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Australia, give up your fixed broadband!

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Comment Look, Australia, you’ve got it all wrong.

Wireless broadband is the future. It’s not just a future, it’s the genuine, authentic, sci-fi “wonders of the universe” future, complete with unicorns and no need for a National Broadband Network. And what do you do?

You keep buying fixed broadband.

I realise that some of you are trying. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest Internet Activity, Australia publication – perhaps unfortunately released on April 1 – more than 1.3 million of you bought new mobile wireless broadband subscriptions in 2010, taking the total to more than 4.2 million.

But if you want to do your bit, if you’re going to really get with the program, it’s not enough to just buy an iPad or a 3G modem. You still have this anachronistic attachment to fixed broadband services.

At a time where mobile services are now a substitute not just for ADSL but an on-par, punch-for-punch replacement for the as-yet-unbuilt gigabit-capable National Broadband network, you keep buying DSL services. There were nearly 300,000 new DSL connections added in 2010, and that fact alone has prevented mobile broadband from reaching its rightful place as the Number One broadband choice for all Australians.

And you’ve got this thing in your head about speed and download volumes.

It’s as if wireless wasn’t good enough for you: for some strange reason, you added something like 1.6 million services with speeds between 8 Mbps and 24 Mbps – almost all of which, I suppose, are ADSL2+ services, aren’t they?

Oh, it’s quite obvious you’re in love with speed, you hopeless bunch of YouTube addicts. You’ve killed 256 Kbps ADSL services off almost completely. This once mighty service, home of almost-adequate e-mail performance at ten bucks a month, now has just 278,000 subscribers. It’s even less popular than dial-up, which can still hold its head up high with 700,000 users.

And there’s your download behaviour: you’re quite happy to hammer your DSL connections like there’s no tomorrow, but turn into misers as soon as you switch to 3G.

In a three-month period you lit those international links to the tune of 192,000 Terabytes. But you could only manage to pull 17,000 Terabytes of downloads through those 4.2 million mobile broadband services.

What’s wrong, Australia? You’re close to full employment, you’re in a boom economy, wages are rising, yet most of you are miserly niggards who would rather buy a 60 GB per month plan on fixed networks than spend a couple of thousand running Torrents to a mobile.

Not good enough by half. If you want me to save you from the National Broadband Network, you’ll have to do your bit.

Sincerely, Malcolm Turnbull, Minister Opposition Spokesman for Communications and Broadband

By the way, all the data here is true, if I haven’t fat-thumbed anything. Check for yourself. ®

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