Ageing Australia doesn't want 1Gbps: Exetel chief

John Linton has been a long-time critic of the NBN

The fiery chief executive of internet service provider Exetel has opened fire on the National Broadband Network's support for 1Gbps speeds, saying those excited by the higher speeds are "unthinking and just plain stupid", with wireless broadband waiting in the wings.

During the election campaign, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy revealed the NBN would support speeds of up to 1Gbps, instead of the 100Mbps initially planned -- after NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley informed him the upgrade would cost no extra.

But in a blog post published yesterday, Linton -- who leads one of the few ISPs to provide broadband in Tasmania over the fledgling NBN network in the state -- said it was "the unthinking and just plain stupid" who were excited about the additional speeds.

"Pretty much along the same lines as the stone age cargo cult dwellers in the jungles of New Guinea are excited about the next 'goods drop' from the strange coloured bird," he wrote.

Linton added Australia's ageing population -- who he said didn't "play online computer games or get a surrogate sex life from pornography" had no interest in terabyte broadband plans (such as have been recently released by some of Exetel's competitors on ADSL) and speeds that could never made a difference to the internet applications they used.

"They are going to be the ever growing percentage of Australians who are going to drive the percentage of residences that don't have any sort of wire line connection to their home," he said.

Linton has been a long-time critic of the NBN and a supporter of the incoming generation of 3G mobile broadband and wireless solutions as an alternative.

The Coalition has proposed wireless solutions as one plank of its own broadband policy and would abolish the NBN project if it wins government -- which is still a possibility, with both sides of politics negotiating with the independents with a view to form Government after the hung parliament result of the Federal Election more than a week ago.

However many figures in the industry -- including Quigley himself -- have strongly pushed the view that even if much of the nation's broadband needs could be served with wireless, increasing mobile data usage would force telcos to lay fibre infrastructure to their mobile towers in any case.

"My point, made more badly than I had hoped for, is that the actual market for wire line residential broadband is going to fall rather than increase," Linton wrote today.

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