Fast access works magic
Illustration: Andrew Marlton
Access to the NBN lets Melbourne cartoonist Andrew Marlton work from home but stay in touch with the world.
Marlton is the in-house illustrator for online magazine Crikey and the man behind the popular First Dog on the Moon cartoons.
Living in Brunswick, he often travels into Crikey's William Street offices in the city. The speed boost offered by the NBN makes it easier for him to sometimes work at home and spend more time with his teenage daughter.
Living within the Brunswick NBN test area, Marlton was one of the first Australians to gain home access to the NBN six months ago. He now enjoys internet speeds of 50 megabits per second down and 20 Mbps up, supplied by Optus over the new Fibre to the Home network. He switched across from an Optus cable broadband connection, which offered 20 Mbps downloads but only 500 Kbps uploads.
"I know I was already one of the lucky ones, being on fast cable internet, and I appreciate that many people struggle to get high-speed internet access in any form," Marlton says.
"I'm in one of the test areas, but thankfully the NBN is spreading. I see it as important infrastructure just like hospitals, roads and schools.
"In my working day I'm usually dealing with large artwork files, transferring them between my computer at home and my computer at the office. With the NBN my work flow isn't interrupted by the need to wait for things to move around, so I can be more productive at home."
More than doubling his download speeds to 50 Mbps made it easier for Marlton to download files from the office. More importantly, the 40-fold jump in upload speeds to 20Mbps made it much easier to send things back to the office. He opted not to pay extra for 100/40 Mbps internet speeds, but is glad that the speed boost is there if he needsit.
"I haven't done any video work for a while, but if I get back into video production then those fast upload speeds will really come in handy to move around hefty video clips," he says. "The NBN also lets me move files around quickly if I'm collaborating with other animators, so that could open up new opportunities for me. The speed boost would also support collaboration tools such as video-conferencing."
When he sits back to relax at the end of the day, Marlton appreciates that everyone in the house can now use the internet at the same time without the connection grinding to a halt. Along with the benefit of faster speeds, they also have a 500 gigabyte monthly download allowance. This generous quota ensures they don't surpass their monthly download limit, which would see the connection speed throttled.
"I watch a lot of online video services and my daughter is a fan of YouTube," Marlton says. "With the NBN our home internet connection doesn't choke when one of us is streaming video or moving large files around. It's fast enough for everyone to use at once rather than the need to ration it out.
"I remember Arthur C.Clarke once said any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That's exactly what the NBN is for us at home. Whether it's for work or play, we don't have to worry about our internet connection, it just works."