How fast is the NBN compared to the Coalition’s internet plan?

“HOW long would it take to upload a Facebook photo on the NBN?”

“How much time will it take to download an episode of Game of Thrones on iTunes.”

These are the kinds of questions answered by a new website that compares the speeds of the NBN policies of the Federal Government and the Coalition.

Brisbane PhD student James Brotchie told he built the website, because he didn’t think the Labor government was selling the NBN properly to everyday Australians.

A Liberal voter, Mr Brotchie said he supported most Coalition policies but said both parties had done a woeful job of explaining the benefits of NBN.

“I found that it was difficult for non tech-savvy people to understand all the jargon: 25Mpbs, FTTN (fibre to the node) FTTP (fibre to the premises),” he said.

“I wanted a website that I could sit my parents down in front of and have them appreciate the difference between the competing parties’ NBN plans.”

The site allows users to run simulations of every day tasks such as uploading a video to YouTube, photos to Facebook or downloading an episode of Game of Thrones on iTunes.
Using the NBN, uploading 100 10mb photos to Facebook takes 20 seconds.
The Coalition’s plan takes 27 minutes and 18 seconds.

Downloading a one-hour high definition TV episode from iTunes would take 16 seconds on the NBN, or 10 minutes and 55 seconds on the Coalition’s plan.

Uploading a short video to YouTube would take 4 seconds under Labor’s plan, and five minutes and 20 seconds under the Coalition’s plan.

Mr Brotchie said he based his calculations on the assumptions that the upload and download speeds were 1000Mbps download and 400Mbps upload for Labor’s NBN and 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload for the Coalition’s proposal.

“Given that we know how fast downloads and uploads are, and the size of the data to be downloaded and uploaded, we can calculate the numbers of seconds it will take to completely finish the upload or download,” he said.

“So for each scenario, we calculate the number of seconds that the download or upload would take, and move the ‘progress bar’ accordingly.”

However, Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Minister Senator Stephen Conroy said Mr Brotchie “overestimates the speeds and capacity of Malcolm Turnbull’s network”.

“He assumes that every Australian lives within 500m of a node and that the copper to their home is fit for service,” Mr Conroy’s spokeswoman said.

Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull hit back furiously at the “propaganda” website.

“Stephen Conroy knows that he is wrong here,” a spokesman for Mr Turnbull told
“25mbps is the minimum peak speed and the vast majority of users will have access to speeds greater than that. It will also increase to a minimum speed of 50mbps for the vast majority of fixed line users by 2019.

“In contrast, only 3 per cent of users will be using 1gbps services by the NBN by 2028 so this is a gross exaggeration in comparing the two networks.

Mr Brotchie said his simulations modelled ideal situations and were dependent on the speed of the connection of website from which the file is being uploaded or downloaded, the processing power of the computer used to conduct the upload or download and whether the computer used to conduct the upload or download is connected to the NBN “router” via wireless or a network cable.

Though he said he “tended to vote Liberal” most of the time, Mr Brotchie called the Coalition’s broadband plan “short sighted” because once it is in place, it could not be easily upgraded.

“Its reliance on the decaying copper infrastructure sets a fundamental upper limit on speeds; well below the Labor NBN’s demonstrated performance,” he said.
He said that the NBN was the “best solution” for Australia.

“By the time it’s completed, it will still be a best-of-breed solution,” he said.
“Through relatively inexpensive hardware upgrades, we’ll be able to enjoy enormous speeds increases well into the future.”



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