Fibre? Don’t make me laugh.

Apparently some people at University College London (UCL) have achieved data transmission speeds of greater than a terabit per second to a single receiver:

To which I say – phooey!

It’s on fibre – but copper is the future.

Copper is faster, cheaper, and can be installed more quickly. That’s why all the really top-shelf research is concentrating on getting super high speeds over copper. Apparently people are already pushing tens of gigabits over inch-long snippets; it’s just a simple matter of scaling that up. And Australia’s world-class broadband network will be ready and waiting when they do!

UCL? Fibre? What a pack of amateurs. Sheesh.

PS: There may be people reading this who are not familiar with Australian politics. And there may be Australians reading this who have been living under a rock for a while. If you are in one of those groups, read on. Otherwise, you have probably figured out that the above is sarcasm.

The story:

Our current Government destroyed a pretty reasonable and forward-looking plan to bring broadband to everyone via a fibre-to-the-home system.

They destroyed it for party-political reasons, substituting a vastly inferior hybrid system using existing copper and cable wherever possible. They said the result would be faster, the cost would be lower, and the system would be delivered sooner.

On all three counts they have failed utterly – the cost has blown out and is approaching double the planned cost of the original system, it is being rolled out at a glacial pace, and the guaranteed speeds have plummeted down to 25Mb/s – 12Mb/s in many places. The return on investment is very unlikely to meet expectations, effectively increasing the price even more.

Delivery to “everyone” turns out to mean wireless access – or worse, satellite access – for anyone who is even slightly difficult to reach by other means. Speeds for those users are technically limited to a fraction of the potential of fibre. On the satellite links, ridiculously low data quotas will ensure that those users will be unable to use their links for anything much more demanding than a bit of web browsing and a few movies each month. They will certainly be unable to run any kind of digital business. The massive latencies will preclude gaming and any other interactive activities. And as for the vaunted benefits like telemedicine – well, you can kiss them goodbye too.

Australia is doomed to being a digital backwater for decades as a result of this unbelievably cynical hatchet job. People in major metropolitan areas may be able to keep up, or companies with the resources to pay for their own high-speed connectivity, but everyone else is stuffed.

Thanks, Malcolm!

PPS: You might “enjoy” this related article: Vectoring schmectoring

One thought on “Fibre? Don’t make me laugh.

  1. Yes it was one of his many great achievements , considering his background in Telecommunications it’s even more amazing

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