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Need for speed: Where to live in Melbourne for the best NBN access

STUDENTS rely on fast and reliable internet at home so that they can keep up with studies but where can they find the fastest speeds? Stephen Clarke has more information on which areas have connected to the National Broadband Network.

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With the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) finally underway, a slowly increasing number of businesses and residences around the country are gaining access to the widely discussed new internet network.

The NBN is the much needed overhaul of the ageing copper network system that supplies Australia’s internet needs. Much ado has been made over the last several years between the government and opposing parties. Arguments have ranged over the ever-rising cost of the network and the varying ways in which it will be connected to households.

Originally, the NBN plan was to hook up 93 per cent of households to fibre optic cable. Following a change in government, a move to a ‘multi-technology mix’ was announced, which would see about 25 per cent of households connected to fibre optic, with the rest relying on varying methods for internet access.

Compared with the rest of the world Australia’s internet speed is best described as sluggish, with a global ranking of 60 and average download speeds of 16.94mbps.

For students arriving from Singapore (110.16mbps), Hong Kong (102.83mbps) or South Korea (78.73mbps), arriving in Australia may feel a bit like reverting back to the days of dial-up internet.

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It’ll be a long while before most of Australia can say that they have fibre optic cables installed. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The NBN has provided a rollout map that displays the areas that have been connected, those that are currently undergoing construction and areas where work is planned to commence.

Carlton, Parkville, Brunswick East and select areas of Brunswick West are the biggest winners, with almost blanket NBN saturation north of Victoria St in the CBD.

For students living in accommodation around Melbourne University, the chances of living in a building connected to the NBN are pretty high. Of course, the owner of the building must have signed up with an internet service provider that supplies the NBN.

The CBD currently has spotty connections, with various residential buildings claiming access to the network. The story is much the same in the south-east, with South Melbourne gaining the most connections.

Anywhere east of Prahran and Hawthorn is essentially a desert, NBN-wise.

For students living in the west, a large swathe of land is currently in the building and planning stage, with Victoria University itself situated right on the borderline, but still currently stuck in the building zone.

The Bundoora campus for RMIT is well within the NBN zone, while just south the La Trobe campus has missed out.

Regional campuses such as Shepparton and Ballarat have more widespread access to the new broadband network, with University of Melbourne campuses in both regional centres connected. Geelong has far less access with only limited areas and buildings hooked up.

For the moment, students desperate for a 100mbps internet connection should be looking for accommodation in the northern suburbs. The rest of us might just have to make do for now.

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About

Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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