Fibre-optic maker Corning is a supplier to NBNco.

by Steve Jenkin and Lachlan Hinds

21 June 2013

Time has never been more valuable. Our recreation time is becoming less and less – at a rate that is concerning mental health researchers. One of the ways of creating more personal time is to have efficient, reliable and fast internet access. By having more time to do those things we enjoy, our health and happiness indexes increase immensely. That means we have better relationships and are more energised, more creative in our home and work lives.

In 1996, after 25 years, “The Net” exploded into our lives and within 5 years had created a spectacular Stockmarket bubble, The Dot Boom/Bust. One invention, “The Worldwide Web”, accounted for this transformation. Since the first boom, The Net has continued to grow & evolve, now impacting most areas of our lives and is set to keep changing everything.

On the table at the moment is the promise of faster broadband. The fastest option of which is Fibre To The Home (FTTH). Home is a valuable place to us. It’s where we are free from the pressures of work and get to relax and follow our interests & passions.

By the time our work and study are done, plus any travel involved with these, there are various things we have to do such as domestic duties, eating and sleep. Outside of these necessary things we have our ‘real’ time, where we get to choose what we would like to do. All the latest research is saying we are getting less and less of this. By having more reliable internet and faster upload and download times we can better use the time previously used waiting for our material to upload and download.

Another important aspect of High Definition internet is the ability to transmit very clear images of the people we are online with. People respond to faces. It’s a positive emotional response that has been proven over and over. When we are talking to friends and loved ones, having images that are highly defined communicates feelings of emotional ‘warmth’. Subtle facial expressions are displayed more clearly, which along with speech, is a vital aspect of personal communication and relationship, much more than we consciously realise.

Corning tv 3d - Buzzmania

Corning’s futurist vision of all connected services and surfaces to the cloud

Communication and human interaction are very important for our mental health and wellbeing. Talking to a pixelated image of someone that constantly freezes and has a voice which isn’t synchronous with the lip movements is not only frustrating, but causes a level of disconnect from the person we’re interacting with. Never mind having to re-boot the system to get past slow internet glitches. Compare this with a stable, very clear image that closely compares to the sights and sounds we experience when talking to people in real life and the contrast becomes very clear.

Beyond this we have things like telehealth (also called e-health) where in-home facilities can be used to communicate clearly with health professionals (mental and physical) to monitor or assess your condition. Education is another massive area (which we will cover in a future article).

Where we are going in the future is an amazing place and it’s not that far away. Optical Fibre is here to help us make the most of the spare time we are given and to make our interactions on the internet for those we love and care for more fulfilling. High speed fibre to our homes is a key facilitator in this, getting past the slowness, unreliability and limited scope for modernisation with last century’s copper.

FTTH also allows for multiple users in a single household to multitask on the internet without it slowing down. Shared households, whether families going about their evening online routines or flatmates getting into their online lives with friends and family, are where FTTH comes into its fore. Copper connections (FTTN) have a lot of reliability and speed issues (as does wireless, just think of how many mobile phone calls you’ve had drop out). One of these is congestion, just like a traffic jam, making the internet a lot slower when more than one person is using it in a household. Fibre works off light, so it doesn’t lag or bottleneck. Your internet is only as fast as its slowest link, FTTH removes the slowest (and most unreliable) link – the copper line to your home. There are other subtle interactions where your TV download will freeze if someone uploads big files or does a backup, a particular problem with Copper, not Fibre.

The internet is no longer just an inert system for or distributing data. The internet is all about human interaction. FTTH facilitates this interaction and these relationships like no other communication medium. It’s reliable, it’s fast, it’s clear and it’s upgradeable to suit our needs for decades to come.