[ASC-list] Internet performance to country users

Charles Willock charlesw at cse.unsw.EDU.AU
Wed May 18 04:25:42 UTC 2011

With the announcement of the switchon of the NBN in Armidale, it is 
worth considering a little of the technical background on internet

In 2002 when pushing the privatisation of Telstra, the Howard government 
established an enquiry to report on the challenges of providing a 
guaranteed internet service to all Australians.  

The Estens Report specified this "Universal Service Obligation" to be
19.2 kbps (Recommendation 4.1 - below).

It is worth noting that 

   o.  a standard office fax machine operates at around 14.2 kbps ...

   o.  that fibre optic cable with substantial speeds (and
       inter-amplifier distances of 100 km or more) were available 
       in the late 1990s.

   o.  at 19.2 kbps 600 MB of data could be transferred in about 
       70 hours. 

   o.  at 100 Mbps (the NBN subscriber speed) 600 MB of data takes 
       about 50 seconds.

While some/much(?) of the discussion is about values and policy, much 
of it is also being projected as being about science.  

The question is :: how does the science/technology get to enter - and
be valued in - the public discussion when such astonishingly different
capabilities can be pushed to the media as being competitors.


The report of the Regional Telecommunications Inquiry has been removed
from the original website :: www.telinquiry.gov.au

However, it can be recovered from 'archive.org' at:


and the report can also be found at the National Library at 


The committee consisted of (adapted from the report - see below)

   Mr Dick Estens, Chairman - a cotton farmer from Moree with an extensive
   interest in community and aboriginal issues.

   Ms Jane Bennett - production manager and director of Ashgrove Cheeses in
   Tasmania with an extensive involvement in the food industry.

   Mr Ray Braithwaite - former National Party member for the north Queensland
   Federal electorate of Dawson with extensive public, community and business 
   experience in regional Australia, and has been a passionate advocate of 
   long standing improvements in regional service delivery [...]

The report was delivered within 90 days by the committee


Archive.org also provide a much more extensive cluster of related pages
... including the government's response (acceptance of all 39 recommendations)
which do not appear to be archived by the NLA website.


Recommendation and Committee membership follow.



The benefits provided by the Internet Assistance Program for users of
dial-up Internet services should be guaranteed into the future.  A
licence condition should be placed on Telstra that would require all
Australians to be guaranteed dial-up Internet speeds, or equivalent
throughput, over the Telstra fixed network of at least 19.2kbps. As
part of the licence condition Telstra should be required to report on
its compliance with the requirement, and more generally on the data
speed performance of its regional network, which should be maintained
at least at current levels.

Members of the Regional Telecommunications Inquiry


Mr Dick Estens, Chairman

Dick Estens is a cotton farmer from Moree with a long history of
involvement in community issues at local and national levels. While
running his cotton business he has also been involved with the Moree
Plains and Barwon Health Services, chaired the Gwydir Valley Cotton
Growers Association and been involved in local Indigenous employment
issues. He is a director of Reconciliation Australia and in 2000
received an 'Outstanding Rural Leader of the Year' Award for work with
aboriginal employment.

Ms Jane Bennett

Jane Bennett is the production manager and a director of Ashgrove Farm
Cheese in Tasmania and was the ABC Radio Australian Rural Woman of the
Year in 1997. In addition to her commercial experience she has
extensive public and community experience including as a member of the
National Food Industry Council, the Federal Government's Trade Policy
Advisory Council, the Tasmanian Together Progress Board and as Deputy
Chair of the Food Industry Council of Tasmania. She participated in
the 2000 Telecommunications Service Inquiry.

Mr Ray Braithwaite

Ray Braithwaite was the National Party member for the north Queensland
Federal electorate of Dawson from 1975 to 1996. During this time he
held a number of Shadow Ministry positions and was on a number of
Parliamentary Committees. He has extensive public, community and
business experience in regional Australia, and has been a passionate
advocate of long standing improvements in regional service
delivery. He was an Associate Commissioner on the Productivity
Commission's 1998-99 inquiry into the effect of competition policy on
rural and regional Australia. He also participated in the 2000
Telecommunications Service Inquiry.

      "Creativity and innovation are measured not by what is done, 
           but by what could have been done ... but wasn't"

Disclaimer: http://www.eng.unsw.edu.au/emaildis.htm
Charles Willock                                 charlesw at cse.unsw.edu.au
c/- School of Computer Science and Engineering       
University of New South Wales,                  
New South Wales  Australia  2052    http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~charlesw

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