by Juha Saarinen, A man of many contributions
There seem to be heaps of how data centres opening up across the ditch lately. Rackspace emailed today to say their Erskine Park, Sydney facility is now officially open for business in Digital Realty's data centre that can fit another four such set-ups.
CloudFlare opened a facility last month and I've heard of others coming up too; this year, the total number of data centres in Australia will peak at just under 50,000.
I've seen figures in studies pointing to data centre spend in Australia hitting something like A$3 billion this year, which is more than the ten year budget for the Ultra-Fast Broadband network in New Zealand, just to give you some perspective.
You can guess where all the Internet-based businesses like Xero will be accessed from shortly.
Now would probably be a good time to start sorting out a new cable between Sydney and Auckland rather than dream about another fibre phoenix rising from the ashes of Pacific Fibre.
Speaking of our UFB investment, cables and data centres, Australia isn't immune from some clouded (ha ha! geddit?) thinking when it comes to broadband.
It's somewhat likely that the current ruling party Labo[u]r could get dropped in next years election in favour of the Liberal-National Party coalition. One outcome of that would be that the Aussie centre-right and conservatives would basically can the country's NBN fibre to the home network that Labour set in motion.
The champion of this is Malcolm Turnbull, of OzEmail fame, and now the shadow Communications Minister of the Coalition.
Turnbull wants the to the home bit lopped from the fibre network. Instead, he wants the fibre to go to the node, or roadside cabinets, just as we have in New Zealand where 85 per cent of phone lines are now fed from those well-engineered, Christchurch-built Eaton units.
If by now you're asking "Uh, but why would Turnbull go backwards in terms of technology like that?" you're not alone. I've been reading exchanges between the Business Spectator's Alan Kohler and Turnbull with amazement and amusement, noting that the only sort of valid argument that the Coalition has for dumping the NBN is that it might be cheaper to do it with cabinets and copper instead.
Might be, because the NBN roll out is in full swing and cancelling it and associated contracts with providers and most importantly, Telstra would likely prove to be hugely expensive. So much so in fact that the Coalition has promised to honour existing NBN contracts, whatever that means.
Meanwhile, Turnbull refuses to concede that his proposed solution is unlikely to deliver on his promises. I would imagine that he knows New Zealand been there, done that, with a fibre to the node network. It's very likely that any case studies he needs to show why New Zealand decided to move from an FTTN network to an FTTP one are easily accessible here. Ditto technical documents that for instance explain why VDSL2, which is needed to provide both high upload as well as downloads over 24Mbps isn't, and won't be, widely deployed in New Zealand.
If looking across the ditch for some real-world data hurts Turnbull's pride too much, there's always the House of Lords Communications Committee. The UK peers have sat down and come up with some interesting reports on superfast broadband - and to be honest, they're the last instance on this planet that I imagined would do just that.
Then again, Turnbull could just continue to shout down his opponents with fingers firmly plugged into his ears. No prizes for guessing which approach he'll take.
This is a graphic of a nuclear reactor that's being developed in Korea with funding from Bill Gates.
It is called TerraPower. I mean, it would, if the man who approved the OneCare name for an anti-virus is involved.
Just putting it out there and I'm not saying the control system will run Windows 8.
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