CEOs, Libs still perplexed on govt NBN role

CEOs, Libs still perplexed on govt NBN role

Summary: Impatient Australians have long complained that the NBN will take years to deliver, but the latest wave of anti-government posturing goes even further by blaming the Gillard Government for failing to teach them what to do with fast broadband.

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Truth be told, I'd really like a panda. And I want Julia Gillard to buy it for me. Not personally, of course. But her government could certainly afford it.


Eats, shoots and leaves: since everybody's hanging silly NBN demands on the government, I'd like a panda. (Pandas eating bamboo image by Asiir, CC BY-SA 2.5)

Think I'm being foolish? In the wake of several recent publications proving many people still don't understand what the government is or should be doing with the NBN — I'd say my panda inquiry is no more ridiculous than the other, more serious proposals being floated about.

Consider Ted Baillieu's Victorian Liberals, who have long struggled with the balance between party-line NBN slamming and gratefully welcoming the NBN. Gordon Rich-Phillips, the Liberal technology minister who in November put in a polite albeit visibly uncomfortable appearance welcoming NBN Co's Network Operations and Test Facility (NOTF) to Melbourne's Docklands, spent part of his weekend announcing the Victorian Government's submission to the Commonwealth Government's Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC).

Among the highlights of Victoria's submission is its recommendation that the Commonwealth Government "develop a high-quality broadband roll-out strategy".

Yes, seriously.

Dear Baillieu government: I know you're trying to pretend like the Labor-led NBN is being foisted on all Victorians and is just woefully inadequate anyways, but submitting an official document with a recommendation like this actually makes it look like you're just not paying attention. Because if you were listening to the teacher instead of dreamily staring out the window, you would realise that all of these broad and bland motherhood statements can't hide the fact that the government clearly developed and outlined a strategy for high-quality broadband several years ago — and is executing it at this very moment.

All of these broad and bland motherhood statements can't hide the fact that the government clearly developed and outlined a strategy for high-quality broadband several years ago — and is executing it at this very moment.

Yes: love it or hate it, the NBN is well underway, in Victoria and elsewhere. Yet Rather than constructively critiquing it, Rich-Phillips has decided to play the fool. Suggesting the government set about developing a broadband strategy is about as insightful as suggesting zoos are failing to reverse pandas' abominable birth rate because they're showing them the wrong kind of panda porn: it's an iffy suggestion and hardly likely to address the real issues at hand.

Like pandas, of course, Liberals love to clutch at straws — bamboo ones — and have an aversion to public sex. As anybody who's endured a Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull press conference would know, they also resemble that famous joke about pandas: eats, shoots and leaves. But not even the pandas would be able to explain Rich-Phillips' second recommendation: that the government "improves mobile phone coverage".

This is a lovely and bland motherhood statement, but its practice would require industry interference in ways that seem to contradict the Liberals' own penchant against intervening in private enterprise's affairs. After all, building mobile towers is the job of carriers, not of governments; heck, the government (through NBN Co) is having enough trouble building its own wireless towers. What might have been more helpful from the state government is a promise to help work with planning authorities to fast-track the necessary dialogue between landowners, neighbouring residents and NBN Co so that necessary towers can be installed somewhere everybody's happy about — and quickly.

Equally confused about the nature of the NBN and the government's role is the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples (NCAFP), which in its RTIRC submission has pleaded for the NBN to be fast-tracked in remote areas.

It's an interesting perspective not only because it chooses as a primary use case the ability for jailed Aborigines in juvenile detention centres to communicate with far-away family — turning fibre to the premise into "fibre to the penitentiary" — but because it completely ignores the fact that Australia's most remote areas have in fact already been prioritised for the NBN roll-out.

They will never see NBN fibre, of course — but they are already being serviced with 6Mbps broadband through NBN Co's interim satellite broadband service (which, by the way, is also available across Victoria). Just as Rich-Phillips seems to be trying to forget completely about the NBN, the NCAFP seems to have ignored the fact that the areas for which its advocating can already get access to better communications.

No, its responsibility — and not the government's — is figuring out what to do with it. This is the hardest part, but it's also the one area where the government's responsibility only goes so far.

Not everybody agrees. Indeed, there seems to be a whole country full of NBN-ignorant types who are not only failing to register the actual state of the NBN, but are angry that the government still hasn't convinced them of the things they should be doing with it when it arrives.

And these aren't just the spittle-flecked, wild-eyed ranting loonies that swear the government is using the NBN to infiltrate our kitchens and spy on us in the showers; in fact, a recent survey suggested many of the Australians who are most confused about the NBN are the ones running our biggest companies.

The Australian Industry Group's survey of 540 CEOs nationwide found that just 55 per cent of CEOs considered their businesses ready for the NBN — down from 80 per cent in 2008 — and that nearly seven out of 10 had almost no idea what faster broadband would mean for their businesses.

Naturally, they blame the government. And why not? We already blame Julia Gillard and her cronies for everything else that's happening in the country; why should they not also be responsible for telling our business leaders how to use the cutting-edge broadband they're getting for basically zilch? Just how much hand-holding do we need?

If a CEO can't figure out without assistance how better communications would improve his business, I suggest that they should perhaps not be CEO.

I can understand your average homeowner needing some guidance to understand the NBN and its benefits, but why in the world are business leaders not understanding this stuff? It's hardly the first time communications has been a business issue.

After all, they are being paid considerable salaries to do the right thing for their business — and part of that task involves tapping into new technologies to help those businesses grow. If a CEO can't figure out without assistance how better communications would improve his business — even if that means running through a rigorous analysis and definitively concluding that it offers no benefit — I suggest that they should perhaps not be CEO.

If you think I'm being harsh, ask yourself: would the same leeway be extended to the CEO of a mining company that could not figure out the benefit of investing in larger tunnel drills or building more-efficient ore processing sites? Or a hospital CEO that couldn't appreciate the potential benefits of an electronic healthcare record? Or a retail CEO that stubbornly refused to concede that online commerce was a real and growing shopping trend that threatened his business?

Survival is all about adaptation, and the NBN is one of the biggest free kicks for businesses since the GST. If business leaders can't figure out how it will help them, what they need is not more education from the government; what they need is an early retirement and replacement with someone who can offer real vision for their business.

The extent to which special-interest groups seem ready to blast the government's lack of education around the NBN is nearly as amazing as the Victorian Liberals' determination to rewrite history by painting themselves as the progenitors of some great, imaginary broadband plan that's even better than the NBN. This sort of position echoes Malcolm Turnbull's blind insistence that the NBN is bad just because — you know — it's bad.

The communications gap between rural and regional Australians has been around for over 200 years and the government's broadly inclusive NBN is the first chance ever for every Australian to be given access to the same services. What these and other critics are failing to realise is that while the government is rightly providing better communications, it is not really obligated to tell business and community leaders what to do with them.

That's the part that requires creativity and thinking — and, in the long term, will sort out the visionaries from the bludgers. Much as with the pandas, those that fail to get busy in time, will find themselves the last members of a dying breed.

What do you think? Is it the government's responsibility to teach business and community leaders what to do with the NBN? Or should they take initiative for their own use of it?

Topics: Government, Broadband, Emerging Tech, Government AU, Networking, Telcos, NBN

About

Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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28 comments
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  • Great piece.
    I have a view that it is not only the role, but a massive opportunity for the ICT industry (mainly service providers) to develop and promote how we'll all utilise bandwidth. They have the customer relationships, skills, knowledge and commercial vested interest. Perfect storm.
    PhilCollins-43933
  • Well written Dave,pity some other Journo's in major daily papers don't tell the truth (boss won't allow them).I find all the info I need on the net (including video).
    eddietla
  • Nice work. There are two stories behind your story. Firstly it is no wonder that the first gfc occurred given the intellect of our captains of industry. Secondly if the 2nd gfc engulfs us the nbn project could soak up many retrenched staff and shorten its wonderful advent.
    me_notu
    rick.v
    • @rick: Your second point is dead right, but in the Australian context there's a bit more to it. At the moment we are shielded from much of the GFC by the mining industry, but when that tapers off, we are going to need the stimulus to national productivity provided by an operational NBN.

      And less seriously, if we are going to quote grammatical Pandas, we ought to do it properly:

      "A Panda eats, roots, shoots and leaves."
      anonymousI
      • Used to be Wombats when I was in the Army. Not many Panda out Tin-Can Bay!

        Regards,
        Mark Addinall.
        Addinall
  • "Or a retail CEO that stubbornly refused to concede that online commerce was a real and growing shopping trend that threatened his business?"

    I suggest the larger retailers already have adequate broadband. How do you suggest that a small to medium size business is going to be better served by 12, 25, 50 or 100 Mbps down or up to 40 up? There is a lot of hand waving about the "incredible opportunities", but what exactly are they? Do you envisage that small businesses will start to run their own on-line shopping carts, web applications, BLOGs from internal servers? All of these services are available RIGHT NOW to any small business that wants to get in on ecommerce. The Australian owned hosting company I use offers Domain name registration for $18, hosting from $5.50 per month and a custom page and web shop for about $1000 (once off). The data centre has VERY large communications pipes, 24/7 security, UPS. The backups are done automatically, the site is SSH secure, provides RDMS, Perl, PHP, CPANEL, analytics etc., so running a 100/40 Mbps pipe into a florist shop seems pretty pointless to me. If the technology is available RIGHT NOW to get small and medium businesses on the net, then why is it not being used? It isn't because FTTP isn't available. It is a social issue, not a technical issue. I really can't see small business in Australia starting to run server farms, do a crash course in Linux administration, PHP, HTML5, CSS, mySQL, jQuery, AJAX, web design ... can you? So apart from the very few "I'm a graphic designer/photographer that needs to send HUGE images around the planet" I fail to see what the NBN FTTP OFT is going to be used for.

    I see the NBN as offering high speed network capabilities to those that already have it, and not much else for the rest of Australia. Satellite has been available all across Australia for decades. I built a network across Arnhem Land in 1999 that covered Wadeye, Burunga, Maningrida, Millingimbi, Ramingining, Galiwinku, Alice Springs and Gapuwiyak (Darwin, Perth and Brisbane management nodes). So the ability to get communications to the outback is pretty well under control. The satellite services could be faster, but the NBN isn't planning to increase the speed by a great deal. Telstra, the NT government and Rio Tinto have just finished rolling fibre into the places I furnished satellite so many years ago.
    "Telstra's delivery of high-speed broadband to remote communities has been recognised, winning at an Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG) gala awards event last night. This is the sixth award for the Arnhem Land fibre project."
    "The $34 million project, which received funding from the Northern Territory Government and Rio Tinto Alcan and valuable support from the Northern Land Council, connects nine Indigenous communities and the township of Nhulunbuy to Telstra's fibre optic backbone.".
    There is a common meme around that nothing has been done to improve telecommunications in this country until Conroy and NBNCo popped up onto the scene. This is just not so. More than twenty years ago found me running around the country building great big satellite earth stations for country ISPs. So again, what is the NBN offering that is a paradigm changer? I can't see anything.
    I just had FTTH installed here in South Bank, Brisbane. PING to my provider, 5ms. SpeedTest.net reports 31.74Mbps down 1.45Mbps up. WHOO HOO!
    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1726478411.png
    Now I can do all of my work MUCH faster. Yes? Well no. As a software/network engineer, network speed is one of the lowest priorities in my daily work schedule. How long did it take to write your article? How long did it take to upload it? It didn't download any faster on my new sooper-dooper FTTH than it did 1 month ago on xDSL. Why is that do you think?
    Now, with my new FTTH technology I do an internet speed test to an Ookla server in LA.
    2.57/1.28 Mbps. Hey! What happened to my SUPERFAST network? It hit a router, a submarine cable, and another few routers over the pond, so browsing international content is not going to improve much if at all. It may get worse with Australian users giving the submarine cable a hammering under the misguided thought that Streaming the Simpsons was going to be a whole lot quicker. I just downloaded Debian live 1.2 GB and it still took over an hour. Still, I can get on with other things in the meantime. From a purely business point of view, how many people really want a super fast internet? Given any number of options are available including HFC, what percentage of people that have access to high speed internet bother using it? I don't want a discussion on the technology of FTTH vs. HFC, after 30 and a bit years I know both architectures well enough, I am talking about the uptake of high speed services that are already available. Nearly everyone wants the fastest xDSL available, because there really is only one or two products on offer. How many people take the BIGGEST and FASTEST package? A small percentage, less than 10%. Did anyone bother to look at the statistics of Australian internet usage other than "We are using more bandwidth"? I did. I used to work for the ABS and I know they collect and publish a LOT of interesting stuff.

    The phasing out of dial-up internet connections continued with nearly 92% of internet connections now being non dial-up.

    Australians also continued to access increasingly faster download speeds, with 71% of access connections offering a download speed of 1.5Mbps or greater.

    Digital subscriber line (DSL) continued to be the major technology for connections, accounting for 44% of the total internet connections. However, this percentage share has decreased since December 2009 when DSL represented 47% of the total connections.

    Mobile wireless (excluding mobile handset connections) was the fastest growing technology in internet access, increasing to 3.5 million in June 2010. This represents a 21.7% increase from December 2009.

    As for business (and government) dial-up, there are a total of 180,000 dial up accounts still in operation.

    Source, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 8153.0 Internet Usage

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8153.0/

    “Internet access in the home is dependent on a range of factors such as affordability, the reliability of Internet connections and service providers, and the interest and capability of potential users of the Internet. Socioeconomic characteristics, such as family composition, educational attainment and income are also related to rates of household Internet access.”

    Source, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4102.0. Australian Social Trends 2008
    http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Chapter10002008

    ibid.
    “In 2006, people aged 15 years and over, who had higher levels of educational attainment, had higher rates of household Internet access. People with a Bachelor degree or above had the highest rate of household Internet access (88%), whereas those without a non-school qualification had the lowest access rate (63%).

    Higher levels of income were also associated with higher rates of household Internet access. The highest rate of household access was for people in the highest income quintile (89%), while people in households in the lowest income quintile were least likely to have Internet access (47%).

    The influence of educational attainment on household Internet access reduces as household income increases. In the bottom two income quintiles, there was a considerable difference in Internet access according to the level of educational attainment. Those with a Bachelor degree or above had higher rates of Internet access than those with lower levels of educational attainment.

    In households with relatively higher incomes (top three income quintiles), there were high levels of Internet access regardless of educational attainment. For example, in the top income quintile, those with a Bachelor degree or above (92%) had a similar access rate to those who did not have a non-school qualification (85%).”

    This is quite important. A number of demographic factors are at play when discussing that nn% of Australians are not connected to the internet. Many do not want to be, and many can not afford to be.

    ibid.
    “According to the 2005-06 Household Use of Information Technology survey, 40% of Australian households did not have access to the Internet. The main reasons Australian households did not have Internet access at home were that the people within the household had no use for the Internet at home (24%), or had a lack of interest in the Internet (23%).

    Around one-fifth (22%) of households in the bottom two equivalised (that is, adjusted to take account of differing household size and composition) income quintiles stated high cost as the main reason for not having Internet access.”

    This is important enough to repeat. ***** The main reasons Australian households did not have Internet access at home were that the people within the household had no use for the Internet at home (24%), or had a lack of interest in the Internet (23%). ********

    That is, 47% of the 40% of Australians not connected AT ALL, simply DO NOT WANT TO BE.
    or;
    ******* one-fifth (22%) of households in the bottom two equivalised (that is, adjusted to take account of differing household size and composition) income quintiles stated high cost as the main reason for not having Internet access. ********
    Can’t afford it.

    So, only a small percentage of people who CAN HAVE >20Mbps at the moment use the service.
    There are a great many Australians (see above) that don't want an internet, any speed or colour.
    And there are a lot of Australians that can't afford the Internet.

    Nothing in the NBN plan(s) such as it is considers any of these issues.

    Regards,
    Mark Addinall.
    Addinall
    • Wow. Quintiles, % of %'s, copious citations from ABS stats. Obviously a lot of work but I'm afraid to say, 'all for nought' other than demonstrating how to TRY and use stats to obfuscate and TRY to support a POV.

      I was going to make a serious post but then I went looking for you, found you, http://phorums.com.au/search.php?searchid=796070 and decided not to bother.
      Tailgator
      • I am shattered you didn't bother. How am I going to sleep at night....
        Addinall
    • TLDR
      liquid8-0f15c
      • @liquid8

        Perhaps you should have read it, he made good sense.

        I'd just like to add that it won't change anything until management change their mindset and get behind telecommuting. We'll then see the benefits of reduced need for public transport, road & traffic infratsructure and the like and people *will* become more productive. Who wouldn't rather live in Lorne or Nurioopta or Byron Bay or Bundaberg than pay a fortune for a house that you then commute from for 2 or 3 hours a day?
        Tony of poorakistan
    • The real isue here is to what degree we want the govenment involved or if we should continue to rely on market demand and the private sector for the provision of services.

      Until I changed my account recently my mobile phone kept cutting out during business hours and more frequently on Friday afternoons. I mention this because I work 2 blocks from the headquarters of this well known tellecommunications company, and mobile phones are hardly cutting edge technology used by a small percentage of the population.

      In this country private carriers can only be relied on to be unreliable because the pie is just too small for them to deliver services that we need now, let alone what will come along in the future (and not just faster streaming of The Simpsons).

      There was no Internet when the PMG first installed the copper network. And only a small percentage of households had a phone then because they were too expensive. But as usage increased relative costs came down.

      And the resourceful and imaginative found ways to save time and make money.
      johnnyringo-86db9
    • A simile of your argument Mark: There are roads between Melbourne and Sydney so clearly airports are a waste of money.
      DavidN4-23388
    • Nice and detail research. It seems like you have a good understanding of the industry, but I feel you have been around for too long and too use to doing what you are good at to be innovative, hence you have missed the point of the NBN.

      No one is asking small / medium businesses to host their own web services and run server farms. This comment also connects to the point you made about the international backhaul links. You are right that if everyone is streaming data from overseas that it will create a bottleneck, but again the point is missed.

      The idea of having an NBN is to create the capability in Australia to host data. So people will be streaming content straight from the cloud which is hosted HERE. This will resolve your concern with the backhaul.

      Small / medium businesses can virtualise most of their IT requirements onto the cloud and stream applications directly. This removes significant IT startup costs and maintenance costs. All you need is a good network, being the NBN.

      I agree that most SME already have shopping carts and so on which the NBN will not really improve on. But you missed the point again.
      Take for example an online shop, all you have is a picture of the product and some specs to advertise your product. With the NBN, you can provide a personal demo of the product with HD video conferencing from the SME's warehouse. This is a new level of service, which comes close to having an actual sales assistant showing you the product in person.

      This is just one example, there's many more to come. All you need to do is open your mind and stop thinking about what you did for the past 30 years.
      powderboy
  • Try moving to the country for a while. I have friends living in Mernda, just north of Melbourne. Telstra only exchange. For an xDSL connection took nearly a year as no ports where available. This is not an isolated case. Also remember outside the major metro areas, users are slugged extra costs just for access to xDSL, and the plans are much more limited to what is available in the city. You also mention HFC. Can I get it in Dimboola or Cobar... no. Only available in very limited Melbourne and Sydney metro areas. Waste of time mentioning it. You mention (more than once) the work you did bringing satellite to regional areas more than 12 years ago. Don't you think they deserve something better by now? You then use ABS stats to show internet access households trend to higher incomes and better education. Are you saying the people of Rushworth or Woolsthorpe are less deserving. Everything you eat and a lot more comes from the country and rural areas of this country. Don't **** them off by treating them as anything less then equal to their city cousins. for the price of your Southbank apartment, you could have a nice house with a pool and tennis court on 5 acres within less than an hours drive with a good amount left over. Oh yea... the internet speeds suck and you have to pay more for less, best stay in the smog and noise.
    Why Knot
    • Stuff the country, bud.....
      There are plenty of places in the big smoke where reasonable speed internet can't be had....
      Next suburb from here (Red Hill in Sydney....no cable no ADSL2+), Narraweena... only ADSL these places are about 10k from the CBD.
      Just returned from Canberra, my son moved into a place at Nth Lyneham, only ADSL available.
      hl-0b512
    • Lived in the country several times, for quite a while. Did a fairly long stint at Mildura Base Hospital in the three man IT department taking technology to9 the bush. And trust me, I didn't do it for the immense riches on offer.
      The very remote probably do deserve something better than satellite communications. That is why I was pleased when reading the ATUG reports that Telstra and Rio Tinto had taken OFT into Arnhem Land. The NBN are not planning to do this, just leave them on a sat service. That is my point exactly. The current NBN model is upside down. It should be starting in areas that are NOT served well by any providers. I get FTTH by default, no choice. Telstra came and took the copper away and stuck in an OFT pipe, although the xDSL pipe I had (stumbled between 8-17Mbps) was OK, a lot of the copper pits took some damage last year during the floods.
      However, like most city dwellers I am spoilt for choice just HOW I want to connect. I argue that Australia would be better served getting better internet out to Dimboola rather than digging up South Bank to replace the connectivity we already enjoy. At the 2006 census, 41% of households in Dimboola had internet connections. Roughly 18% were Broadband. I would like to ask the people who had no connections, just why that was. The current meme in the media is that (IF 38% of Australians are not connected THEN that is because they CAN NOT connect) where, the ABS data shows otherwise, that it is a matter of
      1. Lack of interest in the net, and,
      2. Can't afford a connection
      The stats speak for themselves, however, anecdotal, my mate Keef out the back of Mildura is a farmer with a couple of kids and not a computer in sight. So I gave hime one of mine and a MODEM (Trailblazer, same as the one I used) and some printed how to get started. Three weeks later on our usual get on the back deck for a barbie and beers I asked "How's the computer going?". He replied "I haven't had the time to plug the thing in yet, had 40 acres of Zukes to plant, and the kids have been doing the last of the sully pulling out...".
      EGAD! A household that has no time nort little interest in the Net! How can this be so! The stats clearly suggest that when that data was collected, that the use of the internet had a very strong correlation with the
      1. Income level of the household, and,
      2. Education level(s) in the household.
      So, I am not suggesting that one set of people are more 'deserving' than others, just that some demographic sets have differing wants, needs and expectations. When Keef and Crampy and I had any spare time we would go fishing or hunting for fun and play, not surf the web.
      The infrastructure needs to address those that want better internet access, and that can be done in a more efficient manner than a FTTH topology.
      I work, live and breath on the net. Have done since 1989 when I had a UUCP BANG address. Given my occupation it comes as no surprise. However, many do not.
      If I lived in an area that did not have great internet access, I could still run an ecommerce site by hosting my site with a provider. The server is best NOT being in my living room for a multitude of reasons, my own mobility for one. If I take up a contract to do 12 weeks Perl coding in Sydney with perhaps a 12 week extention, I DO NOT want to drag a server room around with me. I leave the servers in a managed data room for a very small amount of money. People in Rushworth can do exactly the same as I do. I develop on whatever machine is close, usually a laptop, and then upload files when required. On this development machine, my TOTAL /var/www unpacked is 764 MB, and that covers about a dozen on-going and archived projects. If I make a change to a PHP, PHP, Ruby, CSS, HTML file, I am generally uploading between 10-50KB of code. That can be done on any type of connection, so have laptop, will travel. If you have a look at
      ehealth.addinall.org
      not a commercial site, just me playing around, I think it looks rather pretty, and is pretty quick. That site is in a server room somewhere in the USA buried in a concrete bunker underground and never moves.
      The total size of the application (including graphics) is 12.5MB. The whole system in a tar.gz file is a little over 10MB. These are not large numbers. Streaming movies takes a whole lot more bandwidth. I am just not sure that a $50 billion spend is justification for extra TV. So you see, I argue FOR the country, not against remote services. My satellite network up in Arnhem land cost $380,000 all up. I didn't make a fortune at all, but to give a communications network to those that NEEDED one was a priority. Telstra just replaced it with OFT for $36 million. I am happy for the remote communities as indeed the DO require better service. We city yuppies already have broadband in lots of different flavours. So please forget the "city boy doesn't understand the bush" line. I am one of thye very few network engineers in Australia that has been chased by a crocodile during a working day! ;-) I **** you not.
      Just In Time Purchasing. Not so long ago I purchased a 1TB SAN for a large government department. I was Manager Infrastructure and Network Operations. That SAN cost a bloody fortune, around $600,000, but at the time, I needed a 1TB Disk, so we bought the latest and greatest. I didn't buy 100 of the things because they were the latest and greatest, as now, a decade or so later, I can buy a 2TB USB NAS(ish) disk for $79. See why picking 'technology winners' over decade long projects is rather silly?
      "Do it Once, Do it RIGHT, Do it with FIBRE..." Wot a catchy tune. Same tune I heard some time ago when every MAN on the planet was urged to, and most did, adopt FDDI OFT. How many of those nets are still in operation? OFT is great technology, no argument. Most of the Australian backbone is already OFT. The process of delivering technology over the 'last mile' could do with a better think. I firmly consider the NBN plan is going to increase the 'digital divide' rather than the stated aim of decreasing it, and as such, find it very hard to support.

      I worked with a Greg Smith on CAMEL a few years back. Not you?

      Hope that has cleared things up a little.
      Regards,
      Mark Addinall.
      Addinall
      • TL;DR
        wakieAU
        • Back to the COMICs then.... Shrug.
          Addinall
          • Thankyou for your post outlining the many benifits of a reliable network connection. Before your comment I was scepticle about the governments plan. Now I am convinced it will be a great benifit to the country.
            omega-b9c3d
          • Gosh, thyat was so funny and so very droll. If you get REALLY good at angry birds, one day a job in IT will just open up for you, and the rest of your life will be as easy as it should be for a person with your outstanding wit...
            Addinall