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Saturday, 02 September 2017 10:18

FttK the NBN: Fibre-to-the-Curb Your Enthusiasm Featured

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Fibre Connection, United Kerbs to one million Australians lucky enough to avoid FttN or Fibre to the Node, in the latest adjustment to the Multi-Turnbull Mix.

Larry David’s comedy is described across the Internet like this:

“‘Seinfeld’ co-creator Larry David plays a version of himself on the improvised series. He faces a constant barrage of life's little annoyances, which in David's sometimes well-meaning but terminally fumbling hands don't tend to stay small for very long.”

In Australia, our Larry David goes by the name of Bill Morrow, whose latest corporate plan puts the NBN bill, or rather, the “peak funding range” in the $47 to $51 billion range.

Oh how we used to laugh at the notion of Electricity Bill Shorten, a notion that has come true given Shorten’s sheer madness at a 50% renewable energy rate.

Perhaps Shorten hopes to turn Australians into the Duracell batteries of the fictional movie The Matrix, tapping into Australians so irate at overpaid politicians, electricity company CEOs and executives, bumblingly corrupt bankers on massive pay-packets and NBN executives on pay packages so large, that high prices for decent service are irrelevant as all of these people can afford it – and we Aussies ourselves directly become the renewable energy sources Shorten so hopes for, thus solving his problem.

Now we are saddled with an expensive NBN Bill – that is, of course, NBN Bill Morrow.  

As noted in a previous article, the rest of us are too tapped out paying growing electricity costs, higher food prices, and now higher NBN prices to get decent speeds – and even then, Telstra and Optus have had to refund users on higher tiers because they simply couldn’t deliver the speeds being paid for.

Now comes news of more Larry David fumbling – oops, I mean Bill Morrow’s terminally fumbling hands turning molehills into massive mountains, whereby the good news that 1 million homes would now be connected to an FttC or fibre-to-the-curb service was cut down by News.com.au reporting that 200,000 of those users would now have to wait an interminably long extra year to get it.

This in an age when I can get a 70Mbps down and 30Mbps up connection in Canberra on the iiNet Transact network, built a couple of decades ago and not connected to the NBN network, and a suburb in which NBN Co still hasn’t started offering installations yet.

Indeed, iiNet has put flyers into the letterboxes of its customers stating there’s no need to switch to the NBN if you’re already on iiNet’s VDSL2+ service, its own version of FttN, despite the NBN telling all and sundry they’ll need to switch over to the NBN or be disconnected.

The NBN’s biggest failing is that it was constructed at all when a truly free market should have been left and encouraged to do the job.

Then, when the NBN came to life, its original owners and managers fumbled it so badly that construction was at a snail’s pace.

Then when its original owners and backers were voted out of office due to their own galling ineptitude, which was so bad that it allowed the seemingly despised Tony Abbott to be voted in with a 20-seat majority, the next mistake was to stop the FttP rollout and instead move to the disastrous Multi-Turnbull Mix, where all of Turnbull’s horses and all of his men couldn’t put FttP back together again.

The NBN has been a political hotcake, football, potato and even musical chair all-in-one, a disaster of Titanic-like proportions that will leave Australians with a network that, in 2020, will need a new NBN 2.0 to immediately start upgrading the network, presumably at the cost of another $50 billion.

This too, no doubt, will also be fumbled, because that is what politicians and monopolies do, leading to an NBN 3.0 in 2030 to finally rip everything up and put FttP back in the mix, even though there’s the potential that 6G will deliver the fibre-in-the-sky that 5G is promising for 2020 through 2025.

Naturally, enterprising Scotty-like figures will tell us that 6G cannot do it, Captain, because the dilithium crystals are-a-gonna-blow us all into a black hole of disconnectivity, before Captain Morrow orders Scotty to figure out a way to solve the problem and warp us into Warp Factor 1000Gbps to eliminate the problem once and for all.

Ultimately, the next couple of years actually does promise to see millions more homes connected to one form of the NBN network or another, and the likelihood that 8+ million homes will have an NBN connection at long last in 2020 does seem like it will definitely come true.

Sadly, according to the NBN’s own predicted figures for 2021, just under 20% of Australians will still be suffering badly on a 12/1 connection, while around 50% will be on a 25/5 connection. It seems less than 1% will be on a 25/10 connection.

About 15% will be on a 50/20 connection and about 14% will be on a 100/40 connection.

Here's the chart: 

This majestic chart makes zero mention of 1Gbps plans or better, in an age where South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan have offered 1Gbps plans for years, and Japan even offered 2Gbps plans a couple of years ago, at least from memory.

Australia’s Multi-Turnbull Mix doesn’t have Gigabit plans on its Wholesale Speed Tier Mix, which seems like a gigantic mix-up to me.

So too does almost 20% of the population still stuck on 12Mbps of fraudband in 2021.

Oh well. You’d think that when you pay a CEO millions of dollars, you are actually going to get value for money.

Sadly, we are getting what we are paying for – a guy on millions of dollars administering a network rather than innovating it, taking chances to build it stronger, better, faster.

It is a shame we have the NBN run by Bill Morrow, government employee, rather than someone like Elon Musk, enterprising entrepreneur literally aiming for the stars.

As former legendary US President and fellow Morrow countryman Ronald Reagan once said, seemingly speaking of Morrow with great foresight: “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away."

Morrow actually came from the world of business to go to a government job, which tells you a lot.

Indeed, it exemplifies another famous Reagan quote, again seeming to foretell Morrow’s role in the NBN: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

More of Reagan’s wisdom here

You can find an excellent example of Bill Morrow’s wisdom here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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