Alan Jones And The NBN Fail!

As a technologist and network computing professional, I read with great interest a few days ago about a breakthrough in fibre-optics research in Germany, in which a new form of laser signalling has broken the record for data speed over optical fibre, reaching 26Tbps.

And I quote:

“The scientists used a single laser to generate 325 optical frequencies within a narrow spectral band of laser wavelengths and transmitted the data over 50 kilometres of single-mode fibre.”

Very impressive, and also note the use of the word “fibre” – you know, the fibre that the National Broadband Network (NBN) will be built from.

Have a listen to Sydney talk-back radio announcer Alan Jones, speaking today about how this new research will “make the NBN obsolete before it is built”:

According to Jones, this new “laser” research will make the fibre planned turn into a ridiculous waste of money, since this new “laser” transmission method will be massively faster than the 100Mbps promised by the NBN.

Why would we install all this fibre for 100Mbps, when these “lasers” can do 26Tbps, he suggests?

What do you propose to shoot the “laser” beam down Alan? String?

In fact, the installation of the fibre in the ground, combined with this new research actually demonstrates in the most perfect manner possible, the future-proof nature of rolling out a fibre-optic network.

They are planning for up to 1Gbps for a start – (not 100Mbps, another thing Jones got wrong) – and the research demonstrates that much faster speeds will be available in the future over that same fibre.

Including the 26Tbps reached in the research, and whatever record they set next.

I decided to make the above video to record Alan’s comments for posterity, just in case he and 2GB realise what a fool he just made of himself, and decide to yank it down.

If you are going to jump up and down, Alan Jones, make sure you do a bit of research first, instead of instantaneously jumping at an opportunity to forward your political agenda. Your idiocy will remain on the interwebz forever, Mr Jones.

Thanks to Andrew Ramadge for this article that brought the Alan Jones faux pas to attention, and for 2GB for making the audio available for download!

I’m Michael Wyres.

  • http://stewartmedia.biz/myblog/ jimboot

    Oh dear, not a fan of the nbn but an even lesser fan of aj. Anyway michael what have you got against string? How embarrassment for him. Nice post

    • http://michaelwyres.com/ Michael Wyres

      String rules, but cannot carry “laser” beams…;)

  • http://twitter.com/siobhan_curran Siobhan Curran

    I just read 2GB as 2 gigabytes. About as fast as Alan Jones brain, it seems.

  • http://twitter.com/mrumens Marian Rumens

    Like I’ve always said Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves

    • mezzoculo

      Or string?

  • mezzoculo

    “Friggin’ laser beam.”  It had to be said.

    Great post! No doubt not the first or last time that a character such as Jones will use bluster and bulls*it to hide an appalling lack of facts.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with AJ is that now that he has realized how stupid he was, he’ll just ignore it and won’t put anyone on his show who’ll point this out.  In 2 weeks everyone will have forgotten.  He’s counting on that.

  • http://twitter.com/mochuckmochuck Maureen Chuck

    Hey Michael, you should send this to Media Watch.  You know Jonathan Holmes loves to stick it it AJ.

    • http://michaelwyres.com/ Michael Wyres

      I believe it has already come to their attention, and not through my doing either… ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ern_malleyscrub Thread Bear

    Dear Michael Wyres, thanks for the interesting post discussing the complex technology of the internet, and Mr Jones ignorance of technology.
    And could I add-
    Thank you for showing Mr Alan Jones ignorance about recent internet technology developments. It’s now on record, as Mr Jones likes to pretend he knows everything..

  • http://twitter.com/golfman484 Chris Golfman

    You realize of course that even though the assertion is that AJ did not understand the science this experiment was conducted using extremely advanced DCF (dispersion compensating fiber) not the same as the fiber being rolled out for the NBN. So while AJ may not have understood the science correctly, the assertion made by some NBN fan bois that you’d get these speeds on the fiber being laid for the NBN is ridiculous.

    “Fiber aint fiber” – remember that technology never stops advancing and there’s not just one type of ‘fiber optic cable’.

    • http://michaelwyres.com/ Michael Wyres

      I don’t believe anyone is suggesting that NBN Co should be laying DCF or that we need to or should lay 26Tbps to each premise…the breakthrough in the highlighted research is the signal processing algorithm that allows them to reach that speed over the DCF.

      The same algorithm applied to the fibre NBN Co are laying (not DCF) would push us well beyond the current commercial “limit” for GPON which is 40Gbps – and one day we may say even this new algorithm “bettered”.

      The first we might see the need for a 26Tbps link is in major backhaul links – remember, networks scale outwards, not inwards.

      A bozo like Alan Jones suggesting that we are stuck at 100Mbps, or even 40Gbps is a clear indication that he shouldn’t be talking about it and/or claim to be knowledgeable about it. That’s the point of the article – demonstrating the folly of Alan Jones’ comments.

      He is completely missing the point that the fibre class that IS being rolled out (not DCF) is not limited to the 100Mbps he claims, or the 1Gbps currently being catered for. The current commercial limit for it is 40Gbps, and that has already been exceeded in laboratory conditions also.

      It’ll probably be more than 100 years or more before end user premises require 26Tbps, by which time the fibre NBN Co are laying might have been replaced a couple of times.

      The copper network was laid 60 years ago, and has served us well – but it’s degrading and won’t last forever. It is cheaper to replace the network before it fails than fix it afterwards and wear the costs of downtime.

      This is not about being an “NBN fanboi” – it’s about sorting the fact from the FUD. And Alan Jones with his standard political leanings is distributing nothing but the FUD.

      Most stupidly of all, he seems to think the German research isn’t even about fibre at all.