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99% of Australians With Broadband By 2009? 313

Recently a study of broadband penetration rates around the world was in the news, because the US has fallen to 24th place worldwide, at 53%. Now comes word that the Australian Prime Minister has announced a $1.68 billion (US) plan to move Australia to 99% penetration within two years. If they accomplish this goal they will be the most-wired nation (South Korea currently occupies the top spot with 90%). The Prime Minister's plan was attacked by his political opponents because it would create a two-tier system with the country's vast (and almost empty) interior served by wireless at "only" 12 Mbps.
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99% of Australians With Broadband By 2009?

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  • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:00AM (#19561575) Homepage
    Remember - This is the same Prime Minister of Australia (John Howard) who phone spammed [theage.com.au] the continent prior to the last election, then paid his smug looking son to email spam the nation [smh.com.au].

    The reason Howard's talking about broadband (apart from the fact that he's running scared from a buoyant & surprisingly competent opposition with a better broadband plan) is because this will give him access to more Australians to spam, spam spam.

    My apologies for being ontopic. I now return you to your scheduled 'why broadband is crap in the US' offtopic flamewar.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:40AM (#19561853)

      My apologies for being ontopic. I now return you to your scheduled 'why broadband is crap in the US' offtopic flamewar.
      The problem with that sort of flamewar is Americans are complaining about 10mbps not being fast enough to be called "broadband". Or that there is a lack of reasonably priced gigabit backbones for them to host servers off.

      Here is Australia we're still using the good old tin can bush telegraph system provided by a now "private" and utterly substandard Telstra, which the government goes to for all telecommunications needs (ignoring other private company efforts). 10mbps is the speed at which the WHOLE of Australia communicates to the world with. Or at least it feels like it.

      In Australia, 512kbps (yes, you read KILOBITS/SEC correctly) is considered broadband. Lower the standards enough, and 99% reach is very easy to accomplish. We don't need "Fibre to the node" (which is really just another way of saying SOME people will get ADSL2+) - we need international submarine cables to the rest of the world.

      If Australian companies can't host servers within Australia because it is 10-20 times more expensive than equivalent hosting in the US or Europe, there is NO incentive for growth in Australian broadband.

      What Australia really needs is a huge overhaul of the telecommunications systems. Rip out the copper and put fibre in its place, which will solve the problem for decades to come. And this is certainly not cheap. But what you have to realize is that new housing estates are STILL having copper cable put in, and NO attempt is made to use fibre to new housing estates. For these new projects, there is no/minimal difference in cost between laying copper vs fibre. We're actually going backwards in Australia, not forward.
      • by implex ( 468133 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @04:45AM (#19562393)
        Actually 256kbps (yes, you read KILOBITS/SEC correctly) is considered broadband. And that's only download. 64kbps upload is acceptable to be considered broadband.
      • by dwater ( 72834 )
        I heard that in China, the gov are laying fibre whenever they lay a new road. I would've thought you could do the same in oz fairly easily, no?
      • by cute-boy ( 62961 )
        Yes the Australian company I work for host our servers in USA because bandwidth costs are so much cheaper, and we use quite a bit of that. Which is a bit crazy when you thing of that traffic, having done an intercontinental jump, actually ends up back over here in Australia taking up space on pretty much the same infrastructure. We can live with the slight latency well enough. Our sites are certainly not un-responsive (well one is... a Xen domU instance...).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        For the record, my mom has two houses in the US, in Colorado -- a fairly high-income and technically-oriented-jobs state -- and at neither house can she get better than modem access. At one, I've never seen modem speeds better than 28.8kbps. So 512kbps would be 20 times faster than the max rate she gets, so I would absolutely consider that broadband. Which is to say: quit yer complainin'.
    • by wall0159 ( 881759 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @03:02AM (#19561995)
      Further to this, they're focusing broadband roll-out on marginally-held seats (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/19/195 5664.htm) - if that doesn't highlight what a cynical election ploy this is I don't know what will.
    • You might have overlooked the possibility he simply wants to provide the circuses part of bread and circuses. Although it could also be a nefarious plot to spam people. Or both.
  • by flukus ( 1094975 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:03AM (#19561597)
    I saw our communications minister (Helen Coonan) on lateline last night. She had the perfect solution to change all our broadband woes, change the way the measurements are taken. That sums up the current government though. If you don't like the statistics change the methodology.
    • Hey, that's how we're doing so well here in the USA. The international (ITU) standard for broadband is "Faster than a T1 (1.5 Mbps up/down)". Here in the USA, the standard is "200kbps in at least one direction". If you Aussies want to upstage us, just define broadband as "able to receive radio transmissions". You can have 100% coverage and beat everyone!

    • by NoMaster ( 142776 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:54AM (#19561949) Homepage Journal
      So, she was still referring to "a gigabyte of power" like she was on the 7:30 Report [abc.net.au] a few hours earlier, was she?

      (Silly Americans are still dicking around with tubes - whereas we in Australia have Gigabytes of Power!)

      • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        So, she was still referring to "a gigabyte of power" like she was on the 7:30 Report a few hours earlier, was she?

        She actually said "a gigabit" - and while the terminology is grating to people with Clues, what she actually meant was perfectly clear in context (for those who didn't - or couldn't - watch, a gigabit of bandwidth ("power") [into the home]).

        However, people with such a poor grasp of the technology shouldn't be in charge of it. While I can excuse Howard for clearly not having the foggiest clue

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by NoMaster ( 142776 )
          I was pretty sure she said "gigabit" too - but the transcript said "gigabyte", so I went with that. I wasn't going to feck around with the whole video thing just to embarass the dopey cow even further.

          And, sorry, it still makes no sense even in context - it's either conflating two totally different things (power vs bandwidth), or showing a basic lack of understanding of the very 'initiative' she's promoting. Read the rest of the transcript, or watch the video - it's clear that she's got no idea of what she'
      • (Silly Americans are still dicking around with tubes - whereas we in Australia have Gigabytes of Power!)

        I heard the news reporter tell us that we will be getting 25 MEGABYTES of bandwidth. And I bet we have to pay 40 cents per megabyte too.

        Sounds like a right royal rip off to me.

  • by L0k11 ( 617726 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:06AM (#19561613) Homepage Journal
    There is a difference between being able to get a product and actually buying it. To say that 99% of Australians will have high speed broadband is ridiculous.
    • However if it does turn out to be true that 99% of Australians could get broadband if they so desired then that would be a very positive step.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )
      It is a bare faced election lie which will be dismissed later as not being a "core promise". My workplace has to rely on a 512/512 DSL connections because they are the best available 15km from the centre of a state capital - and those two lines are expensive - that has been the state of Australian broadband in many areas for the last decade. Communications in Australia have stagnated for a decade while the government has been arguing about selling off all the infrastucture at bargain prices and finding th
    • by wesley96 ( 934306 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @05:02AM (#19562469) Homepage
      Then South Korea is already pretty much at 99% - nationwide HSDPA networks have been fully deployed SEPARATELY by two carriers (yeah, it's an overinvestment) last March (KTF) and last May (SKT). If you have a capable handset, you'll get 3.6Mbit service from pretty much anywhere in the country. I've surfed internet from top of the mountains this way for a while.
  • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <{frogbert} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:08AM (#19561627)
    I think I speak for most Australians that post here when I say that I'll believe it when I'm connected to it.
  • by largesnike ( 762544 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:09AM (#19561631)
    As per normal, Howard's doing this because, after attacking the opposition over more or less the same plan, he discovered that the polls show that Australians want this. So he's decided to adopt the plan, but make it even better than the opposition's idea, by increasing the penetration by a massive 1% from 98% to 99%.

    • You forget the arse kissing he's giving us by delivering it 3 (or 4?) years earlier as well...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:10AM (#19561637)
    As discussed in:

        http://australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,2192 6920-5013040,00.html [news.com.au]

    the real problem is that the lack of links out of Australia means we are being charged way too much. This will only get worse if more people are able to get connected.
  • metrics (Score:4, Informative)

    by bobby1234 ( 860820 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:11AM (#19561649)
    99% looks great on paper but is most likely political vapour ware (or even worse not a core promise)

    The Australian Government has allowed the Telstra monopoly to restrict ADSL broadband in this country to an artificial limit of 1.5Mbit downloads for years now (only just releasing the full 8M plans). We also have restricted downloads (quotas per month).

    So the metric of 99% looks like we would be miles ahead but considering it is a political promise and the quota on downloads it isn't as good as it sounds.
    • by Xyde ( 415798 )
      This is true - is talking about using Telstra's Next G technology which isn't particularly fast nor affordable. From the bigpond.com site for wireless:

      $54.95/month 256/128kbps, 200MB allowance
      $84.95/month 256/128kbps for 1GB

      or if you want 1.5/384 it costs

      $114.95/month for 1GB
      $184.95/month for 3GB

      These aren't reasonable broadband prices for anybody but the very wealthy especially when you include that excess usage is charged at 30c per MB over, and usage is charged as upload AND download.

      Also add that they r
  • Potential Problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <{frogbert} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:13AM (#19561657)
    While this would certainly be a great improvement for Australia I have to wonder if we will have enough offshore bandwidth to keep up with the demand this network will create. Australian offshore bandwidth is in short supply after Telstra gave everyone access to 8mbps ADSL1 plans, I can only see this getting worse. As far as a short term solution I think it is time that the Government reformed library laws to allow an "Australian Online Library" that hosted television shows and movies for the country. It wouldn't be popular with the media companies, but then again Australia is its own nation so there isn't much they could do about it. I know it would never happen but it would be sweet.
  • by fabs64 ( 657132 ) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:13AM (#19561665)
    The reason that this proposal has been attacked, is because its way of delivering that 12mbps to the country, is with ADSL2+ and WiMax, instead of any real infrastructure upgrade.
    Obviously that 12mbps will only be available to those with an apartment on the roof of the telephone exchange itself, or who have access to the unproven WiMax option.
    The opposition has promised to upgrade the entire country's infrastructure to fibre-to-the-node, unlike the govt which is only willing to encourage private investors to do this in the cities where it is profitable.
    • Actually if you lived a stones throw away from the exchange you would be getting 24mbps with ADSL2
      • "Actually if you lived a stones throw away from the exchange you would be getting 24mbps with ADSL2"

        And indeed I do - and I do. Or at least that's what the modem pretty much says - 20mbps. In fact I live about 500m away (let's say 500 yards for metrically deficient people - no idea about how many rods that is, sorry).

        The restriction seems to be from there on, though. I can certainly measure an 8mbps connection to a test site in Canberra, but many sites are still pretty slow.

        Australia is the most urbanised c
        • by fabs64 ( 657132 ) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @03:45AM (#19562157)
          *sigh* and in less than 10 years, when your absolute bare minimum quick-fix wimax is once again well BELOW the bare minimum required, you now have to a) roll out a completely new and better wireless technology (presuming our wireless technologies keep improving at the same rate as broadband consumption) or b) roll out almost the same fiber optic lines to what you should have rolled out now.
        • by Marlor ( 643698 )
          The problem is that there are plenty of people who live in "semi-urban" areas in the outer suburbs of cities, or in "satellite towns", with terrible connectivity.

          I'm in the Hunter Valley, in a satellite town of Newcastle, and ADSL only became available at our exchange a couple of years ago. ADSL2+ is still way off.

          They would need to run less than 10KM of backhaul to connect us with the nearest ADSL2+ exchange, and the backhaul could keep on running to the Upper Hunter. However, nobody is willing to do this.
    • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:48AM (#19561913) Journal
      I thought the exact same thing.

      A foreigner would get the impression that our brilliant Prime Minister is taking innovative steps to bring Australia to the bleeding edge of Internet accessibility and uptake.

      The reality is that we are effectively in an election campaign, the Government is getting thrashed in the polls, and the opposition Labor Party announced an attractive broadband policy designed to lift Australia from its current woeful speeds and levels of access (256kbps is described as "broadband" in this country, and you pay upwards of $60/month for a capped allowance of 10Gb of downloads). This move by the Government is reactive at best, and a political stunt at worst. There is a widespread perception that the Prime Minister does not understand the slightest thing about broadband and the Internet.

      As others have pointed out, Australia's real problem is a lack of big pipes to the rest of the world. Add to that a government-created-then-privatised monopoly (unlike the US we didn't split our telco into "baby Bells", we just privatised it, gave it all the essential infrastructure, and let it dominate/distort the hell out of the market), and you've got broadband fit for the late 1990s.
      • I saw "our brilliant Prime Minister" on TV last night, he was talking to a guy sitting at a PC and asking insightfull questions such as: "How long does it take to download a movie?".
        • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

          I saw "our brilliant Prime Minister" on TV last night, he was talking to a guy sitting at a PC and asking insightfull questions such as: "How long does it take to download a movie?".

          Seems pretty germane, given that movies, MP3s and warez^H^H^H^H^Hlinux distros are what 99% of people want a fat pipe for...

        • by trawg ( 308495 )

          I saw "our brilliant Prime Minister" on TV last night, he was talking to a guy sitting at a PC and asking insightfull questions such as: "How long does it take to download a movie?".

          From the quotes around "brilliant", I assume you are being sarcastic - but that's pretty much the exact same question many people are going to be asking. Many of the small groups we have over here whining about our "insufficient broadband infrastructure" are doing so because they can't download their torrentz fast enough.

          Further - I saw that clip. It was a single sound bite. You shouldn't make any judgment calls based on a tiny clip that the media chose to present to you.

          • "You shouldn't make any judgment calls based on a tiny clip that the media chose to present to you."

            I wasn't, I was basing it on my 40+yrs of eating vegimite and my 7yrs working with Telstra exec's in the 90's. Anyway, I take your point that it was a "joe sixpack" type of question, my point was the question is meaningless.

            "they can't download their torrentz fast enough"

            Agreed, I have worked in the industry for 20yrs - persistent speed problems are almost exclusively the fault of internal coporate n
    • by trawg ( 308495 )

      The opposition has promised to upgrade the entire country's infrastructure to fibre-to-the-node, unlike the govt which is only willing to encourage private investors to do this in the cities where it is profitable.

      The people of Australia voted away their rights to have the government do things with their telecommunications infrastructure. They voted in Howard, who had promised to sell Telstra and privatise it, with a goal of making it more profitable, better structured, increase competition in telecoms, etc.

      Now all of a sudden the people of Australia are expecting the government to step up and drop billions of dollars wiring up the rest of the country? I think its ludicrous of Labour to propose spending $4 billion

      • by fabs64 ( 657132 )
        Privatising telstra the government promised that it would increase competition and provide better service, unfortunately the government was stupid enough to allow telstra to keep its monopoly upon the country's infrastructure.

        I realise this is what happens when you privatise a monopoly, however the majority of australians will accept the assurances of the 'great economic manager' john winston howard.
        But the fact that the majority of the population are gullible is not a good reason to let economically essent
    • Don't confuse this OPEL proposal with the recent G9 vs Telstra fibre-to-the-node arguments. This is an entirely separate thing, and much anticipated by the rural community (many of whom are still on dialup).

      Country towns are small - most houses are easily within close range of the exchange, and should have little trouble getting 12 Mbps. Outlying farms can use WiMax, and since there's relatively few of them, RF bandwidth contention should be minimal. And none of this affects the metro broadband debate one

  • by Matthew Strahan ( 1083417 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:14AM (#19561669)
    Why is the Sydney Morning Herald running an AFP report on an important Australian issue? The report's badly written, misspells the name of one of the two major political parties in Australia and measures costs in US$...

    For the record, much more accurate and informative news on Australian Broadband can be found at Whirlpool at http://whirlpool.net.au/ [whirlpool.net.au].
  • Bullshit. (Score:4, Informative)

    by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:19AM (#19561733) Homepage
    I live in a very well populated part of regional Australia. I can barely get DSL at 1500/256 and I pay through the nose for it.

    The state of Australian telecoms is utterly shameful and no amount of empty promises by this clusterfuck is going to change things.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:20AM (#19561741)
    Let's put this into perspective here.

    Australia is a big country. Really big. We're talking roughly the same size as the forty-eight states (ie: not counting Alaska or Hawaii.) All this space to hold a population that's one third the size of the United Kingdom (roughly - 20 million people or so).

    Rolling out broadband to the big cities, where the majority of the population lives, isn't all that hard. It's also pretty damn profitable. The trouble comes when you try to roll it out in the country; the population is pretty sparse (as you can imagine from the size of the country versus the population), meaning that you have a much higher amount of infrastructure to roll out, for a much lower return.

    The regulations require equality of access, as much as possible. That's a large part of what killed ISDN in Australia; it was priced at a level that allowed Telstra to at least break even regardless of where it was requested, making it too expensive for most people.

    To be blunt, I doubt that current technologies can make even a reasonable stab at providing universal fast access across the entire nation, or even 98% of the population. I'm more comfortable with the Labor party's proposal as being workable than the Liberals', but even then, I have my doubts. All this strikes me as being political hot air that won't go anywhere once the election is decided.
    • All this strikes me as being political hot air that won't go anywhere once the election is decided.

      In this particular case the hot air is all from one side, though I wouldn't generalise from that to too many other issues, where much of Rudd's appeal is that he will be as "safe" as Howard, but from a younger generation.

      This report had me running to my bookshelf to extract my copy of the December 1994 Networking Australia's Future: The Final Report of the Broadband Services Expert Group, one of the flagship e

  • Heck, No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:20AM (#19561743) Homepage Journal
    Heck, i could not even get Optus to provide a telephone connection to my apartment in Ashfield, Sydney, let alone getting me a broadband.
    My employer was in Hurstville and he has a 2 Mbps broadband line as small business.
    Most of the time, the line was out and Telstra support sucked.
    If this is how broadband is going to be, i guess Aussies are worse off than Indians in reliability of broadband.
    My colleague who was in production support for Westpac Bank, was "advised" not to rely upon the company-funded broadband connection to his home to remote telnet into their servers as it was not reliable.
    If Westpac could say Telstra was unreliable (and they are as high as Woolworths), imagine for poor folks at home who see their modem lights blinking...

    Heck, even in India (Chennai/Madras) my Tata broadband had a failure rate of 3 hours in a full year.

    Good luck aussies. Telstra will deep fry your b....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by glittalogik ( 837604 )
      The safest computer is one that isn't connected to the Internet. That's why I use Telstra Bigpond ADSL.
      • The safest computer is one that isn't connected to the Internet. That's why I use Telstra Bigpond ADSL.

        LOL so true! One of my customers put the mail servers in as mail.bogpond.com and I have been calling them that ever since.
  • Snicker (Score:5, Funny)

    by psaunders ( 1069392 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:23AM (#19561761)
    In the context of election promises made by Howard's government, I think the term 'penetration rate' begins to take on an entirely different meaning...
  • I think this story is a great spot to point out that once again Telstra has taken down their online polls [nowwearetalking.com.au] on their propaganda site because it wasn't swinging their way. When will they just accept that people hate their service, and that having an American group running the show is just adding insult to injury.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      and that having an American group running the show is just adding insult to injury.

      Currently this group is complaining about the Australian workplace culture. It turns out we never had slavery here and they are actually calling some groups of workers at the company "savages". Are US management typically nasty idiots with criminal tendancies or do you just ship the worst of them to places like Australia?

  • To be fair... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by distantbody ( 852269 )
    ...this plan is largely a catch-up response to the the opposition Labor Party who announced a similar plan a few weeks ago. IMO, the oppositions plan is superior because it doesn't rely on half of the funding to come from the private sector who would surely (and currently do) rape customers above and beyond what is a healthy profit and go into price-gouging territory. It is also FTTH (fiber to the home) as opposed to the government who, although are promising the same, are almost certainly lying and will de
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fabs64 ( 657132 )
      Actually, the opposition is FTTN for everywhere funded by government money as an investment. (expensive outlay, good return)

      The govt's plan is FTTN in the cities funded by the private sector (as they're profitable), and a mish-mash of ADSL2+ and WiMax in the country, in other words outdated and unproven junk. (inexpensive, zero return, no future)

      Gee, no wonder it's so cheap.
    • Well, if those profits are too "healty", why don't YOU step into the market, under-cut those prices a tad, and make a killing? And why not the next guy. And the next guy. And the next guy, until those profits are similar to those expected for other equally-risky investments.

      Wow. Markets at work.
  • There's a big difference between broadband penetration (how many people have access to broadband) versus the actual number that will choose to sign up to a monthly service. A service that has a fairly decent monthly fee, and hardware requirements (modems, wireless gear, etc.).

    To say that Australia will knock Korea off the top of the list is absolute bullshit.
  • At the moment I'm lucky enough that only my sister is experimenting with using the internet. I can't imagine the pain of having to provide tech support to 99% of my family who would be trying to work out this new internet thing.

    At least there's the hurdle of neading to be able to be able to buy and operate a computer. What would be interesting is if broadband connection was made to be mandatory when you bought a telephone connection. Then people would feel compelled to use it. That would really open up the

  • by dleigh ( 994882 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:32AM (#19561823) Homepage
    The current Australian PM has a history of announcing shit like this, allocating X billion dollars to it, with no results a year later. This is the guy who invented the phrase "non-core promise", from the same administration that spent 12 million buying every family a copy of net nannying software. Australians will take this announcement with a Liberal amount of salt (pun intended).

    Internet access in Australia seems similar to the US horror stories posted here. All exchanges are owned by Telstra, a company created when the telephone system was privatized. They charge each ISP a rental of around AU$30-50 for each ADSL line, which pushes up the cost of casual user low quota plans. Most people can't get anything faster than 1500K, and dialup is the best available in rural areas. Cable providers are few, come with anal restrictions (e.g. you aren't allowed to run servers), and have limited coverage even in urban areas. The government was subsidizing new ADSL2 DSLAMs, but they canceled that program earlier this year, so the only ADSL2 coverage is in capital cities.

    Whirlpool [whirlpool.net.au] is a good place to look if you want more background on the state of broadband down here.
  • by jimmybishman ( 1117297 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:38AM (#19561849)
    According to Tasmania's leading newspaper, The Mercury, the whole state is classed as regional and does not get the upgrades. Currently down here, the main connection we have is ADSL 1.5mb/256k. Some have a connection with a theoretical maximum speed of 8mb, but they have to pay twice the cost and, in practice, may only get 4-5mb based on how far from the phone exchange they are. The contract only says a minimum of 1.5mb. I currently pay AU$49.95 for my 1.5 meg plan with a 10gig download limit per month. Download any more and it's slowed down to a 64k connection. This is actually the fastest and best value plan available to suit my needs and I live in a suburb within 10kms of our state's capital city centre!

    Some really lucky people get ADSL2, but AFAIK, that's only 1 exchange down here in the whole state, servicing Hobart (the capital city) with a radius of only a couple of kilometres.

    So, while we're classed as broadband, we'll still be stuck on connections with a fraction of the speed of our other Aussie counterparts. And forget wireless. Unless they lower the prices significantly, only businesses and the wealthy can afford that!

    Source:http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,2288 4,21929477-3462,00.html [news.com.au]

  • Summary wrong. (Score:2, Informative)

    by jibjibjib ( 889679 )
    The summary is completely incorrect. They're not aiming for 99% to actually *have* a broadband connection, they're aiming for broadband to be *available* to 99% of the population. So 99% will be able to get broadband, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll all get it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by raju1kabir ( 251972 )

      they're aiming for broadband to be *available* to 99% of the population

      ...so long as those people are willing to move to Sydney.

  • its easy (Score:2, Funny)

    by doktorjayd ( 469473 )
    just change the definition of broadband.

    then change the definition of 'internet'

    then pay a consultant $A2b.

    now, about my fee...
  • Is that really such a good idea?

    If the gatekeepers are the same people who hold power in the country, there's kinda a big conflict of interest going on.

    Much better to have a competitive market-based model (i.e. competition regulated by government to ensure there actually is competition) than to have the politicos in charge. Especially given the track record of Australian politicos..
    • No it's not, there is precisely zero reason a company would roll out regional broadband. It just isn't cost effective and I doubt it would turn a profit for many years.
  • Not sure why this persists as being such a big deal. The US is perpetually under the spotlight but the statistics are fond of ignoring just how much land (per population) needs to be covered in order to accomplish broadband penetration. Korea, for example, being a country the size of a small US state but with a highly disparate population, has no excuse for failing to be 99%+ broadband; if anything, their 10% presence of non-broadband solutions is conspicuous.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I live in Dianella, a central suburb of Perth, Western Australia. The most isolated capital city on Earth. I have 2, count 'em two, DSL2 lines in my *house*. one 24mbit (iiNet) and one 8mbit (Westnet). I get about 16mb and 6mb respectively, for the speeds. Oh, it's rock solid btw. Probably less than a day downtime, combined, over the last 3 years.

    All these people complaining we have no infrstructure wake up and look at options other than Telstra. iiNet's had 24mbit DSL for years, guys...

    As for the costs, we
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jimmux ( 1096839 )

      I'm sure all these people complaining about lack of infrastructure have looked at other options.

      I live in our nation's capital. Half an hour away from the nice shiny house in which Mr Howard made this generous promise. The best speed I can get here (in a practical sense) is about 1.5mbit. Until last year I wasn't able to get DSL at all, and it was only with the help of a very good alternative ISP that I was able to put enough pressure on Telstra to upgrade the dodgy copper lines to my home, making DSL a p

  • by OverflowingBitBucket ( 464177 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @05:34AM (#19562609) Homepage Journal
    You know, it'd be nice when rolling out these huge links to the country areas if they stopped for a few moments and looked at those of us in modern suburbs who cannot get broadband for love nor money- even when there is complete and total ultra-high speed coverage four streets away in every single direction.

    There are a whole bunch of blackspots through the country, reasonably new suburbs where Telstra cheaped out on the phone connectivity initially and won't pay a damn cent to upgrade it. 12Mbit/s to the country? How about letting us have something better than .056Mbit/s over dialup modem here in the suburbs without splashing out for ultra-expensive wireless?
  • by svunt ( 916464 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @06:04AM (#19562751) Homepage Journal
    Being reamed anally to the tune of $170 a month for 12mbps down, 2mbps up, with 90GB a month of downloads before being capped to 128kbps. Now THAT is "broadband penetration" and it hurts.
  • by csk_1975 ( 721546 ) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @08:25PM (#19573129)
    How does an election promise make it onto the front page of Slashdot? Are publicists for the PM of Australia so good that they can get his hollow election promises broadcast into completely unrelated media? Pork barreling is not news.

    Oh and on topic... Internet access in Australia is abysmal. My work sometimes takes me back to Australia and its like going to a third world country. In most of Asia Internet access is simple and no one uses modems. In Australia using a modem is normal. My brother good 2Mbps broadband in the back woods of Thailand yesterday and it took 2 days to be installed. I had to get a 2Mbps business Internet connection installed in Singapore. Took 5 working days for the DLC and was pretty cheap - they wanted to install ELL but the cabling up the riser to the basement distribution would take 14 working days and I had time constraints - that would have been cheaper than the DLC. ($850 install and $1200 per month).

    At the same time I also had to get a 2Mbps connection installed in the Sydney CBD. What a nightmare. Jumping through hoops, waiting (and waiting) for Telstra. Then they charged $20,000 for the installation and $5,000 per month for access. And took 21 working days to install the circuit. This is in an already wired building in the main street of the biggest city in Australia.

    The ONLY reason Howard has said anything about broadband is that it is entirely unacceptable in Australia for both home users and businesses. The opposition has made this an election issue so Howard has made promises knowing that follow through if he is returned to power really doesn't matter as it won't be one of his core* promises.

    *For those of you not up to speed on Australian electioneering. Howard coined the phrase "core promises" to describe anything he promised during an election campaign and had some intent of following through - every other promise is a lie which was made with zero intent of ever acting upon. Is broadband a core promise? I'll let history decide.

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