Vikki Campion guest post. Connection problems in the bush

IN A sex-plagued parliamentary year, no government has needed a budget to reset the narrative more than this one. At last media will have to focus on what many appear to have forgotten — the people. As a history-making spike of 43,000 people abandoned the city for the regions, already families are turning back for one reason — they cannot run their business with Third-World connectivity.

Take one tree-changer: Living in inner Sydney on 5G, their fridge recognised when it was out of milk, ordered it from the shop, and had it delivered to their door.

Since moving to the country, they have reverted to filing their Business Activity Statement on paper because they struggle to load the MyGov web page. When the district of Woorinen, Victoria, an agricultural powerhouse worth almost $3 billion a year, petitioned Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton for a signal, they complained the only mobile reception is on the highway and the internet is so bad students found it impossible to do remote learning.

Without a hint of irony, he told them to look at four websites and provided 12 email addresses.

“Residents may benefit from the use of an external antenna or authorised repeater to improve their indoor reception,” he said in his official reply.

It is not the minister’s job to sell boosters, which start at $1000, for communications companies, especially since TPG made a $734 million full-year profit in 2020 and Telstra reported a $1.1 billion net profit for the half in February 2021.

From the Moon, we could send back vision and audio — and now some 50 years later we struggle to do exactly that from 12km outside a major centre.

A 21-tonne Chinese satellite 2021 035B is hurtling towards Earth and will crash about when you are reading this, somewhere between Perth and New Zealand, but don’t try and call anyone in much of that area as they don’t have reception.

An international board member based in north-west NSW is the only one of his colleagues who cannot join meetings on video-link, even though his peers are Zooming in from remote islands off the Scottish Isles and the Maldives. Cluelessly entrenched bureaucrats from the “bush-city” with golden reception and taxpayer funded NBN spruiked a new National Disability Insurance Scheme app at Parliament, while it was told of aged residents in Queensland forced to crawl outside to phone for help after a fall.

And the family which reverted to paper to file their BAS spent $2500 on reception boosters only to find out they are only compatible with 3G, which will be turned off in three years.

More than a decade ago, Labor was selling us super-fast broadband internet promising fibre to every home and fixed wireless and satellite for the places that were impossible to get to. It was expensive but we would be set for a lifetime.

Then Liberal communications minister Malcolm Turnbull brought in the MTM — the Multi Technology Mix. Now MTM is an acronym that technology insiders refer to as “Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess”, and $53 billion later we have spent more than Labor intended in the first place and have worse internet than Vietnam.

We are also paying, through phone bills and taxes, for Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation to ensure standard telephone services and payphones are “reasonably accessible to all” until 2032. Why would you pay Telstra for a copper network when you have a nationally owned internet company?

This obsession inside the government with making the NBN profitable and selling it off has to end.

Who would buy a service that’s overpriced, irregular, frustrating, and when you have complaints, blame shifts between the company and the retailer and your software? Then gifts $4.3 million in bonuses to executives and $73.2 million in bonuses to employees? If the government wants us to buy boosters, they can pay for them out of the NBN bonuses.

Governments across all levels are responsible for loss-making ventures for the reason of service to the people, paid for in their rates and taxes – pools, trains, libraries, hospitals, roads – none appreciate and few make a profit.

But telecommunications are thrown into the corporate sphere, hamstrung by red tape which favours large companies and legislation that limits who can transmit, strangling out bespoke solutions which would work in regional areas where because of hills, trees, terrain and sheer cost, towers cannot.

During the bushfires, flying squads turned out to regional communities to provide reception.

Trucking in coverage is an admission of failure.

The whole point of the NBN Skymuster is that it is a signal from space that cannot be interrupted.

For many families, a move to the regions offers them an affordable home and COVID has proven that we can work remotely as long as the infrastructure allows it.

Problem is, it often doesn’t.

On Tuesday, the media will sit in budget lockup with a cold pie buffet and scrutineer each dollar spent.

Hopefully, their obsession will fall from the soap opera to the substance.

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104 Responses to Vikki Campion guest post. Connection problems in the bush

  1. sfw says:

    Starlink, if the gov had kept completely out of modern digital communication we would have much the same result as we do now just with a lot more money unspent.

  2. Petros says:

    Metropolitan scum don’t care about the country folk. Doesn’t affect them so the farmers can get stuffed. Only 21 deaths per year from quad bikes and tractors combined but the quads are effectively banned now. They won’t apply that logic to bicycles or scooters because that would upset the inner city douchebags.

  3. Sunbird says:

    I will only take you seriously Vicki when you criticise the LNP for something.
    This article is just National party proganda.
    Trying to create class war style greviences between city and rural voters.

  4. Rebel with cause says:

    So Catallaxy is now hosting run of the mill agrarian socialist pleadings? There are whole armies of bureaucrats in Canberra dedicated to looking after the infrastructure needs of rural Australia and this post seems to be requesting more of them. What will that do?

    And the family which reverted to paper to file their BAS spent $2500 on reception boosters only to find out they are only compatible with 3G, which will be turned off in three years

    Why is that our problem? Hopefully not all rural people are as silly as the above lot.

  5. Savannan says:

    Before you attack the USO too much, it is the only thing weakened as it is, that protects remote Australians from total exclusion.
    1. Satellite internet is the most casual of technologies and drops out shortly after the satellite TV when any sort of a cloud of size comes into view, or a plane load of netflix viewing Qantas passengers flies over (thank heavens for Covid).
    2. There is no mobile reception, the status of most of the continent, but absolutely unrecognised or understood by the bright young “I’ll text you” things at Telstra or any government department.

    3. Our “landlines” are VHF radio to a tower on the highway which then goes by optic fibre. Historically this has been a sound and reliable technology but I suspect a calculated campaign to not service adequately and to force us on to the intermittent internet. Our phones went out on 24 April and the news last night was “that we are short on technicians and the 10th has gone out to the 17th”. Death by neglect.

    When you are remote and communication has no options the old technologies are still king.

  6. min says:

    More than 4 years ago my granddaughter was volunteering medical services in the wilds of Tanzania no electricity but able to use phone recharged on one of those gadgets to do it .
    Vicki is not quite right in fact country areas are worse than most third world countries.

  7. Boxcar says:

    No offence intended, but, statistically, could the same history making spike be because people didn’t abandon the country for the city?

  8. Entropy says:

    IN A sex-plagued parliamentary year, no government has needed a budget to reset the narrative more than this one.

    I’m sorry, but I find this coming from Mrs Barnaby a bit of a cack. I can’t believe she went there.

    I might read the rest of the article now.

  9. Entropy says:

    Take one tree-changer: Living in inner Sydney on 5G, their fridge recognised when it was out of milk, ordered it from the shop, and had it delivered to their door.

    A gimmick feature used once, maybe twice.

  10. Entropy says:

    Starlink is faster, lower ping and higher bandwidth than Skymuster. End of story.
    The NBN is not the solution for rural areas, and never, ever was. Just go private sector solutions and free yourself from the government, satellite internet users.

  11. Tom says:

    Excellent column, Vicki. Much better to put it in politicians’ faces like this than send them a protest letter.

    People in the regions know most pollies are useless, living the dream in Canberra denied to the bush. Now the pollies know they know — with an election on the way.

  12. Bruce says:

    A while back we were “gifted” a nice new NBN connection and “hub” / modem gizmo.

    Now EVERYTHING operates via “the magic boxes”. Very “Gucci”.

    HOWEVER the two boxes that do the work are powered by wall-warts plugged into the electrical mains.

    So, no 230 Volts? ZERO phone or internet. This happened to me a few weeks ago. A “traffic incident” resulted in damage to a power pole and wires that blotted out an entire suburb for about five hours on a nice sunny day in a large city. The “fault” occurred right outside my house and the street was full of big trucks and gizmos operated / supervised by a couple of dozen people. Good luck with that sort of service if you live out in the weeds and the damage is widespread as it is in a decent cyclone or bush-fire..

    Yes, the mobile may work until the battery goes flat, but after a serious bush-fire or cyclone, the power could be out for WEEKS.

    In the “bad-old-days” of telephones that worked over twisted pairs of copper wire, as long as the exchanges were working, your home phone worked, because the exchanges were “hardened” structures housing huge battery banks and often back-up generators. The DC power for the phone came from the exchange.

    If a cyclone had just bashed in Granny’s roof, she could still call for help.

    No more!

    Mobile phones and “wireless” internet rely on reasonable proximity of repeater towers, ALL of which are powered by LOTS of mains electricity, again, hopefully, with back-up generators. However, when the cyclones or bush-fires demolish the towers, or the power lines leading to them, or the solar panel arrays and then the generator runs out of fuel, what then? whip out your Sat-Phone”? The battery-powered one?

    John Flynn’s pedal radios are starting to look attractive. As long as there is someone similarly equipped to receive your signal, and you know how to re-rig the big external antenna ripped down by the cyclone.

    CB or HF radio in the car (or boat)? How long will the battery last? How long will the fuel running the motor to charge that battery last?

    Solar panels? Mil-Spec, toughened, portable ones are the only way to go. How’s your budget and location? Is the rig big enough to actually produce enough juice to charge the deep-cycle batteries that can run your comms gear all night.

  13. Up The Workers! says:

    No worries!

    Labor’s telecommunications genius, Stephen Conjob (the renowned “Einstein of Footscray Council”), found a little patch on the back of his famous airline drink coaster that he designed the whole NBN on, which hadn’t yet been written on, and he has used that precious space to design two brand new systems for precisely these circumstances.

    One consists of a very reasonably-priced hollow log with two sticks (for which you would need to personally negotiate with and pay the Timber Workers Union) and secondly, there is the wireless version, which consists of a heap of branches, some damp leaves, a blanket and a box of matches (B.Y.O. Red Indian).

    Alternatively you could try stacking rocks in the form of the message you wish to urgently send. They can sometimes be seen from the air…or kidnap one of those deaf-signing interpreters you often see on the box of idiots whenever Government trough-snouters are vigorously bloviating to the taxpaying peasantry, and send them to Canberra with your urgent message.

    Labor – always finkin!

    Conjob – always conning!

  14. Kneel says:

    “…$53 billion later we have spent more than Labor intended in the first place…”

    If Gov had taken up Telstra’s offer to do FTTN for $30B, we would have been much better off. This was always the best path – trying to get fibre to houses from the get-go was a stupid political stunt.

    Exchange-to-exchange and other network all fibre.
    Then FTTN.
    Then FTTP for those who want higher speed than FTTN provides, or as replacement is required, or wait as we go back and replace all the copper.

    Full FTTN gives everyone vDSL on relatively short runs of copper – if you can’t get 50Mbps, there is an issue with the copper from the node to your house. If it’s everyone in your street/area, then add more nodes.

    FTTP gives you up to 1Gbps or more. Sure, we’ll all want this at some point, but very few need it now. Those that do need it now can pay for it.

    The point is, build it from the highest speed out – first backbone, then branches, then nodes, then premises. Each step gives a benefit to the end user and the higher up the chain, the more people benefit.

    Oh – sorry, I thought you wanted the highest benefit to the most people in the quickest time for the least cost. Silly me.

  15. Boxcar says:

    Thank you KNEEL
    After a decade of head scratching, I have read something about the NBN that makes perfect sense

  16. Cardimona says:

    The NBN frustrations are the inevitable result of government injecting itself into a field it knew nothing about and that should always have been left to technology companies.

    It was a massively costly vote-buying exercise that actually delayed the evolution of the most effective technology.

    All quite normal for the Australian politico-bureaucratic class.

  17. Roger W says:

    $4.3 million in bonuses to executives?
    I hope that wasn’t in the form of watches!

  18. Neil says:

    Internet for regional areas is the one part of Labors NBN that Turnbull did not touch. Under Labor they were going to get fixed wireless and/or satellite. Under the Coalition nothing has changed.

    So what is the problem??

  19. Kneel says:

    “In the “bad-old-days” of telephones that worked over twisted pairs of copper wire, as long as the exchanges were working, your home phone worked, because the exchanges were “hardened” structures housing huge battery banks and often back-up generators. The DC power for the phone came from the exchange.”

    Sure.
    If the phone itself was dead, you could also grab the speaker out of your radio, hook it across the line and “dial” by manually interrupting the loop – not easy, but with a few tries you could get triple-0 and have a conversation, even if you did have to swap between holding the speaker to your ear and yelling into it.
    And we also had omnibus lines where your neighbour could listen in on your calls and you had to listen to the ring pattern to know if the call was for you.
    And we also had phone lines using wire fences for cable, so when you opened your gate, the neighbours call dropped.
    And “ghost pairs” where the crosstalk was horrendous, but hey you had a phone of your own.
    Bit hard to have even dial-up internet over any of those types though – maybe 1200bps if you are lucky, probably 300bps. No remote learning video for that, eh?

    At every stage, the bushies always had to rely on last generation tech. Always have, always will. One of the costs of living that way. I know that we all need the farmers, and we should certainly help as much as we can, but that is one of the costs for those who choose it – part of the cost/benefit trade-off.

  20. notafan says:

    I still don’t have nbn in a Melbourne suburb.
    My friend in the US used satellite in her remote location.

    It was as said upthread, unreliable.

  21. notafan says:

    I didn’t know by the way that access to telecommunications was a fundamental human right.

    More subsidies for the ‘bush’!

  22. Shy Ted says:

    Scrutinise, not scrutineer. Journos these days! And can I remind you that taxes and debt are for giving to mates. And this budget is pure fantasy. And the national cabinet is illegal.

  23. egg_ says:

    Internet for regional areas is the one part of Labors NBN that Turnbull did not touch. Under Labor they were going to get fixed wireless and/or satellite. Under the Coalition nothing has changed.

    So what is the problem??

    Sounds like the same whinges that were on the Tamworth hosted ABC Q&A session yonks ago.
    Armidale being hooked up to the NBN c/- the Uni, of course.

  24. egg_ says:

    Q&A Forum: June 6, 2016 | Catallaxy Files

    Panellists: Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister; Joel Fitzgibbon, Shadow Minister for Agriculture; Tony Windsor, Former MP and Independent Candidate; Fiona Simson, Vice President of National Farmers’ Federation; and Robbie Sefton, Farmer and Businesswoman.

  25. egg_ says:

    Universal Service Obligation
    The Universal Service Obligation (USO) is a long-standing consumer protection that ensures everyone has access to landline telephones and payphones regardless of where they live or work.

  26. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare says:

    Agree with Tom, thanks Vicki, it puts a particular point of view very forcefully into the governmental arena. The NBN has been a mess since its drinks coaster inception, an unthought out thought-bubble that took too little notice of new wireless technology. We now have 5G moving ahead. Except at our place in Vaucluse, near South Head on Sydney’s harbour side where for years we have had intermittent mobile coverage, best out on the verandah, and only if you are lucky. Both Telstra and Optus told us we were sadly in one of their small pockets of ‘dead spots’. Vodaphone managed to provide a service that went over internet when the signal was bad. So we joined up with them for that. Recently Telstra and Optus told me by their coverage maps our coverage is now good. lol. All of this in Sydney’s wealthiest suburb ten km from the CBD.

    The NBN fibre is now at last in our street and to our home, May 2021. (Supply chain problems over the past five months, we were told). We’ve been on seventy year old copper wire till now. Well done, eh? I take Vicki’s point about the bush but parts of the cities have also been in the middle of a big NBN muddle. It’s such a bureaucracy, where some parts don’t speak to other parts of it. Muchos money wasted, I sense.

  27. Kneel says:

    “More subsidies for the ‘bush’!”

    I hope that’s sarcasm.

    If you want to be able to get bread, milk, meat etc, then you better help to some extent, or no-one will want to “make” those for you, or at the very least the price will go through the roof. Especially when the city folk all demand internet access for banking, Gov interaction etc, and those providing the services see the cost savings from it and push to get rid of all the old methods, which means the “bush” people lose access those services if they don’t have internet.

    Who’d want to live using 19th century tech when you can sell up and get 21st century tech in the city? They already pay the price of the tyranny of distance. Us city dwellers no longer suffer from it in any significant way, but it’s still a real issue in the bush, and it drives people away from those areas. It’s bad enough if you need to drive 50+km to get to the nearest shop where you’ll pay double or triple the price you’d pay in the city. If that shop becomes uneconomic, and it’s a 4 hour drive to the nearest shop, how many will stay?

    It’s already happening – has been for a while, if you care to look. The ultimate end would be disastrous not just for the people out there, but for the country – not only would we lose one of our biggest export earners, it would impact the mining industries ability to be competitive, collapsing another export earner.

    And for me, having those people out in the bush is great – I very much enjoy being able to walk down the street in a small town and say “G’day” to complete strangers without being looked at like I come from the moon. I wish I could manage to do it permanently, but my own circumstances don’t allow that – yet. Working on it…

  28. herodotus says:

    The problems arise because Labor overpromised, media and IT tyros cheered, and common sense went out the window. During the 2010 election Kerry O’Brien tasked Abbott to explain “peak speed” and then gotcha’d him as a techno luddite when he said he didn’t know all the buzz terms.
    Delivering good broadband by whatever means to this vast land was always going to be problematic in both cost and technology terms.
    There are plenty of places outside the various state capital cities where you can get serviceable internet of some sort.

  29. egg_ says:

    Remember Lizzie “no phone” from Tamworth Q&A, daughter of a local Doctor (according to Arma)?

  30. Ubique says:

    Bypassed the NBN and its bloated, incompetent and indolent parasitical management, both at home and my two business sites, by using the excellent wireless broadband service available here in Perth.

  31. egg_ says:

    Not Libby ‘no phone’ from Tamworth, that he had an obsession with?

    The Dr Wakefields daughter from Dungowan who was “besties” with Mr Windsor? Surely not?

  32. Eyrie says:

    One word, Vicki. STARLINK.

    One other thought. We’ve flown from Toowoomba to Perth at a few thousand feet and had internet all the way.
    Wonder if there’s business opportunity in hoisting a mobile phone to a few hundred feet above the premises by drone and using it as a Wifi node?

  33. egg_ says:

    Is Elizabeth (with a “z”) Wakeford at Hunter New England Health the same person as Elisabeth (with an “s”) Wakeford who was on Q & A?

    The very well connected Libby “no phone” from Tamworth.

  34. egg_ says:

    The problems arise because Labor overpromised

    Nerds at the time were demanding FTTH.
    Retards.

  35. egg_ says:

    If you want to be able to get bread, milk, meat etc, then you better help to some extent, or no-one will want to “make” those for you

    Quit the yoghurt weaving.

    Do you think people in Upper Bumcrack give a fvck about people out at Woop Woop?

  36. Spurgeon Monkfish III says:

    have a conversation, even if you did have to swap between holding the speaker to your ear and yelling into it

    LOL. I’ll have to try it some time.

    The National Brontosaurus Network Network* – bloody hell – where to start? It’s one the many reasons I’ve been known to get rather crankee with various Abbott boosters on this site.

    Instead of relegating Waffles Turnbuckle to the deepest darkest recesses of the back bench, Abbott made the puffed up waffling windbag minister for the ALPBC and the stupid bloody NBNN.

    The rest as they say, is history. What a joke.

    *As referred to by Smellstra itself.

  37. egg_ says:

    10.20pm:

    Elizabeth Wakeford lives 20km out of Tamworth and feels like she is in another era with a lack of phone and internet service. She’s disappointed this is happening so close to a regional centre and is calling on a commitment to fixed fibre to home internet.

    “Do it once, do it right and do it with fibre,” Mr Windsor said.

  38. AH says:

    The NBN is an internet tax.

    Everything would have been cheaper and better if the NBN were never created. Any further government intervention. will further reduce service standards.

    Yes, people in the country need to spend more for telecommunications. This is a natural consequence of living in a remote area and nothing \ governments should attempt to do anything about.

  39. Kneel says:

    “Do it once, do it right and do it with fibre,” Mr Windsor said.

    And run out of money 20% of the way through, so some people have FTTH and the rest have copper all the way to the exchange.

    As I posted above, get your high speed links sorted from the inside out – you can spread the cost over more years, while still providing benefit to everyone at every step of the way, bar the very last one.

    FFS, Telstra already has so much “dark” fibre that the bottle neck is between exchange and premises. Open that up first with FTTN and vDSL for everyone before you run FTTH. It needs to be done anyway, and the cost of the node is insignificant compared to running the fibre – why do you think all that “dark” fibre I mentioned exists? Because running a 100 fibre cable costs only a few % more than running a single fibre cable – it’s the installation costs that dominate. So you get enough bandwidth to the node for everyone to have Gb bandwidth when they do get FTTH.

    It ain’t rocket surgery you know – just common sense. Yeah, Gov and common sense, what was I thinking?

  40. Kneel says:

    “LOL. I’ll have to try it some time.”

    I’m not sure if you can still use “pulse” dialing any more, but if you can, this will still work. You can test if you still have pulse dialing by rapidly pumping the hook switch – should be 10 pulses/second rate, 1 pulse for 1, 2 for 2… 10 for 0 (what the old rotary dials did, which take almost exactly 1 second to return from dialing a 0). About half a second for inter-digit pause. Hard to do, but if you’re stuck…
    You don’t get much voltage from using the speaker as a microphone, but that works too – you don’t need much on the phone line, really. Just don’t try whispering. 🙂

  41. Roger says:

    Take one tree-changer: Living in inner Sydney on 5G, their fridge recognised when it was out of milk, ordered it from the shop, and had it delivered to their door.

    The most expensive bottle of milk ever purchased!

  42. mundi says:

    I feel like the Author is just gullible and has been taken for a ride.

    NBN is required to offer 12/1 to everyone. If there is no fibre, no HFC, and no PSTN that can achieve it, then you get wireless. If wireless cannot achieve it, then you get satellite.

    Seems like the person isn’t aware of what is actually available.

  43. Rabbi Putin says:

    Paragraph 2 had me rolling on the floor laughing. Poor baby can’t connect their smart-fridge to auto-deliver milk from them. Go milk a cow.
    Husband needs to divorce this foolish women, or at least ensure that she is never again allowed to post under his account.

  44. egg_ says:

    Telstra already has so much “dark” fibre that the bottle neck is between exchange and premises. Open that up first with FTTN and vDSL for everyone before you run FTTH.

    Dungowan probably has RCM (Remote Connector Multiplexers) and so no dedicated phone line to the exchange – so no DSL, even.

    As others have said – go wireless/satellite.

    Cable and Wireless (the original owners of Optus – “CWO”) have been competitors globally for over a century.

  45. egg_ says:

    If the phone itself was dead, you could also grab the speaker out of your radio, hook it across the line

    50 VDC across 8 ohms impedance?

    Smoke signals?

  46. Ed Case says:

    I stopped reading at this:

    We are also paying, through phone bills and taxes, for Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation to ensure standard telephone services and payphones are “reasonably accessible to all” until 2032.

    It’s called a PayPhone, when theNBN/Whatever is down, you take 50c, stick it in the box, and, Voila, problem solved. Used to be on every other street and outside Post Offices, now rarer than Pubs without TABs and Poker Machines.
    Are we paying for the Universal Service Obligation, or is it, y’know, an Universal Service Obligation?
    By the way, the 1223 Directory Info number Service has been shithouse for years, they invariably give out the wrong number.
    Instead of bleating about how bad JetSetters whose mates live in The Maldives and own Scottish Islands have got it, how about a screed on Telstra running dead on their Universal Service Obligations?

  47. Neil says:

    It should be mentioned that Howard/Coalition had signed contracts with Optus/Opel to bring broadband to the bush built by private enterprise with a govt subsidy which Conroy/ALP broke upon winning govt.

    https://www.arnnet.com.au/article/364175/turnbull_opel_better_regional_australia_than_nbn/

    The Coalition’s 2007 OPEL broadband project would have been a better solution for rural broadband shortfalls than the National Broadband Network, according to Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

    Some regional and remote areas have limited broadband access due to lack of competitive backhaul.

    The $600 million OPEL project was to deliver wholesale wireless broadband services to those areas but it was scrapped in favour of the NBN by Labor when the party rose to power in the 2007 election.

    The NBN promises to serve those areas with a mixture of satellite and fibre technologies.

    “If the Coalition Government’s OPEL plan proposed in 2007 had gone ahead, services would already be much better in many of these areas,” Turnbull said.

  48. Ed Case says:

    What’s your opinion on Turnbull’s overall performance as Shadow Minister and Minister for Telecommunications, Neil?

  49. Pyrmonter says:

    @ Rebel

    Yup – the Nats are back to the games of rural victimhood they played from the 40s to the 80s. Such a reassurance to hear the ‘Right’ denouncing identity politics. And, then …

  50. Yup – the Nats are back to the games of rural victimhood they played from the 40s to the 80s. Such a reassurance to hear the ‘Right’ denouncing identity politics. And, then …

    Total mystery why anybody rural would feel victimised.
    Paying tax like donkey, to see it spent on telecommunications boondoggles in metro areas, subsidised services in urban areas, & while getting only crap roads that bottom out the suspension of the HK, crap telecommunications, & sneering lectures that they’re getting what they deserve.

    It’s no mystery the only time the SFLs are an effective & sane govt is when the Nationals have them by the short & curlies.

  51. Colonel Crispin Berka says:

    somewhere between Perth and New Zealand,

    That’s tangential to the main point of the article, but… want to chime in anyway. The uncertainty range on the impact point is much larger than just that stretch of land. The area is spread over quite a lot of the world in longtitudes and latitudes.
    Considering the rocket body does not experience much sideways aerodynamic force until it is already a long way down, the de-orbit is quite rapid once it starts, and the spacing between orbital passes are quite large, this implies the large gaps between groundtracks are much safer than anywhere on a ground track. The greatest danger is two orbits either side of the median estimate.
    The Aerospace Corporation seems to have the best public map with frequent updates about this incident and (unlike N2YO.com) their website is working reliably.
    https://aerospace.org/reentries/cz-5b-rocket-body-id-48275

    So no it can’t be anywhere between Perth and New Zealand. The chance of hitting the Sunshine Coast or Dubbo is exactly zero. But there is a chance of it landing along great circle paths including: from Perth to the Gulf of Carpentaria, from Port Hedland to the Snowy Mountains, Rockingham WA to Bremer Bay, Rockhampton Qld to Venus Bay SA, or from Darwin NT to Yamba on the NSW North Coast.

    I don’t think the Chinese rocket has much chance of actually landing in Daniel Andrews’ back yard but, based on this map, as the very next orbital cycle after the median estimate goes right over north Melbourne and the Dandenongs, it is not impossible and actually more likely than most other places.

  52. Neil says:

    What’s your opinion on Turnbull’s overall performance as Shadow Minister and Minister for Telecommunications, Neil?

    No idea. I guess he changed Labors 93% FTTP network to a mixture of FTTP and FTTN meaning it could be built much quicker and cheaper. What else did Turnbull do??

    BTW here is the Coalition 2007 policy

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-announces-vast-national-broadband-plan-20070619-gdqezl.html

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Monday announced a 2.0 billion dollar (1.68 billion US) plan to provide fast and affordable Internet access across the vast country.

    Howard said Optus, the Australian offshoot of Singapore telco Singtel, had been awarded a 958-million-dollar contract to build a broadband network in the bush with rural finance company Elders.

    The joint venture, known as OPEL, would contribute a further 900 million US dollars to provide broadband of at least 12 megabits per second by June 2009.

    “What we have announced today is a plan that will deliver to 99 percent of the Australian population very fast and affordable broadband in just two years’ time,” Howard said.

    An expert group will also develop a bidding process for the building of a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband network, funded solely by private companies, in major cities.

  53. notafan says:

    The ongoing theme is people in the bush should have identical access to all services that people in the cities do and hang the expense.

    And as those shifting to the bush, all 43,000 of them, demanding perfect access clearly aren’t farmers well yes, I was serious.

    NBN is a crock and anyone moving to the country should do their homework first.

    Apparently that was too difficult for an ‘international board member ‘.

  54. egg_ says:

    Total mystery why anybody rural would feel victimised.
    Paying tax like donkey, to see it spent on telecommunications boondoggles in metro areas, subsidised services in urban areas, & while getting only crap roads that bottom out the suspension of the HK, crap telecommunications, & sneering lectures that they’re getting what they deserve.

    From the OT:

    Libby “no phone” from Tamworth (Dungowan) is in luck:

    “In partnership with the Commonwealth, we will build the first new dam in NSW for more than 30 years. The last was Split Rock Dam on the Manilla River in 1987. That’s why today’s announcement is historic,”

    Ms Berejiklian, Premier of NSW – Funding Announcement – 13 October 2019

    On Sunday 13 October, 2019 the Federal and State governments made a joint announcement pledging $480 million to construct a new Dungowan Dam.

  55. Petros says:

    Cross River rail in Brisbane $4.5 billion.

  56. egg_ says:

    Cross River rail in Brisbane $4.5 billion.

    Divide each by the population.

  57. Rohan says:

    What I can’t understand is why not this type of gear isn’t employed to service remote rural locations. These backhaul radios have range, bandwidth and very low latency.

    Cost of a pole with switches, power, UPS/genset would be $50-60k. It’s a lot cheaper than running fibre for hundreds of km.

    I’ve used the Ubiquiti network radios on sprawling sites that need to be networked, with links up to 800m. Typical network speeds per link are 130-170 mbs symmetrical and the cheap $90 units will reach up to 5km direct line of sight. And one site is running multiple VLANs through each link as well.

  58. Bushkid says:

    Rebel with cause says:
    May 8, 2021 at 7:58 am
    So Catallaxy is now hosting run of the mill agrarian socialist pleadings? There are whole armies of bureaucrats in Canberra dedicated to looking after the infrastructure needs of rural Australia and this post seems to be requesting more of them. What will that do?

    And the family which reverted to paper to file their BAS spent $2500 on reception boosters only to find out they are only compatible with 3G, which will be turned off in three years

    Why is that our problem? Hopefully not all rural people are as silly as the above lot.

    1. The family you mention had moved out of the city, thinking it was a rural utopia, then discovered what those of us who already live here knew. Who’s looking silly, then?
    2. You can diss the “agrarian socialists who grow your food, and the wool and cotton and leather (those lovely natural fibres and materials everyone seems to crave yet doesn’t understand where they come from), but you do have the option to try to feed yourself from your own back yard or unit balcony (if you have one) by raising and butchering your own chooks and guinea pigs, and growing your own vegetables and grain staples.
    Or you can stop being a smart arse and acknowledge that there are people who are growing that food and fibre for your nourishment, use, comfort and convenience, and that their opinions and needs are just as relevant as yours. After all, isn’t that what all this “equality” stuff is about?

  59. Kneel says:

    “50 VDC across 8 ohms impedance?

    Smoke signals?”

    Hardly – it’s heavily current limited. You do realise that ye olde phones had a carbon granule microphone in the loop, right? And that such was basically the entire load that looped the line? That you only needed to draw enough current to operate a relay in the exchange? That the only other load was capacitively coupled “speaker”/earphone part and it’s associated anti-sidetone induction coil, right? That there was a minimum of several hundred meters of 0.5mm twisted pair copper between the current limited source and the phone itself? If you still have a local loop service, why don’t you see just how much current you can draw from it – it ain’t much, I assure you. Ring current, on the other hand – now THAT can be nasty. 90+V AC.

  60. egg_ says:

    Elon Musk’s Starlink is now live in Australia. Will it really deliver faster internet, and to whom?

    Starlink is currently only available to Australians in northern Victoria and southern NSW (below 32 degrees latitude), though it says the “service will expand across the country in coming months”.

    Under the terms of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) five-year licence granted to Starlink in January 2021, the company can only provide internet service to “low and remote density areas“.

  61. egg_ says:

    it’s heavily current limited

    Only by its 600 ohms characteristic impedance.

    Some POTS terminations required 40 ohms characteristic impedance – outside broadcast specifications per GBE’s such as the ABC and SBS.

  62. HD says:

    I doubt Musk’s Starlink can reliably replace what 3G network coverage there is now. Likely as reliable as 2-way satellite as well as rooting the view of the night sky. 3G which is for the length of all the Federal Highways not a given on any given day. Continuous coverage driving between rural centres in SE Australia is unusual. The triangly bit that includes Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

    I live barely thirty km north of a regional centre of about 40,000 these days plus all the little villagey places there around. No 3G would mean no mobile phone. I require an external rooftop antenna to get 4G signal for either the phone or internet service. I am lucky to live on a relative plain versus the Victorians referred to in the post.

    Telstra did eventually put up a tower about 5km away. Directly the other side of that range of hills to the East which makes it sort of useless to myself. I did wonder was Telstra planning on marketing services to the wildlife in the State Forrest. I guess that prick that took them on the two year marathon complaint to the TIO perhaps came to mind when deciding where to put it.

    I recall the TIO arbitrator apologetic in explaining the most that Telstra could be fined for on that occasion, given clear breach of contract/ service not as described was quite a bit less than the cost of putting up a tower.

    Australia is such a wonderful place at times.

  63. egg_ says:

    it’s heavily current limited

    Only by its 600 ohms characteristic impedance.

    Up to 45mA into a 600 ohm termination = 27W?

    27W into a cheap 8 ohm radio speaker would create smoke.

  64. egg_ says:

    How many tree change retards want to live “off the Grid” but want fast internet?

  65. How many tree change retards want to live “off the Grid” but want fast internet?

    That Venn diagram would be very close to actually being a circle.

  66. JC says:

    Hi Vicki.

    Would you mind asking Barnaby if he knows anything about this blowharded claim posted at the Cat a while back. It’s obviously sounds like crap, but it would be good if could simply refute bullshit like this. Apologies for digressing.

    Salvatore at the Pub says:
    February 10, 2015 at 1:46 am

    You need to get him in the pub for a beer Steve.
    I reckon he could tell some tales…

    Never had Barnaby in.
    He knows who I am though (or used to) as he rather spectacularly dropped me in it a few years ago, and was rather shocked when someone pointed out to him just how connected was the “bush publican” he’d treated with such disdain.

  67. notafan says:

    Oh come on bushkid that’s not logical.

    I have lots of rellies on the land, all my forbears were farmers, including those who started farms from scratch back in the 1830s.
    If farming doesn’t suit someone they can sell the farm to someone else.
    No one is suggesting that there should be no services in the bush but exactly the same as the city?

    No, we all make choices as to what amenities we prefer.

  68. Diogenes says:

    FFS, Telstra already has so much “dark” fibre that the bottle neck is between exchange and premises.

    Kneel, with the exception of some country folk, nobody is connected to a Telstra exchange anymore*. If you have fttn then you have copper back to the nearest nbn box which is located within 20 or so meters of your pillar** . From there you have fibre back to the nearest Point of Interconnect(poi) which is often located in an exchange building.There are 121 pois rather than the 6 -12 nbn wanted thanks to one of the regulators, dont remember which. If you have fttp your fibre goes from your home to a multiplexer and then by fibre to a poi. Fttc is copper from house to pit on your nature strip, then fibre to a multiplexer then back to the poi.

    *one ex client of mine near Qld/Nsw border was further from the exchange than the exchange is from the nearest poi. His run of copper was over 20km long and literally strung from tree to tree.

    **when the 6 months was up after an area became nbn ready, nbn physically disconnected the last local pairs from the main cable from the exchange and connected the local pair to the nbn box.

  69. Entropy says:

    I am still trying to figure out how many stereotypical national party/voters actually pay much tax at all.
    It would have to be a run of extraordinary years to manage that. And even then, maybe get a new bookkeeper.

  70. PeterW says:

    Another “bushie” here.
    Posting this via wireless broadband, because I’m too far from the nearest exchange for the copper to work adequately.

    Wireless broadband does work, if I’m on a hill and on the correct side of the house….. and a public holiday hasn’t so spiked the traffic on the nearest highways that the bandwidth is inadequate. When it is working, it is adequate for video-conferencing and normal web services… I don’t need to download feature movies in high-definition in a fraction of the time that it takes to watch them.

    This is not about having the same level of service as the city. The NBN was about keeping high-def porn viewers and gamers happy. They were the ones who were subsidised. Business for whom high download speeds were required for serious profit, already had it available , at their own expense. Urban voters got it at the taxpayer’s expense because *new*, *shiny* and most swinging voters in marginal electorates live there.

    It was already known that most similar nations to Australia were not going FTTP. Mobile was considered to be the most rapidly expanding sector. FTTN covered that quite adequately (depending on how and where towers were sited) and web designers were already modifying sites and functions to fit within the expected limits of mobile service.
    It was already known that an increasing number of subscribers were abandoning land-lines – as have I, because $40/month line rental wasn’t worth the use.

    So NBN to the bush is a furphy.
    What we should have had, is reliable coverage for basic mobile services. Bandwidth requirement for automatic ordering (suitably queued) or monitoring systems is tiny, as long as the quality is acceptable and we aren’t getting swamped by transient traffic on the long weekend.
    What we should have is a system that doesn’t queue-up emergency SMS warnings so badly that many of them are not delivered for up to 24 hours after the fire has been brought under control.
    What we should have is a system that permits me, as an officer in an emergency service, to receive and transmit up-to-date intelligence.

    That’s not “agrarian socialism”. That’s providing a far more cost-effective service to communities, Services and industries than the outrageously-expensive, dated-technology, pork-barrel that is the NBN.

  71. yarpos says:

    we live regionally and have a reasonable service , I am sure there are issues and blackspots all over. I am also pretty sure its not Nirvana elsewhere. We live in Switzerland a few years ago. Lost the Internet on Thursday night before Good Friday, didnt come back until Tuesday, a widespread outage.

  72. PeterW says:

    I am still trying to figure out how many stereotypical national party/voters actually pay much tax at all.
    It would have to be a run of extraordinary years to manage that. And even then, maybe get a new bookkeeper.

    Haven’t voted Nationals since 1996.
    I have a bookkeeper and accountant, both excellent .

    The reality is that government taxes and charges are so embedded in my supply chain that I am paying passed-on taxes as part of my cost of doing business, even when I have no income. I cannot pass on those costs because my produce sells into international markets

    To quote “we buy retail, sell wholesale and pay the freight both ways.
    Tax-averaging does not compensate for that.

  73. Vicki says:

    I am “technologically challenged” – its just not my thing. Thank God – husband is great at all things technical. So, my understanding of technical issues, is rudimentary.

    We are only a bit over 3 hours from Sydney, but are considered a “remote” area because we are not in direct range with Optus tower. As a consequence, we have to utilise an “amplifier” (“booster”, I guess) to get a signal from the nearest tower for our mobile. When that is “out”, we have recourse to our satellite phone.

    Look – its generally satisfactory. But its also scary in the event of an emergency. And there certainly have been times when Optus is “down” for some unknown reason. We have then spent lots of time with Sat. phone trying to ascertain when,& if, normal service will re-connect. And Optus is SO unhelpful in these times – just difficult “conversations” with people with very heavy accents & almost no “comprehension” of English – although they can “speak” it coherently.

    Internet come in by way of satellite – but is, generally, pretty reliable.

  74. Vicki says:

    BTW. Our internet service out here, via satellite, is bloody costly. We use Active-8.
    But it is worth it to get Sky News, rather than the ABC or commercial crap.

  75. notafan says:

    Don’t farmers take into consideration all their costs including government taxes when they set their selling price?

  76. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha says:

    To quote “we buy retail, sell wholesale and pay the freight both ways.

    That was my experience, in some twenty years of running a broad-acre property in Western Australia.

  77. PeterW says:

    Don’t farmers take into consideration all their costs including government taxes when they set their selling price?

    Nice idea, but what happens when the market drops below your “set price”? Produce in store doesn’t pay the bills that you already have.

  78. JC says:

    Nice idea, but what happens when the market drops below your “set price”? Produce in store doesn’t pay the bills that you already have.

    It can actually. Miners do this even when losing money. It’s called cashflow and whoever has the cash, they’re king for a day.

  79. egg_ says:

    The NBN was about keeping high-def porn viewers and gamers happy.

    That’s why the propeller heads wanted FTTH, urged on by Conjob.

  80. PeterW says:

    Don’t farmers take into consideration all their costs including government taxes when they set their selling price?

    Was the above clear enough?

    The only way that I can set a price, is by refusing to sell.
    If I don’t sell, I don’t have income.
    If I don’t have income, I have to borrow the money to grow next year’s crops, which means that I’m paying passed-on taxes AND interest to the Bank.

    How long do you think I can keep this up?…. until I’m bankrupt?

    Irony is that whenever we get some compensation in recognition of the way that the system works against people with highly variable incomes, long supply chains and a free market…. someone – almost invariably someone who has benefited from the tax system – will accuse us of “agrarian socialism”.

  81. notafan says:

    I used to have a shop.

    Plenty of weeks I didn’t have sufficient sales to cover outgoings.

    That’s business.

  82. notafan says:

    I guess agrarian socialism was a dig at the author who was highlighting the woes of city slickers buying cheap properties in rural areas and getting cranky because they didn’t have identical internet services as they had in the city.

  83. PeterW says:

    It can actually. Miners do this even when losing money. It’s called cashflow and whoever has the cash, they’re king for a day.

    Focus on cashflow is merely going broke the slow way…. trying to delay it long enough for the market or conditions to change.

    Your example is wrong, too. Miners don’t pay their bills by leaving ore in the ground. Selling at a loss pays some of the bills, which is better than paying none of them.

  84. JC says:

    Focus on cashflow is merely going broke the slow way

    Yep.

  85. PeterW says:

    I used to have a shop.

    Plenty of weeks I didn’t have sufficient sales to cover outgoings.

    That’s business.

    Maybe it’s why you write about it in the past tense…

    Yes… businesses fail. Just don’t tax businesses like they don’t matter, and then complain about unemployment and lack of tax revenue.

  86. PeterW says:

    I guess agrarian socialism was a dig at the author who was highlighting the woes of city slickers buying cheap properties in rural areas and getting cranky because they didn’t have identical internet services as they had in the city.

    Ummmm……. do you really imagine that the only business outside urban Australia is farming?
    C’mon. Most of those moving to “regional” Australia are still moving to towns. Population centres of at least 1000 and growing. It’s not “agrarian” and it’s no more “Socialism” than keeping the roads, schools and hospitals up to standard.
    Nor – as I have pointed out – is it about having super-high-speed broadband identical to that in the FTTP-connected suburbs. It’s about having a basic, reliable service that is enough to run a business.

    Just kinda think about what is being said. Please?
    It’s not always clear-cut.

  87. FlyingPigs says:

    A great article Vicki.

  88. notafan says:

    Sorry Peter but if I were moving my now entirely internet based business somewhere rural, and I still might, I’d make sure the tools I needed to run it were available before I moved.

    That seems to be the gist of complaints in the article.

  89. FlyingPigs says:

    notafan says:
    May 8, 2021 at 8:48 pm
    Sorry Peter but if I were moving my now entirely internet based business somewhere rural, and I still might, I’d make sure the tools I needed to run it were available before I moved.

    good point.

    Relocating any business obviously requires planning.

  90. Nob says:

    Then FTTP for those who want higher speed than FTTN provides, or as replacement is required, or wait as we go back and replace all the copper.

    Full FTTN gives everyone vDSL on relatively short runs of copper – if you can’t get 50Mbps, there is an issue with the copper from the node to your house. If it’s everyone in your street/area, then add more nodes.

    FTTP gives you up to 1Gbps or more. Sure, we’ll all want this at some point, but very few need it now. Those that do need it now can pay for it.

    Well said.

    I found in the UK, after the private tech company had laid the network, including street branches, the broadband company (Vodafone UK in this case) came up with a deal for full fibre to the house that was better than my (perfectly adequate) copper connection from an FTTN (or as they call it here, “FTTC” = Fibre To The Cabinet) about 70m away.

    To extrapolate from what Cardimona suggests, there was no need for Australia to even have a legacy quasi-state company like Telstra do this, could have been any competent private tech company or a mix.

  91. FlyingPigs says:

    To extrapolate from what Cardimona suggests, there was no need for Australia to even have a legacy quasi-state company like Telstra do this, could have been any competent private tech company or a mix.

    exactly.

    It’s about time we doubled the number of States and quadrupled the number of House Representatives.

  92. FlyingPigs says:

    What is the difference between Australian Parliamentary representation and a Dictatorship?

  93. Kneel says:

    ” it’s heavily current limited

    Only by its 600 ohms characteristic impedance.

    Up to 45mA into a 600 ohm termination = 27W?

    27W into a cheap 8 ohm radio speaker would create smoke.

    FMD.
    If you don’t understand the difference between characteristic impedance and resistance, then I’m going to stop right here and just say that you need to consider that it’s better to remain silent and have people think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  94. Tel says:

    Smoke signals?

    Hardly – it’s heavily current limited.

    Standard test procedure is to disconnect everything from the line and then get the exchange to run one test … then second phase, clip on a short circuit loop and get the exchange to run another test.

    There were never any fires I assure you, and the short circuit loop doesn’t even warm up.

    The Optus DSLAMs have a nice feature for the support staff to pull up test results, and tells you what’s considered a normal range. That’s all I have had experience with directly … presumably the other telcos have something very similar available. The exchange knows when the shorting loop is connected so it must have some kind of over current detection that kicks in. You can be sure that all the obvious failure modes have already been thought of years ago.

  95. Kneel says:

    Kneel, with the exception of some country folk, nobody is connected to a Telstra exchange anymore*.”

    Yes, but the point is the exchange is existent infrastructure with lots and lots of bandwidth to greater networks – it’s where other providers put their gear and terminate their own network links. Pretty much the place where you start to go on supplier specific equipment, rather than common gear.
    And let’s be honest – most suppliers don’t have their own gear in anything like the coverage Telstra do, and will rely at least in part on Telstra to provide “wholesale” links to get to their own gear.
    My “from the inside out” comment in this context I am saying the “backbone” and “branch” parts already have the time consuming and expensive part (running cables) done – they may need to add equipment to actually utilise it, but the hard bit is done.
    So we need to get that bandwidth to the end user.
    By “working outwards”, more people get improved service.
    When everyone has that improved service, do the last bit to the house/business.
    If you insist on fibre all the way in one go, the rollout will take a long time and there will be “winners” who have Gbps fibre really soon, and “losers” who don’t get anything better than 8Mbps ADSL for the next 10+ years. That will inevitably be “this side of the street” vs “that side of the street” in some places. And there will undoubedly be political interference in which areas get “priority” (good if you live in a swing seat, I s’pose).

    I’d prefer that we bump everyone’s speed up to vDSL (say 50Mbps), before we start worrying about getting fibre to premises – if you want or need to have more bandwidth sooner, then pay for your own fibre.

  96. Kneel says:

    “The exchange knows when the shorting loop is connected so it must have some kind of over current detection that kicks in.”

    It’s much simpler than that – if you go look at the old electro-mechanical exchanges, the “line loop” (ie, loading up the line) was detected by a relay in series with the -50V side. The contacts of that relay then fed in to the rest of the logic of the exchange, detecting not just that you were “off hook”, but also what you dialed – it pulsed with the interruptions to the loop the rotary (mechanical!) dial created. Sure, it was made to operate for the specific load of a “standard” telephone, but you also need to realise that several hundred meters of cable has much less resistance then several km, so there was “margin” at both sides.
    Sure, it’s different now with digital exchanges, but the actual line signalling hasn’t changed – that old rotary phone still works (depending on the exchange and settings, maybe not the dialing part, but probably).

  97. Tel says:

    Take one tree-changer: Living in inner Sydney on 5G, their fridge recognised when it was out of milk, ordered it from the shop, and had it delivered to their door.

    Anyone who genuinely believes they are going to live far from any city centre and order milk on the Internet one bottle at a time, using some kind of “Just In Time” delivery algorithm … is a massive nong, unsuitable for living in the bush.

    And the family which reverted to paper to file their BAS spent $2500 on reception boosters only to find out they are only compatible with 3G, which will be turned off in three years.

    You know how there’s that unfair stereotype that country people are a little more practical and self-sufficient, while city people expect someone to fix it for them? Yeah, well Vikki, you aren’t exactly challenging people’s beliefs with this example family. There’s these things called “words” and they are written in the product description and the general intention is that customers are supposed to read that first, to understand what they are buying.

    For those people who find reading too difficult, there are professional installers who will read it for you, and hopefully explain it. I’m sure there are a mix of better and worse installers out there, just like there are a mix of better and worse plumbers … that’s the whole idea of having reputation, word of mouth, and even sites like “Yelp” etc … or in a country area you visit the local church bake sale which has nothing to do with buying cakes and everything to do with exchanging valuable economic gossip.

    Yes there are some lifestyle changes living away from the city. It’s never been the government’s job to build an Opera House and a Harbour Bridge in every country town, regardless of what “fariness” might say. You gain some advantages and you have other disadvantages … don’t whinge to other people about the choices you made.

  98. Mango Man says:

    If NBN fibre (not 5G) was the answer it’s painfully clear that the original plan was the cheapest and best. It was victim of the Rudd-Gillard-Abbott cycle of opposition as a form of government (and I note NBN was recently allowed by ScoMo to restore the original rollout with a new bucket of cash).
    One thing is obvious: everyone has become very conscious of data and speeds since COVID.

  99. Tel says:

    More than a decade ago, Labor was selling us super-fast broadband internet promising fibre to every home and fixed wireless and satellite for the places that were impossible to get to. It was expensive but we would be set for a lifetime.

    Yup, the ALP promised a lot … if only we had more grandiose promises how good would that be? Is that really what we are down to now … who can promise something even bigger and more unrealistic than the other guy? Always vote for the guy who can make big promises … what could go wrong huh.

    Then Liberal communications minister Malcolm Turnbull brought in the MTM — the Multi Technology Mix. Now MTM is an acronym that technology insiders refer to as “Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess”, and $53 billion later we have spent more than Labor intended in the first place and have worse internet than Vietnam.

    Telling porkies does not make an effective argument … especially when anyone anywhere can simply link to something that proves this is a complete pork pie lie.

    https://www.speedtest.net/global-index

    In mobile comms (presumably the most important thing for people in the country) Australia comes in 7th place, while Vietnam is way below in 65th place. Telstra provides a fairly decent premium service, yes they charge extra but you get more coverage in return for what you pay. You are seriously telling me that the “international board member based in north-west NSW” doesn’t have the loose change to pay for a few gigs at Telstra’s exorbitant rates* ? Or is this board member the guy too freaking stupid to figure out that when you buy the box that says 4G it’s better than the box that says 3G. And that sharp tack is sitting on the board of some Australian company, which I think says a lot more about this country than grumbling over comms drop outs.

    Looking at fixed comms, Australia comes in at 56th place, and Vietnam is slightly down at 62nd place. Not that this is a pissing match … anyone who looks at a map can see that Australia has large and sparsely populated regions, while Vietnam is a small and densely populated country, so it doesn’t even make sense to do the comparison … but heck if it was a pissing match we happen to be beating them.

    * The $25 Telstra pre-pay gives 30G of data, call it $1 per G and typical Zoom call might use 5G to 10G depending on duration and many other things … so the conference costs you roughly $10 … expensive for a phone call, but hardly anything to wet your panties over and on a business phone it’s paid for by the company anyhow. If you can live without seeing a bunch of tiny heads bobbing around on your screen providing nothing beneficial to the meeting, just use a regular mobile phone call and dial into the conference number. Sheesh … I should not have to explain that.

  100. Neil says:

    (and I note NBN was recently allowed by ScoMo to restore the original rollout with a new bucket of cash).

    Of course that is wrong.

    The upgrade is only for those on high speed plans plus you have to ask for it. Giving 93% of the population FTTP which was Labors plan thought up on that plane flight in 2009 (after throwing the original 2007 election promise into the bin) would be very very expensive and take forever to finish.

  101. PeterW says:

    Notafan
    Sorry Peter but if I were moving my now entirely internet based business somewhere rural, and I still might, I’d make sure the tools I needed to run it were available before I moved.

    That seems to be the gist of complaints in the article.

    That’s fair enough, and no different from check access to transport infrastructure if your business relies on heavy freight.

    The point that I keep trying to make is that there is an appropriate standard for what might be considered an “essential service”, that is far below what those in more effluent areas consider the norm, but which is still not reliably available to too many of us out here.

    I’m not demanding a six-lane freeway to my front mailbox. Just fix the damned potholes.

    Cheers…..

  102. notafan says:

    I’d like a freeway with about one fifth of the cars on it.

  103. Neil says:

    I’m not demanding a six-lane freeway to my front mailbox. Just fix the damned potholes

    Do you have a proposal to fix the problem you mentioned?? If so what would be the cost and who should pay for it??

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