What’s happened to the internet on the South Coast?

What’s happened to our internet on the South Coast?

Many up and down the South Coast are reporting that their internet speeds are well below satisfactory and it appears to be getting worse. The fact is that we have an ailing and ancient copper line system that just isn’t coping with the huge increases in demand, the warmer weather and the uptake of video streaming. The tourist season is steadily building and with it come visitors who need access to the net. Add to that mix long weekends and school holidays to suck every byte and bit from the already poor capacity and the result is that we all slow down and then come to a complete halt. If you look at your internet speeds of an afternoon you can see the moment the children come home from school and begin their afternoon streaming of movies. Things speed up around dinner time to then grind down once again after dinner as families gather around streaming movie feeds. Our expensive (we are in the top eight in the OECD) internet plans now come bundled with unlimited downloads resulting in more and more home devices are added to an already burdened system. At some point the system must break – and it does. Some say “The NBN is coming and will save us all!! “ . Unfortunately for the South Coast we will have Fibre to the Node or Fixed Wireless. Once again we will be the poor cousins of our city counterparts with their Fibre to the Premises. If your NBN connection isn’t “Fibre to your Premises” and is instead “Fibre to the Node” in a switch box in your street then you will still have to deal with a sluggish speed via the last copper section coming into your home from the street. That is like having a huge water pipe with unlimited pressure in the street but you can only attach a garden hose that gives you a dribble. Another point of interest for those in the Shire on internet plans provided by companies other than Telstra is that every day, during prime-time period, which is normally between 4pm and midnight- Telstra prioritises the speeds of their own customers, which shapes your Non-Telstra speed downwards. You get pretty slow speeds when that happens to something comparable to regular ADSL or in some cases dial-up. The Federal Government has now promised to deliver the NBN to 9.5 million homes saying it would be able to achieve the objective by using a mix of technologies, including Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and existing hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) networks. The former Rudd government proposed an all-fibre network, which was dumped by the Coalition when it won office in 2013. Recently Mike Kelly, member for Eden Monaro, attended the Bega Valley Economic Summit along with a number of local and regional businesses, business groups, government departments and community organisations. Everyone came away with an increased understanding of the economic potential of our region and a commitment to work together and make it happen. During the summit attendees talked about the action they were going to take to grow a diverse and resilient local economy that will provide jobs and create sustainable economic success into the future. Mike Kelly was clear about one of the key hurdles being faced “There are a number of infrastructure constraints still holding us back in our region. We deserve a proper fibre to the premises roll out of the National Broadband Network, not the second rate fibre to the node being rolled out by the Liberal/Nationals”. “The NBN, as inferior as the current rollout may be, still offers our region so much potential to overcome issues associated with our regional location. It means our local entrepreneurs and people with ideas can really dream big and they will not be held back by technology constraints.” The internet plays a vital role in local business. A study out of the United States regarding Australia’s National Broadband Network has been less than complimentary of the NBN. Per the 2016 Technology Policy Institute report the NBN implementation coverage and adoption rates have slowed for fixed broadband. The report also advises that what infrastructure we do have in place in this country lags behind much the world – and is expensive. “Australians continue to experience low quality services due to low speeds, higher prices relative to other countries and a slowing rate of price decrease for internet services in the past eight years,” state the authors. Read the full report "The End of Australia’s National Broadband Network?" June 2016 by Lucia Gamboa Sorensen and Andrew Medina

So what is planned for the Eurobodalla? According to the NBN website we can expect: 2017: FTTN (Fibre to the Node) Batehaven Batemans Bay Catalina Denhams Beach Long Beach Maloneys Beach North Batemans Bay Sunshine Bay Surf Beach Surfside 2017: FTTN (Fibre to the Node) Moruya, Moruya Heads 2017: FTTN (Fibre to the Node) Dalmeny Kianga Narooma North Narooma

2017: (Fibre to the Node) FTTN Tuross Head At a Federal level it was made very clear during the last election that there was an urgent economic and social need for better broadband in the southern end of the Gilmore electorate that now goes as far south as Tuross Lake.

2017 isn’t too far away so hopefully the NBN rollout will be delivered to all of the towns listed above as planned as the promises of the NBN to this area remembering that Peter Hendy advised the Queanbeyan Age in November 2013 "The NBN is a vital infrastructure project for the new government ... it is going to happen, and it will happen in Eden-Monaro within the next two to three years," Mr. Hendy said. In an article by By Tony Yoo of Business Insider notes Australia is busy rolling fibre out to the streets to build its national broadband network. But the tech company that was shut out of that process reckons that's a waste of money. Huawei chief executive Ken Hu, at his company's Mobile Broadband Forum in Tokyo, said that wireless broadband could meet the needs of people that are underserved at a much lower price. He includes in that group more than 1.3 billion households in the world that do not have broadband access, as well as more than 300 million that need more speed -- defined as those that have connections slower than 10Mbps, which applies to the majority of Australians that aren't on the NBN yet. The Chinese tech giant calls wireless broadband to the home WTTx -- "wireless-to-the-x", comparable to FTTx, "fibre-to-the-x" -- and Hu said the time to pay off the infrastructure cost is so much shorter than laying down cables. "The payback period for WTTx is really satisfying. It's just around two years, which is much shorter than the eight years for a fixed-line broadband investment." In Australia, both Labor and coalition federal governments prohibited Huawei from supplying the NBN, citing espionage concerns. Meanwhile, the NBN was due to run out of funds this year to finish the massive project, with the government only coming to the rescue last week with a $19.5 billion loan.

Consumers are now increasingly viewing mobile broadband as a substitute for fixed broadband due to faster mobile connection speeds. Recent Telstra upgrades in Moruya are offering mobile download speeds of 135Mb which is faster than anything the NBN will ever be able to deliver however under mobile plans this is an expensive internet access option beyond most households and businesses.

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