As reported today (here), the CEO of NBN Bill Morrow has stated that Australians do not want super-fast Internet. Going further, Bill also stated “even if we offered it for free” users still would not use it.
It could be argued that Morrow’s vision of what the NBN will be used for, and the speeds required is out-of-touch and does not take into account the exponential growth of data that is being transmitted across the Internet.
Maybe the statement about Australians not wanting a super-fast Internet is a way he can justify the quagmire that has been become the NBN roll-out.
I remember 15 years ago when a dial-up 56kbps connection was sufficient (albeit restrictive) for the needs of the day. YouTube and streaming wasn’t a concern, and for the most part we used the net to view websites, send email, and comment on BBS/IRC. I remember enjoying the fact I could download around 40 MiB in just under 4 hours before the dial-up connection would be cut off and I would have to pay another local call to dial up again. As has been highlighted, the requirements 15 years ago where not much and users would tolerate the wait. I remember the enjoyment of being one of the first customers that used Telstra’s Freedom cable plan and the pain when they cancelled my contract one month after for downloading 20 GiB in a month with the excuse “5% of users are using 80% of our resources”. How the world has changed..
It is now 2017, and the times and needs have changed. “A full 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years” Downloads per household are on average 60-70 GiB a month according to NBN report released in 2015 with an annual growth around 33%.
There is strong growth in data that is being generated and transmitted across the Internet. The reliance on the Internet is more crucial as it was 15 years ago, or even 2 years ago. Netflix and other streaming sites have become more widely used, but companies have already advising NBN may not be able to deliver 4K streaming.
Big Data is becoming the new catch phrase, and business are doing more eCommerce activities than ever before. Imagine if we still had dial up as the norm. The likes of Facebook and Alibaba may not have made the type of revenue they currently enjoy.
Converging technologies utilising Internet are growing. Streaming services are now competing against tradition media (TV, Radio etc – it could be argued the 2013 Federal Election was hijacked by media because of this – Fibre delivery of media is a major threat to traditional media services).
As we move customers off the copper Voice PSTN networks, VOIP will be the new PSTN. As this traffic starts to be moved from copper to NBN technologies, the scalability of the NBN will be tested.
Morrows’s vision has a similar scope to a politicians 3-4 year view of their role. The directive to use less than ideal technologies came from our elected Liberal/Nationals Government. NBN has been less than transparent about many things. The tax payers have essentially funded a Commonwealth company that is failing to meet objectives, failing to show innovation, failing to think of the future, and failing to be transparent. The argument that emerging 5g wireless technologies will eventually be better than NBN is true, only because of the refusal to use FTTN in the first place. And while 5g could be faster, previous experience suggests that mobile data does not come cheap – unless its a Telstra free day (hehe).
In closing, Australians have essentially got what they voted for. A bunch of old men/women that are out of touch, determining the future for the rest of Australia. Morrow is nothing more than a spokes person for Turnball’s plan. Morrow shares the same vision as others did a long time ago :
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
And most relevant to story :
“Almost all of the many predictions now being made about 1996 hinge on the Internet’s continuing exponential growth. But I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”
Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, 1995
Last night saw 2 old men beat each other up for 10 rounds. Whilst this was the main event, another significant event was occurring. The Facebook Live video feature was used to stream the pay-per-view event to over 115,000 viewers on one Facebook account alone.
**A quick note – media outlets was quoting 150,000 viewers but this did not occur from the video I have seen.**
It is fair to say more people was viewing the Facebook stream than the actual pay-per-view event itself. The difference is the Facebook feed had real life drama that the main event failed to deliver (except for the cheap shot in the first round). As the Facebook user was live streaming, his mobile rang with a clear (03) based telco number. Initially viewers where privy to the conversation between the supposed Foxtel rep and the user, but after walking away for brief moment, Darren Sharpe apologised to viewers and eventually cut the feed.
What became apparent is that where Darren left off, many other Facebook users filled the void. This was made even easier as Facebook promptly provided a link to other live videos in Australia which made it easy to locate alternative streams.
As Foxtel attempted to locate users using alternative techniques, users covered their top right corners of their TV’s shrouded from view. Foxtel then circumvented this by flashing account details in different locations of the TV screens, which was usually followed by a warning notice displayed on customers TV, followed by disconnection.
Even with this effort (would have a been a bad night at the Foxtel office almost akin to Disaster Response) I would speculate that most viewers who watched the stream via Facebook would have watched the whole event albeit with some minor disruptions.
Some interesting comments could be made about this event.
- This has illustrated the power of the Internet. There was no way Foxtel was going to control the Internet. Also the rate of connections was significant. Word got out fast about this stream and it took a while for it to be closed down.
- Users will use technology the way they see fit. Give a person a rod and they will fish, give a person an option to live stream and they use it for pay-per-view
- The cost for the event was $59.95 (whats with the 5 cents) and many viewers felt like they did not get value for money (except those that saw it on Facebook). Cmon – the Quade Cooper fight – what the hell was that. It has been commented that a Mayweather event would cost the same. Maybe time for Foxtel to look at how to engage customers in a way to ensure customer get value for money.
- How much traffic was Darren responsible for. The figures for data travelling through Australian networks due to him would be deserved of some kind of record.
- When (not if) Foxtel takes legal action, they will argue they event was streamed to 120,000 users at a loss of $59.95 per user. I hope there is some argument that he did not stream the entire event and possibly not everyone was watching maybe reducing his bill.
- Darren could possibly travel around Australia and leave his wallet at home. Darren is the little man, Foxtel is the big Corp. Aussies love the little battler. But irrespective the activity will attract a court case.
- I think Foxtel can still suffer Public Relations damage and backlash if they come across to aggressive. Especially considering the social media backlash – again Aussies love a battler.
- I speculate viewers where more interested in what was going to happen at the singing of the National Anthem than the actual fight results. The hype leading into the fight was less about the fight and more about sabre rattling about our national anthem.
My final point, whilst 2 old men fought hard last night, in the upcoming months there is going to be a legal fight that will rival last nights and the winner may be just as hard to pick with the potential to divide a nation just as much as the fight did.
Also will George Brandis use Meta Data laws in this case if changes are implemented as per the new review