netflix arrival in Australia has caused an NBN rethink

It didn’t take long before the NBN concept was in trouble

It took one internet based service like Netflix to cause rumblings. Fortunately the issue isn’t capacity as such, just the price of data.

The politics around the NBN are rather fraught. I don’t want to get political here, but there is no choice with this one. Basically the NBN became a political football. Because Labor announced it, the kneejerk reaction on the other side of politics was that it was a bad idea. This was an appeal to a core demographic, the baby boomer demographic, that were less invested in future technology than the current internet generation.

The Liberal party came out and said that 25Mb to the home was all anyone would ever need. Anyone who knew technology and the history of technology knew that was a rather stupid statement to make. Bill Gates famously once said “640K of memory is enough for anyone”. Clearly he was a bit out there, with the average computer now containing perhaps 8GB of memory, roughly 8,000 times 640K.

The point is, underestimate where technology will go at your peril these days. There is so much that is available on the internet now that we could not have imagined in the year 2000. Only one thing is certain when it comes to the internet – it’s only going one way, bigger.

The idea that you are only going to need 25Mb is akin to the decision to create a one lane highway because that’s all the traffic that is using at that time. The people who travel down South Road in Adelaide know the folly of that thinking. In fact even 100Mb will probably start to get a bit crowded within 5 years.

So now Netflix has come along

Just one streaming video company, and already the limited bandwidth, limited download model is under threat. The NBN isn’t even rolled out and one new idea has caused a crack in its business model.

Now it’s easy to say, yeah but Netflix is just an entertainment service, it’s not that important. Wrong. It is a business. And like every business, it makes money, it creates jobs, it rents office space, it purchases equipment on which to run its business.

Yeah sure it’s entertainment, but not every new business that offers internet services is or will be entertainment. The highway that is built needs to be built not for the traffic that is now but for the how the traffic will be in the future. To my mind that means the capacity to scale, not just to a 100MB but to a Gigabit.

for more on this check out this Sydney Morning Herald article.

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A computer specialist who has had a long and varied career in IT, starting with the days of Novell, progressing through Microsoft on the way to Cisco and network security. Now running Revolution Web Design, to provide customers with great Web Design, SEO and digital strategy advice.

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