The National Broadband Network (NBN) A Massive Dissapointment (1132 words)

I write this mostly so I can move on. The NBN has been a source of constant frustration and anger for me. While I will never forgive those who caused the current shambles I can perhaps redirect my anger elsewhere will keeping it in the back of my mind.

So here is my brief time-line of NBN.

I moved to area that was due to get NBN FTTP in ~2014. The fact that it was due to get such a connection influenced the decision. With the change in government that ended up going away. I was then promised by Senator Fifield (who replaced Malcolm Turnbull as communications Minister) while on the campaign trail for the 2016 election that NBN would start construction in the area in 2016. This however was pushed back to 2017. What followed was it being pushed out roughty every 3 months. Finally told it will be done in June 2018.

Despite being years late and many areas now getting the far better option of FTTC (literally 1 suburb away) I was still slated to get FTTN. August rolls around and the node appears (literally on the eve of the federal election). June arrives, and I go to connect. I was able to pre-register with Aussie Broadband. However apparently, something else needed to be fixed. Wait till July and suddenly my ADSL2+ connection drops from a sync speed of 19 Mbps to 3 Mbps. I then talked to NBN who say talk to my ISP who say talk to Telstra. It would appear that the copper still had not been handed over. It took a while but finally I get that resolved so I am back to a sync of 11 Mbps.

I then notice that NBN are installing a new pillar. The pillar being next to the mini-exchange which is about 200m away from the node. My guess is that the copper runs back and forth so everyone just got an additional 200m of copper length added to everyone. At this point I assumed all was good, check… still cannot connect. Days pass. Notice a truck near the node. They are patching the ground around it which had collapsed and while doing that flushing the ducts and at the same time refitting the copper lines.

Still not connected at the end of July with no ETA. The NBN website insists I can connect but of course thats not possible.

So 2 years later literally on the second last day of the roll-out 29th June 2020 suddenly I am able to connect. The most annoying thing being that the FTTN node was installed 2 years before and has been powered since then, and doubly annoying because others at work on HFC or FTTP have been upgrading their connection to speeds that I will not be able to get with the technology I was still do to get. Most going from 100/40 to 250/25 or 1000/50 while I am waiting to get the thing and knowing that no matter what the best I can hope for is 100/40 while the only guarantee I have for the first 18 months is 12/1.

So in short 7 years after I was meant to get FTTP, and promised FTTN in 2016 (by the communication Minister at the time Fifield while campaigning), the node installed in 2018 I finally am connected… in mid 2020, to FTTN which is considered the worst of the fixed line technologies. After all that, I only get a sync speed of 77/38 after having to pay out of pocket to bypass all internal wiring (which is a cunningly evil way to reduce CAPEX by pushing it back on the users) and have the lead in direct to the modem. Not high enough for me to consider paying the extra for speed I won’t get.

I think the NBN can be described by me with one word. Disappointment. I was thinking, at what point would I have not been disappointed… 100/40 would still have been disappointing, but I think had I gotten 1000/400 I would have been satisfied. That seems to be a speed that literally changes the game in terms of how I would use the internet. As it is, I am going to be stuck on 50/20. I thought watching people get upgraded to the 250/1000 plans was bad before I was connected, but now its doubly frustrating knowing I will only ever get a 1/5 of the download performance they get, and while my upload is similar thats only because if stupid asymmetrical plans designed to not make the network look bad.

I don’t see how anyone can defend the NBN (although many try). In my local area for example they seem to have placed the node such that nobody can get 100/40 based on the local community chat. It confirms my theory that it adds at least 200m to most peoples copper run. Heck most of those who connected canceled in 1 day and went back to mobile because they get better more reliable performance.

So this ends my interest in the project. Id like to live in hope that one day in the future I will wake up, and see that Australia has invested in something that makes us a world leader. All we ever seem to get is a massive waste of money, lots of corruption and an output that is worse than what countries literally run by drug lords receive.

Anyway thats the end of it. A 7 years wait for internet that I guess might be the envy of people living in Libya. The worst part? I am considered one of the lucky FTTN users. People were saying they would love to get my upload performance. All I know is that the LNP has lost a vote for life over this, and I will always preference them last over literally anyone else for this.

I have always thought, even if I was unable to explain it at times, that when you are spending public money such as was done for the NBN that you have an obligation towards fairness. While it will never be equitable to all due to distance and lifestyle choices, necessitating the fixed wireless and satellite footprint the original 93% fiber roll-out felt fair.

My biggest complaint about the NBN though is the unfairness. I get a worse connection than others, and there is nothing I can do about it other than potentially fork out $30,000+ for an upgrade which is FAR beyond the $3,000 Malcolm Turnbull said it would cost. For the record were it to cost $3,000 to move to FTTP I would do it instantly, and then become one of those 1000/50 subscribers, with the hope I could get the what feels magical 1000/400 in time.