About

30th October, 2011.

Since launching this site back in 2010, it has been essentially anonymous. For no particular reason, I had decided there was no need to identify myself as the author.

However, the internet being what it is, this decision has led to accusations of the site being part of an astroturfing campaign, written by someone on the payroll of NBN Co, the ALP or an associated entity. Astroturfing is the term given to “fake grass roots” campaigns. Common in the USA, they are (unfortunately) beginning to appear in Australia too.

With this in mind, I’ve now decided to identify myself and explain why I decided to put so much time into creating the NBN Myths site, although I’m sure anyone who has been closely following the debate had probably worked out who I was long ago, given my Twitter activity!

My name is Jamie Benaud. I’m a full-time professional firefighter, I also run a photography business based in the Blue Mountains, and I have been know to make the odd camper-trailer!

At this point you might be wondering why I’m so interested in the NBN, what motivated me to create the site, and also what qualifies me to make commentary on it.

I’ve always been a huge fan and user of technology. Since getting my first computer at the age of 12 (an Apple //c), I’ve advocated the adoption of technology at home, in schools and at workplaces. If the ‘perfect’ job hadn’t come along, there’s every chance I’d be employed in some high-technology field today.

Having witnessed the explosive growth of the internet since the early days, I can see the huge potential that a fast network such as the NBN will bring for Australia, and in particular to future generations. I do not want my children growing up in a country which has been left far behind by the developed World.

I’m also passionate about bridging the gap between city and regional areas of Australia. For too long, decent, affordable communication services have stopped at the edge of the cities. Despite living only twenty minutes away, people in my area pay double what a person in Penrith pays for their broadband service. Areas further out pay even more, and get even less. If we are serious about decentralisation in Australia, then people who live outside cities should not be penalised for that decision. The NBN will help to overcome this inequity.

I believe the NBN will make decentralisation far more viable, by ‘shrinking’ the distances of this vast country, particularly through improving education services and healthcare.

My final reason for creating the site is the huge volume of demonstrably false NBN information that has been promulgated by the Federal Opposition and certain sections of the media (primarily by a single media organisation, actually). The public is being grossly mislead by this false information, and I feel it needs to be corrected. It annoys me.

As such, the NBN Myths site is a grouping of referenced facts, with a bit of opinion thrown in. All too often the NBN “facts” of the opposition and one media outlet in particular, have been exposed as blatantly false. We are all entitled to our own opinion, but we are not entitled to our own facts. As such, this site will continue to refute the inaccuracies published about the NBN, with verifiable facts.

Now for the nitty gritty:

I have not received any payment or inducement whatsoever to create this site. I don’t put advertising on the site or receive any income from it whatsoever.

Neither myself nor (to the best of my knowledge) any of my friends or family have ever been in the paid or unpaid employ of NBN Co, any political party, the Federal Government or any of NBN Co’s suppliers, contractors or any associated company. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any political party, nor do I personally know anyone who is. I do not own any shares in any company and to the best of my knowledge I don’t know anyone who owns any shares in any NBN-related company. I have been a financial member of the Firefighters’ Employees’ Union since 1993. I have never held an office at this or any other union/association. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of any other union or employees’ association.

28 Responses to About

  1. Matthew Wardhaugh says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’m a student in my last year of electrical engineering study at UOW. I’m a huge fan of the site, it’s the only resource I’ve been able to find that clearly explains all of the ambiguity related to the NBN.

    Like yourself, I’m extremely passionate about technology and the benefits the NBN will provide. I can’t stand thinking that the government will lose the next election simply because they arn’t explaining the NBN properly!

    I’ve been tuning in to stations such as 2GB and 2UE lately, and there’s been too many times that I’ve gripped the steering wheel in anger after hearing one of their shock jocks spread misinformation, such as Tony Abbotts recent interview with Tim Webster as they go on about how all their laptops and ipads are connected to wireless, when you and I both know it’s WiFi. A 2GB caller even had a rant about the german laser speed record the other week, months after Alan Jones made the same huge blunder – clearly there wasn’t enough media attention on this! How can they get away with this??

    The main problem i find are the 50+ year olds, that only read their News Limited papers and listen to their shock jocks. I hope that your work can eventually filter through to them. I’ve been emailing NBN Co. requesting that they get an engineer to speak on these radio stations, but so far no luck, I’ll keep trying though.

    I think a great idea would be to include a benefits section on this site, maybe just with links to news on tech sites such as engadget and gizmodo, with an explaination of how the NBN will provide these technologies (especially those from CES 2012). Most people don’t understand that TV will be run over the internet, and that TV resolution is moving on to 4K resolution, with directors such as Peter Jackson pushing a doubling of frame rates, hence data! They also need to know that wireless broadband can’t provide videoconferencing due to low upload speeds and latency, and how much money they would save on petrol if they worked from home only one day a week!

    I just thought I’d say that the work you’re doing is great, you’re slowly educating people!! I’ll continue spreading this link.

    Thanks mate,

    Matt

    • Garry says:

      Hi Matt,
      I’m 50+, don’t read nor believe in the conventional media, share Jamie’s passion for technology, suffer knowing that my children and grandchildren may miss out on great opportunities due to limited access to information.
      There’s no need for Jamie’s information to “filter out” to me or many more like me. I have been actively seeking factual information since 1993.
      How old did you say you were?
      I appreciate the enthusiasm of youth but if you get out there and look around you’ll find a lot of “old f@rts” keen to learn and they need cost-effective access to information.
      Please don’t make this an age-related issue. It affects us all.

    • Sarah Carr says:

      Hello,

      I am wondering if there is any relationship between the roll out of the wireless NBN in my little country town in Victoria and a marked reduction in the quality and quantity of regular mobile coverage?

      Sarah

  2. Anonymous Coward says:

    Don’t worry too much about the shockjocks’ misinformation campaigns; i. they don’t want to get it right, ii. they probably can’t get it right when they want to and iii.they never ever get it right. If you add that all up, it doesn’t matter what they say about anything- other than those who want to hear verbal abuse all day long and only vote for their wallets’ best interest. Nothing can change them, so let them be.

    News Ltd is a different story, they have destroyed the reputation of a valuable profession journalism to promote their mate’s interests, line their pockets, and making us think it is okay to do this so long as they are ‘building value for shareholders’. Some hope that it will all crumble, but you never know, by the time the NBN rolls out, they really could be crumbling.

  3. Magilla says:

    Hello, Jamie.

    This is the only way I can respond to you as there was no reply addy with your request for pics on my site.

    The answer is yes, feel free. If there’s something in particular you’re after (and it’s not on the site), let me know and I’ll see what can be arranged.

    Bye for now.

  4. Melissa says:

    Hello Jamie, I am impressed by your knowledge of the NBN and would be interested in having a chat to you. I am program manager for the Digital Enterprise Program in Townsville and would be interested in having you come and speak at an event that we would host in a few months time. Is this something we could chat about?. Contact me for Skype details.

  5. seven_tech says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I’ve been reading your work for sometime now and it partly inspired me to start my own blog. But I’m getting quite tired and frustrated with all the Coalition and media FUD slinging and the fact that there is no focussed campaign against this stuff.

    As such, I’m trying to start up a pro-NBN action group, called Fibre4Oz: http://fibre4oz.blogspot.com.au

    It’s just an idea now and the blog page is a temporary setup to gauge support. I’m a regular poster on Delimiter, Whirlpool, ZDNet, Gizmodo, ABC.net and many other tech sites and am trying to promote this through them. But I’d appreciate any help, suggestions or comments you have.

    Ultimately I hope to get a full fledged website and group running, which can publicly focus the fight on the pro-NBN agenda, which, up until now, I believe, has been quite fragmented. Labor certainly can’t do it…..

    Any feedback would be appreciated. I understand we’re all busy with our own lives, but I know you understand of the importance of the continued success of the NBN, particularly post 2013 elections.

    I’ll be linking your site and many others like it, including my own, on the blog site and then the website when I get it up and running. If you’d like to contact me, feel free to do so via email.

    Cheers

  6. Alex says:

    Hey, just letting you know of my new site. It compares all the NBN plans in Australia. Not all the plans are on there, though I intend to have them all. Let me know if there is an ISP you would like me to add or something I could do better. nbncompared.com.au thanks

  7. Steve says:

    Pricing plans for terrestrial services in Europe often do not include volume limits. A super-fast network with a volume limit is not logical. Simply watch your volume limit get reached sooner.

    When will Australia catch up? This manner of pricing is a form of theft. The NBN perpetuates this unfair pricing concept. Will someone push the very sensible idea of limitless volumes?

    • NBN Myths says:

      Steve,

      Volume pricing is not really anything to do with the NBN because they don’t directly charge for volume. The NBN wholesale charges comprise two components, the AVC (individual port speed) and the CVC (total bandwidth per ISP at each POI). The ISPs base their charges on these NBN charges and also the cost of their own network and providing access to the worldwide internet. While not strictly volume-based, the total bandwidth charges the ISPs must pay (both the CVC and international connectivity) are impacted by the volume users download, so their costs do vary based on volume, particularly during peak periods.

      That said, there are a few unlimited-data NBN plans available now. Pennytel (part of iiNet) probably have the best examples. Check them out at https://www.pennytel.com.au/penny-broadband/nbn-deals

  8. 1putt says:

    Unfortunately Telstra were allowed to set their own pricing model for data when the Government of the day (just happened to be Liberal) forced them to take over the Internet from the Vice-Chancellors.
    The pricing model Telstra chose was the same as used for National and International phone calls, based on a “unit charge” for time / in the case of data, data volume.
    We’re stuck with it in the same way we’re stuck with any new personal taxes. It doesn’t matter which party is in charge (Telstra or NBNCo) a new tax is never removed, just extended.
    In fact aren’t we already paying two taxes; one for increased speed and the second for extra data? No change from the Telstra model as far as I can see.

  9. Garry says:

    I’d just like to thank Jamie for setting up the site and for all of the contributors that have enlightened me about the future of broadband we know as the NBN.
    I’ve learned much more in a shorter time than I would have without this site.
    Thank you to all.

  10. 10kvolts says:

    This is an absolutely fantastic website, definitely needs some mainstream media attention because with the looming likelihood that the Coalition is going to be in government we cannot let them touch the NBN or lest spending even more years being behind the ball in terms of broadband performance.

  11. dedalus says:

    Jamie,

    Terrific work by you here. Have you updated this for the current election year 2013?

    Some of us Whirlpoolers are getting up an activist pro-NBN site
    and would like to jump to your site from a “Top NBN Myths” link.

    Could you get back to me to discuss this possibility.

    Cheers
    Eamon (aka dedalus on Whirlpool).

  12. dedalus says:

    Jamie,

    New site is up at http://www.savethenbn.com

    I’ve linked your site on it. My email is there so please contact.
    -dedalus

  13. Hawley Beach says:

    I think the most amusing part of the Opposition’s White Paper for the NBN was the part where they stated that Apple and Cisco claim that you only need 8Mbs for High Definition Video

    They could have instead of relied on the H264 standard. Version 4.1 currently used for Blu-Ray, for example, quotes a maximum bit rate of 62.5 Mbs. If you Google Blu-Ray you will find that the average compressed bit rate is about 31Mbs. The Opposition’s NBN is incapable of this of course, and this is a 10yo standard

    So forget about the future given that the 10yo H264 standard lists compressed bit rates of up to 720Mbs, and forget that we currently have 1.2Gbs coming out of our Blu-Ray players to our TVs …

  14. Skeet says:

    Excellent resource. Much appreciated.

    🙂

  15. Macca says:

    I have a question that so far I haven’t been able to answer. I live in a fairly new, multi unit development in a suburban location in Melbourne. The only access to my home is via about 30 metres of concreted driveway (under which lies the Telstra copper wire that connects my terrestrial phone line and ADSL internet connection). Despite living less than 20 kms from the Melbourne CBD, my mobile phone access is poor. Will the NBN company pay to dig up and replace my driveway in order to run the fibre optic cable that I require to connect to the NBN and even if it will, will I then have to replace the copper cable within my (less than 3 year old) home to be able to exploit the full capacity of the NBN ? I suspect millions of homes around Australia may have an external FTTH access point, but have the last 20 metres of the connection running through existing copper cables as it will be inordinately expensive to upgrade to fibre optic connections inside homes. But isn’t this essentially what the Coalition is proposing ?

    • 7seventech says:

      Macca

      It is entirely up to NBNCo. to get the fibre lead in up your conduit to your building. Whether they can do so via the normal method of pulling through new cable with rope or air or using the Telstra copper to pull it through if there isn’t enough room, it is all their cost. That is their requirement.

      You do not have to pay for internal fibre, but your strata board does have to apply to NBNCo. for connection. Connection is free, but still has to be applied for in apartment buildings by strata. Then NBNCo. will plan and design it, get strata to approve it and then do the install.

      The Coalition are planning on FTTB- Fibre to the basement, which utilises the last few metres of copper from your communications room in your building to your apartment. This, in general, does not give the same performance as full FTTH. However, in many cases in apartments it WOULD be considerably easier. At the moment it isn’t being done, but may be in the future. Either way, you will not have to pay for a connection, EXCEPT if you want a full fibre to the home connection when you’ve already been given a FTTB connection such as under the Coalition. This may or may not be available in apartments and will cost a not insignificant amount.

  16. RichardU says:

    Perhaps we need a Turnbull Broadband Network stretches http://stevej-on-nbn.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/nbn-numbers-turnbull-doesnt-want-you-to.html website

  17. Scott hartnett says:

    Hi, I’m interviewing the labour candidate for Hume, I’m interested in what the nbn could do for regional Australia, in places like goulburn and yass with aging copper that frequently breaks down. More specifically where will turnbulls nodes be located is there any information or detail on this. Is there any idea in how much fibre cable will be to run to the node be it 100 m to a km. finally how will the upload speed affect. Idea conferencing, will it remain jerky as it currently is at low res.

    • 7seventech says:

      Scott

      I live in the Southern Highlands, so I understand the sort of copper problems Goulburn and similar face.

      The simple fact is, while we have some information, almost all is tentative at best and highly speculative and unlikely at the worst, from Turnbull’s policy. It is all down to NBNCo. and most probably Telstra who would need to be considerable consultants, if not builders of FTTN….assuming they agree to the deal of course which isn’t guaranteed either.

      Turnbull has stated his nodes will likely be located at Telstra pillars. As such, for a 71% coverage of premises with FTTN, it would cover 71% of the pillars (of which there are approx. 72 000) or around 55 000. Unfortunately, as several analysts have pointed out, this doesn’t work as up to 25% of premises, PARTICULARLY in regional areas, are considerably further (800m or more) from their pillars than their urban cousins. As such, considerably MORE nodes would be needed. Turnbull has not responded to this.

      There is also the fact that in 2006 the G9 consortium which put forward an FTTN design based on the pillar locations, was rebuffed by Telstra with them saying using the pillars as node locations is inefficient as the network is not designed for shortest line lengths based on pillar location. Telstra recommended the network be redesigned to accommodate the copper run analysis. (of which, of course…only Telstra knows about).

      Turnbull started out saying line lengths would be “about 800m” in 2011 to “no MORE than 800m” in 2012 to “average 500m” in their current policy. Take what you will from that….

      In terms of uploads- Turnbull will not guarantee uploads. He flatly refuses, saying it’s up to NBNCo. to chose the split. That is correct, but if he can’t even guarantee 5Mbps, it’s severely lacking for any serious interactive web productivity. While programs like Skype dynamically adjust and are usable, if hopeless, on uploads 1Mbps or less, serious online collaboration requires at LEAST 5Mbps, preferably 10. For online cloud working- such as real-time document editing etc, the higher the uploads the better the connection. Turnbull has only guaranteed a 25Mbps line speed (although he keeps saying “minimum downloads” which is contrary to what his own policy states). If that’s true, it will likely be a 20/5 minimum. If it IS download, then the line must be capable, presumably, of at least 30Mbps, unless he wants it to be WORSE than NBNCo’s current second tier…which would be ridiculous. He would do this with vectoring- a technology based on the principle of noise-cancelling on bundles of copper to try and ensure a minimum line speed. Problem is, only one company in the world has managed to get a minimum of 25Mbps downloads….and it required nearly 10 times the number of nodes on newer copper, than what Turnbull’s plan asks for. (Deutchse Telekom in Germany- 10 million premises)

      There are far too many ifs ands and buts in their policy. Frankly, if the Coalition do win the election, it will be lucky to get off the ground. It is completely contrary to their mantra of “private enterprise does it better” to continue to finance NBNCo. to rollout ANY sort of NBN adn it will likely cost billions more and take several years longer than they want, therefore negating any real savings over the current NBN.

  18. 7luigiitau says:

    I had just read following a link, I very impress by your information on NBN and grateful, I had not spend a lot of time like you on research but I support this better technology as is a very important infrastructure that will benefit all Australian. Cutting corner as propose by the now Malcom Thurbul MP is not a good investment and I without offending had some doubt as for what I know he had interest in a company that should made him interest party. For such reason he should not influence the politic-economic in regard.
    Thank for your time for collecting all the information and sharing.
    Ciao, God bless.

  19. This is such a great site and still so relevant in 2016. I’ve worked on and off NBN contracts for the last 5 years and its been an absolute nightmare.

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