Turnbull’s NBN unfit for telehealth applications

The Coalition’s second-rate NBN will be unable to guarantee clinical-grade videoconferencing, making it unsuitable for many telehealth applications, the Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare said today.

NBN Co has started consulting with its wholesale customers on the product set that will be available on its fibre to the node deployment. While the product set will attempt to mirror the FTTP products, there is no product that will guarantee an upload speed above 1 Mbps.

In a 2011 paper Potential Telehealth Benefits of High Speed Broadband Monash University research revealed that clinical-grade video-conferenced consultation required uploads of 1.2 to 2.5 Mbps.

The Minister and his new management team have consistently focused on the question of download speeds and ignored the importance of upload speeds.

One of the key differences between Labor’s NBN and the Coalition’s plan is that under Labor a patient can plug a telehealth support kit into their NBN service and know it will work. Under the Coalition there is no guarantee it will work.

Mr Turnbull needs to listen to the Australian tech community who keep telling him to pay attention to the upload speeds he can guarantee, not just download speeds.