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  • Featured, News - Written by on Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:35 - 19 Comments

    Conroy promises 1Gbps NBN speeds

    Communications Minister Stephen Conroy confirmed today that the National Broadband Network NBN would reach speeds of up 1Gbps, ten times faster than the originally announced speeds of up to 100Mbps.

    Conroy said he had only found out about the 1GB speeds yesterday when NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley called him last night. Quigley will make further announcements regarding the faster speeds at a lunch time conference in Sydney today.

    The announcement was made at the official NBN launch this morning at Midway Point in Hobart, Tasmania, one of the first townships to receive the NBN, as part of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s campaign trail. The official launch was a chance to differentiate Labor from the Coalition — which has vowed to bin the NBN if elected.

    Conroy stated that when a consumer purchases speeds of 50Mbps or 100Mbps that is what they will get consistently — that those speeds represent a consistent rate and not peak speeds. The fast speeds quoted are what the consumer will get and not just “standing under the tower and you are in a lab — it’s what you get”.

    When was asked how many were using the NBN right now, Conroy responded with “the NBN guy said” that there were 70 NBN customers with hundreds more waiting to come online.

    He couldn’t put an exact figure on how much had been spent on the NBN so far. However, he did say the first stage was under budget.

    Conroy made light of his dishwasher comment where he said that a smart dishwasher can turn itself on at 3AM and bid for lower power costs to operate — although he did repeat the idea and stated that such a smart dishwasher could not do that on wireless technology. He also stated that HD video conferencing, that was demoed at the launch, was not possible via the wireless technology being promoted by the Coalition.

    Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that Australia cannot sit back and let countries like build similar infrastructure and get the advantage — “Singapore, Korea and Japan have the benefits of this technology,” she said.

    Gillard said that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott “wants to shun the technology” and that he did not understand the NBN and that his thinking limited to only that of downloading music and movies. Gillard- said it showed how “it showed how little he understands modern health care and education”.

    Gillard said, “The NBN is infinitely superior to anything the coalition has to offer”.

    The Prime Minister was asked if she was not a tech head either, a reference made about when Abbott said he was not a tech head. Gillard sharply said that”‘that”s not the point” and the debate with Mr Abbott is with his design to scrap the NBN is he was elected.

    Gillard reminisced about how her mum told her when she was 15 or 16 that a girl needs to learn to type to get a job, so her Mum taught her how to type on a typewriter. She also pointed out that back in those day they had a fixed line telephone that went “ring ring”.

    The Prime Minister said how foolish it would be to say the old typewriter and fixed line phone is good enough and imagine secretaries were still stuck in the days of typewriters. She said if you say “good enough” then you are “condemning Australia”.

    After the first round of talks Gillard and Conroy pushed a button which then launched a video of an animated earth with “online” written across it — then morphing into the NBN Tasmania logo. Gillard had said she was “very much looking forward to pushing that button”.

    Image credit: Kim Davies, Creative Commons

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    1. Tezz
      Posted 12/08/2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink |

      “Conroy stated that when a consumer purchases speeds of 50Mbps or 100Mbps that is what they will get consistently — that those speeds represent a consistent rate and not peak speeds.”

      I guess we can write off Conroys creditability as a tech head now too. The only way to guarantee consistent speeds for all users concurrently is to provide a 1:1 contention ratio, that means (assuming they all took the 100Mb option) my short little street would need about 2 STM4′s for backhaul by itself.

      When people start taking the 1Gb option, yeah well, you do the math.

      • Posted 12/08/2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink |

        Only a fool would supply a 1:1 service to a residential customer (no offence). Quality ISPs, like Internode/iiNet for example, supply consistent maximum speeds using a contention ratio of about 30:1. The NBN’s GPON gear has a max 32 way split and I hear they are only going to use 16-20 splits per fibre, so that gives a contention ratio of 15:1. If backhaul links are never allowed to saturate then every user will always get full speed, just like we do now on ADSL.

        • Tezz
          Posted 12/08/2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink |

          “Only a fool would supply a 1:1 service to a residential customer (no offence).”

          Considering that was the point I was trying to make, none taken.

          “The NBN’s GPON gear has a max 32 way split and I hear they are only going to use 16-20 splits per fibre, so that gives a contention ratio of 15:1. If backhaul links are never allowed to saturate then every user will always get full speed, just like we do now on ADSL.”

          GPON (or Gigabit Passive Optical Network) is for the delivery of the last mile of the service, so the customer facing side of the exchange. The contention ratio is on other side on the backhaul and without a 1:1 ratio that backhaul could potentially be saturated, especially if you’ve got multiple users trying to run HD video back to back

          I have no doubt that the NBN could provide 100Mb, 1Gb, hell even 10Gb on the section between the exchange and the customer, it’s what happens on the other side that will be the concern.

          For some light reading here’s the ITU’s release on GPON, note especially the diagram and the bandwidth they demonstrate on the right hand side facing the network vs the speeds the last mile access could provide .. http://www.itu.int/itudoc/gs/promo/tsb/85155.pdf

    2. Avril
      Posted 12/08/2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink |

      Will probably get slammed for this, but starting to think there is a bit of smoke and mirrors going on here with the NBN. And again, this is simply my opinion based on my knowledge and experience.

      As shown in this article [url]http://bit.ly/a8cXNi[/url] the speeds we can download also depends on the connection to the site at the other end. I know that the link between us and the US has been improved, but does it have the capacity to handle the additional traffic the NBN will allow? Or will it end up being akin to ‘sucking custard through a straw’.

      Secondly, it has been conveniently forgotten that for any of us to access these speeds offered by the NBN, there will be need for updating equipment, the cost of which, will be born by the end user – along with the additional expense for these faster plans.

      Additionally, as many people have only recently upgraded to ADSL 1 & 2, which has resulted in much improved speeds, how many will figure ‘it’s all I need at the moment and I don’t need to spend money on upgrading equipment so soon’.

      I know the high end speeds are not expected to be taken up by many individual consumers, however, there are many small businesses who would face additional costs that they would also find prohibitive.

      I suspect that, unfortunately, the NBN is being used as a political tool because it is one of the few differentiating policies between the two major parties. It is the big ‘shiny toy’ being used to attract votes. Interestingly, I’m not so sure that the majority of voters will see this as the ‘deciding factor’ for their vote, and, if they do, the sheer cost and apparent lack of planning may even have the opposite effect being sought.

      As I have mentioned elsewhere, much that I love the idea of the NBN and it’s potential, I still believe there should be priority given to such issues as health & hospitals, mental health, disabilities, aged care and education.

    3. Tezz
      Posted 12/08/2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink |

      Actually, taking another look at the article.

      “Conroy made light of his dishwasher comment where he said that a smart dishwasher can turn itself on at 3AM and bid for lower power costs to operate — although he did repeat the idea and stated that such a smart dishwasher could not do that on wireless technology.”

      I’m pretty confident a dishwasher is not going to need a lot of bandwidth to operate, if it needs the speeds of the NBN to operate something is definitely wrong.

      “He also stated that HD video conferencing, that was demoed at the launch, was not possible via the wireless technology being promoted by the Coalition.”

      Does Conroy even understand what the Coalition are offering? They aren’t going to be providing wireless to the customer, they are only going to providing the backhaul. The end customer delivery is up to the retail carrier.

      • Posted 12/08/2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink |

        While the ALP’s NBN is clearly a better option, people really don’t get that the coalitions plan is about getting the backhaul up to scratch as well as getting rid of RIMS and upgrading DSLAMS.
        Of course if you have shitty copper in the ground, you will still have a problem but people who have been living in RIM hell would likely have their situation improve earlier with the Libs than with the NBN.

    4. Avril
      Posted 12/08/2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

      Will probably get slammed for this, but it is my opinion :)

      Looks like some ‘smoke and mirrors’ being used in this announcement on the NBN. According to this article http://bit.ly/a8cXNi the speeds being toted as ‘the speed you will get’ by Conroy depend on the connection to the country hosting the website being accessed by the user. I had only just asked the same question on Twitter, as I believe our US connection link has been improved/added too, but wondered whether it would cope with the increased traffic on the NBN or whether it would end up being like ‘sucking custard through a straw’.

      I can currently get some download speeds of between around 150kB/sec up to 2Mb/sec depending on where I am downloading from. So, just because I can reach speeds of 2Mb/sec doesn’t mean I will always get that result. And the variation is quite large.

      There is also the fact that fibre is not going to be laid out everywhere – certainly not to the remote regional areas – they will have to rely on wireless (which Conroy had negative things to say about this morning) and satellite. They are the users that are screaming out for better services.

      Also, the other point not made (and why would you, in a political campaign) is the cost to be borne by the end user, who will need to upgrade their equipment to be able to access the NBN. I know the high end speeds are not being aimed at the home user, but in this current climate, I can’t see that many small businesses will be in the position to be spending money on new equipment.

      I suspect the NBN is being used as a political tool, as it is one area that differentiates the two parties. It’s like a ‘shiny new toy’ being offered, in order to attract votes. I do wonder if they may have over-estimated it’s appeal to be a deciding factor for a vote. Or maybe not, except having the opposite effect to what they wanted.

      Many seem to have the opinion that what they currently have is sufficient, especially since some have only recently upgraded to ADSL 1 and 2 and are enjoying the noticable increase in speed from their previous connection. Add to that, the HUGE and unknown cost, the alleged lack of planning. Finally, the recognition by some that there are other pressing issues that may benefit from additional funding, such as health & hospitals, mental health, disabilities, aged care and education.

      Much that I love the idea of the NBN, I am one of those who believe we should maybe wait a little longer. When I see the images we are currently receiving of Pakistan’s floods and China’s mudslides, it really puts things into perspective for me. Why are we never happy with what we already have?

      • Posted 12/08/2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

        People need to think a little more logically about download speeds – (not having a go at your comment Avril, by the way!).

        If you have a 100Mbps connection, and you go to a site to download something, and you only get it at 2Mbps, that doesn’t mean your connection isn’t pulling 100Mbps.

        It may simply mean that the server at the other end only has a 2Mbps connection to the internet itself. It’s only going to be as fast as the slowest link in the chain.

        People need to stop thinking about “broadband” and “internet” being the same thing.

        Okay, Conjob provisions you up with a 1Gbps connection. You might purchase (for argument sake) 100Mbps from iiNet (as an example), because you like their network – (reliability, speed, uptime, blah blah blah).

        But you hate their voice service. So you provision up another service over your fibre with say, Engin, who would probably only need to give you 1Mbps/1Mbps for a connection into their network to give you top notch VoIP call quality. Okay, done. You’re using 101Mbps of the “potential” 1Gbps.

        Now, you want to put Foxtel on to all three televisions in your house. Foxtel zap you up a 50Mbps channel into their network for a multicast version of their channels, again, over the same fibre.

        You get a job as the CEO of SuperMegaConglomerate Company, and you need to provision up a connection into the corporate network so you can work from home and do full-HD video conferencing with the branch office in Zurich across the internal corporate network. Company’s paying for it, so they provision you up a 200Mbps channel back to base.

        Your dishwasher needs to interrogate the power grid at 3am to find the cheapest power…etc, etc, etc…

        There is so much more to this than just internet…change your mindset folks…

        • Tezz
          Posted 12/08/2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink |

          “So you provision up another service over your fibre with say, Engin, who would probably only need to give you 1Mbps/1Mbps for a connection into their network to give you top notch VoIP call quality.”

          Top notch is an understatement, that would be capable of carrying audio far beyond the frequency of human hearing with no audio compression involved.

          I think you’re understating what services will go onto the internet portion as a VPN connection. I find it incredibly difficult to believe companies like Engin will pay to have dedicated connections over the NBN back to their servers when a VPN tunnel over the normal internet connection works just as well. The dishwasher example is the same, VPN tunnel back to the electricity supply company.

          The only things I can see which won’t be a part of the internet portion are things like Foxtel and other TV broadcasters (keep in mind this is just broadcasting, video on demand will still most likely be on the internet portion as they will be unicast, unlike the streaming using multicast). And other services which are already operating as VPN over the telco network, your video conferencing is an example of this. Though I can’t see companies paying for their average worker to have a video conferencing connection into their home when, once again, a VPN connection over the workers already present internet connection would do.

        • Avril
          Posted 12/08/2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink |

          “People need to think a little more logically about download speeds – (not having a go at your comment Avril, by the way!).

          If you have a 100Mbps connection, and you go to a site to download something, and you only get it at 2Mbps, that doesn’t mean your connection isn’t pulling 100Mbps.

          It may simply mean that the server at the other end only has a 2Mbps connection to the internet itself. It’s only going to be as fast as the slowest link in the chain.”

          I know you’re not having a go at me :) But you did just prove the point I was trying to make (maybe I didn’t explain it well enough) and that is that Conroy is overstating the speed at which people can download files and access other sites.

          The average punter will think that 1Gbps is the speed that they will be able to download a file at – not even taking into consideration that they are at the mercy of many other factors which will affect the speed of the download. At this stage, it will not even occur to them that in future they will be able to have a few other services running concurrently – as you described.

          For instance, ABC24news just announced as a headline “Lightening quick – Labor announces blistering broadband speeds” – that’s all most people will hear. No other explanations.

        • Me
          Posted 12/08/2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink |

          Why would Engin provision (and the customer pay for) a totally separate NBN tail (Ethernet VLAN) for voice services, when you already have (and are paying for) a 100Meg VLAN to iinet for Internet, which you can use for Engin VOIP? The “I” in “VOIP” stands for Internet, after all ;)
          Just sayin’

        • RoboticButtocks
          Posted 13/08/2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink |

          Pennytel 4 Life bro! With a bit of voxalot thrown in.

    5. ahrenm
      Posted 12/08/2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink |

      I suspect S.C is refering to a fixed port speed not throughput , which is of course dependent on a squillion factors. Although that’s probably getting a little technical for ma and pa web browser.

      My wireless knowledge is a little shy, does “port speed” apply and is it variable?

    6. RoboticButtocks
      Posted 13/08/2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink |

      F_CK, dishwashers are awesome. I’d by a dishwasher off that Conroy boy now.

      • RoboticButtocks
        Posted 13/08/2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink |

        Amusing thought, 1 year from now, Stephen Conroys dishwasher gets hacked by a Defcon participant. All he could see was spray, bubbles and plates flying out everywhere. The last thing he remembers is his dishwasher storming out of the building saying “Hasta Lasagne Meatball”

    7. Posted 19/08/2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink |

      As network traffic is self similar it does not average out. There will be times where all burst up at the same time and this is more often than what you expect. With QoS the contention ratio can be wound back to 1:1 during congestion and this is real speed of the service.

      Without QoS it crashes and burns.

      What will the capacity of Great Information Barrier Reef (GIBR) filters be?

      They will obviously need to filter our reporting of outages, damage, etc.

      It is better to install filters at network border as administrator and don’t let kids have administrator. There are technical reasons why filtering must be done at network border and finite capacity is one of them.

    8. Posted 01/10/2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink |

      Well done:-)

    9. joshua.h
      Posted 21/12/2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink |

      1gbps is what im talking about now the concern is whos gonna do faster than that, 100mbps i thought this isnt much then i read this article and i hope we get 1 gigabyte in a second then soon a blue ray dvd at 200 gb will be done in a second 200gbps




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