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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 13:47 - 92 Comments

    NBN confirms doubled satellite, wireless speeds?

    news NBN Co today revealed that its satellite and wireless services designed to serve a small proportion of the population will feature higher speeds than previously confirmed, with the services now to provide download speeds up to 25Mbps and upload speeds up to 5Mbps. However, questions remain over the timing and technical details of the company’s announcement.

    Previously, the satellite and broadband services were only confirmed to be able to provide download speeds of 12Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps. The satellite and wireless solutions are slated to cover over half a million premises (seven percent of Australian premises) which will not be covered by the NBN’s predominantly fibre-based rollout, as the cost of providing fibre to those rural and remote areas is prohibitive.

    NBN Co has previously flagged the potential for its satellite and wireless services to offer higher speeds than the 12Mbps/1Mbps baseline which constitutes the Federal Government’s policy on the matter. For example, in June 2011, when NBN Co signed its 10-year, $1.1 billion contract with Ericsson to build its wireless network, the company’s chief technology officer Gary McLaren said NBN Co would look at the potential to offer higher speeds in future after they could assure a certain base level of service to all customers in each area, and technology in the area also developed.

    In addition, in NBN Co’s most recent corporate plan (page 38, the PDF is available online), the company stated: “The Fixed Wireless and Long Term Satellite networks will initially provide services to NBN Co’s wholesale customers at a peak speed of 12 megabits per second (Mbps) in the downlink, 1 megabit per second in the uplink (both at a wholesale level). Both networks will continue to be upgraded to match the fibre speed tiers when the technology and costs make this possible. The 2012-15 Corporate Plan includes the costs associated with anticipated technology upgrades across both technologies.”

    However, the company’s media release today (PDF) represents the first time the company has publicly confirmed the precise speed upgrades which will be available to customers; they will be available across NBN Co’s wireless network from June this year and through the company’s satellite service when it launches in 2015. The wireless network is also slated to be finished construction in 2015.

    In addition, the wholesale prices for internet service providers who retail NBN packages to rural broadband users will be pegged at the same rate as they are for fibre users in the cities: $27 per month for the 25/5Mbps service and $24 for the 12/1Mbps service respectively. NBN Co said it “has already committed to reducing wholesale broadband prices in real terms”.

    NBN Co Chief Executive Mike Quigley said: “Every home and business in Australia – from the outback to the city – will have access to fast internet at speeds as good as or faster than ADSL2+ services available in metropolitan areas today.”

    
“That will give people in the most isolated parts of the country access to economic and social opportunities that the rest of the country takes for granted. For instance, faster speeds will allow people in regional communities to work from home like they would from a big city office, access video- based health services and make high-quality video calls to family and friends. Just as importantly, the NBN is helping to foster real competition, and that drives affordable prices for consumers. Every provider has equal access to the network and NBN Co’s prices are the same in the city and the bush.”

    NBN Co’s announcement today is the second time the company has announced a major speed upgrade to its planned network during an election campaign. In August 2010, ahead of that year’s Federal Election, the company’s chief executive Mike Quigley confirmed for the first time that the NBN’s fibre would eventually support speeds of up to 1Gbps, although Quigley denied the revelation had anything to do with the election campaign.

    opinion/analysis
    I’ve got two things to say about this announcement. Firstly, and most obviously, this is great news, and we’ve been expecting speed upgrades to the NBN’s wireless services for some time. With the fixed LTE technology that the NBN has been deploying capable of speeds much higher than 12Mbps, it was probably only a matter of time until NBN Co did enough testing of its wireless network and worked out that it could reliably support 25Mbps. It’s a similar situation with the satellite component, and overall it’s good news for rural Australia that they’ll be getting these speeds.

    However (and this is not going to be a popular line of argument amongst readers), I must also question the timing and technical details of this NBN Co announcement this morning. Please consider the following with an open mind.

    There have been no, and I repeat no, massive developments in satellite technology over the past week (or indeed, I believe the past several years, at the very least), which have meant that NBN is suddenly this week able to guarantee 25Mbps satellite broadband speeds to Australians. NBN Co must have known internally for quite a long time (perhaps years) that the two new satellites which it plans to put in orbit in 2015 will be capable of speeds up to 25Mbps.

    Similarly, I suspect that NBN Co has known for quite a long time (perhaps as long as six months, perhaps longer) that its wireless network was indeed capable of providing speeds up to 25Mbps. The company started deploying its wireless network 18 months ago, and must have been speaking to Ericsson and other vendors about the potential of that network for six months or so earlier, as it was negotiating its contract.

    I expect that Ericsson has for a year or more had its own beliefs about the speeds which NBN Co’s wireless network is capable of consistently delivering. Why do I believe this? Well, Ericsson is one of the largest global networking vendors and knows the capabilities of its own equipment inside out. In addition, locally, you may remember that the company deployed Telstra’s Next G network. That’s a mobile network, not a fixed wireless network, but it features much of the same infrastructure as NBN Co’s wireless network.

    Today’s media release from NBN Co is not the result of “hard news” generated internally inside the company. NBN Co has likely had the information in this media release for a long time. The company chose to collate this information together and release it in this fashion on this random day, magically delivering an instant “upgrade” to its network.

    This brings us to the question of why NBN Co would do such a thing.

    If you believe the company, it wants to provide consistency about the way it talks to those living in the seven percent of Australia which will receive wireless and satellite services instead of fibre. It doesn’t want those residents to feel as though they’re getting left out, and it wants to provide consistent speeds across its wireless and satellite services. Perhaps NBN Co has recently finished testing the higher speeds on its wireless network (now that it has 1,000-odd live wireless customers) and it was able to announce the 25Mbps wireless speeds. It probably wanted to do both simultaneously and so it issued a joint release about both technologies. This is the most likely case.

    Some will argue that NBN Co released this ‘upgrade’ today because Prime Minister Julia Gillard released the date of the election last week. While I don’t personally believe NBN Co did this, there is no doubt that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has already jumped on this morning’s announcement and is using it for political capital. So while this isn’t likely on the part of NBN Co, it’s still a valid question to be asked of the company. And regardless of what NBN Co intended, its action objectively represent a boost to Labor’s election message.

    Irrespective of why NBN Co released this information today, however, what we do know about this release is that it represents the opposite of transparency from a technical point of view.

    When NBN Co was able to confirm that its satellite service would definitely be capable of 25Mbps services (probably years ago), it should have released that information at that point. When the company was able to confirm that its wireless service would definitely be capable of 25Mbps, the company should have released that information at that point.

    In fact, the fact that NBN Co today released both the wireless and satellite upgrades simultaneously leads to the question of whether it is too big a coincidence that both technologies magically support the same maximum upload and download speeds.

    After all, despite the fact that NBN Co has conflated both services together in the past and has done so today, isn’t it true that wireless and satellite broadband are fundamentally different technologies and not similar at all? Isn’t it likely that, instead of both coincidentally supporting 25Mbps speeds, that they each support completely different speeds (for example, 26.2Mbps for the satellite and 33.4Mbps for the wireless, or vice versa) in practice, and that NBN Co has artificially set the 25Mbps limit, purely to ensure that it can promise a consistent speed across regional Australia?

    Yes, this is very likely. It is very unlikely that both the satellite and wireless services coincidentally have a top speed of 25Mbps.

    In fact, there is precedent for this in Australia’s telecommunications industry. Those with long memories will remember that Telstra artificially set ADSL speeds at three speed tiers — 1.5Mbps, 512kbps and 256kbps — despite the fact that many people’s connections would actually work at up to speeds of 8Mbps. It was only when ISPs like iiNet started rolling out their own DSLAMs throughout the early 1990′s and uncapping ADSL1 to 8Mbps that Telstra did the same. Now it looks like NBN Co is setting artificial 25Mbps speeds on its satellite and wireless services. I’m not saying it’s the exact same situation; but there is an element of artificiality here.

    To sum up: NBN Co’s upgrade of its satellite and wireless services today is great news for rural and regional Australia. But let’s not fool ourselves. The company is not being completely honest about the technical capabilities of its network here, and this announcement has been carefully stage-managed in timing and structure for purposes which have absolutely nothing to do with the underlying technology.

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    1. Slim Bim Jim
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

      BMW do it to their cars. A 325i used to have a 2.5 litre engine but it has a 2.0 litre now. Japanese performance cars for a while ALL had 280hp maximum but in reality some where shipping with much more.

      I don’t see an issue with this as long as it caters to the lowest common speed, any more is a bonus in my eyes.

      As for being stage managed, I don’t see what’s wrong with that at all. NBNCo need as much theatre as they can get to counter LNP’s pantomime routine.

      • Stephen H
        Posted 07/02/2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink |

        And some of us are pretty disgusted at BMW’s change. They went from a model number that had meaning to a model number that doesn’t.

    2. Charles
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

      Regarding the timing, you may also want to take into account that NBNCo would not want to announce that FTTH is 100Mbit (up to 1Gbit), fixed wireless is 12Mbit, and satellite is 25Mbit. The people who are in the wireless zone would be demanding satellite – and to many it would be obvious that the wireless does in fact support 25Mbit. But obviously, such conflicting information would be used against them constantly in the mainstream media.

    3. Cameron
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink |

      In fact, the fact that NBN Co today released both the wireless and satellite upgrades simultaneously leads to the question of whether it is too big a coincidence that both technologies magically support the same maximum upload and download speeds.

      Magically? No, but deliberately? Yes.

      Satellite will be used for very remote premises, but it will also be used for Fixed Wireless infill in blackspots. Considering this there is no doubt in my mind why this announcement has happened the way it has.

      It isn’t rocket science IMHO (well launching sattelites is, but you get my point.).

    4. skeptikal
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink |

      Perhaps another reason for the timing of the dual announcement is to keep a level playing field for the two types of regional broadband. If they had announced early that satellite could provide 25Mbps but wireless was limited to 12, there would have probably been even more anti-wireless sentiment than the rubbish that’s already going on and people who were scheduled for wireless would have wanted satellite because of the higher speeds.

      If they have indeed recently confirmed that the wireless will support 25Mbps, then I can see how it would make sense to announce that both “regional” options are getting a speed bump at the same time without any devious political planning involved.

    5. Jo
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink |

      I can’t comment on the satellites but I think you’re being overly sceptical of NBNco’s wireless network. They obvious don’t upgrade until they can ensure everyone can get a specific speed. Wireless is a shared medium and so by limiting they can ensure everyone gets 12 Mbps (in theory of course). They don’t need a bit technological jump to get 25 Mbps, just like the 1 Gbps fibre speeds have been around for a while but the NBN won’t be updated until 2014. They do it when its economical and feasible to do so.

      As you’ve mentioned, the speeds are artificially limited and this also ensures everyone pays the same across the country to receive the same service. I don’t think we’ll see the satellite speeds upgraded as quickly as wireless in the future.

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink |

        It was always designed to go up to the higher speeds eventually…they’ve apparently just brought the plan forward.

    6. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink |

      With regard to the timing of this announcement I hardly see it as relevant. I mean Quigley (or someone else from NBNco) alluded that they may be able to improve speeds for the satellite and wireless plans some time ago so this announcement is really just a confirmation of that… which I imagine there is never a good time to announce since it can ALWAYS be considered political. Remember when they announced fibre would be capable of 1000/400mbps? Same thing, it was political too, now it’s “We don’t need that speed!” and also the contradictory whining about having to redo one area in Tasmania because they are limited to 100/40mbps… another “speed we don’t need” lol

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

        Indeed HC…

        All we hear from the naysayers (apart from the obvious FUD) is, where’s the information?

        And what do they say when they get it? Politically timed, nothing but NBNCo estimations, not worth the paper it’s written on.

        Yet again more damned if they do/don’t.

    7. Simon
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink |

      I live in Rural Victoria and work in the CBD as a technology Integrator. My only broadband choice is Telstra NextG @ 2mbit down/1mbit up capped at 15gb/month.

      This will be a massive bonus for me!

    8. NPSF3000
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

      “But let’s not fool ourselves. The company is not being completely honest about the technical capabilities of its network here, and this announcement has been carefully stage-managed in timing and structure for purposes which have absolutely nothing to do with the underlying technology.”

      Not completely honest?

      Excuse me, where is it written that ‘wireless and satellite will be stuck at 12/1Mbps forever – signed NBNco’. It was my understanding that the potential for higher speeds was always made very clear, for example:

      http://www.nbnco.com.au/assets/documents/product-and-pricing-overview-dec-11.pdf

      From 2011 on page 47 states: “Traffic Class 4 higher speed options 25/5, 25/10, 50/20, 100/40 Megabits per second” is ‘TBA’ for wireless.

      It’s very clear to anyone with any technical knowledge and ability to read NBNco’s docs that this capability has *always* been there – they’ve not hidden it. All this announcement is a more public commitment to actually releasing said service.

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink |

        Have to agree here.

        At *most* of the NBN Co technical briefings I’ve been at, someone has asked what the roadmap for the wireless network would be in terms of future speed. They never ruled out faster speeds from the initial infrastructure, and in fact I recall on at least one occasion them ruling out that it would stay at 12/1Mbps.

        Anyone designing a network of this size and nature would be positively daft not to allow for extra capacity beyond the baseline specifications requested.

        This was always going to happen.

        • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink |

          “This was always going to happen.”

          Yes, it was, as I said in the article. The question is not whether it was going to happen or not, but why it happened now.

          • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink |

            There’s probably some quasi-political reason – but if it’s ready, and fits the business plan…when is the right or wrong time?

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 07/02/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

            I think if it were more politically motivated, they’d have left it closer to the election date. this far out, it’ll be forgotten about by then.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 09/02/2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink |

        There is also the factor that has not been mentioned , the backhaul/transits and feeders for the wireless networks that will support that speed and data throughput.
        No sense announcing upgrades until those are up to speed for the levels being announced across the board

    9. Paul Thompson
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

      I don’t share the same assumptions as Renai. I think NBN have been pretty open that their network could do more, and that they would be seeking how to get this extra performance for customers.

      There is no gain to holding back on this type of information, not politically or commercially.

      I would think they waited to confirm these speeds as being official offers, as NBN was needing confirmation that both technology offerings would be able to provide the same(ish) performance. Note that is not asking about the technology itself, but the technology offering which includes things like guaranteeing available bandwidth, sorting out contention ratios etc.

      NBN definitely want the 7% to be considered as equal, whether they are on sat or wireless. That decision could be considered a commercial, marketting or even a political one. But once NBN had worked out a figure for both technologies, I don’t think they held back on releasing that info.

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

        “There is no gain to holding back on this type of information, not politically or commercially.”

        But they did hold back on the information. Clearly the awareness of the satellite and wireless capability did not land at the same time.

        • Lachlan
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink |

          Well, actuall both the satelite and wireless are part of the product roadmap last updated in November 2012, with the “Traffic Class 4 higher speed options 25/5, 25/10, 50/20, 100/40 Megabits per second” being TBA for both wireless and long term sattelite.
          I think this release is the anouncement of when the 25/5 speed options are being rolled out, which does match the tables of the press release. There could be higher speeds released later, so there is more TBA in an updated product roadmap for the 50/20 and above.

          The simultanious release of it could be just that both aspects of the higher speed options have has their rollout timetables confirmed at the same time by the management of the NBN.

          Also this press release is really about the NBN ACV product and pricing, not the ultimate capabilities of the various technologies. I’m sure that the sattelites could exceed the throughput of the LTE wireless networks for one user, but is that relealy relavent in this situation?

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink |

          “Clearly the awareness of the satellite and wireless capability did not land at the same time.”

          Says who?

          And, lets work on the assumption that there was a substantial gap between the two… do you think it would have been a good idea for NBNco to say satellite can support 25/5… and then wait say 12 months before confirming wireless can do the same? Imagine the press!

        • Mr Creosote
          Posted 07/02/2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink |

          I dont think its been purposely withheld as per the conspiracy theory that seems to be developing.
          I spoke to the NBN Co reps in the NBN Co truck in July last year,and specifically asked about wireless and future upgrades. They told me then that there was tesing to be carried out, and the trials would be completed and higher speeds announced around the end of the year.
          Yesterdays announcement fits pretty well with the indicated timeframe. I cant see how it can be contrued as a political announcement based on that evidence.

          I didnt discuss satellite speed increase timeframe as specifically, so I dont have a similar yardstick there.

    10. Sydney
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

      An interesting question that you haven’t considered is: will the coalition’s fibre to the node network be able to guarantee people speeds of 25/5? If not (and let’s face it, it can’t, given copper’s variability), the coalition is proposing to build a broadband network for metro users that will actually be SLOWER for some people than the satellite and fixed wireless network in rural areas. Now that is freaking insane.

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

        This article is not about the Coalition …

    11. NBNAccuracy
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink |

      Wouldn’t announcing it any time in the next seven months be seen as a political ploy? Is the fact they didn’t announce it sooner political? Is there any possible time to announce it that doesn’t seem to be suspicious? The same got said when they announced 1Gb fibre. The same was said when they released roll out maps. Is there in fact any way they can announce anything without it seeming political?

      • Harimau
        Posted 07/02/2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink |

        Of course not. The NBN has become a political issue. Talking about the NBN at all is political. There’s no way to win here. The only thing you can do is just assume that everything about it is political or apolitical, and so there’s no real need to discuss it. Even the choice of technology (FTTP vs FTTN) could be considered political, as a differentiator between parties – although that should be based on technical and economic evaluation, Turnbull has made it purely political. As far as NBNco are concerned though, it’s all business as usual.

    12. Kevin Davies
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink |

      Storm, meet teacup. It was known now for some time they were planning to allow for higher speeds when wireless installations that could not handle 25/5 were rejected. I suspect they were just waiting for the technology to prove itself on rollout before announcing it. In any case this article has a huge amount of assumptions built on, a huge amount of assumptions. Surprised Renai, you can do much better when you have a little more to work with. Most of this article is pure speculation.

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

        “I suspect they were just waiting for the technology to prove itself on rollout before announcing it.”

        And … how precisely can the satellite technology “prove itself”, when they haven’t deployed the satellites? No. They have known about the satellite capability for some time.

        “Surprised Renai, you can do much better when you have a little more to work with. Most of this article is pure speculation.”

        Insult me again, and I’ll ban you for a week, mate. Keep your tone civil.

        • Tib
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink |

          Is it for the current satelite deployment or the two that launch in 2015? I thought the max speed for the current satelites is limited to 6mbit at the moment?

          [i]Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has announced that the maximum download speeds on offer on the fixed-wireless and satellite services on the National Broadband Network will be more than doubled from 12 megabits-per-second (Mbps) down and 1Mbps up to 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up.

          The two services are scheduled to be up and running in 2015, and will serve the last seven percent of premises not covered by the NBN fibre rollout. [/i] that’s from zdnet

          • Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink |

            The 2015 launch.

            • Posted 06/02/2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink |

              Satellite launch is still listed as “????? 2015″, so no launch is yet on the recognised schedules:

              http://www.satelliteonthenet.co.uk/index.php/2015

              …but that’s not uncommon this far out…it’ll get narrowed down to a quarter first – (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) – and then to a month. The exact date isn’t usually known until a month or two out from the actual event.

          • Posted 06/02/2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink |

            Incorrect.

            Fibre 93%, Wireless 4%, Satellite 3%.

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink |

          “And … how precisely can the satellite technology “prove itself”, when they haven’t deployed the satellites? No. They have known about the satellite capability for some time.”

          So, NBNco are the only ones who are ever going to deploy the technologies used, there has been no new information whatsoever gained in recent times [testing of tech, testing of consumers, expert advice] etc?

          Your statements seem to be based on some very odd assumptions.

    13. Abel Adamski
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

      I Suspect an element is having adequate backhaul capacity for the wireless networks, the announcement would suggest they now have.
      I do remember back when the satellites were first being discussed and they were considering including the Antarctic Territories and Shipping that the possibility of 100Mb Satellite downstream was being bandied about. ? Guess we wait for the birds to fly and see how they perform

    14. Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

      hey everyone,

      reading the comments here, I am a little concerned. I don’t mind if people disagree with me. In fact, I love that! I started Delimiter to promote debate.

      However, I don’t see much debate here which is specifically focused on the points I made in the article. People appear to be more commenting along the lines of that the NBN had always planned to carry out this upgrade and we should have expected it.

      I don’t dispute this. In fact, I made that point myself in the article. However, I would like people to consider the following points specifically:

      -Why was this announcement made now, when NBN Co would have been aware of the technical capabilities of its networks (particularly satellite) way before now … possibly years?
      -Is 25Mbps the natural limit of both satellite and wireless services? Or has it been artificially set this way?
      -Why were the satellite and wireless announcements made together?

      Also, just a warning: If I see that the majority of comments from now on on this article are of the nature “NBN is good. Don’t complain about it. Everything NBN Co does is good”, then I will shut down commenting on this article.

      Delimiter is a technical forum based on evidence. If people are going to take the one-sided attitude that everything NBN Co does is purely good, and avoid discussing the technical capabilities of its networks (for example, the debate about why the satellite and wireless are both set at 25Mbps), then I will shut down debate.

      Delimiter is not a forum for people to post their mindless good/bad dichotomy arguments about the NBN. Use your intelligence, people and analyse the situation. If most of you choose not to do that, then I will stop the debate entirely.

      You all know that I am broadly in favour of the NBN policy. But I am not going to shut my mind down and stop analysing the company because of that reason. I have become concerned again recently that people on Delimiter are mindlessly promoting the NBN cause without engaging their grey matter to analyse the situation on the ground. This concerns me greatly, and I will not tolerate the site becoming a haven for single-minded bigots.

      Intelligence. Analytical skill. Use it.

      Renai

      • Paul Thompson
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink |

        “-Why was this announcement made now, when NBN Co would have been aware of the technical capabilities of its networks (particularly satellite) way before now … possibly years?
        -Is 25Mbps the natural limit of both satellite and wireless services? Or has it been artificially set this way?
        -Why were the satellite and wireless announcements made together?”

        I suspect that the answer comes back to the fact that they are tying the two technologies together, or at least attempting to, for public perception.

        Is 25MBps the natural limit? I doubt it. But it may be the easiest common number for both technologies, which is also inline with the 25/5 FTTP offering.
        Why wait until now? Perhaps it has taken this long to determine that they can, in fact, guarantee 25/5 to both. The capability of the network isn’t just what is listed on the box of parts supplied by the vendor, it is how everything works together.
        Why announced together? Because of the mundane reason that they are trying to link the two as basically being the same thing.

        This ‘linking’ mentality has been prevalent in the offerings of ISPs for a while. When ordering an internet service from an ISP you may not even be aware of the underlying technology that provides the service (well, at least for the average consumer).
        I think that the marketing feedback that ISPs got years ago was that everything was ‘too confusing’ so they have dumbed things down to the point of stupidity.

        If this is the mindset within NBN, and it seems like a reasonable assumption, then it would answer your questions.
        Start with a marketting decision (Wireless and Sat to be branded identically, try to make their offerings the same, try to make them identical to low level FTTP plans etc) then work your way back to the engineering. It may be a silly way to do things, but it is often how it is done.

        • Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink |

          Very good post, Paul. This is precisely the kind of more in-depth comment I’m looking for from this debate.

          You also raise a very interesting point. I hadn’t previously considered the fact that the 25Mbps speeds announced today are the same as the entry level 25Mbps plan on the fibre NBN.

          This makes me even more suspicious that the actual capabilities of the satellite and wireless solutions are actually quite different from what we are being told. I would love to see some of the actual testing data from NBN Co with respect to its satellite and wireless service (of course there may not be much from the satellite as yet; as it hasn’t been launched!) and see how it matches up with the actual 25Mbps claims.

          It’s so nice and precise that the wireless and satellite now do 25Mbps, as does the entry level NBN fibre plan. But are the actual figures 24Mbps and 26Mbps? We may never know.

          • NPSF3000
            Posted 06/02/2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink |

            “It’s so nice and precise that the wireless and satellite now do 25Mbps, as does the entry level NBN fibre plan. ”

            And completely deliberate – a decision stretching back since the beginning of the NBN.

            You’re making a something that was decided… what 3 [?] years ago sounds like a conspiracy today… where have you been?

          • Harimau
            Posted 07/02/2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink |

            Nice and precise is a good thing. The NBN has always been about enabling parity of service, you know that. So that someone doesn’t get half the speed that his neighbour down the street does. So that, to some extent, those in the bush have access to the same offerings that those in the city do. So that the smaller companies pay the same as the bigger companies.

            Sure, they could offer a service closer to the technology’s technical limitations, but they couldn’t necessarily guarantee that service, and it would lead to disparity among the different products on offer. Where is the benefit in that? So that Arlen can get 32Mbps while his uncle Cholie on the next farm over gets 26Mbps?

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 07/02/2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink |

            “It’s so nice and precise that the wireless and satellite now do 25Mbps, as does the entry level NBN fibre plan. But are the actual figures 24Mbps and 26Mbps? We may never know.”

            I thought it had to do with them holding capacity in reserve for some reason. I can’t recall the specific numbers, or where I read it, but I’m pretty sure those satellites can do a lot more, and there’s a bunch of standards that allow wireless to do a lot more.

            Colour me cynical, but I expect there will be another announcement closer to the election where they’ll actually raise the limits again….

            • Tinman_au
              Posted 07/02/2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink |

              Actually, another (possible) reason could be they are trying to convey a realistic minimum speed?

              If that’s the case, it’d be refreshing to have a company actually take that route, rather than selling plans that never actually get the speed they said unless you rent a room in the exchange…

      • Dan
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink |

        Renai, just because the red headed step child announced an election date does not mean that “this announcement has been carefully stage-managed in timing and structure for purposes which have absolutely nothing to do with the underlying technology.”

        You are just simply reading too much in to it. Had you attended the discovery centre (or truck) the engineers would have told you that the speed upgrade to non-fibre services was internally known, just not official. It had become one of NBN Cos worst kept secrets that wireless would be 25/5 by the time it went in to full scale production. I had assumed it was a case of securing the spectrum, but never at once thought that it would be used for political purposes.

        I think your drawing a pretty long bow claiming that today’s announcement is political; that is something the Earl of Wentworth would do. It’s almost like you’ve gone all ABC and offered this piece as ‘balance’ to today’s earlier argument against said Earl.

        • Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink |

          Some will argue that NBN Co released this ‘upgrade’ today because Prime Minister Julia Gillard released the date of the election last week. While I don’t personally believe NBN Co did this, there is no doubt that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has already jumped on this morning’s announcement and is using it for political capital. So while this isn’t likely on the part of NBN Co, it’s still a valid question to be asked of the company. And regardless of what NBN Co intended, its action objectively represent a boost to Labor’s election message.

          I don’t think this is overtly political. I think it’s more “marketing” per se.

        • Mathew
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink |

          I’ll provide two pieces of evidence that suggest we should expect to see more announcements from NBNCo with a political agenda.

          The first is the stage 2 maps that were published in July 2010 prior to the last Federal Election. This map shows where the NBN was supposed to be rolled out in stage 2: http://www.users.on.net/~jvizard/myne/nbnmdbyprot.png. Some of those areas are not in the current NBNCo Rollout Maps.

          The second is the 1Gbps announcement made in direct response to Google Fibre on 12 August 2010 with Gillard and Conroy in attendance. It is a shame that NBNCo didn’t ditch the speed tiers at the same time. If they did more than 5% might actually see those speeds before 2028.

          It is hard to blame NBNCo for engaging in politics to boost the chances of Labor winning, but it is also a high stakes game because they will struggle to be seen as neutral.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink |

        “-Why was this announcement made now, when NBN Co would have been aware of the technical capabilities of its networks (particularly satellite) way before now … possibly years?”

        Assumes that NBNco has all the knowledge for a long time. This assumption is unfounded.

        “-Is 25Mbps the natural limit of both satellite and wireless services? Or has it been artificially set this way?”

        Unknown. Also, why do you assume it’s one *or* the other?

        “-Why were the satellite and wireless announcements made together?”

        Unknown – would you have preferred otherwise?

        There’s a lot of speculation, and not a lot of digging going on. It’s interesting to note, but the conspiratorial slant in the article is unwarranted.

    15. Dean
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

      I think it would be a bad move to announce that satellite is capable of faster speeds than the fixed wireless, otherwise what’s the point of the fixed wireless? It seems quite likely that satellite is probably capable of much higher speeds than even 25Mb/s but it will always be done in lock-step with what fixed wireless is capable.

      Of course, fixed wireless will have much lower latencies than satellite, but I suspect most consumers won’t care about (or even understand) that.

      Now it looks like NBN Co is setting artificial 25Mbps speeds on its satellite and wireless services. I’m not saying it’s the exact same situation; but there is an element of artificiality here.

      You could also say they’re also putting artificial limits on the fibre with the different plans. But I think different plans actually make sense here, due to the way upstream broadband is purchased (I personally believe data caps should be removed and everybody should be paying by the megabit-per-second, but I think that’s too much of a pipe dream)

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink |

        “I think it would be a bad move to announce that satellite is capable of faster speeds than the fixed wireless, otherwise what’s the point of the fixed wireless?”

        Um … they have been explicitly set up to cover different regions, and yes, as anyone who has ever used satellite broadband will tell you, latency is a huge fat issue with satellite, as is the huge motherfrakking satellite dish you need to install in your back yard or on your roof. The fixed wireless solution is a much better solution, and it’s not too complex to say that different telecommunications technologies will provide different download speeds.

        It looks here like NBN Co is attempting to reduce the complexity of its offerings by setting them all at the same, arbitrary speeds … but that isn’t a technical decision, but a product decision. Personally, I don’t necessarily care about it, but I would like to see the reasoning behind the decision, and an admission that the satellite and wireless have been arbitrarily set at these speeds and that NBN Co has known at least about the satellite upgrades for a loooong time.

        • Dean
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

          > but that isn’t a technical decision, but a product decision

          I think you’re right. If they could do, say, 35Mb/s they’re probably still going to only offer the 25Mb/s speed so it matches what’s on fibre. I’d be interested to see what the actual maximum speeds possible are, but I doubt we’re ever going to see that…

        • Mathew
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink |

          > It looks here like NBN Co is attempting to reduce the complexity of its offerings by setting them all at the same, arbitrary speeds … but that isn’t a technical decision, but a product decision.

          I think you will find it is chiefly a politically driven decision. The rural independents need to be able to face their electorates and say “you have the same speed as the cities”. It would be nice to see 100/40Mbps mandated as the minimum wireless speed as that would push more areas on fibre but I have my doubts that speed is technically possible currently at a reasonable cost .

          • seven_tech
            Posted 07/02/2013 at 1:32 am | Permalink |

            I’m sorry, but I don’t get this whole debate.

            Am I the only one who’s read several times and been told by NBNCo. themselves they are keeping the wireless and Satellite portions in lockstep with fibre tiers to ensure uniformity? I thought that was fairly obvious. It’s for pricing and product roadmap simplicity. They provide the same speeds for the same prices across ALL technologies- that was their first and foremost goal- uniform pricing. It also makes it MUCH simpler for customers (Both RSPs and end customers).

            Do you see FTTN providers offering 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80Mbps? No. You see 30, 50 and 80. Why? Complexity. Complexity is the bane of product awareness. No one wants 37Mbps as the top speed that’s annoying and complex. They’d much prefer to be told 30Mbps and be pleasantly surprised when they get higher sometimes (just like NBN wireless now).

            It has nothing to do with politics that they’re keeping the wireless and satellite speeds at 25/5 in line with fibre. It’s for product and pricing uniformity. Does anyone seriously want a max speed 28Mbps service?? How random.

      • Dan
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink |

        Even if satellite down links were 50 Mbps, anyone who knows anything would still opt for wireless if they were outside the fibre footprint. Packet transit times in the multiple thousands of ms (in other words several seconds) are unacceptable for two way comms. You see it all the time when CNN have a live correspondent via satellite in the Middle East. 7 second delay between question and answer.

        Thus, I don’t think people who care about capacity really care about the bandwidth of the satellite service vs. the wireless service. Also, NBN is about offering the same product over multiple modes of delivery at the same price, thus 25/5 is going to be $50/m (retail) regardless of the delivery method (fibre, wireless or satellite)

    16. Trevor
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

      I, too, am really surprised by your analysis and assumptions here, Ren. NBN Co would have needed to confirm the technical capability of the equipment from vendors (probably nailing it down contractually) which would have hinged upon their testing, and given the satellites haven’t even been built yet we’re likely to be talking about equipment that is either still just components or may still be in the prototyping phase. How you could not only draw the conclusions you have, but then decide it was a good idea to publish your unfounded speculations as though there can really be no alternative but a political angle to this, is quite beyond me. I thought hard facts were your stock in trade, not rumour mongering and wild speculation…

    17. Trevor
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink |

      When I started writing that comment there were just 12 other comments on the article, so your further comments weren’t there, Ren. I still stand by it, though – it’s not a personal attack, just my honest surprise at your position. There are plenty of reasons for the NBN Co releasing figures now that are equally as valid as your speculations.

      As for ‘bundling’ the different network types, it is surely to keep the packages as simple as possible for both the public but also the retailers, who would never deliver consistent products without it. A great example of confusing products is PC graphics – how many consumers have even a cursory understanding of that confusing mess? Simplifying broadband options into consistent packages like this is laudable IMHO.

      • Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink |

        “A great example of confusing products is PC graphics”

        Um … I’m not sure you’re making the right argument to the right audience here. I am sure many Delimiter readers have quite competently bought new graphics cards over the years … ;)

        • Trevor
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink |

          I’m not debating that, nor would I suggest that Delimiter readers would have difficulty with a more complex mix of NBN broadband options. But the NBN isn’t for just us – it is for all Australians, 99% of which are not tech savvy professionals or even enthusiasts.

          • Posted 06/02/2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink |

            “99% of which are not tech savvy professionals or even enthusiasts”

            Actually Australia is one of the earliest technology adopter country on earth … I think we can handle a little more ambiguity in our broadband definitions. Look at the way which we’ve shockingly managed to deal with the “up to 24Mbps” label which is regularly applied to ADSL2+. With ADSL, the service truly can range anywhere from 1Mbps to 24Mbps depending on how far you are from the exchange.

            Who’s to say it’s not a similar situation with satellite and wireless?

            I’d like to see a little more concrete technical information from NBN Co here.

            • Trevor
              Posted 06/02/2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink |

              I’d like to see a little more concrete technical information from NBN Co here.

              And you’d have my full support in asking for that :-) I’m drawing no conclusions about the product offerings as my opinion is essentially irrelevant, just speculating as to the reasons why it might be happening.

            • seven_tech
              Posted 07/02/2013 at 2:04 am | Permalink |

              @Renai

              I’d like to see a little more concrete technical information from NBN Co here.

              First:

              http://delimiter.com.au/2013/02/06/nbn-confirms-doubled-satellite-wireless-speeds/#comment-574748

              Second- NBNCo. sats will be 1300 series by SS/Loral. They are used by ViaSat for 50/20Mbps services commercially via Surfbeam 2. https://www.viasat.com.au/files/assets/surfbeam2_enterprise_pro_datasheet_022_web.pdf

              Seeing as ViaSAT are providing the ground gear and they are using Surfbeam, this is where it came from for speed analysis. Likely we’ll see the launch of 50/10 or 50/20 tiers in the future too- the ViaSAT gear is already capable of it. The tier 25/5 is chosen because it can be provided easily AND because it is uniform across technologies for ease and simplicity. I see no reason to randomly make it 35MBps or 27Mbps just because you can.

              The full details of the satellite itself are EXTREMELY unlikely to be made public- SS/Loral would have a CiC contract for their satellites. It’s a commercial satellite system- they don’t want every tom, dick and harry knowing their setup. We know the throughput is down to how the Spot beams are managed. We know the total throughput is 45Gbps/sat. We know there are 104 spot beams. That would give (if spaced evenly, which they aren’t, as 15 of those are wide area) 432Mbps per spot beam. Technically then, the only barriers to throughput are- contention and end-user equipment. NBNCo. likely see no need to support above 50Mbps at this time on end-user equipment (which makes perfect sense- there are only 2 NTD ports on sat and both will be capable of providing 25Mbps or in future, one with 50Mbps perhaps) as that will be pushing towards the next stage of sats or fibre/wireless footprint creep.

              And expense- they are providing hundreds of thousands of these units for free to end-customers. They don’t want or need to provide current Enterprise grade systems for thousands of dollars for 100Mbps throughput when most users would be happy with 25-50Mbps max (if not less) now and it would be a waste of money.

              Just FYI, alot of this information is already available publicly:

              http://bit.ly/UXIxXj

              It’s from Analysis Mason’s report on the NBN. These technical details are already available, so it is untrue NBNCo. are hiding them.

              On wireless- The NTD is equipped with a Netcomm gear, with a Sequans LTE-TD chip: http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/398131/netcomm_picks_sequans_td-lte_chips/

              It is capable of 100Mbps throughput:
              http://www.sequans.com/products-solutions/streamrichlte/sqn3010/

              So, we’ll likely see 50/10 or 50/20 in the not too distant future. It only supports 100Mbps total, so whether they make a new 75/25 or similar tier at some stage is only speculatory, but I’d say they’ll keep it to the fibre tiers certainly for the foreseeable future.

              All this was gathered from public information.

              NBNCo. are not hiding their technical details. They’re ALL available. Very detailed and dry in some cases. And their reasons for these tiers are obvious IMO- uniformity and simplicity. I don’t understand why you would want 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100Mbps down with varying versions of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 Mbps up as a choice. As the saying goes- too much choice can be a bad thing. If people are unsure if 12Mbps will be enough, 25Mbps is only a few dollars more a month. Or the same for 50Mbps. etc. It’s not complex in my eyes why they’re doing this.

              • Trevor
                Posted 07/02/2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

                @SevenTech

                As usual an insightful, well researched addition to the discussion – your comments are truly a sight to behold, 7T!

        • Trevor
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink |

          In fact, I’d call that pretty selective quoting there, Ren. I clearly stated that comparison was in relation to the average consumer. I think the relevance to the discussion is pretty obvious, as I didn’t relate that comparison to Delimiter readers, tech professionals or enthusiasts.

      • Trevor
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink |

        Additionally, consider that the NBN as a project is being driven ‘top-down’; that is, the Govt of the day created NBN Co as a project to deliver certain objectives. This is not about releasing products as they become technically feasible, it’s about finding products to deliver your policy objectives. So whether a product is technically fibre, wireless or satellite is irrelevant as far as policy objectives and as far as products delivered to consumers are concerned. This is what ‘technology agnostic’ actually means – the underlying technology is irrelevant as far as both politicians and consumers are concerned (paying attention, MT?). This has been the obvious and evident strategy from day one, so I don’t see why anyone is surprised by the continuation of this strategy or expects it to change.

        • Mathew
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink |

          > Additionally, consider that the NBN as a project is being driven ‘top-down’; that is, the Govt of the day created NBN Co as a project to deliver certain objectives. This is not about releasing products as they become technically feasible, it’s about finding products to deliver your policy objectives.

          Which is exactly why Labor should be held accountable for the fact that speed tiers exist. 50% connecting at 12/1Mbps should be considered a national shame.

          • NPSF3000
            Posted 06/02/2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink |

            “50% connecting at 12/1Mbps should be considered a national shame.”

            It would be if it wasn’t fiction from your mind.

            Unless you care to share a source?

            • Hubert Cumberdale
              Posted 06/02/2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink |

              “Unless you care to share a source?”

              Source is the corporate plan. MM believes this a historical document telewarped from the future describing the past. Should you chose to read this document be warned; due to the temporal displacement there is radiation which may cause ocular damage so you may not be able to read the graphs contained in it correctly. The relevant information has been extracted by my trained team of professionals so you need not put yourself in any danger. The 50% figure he is referring to is for the years 2013 to 2014 after that it drops off to 46% and eventually 36% in 2028 where an overwhelming majority of 64% will be on 25/5mbps plans and higher. Furthermore 51% will be on 100/40mbps and higher plans. This IS history remember ;-)

              • Mathew
                Posted 06/02/2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink |

                > Source is the corporate plan. MM believes this a historical document telewarped from the future describing the past.

                Whereas the NBN fanbois refuse to even contemplate that NBNCo are offering anything less than the world’s best, ignoring what the Corporate Plan contains and Google Fibre. So far the evidence suggests that NBNCo have been overly optimistic in their planning.

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 06/02/2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink |

                  “NBNCo are offering anything less than the world’s best”

                  Is the corporate plan the “world’s best” prediction? Tell me. Is it?

                  “ignoring what the Corporate Plan”

                  No one is ignoring it. We simply reject your erroneous interpretation of it. Hope that helps.

                  “So far the evidence suggests”

                  So far the evidence suggests you simply don’t have a clue.

                  • Mathew
                    Posted 07/02/2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink |

                    > Is the corporate plan the “world’s best” prediction? Tell me. Is it?

                    I didn’t use prediction. I directly referred you to Google Fibre which I would assume that anyone with a slight interest in the topic would have some knowledge of. I suggest you read what Google are rolling out and compare it to what is being rolled out by NBNCo. I suspect even the most biased would have to agree that the Google Fibre solution is far superior in every facet.

                    • Posted 07/02/2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink |

                      @Matthew

                      And your point? So Google, a company who is out to get profit, can do something better than the NBN for a VERY small, HIGH DENSITY section of the US population it can make money off. How is this at all comparable to a network that will cover 10 times the premises at over 5000 times the area??

                      You’re now saying the NBN isn’t going far enough WHILE saying they won’t make the money they’ve predicted and apparently that’s not good enough. Remind me never to go into business with you…

                    • Hubert Cumberdale
                      Posted 07/02/2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink |

                      “I suspect even the most biased would have to agree that the Google Fibre solution is far superior in every facet.”

                      OK, let’s talk about Google and 1gbps.

                      No one is disputing 1gbps would be awesome for all. Thing is in our case we really have to build the network first and there is more to it than just the last mile. (According to you the NBN is 121 separate networks, so you should know this). The NBN is far more ambitious. It is “121 separate networks” (your words) covering 12+ million premises over I don’t even know how many cities and towns. Google can do what they do because they don’t have to worry about subsidising those in other areas like NBNco do.

                      Thing is 1gbps is something that can be changed and modified with a flick of a switch and at any time so why quibble about it now? It’s really not going to make any or much of a difference until more or even the majority are connected. This argument of yours would have more weight if there was more of a network to argue about. Assuming it gets built as planned I imagine in 2021 you’ll have 12 million premises agreeing with you. At this point your criticism of NBNco regarding the tiers are simply childish and narrow minded, NBNco are not Google and Australia is not America. Further more spamcasting it on every tech website like an infantile drone for yet another two years is not going to achieve anything. So far it has achieved NOTHING except expose your own idiocy. Wrong audience too. So perhaps if you really are sincere with your tiers = whoooooooo evil message you could try another avenue like have you ever contacted NBNco regarding your concerns? I’d be curious to see the reply if you have or do.

                      Oh and for the record don’t take my comments as implicit support for everything NBNco do because I have long said that the 12/1mbps plan on fibre is useless and the lowest should be 25/5 or 50/20. Most people agree with me that it is useless and that’s why we already see 12/1mbps as the least popular plan, but we all know the reason why it must remain for now… It certainly is funny how the corporate plan you cling to cites 36% will be on this speed in 2028. In 2028 I doubt this plan will even exist. I’m willing to bet big money that it won’t. How about you?

                    • Tinman_au
                      Posted 08/02/2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink |

                      The NBN is “next gen” enough, we don’t need to gold plate it ;o)

                    • Tinman_au
                      Posted 08/02/2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

                      But I agree with Mat about the speed tiers though, they shouldn’t exist. The only tiers should be data cap ones.

                      You don’t build a High Speed Rail track, and then run steam trains on it (speed), but you do run services at different distances (data)…

              • NPSF3000
                Posted 06/02/2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink |

                “Source is the corporate plan.”

                Nope, Mathew clearly stated:

                “50% connecting at 12/1Mbps”

                Not a word of ‘prediction’ or ‘forecast’.

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 06/02/2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink |

                  “Not a word of ‘prediction’ or ‘forecast’.”

                  Yes, seems you are correct here. Well that would mean he would need to provide evidence to back up his claim. As I understand the comments policy (http://delimiter.com.au/comments-policy/) takes exception to “Comments which inject demonstrably false information into the debate”.

    18. Nich
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

      It depends if the 25Mbps is a soft cap (suggested speed you’ll always get, but possibly higher if local congestion is low), or if it’s implemented as a hard cap (pre-allocate bandwidth to better plan network expansion without the oddball customer who is sad that they no longer receiver higher than advertised speeds).

      The wording all reeks of advertising maximum speeds, which makes one wonder why all this testing was needed at all.

      I’d rather see them advertise minimum speeds rather than maximum speeds for shared wireless tech.

      • Mathew
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink |

        > The wording all reeks of advertising maximum speeds, which makes one wonder why all this testing was needed at all.

        Fibre is exactly the same, all that is promised by NBNCo is peak information rate (PIR). If you want committed information rate (CIR), then you need to pay extra – 5/5Mbps is $330/month wholesale according to page 66 of the Corporate Plan 2012-15.

    19. Daniel Myles
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink |

      All the comments here but nobody has pointed out that despite all the wonderful numbers floating around in regards to the new speeds, latency is and will always continue to be a problem regardless of any dl / ul figures.

      • Trevor
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink |

        For geostationary satellites, yes, but not wireless. It would be interesting if NBN Co found their income was such that they could afford to extend the fibre network out to an increasingly greater percentage of the country as time went on, so by the time the satellite and fixed wireless needed replacing they’d no longer be needed anyway…

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 07/02/2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink |

          That is one thing I think has been forgotten in this debate. NBNco doesn’t just fix a problem we have now it puts in place the structure to prevent it from reoccurring. As a GBE the government of the day can direct NBNco to expand its fiber foot print, continuously improve the speed offerings or even activate new service options that might appear in the future(like enabling multicasting; which is happening). Without private shareholders to worry about funds can be channeled back into the network.

    20. quink
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink |

      Of course the speeds NBN offers are artificial. In fact, the whole thing, fibre included, is just a cross-section of managing contention in the infrastructure built and maximising revenue. Every network or piece of infrastructure has the same thing going on. The only question is quite how ethical a business will be about this.

    21. Glenn
      Posted 06/02/2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink |

      So the pollies take a trip out to ‘rural Bungendore’ to announce this rural upgrade. Catch is Bungendore is slated for Fibre, so the location is pointless. Ok so maybe nbn has announced Bungendore’s wireless towers etc are going up for the outer lying areas. Nup!

      Jokers all of them.

      • Resident
        Posted 06/02/2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink |

        Bungendore does have a reasonable population outside the township that have a fairly poor ADSL connection given the distance. “IF” NBN are sensible in placing their tower(s) in a really good spot it could benefit the semi-rural types really well. For the village, yes it is a bit pointless, fibre to the home will always be miles better.
        Given Bungendore isn’t on the 3 year fibre map yet, it’s not worth holding ones breath given the potentially incoming Government (aka opposition) want to spoil this good plan with FTTN. If you want to see how bad FTTN can work look at Transact!

    22. andyrob
      Posted 07/02/2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink |

      Ah, now the Farmers Federation agrees it is great.

      http://www.nff.org.au/read/3832/nff-calls-for-rural-telecoms-fix.html

    23. andyrob
      Posted 07/02/2013 at 12:24 am | Permalink |

      Irrelavent I supose because the nationals (part of the coalition/LNP) will toe the party line.

      • SMEMatt
        Posted 07/02/2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink |

        I’m fully expecting the KAP to steal a few nationals votes, I also think the nationals are only one or two elections away from joining the Democrats.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 08/02/2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

          Yep, they are pretty well irrelevant now days thanks to their blind support of the Liberals, who don’t always have the interest of “the bush” in mind (unless your talking miners). At least Katter is focused on this constituents needs (and is hilarious at times).

    24. seven_tech
      Posted 07/02/2013 at 1:20 am | Permalink |

      @Renai

      While I agree the timing of the announcement is VERY suspect, I don’t accept your reasoning along the lines of “why didn’t they release technical details then?”

      The satellites are being built by Space Systems/Loral and are based on designs VIASat uses – the 1300 series. ViaSAT use the 1300 series in the US to provide 70Mbps commercial services. Fact is, the PEAK service speed has ALWAYS been much higher than 12Mbps- we knew that didn’t we? NBNCo. simply want to make sure everyone gets a high quality, same rate service. I’ve also seen an internal roadmap showing launching of the 25/5 on LTSS was always going to happen at or before launching of the LTSS sats (2015).

      Fixed wireless is no different- we KNOW LTE (TDD) is capable of at least 100Mbps peak throughput. But NBNCo. are limiting it to ensure quality. That is nothing like Telstra’s limiting of 1.5Mbps ADSL- that was for profit. If NBNCo. opened up Wireless and Sat to full top download speeds, they’d be swamped and quality of service would drop off rapidly. They won’t do that. Hence the limited top speed.

      I’ll say it again, the timing may very well have been politically motivated, but the NBN is not trying to limit this technology because of profit- they have a responsibility NOT to follow Telstra/other Telco’s and provide stupidly slow services because of high contention due to high peak speeds. This was always coming. And I have no issue believing, even if it was several months ago and they waited for a good opportunity, now they have a substantial testing bed on wireless and have a good idea of design and coverage for fibre, wireless and sat compared to a few years ago, they can be more confident of providing those top speeds earlier.

      I’ve no doubt the timing was political. But I disagree entirely that NBNCo. are being coy with their technical capabilities. I’d MUCH prefer them to under deliver slightly on top speed than open it all up and give a crap service thanks to a few thousand selfish P2P pricks.

    25. Posted 07/02/2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink |

      @Renai,

      In light of the number of assumptions you made in the article. Maybe just for consideration, perhaps NBN relies on the vendors to indicate whether they can guarantee a certain data speed. Perhaps some testing needs to be done before NBN can say that it will be able to guarantee such and such speed over the fixed wireless. With mobile operators, even though the equipments are probably similar, you would realise that the data speed degrades as the number of users increase, whereas NBN has to guarantee a certain rate regardless of the number of subscribers.

    26. Slim Bim Jim
      Posted 07/02/2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

      Why lay all the cards on the table at once? If you have announcements in the bag then why not spread them out?

      Mal’s announced his FTTN nightmare so they drop another bomb which now makes the Nationals start to ask questions.

      I say it’s very well played and if the Labor Government are major investors then I’m sure some discussion with regards to timings took place.

    27. Stephen H
      Posted 07/02/2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink |

      I would be surprised if the NBN has been holding onto this for very long. It would have leaked.

    28. Simon
      Posted 08/02/2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink |

      Keep in mind, at least on the LTE wireless side, that the CPE can achieve is very dependent on your conditions. Do you have direct line of site, are there trees etc.

      The author of the article appears to approach it from a question of “what speeds is the wireless network capable of”. The answer to that though is “that depends on your conditions”.
      It is the wrong question to ask.

      The way data networks are designed though is often the inverse. NBN Co may specify “we require a 25/5 speed for these areas”. then the number of sites, installation conditions etc. are determined. So the 25/5 figure becomes the lowest common denominator and determines the cut off of whether a premises will have an installation.

      25/5 is certainly not the peak speed that is capable, but it should be the peak speed that is possible for all installations.

      Perhaps the same goes for for satellites and where you are placed in the spot beam.

      The question is perhaps whether NBN Co should impose limits on peak speeds at all (including fibre), but then there is no way of having price differentiation since their charging is based on speeds rather than volume.

    29. Posted 08/02/2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink |

      And you wanna know something really spooky?

      Ethernet comes in 10 megabit, 100 megabit and 1000 megabit. What’s the chance of that happening by accident huh, huh? All those 10′s like some sort of intelligent design guiding the numbers.

      Listen! Did you hear that? Twilight Zone music.




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