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Reader, I do not believe them.

All I hear is the low moaning and occasional, distant cry for mercy of those who have gone into NBN Hell before me.

The most frustrating aspect is that in the past few years my old-fashioned cable connection has delivered pretty reliable high-speed goodness.

Perhaps people don't like to talk about the NBN because they are so happy with the service. Perhaps.

Perhaps people don’t like to talk about the NBN because they are so happy with the service. Perhaps.Credit:Rob Homer

Pretty reliable, rather than perfectly so, because as soon as those glossy pamphlets started turning up it was like my crusty old cable modem had a sudden crisis of confidence and collapsed into occasional fits of derangement.

Still, it’s been better than what’s coming.

Perhaps I’m wrong.

Maybe the country is full of satisfied NBN love slaves lying back on their daybeds, fully sated by all the fat super-fast data pouring into their homes like a digital firehose.

But the few people I know who do admit to having NBN don’t like to talk about it.

It’s triggering and shameful.

What little I can get out of them is mostly muttered apologies about never answering texts or emails or phone calls because the “internet is down”.

“Down” seems to be its natural state of being.

Most frustrating of all, I’ve been travelling a lot recently – carbon credits fully paid, thanks for asking – and I’ve had reason to experience other countries’ high-speed internet services.

It’s not surprising that somewhere like Korea basically bathes in silky smooth, dizzyingly fast internet everywhere.

The capital, Seoul, is a like a story world for some Netflix sci-fi series set about 15 minutes into a much better future, with beer and fried chicken instead of Soylent Green. But right now I’m filing this column from Rome.

A living ruin of a city.

And even here, in my crumbling four- or five-hundred-year-old apartment, the Wi-Fi is faster than anything I’ve ever experienced at home.

It would be embarrassing if it weren’t so depressing. Because I can’t bring this Wi-Fi home with me.

And the NBN is coming. And I’m terrified.

John Birmingham is a columnist for the Brisbane Times. He is also an award winning magazine writer and the author of Leviathan, the Unauthorised Biography of Sydney, which won the National Award for Non-Fiction. He amuses himself in his down time by writing novels which improve with altitude.

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