Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Why do we need superfast

broadband internet access to every home in the country - paid for by the taxpayer?
I am puzzled about this. Unless you plan to sit there and watch movies via computer rather than on television do you really need it?  So you even need to do that? What's the point?
The "NBN (National Broadband Network) is shaping up to be an election issue. The present government has an immensely expensive  project in place which, it claims, will deliver this super fast service to all homes by 2021. The present opposition is promising a cheaper but slower service at half the cost to be in place by 2019. 
It is unlikely that either proposal will appear in the promised form or by the promised date.
I do not understand the technology but my brother-in-law does. He tells me one uses fibre and the other uses copper wire. Fibre is supposed to be superior - for now. My brother-in-law also says there is absolutely nothing certain about technology. What is state of the art today can become ancient archaeology tomorrow.
What I do understand is the difference between "need" and "want" or "nice to have". It seems to me that super fast internet access is one of those things that is "nice to have" but, with the exception of a very few, we do not "need" it - or not in the way that many people now need internet access.
I need internet access. I need it to work from home. I know other people also need internet access to work from home. I do not, even on a big download day, need sort of super fast access. I can, apparently, already watch a movie on my computer if I want to do so. (I don't.) I could do Skype. (I won't.) So what do I need this super fast access for? What does anyone need it for? 
It seems to me that the supposed "need" is making assumptions. It is making assumptions about how much people download and how much they need to download. It assumes they need to do it very rapidly - seconds faster than they are already doing it. Oh yes, we are impatient. We "need" that virtually instant access - or do we?
What are people accessing? Why are they accessing it? When are they accessing it? If, as I suspect, most of it is entertainment or shopping related, then super-fast access is not needed is it? If someone can explain why it is, please let me know.
I know the education sector would be in severe difficulties without internet access. The medical, legal and other professions use computers and often internet access with it. Many businesses also claim to use it. Places like our library use it. But how many ordinary people use internet access at home all day, every day? Yes of course there are some but does it really justify the spending of billions of dollars?
It would apparently be possible to supply those who need super fast broadband to those who need it without that expense. The rest of us might just have to wait. 


virtualquilter said...

By the time the NBN gots to our place we will be wireless and mobile. Halfway there now, the rest in the near future, and in the future I think wireless and mobile will totally replace wires, cables or anything else which ties us to one spot.

widdershins said...

I agree with VQ ... I see a time in the not-too-distant future when fossils like my desktop computer will be connected to the internet via a wireless modem.

This whole NBN sounds like some bloke (probably with encouragement from the companies who will provide the 'service') got a bee up his bum and decided it would make a great soundbite for a vote grab.