There has been lots of talk this year about the National Governments Ultrafast Broadband Initiative. I have always been critical of the 5 year aims of this project and the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI). The problem is existing Broadband services are below developed world standards.
Japan for instance has a average (that's right average) speed of 90Mb/s we on the other hand are aiming for 5Mb/s urban and 1Mb/s rural at the end of 5 years. The rest of the world is moving towards 1Gb/s systems for internet access.
My home ADSL broadband link is to the Opotiki Exchange. From my house it uses copper to the Omarumutu PCM cabinet (2Km distance) and then fiber to the Opotiki Exchange (11Km distance).
The PCM cabinet to Exchange link carries phone and broadband traffic from all the connected clients in that area. I don't know the exact number of users but I would imagine given the rural nature of the site 50 ~ 100 broadband users. (Since been informed that 60 broadband users use the one link in this cabinet.)
In time gone by I was a Technician for NZPO/Telecom and one of the determining factors of 'Traffic' management was QoS (Quality of Service) judged by traffic units called Erlangs.
Basically and circuit occupied for one hour = 1Erlang. Telephone Exchanges were constantly accessed to provide a minimum QoS by measuring the number of Erlangs at peak and off-peak times.
It seems apparent that the traffic shaping and QoS rules that Telecom now apply to the now commercialized telecom routes are using a much lower standard of service than would have been allowed when it was in public ownership.
My chart above shows my broadband speed over several months of 2011. The average is below 1Mb/s and sometimes below what one would expect out of a Dial-up account.
Quality of Service is about consistent standards and although my Upload speed is fairly consistent you can see that by no means could you describe my download speed as consistent or providing a Quality Service.
My modem/router is ADSL2+ capable and of a high quality with up to date firmware. My house wiring is in good condition and the line filter is permanently wired in.
I have a full speed Vodafone account with 80GB cap that I rarely exceed. My internal LAN and hardware is of a high standard.
The fact that the upgrade of rural Telecom equipment is reported to be done over a 5 year period that may improve my overall QoS to something approaching 1Mb/s does not appease me .
I'm paying the same as anyone else that gets say 14Mb/s download in Urban and City areas.
Shouldn't I expect that same level of service for the same price?
More on this a my Blog. http://ruralbroadbandinitative.blogspot.com/
Having been called in by the Governments RBI team rolling out the first Ultrafast Broadband link for rural schools in the country at Omaio school. I have first hand knowledge of many issues regarding this initiative.
First the companies involved in the roll-out for Omaio had a fit the day before the official arrival of the Minister Anne Tolley for the opening because non of the team could get any better than 0Mb/s out of the new fibre link.
I worked with the technicians in Christchurch to rectify the router settings and the speed approached 5Mb/s. It was later determined that the circuit was configured in simplex mode instead of full duplex. At this point the speed rose to 20.7Mb/s download and 35.9Mb/s upload.
I was then asked to attend the Ministers PR Hui the next day to make sure I was available ‘in case things went wrong’.
The Minister launched the ‘Ultrafast Broadband link by video conferencing and holding class lesson with Henderson valley school and the Minister of Communications in Auckland.
The link performed well, but left me asking where is the 100Mb/s the school was meant to get under the RBI and why is the Upload speed faster than the download speed.