The continued political battles between Liberal, Labor, Telstra and the ACCC over wired broadband is not helping anyone. Various press articles (here and here) portray a pointless point scoring game where the winner is nobody and the loser is the consumer.
I’ve covered it before, but the only real solution is wireless broadband. There is no point to spending $4 – $5 billion on a new wired network when wireless networks like Telstra’s Next-G exist.
The Government, Telstra and G9 should instead invest in a single wireless broadband network. Next-G is based on UMTS and consumers can receive data at up to 3.6Mbps (enough to stream DVD quality video using Mpeg4) with near-future improvements up to 14.4Mbps. 4G UMTS will provide 100Mbps down and 50Mbps up.
With a strong propensity for people to use mobile phones as their primary communication device over fixed land lines, the need to have a wired phone line reduces. Quite a few people have active land lines only for their ADSL connection and not for general phone usage.
Wireless broadband is the only solution for a relatively mobile population – people change address or move around for work. Why should consumers have to pay for fixed line internet and wireless internet, let alone the connect / disconnect fees and related time delays in re-activating services?
Wireless broadband, like Next-G also serves the needs of rural and regional populations – an important issue for Australia.
Why doesn’t the Government insist on saving $4B and instead remove the Next-G inrastructure from Telstra’s direct control and seek investment from the G9 consortium? A single network improves the quality of service and experience for consumers. There is greater choice as manufacturers need to build for only one technology variation, and costs are down because consumers do not need to pay for 2 or more networks in their access fees.
The wireless account and access can be shared across consumers’ desktops, laptops and mobile phones, increasing its appeal and revenue opportunities for service providers and people use more online services in more environments.