1Gbps NBN – No Surprise

In an announcement today by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, it was spruiked that the NBN would be capable of achieving speeds of up to 1Gbps. This is up by a factor of ten over the 100Mbps speeds originally promised by the Government.

What should come as no surprise is that fibre has incredible capacity for bandwidth, probably more than current hardware can harness. In most cases, a single colour of light is being transmitted down a fibre to create a signal but there exists the possibility of using an increasing number of different coloured light to create parallel circuits. In the lab, fibre has reached 100Pbs (that’s Petabits which is one million times greater than a gigabit).

Is it any wonder that I am not surprised when the Government has announced the capability 1Gbps speeds? All it would require is some upgraded hardware in the core network and capable routers or computers at the premises to make it happen.

Having said that, one thing to consider is that a lot of computers can’t send or receive information at 1Gbps anyway due to limitations in their internal architecture (like the PCI bus that is often shared with other components). Unless you are doing a lot of downloading across a number of computers, gigabit speeds are probably more than enough for the average punter.

Nonetheless, I reckon the NBN is a good thing but I wish that politicians would stop playing number games and get on with building the infrastructure and the framework to make the initiative a success.

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