How Fast Is The NBN Vs. Coalition Broadband? This Site Might Help

This coming election is going to focus heavily on telecommunications policy and who has the best national high-speed broadband strategy, but how do we decide which one is going to be best if we haven't used them? Meet James Brotchie. He's built something that might be of use for those looking to make a comparison: a website that gives you a visual representation of the differences between the Coalition and Labor Party strategies.

The site simulates uploads and downloads of content on the two plans from both the Coalition and the Labor Party. It simulates Facebook high-resolution photo uploads, how long it would take to download a 2GB episode of Game Of Thrones from iTunes (naturally) and how long it would take to sync large engineering plan files (James is an engineer) to Dropbox.

We can't be entirely sure of the Coalition's minimum upload speed just yet, but James has gone ahead and assumed that it's about 5Mbps up. Not entirely outlandish, really, but take that with a grain of salt.

It's a really interesting representation of how everyday internet stuff gets done on the two different plans. It's like a little peek into the future of telecommunications in your browser, and definitely something you can use to explain the difference between the two plans to someone totally confused about the whole thing.

The next question is: how does the Labor Party get this into an election leaflet? [How Fast Is The NBN? via r/australia]



    I think paying back the 4.5 Trillion dollars of debt is more important than how fast you can upload the 2000 pictures of your cat to Facebook.

    Labor just wants to spend money and watch the world burn.

      $4.5 trillion.....please tell me you were exaggerating for effect....because otherwise you believe we have a debt to GDP ratio of 3:1 and that would make us worse off than Greece, Spain and Italy combined....

        Gillard and Swan have the country's credit card until Sept. $44 billion so people can illegally download TV a bit faster before they hit their crap quotas.

          But the liberals system is only a few of billion less, why not spend the few extra and get it done right so its actually really useful!?

            Because Labor will take forever to do it, the Coalition wants us to get it in a more timely fashion. More importantly, I don't see why they couldn't then roll out fibre to homes once they get the first stage completed. Their plan just makes more sense when you think about it.

              C'mon, you know very well that if we did do the Liberals plan, then 4 years later, we decided that we wanted upgrade to FTTN that the entire country would be up in arms because we just did a broadband upgrade.
              Also the time difference between Liberals and Labors is 2 years. 2017 vs 2019 i think... Hardly a massive difference.

                Why should the government pay for it at all. Let the telcos do it, as both Optus and Telstra did with cable in the 90s and as AGL have done in replacing their metal gas lines with PVC. Why is it the government's business?

                  i pay my taxes and if it takes government to bring REAL internet to us then I am fine with that and I am also fine with Labour doing the job right i dont particularly care how long the bloody thing takes i have been stuck on Cable that is slower or the same speed as ADSL, you can only recently get near fibre speeds that only cable can provide at a ridiculous premium, sadly cable technology is capable of 100mbps but it was constructed by Telstra and Optus on the cheap and capped speeds so that it resembled ADSL so they could boost ADSL uptake and charge the same for it as cable.. and seriously what the liberals are planning is scary as shit first your gonna pay your tax for a fibre network that stops short of your front door THEN! your going freaking pay more to actually F....king get it... can you all please wake the up its really a no brainer, Oh and dont forget Tesltra was charing 60 bucks for a 3gb monthly plan then optus followed with the same crap this was done apparently because telstra didnt think we needed anymore than that...

                  Last edited 09/05/13 6:39 am

                  So you're saying you haven't thought it through, you've just read the headline and made a decision. As I've said elsewhere, what if some new technology that blows fibre away appears in 6 years time that makes all this a complete waste of time and money? You're happy to wait a decade for this but Vodaphone cops massive flack for taking one year to get an LTE network up and running. Because that's the thing, what technology from 10 years ago is still current today? It's a huge gamble that isn't about better internet, it's about votes.

                  @ beaverdog, I also pay my taxes but I doubt I will ever see the NBN, given that there are currently no plans to roll it out in my area and, even if they did, I would not be able to connect to it. So my taxes are subsidising a bunch of mouth-breathing, dole bludging losers in marginal seats, in the hope that it will allow Labor to hold onto at least one or two seats in NSW. It's pathetic.

              Labor's plan is underway and has already gone over some of the major road bumps (negotiating with Telstra). Even with that, the Coalition's plan takes only two years less time and they plan to renegotiate with Telstra.

              If you think that a chance to get something done slightly sooner is worth getting a dramatically worse service, then you don't understand the point of infrastructure.

                It is irrelevant to me as neither plan will improve anything. I just don't see why it has to be the government who does it so I am in favour of spending the least possible amount to get something done.

            I thought this myself, but that implies that Labours costing is correct. Pink bats anyone? They have a proven history of underestimating costs by a factor of atleast 2, This could be the exception but probably not.

            Considering before it went political the news articles where placing labours at over 41 billion and now once the liberals had launched their policy at 30billion suddenly Steven Conroy in his last talk on the matter noted labour is comming in at 31 billion which is under their previous estimate of 34 billion.

            So if we take the old estimates as fact we are looking at around 12 billion difference. If true that is a hell lot of money. But frankly who knows.

              You could say the exact same thing about this government. How do you know the Liberals wont be like this, this party of people hasnt been in power yet to prove themselves reliable enough for you to say that they wont be just as bad.

              Not to mention the fact that Malcom Turnbull has released the minimum amount of information about the Liberals system, which indicates to me that its not finalised. He even said that they will be analysing existing installed cable and making decisions to replace it as they go. That to me indicates that their plan has the potential to blow out as well!

            25 billion compared to 90 billion? oh sure, only a few billion less

          it's not about how fast a movie can download.. this is just a simplification to explain to the average idiot how fast download speeds are..

          What's more important is the upload speed (or lack thereoff with the libs plan), without a fast upload the idea of being able to 'telecommute' to work or video conference in HD just won't happen..

          & it's this kind of network that will have a flow on effect to all of society via less people travelling to work, being able to spend more time with family by being able to choose to work from home & decentralising business so that cities may not face such a massive burden; like they are now..

          It just makes sense to spend a little more to lay FTTH for everybody.

            I work from home very regularly now and I get by just fine.

        $267Billion of gross debt and counting is more accurate with an increased ceiling of up to $300B. That's still over $12K debt for every man woman and child in this country. It was just $56B before Labor. Not saying we shouldn't have the NBN in it's current form, I think it would be great, at the same time I would like a Ferrari, I just can't afford it. Even if I could JUST afford the repayments on a loan that big, I wouldn't be able to put fuel in it, or maintain it, or insure it, as the cost of a Ferrari just isn't the initial outlay. That's my worry with Labor. Think school laptops.. all these kids with laptops (well, not all) but now the govt backs away from a replacement or repair cycle because they chose the wrong model to begin with. Think BER fiasco. Think green loans fiasco. Think insulation fiasco. The ideas are good, the execution of this govt is atrocious.

        It seems everyone just believes this guys slide show with out even questioning if it's accurate. Has anyone even asked if he is a member of the labor party. You know he apparently needs faster upload for Eng drawings which I guess means he can't do any work at the moment cause the current internet speed would mean that takes a week to upload right. It all looks a bit unbelievable but then most of us know labors tricks by now. This guy has stirred you lot up into frenzy and you just believe its correct. Perhaps we should get Jamie and Adam from mythbusters to blow it up to see if it's plausible and to get noobs attention. Fundamentally if labor speed is 100 and liberal speed is 25 then labors is 4 times faster than the libs. The animated chart shows a speed difference way out of proportion and not even close to the fundamental mental arithmetic that one would apply before considering its legitimacy. Gizmo are loving it and have again resent the tweet as it has got so much comment or bites they are loving the show. I love it too. Ps. 79 red crosses for this guy's "trillion" comment I would guess he's loving it too, well done mate.

          he is simply using speed figures that are been thrown around by the political parties themselves. through that you can calculate a maximum data transfer rate, which is what he has used in his simulation. so yeah, no need to question it, it is actually very simple maths.


          Last edited 08/05/13 2:08 pm

      Isn't Americas debt 15trillion? So you're saying we have about a third as much debt as America? Nuhdunthinkso.

      I'm sure that you were meant to say $1.4 Trillion

      Just a small typo...

      "Labor just wants to spend money and watch the world burn"

      And the Libs want to spend a little less money on something far worse that's built on a system that is already obsolete and already requires constant maintenance. So basically, far worse and more expensive in the long run :/

        No, the Liberals want to replace the slowest part of the existing system with the same technology the NBN is using, not because it is cheaper but because it can be rolled out to everyone far more quickly. Once that is done, there is no reason that telcos or the government or someone else couldn't finish it to the same standard as the NBN at a later time.

          And how will it be cheaper for telcos, the government or someone else to finish the coalition's system later on? It won't be. We'll end up with a patchy, slow, expensive system.

          Agreed. Look at the stats. Hong Kong 80% FTTN, Korea, 50% FTTN. I wonder if people would be prepared to pay for node to home themselves? lol.. course not. At NBN's current rate of rollout, (28 homes a day passed in the first 10 weeks of 13) it will take 1200 years to complete anyway.

          Do you want a band-aid or would you like surgery for that gaping head wound?

      The cost of the NBN in its current form isn't part of the nation's debt, nor is it an extra tax at the moment.

        But it is tying up a helluva lot of money that might otherwise be used to repay debt.

          Has Australia ever paid it's debt off with Bonds though?

          The NBN generates income that will repay the money raised through Bonds.

          The LNP's cost reduction and speed of rollout all hinge on Telstra giving NBNCo the copper for free (or near enough) and the copper being in top condition.

          I'm not privvy to information on either of these being the case - but then neither in the LNP.

          Keeping the copper network will just cost more in the end anyway. The copper network has to go.

      That would barely cover your drug habit I think. Is this the truth or did you subscribe to the Daily Telegraph?

      you make me fear for the future of this country nitro.

      typical THINK OF YOURSELF only.....This is not just for you its for future generations who will have to compete with Asia and its fast internet...
      Australia comes first can run last for all we care

      $4.5Trillion is private debt. That's the debt held by Not-The-Government.
      Since when is it the government's job to pay people's mortgages?

      Total government debt is roughly $0.47 Trillion, including state and local council debt.
      Federal government debt is roughly $0.28 Trillion.

      But then, the truth always gets in the way of a good Coalition smear.

      Last edited 07/05/13 5:56 pm

      Labors world class NBN will attract businesses from overseas and keep businesses that rely heavily on internet infrastructure here

      The Libs will leave us behind

      Are you high?

        Think large files being sent overseas from your work pc and how long it will take for the other side to receive it. Waste of manhours sitting waiting for them to get it.

        I think your living in the Pentium days.

      I'll back you Nitro: I activated purely to upvote your comment in response to the downvote Laborstorm. Sure, the details in your comment might be inaccurate, but the sentiment is noteworthy.

      Watch them complain about the resultant tax hikes - via Facebook status updates, between episodes of Game of Thrones, of course.

        But the liberals system isnt that much cheaper!!! How do people not no this. Sure if the lib's system was a quarter of the price, then i would say its probably the way to go. But the fact is, its 38 billion or something like that, which is 6 billion less then what Labors awesome NBN will cost. There is alot of value for money in Labors NBN, and absolutely NONE in Liberals NBN.

        I'd rather we spent the extra 6 billion, finally replaced the old copper with something more up to date.

        Tax hikes? The NBN is funded through debt and pays for itself after completion. Paying an extra $12 billion for it just means that it takes slightly longer to turn a profit and pay for itself.

        The sentiment is noteworthy in that it is entirely wrong.

          but thats the thing it wont pay for itself, at least not for many many years to come

      Congratulations on scoring probably the most down-voted comment on Gizmodo anyone's ever seen.

      It seems everyone just believes this guys slide show with out even questioning if it's accurate. Has anyone even asked if he is a member of the labor party. You know he apparently needs faster upload for Eng drawings which I guess means he can't do any work at the moment cause the current internet speed would mean that takes a week to upload right. It all looks a bit unbelievable but then most of us know labors tricks by now. This guy has stirred you lot up into frenzy and you just believe its correct. Perhaps we should get Jamie and Adam from mythbusters to blow it up to see if it's plausible and to get noobs attention. Fundamentally if labor speed is 100 and liberal speed is 25 then labors is 4 times faster than the libs. The animated chart shows a speed difference way out of proportion and not even close to the fundamental mental arithmetic that one would apply before considering its legitimacy. Gizmo are loving it and have again resent the tweet as it has got so much comment or bites they are loving the show. I love it too. Ps. 71 red crosses for this guy's "trillion" comment I would guess he's loving it too, well done mate.

      What rubbish! The NBN is a part of Australia's infrastructure. Also the debt is 10% of GDP And we are only one of a few countries that have triple AAA rating. The lies and vitriol being sent out is beyond words! Time to fight back and tell Australians what the truth is if they elect Abbott, we will be IT behind developing countrie!

      Over 100 downvotes must be an all time record for a Gizmodo comment!

    Ummmm, didn't work. Question should be: What government will this website work under?
    Answer: There will be no comparison site under I government I lead.

    100, 10mb pictures on facebook? Yeah, okay.

      Any monkey with a DSLR camera that you can get cheap now shoots at larger than 10mb shots...Most camera phones average around 8mb now days.

        Yeah but how many of us would be uploading 100 in one go on a regular basis.

          Not regular, but hey, anyone who's had a wedding. 100 photos is pretty conservative. It felt like 10,000.

            Sorry, I think I didn't make my point clear. I think the uploading of wedding photos to Facebook is a bad example, as it's not something that the average person does on a regular basis ie. once a week. Therefore, the benefits of the Labor's NBN are not that great ie. this is a one off event in my life. I would prefer to see the comparison of daily or weekly examples. But, I could be wrong, maybe the average person does upload Gigabytes of pics daily or weekly.

          Maybe after some theoretical big life event, like, say, some kind of ceremony... Maybe a wedding

          I guess that depends on how much you get out...I know after my recent trip to Japan i had quite a lot more than 100 trying to be uploaded to various places...Facebook / Dropbox backup accounts etc. Not to mention family weekends, trips with the wife etc. Its all photos i want to store in an online backup somewhere since local storage can fail much easier, be stolen, lost or damaged.

          And photo size and quality is just going to increase along with screen quality and resolutions.

    These speed simulations make me cry, in my pants :( I want this speed!!!!

      Why? Why do want this speed? why do you need this speed?

        Why does anyone need more than 640k memory? Limiting ourselves to a set speed is stupid.

        To download pirated software, music, movies, tv shows and porn... and maybe some gaming...

    No chance everyone in Australia is getting 1000 Mbps. Heck, a lot of premises aren't even getting fiber, they're going on fixed wireless. Very misleading.

      I thought 93% of the population will get fibre under ALPs NBN?

    Downloading the internet in 3....2.....1.....

      *Windows Has crashed.*
      *Would You like to delete the source files?*

    hmm the developer of this website "says" he is a liberal suporter yet he falsly misrepresents the speed difference, to put people on the nbn side.. wonder if someone can sue this guy for misreprentation.. and he says his an engineering student.. gives engineering students a bad name!

    Of course these demonstrations are theoretical at best

    How many fibre pairs are going to be run to the Premises. If one of the pairs get brocken or fails (as they sometimes do) are there going to be any spare pairs or will they need to rerun the fibre to the premises.

    What a crock. I love cgi shows well done it reminded me of an Ironman
    clip had the same sort of drama and the same dudes watching it and believing it.

      I love cgi shows well done it reminded me of an Ironman
      clip had the same sort of drama and the same dudes watching it and believing it


    Seems like so many are either missing the point or overlooking facts completely. Labor guaranteed 100Mbps. If you have a gig connection to your house, you are a twat. There is no (legal) reason for that kind of speed into residential. Seriously, how much porn can you watch?
    Libs set 25Mbps as a minimum, not a benchmark. The real figures are closer to 50Mbps. Gigabit connections are being sold for commercial use, typical households on fibre would still be policed to 100Mbps

    And let us not forget that if labor weren't such a bunch of incompetent morons, there wouldn't even be an FTTN offer on the table

      How exactly are labor morons for offering the best scheme at the moment. I guess Google too must be morons for installing FTTN to houses across the US and the farmers (i think in the UK) that paid out of their own pockets to get a FTTN system installed in there small town...

      Lets not forget, everyday more internet connected devices pop up, everyday your bandwidth needs increase. Its that simple. For you to say 25Mbps is adequate now, is barely true. Take that figure in 3-4 years time, 25Mbps will be useless... For the cost of the Liberals scheme (which is around 6 billion less then the Labors scheme), why wouldn't you go the hole nine yards and do it properly like Labor intends to??

        I never said that 25Mbps was adequate now, what I sadi was that 25Mbps was promised as a minimum per household with an average around 50Mbps compared to Labor's 100Mbps.

        To clarify, Labor are morons for every other policy except the NBN. Australia needs the NBN, we just don't need gigabit connections into residential areas.

    I too want the super fat Labor plan, but it's worth noting that the site doesn't really compare apples with apples.
    Yes, the Labor plan is faster, but he used 1Gbps speeds for the labor plan which according to Giz's own article would wholesale for $150/month, more than I think most people would spend (
    To make it a fair comparison, you really need to know what the Libs plan would cost as an end user to connect, so you can compare what people will actually end up with (I expect many non-tech heads would take up the 25/5Mbps option of the Labor NBN anyway).

      May be steep for some but currently a 20/20 EoC costs around $800 to the end user

    Not really accurate. I'm currently on 100/40mb NBN at one office and it is rarely faster than the 10mb Bonded SHDSL at my other office. The contention ratios are terrible and will only get worse with more people coming online.

    Isn't 25Mbs the minimum for the Coalition's plan and 1Gbs the maximum for Labor's plan?

    I'm all for better FTTP NBN, but these comparison sites don't do anyone any favours when they're biased.

      25mpbs is the maximum for coalition for the VAST majority of people -- and that's in fairy-tale land where even 20m of copper doesn't mess with the singal.

      NBN has announced 1GBps plans, so between 100mb-1000 for everyone with a connection.

      You had your max/min around the wrong way is all :p

        And even then, it's only the hardware on either end of the fiber that inhibits its speed. As technology is improved, the speeds will skyrocket and the fiber infrastructure is already in place to take advantage of the gains. People don't bloody realise this and keep harping on about how expensive it is compared to coalitions plan, however coalitions infrastructure will have to have parts ripped up completely and replaced to catch up anyway.

          That's not strictly true, but I went into detail on that point in another thread a while back that I don't care to go over again. Basically there's a lot involved in the fibre itself, from inner and outer radius, material refractive index and transmission purity, fibre count and so on. Current experimental technology in Japan, as well as the Sony-owned network being built currently, use fibre technology different to what's being rolled out here that have higher transfer thresholds.

          The significance of the fibre itself and its properties tends to get lost amidst myths like 'optic fibre transmits data at the speed of light'. Not that I'm having a go at you of course ewok, I just find both sides have their share of technologically illiterate zealots.

            Sorry, should have mentioned that what I was saying was relative and generalized. In comparison to a hybrid copper/fiber network, the liberals plan isn't even in the same universe, let alone on the same playing field, as the plan currently being implemented by NBN Co. I do recognize that it comes down to quality of the fiber as well.

            You're also correct in stating there are technologically illiterate zealots, it's just a shame they are in Government as well and are vieing to further their own political adgenda instead of taking a step back and understanding what it is they are talking about, and therefore what it is they are tyring to subject the Australian public, and the future generations, to.

          You are talking as though the Lib's plan is about some other technology but both would use the same fibre-optic technology, with the same properties and potential for speeds to skyrocket.

            The LNP plan is entirely another technology!

            Once you introduce copper into the plan it changes the nature of the network fundamentally. Nick Ross is a tech writer for the ABC, he wrote a very detailed explanation of how the two networks differ. It's worth looking up and getting informed.

        What? The Coalition's policy is to have download speeds between 25 and 100Mbs by 2016 and speeds between 50 and 100 Mbs by 2019.

        That's the promise, that's what should be compared here.

          The only possible way you will get close to 100M from the Coalition policy is if the node is in your front yard and your copper line is in brand-new pristine condition.

            I'm not disputing that, I'm saying that if you're going to build an example of how a policy would work in the real world, you should get the details of the policy correct.

            Right now the Coalition's policy is nothing more than words. Once it gets to the real world it will be completely different, how that shapes out no-one knows, these things change all the time. You could argue that right now their policy isn't even feasible due to the potential issues with negotiating these contracts with Telstra, but that's just my opinion, if I built a comparison based off my opinion the Coalition's NBN would be at 0Mbs (zero) because it simply wouldn't exist. But that's not correct, it should be based off what they're saying they're going to deliver, or nothing at all.

          The 100Mbs is really just the lucky few who have managed to already be connected to Labor's NBN

          The copper network would have to be replaced to reach those speeds so if we are already going to that much effort then why not replace it with fiber instead..

      1Gb/s is the current limit of the Labor NBN theoretically it can go way past this without laying new cables(japan just hit 2Gb/s). The libs NBN will be struggling to go much past 50Mb/s.

        If you're talking about the network Sony is rolling out in Japan, it uses different fibre to what we're using here.

    voting labour for this reason and this reason alone. Liberal don't seem to understand how great the NBN will be.
    “We are absolutely confident that 25 megs is going to be enough, more than enough, for the average household” - Tony Abbott

    ^ Spoken by an idiot with no idea about networking, Internet and how it can help so many businesses and homes. Could honestly go on forever at how stupid it is

      Hopefully you will recognise on election day that 'labor' isn't spelt 'labour'. Seems legit. Vote for a party based on ONE policy. Me.. me.. me.

    while i by far would prefer to have the labor version i am more likely to get the coalitions version some time before i die of old age
    as it currently is for me any speed boost would be great

    Not a bad comparison using something that people can relate to.

    What do you do when you have 2 monkeys running for leadership.... I choose to exercise my right to NOT vote at all... (waiting for abuses from the crowd)... Aaaaahhh the benefits of Democracy!!

    problem is the drones who just want Labour out will call anything they do as bad, simply because of blind hatred, even if Labour found and made freely available a cure for cancer millions of Australians would say it was a bad thing. Sheep to the slaughter

      You make it sound like Labor doesn't have its share of drones too. Or any political party, for that matter. The whole Australian political landscape is toxic, very few people on any side of the field are informed and objective. I try to stay away from it as much as possible.

    What happens when we will be streaming UHD movies? I wouldn't think that possibility would be in the too distant future...?

    Yes, spend wisely. Save a penny / save a pound and all that jazz - but when the Labor option (not that I'm their no.1 fan) is actually the 'right' option for essentially future-proofing the NBN and doesn't require another (hypothetically) $30B to upgrade and maintain over the next 15 years, then do it correctly in the first place.

    I am happy for the next 5 years for 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up with unlimited quota as long as it is FREE ....

      so I guess the centrelink office provides all your internet needs?

      Free ? what is free in this world ?

    Idea for the NBN tv commercial campaign, turn the into a short video for example

    Hey, at least both of them are faster than my current internet's speed...

    The NBN will never be what we hope it will be. How could a government owned monopoly ever be cheaper than the competition we have now? Not to mention, Labor are yet to actually deliver on anything they have promised. I wont hold my breath for either plan.

      Gah. Please Google 'Natural Monopoly'. The competition won't actually be reduced. And I love the idea that the Liberals would 'run it better'. What, are they all going to get out there and lay the cable themselves? Or are they going to rely on the same companies that are doing the work for Labor and just blame them louder when they're behind schedule?

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