National Broadband Network - is it really Green?

By Eco Guy 11:09am 29th September 2010
How green is the National Broadband Network (NBN) and what are the alternatives?

The National Broadband Network (the NBN) is Australia's answer to the digital age. Basically the plan is to provide 'very high' speed Internet access via fiber for 93% of the Australian population, with the rest using satellite and wireless technology to connect them.

Now on the face of this it sounds like a wonderful thing to do, but the trouble is does this really need to be provided to 100% of the population in this exact way? I'm all for fiber being used for the infrastructure, the 'trunks' of the network as it were, but do we really need fiber all the way to each home at a cost of $7,000 per home?

$7,000 buys an awful lot of energy efficiency for each house remember, for that sort of money you could do a lot to reduce heating and cooling costs.

Also, as shown by South Korea, the 'always on' very high speed Internet connection has a dark side - Internet gaming addiction - now a named and recognized medical condition.

Myself I think it would be far more practical to progressively upgrade the existing telephone system and bring fiber into high density urban areas where costs are viable and use 'last mile' technologies (like ADSL2 or wireless Internet) for those where the cost is prohibitive.

Also, the broadband connection is not 'true' broadband in the sense that other countries enjoy, for instance by 2012 South Korea will be up to 1Gb broadband - ten times faster than that planned now for us at the cost of $7,000 per house.

On this basis I actually side with the opposition in wanting a serious detailed rethink of what is being planned for Australia. We have a chance here to focus on getting the fundamentals for the future right, but doing it in such a way that we do not put down infrastructure that by the time it is completed it will already be obsolete.

Related Content Tags: broadband, australia

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