Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gans is right - the NBN won't solve much

Until today the NBN was offering speeds of 100Mbps.

As of today it is offering ten times as much - 1000Mbps.

The Coalition's "plan" will offer a theoretical maximum of 12Mbps.

But will it matter?

Economist Joshua Gans writes in an excellent piece today:

"I'm sitting here in the US at the moment on a 100Mbps maximum speed . But if I look at a website in Melbourne, my speed drops to 2Mbps. That is pretty much the maximum you will get from Australia to much of the internet, regardless of the theoretical maximum of your provider. This is because a key bottleneck is our submarine fibre link rather than our backbone network, or even the last mile."

Could he be right?

He is.

Here's the test I just ran from Canberra to Melbourne:

5.4 Mbps is pretty good.

But look at what happens when I try to get something from the US, which is where most of the websites actually live:

The speed drops to 1.2 Mbps -- way below both Labor's and the Coalition's promised speeds.

It won't get any faster under either Labor of the Coalition's plan.

(BTW, that doesn't bother me.)

Related Posts

. Why Senator Conroy should take a look at Canberra's Black Mountain Tower

. Revealed: Labor's $30 billion broadband furphy

. What if they built a high-speed broadband network and nobody signed up?

. Bright idea: Don't privatise the NBN - Kohler