Is Australia’s National Broadband Network the Fastest in the World?

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When it comes to internet speeds, it’s hard to beat Australia’s new National Broadband Network (NBN), however with a new Government coming into power, how will the fibre to node network compare to those around the world. Originally, the network was meant to take advantage of fibre optic speeds of up to 100MBps due to the ‘fibre to home’ connection. However, that all changed when Australia voted out the Labour party in favour for the Coalition. Australia is now trailing a ‘fibre to node’ connection which will take advantage of existing copper wiring. This may sound good on paper, but will it drastically slow down the potential 100MBps speed? View iiNet’s NBN rollout.

Australia-NBN

A recent test conducted last month by the company building the NBN came back with surprising results. While testing the FFTN (Fibre to the Node) technology near Woy Woy (New South Wales central coast), they managed to achieve download speeds upwards of 100Mbps (105MBps to be exact), and upload speeds of 45 Mbps. A VDSL modem in a shop front and then connected the existing copper telephone line to the node on the street.

Here’s how FTTN technology works – the node cabinet is where the existing copper network and new fibre network first meet. In some cases the node can be located upwards of several kilometres from homes in the area. The electrical currents transmitted over the copper network are transformed into small pulses of light which can then be transmitted over the fibre optic network.

There has been great debate over the last year over what technology should be used. There are those who believe the previous plans of FTTH is the smarter future proof option, however some defend Abbot’s FTTN rollout calming the cost to benefit ratio is unrealistic. The main concern is the state of the aging copper network, and whether or not it is still capable of producing large download speeds through vectoring.

The National Broadband Networks chief executive, Bill Morrow, stated that the results of this trial are a milestone of the rollout of the NBN. He praises the existing copper networks ability to deliver high speeds and affordability. It has been proposed that as much as 44 percent of Australia’s businesses and homes will use the FTTH technology.

In my opinion this is just another cost cutting measure. Although our internet isn’t the slowest in the world, it is ranked in the mid 40’s when it comes to average speed – beaten by countries such as Japan and South Korea. What do you think? Should Australia rollout the NBN to the node? Or should they revert to the original plan of FTTH? Also, how are the internet speeds where you live? Are you happy with your service?

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