back to article Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet

In surprising-no-really-it's-surprising research from NBN Co, Australians with slow internet services apparently get frustrated trying to work from home, so they unnecessarily condemn themselves to the frustration of commuting instead. In a study announced here, the network builder has slung some funds in the direction of …

  1. dan1980

    This kind of thing is EXACTLY the reason why a modern, reliable and capable Internet infrastructure is essential for the continued prosperity of our country.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. LarsG


      Oxford Dictionary Definition:

      The emotional consequences of buying into the lies of EE broadband and finding out later that 'unlimited internet' means severe traffic management at the most important times.

    3. Ole Juul

      Same problem in North America

      You're right. We need "a modern, reliable and capable Internet infrastructure".

      When it gets irritating I sometimes do a traceroute. Almost always the problem is not with my local ISP but actually the big guys in between who don't have what they say they have. Dropouts are a real irritation and I'd rather have a slower solid net without dropouts than a (fake) faster one with dropouts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Same problem in North America

        It is exactly the same here in France. Next to no problems around Europe but trying to get through the supposed fat pipes to anywhere else...

      2. JeffyPoooh

        It's a solved problem, just needs time to pass the word on...

        Bell Aliant FibreOP fiber to the home. Fiber phone and Internet for about the same price as copper POTS and ADSL. Or pay more per month for ludicrous speeds. Key point: Apparently financed by the capability of the telco now offering 'Cable TV' services.

        They've broken the code. Others mystified by the financing of rolling fiber optic trucks and installing FTTH should study it. In hindsight, it's kinda obvious.

        175 Mbps for me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " a modern, reliable and capable Internet infrastructure is essential for the continued prosperity of our country"

      Doh! And there was me thinking that balanced budgets, credible trade balances, high levels of employment, high levels of innovation, and some degree of social equity were important. But no, turns out I was wrong all along, and the ability to download HD cat videos without buffering is the foundation of wealth.

      1. dan1980


        It's all just ideological guff.

        Internet connectivity has become an essential piece of infrastructure, just like transport and 'normal' communications. Indeed, it has functions as an amalgam of both; it serves as a method of connecting people to each other and delivering services.

        Sure, it can, and is, used for viewing 'HD cat videos' but what of it? POTS is used for gossiping about boys that teenage girls like at school and for calling up your ex girlfriend, drunk. (Although that's more mobile, these days.)

        Think about transport - how would our economy be impacted if all public transport to the city was stopped overnight? How often have you heard people on the television telling us how many millions and billions X, Y or Z costs the economy? Bad transport is right there - if people can't get to work then the economy dies. What about all the areas that are not well-served by public transport? They amazingly, are not business hubs.

        I am left of centre - in general - but I do believe that businesses are the very foundation of a successful society. That's not carte blanche to put businesses first in everything, of course.

        Areas without businesses are areas without jobs and areas without jobs suffer from poor investment. Look at any regional area and see the numerous shut stores lining main roads. It's got such a flow on-effect. Think of all the stores and cafes and pubs that a busy area can support!

        The simple fact is that businesses go where the infrastructure is there to support them and where they can access the right levels of services and staff. Internet connectivity can seriously change that equation, allowing companies to setup shop other areas.

        I know at least two clients of mine that have CANCELLED work from home because people were not being as productive because of poor speeds. In one of those two, one of the staff members quit because she just couldn't handle commuting 2 hours.

        We have other clients that have setup small branch offices in regional areas that rely heavily on internet connectivity back to head office to be able to do their work. That company actual CHANGED the location of one of those offices due to rubbish connectivity (ADSL 1 only).

        That was a lot of rambling but the idea is simple - improve the infrastructure that businesses rely on and you improve the economy. You create jobs - especially in areas where it might be difficult to find work closer to home. You take cars off the street as telecommuting becomes a viable option for many and that in turn makes it easier for people who do need to travel in to do so.

        This can also mean IT investment, as companies can see the value in deploying new systems such as VDI to better-enable remote workers. That's money to retailers and services providers and to ISPs as they buy better plans. (Which are now afforable, rather than the >$1000/month for fibre currently.)

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A couple of questions are raised in my mind...

    After working support for a lot of years (in the US), most of our "slow connection" calls were people (including execs) who where pocketing the cable subsidy given to employees to have a dedicated line. They'd buy DSL or satellite and then swear they had cable. A bit of tracing their connection would reveal the truth.

    I saw the disclaimer about "types of services" offered but have to wonder if things not mentioned, like does the company have a minimum service standard that WFH employees have to have? Do they verify it?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: A couple of questions are raised in my mind...

      "does the company have a minimum service standard that WFH employees have to have?"

      I hope not, I'm struggling with a 3g service tethered to my phone at the moment!

  3. king of foo

    continued prosperity?

    What country do you live in????

    1. king of foo

      Re: continued prosperity?

      Hmmm. This was meant to be a witty response to the first post.

      Never mind.

  4. codebeard

    In an interesting counterpoint to NBN Co's research, US researchers the Analysis Group have found that American cities with fibre-to-the-home generate better per-capita GDP than those without.

    It seems more likely that high GDP per-capita cities can afford fibre-to-the-home sooner, as oppose to the implication that having FTTP makes everyone more wealthy.

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Washing ton Post

    Quote: “cities with gigabit connections reported 1.1 per cent higher per-capita GDP than their slower counterparts”.

    Cause, meet effect, effect meet cause, allow me to introduce you to each other.

    The more likely explanation is that nobody will put the investment into a GPON service into a neighborhood with a low GDP in the first place.

    1. ChrisBedford

      Re: Washing ton Post

      "The more likely explanation is that nobody will put the investment into a GPON service into a neighborhood with a low GDP in the first place."

      Exactly. I'd state it more emphatically, not "likely" but "obvious".

      The original statement might as well have read "suburbs where the roads were wetter, were found to have had rain".

  6. DainB Bronze badge


    Let me introduce you to Armidale, NSW, which is still hole in the map despite the fact that every single house connected to NBN.

  7. Stuart 22 Silver badge

    All software engineers should be put back on dial-up ;-)

    One problem is those that commission and create net services have the fastest juiciest broadband that money and location can buy. Hogs and hogs of quad core processing and fat wide pipes makes pretty pictures. The prettier the picture the more kudos.

    Which means the rest of us are forced to play catch-up with power and bandwidth. If we don't we don't see stasis - we can watch our existing services get slower and slower as the poor processors try and grab more and more inefficient code to basically do the same job. Think how fast sites were when you first got 256 kb/s. are they going faster or slower with 60mb/s?

    Living in an urban area and having dosh - that is do-able. In the sticks the laws of physics are harder to defeat.

    Yes some stuff really needs cutting edge technology, multicore fat fibre to work. But actually most of us homeworkers are not majoring on HD Videoconferencing or trying to beat the fast computer brokers with nanosecond trades.

    Nope - we just want normal websites to load as fast as they did and email to not get lost. I bet I could speed up a lot of folks net access by reminding them of adblocking software and script supression. Trouble is stopping unnecesary waits and processes creates a performance hit in its own right.

    And lets not confuse reliability with speed. What use is the latter without the former if you are trying to run a continuous service.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first

      Re: All software engineers should be put back on dial-up ;-)

      And code in machine language. I remember a torrent of clicks from me trying to download one of Steve Gibson's utilities only to realise eventually that since it was only about 10k in size it downloaded instantaneously.

  8. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge


    NBN Co

    Specialized subject: The Bleedin' Obvious

    (Apologies to John Cleese)

  9. sianderson

    Work from home is better for me

    I'm opposite to this article I'm a software developer but BT can only provide my office with 6mb as the exchange hasn't been upgraded yet but 2 miles down the road I have a 120mb virgin media connection to the house, so I love the work from home days and hate the days I'm in the office

    1. Josco

      Re: Work from home is better for me

      6mb! Bugger me! I live halfway between Leeds & Harrogate, just off the main road. Less than 1mb is considered satisfactory by BT, but there is feeble mobile signal from all providers and we have been bypassed by the rural broadband initiative.

      We don't have gas either even though the gas main from the North Sea passes within 1/4 mile.

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