An interesting snippet came out of yesterday's Senate estimates hearing on the NBN. The new chairman of the government-run NBN Co, Ziggy Switkowski, has stated in the plainest terms possible that he doesn't think Australian consumers really need 100Mbps connections at the moment — and certainly not gigabit any time soon.
The Financial Review has the full details on what went down in the hearing, but we picked out this choice quote from Switkowski, on whether he believes Australian households will actually take advantage of high speed internet if they have the potential to:
In terms of the retail and domestic market it really is hard in any practical sense to describe the activities of a family, even with hyperactive teenagers, that would get anywhere near 100Mbps any time soon.
From our perspective, it's pretty easy in theory to max out a 100Mbps connection, with a bunch of different 1080p video streams and a few uploads. We realise that's certainly not ordinary usage, but to suggest that it's entirely out of the realm of possibility seems a little blinkered.
While we're reasonably confident in saying that Australian families, in aggregate, don't really use even their existing internet connections to their fullest, we'd also think that NBN users — who are the most likely to know the potential of their brand new connections — are a special case that merits further consideration.
Could you see yourself using a 100Mbps — or even faster — Internet connection to its fullest extent, if you had one?