Home Telecoms & NBN 'NBN Co's proxy PR' slammed for pushing Libs' NBN

'NBN Co's proxy PR' slammed for pushing Libs' NBN

Kenya stands 21st in the world in Internet broadband speeds — 30 ranks above Australia in the latest Akamai quarterly report. And this is being pointed to by advocates of a largely fibre set-up at home as one more indicator that something needs to be done urgently to fix the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

Laurie Patton, former chief executive of Internet Australia and a current board member, pointed this out to iTWire as one more fact to back up his push for the NBN Co to use fibre to the distribution point as far as possible.

Patton (right, below) has been a tireless advocate of fibre, and earned plenty of criticism for his stance.

His latest critic has been Robin Eckermann, adjunct professor at the University of Canberra, who, in a letter to CommsDay, a publication that has been a supporter of the Coalition's NBN policy, described both the utterances of Patton and this writer "as frustrating in the extreme... decrying the use of existing infrastructure to get the NBN rolled out faster and at less cost".

Eckermann hailed CommsDay editor Grahame Lynch for writing what he (Eckermann) described as "injecting some sanity into the whole NBN debate".

patton big"Personally, I would like to see NBN deploy FttDP (and FttP) as widely as practical - but the arguments that the sky will fall in unless the government spends a mozza to equip every home with 100 Mbps+ speeds immediately are technically naive (when so many factors outside the last mile affect end-user experiences) and economically irresponsible (when the cost *will* be borne by Australians one way or another)," Eckermann wrote.

What arguments Lynch made are unknown because his newsletter is behind a paywall. But Lynch, who also owns CommsDay, has been a supporter of the Coalition's multi technology mix NBN from day one.

Patton, as usual, did not mince his words when reacting to this criticism.

"I find it frustrating that a small group of neo-Luddites can't see that the future is a digitally enabled world and that Australia is being left behind," he told iTWire.

"New Zealand, not to mention most of APAC, is already ahead of us in terms of broadband speeds."

Anne Hurley, the chairman of Internet Australia, was not far behind. "Internet Australia believes we cannot afford to continue rolling out a demonstrably inferior NBN when more modern technology is now available," she said.

"Our world-class engineers have been making the case for abandoning FttN for more than a year now. Persisting with FttN is creating three classes of fixed broadband consumers: those with FttP, those with FttDP. And those with FttN who can only catch up with their neighbours if they pay for it themselves."

Hurley was also critical of CommsDay. "It seems that CommsDay has recently been enlisted as a branch of NBN Co's PR department," she said.

"When we polled our members, 80% told us they don't believe FttN will meet our future needs."

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.