Australian and other Broadband plans (overseas) compared.

Australia’s Broadband offerings compared with other countries.

The objective of this post is to explain what I know about the broadband services from overseas and then to invite readers (in the comments section) to add their knowledge as well.

In 2011, my wife and I visited France and stayed in a small village outside of La Rochelle. It was a beautiful spot in the French countryside, with idyllic views and believe it or not –

1/ Wireless Broadband in Landrais. (40 Euros or $57.60 AUD per Month)

As part of the Gite hire, they included wireless broadband.  Whilst we were having drinks around the pool on a Tuesday night, I asked them how much they paid.

The cost for their broadband was 40 Euros ($57.60) AUD a month and included all phone calls (yes international ones as well), unlimited downloads and was at a speed of 100 MBS

The wireless part was from their modem for guests. They were connected via fibre.

2/ Broadband in Paris. (40 Euros or $57.60 AUD per Month)

After our two weeks in Landrais we travelled from La Rochelle to the 9th Arrondisement in Paris, a short walk from the Gare Du Nord (the railway station where we caught the train back to London).

We stayed in an apartment which was 50 meters from the Metro and when we arrived we were met by the owners’ agent, and shown a computer which we had free access to and was connected at 100Mbps. It included all phone calls (yes international ones as well), unlimited downloads and was at a speed of 100 MBS

3/ Broadband in Germany. (50 Euros or $72 AUD per Month)

Waiting in the arrivals hall at Tullamarine for my wife to arrive home from Dubai earlier this month, I started a conversation with a young German lady (who spoke the most excellent English).  It was 1.30am and the conversation turned to the differences between our two countries.

She said that Australia was very expensive compared to Europe. I could agree with that for all sorts of services, including the Gas, Electricity and also the groceries.  She also mentioned the Internet and how slow and expensive it was.

In Germany she told me, she pays 50 Euros a month for Optic Fibre Broadband.  It included all phone calls (yes international ones as well), unlimited downloads and was at a speed of 100 MBS

4/ Broadband in Slovakia. (15 Euros or $23.25 AUD per Month)

A friend and colleague who I worked with at LM Ericsson, who was born, worked, and escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia and accepted into Australia, is now allowed (since the fall of the Iron Curtain) to return to the land of his birth to visit his family.

Czechoslovakia has become two countries, the Czech and Slovak Republics, both of them had a copper telephone system and network which would have made the inventors of Telephony proud – if it were back in the late 19th century.

My friend’s sister lives in a block of flats. In Australia this is called a multiple dwelling unit, or MDU. The type of building Malcolm Turnbull is saying the NBN Co was having problems connecting to.

About five years ago, my Slovak friend told me that his sister has upgraded Ethernet wiring installed (Cat 5e). This is capable of transmitting Data at 1000 (1 GBs) MBS, but in her case connects to the newly connected fttp network, which the Slovak people have installed.

On Saturday night we had a get together and my Slovak friend was invited.

He told us that his sister still pays 15 Euros and the speed she enjoys is 116 MBS. It included all phone calls (yes international ones as well) and unlimited downloads.

My Australian Broadband Experience. ($110 per month)

When I first bought broadband it was from Optus. The deal was 20Gigs download limit, with payment for each meg over, all national telephone calls, and all calls to GSM mobiles. This was altered in 2011, to 500 Gigs download limit. The speed of the Optus HFC network never exceeded 2MBS. The price was $109 per month.

I moved from Optus to iinet earlier this year and back to copper. The deal I have is 200Gigs of download and all national and local calls. I have to pay for mobile calls from the landline but have a package with $168 of free calls through my mobile.

For this deal I pay $110 per month.  The speed via the CNet internet download speed checker is 8.5MBS. Upload is less than 1MBS

As you can see the difference in the three offerings for broadband above is completely different than the Australian Experience. The Australian service offers less and costs substantially more. There are extra charges if you go over the limit for data download.

In effect, what has happened is this.

The last Labor Government wanted to bring the Australian telecommunications environment into the 21st Century. The Liberals want to keep Australia in the 19th Century.

The reason? I am not sure but the result is that Australians have to pay more for an inferior service.

Ask yourself this. If countries in Europe can provide a viable cheap and fast broadband, why can’t we in Australia? Why does Malcolm Turnbull want to keep copper in the network? When you can’t shine a light down it? Why are so many technical people and Telecommunications professionals so disillusioned by the stance of the Liberal government?

It’s because they know that there is another reason why the liberals don’t want an up to date service in Australia. It has to do with market control and money.

If you want to add your Broadband story below in the comments, then please feel free to do so. The objective of this post is to see the differences between Australia and overseas broadband offerings and pricing. I am sure if you participate we will see some interesting data come to hand.

Please note the comments are moderated.


7 thoughts on “Australian and other Broadband plans (overseas) compared.

  1. Things are a bit more expensive here in Switzerland but still pretty good value I think.

    For CHF95 per month we get unlimited internet traffic at 20mbs plus unlimited mobile and fixed calls inside Switzerland and unlimited calls to fixed networks in Western Europe and the US. At these speeds, I can watch live TV from the UK over the internet.

    For CHF145 we could get the same deal over cable, with speeds of 100mbs plus all of the major TV channels across Western Europe.

    It’s the unlimited nature of the traffic plus the higher speeds that make this such a good deal. By comparison, at home I’m paying (for my son who lives in my house) around $70 per month for phone connection (ie. still have to pay for the calls) and 100gb of downloads, on an ADSL2 connection which tops around 3.5mbs on a good day.

  2. Thanks Aslsw,
    CHF 95 is $110 AUD a month at today’s exchange rate.
    CHF 145 is $160 per month at today’s exchange rate

    The streaming of TV is the advantage as well as the unlimited nature of calls and the much higher speed than Australia. I presume that as the other European countries get Fttp, then Switzerland will upgrade and probably become more reasonably priced.

    This highlights the TV aspect of the competitive market place. In other words the death of pay TV as we know it now.

    • Exactly. We were just discussing how our TV habits have changed from having to sit in front of the box when the broadcaster chooses to show something, to choosing what to watch and when.

      By the way, that cable deal includes PVR functionality, access to movies and live sports as well as live TV on your tablet or phone. It absolutely kills the broadcast model.

      • There is no doubt that the technology changes the way we do things. I have had a TV card with PVR functionality (That means that you can record the stream for people who may not know).

        The Dinosaurs who own the networks and the Pay TV networks are sticking with the old way of doing things.

        Essentially, their model is the Selling model, where they sell what they think customers want. rather than a marketing model where they sell what customers actually want.

        With the new technology, it is not necessary to know exactly what people want as you can just have a repository of choices and then work out from the consumer behaviour what they actually use.

        The revenue stream generated by the new technology is also more flexible. For example you can stream video content for everyone for a small fee. Which can be set so that it is accessible fro everyone but a much better profit prospect than the fixed cable or satellite model. Everyone is a potential subscriber.

        However TV and Video content is just one of the advantages of the technology. There are much more exciting ways of changing what we do with these high speed connections. Work and the nature of it, Health monitoring, both remote and by specialists, Education ( a variety of applications), Business location choice and and usage of advanced computer programs, Service delivery by government and a whole lot of things applications which have not been though of as yet.

        I well remember when I bought my first computer in 1981, I traveled from Melbourne to Adelaide and paid $1000 for an Apple IIe copy. Included was a two day course to program in basic. A friend asked me “What can you do with that?” There wasn’t much really then apart from a few basic programs and word processing followed by spreadsheets. Thirty two years later the Question is “What can’t you do with a computer?” and the answer is “Not much”

        Apply this thinking to an NBN network and imagine a world with Optic fibre connections everywhere.

        For these reasons I find the short term thinking of the current Liberal National government appalling in it’s intellectual rigor and it’s arguments about cost purile and silly.

        The Labor NBN was a great Nation building scheme. It broke a Monopoly model, it transformed the communications possibilities in the Bush and was a pathway to real productivity growth for all Australians. What ever your politics it was a great model for the future.

        The cost arguments were childish in the extreme. The cost was to be all recouped by the sale of services with a 7% return so it actually cost nothing.

        The arguments about costing over $90 Bn were unsubstantiated and Politically motivated.

        I believe that the conservatives in Australia were frightened witless by this innovation because it moved market power away from vested interests and back to the people and introduced real competition.

        A careful reading of the NBN Co business plan shows that the network is actually paid for in the main by the high end users, topped up by the lower end users, it can be scaled up as new technology comes on line (take one piece of equipment off the fibre and add the new one).

        The plan also shows that the wholesale cost will fall over the term of the plan.

        Using this plan I wrote a spreadsheet of revenue and was able to use the actual breakup of the take up of speeds to forecast future years revenue. If anything the NBN Co were very conservative in their Revenue projections.

        Where is the Business plan for the Liberal NBN solution? It doesn’t exist because they do not even have a network plan and if you don’t know what is in a network, how can you cost it?

        There are two more points i would like to discuss briefly.

        A) The maintenance of a copper to the node solution is a huge unknown. My Adsl connection has 7 joints back to the exchange and is 900 metres away.

        B) You cannot shine light down a copper cable and Light has a speed of 299 792 458 m / s. Light carries the digital signal. Light on and light off = 0’s and 1’s. To have a super highway of optic fibre to a cabinet in the street where it becomes a goat track (copper), is possibly the most wacky
        thing I have ever heard of. In fact its a criminal waste of money.

  3. Further information via @Doclac and @Sortius on twitter.

    The main game of the Liberal NBN is to say that copper can in fact provide the speeds via vectoring. This technology is discussed here with testing in Lab and field.

    The cost of a VDSL line is 2x the cost of an ADSL line and so that is a problem cost wise.
    The distance is a problem in the field. Longer distance degraded speed
    The size of the copper is a problem in the field smaller copper degraded speed.
    The joints in the copper are a problem in the field (maintenance cost)
    The report talks about fibre investment already made to cabinets. Australia has no such investment already made.
    The report talks about using 2 pairs per household. Would mean iupgrading existing copper added cost
    The report says fibre to the premis in most administrations will be done in 10 years So why do vectoring when Ftth will do 100mbps and greater within 10 yrs.

    My question is why not just do Fibre to the premis (Home)?

  4. Pingback: The Deniers | vinceogrady

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