No point to NBN speeds: Turnbull

No point to NBN speeds: Turnbull

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday claimed there was no evidence that there was any benefit to end users from getting access to broadband speeds higher than currently available under existing ADSL2+ technology.

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TOPICS: Broadband, NBN
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Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday claimed there was no evidence that there was any benefit to end users from getting access to broadband speeds higher than currently available under existing ADSL2+ technology.

Malcolm Turnbull

(Credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull)

Currently, ADSL2+ is limited to a theoretical speed of 24Mbps, although in practice many Australians get much lower speeds from the technology. The National Broadband Network (NBN), however, will eventually provide up to 1Gbps as it is rolled out over the next decade.

Turnbull, though, didn't appear impressed by the higher speeds that would be made available.

"There's been no case made or evidence made that there is any benefit from having a speed higher than what we can get now in many of our cities, at least, from ADSL2+," the Liberal MP told radio station 2GB in Sydney yesterday. "If I connect your house with 1 terabyte per second speeds — the sort of speed you might get over a transcontinental cable — it would be of no use to you. There's nothing you could do with it."

Turnbull's comments play into the Coalition's line — repeated by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in a press conference on the NBN before Christmas — that the NBN would primarily be used for high-end entertainment applications in video and gaming.

"It's pretty obvious that the main usage for the NBN is going to be internet-based television, video entertainment and gaming," Abbott said at the time. "We are not against using the internet for all these things, but do we really want to invest $50 billion worth of hard-earned taxpayers' money in what is essentially a video entertainment system?"

Yesterday, Turnbull reiterated that the NBN would primarily be used for entertainment, and added there was no point to Australians getting high-speed broadband if there were no concrete applications for the technology. He pointed out internet video providers such as FetchTV were currently rolling out their services around Australia, using existing broadband to do so.

"In fact, I think they only need four-and-a-half [Mbps] download speeds to deliver it. So the big question mark is what is the use of all this extra speed at a household level?" he said.

The shadow communications minister also attacked the NBN on take-up; he pointed out that take-up in the Victorian test-bed suburb of Brunswick to the network had been 45 per cent of premises so far. In Tasmania, the NBN will be connected to every premise by default, unless premise owners specifically reject the new technology. However, in Victoria, the State Government is opposed to this so-called "opt-out" policy.

Turnbull described the Brunswick numbers as being indicative of what take-up numbers could be expected in other metropolitan sites around Australia.

"What you're seeing is that a lot of people who do have internet access now are not interested in taking up the NBN," said Turnbull. "So it underlines the point that we've made, which is that the NBN is only ever going to be able to achieve significant penetration at all if competition is eliminated."

Topics: Broadband, NBN

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Talkback

40 comments
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  • Mobile Internet will be the main choice for home users. Internet cafes if not Public Libraries will offer consumers extra bandwidth on the few occasions that most will need it negating the need for a home NBN broadband connection. The NBN will be Labor's greatest financial disaster.
    noelpeters
  • If we all lived in Turnbulls electorate we would be spoilt with a huge choice of fast broadband, but since the other 99% of australians dont live in North Sydney or Eastern Suburbs its high time we had equivellent services!
    NBN will encourage decentralisation of our already congested cities and an equal chance of business development for people who live in country areas.
    fibretech
  • 10 years ago, the majority of the population was on 2 mps ADSL connections, or thereabouts. Give some latitude for cable, etc, but most were around that. And at the time, people like Turnbull said exactly the same thing - we dont need faster.

    Move the calender forward to today, and how many people would currently be happy with a 2 mps connection? Its not about TODAY, its about 20 years from now. Building for the future, not the present. Something the naysayers keep ignoring or forgetting.

    The NBN provides a platform for growth that can continue for decades. A 1 gig connection might seem unnecessary right now, but technology and needs move on, and eventually it will be considered slow. I for one think that will be the case by the time the NBN is rolled out.

    I also think that wireless, while a healthy alternative, shouldnt be the primary option. It will still have its place post NBN, but as the main option? Well, thats just asking for trouble.
    Gav70
  • Here is a great pic of Turnbull and his colleagues talking about internet speeds: http://i.imgur.com/1GVfQ.jpg
    Harpo-3205d
  • SMBs need the NBN. Individuals may not.
    Patanjali
  • I am so tired of people who say ADSL 2+ is enough citing the 'theoretical' max speed. I live in Sydney but due to distance from the exchange I am lucky to get 4Mbs on a good day. This will only get worse as the copper gets older. There are many others in the same boat in metropolitan areas let alone the country. Those who are of the same opinion as Mr Turnbull need to think of the bigger picture - not the fact that they already have an 18Mbs connection so stuff everyone else. Think outside your own little bubble people.
    bubbear
    • Thanks for everyone who against the NBN. My house is 10km away from Melbourne CBD. We connect to TPG ADSL2+ ... guess what ... our download speed is 2mb .. please do not ask me about my upload speed.

      Thanks Turnbull for your idiotic.
      cien7@...
  • There is also no need for any form of transport that exceeds 30 miles per hour, as speeds this intense could be harmful to the travelling public.
    ptrrssll@...
  • Mobile Internet? lol, you are living in a dreamland dude and you think people want to go out just to get access to higher internet speeds? I think you've missed the whole point of communications infrastructures.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • "There's been no case made or evidence made that there is any benefit from having a speed higher than what we can get now in many of our cities, at least, from ADSL2+,"

    I only get less than 1mbit upload on ADSL2+, you think this is acceptable in 2011 Mr Turnbull?


    "If I connect your house with 1 terabyte per second speeds — the sort of speed you might get over a transcontinental cable — it would be of no use to you. There's nothing you could do with it."

    Actually there is plenty you could do with it.


    "It's pretty obvious that the main usage for the NBN is going to be internet-based television, video entertainment and gaming,"

    Just proven a business case for the NBN? Seems so, seems so Mr Turnbull.



    "In fact, I think they only need four-and-a-half [Mbps] download speeds to deliver it. So the big question mark is what is the use of all this extra speed at a household level?"

    Like I said I only get less than 1mbit upload on ADSL2+ that is no where near your 4.5mbit spee... oh wait you were talking about download speeds? oh crap are you kidding? I get about 16mbit on ADSL2+ and even this is not really fast enough to sustain multiple internet activities without disrupting another. Time to educate yourself Mr Turnbull, you can only be willfully ignorant for so long.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • @ptrrssll, You're a bit of a speed demon, aren't you?

    The Brits had the right idea in 1904, when it became law that the maximum speed limit for horseless carriages was to be 6km/h, and they had to have a man with a red flag walking in front.

    @Gav, I think you will find that ten years ago more than half the Net connections were still dialup. Who could possibly want anything more than that? Bah, humbug.
    gnome-8be8a
  • Aww diddums, so you expect the government to pay for your massive entertainment system with capital debt from China?

    *raises hand*
    "Uhh mr government, I would like a government provided car. And don't give me this standard realistic cost effective solution that is the most realistic solution that doesn't screw up the whole Telco industry. I wan't the big boys, I want a Ferrari, or hell even a Bugatti, so I can drive around in racing tracks at 200k's+ an hour for my own entertainment. While you are at it, give me a big government subsidized mansions for everyone to live in, those pools look pretty damn cool as well. Pretty Please?"

    The Labors NBN is akin to George Bush's policy in America where he tried to provide everyone the American dream (allowing any American's to buy houses on government debt). Conroy is providing the internet dream, without a care for fiscal or realistic concerns whatsoever!
    deteego
  • Couple of things
    1. Coalitions broadband policiy is to provide a 12mbit ubiquitous service. You are kind of arguing on the principle that Telecommunications will kind of freeze in time and no development be made whatsoever without the NBN, and that the coalitions don't have a broadband policy, and that the ONLY way to provide you better then 4mbits speeds is with FTTH

    Matter of fact is, all of this is false.

    2. The amount of people with subpar speeds are a minority, they are also a very vocal bunch who browse around on it sites voicing their problems and making it sound like everyone has this problem
    deteego
  • 900000 people are still on dialup in Australia. FCC did a report which said the minimum speed ubiquitous speed for everyone should be 4mbit, so meh
    deteego
  • oh look it's deteego back with the same tired and worn out arguments just like Mr Turnbull it seems, didn't get it in 2010 sure as hell wont get it in 2011... lol ferraris bugattis etc car analogies ftw, yay!
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • But I wan't my car, I want the government the use capital debt to pay for MY entertainment interests without any car in the world!

    That car would be pretty damn handy for me as well, considering that our hopeless Labor government didn't invest anything into transport infrastructure so where I live in metropolitan Syndey, we have a comparable 3rd world transport service (in fact apparently in NSW, we have the second worst transport system compared to other developed countries)

    But nah, I don't just want an improved train/bus service, me wants the best. Me wants a speed bullet train, coming every 2 minutes EVERYWHERE (but hey, its better then them coming at once every hour like they do know, so its the only option....right......?)
    deteego
  • lol more cars and now trains, you should get together with James Reyne and write hit song iirc he was always obsessed with transport methods too.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • And you can go sing with Conroy since you two are always obsessed with high speed internet
    deteego
  • Is that his CCNA coach with him??
    sierratango
  • You dont even realise how completely flawed your car analogy is.

    If we were to translate this over to internet/tech world then it would be like I expect the government to buy me a computer; I dont. What i do expect them to provide for me is the communications infrastructure to use it in the 21st century. Now back to your cars if I get a Ferrari (or whatever) I dont expect the government to give it to me, I buy it myself. What I expect the government to do here is to provide the roads to drive it on and not just for me but for everyone to drive on even the filthy poors with Holdens & Fords.

    Now begone from my sight, you are not worthy of appearing on the same internet page as me when you present such poorly thought out arguments.
    Hubert Cumberdale