Julia Gillard becomes Australia’s 27th Prime Minister with a promise to fulfill an idea of a National Broadband Network (NBN) first brought to our attention by ex Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with the intention of every Australian having access to high-speed internet regardless of location within Australia. This undertaking of the NBN would bring Australia to a new era of high-speed internet that has never been seen before and comparable to other developed countries. By stripping out the old copper network and replacing it with fiber cable straight to the premise the connectivity Australia would have to the internet would be comparable to other developed countries with direct links to the internet, the world and the benefits. This plan however with the logistics and undertaking of implementing the NBN is Australia’s largest infrastructure project in history and has gone through some hurdles since it first started.
One of those hurdles was the changing of Australian Government. Changing from Labor to Liberal with Tony Abbott as Australia’s newest Prime Minister, the NBN changed with him. The first proposal of fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) became fiber-to-the-node where fiber was only being introduced to the nodes around Australia with the copper wiring staying from the node to the premise. This presented the idea of information bottlenecks – where the speed was reduced because of mass information being carried and strained at the node, which would slow down the overall speed of the internet based on the amount of users per area which want to connect.
The impact of the NBN on people would depend on the needs of individuals, families and businesses. This impact of the NBN would be seen based on the connectivity that people have now. Families with children are more likely to connect to the NBN based on the demand for information for the children. People who are single look at the cost of internet providers to justify why they should connect and how they should connect. This difference of interest based on who wants to connect impacts on the interest of the NBN. While valuing high-speed internet and what it can do – better connectivity, better information and more of an impact in the digital economy It is the potential possibilities of the NBN that are an interest to those that connect. (Nansen, B)
The capabilities of the NBN are shown to be a positive thing where the NBN is the next step for future Australia and is something that Australia can not go without. Currently with Internet Service Providers (ISP) the power for control over information can be even greater. Not specific to the NBN but those that will control the next stage of internet access there is a need to understand Network Neutrality. Network Neutrality deals with the equal treatment of Data, explained by the following video:
Network Neutrality deals with ISP’s showing equality with every piece of information on the internet. So there is no favorable information that organizations and businesses are pushing for consumption and no information that is restricted. Currently Australia has no Network Neutrality, the idea has never been suggested as it doesn’t cause much of a problem because of healthy competition thanks to Telstra ADSL as it is free to use for other competitors, and thanks to consumer protection laws by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), that is when big providers block or slow down consumer access purposely to take out competitors then the ACCC will get involved. While the ACCC keeps providers relatively inline there are some situations where there is intentional favoritism.
The impact of Network Neutrality in Australia has developed in a way where the gradual process of technology becoming more of an important aspect of everyday life has self-monitored its way where the subtle anti-competitive behavior blends in – there may be no slowing down of competition but an interest in providing free downloads for particular websites.
In America, Network Neutrality has come under threat as the big providers AT&T and Verizon have challenged the Network Neutrality rules that are in place and have successfully been allowed to control what information is monitored and restricted. This successful challenge has the potential to restrict popular sharing sites such as Netflix on how they maintain an audience and what they can provide as a service. The control over companies that use ISP’s would come under threat as they would have to follow what the big providers suggest or be at risk of having there service limited. This also impacts on the individual user, the freedom to get information from any company would also be restricted based on the preference for the ISP that they are with. Depending on the ISP affiliations and interests the user would have to deal with it and not have the ability to do anything about it. While there is always the option to change providers, if the big providers secure a monopoly then there will no room for other options.
Comparable, Australia to America are at different stages for what their networks do and how they are maintained. The introduction of the NBN could give way the same possibilities that America currently has and possibly worse scenarios of control information already shown in Australia. The control of data is already present but how will it affect Australia with an increased digital economy when the NBN comes around.
References (in order of appearance)
National Archive of Australia, Australian Prime Ministers – Julia Gillard, accessed 25 August 2014 http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/primeministers/gillard/in-office.aspx
Advanced NBN, The National Broadband Network, accessed 25 August 2014 http://www.anbn.com.au/aboutanbn.html
Hackett, S 2011 ‘Peering Policy Gaps with the National Broadband Network’ accessed 24 August 2014 http://blog.internode.on.net/2011/05/16/peering-policy-gaps-nbn/
Nansen, B Arnold, M Wilken, R and Gibbs, M 2012 ‘Broadbanding Brunswick – High-speed Broadband and Household Media Ecologies: A report on Household Take-up and Adoption of the National Broadband Network in a First release Site‘, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney
Schaffarczyk, K 2014 ‘Australia’s net neutrality lesson for the US’ accessed 25 August 2014 http://theconversation.com/australias-net-neutrality-lesson-for-the-us-22245
Mick, J 2014 ‘Network CEO Warns of Possible Future, Post-Net Neutrality’, accessed 25 August 2014 http://www.dailytech.com/Netflix+CEO+Warns+of+Possible+Grim+Future+PostNet+Neutrality/article34189.htm