Thursday, 17 August 2017 01:14

NBN: Bill Morrow should hang head in 12Mbps of shame Featured

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COMMENT Former prime minister Kevin Rudd first spoke of a 12Mbps NBN back in 2007, which even then wasn’t that fast, so to still have 29% of Australians stuck on 12Mbps in 2017 is shameful.

Remember when Rudd was banging on, back in 2007, about a 12Mbps network?

ADSL2+ was available back then, and promised speeds of “up to” 20Mbps depending on how close you were to the exchange, so it was no surprise to see Rudd’s 12Mbps plan quickly extended to 100Mbps and even gigabit plans later on.

With NBN Co stating that 12Mbps is the slowest speed that 29% of NBN users are connected to, as opposed to 54% on 25Mbps plans, it’s clear that many are doing so because this is the cheapest plan on offer, offering similar speeds to what users theoretically already have with ADSL2+.

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow spoke on Radio 2GB yesterday to presenter Ben Fordham, noting that this low price was being used as part of a “land grab” by ISPs (or RSPs – retail service provider in corporate end-user hostile speak) offering cheap plans.

When a caller rang to complain that this “cheap” NBN service was more than double the price he paid for a similar speed ADSL 2+ plan, all Morrow could do was commiserate and agree that plans with faster speeds were more expensive.

The inference was that you need to pay up, buddy, or no Internet soup for you. Or at least, no Internet soup of any speedy flavour, just the 12Mbps sludgy stew for you.

The fact is that Morrow and NBN Co could and should be advocating on behalf of Australians to the federal government to ditch the nasty, slow, un-Australian, stupid, Kevin-Ruddy 12Mbps nonsense that is the 2017 version of the 256kbps fraudband of the early 2000s.

Instead we have Morrow on a salary of millions of dollars, like vastly overpaid bankers and energy company executives, living it up while the rest of us schlubs struggle with rising electricity costs, higher Internet costs and slowly declining standards of living.

We also have to endure endless nonsense about CVC pricing, which is the most consumer-hostile BS that the average consumer has absolutely no clue about, except for the fact it means no fast Internet and certainly not at peak times when you most need it.

It’s like we were promised an eight-lane Harbour Bridge but instead we get the two-lane M5 and wonder why, at peak times when it is needed most, traffic crawls along at 5km/h rather than the 80 to 100km/h its useless speed limit signs indicate you could otherwise be travelling at.

Unfortunately for Australians, and Australia, this rant of mine will have zero effect on anything except to perhaps enrage you in despair at our inability to get Morrow or Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to do anything actually useful, like dramatically lowering NBN prices, and dramatically increasing NBN speeds.

You’ll have simply given your eyes some exercise as they scanned these words formed by pixels in the hope that maybe, this time, with this complaint, it really will be different.

The sad reality is that, at this rate, NBN 3.0 still won’t be complete by 2027, and we’ll be at 100Mbps speeds while the rest of the world finally enjoys 100Gbps or 1000Gbps speeds, yet again leaving Australia at the bottom of the pile and laughed at by Eastern European countries.

Probably even North Korea, if not a nuclear scarred wasteland by then, will have re-unified with South Korea and will be enjoying 1000Gbps speeds as the NBN Co of 2027 finally celebrates the installation of the future DOCSIS 3.2 standard taking speeds to 101Mbps in a glorious Kim Jong-Morrow campaign of true achievement.

So, fellow Australians, shed not your tears for fears that NBN Co will achieve its mission one day of skating to where the puck was, rather than where it is going.

Instead, shed your tears for the fact that what was once the best speed that 2007 could muster, 12Mbps, lives on in infamy today as the speed nearly one third of Australians able to connect to an NBN service are choosing, and shed your tears for the fact that Morrow is happy with this fraudband and has no intention of eliminating it completely as a purchasable plan, nor apparently seeking any government mandate to do so.

Until then, we may as well all do a Barnaby Joyce and become New Zealanders, where their NBN has none of the problems our has, and where no-one ever has to experience the feeling of Bill Morrow sorrow.


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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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