For the past 2 days, NBNCo’s information truck has been parked in Wodonga, today I had a chance to check it out. Travelling around the country, the fold out semi-trailer is designed to educate the general public on the benefits of the NBN. Attendees were treated to a 30 minute presentation, followed by a Q&A session.
Residents were keen to find out when and by which method they would be connected. NBN construction in Wodonga is scheduled to begin in September 2014, with the last stage commencing in January 2015. The government’s commitment to deploy regional/remote locations (outside towns with < 1,000 residents) Satellite deployment by
Demonstrators Tom and Nichola did a great job of fielding questions, even with an enthusiastic attendee who continually tried to answer questions incorrectly. This forms on the primary reasons the NBNCo truck exists. There’s a lot of miss information out there regarding the NBN, and the message was clear, head to the NBN website and get in contact if you need clarification.
While most of the information presented was nothing new, that’s really not the purpose of the truck, there was one interesting topic that came up. The FTTH internal termination point features 4 ports, much like a router, but these can be configured to get NBN access from 4 different providers. Essentially you can think of this like running 4 separate phone lines into your house for ADSL.
The big difference is that these get installed for free if you opt-in to the NBN during the rollout. This may come in handy for share houses who can’t agree on a provider. If your home (or business) can potentially have 4 x 100Mb/40Mb connections, it then poses the question of Bonding.
Bonding is the process of taking multiple internet connections and pooling them together to make one ultra-connection. While not officially supported, there will undoubtedly be 3rd party solutions that enable this. This NBN Ultra-connection would result in up to 400Mbps down and 160Mb up. Of course to pull of these truly futuristic speeds, you’d be up for 4x the dollars as well.
NBN use cases
During the information session, a number of examples were provided to explain what’s coming in the future.
Education – Students from a school in North-East Tasmania wanted to learn Japanese, but hiring a teacher skilled in Japanese didn’t make sense financially. Using the power of the NBN, these students are now learning Japanese from a teacher in Japan.
Medical – A patient in remote NSW with a health condition requiring regular check-ups with a specialist, was travelling 8+ hours for a 10 minute consultation. This is now taking place over the NBN from their home.
While these examples are useful to open people’s minds, they are simply fringe case examples. A much more meaningful explanation of life on the NBN, would be a description of the work they are doing to education doctors and teachers and when regular people will realistically be able to interact with professional from home.
NBN Will pay for itself
During the presentation NBNCo staff pointed out that although 36 Billion dollar, 10 year project was indeed costing a lot of money. The important difference between this and other government spends is that this investment will pay for itself over time.
This is an important distinction that is often forgotten when the dollars are thrown around. This timeframe for when this occurs will depend on user adoption. Given the conversation today from everyday consumers was beyond ‘why do we need this’ and focused on ‘when can I get it’, the question of adoption is unlikely to be a real issue.
For more information on when the NBN Truck is coming to your town, head to NBNCo.com.au