Joe Hockey: 4G potential to be far superior to fibre

Joe Hockey seems to have taken issue with a recent Delimiter article that pointed out that Joe might not be an expert on telecommunications network design.

So Joe has responded

First off, nice to see a politician actually engaging with his critics, so for that, kudos Joe.

However that's about where the loving stops.

Joe still insists that 4G mobile internet can be superior to fibre, but of course, Joe's definition of "superior" doesn't quite match with any sort of technical definition.

For many households wireless broadband has the capacity to be superior to fibre to the
premises (FTTP) in the broader sense of value for money, convenience, nearness of
availability/deployment and many of the numerous other attributes that a consumer might
consider when weighing these alternatives.

Basically I think Joe is arguing that because it's available now (in certain areas, certainly not universally available), it has the edge of fibre, which is going to take several years to roll out.

That isn't superior, that's convenient.

Joe then goes onto explain how convenient wireless is:

Wireless technology additionally offers mobility, portability and convenience for the end
user.  Many Australian consumers (such as tenants or others not willing to sign long contracts and pay installation costs) may for these reasons choose wireless broadband ahead of fixed line technology.

Whis is fine as far as it goes.

However, wireless also has its downside. It is far more affected by weather events than fibre or even copper, it does not and really cannnot have the same capacity as fibre (the capacity of a 4G node would be dwarfed by a fibre node).

Honestly I stopped listening to the Coalition on Broadband policy a long time ago. Mainly because I do have some clue of what they're trying to talk about and every single time they try to go technical it sets my teeth on edge.

This bit is rich though:

The Coalition has long recognised that no single broadband technology suits all consumers
and all areas of the nation. We also recognise that for many consumers broadband and
wireless will be complementary (whereas for others they may well be direct substitutes, as
noted above).  This is why the Coalition advocates a technology-agnostic approach to
upgrading broadband.  Our broadband policy will rely on a mix of technologies to provide broadband to Australian households and businesses as soon as possible, at affordable prices,and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. 

What the above represents is a short term, short sighted solution that will actually add to the final cost of network roll out when someone down the track realises that being technologically agnostic still involves using copper wire. You can be technologically agnostic all you like, but if it means that you end up with a network that resembles a dogs breakfast, eventually someone is going to have to clean it up, why not make sure that you avoid that now rather than in ten or twenty years time?

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