Alcatel-Lucent moves to educate public on NBN

Launches glossary of networking terms, online version to follow

Alcatel-Lucent has moved to educate the public on the National Broadband Network (NBN), issuing a layman’s guide to networking terms and flagging plans to launch an online version shortly.

The glossary, which covers topics such as backbone and backhaul, bandwidth and access technology, follows a notable absence of any substantial explanation of the NBN and its underlying technology from either the NBN Co and the Federal Government to the general public.

According to Geof Heydon, director of digital economies at Alcatel-Lucent Australia, the company, which is a major provider to the NBN Co and has had a hand in deploying some 100 fibre to the home (FTTH) networks around the world, felt the need to demystify the jargon of broadband.

“It’s fair to say that recently broadband has become a topic that has Australia talking,” Heydon told Computerworld Australia. “What’s also fair to say is that telecommunications has a language of its own, and not one that is always easily understood by the unwary individual straying into the technical realm.

“We thought we’d put that to good use and so have produced this glossary of terms to try and demystify some of the technical jargon, interpreting this into something easily understandable to the everyday Australian. It’s not exhaustive, but hopefully it’s a useful tool.”

According to the spokesperson, not only was there increased interest from the public in broadband, but also from industry seeking a greater understanding of what the NBN meant for them.

“What’s interesting for our organisation… is that we’re starting to see other industries look to the sector for help in thinking about what a national broadband infrastructure could mean for their innovation and business models, particularly in the way they deliver services to their customers,” Heydon said.

“We’ve been having conversations with the health sector, mediacomms, entertainment and education sectors to a name a few. We’re seeing increasing recognition that the NBN will be an innovation enabler, but there is naturally a lot that is not understood about the finer details of broadband. Explaining the technology with this glossary is a nice place to start.”

While debate has raged within the telco sector about the pros and cons of the NBN for years, it has taken until mid this year for the Government to begin to fully articulate the NBN to the public.

In August, Prime Minister Julia Gillard put forward the argument that the NBN would serve as the foundation for telemedicine.

Mid-year the CSIRO, took it upon itself to begin planning a showcase of the NBN for the science and research community, the Broadband for Society Summit, aimed at detailing how the NBN will affect eHealth, eGovernment, and related technology areas such as smart grids and wireless.

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