I came across a picture on Twitter that I think shows one of the biggest problems with how the NBN is being promoted:
In my opinion, this is a terrible slogan. For the most part, average people don’t actually care about broadband speed. Anyone interested in technology wants faster than 100Mb/s internet at home today (I know I do), but the average person can’t see past the needs of today and doesn’t understand that these speeds will be required in the next ten years. So advertising faster internet isn’t enough.
But I think it’s worse than this – people know that the NBN is quite expensive, and if they think it’s only about faster internet, then they will think that they might as well vote for Malcolm Turnbull’s ridiculous, backwards thinking, cheaper (in the short term but more expensive in the long run and a complete waste of money) NBN. If the NBN is just about speed, then it appears to be indulgent (I know it’s not, but that’s how it seems).
We need to be telling these people why they need the NBN. And I think the biggest reason is that Telstra’s copper needs complete replacement by 2018. There is simply no way that Malcolm Turnbull’s fraudband, or the option of doing nothing will work. We need to replace the copper network, and we need to do it correctly with optical fibre, since keeping the copper limping on with FTTN will cost billions of dollars a year to maintain. Your grandmother probably doesn’t care about gigabit internet, but she does care that her phone line will not work in a few years unless it’s replaced (and it only makes sense to replace it with fibre).
We need to be focusing on the fact that optical fibre is the most reliable communications medium. There are simply no dropouts like ADSL, there are no blackspots like wireless. It doesn’t slow to a crawl in peak times like HFC. Fibre to the node can’t fix that – only fibre to the premises can. We need people to know that the NBN (unlike Fraudband) isn’t just the internet – but it will replace over the air TV with quality many times what we have now (Ultra High Definition TVs cost $1300 in the US now – we’ll have it soon in Australia. FTTN can’t support that!), it will carry your phone line, it will allow video conferencing and point-to-point links for business, and applications that don’t exist yet.
There is so much that is better about the real, optical fibre NBN, but if we only talk about speed, many people will just think that Malcolm’s plan can do it almost as good and cheaper. That’s a problem.