One of the 'features' of the election campaign here has been the National Broadband network. Apparently this will give us fibre directly to the home for over 90% of premises, with speeds of up to 1Gbps. Actually most households would still only get the 100Mbps previously offered. I'm still on 512kbps. Hardly the fast and the furious, but it suffices.
Sucking on a 1 Gbps pipe would allow an average download of a couple of terabytes a month. My current usage is about 5 Gig per month, just a few percent of that. I have occasionally watched a Doctor Who on ABC's iView, which seems to be about 250-300Mb for an hour of TV. Three hours per Gig makes it about 4 months of content in a terabyte, so even if my whole family each watched a different channel 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we'd still be under a terabyte. Not seeing the need yet.
Anyway, giving the consumers such a massive pipe to guzzle from means moving the bottleneck upstream. Partly to the pipes from the US (and to a lesser extent, Europe and Asia), and partly to the content hosters here. The latter will mostly be the Television companies, since video is the bandwidth hog and they've got the biggest store of 'watchable' video. I say 'watchable' advisedly. A lot of it is completely dire, but at least you would be able to watch "Hey, Hey it's Saturday" rather than on Wednesday when it is broadcast. Why it is broadcast on Wednesday, or why you'd want to watch it any day of the week is a different question.
If you've read up on Exadata, the key there was to removing bottlenecks. All of them. Everywhere. The only way that works with the NBN is really peer-to-peer, which is often gaming and file-sharing. But one application for the NBN will be doctor consultation. Fire up the web-cam and get your rash looked at by a professional rather than just anyone on ChatRoulette. Though I don't go to the doctor much, the kids do and often with throat or ear infections. I don't think they show up too well on a webcam but maybe we will get those tiny fibre-optic cameras I see on the medical dramas. Should make Skype a bit more intimate. Actually my Dad got a shock when the Skype on his computer fired up when he wasn't expecting it and I don't think he'd want it any more intimate.
The old lady who lives next to us doesn't have a computer. We could let her use ours, but since I've got kids, I'm quite adamant that the computer (and especially anything with a webcam) is out in the open, and I don't think she'd be comfortable with that. Nor would we to be frank.
Still the only other use for that sort of bandwidth that I could think of was a big network of CCTV cameras on each corner. But you couldn't imagine a Labo(u)r government installing anything like that, could you ?