Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh, here comes that really fast wireless broadband!

I've said it before to the naive idiots entranced by Labor's proposal for the National Broadband Network, and I'll say it again - technology is racing ahead so fast from so many different directions that anything built by government is almost certainly going to be obsolete before it is even built.

The days of massive government infrastructure projects like the installation of the copper wire network belong in the last century. The pace of change back then, being so much slower, made these projects sensible even given the natural inefficiency of government bureaucracy.

Not today. Not in the 21st Century.

The Gillard Government insists there’s no option to its plan to bet $43 billion on delivering fibre optic to every house:
The Coalition’s “grab bag of policies” on broadband was too heavily reliant on wireless technologies that cannot deliver the speeds and capacity needed for future healthcare, education and business applications, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says.
No sooner is this asserted, then we hear of another tecnological breakthrough that promises cheaper, handier and almost as fast wireless - delivered not by government but the private sector:
Satellite companies have been the also-rans of Internet providers… Their services can be painfully slow and cost twice as much as high-speed broadband.

But two companies, WildBlue and HughesNet, are now in a race to change all that. Both plan to launch satellites in the next couple of years that will dwarf their predecessors in space.

WildBlue’s alone will have 10 times the capacity of its three current satellites combined. Such behemoths, the companies say, will enable them, at prices similar to what they now charge, to provide Internet service at speeds many times faster than they now offer — as fast, in some cases, as fiber connections. Further, the companies argue, satellites can provide service more easily and cheaply per subscriber than their earthbound cable and phone company competitors… As to satellite’s potential in rural regions, “clearly, there’s an unserved market,” Mr. Slekys said.
And another announcement of wireless speeds to match those of Gillard’s $43 billion fibre optic network - without having to be tethered to a cable on the wall:

WiMAX 2 finalizing soon with 100Mbps speeds
Intel’s upcoming WiMAX 2 standard should be much faster than the existing standard in practice, the WiMAX Forum’s marketing lead Declan Byrne said this weekend. Existing WiMAX often tops at just 3-6Mbps according to estimates from Clear and Sprint, but the new 802.16m version should provide average speeds over 100Mbps, Byrne told Computerworld.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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