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The state of Broadband in developing countries

Australia is a mixed bag at Broadband. In some ways we resemble the US, and in no way do we resemble the Japan style FTTN networks (yet). But the infrastructure is starting to be there. What sucks is that sometimes to get the 30 Mbps connections you have to pay quite a bit for it (AUD$90/bundled per month for 25GB, Bigpond Cable). Yes I’m only with Bigpond cable as no ADSL service exists in my area that comes close to that speed. Damn counted uploads and data shaping.

But at least unlike some countries, we do seem to have decent peering links to EU and the US. I have actually achieved 3 MBytes/sec (24Mbps) transfer on a regional transfer and about 1MBytes/sec (8Mbps) using international servers.

Why do I mention this? I just watched Walt Mossberg talk about the bad state of Broadband and the lack of integration of the online world with big TVs (watch below, 8 mins).

Lastly Australia gets, as no doubt does the rest of the world, a time lag factor of everything latest and greatest. No iPhone yet, no iTMS TV/Movie store, no local Amazon style service (some come close), up to 1 year delay on airing TV series (though it is improving recently); and so on.

The tyranny of distance, and small population on a great land mass, is at play.

Oh yes, and the iPhone rumour gets another bump – woot 3G iPhone in June, well in the US. No doubt another 6 months will pass before Australia gets it. Lets hope it is not locked to Telstra. I don’t want to have to pay for my 3G data on top of the expensive plan AND the phone. I want it bundled, and not a pitiful 5 Megabytes worth. I have a $500 cap on Vodafone for now, including all my 3G data usage at $1 per 5 mins (part of the $500 cap).

If the iPhone ends up locked to Telstra, I’ll be singing Elvis.

How the mighty have fallen

Alexander Downer spent 11 years as the foreign minister of Australia. During his tenure, had he been visiting Melbourne he would have had his cars, his people and arrangements for venues visited. Now it’s a bit different.

Alexander DownerThis morning I almost bumped into him on Collins Street in Melbourne. You can’t miss a public figure. The funny thing was that some man in the street was hurling abuse at him, but didn’t realise he was no longer foreign minister. Downer yelled something back at the man then went on about his business.

To the man in the street: Where have you been? Under a rock? Rudd’s crew are now trying to steer this ship we call the Australian economy. As for Downer, after 11 years in his position, travel over the world representing Australia, political and foreign intrigue; he’s now as much a businessman on the street as I am. It is humbling no doubt.

His replacement in foreign affairs, Stephen Smith, is in for an exciting and probably stressful tenure.