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a personal IT moan « Previous | |Next »
April 27, 2011

There was a minor outage at Telstra's Victor Harbor exchange early this morning which looks like it took out the weekender's modem. Or so it appears. According to Internode, our local ISP, all their local customers have been reconnected except us.

The household has been operating on wireless broadband throughout the day and it is definitely not the best way to future-proof telecommunications in Australia for the next 50 years, especially if you want to work from home. Wireless broadband is slow, frustratingly slow. We have been tearing our hair out all day, and we are utterly sick of computers.

Malcolm Turnbull was in Victor Harbor recently telling all and sundry that "the Internet is becoming a wireless internet". This claim is disingenuous, as Turnbull, of all people, knows the limits of wireless technology. Bandwidth is limited, and what works today for a few users will become the Internet equivalent of road gridlock in just a few years. At least Turnbull didn't repeat the falsehood that the NBN will require massive rewiring in the home.

The media background is 'Where did the NBN go wrong?", then we have - "roadblocks" , "derail", "unravel", "NBN soap opera" etc, etc.. The standard narrative is a tale of woe and disaster.

People may be well be utterly sick of the myths surrounding the national broadband network. It has become such a political football. But it is necessary.

Though mobile broadband is excellent when travelling (it worked a treat in Tasmania), but it is no dam good for the day to day grind of daily usage. It's a living hell worse than the broadband that we have in Victor Harbor---it is just ADSL (1.5Mbps) not ADSL2+ because of Telstra's recalcitrance.

Australia's broadband is pathetically slow in comparison to most developed – and a host of developing – countries worldwide and what we actually need for our day to day work. ADSL 2+ is the minimum for working from home in the regions.

A fast broadband network – at this moment the NBN – is absolutely vital for this country. Health, education and utilities will benefit. What we need is a national network capable of supplying fast broadband to us. Nothing more, nothing less. Then we can have a viable form of decentralization.

So we either buy a new modem (it's out of warranty) --or wait for Telstra to fix the glitches in the local exchange properly. We then wait patiently for Nextgen Networks recently completed regional fibre backhaul link to Adelaide to be connected to the Telstra exchanges, and then hope that this allows Internode to offer us ADSL 2+ in Victor Harbor.

The NBN Co plan to backhaul all traffic to capital cities is a sensible approach rather thanjust doing the last mile from exchange to premises. The first NBN services in South Australia will be coming on line in Willunga in the next few months.

It was the ongoing glitches at the Victor Harbor exchange that rendered the modem useless. A decade of failure to deliver reforms to bring the goal of providing at least 12 Mbps universal broadband access at the lowest possible fixed price was due to Telstra lawyering up and opposing the reforms. The result is around 70% of Australians unable to get even 2 Mbps, and 30% with no broadband available to them at all.

As more of us work from home we'll be looking for neutral space to meet our professional peers. We might be using technology more and more, but there will always be a need for face-to-face interaction — and a decent coffee. So the coffee shops with free wireless will do alright.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:00 PM | | Comments (7)


There's no reason that homeowners would need to wire up their entire homes when connecting to the NBN.

We will need to pay to they may need to pay for being connected, just as we do for cable-modem internet, or for Foxtel, or even for a Telstra local line.

The only thing Malcolm Turnbull's arguments against the NBN can tell us is how much Tony Abbott hates Malcolm Turnbull.

We need to watch a fair bit of video in the scooter business, but we're in the wrong part of this suburb. It can take 5 minutes of buffering to watch a 2 minute video. Regularly.

watching video at Victor Harbor on ADSL is similar to your experience: "It can take 5 minutes of buffering to watch a 2 minute video. Regularly."

Occasionally--irregularly, we can watch video without the buffering. We don't bother try watching video on Telstra's mobile wireless broadband---the connection is too slow.

This week Suzanne cannot even file her work emails in her Outlook folders when working from home. Microsoft Office just jams up and Outlook goes into a systematic checking for error for hours on end.

Mobile wireless broadband can be even slower.

I have had a new iphone for the past 2 weeks and have been using it a lot. Havent struck any problems with Telstra 3g here. Bigpond home page fully comes through in about 5 seconds usually. Gets my mail without attachments in 5 seconds.

we may be already pretty far down the path to a mobile-centric future but using an iPhone for emails and net surfing is quite different from working from home using VPN, or downloading big government reports or sending very large files.

The post did say that "mobile broadband is excellent when travelling (it worked a treat in Tasmania)"


Yes......Its good to see that our Julia is taking broadband seriously and is modelling the latest personal satellite dish to the royal wedding today. Good onya Jules!