NBN Co now a wireless telco: Slattery


Labor’s deal with the independents to roll out the National Broadband Network to regional areas first means it will now necessarily have to place a big emphasis on the wireless component of the network’s construction, according to Pipe Networks managing director and long-time NBN critic Bevan Slattery.

The original design of the NBN called for wireless broadband — along with satellite — to bridge the gap between the 90 percent of the population that will receive fibre connections to their homes. The number of customers that will receive wireless has shrunk with Labor’s pledge to extend the fibre to a further 3 percent of households.

But according to Slattery, the new outside-in focus of the NBN will mean that it will primarily be a wireless telco in the short term. “They’re going to need to build a network as big as that of Optus outside the cities,” he said in an interview this week after Labor’s election victory.

The coverage maps which NBN Co has released detailing where it plans to roll out wireless around the nation appear to support Slattery’s claim — every major regional area features a gray wireless circle or series of circles, backing the notion that wireless infrastructure will need to be built in every centre.

Slattery said the wireless rollout would be challenging for several reasons. Firstly, he said, NBN Co would likely need to buy back spectrum assets from Austar to complete the rollout. The broadcaster was the only player to hold the right spectrum, the executive said, apart from the Government itself, which is planning to release a chunk of spectrum in several years as part of the digital dividend to come from the closure of analogue television broadcasting.

“Austar can probably extract a pretty good dollar from the Government for the spectrum,” he said.

Some details about NBN Co’s wireless plans can be gleaned from a product overview document the company recently published which draws a picture of how the wireless rollout will proceed.

Unlike the current popular crop of 3G mobile broadband networks operated by Telstra, Optus and VHA, NBN Co’s wireless network will only deliver fixed wireless connections, in the same way that a fibre connection is fixed — and only guaranteeing speeds of 12Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream.

As with the fibre rollout, a network termination unit will sit on the side of users’ houses and provide them with Ethernet ports to which they can connect their own equipment. As with the fibre network, the wireless network will be wholesale in nature, allowing ISPs to use it to sell services to end users.

What has not yet been laid out is exactly how NBN Co will go about the wireless rollout — which vendors and construction companies it will use, for example.

Slattery raised the issue that many customers were already accustomed to using 3G mobile broadband services from the likes of Telstra, and questioned whether the service would see much uptake, as customers couldn’t take their connection on the road.

“Customers have already voted with their feet — they want mobile broadband,” he said. “If they already have a 3G service with Telstra, are they going to prefer to keep their service?”

Another complicating factor is the mobile broadband price war currently being waged between the various telcos, which is seeing prices decrease on a regular basis, accompanied by increases in the bundled quota available to customers.

Slattery is part of a group of rival telcos dubbed the Alliance for Affordable Broadband which is pushing for the wireless rollout to be based on 4G technologies, which the executive said offered greater throughput and spectral efficiences than 3G — and even higher speeds than 12Mbps.

“4G is capable of delivering the best bang for buck, the best internet experience to consumers,” he said. “I get the distinct feeling that it’s going to be a 4G network. If it’s not 4G and it’s not LTE, they’re not doing their jobn properly.”

The group has broadly welcomed the news that the NBN project will continue under a Labor Government, but it also wants the wireless rollout to be national, rather than concentrated on the edges of regional areas to serve those unable to receive fibre.

Much has still yet to be decided about how Labor’s deal with the independents will change NBN Co’s rollout. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has flagged plans to meet with the company over the coming days to go over the new plans.

Image credit: NBN Co


  1. Does the agreement with the independents ACTUALLY require they begin the wireless rollout now, or is Slattery just constructing straw men? There’s still plenty of fibre that’s got to be rolled out to regional areas.

    • To be honest I don’t think the “agreement”, whatever it really is, contains details that specific. However, I would anticipate that NBN Co will interpret that the wireless section will need to be advanced somewhat, based on the new rural and regional focus.

  2. “Austar can probably extract a pretty good dollar from the Government for the spectrum,”

    This means more billions on top of the $43+ billion current price tag.

  3. Didn’t take them long :)

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: SEEK Executive JobMail – 1 new job
    Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2010 00:39:00 +1000

    Job 1: Radio Planning Manager
    Location: Sydney
    Advertiser: NBNCo Limited
    Job Function: I.T. & T
    Description: Opportunity for an SME for Radio Planning to join the Planning and Design team within the CTO group at NBNCo.
    View this job at:

  4. I don’t thin Austar are looking anywhere near those dollars. They’ve said they’ve wanted to sell, NBN Co will want to buy. They’ll just get near the top of their range that’s all.

  5. I certainly hope the NBN wireless is much better than the current wireless we have at present in Australia.
    To get coverage in Noosaville I have to go outside and to download the front page of a national newspaper takes me 2 minutes. Coverage is similar in many other rural areas of Australia. (hopeless )

    • I hope it’s better performing as well. It’s still wireless though with all that it brings.

      I’m glad to see fibre still at 93% and hopefully that creeps upwards a bit in the next couple of decades. Your comment reminds me of something though…… there’s been plenty of commentary (including from people writing for the Australian) saying fibre is going to be old hat and wireless is the way to go……. (which is just silly and emotional)….

      Where wireless is used, all of it’s possibilities need to be properly explained when selling the new NBNco wireless. It’s something Telstra hasn’t been good at. eg there’s some farmers 15km from me who just barely get a Telstra 3G signal. They’ve had nearby farmers and visitors tell them for some time tell them that they’d have to go with satellite. They know someone with satellite and they weren’t keen on the prospect.

      I suggested that they attach a high gain antenna outside their house, a 3g wireless router and a laptop with wifi. They’re really happy with the result. It’s not comparable to ADSL2+ but it’s a better result than satellite. I really do hope that NBNco properly sell these options. People seem to think mobility for wireless when sometimes you just need to attach a bloody big antenna to a building ;)

      • Actually that should be… I hope the nbnco retailers are better at selling all of the possibilities than Telstra sales people (not nbnco themselves).

        Bigpond has retail high gain antennas etc. They just aren’t good at selling them and knowing when they might be needed. In my friend’s example, the Telstra person they spoke to excluded 3g when they said that their mobiles barely worked on their property :(

  6. Austar wanted $60 million for their 2.3 and 3.5MHz spectrum when Opel was going to buy it from them.. It would be less now that the licence only has less then 3 years left to run.

    Secondly the released NBN maps are woefully inadequate when compared to the size of the Optus 3G network, it appears they only cover about 50% of what Optus covers.

    Thirdly, LTE is not 4G and neither is 802.16e WiMAX. 4G is simply a set of guidelines that a technology must meet to be called 4G.

    There will be no 4G capable technology until LTE Advanced and 802.16m is released which is years away as those standards have not even been ratified yet.

    If they use 2.3MHz it is highly likely they will use Wimax as that is a native frequency for it..

  7. People want mobility from their phones, and people outside city centres are used to having spotty coverage on them. What we expect from an Internet connection on the other hand is stability. Nothing wrong with running a WiFi router in your house once the connection (be it fixed wireless or fibre) gets there if you want some mobility.

  8. I don’t appreciate Slattery speaking for me. When Slattery said, “Customers have already voted with their feet — they want mobile broadband,” he should have qualified that with ‘as a complimentary internet access to their fixed-line broadband.’ Even then, this would be fine for those who live and work in good mobile coverage areas.

    But for a lot of us, that is simply not the case. I have to travel 30klms to obtain (affordable*) mobile coverage so what use is mobile broadband for me when I want to check the weather or catch up on the news? None, that’s what. Slattery needs to do some research on “the effect of geography on radio transmissions.” Something a lot of us Tasmanians are all too aware of.

    I enjoy my low-latency, high speed, high quota, ADSL fixed-line broadband at my country home.

    I do NOT look forward to the time Telstra rips up or disconnects the copper and my only option for internet is third-rate satellite on the NBN network.

    (*) I do have a NextG phone but I also have a 9dB external antenna to use it. It’s pre-paid and it’s only for emergencies when on the road or bushwalking.

  9. Don’t forget that CSIRO are trailing new wireless technology in Tasmania starting this month. If it works, there could be every possibility that the NBN may not be made up of WiMAX or LTE services.

  10. Right now Telstra has no incentive to install FTTN – a technology used throughout the developed world to deliver 20-50Mbps (next generation VDSL2 gives 100Mbps) without the insane expense of taking Fiber to everyone’s home by using “copper over the last mile”.

    Is Telstra allowed to compete with NBN Co? Because if it is (which would be great!) then Telstra would all of a sudden have a competitor and would instantly start rolling out FTTN to ubran areas and country towns and we could all have 50-100Mbps within 12-18 months instead of 100Mbps, possibly, in 5-15 years.

    The dodgy NBN business plan and the assumptions it makes get more dogdy every day.

    • The big problem with this scenario is that we, the tax payer, are the owners of the NBN which then becomes a $43 billion white elephant as it has no chance in hell of competing with a much smoother, leaner, more streamlined, euro style FTTN that gets delivered years before the NBN’s FTTH.

      What we really should be doing is motivating Telstra to get off it’s butt and start installing FTTN now, before we blow $43 billion.

      Perhaps the guvment should change the asset ownership landscape in telco world so that private companies are allowed to install nodes and get an ROI on their investment. Then we’ll all have 50-100Mbps within 12 months without the guvment spending a cent.

    • The problem with VDSL is that data transfer rates drop off very quickly at short distances from the Node. At 1 KM from the exchange, you get less than 50mb/s and at 1.6Km, the speed is the same as ADSL2+. This gives them 2 approaches to a Node/VDSL roll out:

      1) you replace existing exchanges with nodes and use existing last mile copper. This is cheap, but few people get any noticeable speed increase and you still have the issue of aging copper.

      2) You put nodes in every street so that everyone is within the few hundred meters of the node. This is expensive as you still need to run fiber down most streets to connect the nodes and then run copper from the nodes to the houses. The cost difference between this and FTTH is minimal as you still have to lay new cables to the home, the main difference is the cable being used (and the difference in price between copper and fiber is minimal).

      The original $4B was based on option 1 and was scrapped because it delivered little benefit.

      To do FTTN properly, you need to spend almost as much as FTTH. The difference is, FTTN will be soon obsolete and isn’t upgradable to FTTH (it is different technology). You might save a little doing FTTN, but then you have to eventually upgrade it to FTTH. You might as well do FTTH once and do it properly.

      • Possibly the only sensible post in this thread. Some people here just dont seem to understand the limitations of certain technologies. Then you have others that have hissy fits because their technology didn’t get picked for NBN. Does Australia really this crap? Things take long enough to get done in here in Australia as it is. If you opponents of the current NBN plan are serious I suggest you refuse the fibre connection when Mr NBN comes knocking to hook you up. Tell them “No thanks I’ve got wireless!” Somehow I dont think many will, they all know fibre is the fastest way forward at this point and they want a reliable 100mbps connection as much as anyone else.

        • “Tell them “No thanks I’ve got wireless!””

          You’re another one who thinks that anything other than the NBN’s “fibre to the home” must be ‘wireless’. Please re-read the post and get informed. It’s called Fiber to the Node. That is not wireless.

          • I wasn’t specifically referring to that post with that sentence, please re-read my post and get a clue. You know what else this is the sort of pedantic stuff I’d expect from whingepool not Delimiter.

          • “Then you have others that have hissy fits because their technology didn’t get picked for NBN.”

            When another technology has arrived that can deliver speeds of 100Mbps via FTTN with excellent QoS but without blowing $43 billion I’m sorry but it’s a valid contender that shouldn’t be dismissed as someone having a hissy fit because their technology didn’t get selected.

            FTTN is not ‘my’ technology. I have no vested interest in it other than it won’t plough my country into an extra $43 billion in debt + interest + labor stuff ups + labor mismanagement + re-inspections of work by ‘fly by night’ cable installers. Sorry for caring about stuff like that.

            It’s 100Mbps via competitively priced FTTN or 100Mbps via expensive FTTH. It’s not a choice between FTTH and wireless or FTTH and ADSL style speeds. Stop trying to blindly support the excessively expensive NBN and assuming that anyone that opposes it’s approach is either technically challenged or has vested interests.

            I’m just trying to open up debate so we get over this “It’s the NBN approach or your children will die from rare skin diseases” type of argument. If you work in IT you’ll know there’s always more than one way to skin a cat.

          • Wow that’s quite a tirade, once again you seem to have trouble reading but whatever, Damo is right “You might as well do FTTH once and do it properly.”

          • Well the trouble with reading is all with you if you still support the mindless mantra that, at any expense, “you may as well do FTTH and do it once”. If it is such a ‘no brainer’ of a choice why has the rest of the world almost unanimously taken the “FTTN now, FTTH later” approach?

            A small amount of googling on FTTN and VDSL2 is very revealing – even on our crappy ADSL connections :)

            I honestly think Telstra is the problem but probably also the solution, ironically. If they had competition they would have rolled out FTTN years ago.

          • “If it is such a ‘no brainer’ of a choice why has the rest of the world almost unanimously taken the “FTTN now, FTTH later” approach?’ Answer: Because these networks were rolled years ago when fiber cable was much more expensive than copper. Currently the cost of copper is increasing (as metal prices increase) and fiber cable is decreasing. There is currently little difference between the price of the two, and it is expected that it won’t be long before copper is more expensive than fiber!

            The problem with VDSL is that it is “up to 100mb/s”. You only get 100mb/s if you computer is in the note (or your sitting beside it) and on brand new copper. For most users, VDSL is no faster than ADSL2+. The extra speed is only under ideal conditions. To do a FTTN roll out properly, it will require a node in every street and will cost as much as a FTTH roll out. The original FTTN plan was scrapped because it would have made little difference to the majority. Even done properly, “up to 100mb/s” VDSL will be slower than 100mb/s Fiber (which isn’t affected by distance).

            If FTTN is done properly, it isn’t any cheaper than FTTH, yet it is slower, can’t be upgraded and won’t handle out internet needs in 10 years time (assuming our need for speed increases at the same constant rate it has increased from about 1900. FTTH on the other hand can be upgraded without touching the cable and won’t need replacing for 50-60 years (life of fiber cables).

            Copper has reached its limit in it’s ability to transmit data. Fiber won’t reach it physical limit until we can transmit data faster than the speed of light!

          • “You only get 100mb/s if you computer is in the note”

            YOU (your) computer is in the NOTE (node)!

            Ok, that’s acknowledgment that it’s well and truly beer o’clock in offices all around Australia at this time on a Friday afternoon (as it is here in this orifice – a nice Banrock Station “preservative free” 2010 vintage – nice drop and no nasty hang over from that preservative!).

            We’re going to have to stop play and go to a drinks break. Play will resume Monday.

            The awesomely important point is this: we’re all Aussies, going into bat for the best country in the world. Let’s keep it that way!

          • @Damo The increasing cost of copper cable vs decreasing cost of fiber cable is totally irrelevant: FTTN reuses the existing copper. The biggest saving with FTTN is that you can avoid millions of kilometres of re-cabling (trenching, digging, piping cable – all labour intensive = $expen$ive) where copper pairs already exist and are paid for. Copper is naturally anti corrosive and if kept protected in the sheath then age of the cable is not an issue. The only trench digging or recabling you need to do with FTTN is to run fiber to the nodes which represents an order of magnitude saving over cabling to every house – which is why FTTN has succeeded in so many countries where FTTH has either not been attempted (most countries), is dying or has been halted (Verizon June 2010 halted their FTTH rollout, FTTN rollouts in the USA continue).

            The USA’s FTTH Verizon has halted it’s FTTH rollout… why, because it’s costing a bomb and the take up is not what they anticipated… sound familiar?

            They should have taken heed when this article was written in 2006 titled “Why Verizon’s fiber project could kill the company”:

            because they’ve now halted the rollout due to profitability issues because competing technologies are giving customers what they want (50-100Mbps) at $20 “to the house” instead of $700 “to the house”.


            but why should we bother viewing looking into the experience of other countries when we remain blissfully ignorant and blow $43 billion on our own white elephant.

            It might sound like I’m raining on the FTTH/NBN parade but that’s not my intention. I’m just trying to make people aware of the alternatives so they get informed and we can have intelligent, open discussions, instead of people constantly bleeting out the zombie like mantra: “NBN via FTTH or we’re all going to die”.

            Damo, FTTN is not an old technology, it’s now giving speeds up to 50Mbps and field testing is underway on gear that’s giving 100Mbps over 1km.

            Not only is the cost of FTTH insanely more expensive than a FTTN rollout but the deployment takes so much longer with FTTH. If we insist on a complete FTTH rollout up front then we’ll all be stuck on slow ADSL speed for many years to come (especially now that the independents have ensured the regional areas get their rollouts before the cities) while most other countries have already or will soon (including NZ) be enjoying 40-50Mpbs.

            Calling it how it is: I’d rather have 50-100Mbps via FTTN within the next 12-18 months than stay on crappy ADSL (4Mbps) for up to 8 years while waiting for a 100Mbps via FTTH. Does anyone factor in the cost to business and general service delivery of that technical detractor when promoting the NBN’s insistence on FTTH?

      • Well the assumptions and estimations you rely on fly in the face of just about every other developed country in the world where FTTN has or is being rolled out – even in New Zealand. Yes New Zealand hammer us in the rugby and now they’re hammering us in high speed broadband, thanks to their FTTN roll outs.

        You say FTTN gives little benefit yet if I had it now I’d go from a 4Mbps connection to a 40-50Mbps connection. Please let me be the judge of whether that is of ‘little benefit’ to me.

        New Alcatel-Lucent technologies can use both your copper pairs (Telstra runs dual pairs to each home) to get speeds of 100Mbps over copper up to 1000m from a node. Give me 100Mbps next year rather than 100Mbps in 5 years time or whenever the white vans have finished rolling cable in Windsor and Oakeshott’s electorate.

        The cost of FTTN and FTTH isn’t only about the equipment cost. It’s more about the fiber layout costs – the digging up roads, footpaths, front yards, required for EVERY house that wants it. Yes you need to do some of that to get fibre to the nodes in each neighbourhood so that most houses are within 1-1.5km of a node but that’s 20x cheaper than running cable to every individual house. Do the maths. One node can connect to probably 100-200 homes – that 100-200 fiber cable roll out’s you’ve saved per node.

        Imagine the problems caused when “labor’s little helpers” do stuff in your house to route the new cable through your place – cos those insulation installers were real thorough.

        But for my money here is where you lost all credibility and entered in the land of NBN spin:
        “The cost difference between this and FTTH is minimal as you still have to lay new cables to the home, the main difference is the cable being used (and the difference in price between copper and fiber is minimal). ”

        Cough bull*hit! That is the major advantage of FTTN over FTTH – that you reused the billions in the existing copper network over the last mile. What sort of nutbag would install FTTN and lay new coppers to the House – you may as well run optic all the way. The major cost saving with FTTN is that you are RE-USING the copper over the last mile.

        You almost had some credibility until you laid out that stinker your NBN barbeque.

      • The difference in the price of the actual cable itself (optical fiber or existing copper that doesn’t need to be laid as it’s already there and YOU have paid for it) is irrelevant. It’s the cost of laying cable and digging trenches and cutting through roads and footpaths and people’s front yards and people’s roofs and into the wall cavities of their houses that is the key factor here – of course those “fly by night” contractors will be all thoughrough-ness, top shelf, A1 dinky dye, “she’ll be right” quality just like the “labor’s little helpers” pink bats roof insulation guys).

        The actual cost of the pissy little cable you lay after you’ve gone to the effort of opening up the patient’s rib cage to get access to the throbbing reality that is the aortic valve is awesomely insignificant.

        Sorry, it’s Friday afternoon :)

  11. I think there’s a bit of a weird assumption made here.

    Q:When do you default to wireless as the connectivity method?
    A: When the population density of a region is too low, or distance is so great that it warrants it

    Q:What is the best method of ensuring a stable and reliable wireless connections at long distances with link speeds starting at 12 Mbit/s?
    A: Point to point wireless links, fed by fibre or repeaters. Cell/mobility focused wireless solutions are not suited to this role.

    Point to point wireless links are the only logical choice in these types of situations. Spectrum is not a big issue, because the point to point links can all share the same band.

    What do businesses use to reliably link locations when a fixed line solution is not available? A point to point wireless link. This is done for good reason!

    While you could use a different wireless technology for the endpoint, if the houses are remote enough and the population scattered around scarely enough, you could simply set up a point to point connection for each house back to the main tower. This would still be much cheaper than digging 10’s of kilometers of trenching per house.

    • “This would still be much cheaper than digging 10′s of kilometers of trenching per house.”

      Exactly! This is the point that most NBN fan boys seem to ignore and a point Tony Windsor (who doesn’t use a computer) missed completely.

      “Fiber to the Farm” ain’t NEVER going to happen Tony. You’ve been hoodwinked. You’ll see the “NBN” roll out a coalition style wireless broad band solution to properties outside the town limits because it’s the only damn, rational, economically feasible, geographically possible solution.

      • Did anyone promise Fibre to the Farm (FTTF ;) )? The NBN always had a lot of wireless. The order of deployment has changed.

        Windsor is likely to be well aware that no one is doing fibre runs to farms. He’s probably also aware that even before the horse trading with Labor, fibre is listed to go to most of the towns in his electorate including some pretty damn small ones.

        • Here’s Windsor’s only public statement, that I can recall, on the technological side of this decision to go with labor because it’s NBN would be better for the bush:

          Someone told me “You do it once, you do it right, and you do it with fibre”

          It seems to me that in regard to the bush he’s thinking “do it with fibre” means “do it with fibre” – towns, farms, the lot.

          The guy doesn’t even use a computer. How tempting would it be for a vested interest adviser from labor or the NBN Co to ‘sell him a left handed screwdriver’.

  12. I think you’ll find that Bevan has left Pipe Networks and no longer has any part in day to day running; if so it is improper to keep on labelling him as the managing director.

    • I am usually known know as Founder althought technically I am still CEO. Managing Director no more though.

  13. Hi Killakoala,
    “I don’t appreciate Slattery speaking for me. When Slattery said, “Customers have already voted with their feet — they want mobile broadband,” he should have qualified that with ‘as a complimentary internet access to their fixed-line broadband.’ Even then, this would be fine for those who live and work in good mobile coverage areas.”

    Sorry – that quote was in reference to NBN Co. only looking to provide a ‘fixed wireless’ solution for those outside the fibre area, when I was suggesting that customers who get a wireless service have overwhelmingly decided to go for the ‘mobile’ option.

    It had nothing to do with wireless-v-fibre. It was a mobile wireless-v-fixed wireless observation (for the masses).



    • Thanks for the clarification Bevan. The comment makes more sense now as I believe the statistics show more people use wireless for the mobility aspect rather than a replacement for fixed broadband access.

      Of course there are still plenty of people who’s only option for broadband is to use a wireless service due to technology constraints, such as those behind RIMs or whose exchanges are still only PSTN or physical restraints such as distance from exchanges and those caused by building developments and body corporates.

      For those people, the NBN will (hopefully) provide better access. If they roll-out wireless in Tasmania first, I will qualify my statement but that won’t happen until at least 2013 when the spectrum is available. ;)

  14. i live in the WA wheatbelt. Thats isolated. I can get nextg from bigpond with an aerial. i can stream video from ABC iView..
    so why not go wireless?
    the service is here yet its expensive at $79.99 for 6gigs,
    subsidise what is already availible rather than spend billions on cable as I there must be a big chance that cable will become obsolete

    go wireless not cable and reduce the charges

    • I agree: where big distances are involved (like outside most capital cities) the idea of laying cable is not only insanely expensive but would take years if not decades.

      Someone should tell NBN Co to take a look at a map of Australia – they might realize that it’s big … really big.

    • In terms of wireless: I think that a lot of the problems us city folk have with wireless is the saturation – too many users trying to connect over what is essentially a shared resource that has a capacity limit.

      In less populated areas (i.e. outside the major cities) saturation should not be a problem so, ironically, wireless in these areas would be much better with less drop outs than in city areas.

  15. Coverage is going to be a big problem for any wireless solutions at high frequencies.

    Pathloss = 32.5 + 20logF(MHz) + 20logD(km)

    Simple law of physics says that you will need to have 6 base stations at 2.3GHz to provide the same coverage (and data rates) as 1 base station at 850MHz.

    Of course with a fixed installation you get to mount a high gain antenna instead of having to rely on a mobile whip, but it will still be no mean feat.

  16. larry:
    “i live in the WA wheatbelt. Thats isolated. I can get nextg from bigpond with an aerial. i can stream video from ABC iView..
    so why not go wireless?”

    NextG works at 850MHz. The only available frequencies are around the 2,5GHz band now. At 2.5GHz, signal will be 10dB lower (1/10 the power) over the same path. If you are already using a high gain antenna at 850MHz, it simply won’t work, or if it does, your data rate will be very poor.

    There is also the problem that the cell capacity is shared. If there are two users, you will get half the data throughput. If there are 4 users, you will get a quarter and so on.

    Where customers are few and far between, wireless is still more economical than fibre.
    A sane budget constraint dictates wireless in the bush though unfortunately.

  17. FTTN brings the “exchange” a bit closer to the customer, but is is still relying on a copper cable pair to go the “last mile” and as a consequence xDSL technology to cover that last mile and you will only be able to provide xDSL speeds to the customer.

    If you happen to live right next door to the DSLAM you might be lucky enough to get 24Mb/s.
    Most people will be stretching to get 12Mb/s.

    Telstra’s failed FTTN proposal only guaranteed 6Mb/s (the rest of the bandwidth was to be reserved for other services).

    • Anyone worried about the FUD surrounding FTTN should Google VDSL2 – it’s come a long way in just a few years.

      Alcatel-Lucent are field testing new generation of FTTN technologies that are delivering 100Mbps over dual copper pairs over 1000m (and 300Mbps over 400Mbps – freaky!). The copper cable to virtually every premises in Australia has 2 copper pairs (Telecom/Telstra did/do this to allow for an extra phone line without having to run another cable).


      Telstra’s FTTN proposal for only 6Mbps was likely limited by politics and commercial reasons rather than technical reaonss – plus historical reasons: the VDSL technology available 4 years ago is nothing like that available these days.

  18. I live midway between a small town and a large village. they both have ADSL. Apparently the cables run right through the small village I live in. In such circumstances where the connection cost to ADSL would not be outlandish, being as it is central to two congruent locations, then why cannot communities in this configuration be upgraded?
    For $79.99 a month I can get the Ultimate Premium 8000/60GB $79.99 8000K/384K~ 512K/128K 60GB4
    (30GB+30GB) from TPG for example. I get 6gbs @ 1000 on a good day if its not raining or solar flaring or the galahs are not on the roof.

    Surely Telstra should connect us to a terrestrial service as part of the NBN where it would be fiscally feasible

  19. If its true that Tony Windsor doesn’t use a computer and presumably knows nothing about technology then we have a really strange situation where a person ignorant of the issues surrounding the choices has decided the future technology direction for the nation.

    I’m not happy at the 30/35m fixed wireless tower 65m from me proposed for the quiet country village where I live. All of the residents are < 1000m from the exchange and presumably could get 25/1mbps /ADSL2 (there are 90+ spare ports available).

    This is a stupid situation to find myself in and reminds me of the BER, the insulation fiasco, the boats from Indonesia, the live cattle FUBAR, Traveston Dam etc etc

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