Tuesday, 24 October 2017 11:49

ISP chief offers tips to cope with NBN in current state

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The head of ISP Aussie Broadband says the only thing that's missing from the current discussion around the national broadband network is common sense talk about how to cope with the existing situation.

Phillip Britt, managing director of the company, said that the Four Corners programme on the NBN was "disappointingly light on detail and disappointingly heavy on politics".

The Four Corners programme gave a rundown of the NBN from the time it was announced and thus was unable to go into detail, touching fleetingly on every aspect.

While Britt (right, below) admitted that the NBN has always been a political football, "last (Monday) night, it took a step into a new outrage stratosphere to become something more like political cannonball".

He said that outrage made for great headlines. "It builds audiences. It may, eventually, lead to new policy. What it doesn’t do, is provide any sort of practical help right now for the average person on the (fibre to the node/curb/basement/whatever) street."

Instead, Britt offered the following list of tips to "just get on with it".

  • aussie broadband chief2"Don’t go near any company that offers unlimited plans. Yep, they’re great in New Zealand and one day, we hope they will be great in Australia. But right now, while companies are grabbing for as many customers as they can without putting in enough resources, unlimited equals a high risk of evening congestion.
  • "Find a company that manages its back-end network well. Product Review or Whirlpool will give you a good idea of who these are. So will the new ACCC speed monitoring program when it’s released.
  • "Don’t’ believe any ISP that implies you have no choice about rolling over with them when the NBN comes around.
  • "Go for a no-contract plan – yes, there are plenty out there - and start at a lower speed. When your NBN is connected, your internet service provider can test and tell you how much speed your line is physically capable of. Then you can make an informed decision about how high you want to go.
  • "Home Wi-Fi interference is a thing. Dodgy internal cabling is a thing. Water in pits is a thing. All these things – and a fair few more – can make a difference between the speed your line is capable of, and the speed you’re getting. Be prepared to do some work with your ISP’s technical support people to resolve some of these. Be prepared for a lengthy wait if the problem lies on the NBN Co side of the network, and your ISP has to battle it out with them for a resolution.
  • "You get what you pay for. Cheap plans are cheap for a reason."

He reverted back to his original question, asking, "So what’s missing from the NBN discussion? We accept that political angles are always going to be a part. Politics happens. But perhaps, whilst the political melee continues, there’s room for another kind of NBN discussion – and that’s the one about how to help people right now."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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