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Aussie broadband is slower than a slow thing in a slow town

Slower than New Zealand

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So Australia is building a superfast fibre to the home (FTTH) national broadband network and not a minute too soon.

Last week's survey from Akamai, a company that charges clients hefty sums for making their websites run faster, shows the country ranked a dismal 50th place in the global broadband speed league with an average speed of 2.6Mbps, behind even New Zealand (42nd and 2.9Mbps).

Yes, it's that bad. But help is at hand. The estimated $43bn build-out out of the NBN will deliver speeds of "up to 100Mbps to 90 per cent of premises" and everyone else with fast wireless, maybe delivered by satellite.

"Up to" is always a killer when discussing broadband speeds: it usually means "never, nowhere near, never." But the NBN will surely see Australia take its rightful place at, or near, the top of the broadband table, alongside South Korea.

As ever with such surveys, South Korea is in first place in Akamai's reckoning, with average speeds today some six times faster than that of Australia.

This is easy enough to explain - Korea is a rich country, with lots of people living in apartments in densely populated areas with access to cable. And cold winters. Don't forget the cold winters. Which means the indoor life for three or four months a year. And an obsession with online multiplayer computer games. This means a need for speed, the ability to pay - and to deliver.

Some more benefits of superfast broadband - it makes watching streaming video more pleasurable, and downloading illegal stuff from torrents so much quicker. And of course, knowledge workers, whatever they are, can work from home. If their bosses let them.

As for other stuff: build the infrastructure and surely, this will come.

All in good time...®

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