Selling the NBN – Why the NBN have to explain the basics to the masses

The thing about the conversation about the NBN is that it’s dominated by media outlets based in Australia’s largest cities.  The questions about connectivity within that coverage relate to “when my street is going to get it” rather than when the whole country is going to get it – the NBN is chipping away at that conversation with a clear focus on rural and regional areas.

There are a little over 10 million homes in Australia, and for at least three million of them there is no reason to even ask or care when the NBN is coming – because the concept of faster speeds is available to you right now.  That’s the Telstra and Optus hybrid fibre-coaxial network (HFC) which was installed to deliver Pay TV to millions of homes.

Confused about the Pay TV cable network upgrade?  Here’s NBN’s explanation of that:

By 2017 – seems a long way off, but that’s 18 months.  18 months and I’m getting 1Gbps down and 100Mbps up?? Bring it on.

At a guess another 3 million or so homes are serviced by moderately adequate ADSL connections, and by that I mean it’s fast, but not by 2015 standards.

The rest of the country is so remote, or so regionally based that there is simply no investment in connectivity – it’s really these homes that serve as the base argument as to why Australia needs a National Broadband Network.

Over the last few months the NBN have been creating video content on their YouTube channel in the hope that more Australian’s can understand what’s coming. Interestingly as you look at the advertising for Internet services these days more and more companies are including “NBN” in their connection options, so there’s a real need to ensure that people understand why they should consider the NBN over other connection technology.

While I might be well-informed about what the NBN is, why I want it so bad, and what I can potentially do with it, there’s plenty of people who are completely satisfied with their frankly quite appalling internet connection.

My mum for example.  Her area only a matter of years ago got ADSL.  It’s a remote area, and that exchange upgrade offers speeds well down in the single digits.  But it means email and Facebook work ok.

Try convincing my mum that the NBN could be beneficial.  Tough job.  That’s where videos like this come in:

Nonna shot to fame after a video of her talking to “Siri” went Viral.  She appeared on the Today Show, and then the above video.  Her genuine reaction to that video connection is proof positive that while plenty of us take for granted technologies like Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts, there are millions more who still think it’s the stuff of science fiction.

When my mum is able to make a simple video call to any one of her 10 grandchildren who are all located between 6 and 10 hours drive away – I know the NBN will have arrived.

During the heat of the election which saw the Labor and Liberal policies go head to head, one of my biggest issues was the conversation always centred around “Movies” or “Gaming”. A tough sell when a huge slice – the majority in fact – of the population couldn’t give a rats about getting movie downloads or lag-free gaming.

The NBN today released this video about socially connected gaming:

Watch that again through the eyes of a parent in a remote area, a parent who sees their children struggling with social skills or feeling isolated. It makes a great case for the NBN.

This one though is a cracker. Here’s a couple who created a business called Mudgee Lamb:

Now while the bulk of the story is about their business, the fundamental story there is that without a solid internet connection – they’re screwed.

The NBN – via Fixed mobile connections and Satellite will bring the Internet – and speeds that the majority of Australia’s already expect and experience – to the whole country.

That’s what’s cool about it, that’s why the NBN is a strong option for rural and regional Australia.

It’s about fast movie downloads, yep, it’s about Netflix. Yep, it’s great for gaming, but just wait for the stories of business, education and healthcare – that’s the future – and that’s the NBN we all deserve.

There’s a complex mix of technologies going to be used, and as I’ve said before, the next 12 months is going to see huge leaps forward in the numbers of connections and that all-important roll-out map. These things don’t, and frankly can’t happen overnight. We’re close. Bring it on.

Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.

He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.

Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.

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  1. Aaron B

    July 23, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Great story but our home is one of the 7 million that is not serviced by HFC in WA. The NBN is a distant reality for us, almost like a mirage on the horizon…..does it exist or does it not. Our suburb in metro Perth (25km from CBD) does not even show up on the heat map on the NBN website. No works planned apparently for our area.

    It’s really hard to be excited by this NBN stuff when you can not even see it coming to your area any time soon. In the mean time we get over subscribed ADSL speeds less than 5mb/s.

    • Neville

      July 23, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      Completely agree Aaron! We don’t even get 2.9mbps — its a joke! In a supposed to be developed nation, telecommunications is in the stone age — even third world countries have 25mbps +speeds. Hearing about NBN since I moved to Australia almost 7 years ago, but guess it will only happen when kingdom come — until then we got to live with the national bullshit network!

  2. Karina K

    July 23, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Hey Aaron, I work for nbn in the media department. I know it seems like forever away but we intend to connect every home and business by 2020. We also intend to release a 3 year plan this year – soon as we can. It’s a hard one because we want to provide an accurate view which, of course with a project of this size and nature, is not easy. But keep your eye on our site.. and EFTM because I’m sure Trevor will report. Be excited. It will happen. Karina

    • Neville

      July 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      LOL! ‘…intend to connect in 2020…’ and ‘…plan to release a 3-year plan – as soon as we can’ — is that some kind of joke? Actions speak louder than words — lets have the NBN connection if it is to be believed to be true! Mind you in 2020 technology will be so advanced that the NBN will be outdated — it already is going backwards with ‘fibre to node’ from ‘fibre to home’!

  3. Steve Miller

    July 24, 2015 at 10:54 am

    It’s hard to be excited Karina when your area is removed from the rollout maps without any explanation straight after the last election and nothing since. The NBN rollout was initially proposed to commence in my area September 2013.

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