NBN: The Real Value

There has been a lot said in recent weeks in regards to the forthcoming National Broadband Network (NBN), and what it will mean for Australia’s future. While it is still very difficult to say exactly what form the network will take, we do know that 90% of all Australian’s will be able to get a 100Mbps connection via a fibre network connection, directly into their premises, with the remaining 10% to get 12Mbps via either a fibre-to-the-node/DSL-based connection, or a satellite dish.

The “typical” Australian broadband user currently has a 1.5Mbps/256kbps ADSL connection, with most paying around $50.00 for the privilege.

Some projections have the new 100Mbps connections typically costing around $100.00 per month – and for some reason, many people are up-in-arms about it.

Sure – that might be double what most people are currently paying, but lets look a little deeper. Aside from people with Naked ADSL2/2+ connections – (which are about 50% higher in cost than “non-naked” services) – people currently paying $50.00 a month for ADSL1 at 1.5Mbps/256kbps, also pay for a local fixed line to carry that service.

Add the costs together. I currently pay $49.90 per month for ADSL1, plus (depending on what calls I make) around $65.00 a month for the fixed line to put that ADSL1 service onto.

That’s $115.00. The NBN fibre network will completely remove any real need I will ever have for a fixed line. I save $15.00 a month, and get 100 times faster internet.

Not so bad. If I really want a fixed-phone, I’ll get a VoIP service – but most of my personal voice communications are currently done via mobile phone – so I might not even bother.

The really smart ISPs will be gearing up with VoIP offerings in preparation for the new network – many already have. VoIP accounts are trivial to set up on something like an Asterisk server, so if you got your VoIP from the same provider who brings you your fibre (which is the logical choice), they’d likely not charge you to have the service – there would be a small fee to have your phone number pointing to their service, and then call carriage costs. That’s it.

So – in summary – faster internet, lower costs, cheaper phone calls. Where’s the problem? Oh yes – Telstra have realised that in 10 years nobody will need their monopolistic copper line system anymore.

For the home user – the cost advantage, combined with the speed increase will be valuable. For business, particularly small business, the ability to compete with the big boys with speeds they previously could only dream of, and with access to advanced telephony they could never contemplate before now, it will drive the entire economy to new scales of efficiency.

Big business will need to sharpen their pencils and provide REAL service – because the little guys who already focus on good old fashioned service, will suddenly become more accessible to everyone. Globally.

That’s got to be a good thing.