Look, the United States has been at a constant state of war with our internet service providers. From repealing net neutrality to continually finding ways to be unreliable, our ISPs seem to have it out for us. And don’t even mention the high prices of our Internet plans!
However, it’s Australia that has it the worst when it comes to their ISPs. I had an online friend who lived in Australia, and one day while playing a match of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, his ping was consistently hitting 200-300. This isn’t strange when playing in a server from another country, but he mentioned that this was normal for him.
My curiosity got the best of me, so I asked him the Internet speeds that he paid for. It was 4Mbps. According to him, he had the fastest Internet in his town, .4Mbps.
You hear about Australia having terrible Internet all the time, but why? What separates Australia from every other country that they get the short end of the digital stick?
A Failing Rollout of NBN
Deploying a network infrastructure is by no means easy. It’s been years since fiber Internet came onto the scene and it’s still unavailable in most areas, especially in the United States. However, Australia’s government fumbled the ball hard when it comes to deploying a modern network infrastructure. This infrastructure? The National Broadband Network(NBN).
I’m not going to go deep into the politics of the situation, but the gist of the case is the two main parties of Australia not agreeing about the viability of a new network. While former Australian
President Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his party, the Labor Party, aimed to supply every household with a
See, the NBN was meant to be completed by 2017, two years ago. However, because of disagreements about the economic viability of the network infrastructure and the dollar signs whizzing by Abbott’s head, he trashed the NBN plan and opted to fund the Multi-Technological Mix(MTM) network.
As of now, Australia is without the original NBN plan because the Liberal Party and ISPs do not want to pay the short-term costs for it, despite the convenience and high speeds that it would bring. And that is why Australia is behind in terms of Internet speed–a failure to advance due to political interference.
The Chances of Catching Up
As of now, it’s impossible to say when Australia will catch up to the rest of the world and get decent Internet speeds country-wide. However, the best chances for the fast Internet would be if the Labor Party took control of the government and reenacted the NBN. Unfortunately, that’s not looking to be the case, as the Labor party recently lost an election earlier this year, leaving the Australian Liberal Party in control.
Of course, there’s always the possibility of the Liberal Party deciding a fast Internet is in the country’s best interests, but nothing has signalled this possibility of coming true.
Australia’s Internet situation is indeed unfortunate; they can’t simply call up their ISP and complain about slow speeds or upgrade their plans. Imagine connecting a VPN server in another country and getting roughly the same speeds! That’s how slow Australia’s Internet is, and it’s ridiculous!
In a world stuck shifting to the digital landscape, the useful Internet is becoming more and more of a necessity than a luxury, and that goes for everywhere. Sure, the government may save money in the short-term, but long-term benefits outweigh the short-term benefits, as always. But, for some reason, governments of this world tend to think only about the short-term costs and benefits, and not the long-term consequences. We’re at a point where Internet access is political, and Australia’s Internet situation is an example of that. Hopefully, the country steers itself on the right course regarding Internet speeds.