Wednesday, 16 January 2008

First, engage brain. THEN type.

This had me scratching my head in baffled disbelief. Normally, I like ABC journalism. But some people just have to stray over the line and confuse everybody. This is what popped up in my RSS feeds this morning:

Under the title "Australia needs super-fast broadband: Expert" was the sentence:

"Imagine looking at a video clip on YouTube at a speed 3,000 times faster than what you can currently get."

I'm sorry? Watching a video at 3,000 times faster would make a real hash of the image and the sound would probably be above the hearing range of a bat. The opening paragraph actually goes on to talk about no more waiting for it to download (not a problem for me even on a 512k plan, incidentally), or grainy images or dropped frames.

But come on.

Incidentally, considering the whole discussion about fast broadband: Telstra currently offers ADSL, which goes up to (if you're prepared to sell your kidneys to pay for it) about 8Mbps. Optus, however, are rolling out ADSL2+ which is available for the heady speed of 20Mbps (through Optus or anyone else, who re-sell the service), but only if you live in about 2% of the geography of Australia. I, living on the outskirts of Brisbane instead of actually in Brisbane, cannot get this service. The university-to-university link being described in that article has a theoretical (please note that all network speeds have both a theoretical maximum speed and an actual speed, and they're not usually all that friendly with each other) of 1Gbps, or 1000Mbps. A decent jump indeed.

I have scratched my head in other conversations about why it is that Optus and not our so-called national telco and infrastructure-owner Telstra are the first with ADSL2+, and can only assume that Telstra got so worked up about rolling out the world's fastest mobile network (thanks to Ericsson, who supplied all the hardware) that they forgot about the wired Internet. Easy to do, after all, when your mobile data plan is on an account billed to the taxpayer.

As an addendum to this faintly amusing story, I checked the ADSL and ADSL2+ speeds by going to, my current and perhaps not-much-longer service provider, going to their Internet plans page and typing my post code into their "What speed can I get?" box. I did this because I know that they helpfully tell you what the result actually means, unlike some people I could mention.

What I actually got was: "Sorry, broadband is not available on that phone line." WTF? I am fucking using broadband on that phone line! Provided by you!

Gee, I'm glad I didn't do that before I started using ADSL nearly two years ago! I had in actual fact only jumped into broadband, not expecting much service out our way, after our neighbours got it working. See? I'm not a special case, and AAPT are full of shit.

Or rather: Australia Post are head-scratchingly ludicrous. My post-code is 4306. Which I thought was a reasonably small region on the north of Ipswich (4305). But no. It extends west and south of Ipswich, and up north past both dams and finishes north of Esk. You have got to be joking. No wonder a dumb database lookup got confused. There are probably fifteen different telephone exchanges in that one area.

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