".. that which is adequately explained by stupidity". - Robert J. Hanlon.

If you get your information about the National Broadband Network from the mainstream media, you couldn't really be blamed for thinking that the sky is falling in.  A lot existing media companies, including television and newspapers, have had their industry turned on its head by the internet, and as high speed communications becomes ubiquitous this is only going to get worse for them.  They are struggling, just like the music industry did in the 1990s and 2000s.

However that isn't what this blog post is about!  Sometimes you find someone who is well intentioned, but just doesn't do their research!  This article from the 22 May 2011 edition of the Launceston Examiner is a perfect example.

Tasmania faces long NBN wait


22 May, 2011
To start with, the premise of the article flawed...

LAUNCESTON could have to wait until 2021 to be connected to the National Broadband Network.
... the company has not identified towns and cities to be connected to the network beyond last week's announcement on the project's first and second stages.
This is easily refuted by this press release from Stephen Conroy's office which was published over a year ago.

Also note the end date of 2021 - this appears to have been calculated by adding the ten year build time onto this year - ignoring the fact that construction started about a year and a half ago.

There are also comments such as:
"Tasmanian NBN users have told The Sunday Examiner that communication with internet users with a lower digital bandwidth was much slower than the one-gigabyte-a-second promised."
Gold. Confused by two different things in one sentence! The maximum connection speed of an NBN connection at present is 100 megabits per second, not 1000 - which, although it is within the network capabilities, it is not available to residential customers as yet.  He then fails on the difference between megabits per second and megabytes per second.  Easily confusing to the lay person, but someone educating the public should be better informed.  For those playing at home, a 100 megabit per second connection should result in a throughput of around 12 megabytes a second.
One Smithton business owner, Brett Dawes, said from his six months' experience, internet users must be on the same bandwidth for the network to work properly.

"There is not much point having a patch connected here and a patch connected there - it's all or nothing," he said.
Poorly worded, but I see the point he is trying to make... however, it ignores the fact that people in one house could be using the single FTTH connection to use several different services!  You could have someone watching ABC iView on their laptop, someone else streaming a movie in the lounge room, a third person one a video chat with the grandparents in another part of the house, and the teenager playing online games in his bedroom.  All with enough bandwidth left over for general web browsing and making phone calls!  Not to mention - a lot of the time the "other end" will not be another end user, but a data centre with huge pipes to the outside world!

There is enough misinformation about the NBN floating around in the media - from other news sources and opposing political parties - without errenous articles such as this one!

Just a note on the Hanlon quote at the top - I'm not suggesting stupidity in this case - just lack of research! 
  • Postscript: Andrew from Digital Tasmania is in the process of contacting said journo, to offer advice in future instances!