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Australia’s NBN (National Broadband Network) – right idea, wrong pitch

When I first came home from the States I was asked by a friend of mine (the famous writer Di Morrisey) what I thought of the NBN. It was news to me at the time being newly repatriated but my first impressions are still valid.

A faster connection to the net doesn’t mean much… you need to have a hook, an angle… a killer app that helps everyone just… GET IT.

image Thru a mutual friend MP Janelle Saffin I was privileged to actually get to meet the Minister for Broadband Stephen  Conroy and give him some feedback from my experiences in the US working on and with some optical fibre installations.

When I asked him about what he thought broadband meant for Australia he talked about fast XRAY transmission and new age business practices but none of that really gelled with me as being necessary for optical fibre. In fairness to him, he has to have a pitch that addresses all the special interests that really could benefit from fibre, but in addressing everyone's needs the message often gets diluted.

In my mind, the one thing you can do with fibre that you cant do with high speed wifi or satellite is full HD, full rate glorious real time video… not Skype, but full size full speed face to face video.

THIS, once you have used it and become addicted to it, is THE reason to have optical fibre. THIS is the KILLER APP, the most visible plus… the raison d'etre.


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When you see other people in video at full size, where their face and hands are at the proportion you would see in a real conference room video conferencing takes on a whole new meaning.

If your Dad or your grandchild can be seen across the dining room table in the same size they would be if they were sitting at the table, things completely change.. no delay, no sense of pressure due to cost, full motion… just relaxed face to face time… then you will start to know what optical fibre means.

Having dinner together, showing each other stuff, talking about your day…

And what about customer service… what about being able to talk to the Telstra guy about your account, him seeing you and you seeing him… or your doctor…

The days of a sweatshop customer service centre in Bangalore are over if Australians expect to see an Aussie answering their support and billing questions… but that’s what they’ll do once they get a taste of full screen service.

Want to get your license renewed? Want to ask for help regarding your bank account? Now all the stuff you travel in the car to do will make more sense and be a lot more convenient with hi-res full screen full motion video conferencing….

THAT IS what the NBN should mean for Australians.

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