NBN Co Blog
Thu 07 JUNComment
Why fibre is key to Australia's need for speed
Posted on Thursday 07 June 2012 by Gary McLaren
Australians will be using more than seven times as much internet protocol data in 2016, a new report from one of the world's largest networking companies has predicted.
Internet protocol traffic is forecast to grow from 97 petabytes a month in 2011 to 708 petabytes a month in 2016, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast (2011-2016).
Within just four years, Cisco expects the gigabyte equivalent of every movie ever made to cross the global internet every three minutes.
The rapid growth in internet usage clearly shows why Australia's national upgrade to a reliable broadband infrastructure is so important.
But there's a deeper point: it's not just about downloads.
Our ability as a country to participate in the digital economy is being held back by a chronic need for faster upload speeds, too.
The most commonly used broadband technology in Australia, ADSL2+ Annex A, provides upload speeds that haven't improved since the 1990s - around 1 megabit per second. At these speeds, an initial back-up of a 500GB hard drive to an online backup service will take at least 45 days.
The NBN, which is planned to have fibre running directly to 93 per cent of Australian homes and businesses, is designed to remove this upload choke point to the vast majority of premises.
With the right service over a fibre connection, families and businesses will finally have the headroom to create and send large files quickly, work from home without the frustrating delays, back up whole computers in a reasonable time to cloud services and have high quality video conversations.
Put simply, the NBN will enable true two-way broadband, which is where the true potential of the internet in Australia will be unlocked beyond just fast movie downloads.
I couldn't agree more with technology commentator Pete Blasina, The Gadget Guy, who said this about the Cisco report:
"These projections clearly illustrate why Australia has made the right choice in building a National Broadband Network that delivers a fibre optic connection to homes, businesses, schools and hospitals.
"Australia resides in the region that will have the largest amount of internet protocol traffic in 2016. As a country, can we afford not to be at par or even ahead of the Asia Pacific data growth curve?"
When we talk about speeds delivered over the National Broadband Network, we are referring to the wholesale speed to telephone and internet service providers. The speed you can achieve, and services you can use, on your individual connection will depend on many factors including the services you subscribe to, the software and communication protocols you use, quality of your equipment and connection to your home/business, the broadband plans offered by your telephone or internet provider and how it designs its network to cater for multiple users.
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