On Thursday afternoon, I was all set to kick back and enjoy an afternoon of drinking wine and consuming cheese courtesy of global networking giant Cisco, one of those rare occasions when one gets the chance to get tipsy and enjoy the hospitality of a company of this size.
I don't often agree to such invitations, but when the gracious Adela Amanowicz makes an offer, one really finds it very difficult to respond in the negative, even if one is, by nature, anti-social.
These are the kind of speeds I got during the session with Cisco – I had to use Wi-Fi because of where I was sitting. I normally use a wired connection, but I had no ports near my location. My NBN plan is 100/20Mbps.
But, hey, even on such an occasion, the NBN Co, courtesy of the HFC technology championed by that great tech expert Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, can totally screw up your afternoon.
Now, if any third-rate company had organised this Web chat one would be able to cast aspersions on it, but this is Cisco, the grand-daddy of networking.
Additionally, 10 years ago one could cast aspersions on my choice of platform — Linux — but that is not possible any more.
I was unable to see a single frame of the interviews with two vintners which Cisco had organised, thanks to the NBN Co.
The error message I have posted indicates that the cause for this blockout of video is either a hardware issue or a bandwidth issue. My laptop has an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, overkill for a Linux system. The bandwidth is the issue and that is clearer than the daylight that streams through my window at 6am each day.
The NBN Co often cites the case of Netflix, that it requires only 25Mbps to stream, and various other factoids to prove that it is an adequate provider of bandwidth. Yet, when the rubber hits the road, the government monopoly is found seriously wanting.
One can continue to blind oneself to reality, but the facts merit a closer look. Not just because journalists cannot enjoy an afternoon of getting drunk, but because the bandwidth claims made by a government monopoly just do not measure up in real life.