High speed broadband in Australia – what do you think?

I decided that every time I’m doing something in my work for Senator Kate Lundy that I think is of interest to the FOSS community, my family, and many other readers of this blog, I’ll repost it here :) I’ll tag any such posts with “katelundy” to make it easier to pick them.

So the most recent project (which I’m really excited about!) is the launch of a new initiative called “Public Spheres”. The idea is based on the definition of a Public Sphere as a space that:

“…through the vehicle of public opinion it puts the state in touch with the needs of society” [1]

Our goal is to effectively create an accessible and effective way to collate perspectives, opportunities, concerns and other feedback on topical issues of the day, and we are copying the process that was used at the recent AdTech conference. Basically you stream talks and have all feedback, questions and such happening online. This way both local and remote participants in the event can engage fully in the process.

Anyway, our first topic is around the opportunities and impact of high speed bandwidth in Australia, and already we’ve had proposed talks around Green ICT, media, delivery of government services, telecommuting, agricultural and environmental information, emergency services and more! So if you have something you’d like to talk about, check out on the website whether someone else is already covering your topic, and volunteer yourself for a 10 minute speech for the day. You can either present it in person, or pre-record it for the event.

Full details are at http://www.katelundy.com.au/category/publicsphere/

[1] Habermas, Jürgen (German(1962 – English Translation 1989), p 31. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Categoryof Bourgeois Society. Cambridge Massachusetts: The MIT Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-262-58108-6.
UPDATE: The conference that used Twitter that was mentioned to me was AdTech, not ATUG as originally posted, apologies for the confusion!
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9 Responses to High speed broadband in Australia – what do you think?

  1. Michael Carden says:

    The faster and more ubiquitous our data communications are, the more likely it is that novel uses will arise and the more we will attach importance to them.

    With my Cultural Institutions hat on, I wonder what role our Museums, Libraries, Galleries and Archives will need to play in the massively connected space to continue to underpin our civil society by preserving the record of our culture.

    What do we need to capture from this Firehose, and how do we preserve the critical elements and make them available down the generational cascade?

  2. AlphaG says:

    Did your boss say you can repost :-)

    I actually find it very funny and sad we are rebuilding the Telecom we used to have that could have provided this to the Australian population years ago before it was sold off for 30cents. If we had been smarter we would have had a wholesale provider owned by the Govt or private inductry (regulated of course) and multiple retail providers ie Telstra, Optus etc etc who could then onsell and extend the network in many ways that suited their own business needs. In fact they would be within their rights to build their own.

    anyhow that doesn’t solve where we are today but we had an interesting path getting here.

  3. greebo says:

    @AlphaG, I totally agree. It looks like that is what they are trying to do now, and given the current context it makes a lot of sense, but I agree that we should have had it in the first place. I guess the only way is up.

  4. @jhawtin says:

    #publicsphere revisit copyright as a problem issue. DRM and DMCA overlay obfuscation for Australian innovators and for accessibility.

  5. @jhawtin says:

    #publicsphere Australia is on the backfoot with IPV6 address space. Also need access/manufacture of IPV6 routing gear at a national level.

  6. @jhawtin says:

    @purserj @alexanderhayes is working with a team doing POV(point of view) video for VET assessment. eg auto mechanic.

  7. @jhawtin says:

    Need for capacity building at university level in open technologies, network technologies.

  8. @jhawtin says:

    telephony using broadband useful for remote communities with children boarding in urban areas re always ok to phone home. #publicsphere

  9. Tel says:

    Is there really such a big problem with communications in Australia? It seems a bit of a political beat-up to me. Telstra delivers a decent service (if you don’t mind paying for it) and in the broadband Internet market and the mobile phone market there are plenty of options (for 90% of Australians). Yes, there is somewhat of a blockade with Telstra owning all the copper pairs but we have a plausible workaround for that with access to opened up to competitors… the cost of a fiber optic rollout is vastly higher than the cost of putting up with a bit of Telstra standover.

    What’s so bad about copper anyhow? Home users typically get 10M bit download rate over a twisted pair, do they really need more? That’s enough to stream a movie in realtime or watch TV, and we already have ISPs rolling out TV over Internet (all they need now is some content worth watching, but that’s another story). For a business, copper can very easily provide 4Mbit full duplex SHDSL which is just the same technology as ADSL but organised for symmetric transfer. Sadly, business grade SHDSL costs approx 10x the price of consumer ADSL but please don’t blame the poor old copper pairs for that one.

    The first generation government fiber optic plan is going to share 100Mbit bandwidth between something like 30 households, which is worse, all told, than copper pairs. Contended services are harder to manage because one heavy user clobbers all the others. People will find their trusty copper more reliable and uptake on fiber will be poor.

    Get out into the bush and the options are fewer — NextG, and various satellite providers. Then again, no government (least of all a Labor government) is going to seriously look after the bush, because there just isn’t enough votes in it. Business is happy to support the regional areas — if they can make a profit doing so. They will expect to be able to charge prices that reflect their costs and the costs of delivering just about anything to remote areas are higher than the city. Rolling out fiber won’t help the bush much either. Opening up more microwave bandwidth would be far more useful.

    Then we could get onto the price of server hosting in Australia. It’s all very well to have massive bandwidth going to consumers (so they can consume even faster) but how about the producers? Google doesn’t host in Australia (follow the traceroute) they host in Japan, presumably for price reasons. Many Australians host in the USA, because they get better service for less money. There’s a kind of critical mass with hosting that prices fall as connectivity gets higher, so that’s one place government could foster and get a return.

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