Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has explained that the rollout of a national, high-speed, fibre-optic broadband network throughout Australia is one of the reasons he wants to leave the US and instead, become an Australian.
Mr Wozniak co-founded the world’s currently most valuable company with Steve Jobs back in 1976 and created the original Apple computer, seen as the first consumer PC.
A philanthropist and author, the tech guru has amassed a global fan base since leaving Apple in 1987.
The fact he is becoming an Australian I can only imagine, might be a little …disappointing… to some patriotic Americans. (But let’s face it, Australia is a pretty awesome place in many respects.)
Technology enthusiasts may feel the US is seemingly at high risk of “losing” an iconic, historically significant inventor of the Personal Computer to another nation… thanks to the monopolization of internet and telecommunications in the United States.
Mr Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review in Sydney that he had spoken to Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and was in support of the federal government’s fibre rollout.
“I spoke to him and they plan to roll it out to everyone in the country,” Mr Wozniak said.
“I support it very much. It’s one of the reasons why I actually like this country and want to become a citizen. I live in a country where we don’t have any regulation of telecommunications.”
Currently in Australia for the launch of Apple’s much hyped iPhone 5, Wozniak went on-air at radio station Brisbane’s 4BC breakfast show and announced that he was “underway to become an Australian citizen”.
“It turns out I can keep my American citizenship. I intend to call myself an Australian and feel an Australian, and study the history and become as much of a real citizen here as I can.”
Despite his status as a technology icon, Mr Wozniak said he was not connected to a broadband service in his home in California, classing the options available to him as a “monopoly”.
You know you’re a tech geek when you move countries to be where there’s better Internet. But really? Is it really better?
In the US, while there are literally hundreds of ISPs a consumer can choose from, generally these are all licensed through one of the major providers: AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, (Century/Sudden/Earth)Link, Cablevision…
For the average consumer in America, broadband performance is viewed as less than satisfactory. This is the case despite data from Akami.com indicating that the average 2012 USA broadband download speed is currently 4.57Mbps, with over 64% of the nation online, while in Australia, at least until the NBN (National Broadband Network) is complete in 2014, the national average download speed sits at a humble 3.45Mbps with 57% of the nation connected.
That puts Australian Internet averages currently slower than markedly poorer nations like Slovakia.
If Steve Wozniak really values a country with truly unsurpassed Internet performance, he really should move to South Korea where they boast a blistering average of 17.5Mbps. Source: NBNCo | Australia Akami State Of Internet Report, 2012
“There’s only one set of wires to be on [in America] and I’m not going to pull strings to get them to do something special for me,” Wozniak said. “When I worked at Hewlett-Packard we treated ourselves like a family and protecting each other and I believe in that.”
Has he even heard of Telstra? The monolithic, privatised giant controlling the entire nation of Australia’s NBN rollout?
“I’ve sat with our FCC [Federal Communications Commission] commissioner and told him that story in his office, but it’s not going to happen. We just don’t have the political idea to bring broadband to all the people who are 1 kilometre too far away.”
“I’m not an expert on banking but bankers have told us how important this technology is to them and it is one of our big customer areas,” he said. “Some success in banking is all done in computers nowadays, not through humans, and milliseconds matter, the speed of transactions matter to them.”
In reality, will the NBN make a massive difference to the average speeds of households? For people in rural areas or areas without cable internet, yes. Currently, people on “Super Fast ADSL 2+” both in America and in Australia, receive typical actual download speeds of around 2-5Mbps.
But for those in urban areas who do have access to cable, there will be no difference to what is already available to you.
Those with cable broadband (through the same optic fibre as cable TV) can already get 100Mbps “peak” speeds today, which translates to an impressive 30-60Mbps download speeds.
Australia’s NBN offers four “peak speed” packages: 12, 25, 50 and 100Mbps. In other words, for cable users, actual speeds will be no different to what you’re prepared to pay for, today. The real benefit is that more of the country will be connected at these speeds.
- WhistleOut.com | NBN Plans
- AussieBroadband.com.au | ADSL2+ FAQ
- ComputerWorld.com Blogs | Get 100MB of Broadband Fibre for < $100
- APPLE’s Steve Wozniak: I want to become Australian… (telegraph.co.uk)
- Steve Wozniak wants to become Australian (news.com.au)
- Apple’s Wozniak wants to become Australian (news.com.au)
- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak wants to become an Australian citizen: reports (rawstory.com)
- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to start living Down Under? (neowin.net)
- Apple’s Wozniak wants to become Australian (capitalfm.co.ke)
- NBN drives Wozniak to become Aussie (news.com.au)
- Steve Wozniak Would Like To Become An Australian Citizen, But It’s Got Nothing To Do With Taxes… (businessinsider.com)
- Steve Wozniak Went to Australia to Buy an iPhone 5 (mashable.com)
- Steve Wozniak: Apple Maps Problems Are Not That Severe (mashable.com)