Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull tweeted this while at an NBN construnction site in western Sydney.

"site we visited today v interesting not least because already Telstra and Optus HFC available there - yet prioritized for fttp by Labor."

That tweet shows a lack of understanding why broadband is important. Naturally, I had to respond.

Lucid Web Design ‏

@TurnbullMalcolm HFC does not have the upload capability of FTTP. It is not all about downloads. Backup to the cloud anyone? #savethenbn

A lot has been said about downloads in the debate but virtually no focus has been put on uploads.  Uploads are becoming more and more important as the internet continues to evolve.

The web started out pretty much as a one way street. We looked up information and jumped from link to link.  That has changed.  The web runs 2 ways.  The same thing will happen to how we use broadband.

Sites like Facebook, YouTube & Twitter don’t create content. The users do.  At the moment, around 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month on Facebook. That includes news stories, photos, links, posts and notes etc.  The average user creates around 90 pieces of content each month.

Twitter  handles500 million Tweets a day which means about 5,700 Tweets a second, on average. That’s a lot of data.

Looking at YouTube, the figures are equally staggering. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.  Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year. 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

These figures are current for around the latter half of 2013.  One thing you can be sure of is that these figures will only grow.

5 Years ago, Facebook & Twitter barely existed.  They way we use the web has fundamentally altered.  The old model of the web being a giant online library still exists. It has been supplemented by people adding their own content.  Businesses and private citizens alike have embraced these changes.

This is a fundamental change in the way we use the internet. More is coming.  Cloud storage is slowly taking off.  If you take out a subscription to MS Office or use Adobe Creative Cloud, you get storage with it.  If you use Apple’s iPhoto,  you will be familiar with photostream. Then there is Dropbox.  Dropbox is an almost indispensible tool for us.  It helps us to streamline our work. We get files from clients via Dropbox.

What about backing up files?  Currently, we back our files up to a NAS. We have around 1.5 terabytes of data backed up. That back up is on site. That could be a problem. What if disaster struck? If we gabbed the NAS then everything would be ok. However, if we don’t then we are up the creek without a paddle.  There is a solution to this problem. Store the data online.

The problem is that storing data to a cloud back up service is not as practical as it sounds. The table below give an approximation of how it would take to do an initial back up of all my data.



Approx Time

My current internet ADSL 2

3.8/0.5 Mbps

10 months

Telstra Cable HFC

30/1 Mbps

5 months

Telstra Cable HFC

100/2 Mbps

11 Weeks


25/5 Mbps

1 month


50/10 Mbps

16 days

Fibre to the home


3.75 days

Fibre to the home


9 hours

Upload speed is important. It is vital for businesses. Imagine the possibilities if we had decent upload speeds.  Video production would become a whole new world. Businesses would benefit from it being easy to connect offices. Working from home and home-based offices would be open to a lot more opportunities.