The 10 years of the row with Australia over the internet

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In 1872, hardy, of the border of Australia was praised for overcoming the tyranny of distance to connect with the world through the “bush telegraph”, a project of two years of stringing 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) of wire through the outback that became part of the nation’s folklore.

By contrast today, as it strives to be seen as an “innovation nation”, Australia is doomed, even ridiculed, for his most recent album of connectivity: a modern and fast internet network.

Three letters – NBN – have come to strike terror in the minds of consumers, with the National broadband Network that symbolizes for many people a template of how not to do things.

Given Australia’s large size and low population density of three people per square kilometer, the NBN is the largest country in the history of the project infrastructure.

The total budget sits in A$49bn (£29bn; $38bn). Of that budget, around 35% must be spent on connecting the final 10% of the users, including wiring in remote areas, raising many of the 2,600 cell towers, and more expensive, to place two satellites in the sky.

This week, the Prime Minister-Malcolm Turnbull called the NBN an error and a “calamity” train crash” by the previous labour government. The former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hit back by saying that the project “topics lie all in your head” – that is to say, the current conservative government.

The escalation in the blame game, the NBN’s slow roll-out), and a switch to the bottom of the technology of the midstream have been combined with other factors to leave the Australians with often the question: Why is our internet so slow?

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In 2013, Australia ranked 30th of the average of the speeds of the internet. The NBN was meant to improve that, but the most recent classification classified Australia 50.

The State of the Internet survey by US internet company Akamai to put Australia, with an average of 11.1 Mbps (megabits per second) – behind countries such as Kenya, Hungary and Russia. And while it promotes itself as part of go ahead of Asia, Australia lies only in eighth place in the region, behind neighbouring countries such as Thailand (21 in total) and New Zealand (27).

Some comparisons are misleading. Only 1.75% of the Kenyan homes have fixed-line internet, compared with 90% in Australia. For many, particularly in the neighborhoods of the city of the Australians in the best of NBN technology, fixed-line speed is adequate, especially if you pay more.
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But there is no way to escape from Australia has been overtaken by many countries in the internet of the table.

Worst of all is that many of those who are connected to the NBN reporting no improvement over old ADSL connections, houses equipped to take advantage of the new service, only 40% have chosen not to do so. In the business, and of international competitiveness, the fears are perhaps more serious.

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2007, The year in which the project was announced

2020 When the release is expected to be completed

$91,196 The cost of the connection of a remote control of the property

159% The increase in complaints from last year

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“It’s going to go down in ranking is alarming, and it is not acceptable,” says University of Sydney academic Dr Tooran Alizadeh, who has researched the NBN widely and, like others, the concerns of Australia’s best minds are lost in the countries with the best technology.

“Australia wants to be in the first 10 or so economies in the world. Obviously, if you want to make your access to the internet can be classified as 50.”The story

In 2007, Mr. Rudd announced that 98 per cent of households in Australia would be on the NBN by the year 2020. It was an incredibly ambitious idea. It was also, according to critics, supported by the lack of research in logistics and costs, initially at$15bn.

The natural starting point was Australia’s oldest telecommunications company, Telstra. In other places, countries such as New Zealand, simply use the infrastructure already established by their large telecommunications company to install fast internet wiring. But Telstra, half way privatized at the time, clashed with regulators over how it could onsell broadband access to its competitors, and so withdrew from the race to build the network.

Finally, the government announced that it would simply start a new semi-autonomous company from scratch. Called the NBN, which was going to establish the infrastructure necessary to connect the Australians with the state-of-the-art fiber optic cables to their houses, selling the bandwidth wholesale to retailers.

The progress was slow and sporadic, and expensive.

With Australia, the preference for underground cabling, often roads of concrete would have to be dug up and relaid. The costs therefore are turned off for the connection of the houses to establish an average of$4,400 to, in some cases, more than$20,000, ASSOCIATED with a spokeswoman says.

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Complaints soon arose about why some regions were connected before the others, with schools and hospitals, for example, get very uneven standards of quality in the internet. The accusations of the government of pork-barrelling, however, is wide of the mark.

“The government only wanted to progress, so that it became a matter of which places were easiest and fastest to connect,” a source with intimate knowledge of the matter told the BBC. “Often, this came to basic issues such as the geology – where was the rock easier to drill through?”

After the conservative government came to power in 2013, the NBN beaten more seizures, with copper wire ordered for the end sections of connection to the surrounding area of broadband nodes.

This presents a slower connection to the twice-as-face of the optical fiber. It also means that residents of, say, 400 metres from the node, you will have slower internet than that of a neighbor a couple of doors away. Critics also charge is a false saving, since a copper cable needs replacement of the previous measurement to that of the optical fiber.Complaints and competitor

Then came the NBN’s high prices to retailers who buy limited supply to pass on to consumers, which leaves so many Australians looking on in frustration, while buffering or, worse yet, service drop-outs that occur each peak hour.

“NBN has worked hard to bring the cost of bandwidth down, but we can not fill the tubes of ourselves – it is the retailers to make sure that you are buying sufficient capacity to offer a good quality of service, ASSOCIATED” a spokesman told the BBC.

Another complication is the number of retailers – 180 – which is difficult for the NBN to the police control of quality for the end users.

“We have had big problems to get our house connected to the path node,” says Matt Grant, director of a factory in the suburbs of St Clair, just 39 km from the centre of Sydney. “But when I complained to the store, they told me to talk with the NBN. When I spoke with the NBN, I was sent back to the shop.”

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Finally, it was connected, but said that “it is better than the one we had with ADSL, especially in the peak hours”.

Last week, Australia’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman revealed that there had been a 159% increase in NBN-related complaints in the last financial year.

NBN chief executive Bill Morrow told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. this week that “turns [his] stomach” that some customers were being left behind, but he blamed the retailers, and said that the government was going to ultimately decide when to replace copper connections. He also noted the growing competition from mobile broadband technology.

“Look, it’s a competitive environment, but I want to repeat that we are doing everything possible to ensure the NBN offers a great service,” he said.

The network says that it is still in the goal of having 98% of the households connected by 2020, but Australia’s internet malaise will still take some problems.

There is hope of improvement, but not until the basis of the prices can come down as the NBN gradually recoups its huge expenses. And despite the political finger-pointing, Mr. Turnbull’s government insists that the network will be “fit for purpose”.

“Australia needs a 21st Century broadband network, and this is not being delivered,” said Laurie Patton, executive director of consumer advocacy group Internet of Australia.

“The way we’re heading now, who is in the office, in the year 2020 will have to deal with our greatest national infrastructure for the debacle.”