho. ;-)

Can't believe ragebot is blocked. Did you ask your ISP about it? It may not be the direct target, as you say, and maybe they could unblock that particular IP address.

Cart said...

I will probably keep pestering the ISP over Ragebot, but not with any great expectation.

Wireless still has unresolved issues, but could potentially replace copper for the final leg of connectivity. If fibre is properly planned then wireless units could easily be installed on existing utility poles.
I still expect the final result to be a fibre/copper hybrid. Like grafting a prize rose to a potato stock.