I thought my new 1.5Mbps ADSL link was nice. Then I discovered what they have in Japan. I’m depressed now.
The BBC News article [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3278375.stm]Full speed ahead for Japan’s broadband[/url] makes a comparison between BT’s offerings in the UK and Yahoo BB’s offerings in Japan.
In Japan, running over the same regular telephone cables as they do elsewhere in the world, they manage to get 8Mbps and 12Mbps connections happening. Recent upgrades increase the possible offering to 26Mbps !!
Now, I know that here in Australia, Telstra have the technology to offer higher speeds such as these, however my understanding is that the main reason they won’t (apart from being scummy), is that you need to be quite close to your local exchange to be able to manage those kinds of speeds (there is an inverse proportional relationship between the speed attainable and the distance between your house and the exchange).
What Telstra offers is a guaranteed connection of up to 1.5Mbps. If they can’t guarantee you that connection speed (because of line quality or distance), they won’t offer you anything at all. Not even 256kbps ! I can kind of understand the rationale about this – it is easier to tell people they cannot have anything at all, than to manage a complex process of dealing with potential upgrade problems if they offer someone 256kbps and they then want to (but technically cannot) upgrade to something faster.
However, I still think it is a lazy cop-out, and with all the technology we have available to us today, managing clients should be a relatively painless process (but we all know Telstra could not manage a proverbial in a proverbial !).
So, it will probably be left up to niche market providers offering higher speeds to corporate clients who are prepared to pay top dollar (and I mean TOP dollar) for higher speed services. I know [url=http://www.netspace.com.au/]Netspace[/url] offer “[url=http://business.netspace.net.au/broadband/corporate.php]Corporate [/url]” DSL connection speeds of up to 6Mbps – however that uses a dedicated ADSL line (read: leased line (read: big $$)), starting at AU$645 per month (including the leased line, but not including the router/modem).
Given the urban sprawl we have here in Australia, and the typical distances involved between houses and exchanges, I guess there’s not much we can do about technological realities. However, I really don’t see why it has to be so expensive to offer leased-line quality connections in areas which can support them.
Fibre may be our only saviour in the situation we face – if we can’t get high speed connections running over the copper network, then the only thing for it is to run fibre to the houses. Now, who do I call about requesting my suburb be wired up for fibre ?