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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Friday, April 13, 2012 14:09 - 179 Comments

    Back in your box: NBN Co shuts down wireless “expert”

    news The National Broadband Network Company has shot down in flames inaccurate claims by a non-technical analyst this week that all Australian telecommunications would be based on wireless technologies by the time construction of the predominantly fibre-based NBN was completed.

    In an article published by News.com.au this morning, David Chalke, a self-professed ‘social analyst’ with Quantum Market Research, claimed that the NBN’s fibre infrastructure was irrelevant. “Everything is going to be wireless by the time they’ve dug up the roads and stuffed the pipes,” he said. “It will be too late, it’s all going to be mobile and wireless in the future.”

    It is believed that Chalke’s statement is highly inaccurate, with the global telecommunications industry universally in agreement that future telecommunications services will see a combination of fixed and wireless services used to provide access, as it is today. In addition, local commentators on the NBN have repeatedly emphasised that even leading mobile networks such as Telstra’s Next G network will increasingly depend on fibre-optic backbone links to mobile phone base stations in future, as they largely do today. The increasing popularity of online video streaming and conferencing services is one of the key factors which is placing a heavy burden on telecommunications infrastructure. Fixed infrastructure is best suited for delivering this kind of content.

    In a statement issued this afternoon, NBN Co said Chalke’s claim was simply inaccurate. “Recent claims that “the rise of mobile internet through smartphones and tablets threatens to make the NBN a waste of money” and “out of date” were not supported by the facts,” the company said.

    “The eternal problems associated with spectrum scarcity – such as mobile congestion and a hefty price premium placed on using such a limited resource – are not going to go away,” said NBN Co chief technology officer Gary McLaren. “They may help explain why over the past 12 months the average amount of data being downloaded over mobile devices per subscriber per month grew by only six per cent. By contrast, average fixed broadband data usage in the same period grew by more than 80 per cent.”

    McLaren cited recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed that the “vast bulk” of Australia’s Internet usage — some 92 percent — was carried over fixed line connections rathr than wireless. “The proportion of mobile handset downloads over mobile networks is estimated to make up just 1.4 per cent of total internet downloads in Australia,” he said. “Other wireless broadband technologies account for just 6.6 per cent.”

    McLaren reiterated that better fixed line infrastructure was essential to ease the load being placed on mobile networks. He pointed to a recent Informa study of 200,000 smartphone users in six countries that showed that on a global basis nearly 70 per cent of data usage on smartphones was over Wi-Fi rather than mobile networks. Wi-Fi generally relies on a fixed line network to connect to the internet. “Fixed lines remain the engine-room of downloads in this country and around the world. As data-heavy applications such as video become more prevalent there will be an increasing need for robust fixed connections such as the NBN,” McLaren said.

    Telstra chief executive David Thodey has publicly stated that it is clear that fixed and wireless broadband services are complementary rather than direct replacements for each other. “They are very different products. In the home, we’re enabling a whole new digital future for how they get entertainment, how they interact with each other, what they do, how they transact,” he said in February, according to ZDNet.com.au. “The other experience is what they do on the move. We see enormous opportunity for people to have multiple products going forward.”

    The inaccurate nature of Chalke’s claims was also highlighted by posters on broadband forum Whirlpool, who signalled the fact that the analyst appeared to have gone to ground on the issue. “What baffles me is how can David Chalk claim to be an “Expert” and have a news article published when he hasn’t researched all aspects of his discussion topic?” wrote forum member ‘mashynewie’. “I phoned Quantum Market Research today for comment and they provided me with David’s mobile number but it has been switched off all day, I have sent him an SMS asking for him to call me back, if he does, I will post his reply here.”

    opinion/analysis
    It really is getting too easy to shut down the increasingly ludicrous attacks which News Ltd media outlets around Australia have levelled on the National Broadband Network project over the past few years. To be honest, I’m surprised that NBN Co even bothered responding to this one — it’s so outlandish a statement, by someone who has so little qualification to speak on the matter, that The Advertiser’s article on this subject almost reads like satire.

    You would think that News Ltd would have given up its attacks on NBN Co by now, after The Daily Telegraph was shown to be repeatedly inaccurate in its NBN reporting, after The Australian was forced to publish a correction to a factually inaccurate article, after it found no evidence of wrong-doing by NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley in his previous career at Alcatel-Lucent and after one of its journalists laughably claimed the NBN threatened the “way of life” in NSW’s sunny Shire district.

    But it doesn’t appear the FUD being thrown at the NBN is going to stop any time soon.

    Image credit: Still from Gladiator

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    179 Comments

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    1. Posted 13/04/2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink |

      I was surprised the “expert” didn’t come up with the usual “you’ll have to spend $5000 rewiring your home” argument…

      …derp!

      • Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink |

        Oh God. Don’t even remind me of that crap The Australian tried to peddle. That was a complete joke!

        • Isaac
          Posted 14/04/2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

          Same thing popped up on the 2GB radio interview with Quigley the other day. Why of all radio stations they’d choose 2GB I have no idea.

          The sad thing is all of the questions (and the hosts nonsense slander) were things that were known, and answered, 2 years ago! Simply goes to show the mainstream media just isn’t doing the job of educating like it should.

      • Zag
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink |

        The real strange thing is that install cost is from NBNco

    2. Apollo
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink |

      Malcom Turnbull and Tony Abbott seem to create bits and pieces on the NBN all the time and they’re not qualified at all, much like Alan Jones or our buddy here ; David Chalke.

      Drawing a long bow, one could say Malcom Turnbull is SORT of qualified, given hes at least been in the industry and run a relatively successful company – but it would be a stretch to say hes qualified to make a decision on which way the telecommunications infrastructure should be built, without proper advice from technical experts first.

      I think that if the coalition get elected again, they’ll almost certainly become pro-NBN – purely because they havent seen what it will cost or know how to sell a bad plan to the public.

      • Apollo
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

        zzzz that should be “how to sell an alternative plan” to the public.

        This is what I get for trying to build a network and be online at the same time.

        • Dread
          Posted 13/04/2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink |

          Malcolm Turdball was a money man at ozemail – nothing more. He made ZERO technical decisions and has ZERO technical knowledge.

          I have shares in Westpac….doesn’t make me a Banking Financial wizard does it?….or any bloody richer come tot think of it…

      • Clinton
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

        malcom turnbull is about as qualified to speak on these matters as rupert murdoch is to speak on matters relating to phone hacking.

        • As hash
          Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink |

          So highly qualified with lots of first hand experience?

          • Clinton
            Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink |

            running a company that can perform a particular task is not the same actually being able to do that task.

            there’s a reason mike quigley surrounded himself the best network engineers he could afford.

    3. Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

      How do they come up with this at the same time that all three wireless networks are suffering severe congestion issues?

      • Posted 13/04/2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink |

        You pose a very interesting question.

        In defending the need for universal FTTP, Gary McLaren seems to imply that data consumption over mobile and fixed line networks are directly substitutable:

        “McLaren reiterated that better fixed line infrastructure was essential to ease the load being placed on mobile networks.”

        If this is indeed the case, why are broadband consumers paying a premium to access the internet though wireless means when they can consume the same data more cheaply via unlimited ADSL?

        The obvious answer is that most of the data consumed wirelessly is not transferable at the point of consumption to fixed line. One simple example would be a work commuter watching a video on her smartphone on a bus on her way home. (Fixed line backhaul upgrades to service mobile towers or public Wi-fi networks to handle greater mobile traffic is a completely separate issue and should not be confused with arguments for fibre to the home.)

        The argument that David Chalke made could have been better expressed as follows:

        “the marginal value of the incremental internet datum consumed over mobile networks is higher than the marginal value of the incremental datum consumed over fixed line networks.”

        This is undoubtedly true and explains why mobile subscribers are willing to pay a premium to access internet data on their roaming devices and also put up with congestion.

        At a different level, Gary McLaren’s apparent suggestion that we need to build FTTP to alleviate mobile network congestion is also nonsensical given the traffic statistics that he quotes.

        If the ratio of fixed line to mobile data usage is approx. 90 to 1, and internet traffic over fixed networks grew by 80% over the past 12 months (in the absence of FTTP), it is plain obvious that there is presently sufficient capacity in existing fixed networks to absorb the entire traffic load carried over mobile without building “the NBN”.

        But, of course, the existence of this capacity in present fixed line networks to carry mobile traffic is entirely irrelevant since consumers are expressing a specific preference for consuming data via mobile, and building FTTP won’t change that fact..

        • Dean
          Posted 13/04/2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink |

          A lot of words there, and very little in the way of an actual point.

          “consumers are expressing a specific preference for consuming data via mobile”

          Completely untrue. A “preference” implies they’re choosing mobile over fixed line, when your example in the paragraphs above show that people are using mobile when fixed line is unavailable (e.g. on a commute to work).

          • Posted 14/04/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

            Exactly right. There’s no question that mobile broadband is a brilliant complementary technology to fixed line and that consumers love it. But there’s also no question that mobile broadband is _completely_ incapable of providing the broadband needs for an entire country.

            Saying that mobile/wireless broadband will make fixed line infrastructure like the NBN redundant is a bit like saying that because people love bottled water imported from Italy and buy it a lot that the country’s entire water supply should be provided that way.

        • Izeart
          Posted 14/04/2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink |

          I have friends that’s are simply too far from the Exchange to get ADSL and instead have to get a wireless modem (USB) to get the internet. I’ve had them explain to me when 3G first came out he was able to play online games with little trouble…. over time as it slowly became more congested online games for him have become a rarity.
          I could put forward the argument of the NBN would reduce wireless congestion due to people who didn’t have access to the internet before able to have the CHOICE of the NBN instead of wireless.

          And please don’t give me that “Well live in town” Argument. Plenty of places in major cities were ADSL is unavailable.

          • paul
            Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink |

            Agreed.

            Due to port availability in a rapidly growing area of south east melbourne i’m forced to use a wireless network to access internet. Due to everyone else moving into the area (except in the newer estates which are fiber serviced) having the same issue, where as I used to get awesome wireless speeds, at 6.00pm now its down to half a meg a second.

            And it gets worse the more people move in and can’t access fixed net. I’ve noticed at least seven new WiFi networks (from WiFi 3g devices) pop up in the last year, and correspondingly the performance has decreased.

            Fixed line is an absolute necessity, and problems exist for both rural, regional and urban areas.

      • Zag
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink |

        The reason why they say wireless is a waste of time is that they want the NBN to be rolled out regardless of brand new tech not being suited to a fixed line network.

        There’s something like 100 million mobiles getting sold around the world a month or a quarter

        Yet you have the NBNco and some sites in Australia saying mobile data isn’t going to be big lol, I know people who have ditched their PCs and macs in favor of using tablets.

        The only reason why some people use wifi on the mobile is that some of the store apps say you need to use a wifi connection for a app to download X amount of data, and that’s only because many data plans for mobiles don’t have large quotas.

        Also using wifi would mainly be at freebie wifi spots so why not save some data quota if you can.

        The data plans for post paid plans simply isn’t correct yet it’s still stuck at 500megs and 3gigs etc if they were 50+ gig plans then the NBN just wouldn’t factor in at all.

        Which is what the original expert was saying, I think Australia is the only place in the world with more mobiles than the population and yet sites like this one and the NBNco are saying that mobile data won’t ever replace fixed lines, fixed line sign ups have been dropping off every year for the last 10 years.

        Telstra probably wants out of the fixed line biz to save some cash probably laughing to the bank with NBNco’s payment for the fixed line biz

        Optus’s only profitable service in Australia is it’s mobile network, every other service for them runs at a loss.

        Telstra and Optus already have their own fiber network backbones so don’t really need NBNco fiber backbones for the mobile towers, that’s probably just them saying NBNco fiber could be used for this as well.

        Much like the medical networks but QLD health upgraded their whole data network and that was completed last year, so they’d be fine for quite a few more years so they don’t really need NBNco fiber connections either.

        • Posted 14/04/2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink |

          Have you paused to consider why it is that the data plans on mobile broadband are so low? It’s because there is only so much bandwidth to go around, so the telcos have to control consumption through price. If everyone had 50GB mobile broadband plans, the networks would instantly become overloaded and nobody would get any throughput at all.

          Also, NBN Co is not arguing that mobile devices are not popular — just pointing out that the vast majority of usage of mobile devices is over Wi-Fi, which is connected to high speed fixed line connections, not mobile broadband.

          Mobile broadband is great as a complementary technology to fixed line networks — it allows people to access data when they’re on the move and can’t be near a fixed line connection. But when most people are at home or at work, they are using their mobile device with Wi-Fi. The Australian Bureau of Statistics data proves it.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 26/04/2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink |

          I will refer you to the news items re Apples profit. It also refers to the problems they are producing for the US wireless networks. They are actually in a bind they can’t be seen upping prices and cutting caps. Their profits were from telephone calls which are now being made by VOIP apps on the tablets and phones, the increase in data volumes are stressing their networks at the same time as their call income is dropping. Some of the big ones are struggling financially. The US has had a lesser degree of higher capacity fixed line broadband, focussing on the cheaper and more convenient wireless which is saturating in too many areas. Note Intel has developed their new platform with 22nM technology and 3D transistors. The New chips are following Moores Law and will have onboard HD video processing, recognising we are heading for 4K video. The ADSL and VDSL are on their way to being inadequate already, yet that is the coalition solution

    4. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink |

      I had 6 years of Wireless 3g Internet.. never again.. Give me Fixed line and WiFi any-day.

    5. David
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |

      What I love the most is that all the people who always say that “wireless is the only way to go” and “the future is all wireless and nothing else” are usually the first ones jumping up and down when they want to build a mobile tower anywhere because they are an eye sore on the community! You can’t have it both ways.

      • Clinton
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink |

        they’re also usually the one who complain about traffic congestion but don’t want any new highways built in their suburbs, or existing highways widened.

    6. Christian
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

      I can’t believe these articles still keep popping up.. How on earth does this person think the data gets to mobile towers? There is only one provider in Australia using a truely wireless service being Vodafone (Point-to-Point Microwave links between cell phone towers) and we all know the customer experience on that network…

      Fixed lines will always be faster in terms of latency, have more available bandwidth and be more reliable than any wireless technology of its time.

      Also, I don’t understand how people can be against the NBN… This is one project delivered by a Federal Government that will truely have an impact on everyone’s lives, yes the cost is large, yes the project is large. But I believe it is compariable with the copper rollout by Telecom Australia, where copper was the best technology at the time to deliver PSTN. Fibre is the best technology at this time to deliver fast, reliable broadband.

      • Apollo
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink |

        Given its my job to fix this stuff, I’ll make a point on this one:

        “There is only one provider in Australia using a truely wireless service being Vodafone (Point-to-Point Microwave links between cell phone towers) and we all know the customer experience on that network…”

        For starters, we’re not using all Point-to-Point, its a mixture of Fibre and Microwave, Fibre moreso now than it was 12 months ago, on the second half of your point – yeah it hasnt been the greatest, wont disagree: However my engineering counterparts with Optus have said that disconnections are high and instability is rife, so they’ve escalated their 2100mhz rollout and backbone upgrades as we have. They’ve also increased their rollout of Huawei’s Single RAN solution, which makes a massive difference.

        Telstra’s network to some degree uses microwave, but only in more remote locations . :)

        I asked David Chalke when we ran into him outside of his little conference – what he thought happened to 3G networks when it rains or storms and why he thought it was a better alternative. He didnt reply.

      • Paul
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink |

        “There is only one provider in Australia using a truely wireless service being Vodafone (Point-to-Point Microwave links between cell phone towers) and we all know the customer experience on that network…”

        Actually Voda is right in the middle of expanding their network to Fibre transport right now. They engaged PIPE networks to provide the dark fibre and Ericsson is installing their Optical Transport Products.

        “. Under the agreement, PIPE will provide capacity on its existing fibre network and also roll out approximately 900 kilometres of new dark fibre over two years, providing connectivity between select VHA sites in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.”

        “According to a statement from Ericsson, the new network would be scalable, and provide increased capacity to meet the increasing load of smartphone applications.

        It is based on Ericsson’s MHL 3000 DWDM platform, OMS 1400 series of optical transport products, and MINI-LINK TN microwave solution.”

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink |

        “How on earth does this person think the data gets to mobile towers?”

        Like everything else MAGIC.

        “Also, I don’t understand how people can be against the NBN…”

        Emotional and/or political motives mixed in with some good old fashioned dimwittedness will usually cause a few to be against the NBN. Just read Andrew Bolts blog for a few examples.

        • Alex
          Posted 14/04/2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink |

          “Also, I don’t understand how people can be against the NBN…”

          “Emotional and/or political motives mixed in with some good old fashioned dimwittedness will usually cause a few to be against the NBN…”

          Just add one’s own financial greed and I think you’ve nailed all the reasons why these people oppose the NBN Hubert.

    7. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink |

      Problem is, many people are confused about Wireless.. they dont know the difference between Wi Fi and 3/4g Its all Wireless to them.. and the Fudsters like to play on their ignorance.

    8. fourbypete
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

      I was going to say something incite-full but instead I’ll simply say I’m not surprised.

    9. The Colonel
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

      In one of Malcolm Turnbull’s most recent posts, he bemoans the slowness of the NBN rollout to housing estates. He even complains that the slow rollout is placing strain on the overstretched wireless network!

      So he thinks its a terrible idea but he wants more of it sooner.

    10. Mathew
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink |

      As usual the truth is most likely to be somewhere in the middle.

      NBNCo predicted on page 116 of the Corporate Plan that 13% of premises passed by fibre would choose wireless because it is cheaper. The AVC speed tiers mean that for many potential low end customers 4G may be cheaper and faster. On page 118 NBNCo predict that 50% will connect at 12/1Mbps this is a very large pool of customers who may find wireless adequate for their needs. Some of these customers will even find that their mobile phone plan already includes a data component.

      Data usage is definitely growing, but the question I have is how evenly is that growth spread across customers. I suspect that a small percentage are downloading most of the data, while the growth rate is much slower at the lower end.

      • Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

        Matthew do you have your statements saved somewhere? Because you constantly repeat the same things with little to no evidence of your assertions being credible.

        Yes it was previously suggested by the 2010 Corporate Plan that initially 50% of premises will opt for 12/1. What this fails to take into accounts is several factors.

        1. More up to date take up figures indicate that 25/5 is the most popular plan with some companies not even offering 12/1.
        2. Mobile Wireless cannot offer 12/1 with any kind of legitimate sample sizes used. Mobile towers must have a certain amount of customers regularly use them or they become useless to build.
        3. My own experience with 4G ‘Wimax’ indicates that while at the best of time 12/1 is possible once a network becomes more mature these speeds drop dramatically.
        4. Speed is not the only consideration, while 50% are projected to use 12/1 this says nothing about quota. The benefit of wireless over fixed line in price only happens when you need <4GB a month 'on – peak' quota. Anything higher and fixed line data transfer becomes more economical.
        5. Wireless suffers from inevitable variability both from different locations but also at different times of the day. While location A at 7am may get 12/1, Location B may never get that and Location A may not get this during the afternoon. Add this to the fact that reliability of service is also questionable depending on multiple factors it is easy to see why Wireless will never be able to secure a large amount of service.

        • Mathew
          Posted 14/04/2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink |

          The key point is “my experience”. Others have a different experience, especially in areas where there is a fixed line infrastructure meaning that the heavy lifting has been moved onto fixed line connections.

          The point I would make is many mobile phone plans now have data included. Tethering is becoming relatively easy now, which means people can try a wireless connection and for basic needs may find it is perfectly adequate.

          • AJ
            Posted 14/04/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

            Wireless is not adequate for basic needs I was stuck on wireless for 6 months and I may as well of had nothing I had a wireless device with all of the major provides and attached an antenna to my roof and on all 3 networks in the afternoon between 4pm and midnight I could not load a single page.

            Also it used to cost over $200 a month for this “service” the only person this would be adequate for is someone who does not use the internet but then why would they want it if you are never going to use it?

          • PeterA
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink |

            Matthew: Surely you just stated your own refutation to your whole point.

            You just said: “The key point is “my experience”. Others have a different experience”

            So, what you are advocating is a system when the government spend 10 billion dollars making a service that only some people will find barely acceptable. All to save 20 billion dollars (that the network operator would recoup with profit anyway) to avoid accidentally making a fixed-line network that 93% of the population couldn’t possibly find insuffucient for the next 50+ years.

            If thats the case, you must be the kind of guy that buys the cheapest car possible. Because it will surely get you from A to B as well as any other car. And just because the previous owner found that the car would break down every second day – that was just his experience – you would only drive it on the days it didn’t break down.

      • Apollo
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink |

        I think I’ve seen almost this exact post from you on ZDnet, Whirlpool AND Gizmodo.

      • Francis
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink |

        Mathew, when that Corporate Plan was released in 2010, the most amazing thing about it was the conservative projections. You see it in the straight line extrapolations of data demand, when the growth had been exponential in the past. You see it in the very low numbers projected to take up a service. Everyone who has a copper phone line now is likely to have a fibre service in 2020 if fibre is available. It will be cheaper, work in all weathers, and supply multiple services with no bandwidth constraints, ever. There was a political reason to understate the take-up, of course. By projecting modest take-up, the revenue forecasts would also be conservative. By projecting that half would only take up the slowest speeds and smallest data allocations, likewise. And when demand continues to grow just as it always has, revenue will come in faster, and the construction cost will be repaid sooner. Mike Quigley showed yet again what a prudent controller he is of this critical project. As to take-up in the areas already fibred, we will only know the real figures when the residents’ existing two-year ADSL contracts run out, won’t we?

        • Mathew
          Posted 14/04/2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink |

          The best take-up figures that NBNCo have provided are 29% for Willunga and 26% for Kiama. The roll-out figures on page 77 of NBNCo Corporate Plan suggest that the lowest take-up they forecast was 40% in 2013. I won’t argue with the position that the delay in the Telstra agreement has caused the low take-up.

          So far the NBNCo Corporate Plan has proved reasonably accurate with the exception of the delay in the Telstra agreement. The delay was listed as a risk.

          • AJ
            Posted 14/04/2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

            So you are saying that after the copper lines are turned off they are predicting only 40% that seems exceedingly low to me???

            • Apollo
              Posted 14/04/2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink |

              Thats because its physically impossible for it to be low. The take up rate will almost totally match the current connected rate in NBN areas because people who are in serviceable areas wont have a choice but to move. This is why a “take-up-rate” is a moot point, purely because you cant opt-out or stay on copper.

          • Francis Young
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:35 am | Permalink |

            Mathew, if NBNCo forecast there would be 40% takeup by 2013, then having 26% already using a service in April 2012 suggests they were correct, doesn’t it? As the remainder finish their 24-month ADSL plans, they will naturally migrate.

    11. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink |

      Matty, you leveled Zero criticism of the Blatant article published by News.com.au,- yet you nit pick from an obsolete corporate plan.. ?

      • Mathew
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink |

        I think Renai covered the criticism excellently. David Chalke has completely missed the fact that fibre is no match for high end requirements – fast speeds (100Mbps and higher) with large quotas.

        What many people miss is that their requirements are not the same as everyone in Australia. Many people only use the internet for facebook and a bit of web-browsing. Wireless in many locations is perfectly adequate for this.

        • Dean
          Posted 14/04/2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

          Given that these people have wireless available to them today, if what you say is true then why haven’t we seen mass-migrations off fixed-line onto wireless already?

          • Apollo
            Posted 14/04/2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink |

            Because it wont ever happen. The usage of current spectrum allows for better usage via things like compression ratios, but there wont ever be any “More” to go around. In a sense its always going fixed at the amount of spectrum we have now.

            What Matt could have said was that while wireless is nice for photos, messages and facebook – its totally inadequate for almost everything else.

            What the NBN aims to improve is the quality of both the base-line fixed services and the quality of wireless technologies by upgrading the base-line infrastructure backbone. Without the backhaul being upgraded to those wireless towers, we may as well have just stuck our head in the sand – because the congestion will just get worse.

    12. Gav
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

      I’m actually surprised that NBNCo has finally issued a media release against a newspaper. A newly aggressive NBNCo can’t be a bad thing, since the government obviously has a tough time selling it.

    13. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink |

      Id like to see them refute all the Fud articles that come out of the Trash Media.. Stick the boot into them , Figuratively..

    14. Bob Blanchett
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

      Attacks on the NBN and most of the opposition politics is basic shannon/information theory..

      Youu disrupt the signal/ deny the channel simply by making noise an occupying as much o the channel as you can.

      Detractors and their ilk in policy areas like NBN/CT etc are not in the business of the reasoned contest of ideas or negotiating towards greater public clarity.

      Their object is not to correct or win an argument,it is simply to deny the public “channel” to a viewpoint they disagree with or more likely simply to deny the other side a policy “win” regardless of the soundness or greater good of that policy.

      It is DDOS by thinktank/expert..

      Australian Journalists and alas the ABC think that balance of “sides” rather than say the BBC which has a policy of “balance of informed opinion” (adopted after Monckton debuunking) is the currecnt fad, this means NBNCc has to defend itself against crackpots because journalists are too scared to make an editorial decision on the standing of experts.. they don’t have the time and do not have the management backing for such decisions

      • Gwyntaglaw
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink |

        Bravo, yes!

        Balanced reporting without analysis means that most media outlets simply become stenographers, reproducing press releases without applying the most basic of BS detectors.

        Thankfully, here on Delimiter, Renai is not shy about applying analysis to crazy claims. [Crawl, crawl!]

      • David Robinson
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink |

        Thank you Bob,very good post. Bob wrote ; Australian Journalists and alas the ABC think that balance of “sides” rather than say the BBC which has a policy of “balance of informed opinion” Spot on.The ABC my long time provider of news is being relegated(particularly tv) exactly for the reason Bob has stated.

      • Posted 14/04/2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink |

        Spot on! Where’s the like button delimiter?

        • PeterA
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink |

          Renai turned it off some time ago sadly.

          +1 to GP though.

    15. Tailgator
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink |

      Unfortunately I have to disagree with you assertion that “It really is getting too easy to shut down the increasingly ludicrous attacks which News Ltd media outlets around Australia have levelled on the National Broadband Network ….”.
      Becoming easier to refute – Yes. Shut down the attacks – No.

      The original article was published online on a major news site. The facts rebutting the claims have not. Unfortunately (and I’m sure you’d agree with the sentiment ;-)) ‘Delimiter’ is not a major news site.

      News Ltd continue to spread BS and FUD and the effectiveness of this has not decreased, It is just that the claims are becoming more ridiculous which unfortunately drives the argument even further from the facts.

      • Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink |

        I agree with Tailgator,

        The effects of this FUD is just as hard as it always has been to root out. Most people take what News Corp and Fairfax Media say as the gospel truth. I mean the fourth estate can’t be wrong right? I know some very well educated people that do not know they are being lied to because their area of expertise or interest is not telecommunications infrastructure. These are people that are Economists and Historians/Archaeologists. These people are incredibly good in their own field,however, they are unable to consider the technical side.

        How to we expect the local plumber/officer worker/sales rep to know the difference?

      • David Robinson
        Posted 13/04/2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

        Yeah but, article wise yes. Anybody bothering to read comments would have seen the article refuted. Value of comments who knows.

        • Dave
          Posted 13/04/2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink |

          The problem is that News Ltd also publishes it’s articles in print. There are no comments/replies for the people reading the actual paper, not the online version of it.

          • David Robinson
            Posted 14/04/2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink |

            True.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 17/04/2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink |

          David, the other point is the most obscene Goebellian manipulation. I have not registered on any News Ltd Sites, am on Fairfax however. Note also that Yahoo has removed the ability to comment on any but financial articles, even then posts may not appear or may have been edited to remove the “offending facts”, The Australian, and other News Ltd sites, the only way I can get a post on is to write like a semi literate and yet still try to get the salient points across, but then who would pay attention to the rantings of a semi literate. That is why I couldn’t be bothered registering with them. China and the other controlled media nations could learn much from our media

    16. Paul Grenfell
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink |

      The Major Media outlets have been incredibly bad of late, with spreading of Mistruths, Innuendo, and misinformation. The NBN has really been at the end of their whips.. Not because its a bad thing, quite the opposite, but the Media have a Political Agenda to run, and they just dont care about Factual reporting.
      Pity they couldnt be held to account.

    17. sb
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink |

      Mr Abbott………… perhaps you ought to read the article and learn a few things about the mistruths you have been trolling regarding wireless…. but then again that would take intelligence and integrity to admit you were wrong.

    18. Posted 13/04/2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink |

      Wireless suffers from inevitable variability both from different locations but also at different times of the day. While location A at 7am may get 12/1, Location B may never get that and Location A may not get this during the afternoon. Add this to the fact that reliability of service is also questionable depending on multiple factors it is easy to see why Wireless will never be able to secure a large amount of service.

    19. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink |

      This stuff isn’t aimed at tech people who know. It’s aimed at the great unwashed who might be able to be persuaded to see the NBN as just another expensive Labor stuff up. It’s easy to rubbish the wireless claims here. It’s not so easy to rubbish it in voterland. It’s all part of the plan for the Coalition to win the next election.

      Say nothing. Rubbish everything. Win. Do nothing.

    20. Jeff
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink |

      Internet delivery to end users always gets up my nose cross-ways. Particularly being a rural user.

      In a rural area anything better than dial-up maybe satellite; all you folks should try try it! Once you do you will never wish it on your worst enemies. Unacceptables lags (VOIP etc useless); $180 yearly to have the dish realigned or $900 if a lightning strike blows out the thingo pointed into the dish. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR to satellite

      Wireless dongles have a connection without the lag and at present speeds greater than dial-up.

      Back to wireless, not a lot of comment on the capacity of wireless. Bandwidth is defined ie. only it can accoomdate a limited down/up load capacity. That is every person drifting past my tower with a smart phone takes up some available data space. Similar to what to everybody experiences after 1600hrs when kids get home till bed time.

      Let the conservatives loose for wireless and we will all be looking for our old dial-up modems. The 700 frequency being released by shutting down analogue TV has a maximun internet data capacity and then every addition sign-up means our data speed is reduced and total data availabilty is being further shared.

      Think it through, wireless will ony get slower and slower until more analogue services are shut off and hooray internet is again great. Now what anologue service are we forgoing to make data available for wireless next time?

      Who is running the books on what year the low band frequencies used by AM radio will be auctioned off for government revenue to receive a big boost and for this frequency to
      become overloaded and become useless for wireless data.. Good bye car-radio when travelling!

      There has to be a better solution than the next election/stay-in-control politics plus getting billions of dollars to the coffers by auctioning of frequency bands.

      The debate must move on from these new apple thingos possibly being falsely promoted (using frequency the government hasn’t sold for $zillions). What we must do is plan beyond “the next election/stay-in-control politics plus getting billions of dollars to the coffers by auctioning of frequency bands”.

      Thank the Gods that I will survive and possibly it will only be another 3-5 electoral cycles. What about all you youngins? Our kids, grandkids, great grand kids et al. Gee we shouldn’t worry coz we sold the coal, sold the gas, curfewed the sun, disallowed use of tides, band the towers to capture wind and everything else.

      Then again why should we worry, no animals left for food and skins for warmth, no vegetation left for housing and food et al.

      In Conclusion: whatever side we are on, or whatever politics we play, we should demand the absolute max now FOR US and forget future generations seems to be the game.

      I DO NOT WISH TO GO DOWN AS THE SELFISH ME ME GENERATION THAT SOLD EVERYTHING.

      Please let us consider now plus future generations.

      Multiple fibres to the home powered from our bio wastes seems a logical solution that can supply bandwidth and speed to serious internet users.

      Thanks

    21. Billy
      Posted 13/04/2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink |

      Where do the experts come from thinking wireless is as good as fibre…any 1st year Telecommunications student..can tell you the limits of a power and bandwith limited wireless link..Shannons Hartley Law always wins!

    22. schneider82
      Posted 14/04/2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink |

      Will you explain that “In addition, local commentators on the NBN have repeatedly emphasised that even leading mobile networks such as Telstra’s Next G network will increasingly depend on fibre-optic backbone links to mobile phone base stations in future, as they largely do today.” is totally irrelevant to the discussion and you bind attacks on people who have opionions other then yours! If you understood the underlying truth of where this data was coming from you would understand this is NOT about homes consuming it’s about businesses seeing benefits online this is where the focus should be not how fast someone can download the lastest Pirated movie! Wireless is where consumers are moving and our business is starting to focus more on mobile answers to problems. This is something which will continue… The slowing of data over the mobile space may have more to do with Vodafone then you you think… Everyone is title to their opionion and you dismissing it with out contimplation is more a failing of yours… Hay maybe we are wrong and everyone will be watching ten shows at once at home on their 8k screens but I don’t think so… the Point is it’s a 43 billion dollar gamble their is no proof and their are more important things to spend the money on!

      • Alex
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink |

        Err, funds are being raised to pay for the NBN.

        So no NBN = no funds raised = can’t be spent elsewhere.

      • Apollo
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

        Since when was it 43 Billion? last count was 36.5 Billion and that was INCLUDING Telstra’s assistance.

        Okay mate, I appreciate your opinion and thats awesome. But I dont think you heard me correctly earlier.

        I’m an engineer. I work for Vodafone and Optus. My job is to place infrastructure for you to connect to. In order for you to view the internet from your Smartphone, we have to place new sites. When we do this we assess the local area for issues like poor signal propagation and natural obstacles. We then assess if the site is serviceable via Microwave Link or via Fibre Optic. Both of these are our methods of connecting your equipment, devices and gadgets to the internet.

        We need one of either of these technologies in order for you to provide your services to your customers. You say you understand and sell mobile solutions to customers, thats excellent. I love knowing someone can use our products and are enjoying it.

        On the other side of the coin, it makes me sad when we have unhappy customers or cant service an area.

        Now in order for you to be able to expand your business we need to be able to run more bandwidth to those sites. Microwave unfortunately doesnt work as well in a built-up area. Its quite often slow and lossy, easily interruptable and is totally useless in bad weather. Some areas we just have to run cable, so that you – the consumer can use your services. This is why Optus and Vodafone are expanding, to meet the needs of consumers, just as Telstra do. We want to be able to provide you a choice, we cant do this in competitive areas unless we have cable running to those sites to make our bandwidth costs lower.

        Sounds good right?

        We need the NBN in order to do what your business does. We need that to provide your movie streaming, your youtube – even your LTE connections. So we’re benefitting you and therefore you buy more of our services. Still sounds good?

        I appreciate your position, but unfortunately bandwidth isnt cheap. We need cable and its the most efficient way of getting you what you want – sales of your product to your customer base.

        • Chris Schneider
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink |

          Apollo,

          If I’m reading this correctly you are talking to me. I don’t disagree that fibre should be at EVERY mobile tower and I know it isn’t (I was looking into buying space on a Crown tower a few years back) but this doesn’t mean we need to connect every home! Most businesses don’t even need it (our business would benefit but it’s no a imperative) This cost far out ways the benefit. I’m sure that the ROI is getting close to running fibre to every tower now that fibre costs are coming down and the main cost is the running of the fibre but this is a separate argument. From what I understand all inner city towers are fibred so microwave links are not required in there and nether is the NBN for your argument. My discussion is about ROI their crappy document is not correct and by the time everyone works out the REAL cost to our economy for this white elephant is will be too late.

          • Apollo
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

            Chris,

            You’re not actually refuting anything tho. Okay I see your point with regards to cost, but what happens when the copper for the “last mile” is so degraded that it needs to be replaced anyway?

            What happens when the copper cant meet the average householders requirements? do you expect people to pay to upgrade the last mile? as it stands, telstra charge a minimum $400.00 JUST to run a new connection to a house that has a dormant phone line, or even more when one doesnt exist. How is this fair – you could just as easily do it the whole way in the first place and save the average joe that outlay then.

            Im not saying that Labour has had a good history, of late it hasnt been the greatest; but I fail to see this is a “white elephant” as you say. Realistically, doing what the Coalition intend to do would be moreso. Buying Telstra’s decrepid network doesnt aid us in doing anything, it only serves as proving that they had no idea when it came to telecommunications in 2000 and they still dont. Then ofcourse, the issue with FTTN is that it doesnt have a decent upgrade path – it really doesnt. Changing the last mile is exceedingly difficult. Then theres the issue of exchange space (where Fibre itself uses less space), or the more pressing issue of covering people with copper that arent covered at ALL now. My local area has 3 whole suburbs and 6 islands that dont get ADSL at all. Under the alternative, they’d NEVER see a difference.

            While from an observers point, sure the cheaper option (in this case FTTN) seems more realistic – and hell, cheap can be good. When it comes to critical infrastructure, shit no – dont go cheap, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot later: as my employer is currently discovering -___________-.

            My point with FTTN has always been that it CAN be a staged process. But it needed Telstra’s cooperation for it to work. Telstra’s already admitted they have Zero intention of helping outside of being legally bound to do so, so the coalition’s plan alone falls over flat straight away. FTTN can be progressively upgraded – but it IS expensive, moreso than laying the cable straight there in the first place. If it WAS cheap, dont you think Optus and Telstra wouldnt have stopped their rollout of HFC many years ago?

    23. lulz
      Posted 14/04/2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink |

      I think Chalke has a case of ‘Profession Envy’ or ‘Degree Envy’.

      That is, he wishes he was an engineer or a degree in engineering but instead all he has is a degree in humanities.

      A BA (Bullshit Artist) is not much of anything, but so as not to feel left out, he has to comment on something he knows nothing about, much like the idiots in the Coalition.

    24. Can't be Serious
      Posted 14/04/2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink |

      Try using wireless for anything serious like business!, or having multiple people on a network at your home !!!… tell me what is the backbone to a wireless network? yawn. I think the Coalition should be tried in a court of law for continuing their personal quest to spew false information, with one goal to destroy the NBN. Don’t you know lying catches up to you in the end, nobody escapes.

    25. Bourke
      Posted 14/04/2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink |

      I agree there are a lot of deliberate lies being told on both sides of the fence. As a Labor party member as well as an NBN skeptic this cognitive dissonance has put me right on the fence. As a Computer Systems Engineer by profession, my background in communications engineering has shown me first-hand that current 4G LTE technology does provide acceptable service for the needs of people that only surf, email, research, and chat online. For people (eg students, businesses, teachers, professionals etc) that require video conferencing then yes, fixed line is the only currently acceptable option. The news that the NBN fundamentalists fail to mention us that recently (over the past 12 months) there was a new wireless technology invented that is 20 times faster than 4G LTE. Not everyone will require FTTH, however we all require FTTN.

      • Francis Young
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink |

        The so-called “new wireless technology 20 times faster than LTE” was a furphy. It involved doing what Google does, having multiple servers all grinding away to process requests, and whichever comes back first is sent to the user. Specifically, it involved multiple wireless connections to a dense network of mobile towers and many server farms close to end users to handle requests. Since electricity looks like getting more expensive, not less, since mobile towers are not going to be allowed to proliferate, and since fibre to premises is simpler and cheaper, this fellow’s idea is unlikely to get the venture capital he was seeking to turn his prototype into a real network.

        On your other comment about FTTN, remember that in Australia nothing (but aesthetics) stops you building a big cabinet with electrical switches and cooling fans in every suburban block, but you still need Telstra to give you exclusive access to the copper wire from the footpath to each of the ten million premises. In 2007 Telstra quoted $15 billion to grant this access, on top of the construction cost of the cabinets, which turned out to cost $11 billion. So under NBN Mark I, taxpayers would have spent $26 billion, then Telstra intended to use its $15 billion windfall to build fibre to premises anyway. Customers would then have chosen Telstra’s superior fibre service over the government’s copper FTTN service.

        Telstra’s ownership of the last mile copper to every dwelling and business is the reason that FTTH at $12 billion is cheaper than FTTN in Australia.

        • Bourke
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink |

          Francis, with respect I don’t think you know what you are talking about.

          The new technology was only proved in the past 12 months:

          http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/120803-vortex-radio-waves-could-boost-wireless-capacity-infinitely

          • PeterA
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

            Bourke,

            It is only proven when they have achieved 2x the physical limitations of wireless.

            Transmitting data *at all* does not prove that it is capable of doing what you say. Like DIDO, this tech isn’t proven, until it is proven. That is what proven means, you know, Proof.

            • Bourke
              Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink |

              PeterA wrote:
              ‘It is only proven when they have achieved 2x the physical limitations of wireless.’

              No, they proved that the original belief that only one channel per frequency is wrong. That is quite a groundbreaking discovery, as many physicists and communications engineers have pointed out.

              Learn about empircal reasearch and the null hupothesis.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink |

        “Not everyone will require FTTH, however we all require FTTN.”

        So, how do you make the distinction when deciding what to roll out in various areas?

        It’s funny that you say “we all require FTTN” ignoring those that are quite happy with ADSL2+ while also saying “Not everyone will require FTTH” in case you haven’t realised that’s one of the benefits of FTTH. FTTH can provide FTTN and ADSL2+ speeds to those that want it while proving faster speeds to those (most likely a majority btw) which want more. Also I’ve noticed you say this in a few of your comments with not much to qualify it. What are you basing this on? Do you have a crystal ball? How do you know not everyone will require FTTH? You also said “anyone just looking 10 years ahead is a complete fool” correct?

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 17/04/2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink |

        ” For people (eg students, businesses, teachers, professionals etc) that require video conferencing then yes, fixed line is the only currently acceptable option.”

        This is part of the point, there is a growing body of work from home or home businesses. I tried to with ADSL2+, crashed tooo many times a day, wireless too unreliable. So we are to be FORCED to either move to another home with decent connection or rent commercial premises for a small fortune just for a decent connection. Smart Country ??
        Customer services, teleworking can run with dual feed and monitors, linking to team managers and call monitoring, exactly as if located in the office, this would enable on call short time shifts to cover peaks.

    26. tom
      Posted 14/04/2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

      Renai: “was carried over fixed line connections rathr than wireless” should say “rather”?

    27. Bourke
      Posted 14/04/2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

      I.e. FTTN is a must have, I think even Turnbull himself acknowledges that. However people keep making the mistake of comparing FTTH with 3G and 4G wireless – when any economist can point out that you have to plan about 50 years ahead taking into consideration future technology. Even at the very start in 2020 when the NBN is fully operational we will already have 6G wireless running more than 100x the bandwidth of current wireless. So looking even further ahead it is inconceivable that FTTN combined with wireless will not suffice for the majority of the population.

      • Apollo
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink |

        I totally agree mate. Im a fence sitter over FTTH / FTTN. Both are acceptable, but the fundamental point is that either way, one needs to be done. Theres no running away, without one or the other – 4G would be like pissing in the wind, or a chocolate teapot.

      • Isaac
        Posted 14/04/2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink |

        I’d like to see your statistics on this? Shannon’s Law disagrees. There IS a physical limit.

        It cannot be overcome without the use of some sort of quantum technologies we don’t even know about yet. And if we don’t even know about them yet, we certainly aren’t going to see them adopted at a consumer level in 8 years…

        • Bourke
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink |

          As per my reply to Francis above, it was published back in October (discovered last June):

          http://discovermagazine.com/2011/oct/13-twisting-radio-waves-100x-more-wireless-bandwidth

          http://blogs.broughturner.com/2011/10/modulating-information-onto-radio-vortices.html

          … and a very reliable source tells me that it is 100% legit – they just have to find a way to miniaturize the transmission antennas before they can commercialize it.

          • PeterA
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

            They had the specs for what would be called 4G mobile wireless 10 years ago.

            You have some scientific papers and a single test using oversized antennas, that didn’t say you could *use* this magical twisting to break shannons law. Just said you could transmit and detect twisted radio waves.

            Honestly; I have more hope for that multiple-radio magically wireless Steve Perlman was talking about last year. At least that has some mathematics that can back its claims up. It is a pity the underlying premise of the mathematics is near enough to impossible to implement, making the whole thing useless.

            I highly suspect that this “twisted” radio wave method, if it could work, would suffer the same reality-based limitations.

            • PeterA
              Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

              Oh I just read the second article.
              Great idea, still doesn’t solve the noise and interference problems. And good old quantum mechanics is pretty good and throwing those at us.

              And another poster below already commented on this, but 10x boost in wireless tech is not going to have it come equal to wired tech. Not in any way.

              And we might be lucky if we get 2x improvement in the next 10 years. And I am being seriously kind when I say that.

              • Bourke
                Posted 15/04/2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink |

                PeterA wrote:

                ’10x boost in wireless tech is not going to have it come equal to wired tech.’

                And again, no where did I ever state that! What makes you think I did?

                What I stated clearly, multiple times was that a 10x increase in bandwidth over 4G LTE will provide sufficient level of service to support video conferencing , which is enough to handle the majority of home user requirements.

                Obviously businesses, schools, hospitals, universities etc will require fibre to the property – however the majority of connections will not require fibre. Sure it is still an option – but it should never have been forced upon everyone as the only option.

                • Apollo
                  Posted 16/04/2012 at 12:24 am | Permalink |

                  Thats an excellent point bourke, and we’ve discussed this with the IP owner with reference to our overseas networks. However it still doesnt solve our problem. How is the compatibility achieved with existing technology? This gentlemen has changed the way the antenna and radio systems operate.

                  Compression of data on a single wavelength per channel is nothing new, this is just one step further. This tech still doesnt defeat the laws of physics that define wireless spectrum as limited due to things like interference.

                  Its a good idea in theory, but while there are no practical applications at this time, it’ll take an exceedingly long time for technology thats this complex to reach the average consumer. Not to mention the changes in telecommunications radios and antennae, which wont be available to manufacturers any time soon.

                  Its alot like Near Field Communication. It seems like a great idea and it’s made it to the consumer level. NFC was developed in 2001 and finally released in a working application by Nokia, Phillips and Sony in 2004. NFC is now a working technology but has very few useful applications, as well as manufacturers that have adopted it unless its specifically gone out of its way to add it. NFC’s nearly 10 years old now – and still has lukewarm support at best, almost noone uses it in its practical applications and its reliability is a questionable alternative to the currently widely used bluetooth which arrived in 1994 (mostly due to software limitations).

                  Its an excellent idea, we saw some basic remarks made by our Technical Director for Vodafone a few months back – but at this time its just not ready for mainstream.

                  • Bourke
                    Posted 16/04/2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink |

                    Apollo wrote:
                    ‘Its an excellent idea, we saw some basic remarks made by our Technical Director for Vodafone a few months back – but at this time its just not ready for mainstream.’

                    Yes, I mentioned earlier that it will take a decade or so before this technology is commercialized – however remember that the NBN will not be completed until that time anyway. So it is of relevance when comparing wireless to home user needs.

      • Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink |

        For your ‘so much faster’ wireless are you referring to DIDO? DIDO is currently only a white paper that has no support because it is seen as smoke and mirrors.

        • Bourke
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink |

          No it’s not DIDO, please read the three articles/papers I have referenced above. Several other physicist and communications engineer friends have reviewed the research and it appears 100% legit.

          • Dean
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink |

            If that technology is available and deployable on a nation-wide scale at a similar cost to FTTH within the next 20 years, I’ll eat my hat.

            The second article you linked to says “this is a real effect that might be used for 2x, 4x or 8x gains within the next decade.” So yeah, not even close.

            • Bourke
              Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink |

              Dean wrote:
              ‘If that technology is available and deployable on a nation-wide scale at a similar cost to FTTH within the next 20 years, I’ll eat my hat.’

              4G took less than 10 years to move from theory to production, so prepare to do a lot of eating!

              Dean wrote:
              ‘The second article you linked to says “this is a real effect that might be used for 2x, 4x or 8x gains within the next decade.” So yeah, not even close.’

              The operative word in those thoughts is ‘might’ – ‘might… within the next decade’ – that means it could well be much more, and definitely more in two decades – remember we aren’t just looking at 2020 – any economist worth their salt will tell you should be looking 50 years ahead.

              • Dean
                Posted 15/04/2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink |

                Yes, the operative word most definitely is “might”. It might be 8x, it might be 16x, it might be 2x. It might be 10 years, it might be 5 years, it might be 20. Why should we wait another 5, 10, 15 years for a technology that “might” give us 8x better throughput than 4G LTE?

                That still doesn’t answer the question of how much deploying this technology to the entire country is going to cost, either.

                • Bourke
                  Posted 15/04/2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink |

                  Dean wrote:
                  ‘Why should we wait another 5, 10, 15 years for a technology that “might” give us 8x better throughput than 4G LTE?’

                  a) because the NBN wont be finished until then anyway.
                  b) as I have mentioned – anyone just looking 10 years ahead is a complete fool – when they planned the power generation infrastructure they planned at least 50 years ahead – you must do the same for internet infrastructure. So comparing current wireless technology is just plain dumb.

                  My point, for those that missed it, is that the majority of users (home users) will not require the faster speeds that FTTH offers. For them FTTN + wireless (i.e. future wireless not current wireless) will be sufficient to provide every service up to the level of video conferencing (note that HD video on demand requires less bandwidth than video conferencing).

                  Many many users (including some home users) will want – and can have – FTTH connections. They should pay a premium for the priveledge. However they do not represent a majority.

                  • Alex
                    Posted 15/04/2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink |

                    a) The point is… if the technology in 5, 10, 15 years doesn’t in fact live up to our needs, then do we wait another 5, 10, 15 years for perhaps the same no result?

                    At some stage a decision has to be made to replace the copper with a new reliable, medium, something you ignore. Also if we are to utilise the full potential of, for example health benefits, the speed at one end alone is not, good enough. So yes we do need it in all homes.

                    http://www.zdnet.com.au/nbn-key-for-royal-childrens-hospital-339334344.htm

                    b) A plan for 50 years is FTTP, not as you ask for, FTTN (bit of a contradiction there). Also 50 year plans need to be built on a platform of actuality, with the best technology available, as NBNCo is doing, not planned by using obsolete copper and “maybe one day wireless”.

                    Bob Katter (of all people) probably described this best when the Opposition were typically NBN bashing, when he said – “I haven’t heard the opposition put forward a single solitary piece of technology, and yet they think we should wait for some sort of science fiction fantasy to jump out from behind a bush and provide a service”!

                    I think most people now understand that fixed and wireless are complementary, as data download stats show. Both fixed and wireless are increasing but fixed is increasing more and still does the overwhelming bulk of downloads.

                    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8153.0Chapter7Dec%202011

                    • Bourke
                      Posted 15/04/2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink |

                      Alex wrote:
                      ‘At some stage a decision has to be made to replace the copper with a new reliable, medium, something you ignore.

                      I beg your pardon? I have stated several times that the replacement can be fibre or wireless, whatever the _user_ chooses. Just because some people want (or need) fibre does not mean you force it onto every single home in the country!

                      Alex wrote:
                      ‘Also if we are to utilise the full potential of, for example health benefits, the speed at one end alone is not, good enough. So yes we do need it in all homes.’

                      As I also mentioned a couple of times earlier – many (e.g. non-residential) customers will require fibre. As I pointed out – they are not the majority. So I don’t see what your reason is for mentioning hospitals, when I already stated that places like schools, universities, hospitals, and business will obviously require fibre. Did you have a point?

                      • Apollo
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 12:33 am | Permalink |

                        While I totally follow your logic, unfortunately history will dictate otherwise. You’ve only got to go into a local storefront for any carrier and see that even your grandparents are looking at uses for digital devices. This is indication of change in basic behaviours of the population base.

                        I feel that as a country, we’re quick to look at a major project and find fault with it (whether it be cost or distance restrictions… whatever) , rather than accept what we have is now obsolete and consider a new path. Australia’s a very wealthy country. We’re frequently called the lucky country, yet we have near third-world communications systems. Doesnt seem so lucky to me.

                        Thanks so much for showing some of the guys here that there are newer wireless technologies coming that may improve the way that wifi or wireless broadband may operate – but I want you to consider something:

                        You say that “Just because some people want (or need) fibre does not mean you force it onto every single home in the country!” – this is true, people shouldnt be shoehorned into a product because its not suitable. I agree. But consider this – there are large areas of the cities in this country that struggle to get any form of broadband for internet access. None. Zero. Zip. Do you think its fair for those people to be “forced” to have nothing or barely useable services just because the rest of the country doesnt want to pay to help out their fellow people? Thats not really fair now is it? If everyone HAD a baseline service to use, that WAS useable AND worked all the time – sure – totally we shouldnt build FTTH at all. FTTN would suffice, even LTE-A or some similar tech. But we dont. Our comms here are some of the worst in the world; much like our health system.

                        Did you know, that in indonesia getting internet via wireless or a fixed-line tech is easier there and more reliable than here?

                      • Alex
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink |

                        Yes I did have several points and find it rather astonishing that you were unable to comprehend them?

                        Bourke wrote:

                        For them FTTN + wireless (i.e. future wireless not current wireless) will be sufficient to provide every service up to the level of video conferencing (note that HD video on demand requires less bandwidth than video conferencing).

                        You later took offence to me suggesting you didn’t ask for the copper to be replaced but here you clearly are supporting FTTN “using copper” (with complementary wireless)…

                        So you want the copper both replaced and utilised.

                        Bourke wrote:

                        “As I also mentioned a couple of times earlier – many (e.g. non-residential) customers will require fibre. As I pointed out – they are not the majority. So I don’t see what your reason is for mentioning hospitals, when I already stated that places like schools, universities, hospitals, and business will obviously require fibre.”.

                        I mentioned hospitals and left a URL (perhaps you might like to read it) which indicates that whilst some hospitals already have fantastic network s, it is no good without patients/clientele at the other end having NBN like facilities.

                        That’s why I mentioned it, because yes we do need it and this is just one particular instance of why.

                        Seriously, I congratulate you for at least keeping politics out of your argument, but it is an argument of contradictions and more holes than Swiss cheese in my opinion.

                      • Bourke
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink |

                        Apollo wrote:
                        ‘consider this – there are large areas of the cities in this country that struggle to get any form of broadband for internet access. None. Zero. Zip. Do you think its fair for those people to be “forced” to have nothing or barely useable services just because the rest of the country doesnt want to pay to help out their fellow people? Thats not really fair now is it?’

                        I hear you clearly Apollo – and my argument is that yes there should be FTTN provided (and yes at tax-payers’ expense) to the country. 1. My family of from the country, and 2. as mentioned earlier I am actually a socialist – I believe in social (communal) welfare :) And trust me – I wont be voting for Mr Rabbit just because Ned Ludd begat Conroy!

                        However it is the*choice* of last mile technology that is under debate here – I am not saying that fibre should not be allowed. I am simply arguing for end-user choice as to what technology they want to have installed. I even support government subsidy of the cost for rural (and all) home users – just don’t try to force fibre onto ever home it runs past.

                      • Bourke
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink |

                        Alex wrote:

                        ‘Seriously, I congratulate you for at least keeping politics out of your argument’

                        As mentioned, my beliefs are rooted in a socialist hope for the world. We all know that all sides of politics make mistakes – and often complete tools end up working for each and every party. Labor are honestly trying to do the right thing – I know that. It’s just that I believe that the best indicator of the health of a society is its education levels.

                        I would much rather see some of this money spent on university places for the needy, not for the rich. There was a time when this was the case, when education was provided based on merit, a time when we were indeed the lucky country. That time is gone, and now top class education can be bought not earned.

                        The Labor party used to stand for this same principle. It saddens me to see education and health spending has now been pushed down the list of priorities. When we can’t sell natural resources any more, Australia is doomed.

                      • Bourke
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink |

                        Alex wrote:

                        ‘You later took offence to me suggesting you didn’t ask for the copper to be replaced but here you clearly are supporting FTTN “using copper” (with complementary wireless)… So you want the copper both replaced and utilised.’

                        I am doing nothing of the sort – I have continually stated that all I want is end-user choice as to what technology they use as last-mile. You should always have a choice to use fibre, wireless, or existing copper – whatever is cost effective for you and meets you current requirements. E.g. a lot of people live within 1km of the exchange (not all, but a lot). Such people could use DSL (e.g. current VDSL2) to achieve 100Mbps right now. People living further from exchanges have fibre as an *option* as well as wireless. I’m pro-choice, not anti-fibre.

                        Remeber taht there are two costs here:
                        1. Cost to install the last mile fibre – a cost being forced on every tax payer and every person that has even paid for a meal in the past 10 years (GST). It is our money to decide what to do with.
                        2. Cost to the user – NBN plans are expensive. As I mentioned Optus provide me with 4Gb/month wireless with no contract (month to month) for $14.50 per month. Why should I be forced to pay more for NBN?

                      • Bourke
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink |

                        Alex wrote:
                        ‘I mentioned hospitals and left a URL (perhaps you might like to read it) which indicates that whilst some hospitals already have fantastic network s, it is no good without patients/clientele at the other end having NBN like facilities.’

                        Alex, I pointed out several times that current wireless technology can’t support video conferencing (to a reliable level). This is what they intend to use for remote doctor consultations – so I fail to see why you believe I have not considered that point? I also made it clear that this also applies to businesses, schools, universities etc.

                        My argument is that future wireless technology will support those requirements. Again, last mile technology should be a choice for the consumer. There is no justification to force fibre onto everyone.

                      • Alex
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink |

                        We are going around in circles with he said/she said and not being productive, at all.

                        The NBN is what’s known as ‘technological improvement’ much like bitumen roads. By your logic, we were forced onto bitumen and should have had a choice of dirt. Should we also get to choose analogue or digital wireless and/or TV?

                        Again I repeat, I congratulate you on your non-political position. But whereas the NBN has answered all the questions (whether you agree with those answers or not, the answers are there) your plan of “wireless can’t but will, matched with obsolescence relating to the use of copper/FTTN) doesn’t and is a ludicrous approach for, as you say, a 50 year plan, imo.

                        Cheers.

                      • Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink |

                        If your 4GB for $14.50 per month with Optus is over 3G, then no-one will be forcing you to use the NBN instead. You can keep using Optus 3G if you’re satisfied with that service.

                    • SMEMatt
                      Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

                      Why should end user have a choice in how communication is delivered?
                      Communication should be delivered to a minimum standard?
                      The technology used to meet this minimum standard should be the determination of the last mile network provider.

                      Telstra is and soon will no longer be that last mile network provider. The work to deliver a very low minimum standard so that is current well below current community expectation. This is why new estates where built on rims because the minimum standard was a line capable of making telephone calls. That was fine when the minimum standard was set, not now.

                      Someone decided the new minimum standard should be 12mb/1mb. The existing system can not handle this.
                      Can Fiber to the node handle this well yes, but that is the last mile network operators decision. What has been considered what happens is when that minimum standard increases again say to 25/5 or the time after that to 100/25?

                      What NBN co is building a network that meets that new minimum standard to every single Australian.
                      When the minimum standard is increased to 25/5 what will NBN co need to do?
                      Well for 93% of customers absolutely nothing, for the next 4% well they have already allowed for this increase in the design fix wireless areas so very little. That last 3% will be a little trickier and might require some more capital expenditure either but expanding fix wireless foot print to increase the available per/user bandwidth on the satellite links or launching another satellite although keep in mind the two already in the process of being launched/built to do have significant spare bandwidth.

                      What about the FTN proposal well we may need increase cabinet density to meet the new standard or just overbuild with a NBN co fiber network anyway either of which is more capital outlay and time wasted.

                      But again what to use should be a choice for the last mile network provider not the customer.

                      Anyone who has sold technical solution to clients with any success knows you don’t sell on the technology used you sell on what you can do with the technology or meeting the requirements. Since we are talking web mostly do you think you average web use cares that your website is served from Apache, IIS, GWS or one of the other options? They just care that it work to a minimum expected standard, build your system to meet that standard and you’re fine. Do you think the end user knows the difference? How many no technical friends say they have wireless internet when talking about wifi enable ADSL? They don’t know the difference just as long as it works.

                  • Hubert Cumberdale
                    Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink |

                    “the majority of users (home users) will not require the faster speeds that FTTH offers.”

                    How would you know what home users will want? Also no one should be told by politicians or armchair bean counters what speeds they require, that should be up to individuals…

                    “when they planned the power generation infrastructure they planned at least 50 years ahead”

                    You are arguing in favour of the NBN now?

                    “you must do the same for internet infrastructure.”

                    Great. Let’s call it the NBN.

                    “So comparing current wireless technology is just plain dumb.”

                    So let’s compare fixed line technologies then.

                    Copper: Impossible to provide adequate upload speeds even with FttN. It is degrading. Future technologies to improve speeds unknown and most likely limited. Assuming redundant FttN is used upgrading to FttH would be just costly as doing FttH in the first place. No choice of speed as it is dictated by the length/condition of the copper.

                    Fibre: Upload speeds are sufficient. Is a replacement for the degrading copper network. Future speed improvements possible and will happen with minimum fuss and expenditure. No upgrade cost involved. Individuals get to chose what speed they get based in their own needs/wants/budgets.

                    “will be sufficient to provide every service up to the level of video conferencing”

                    And if someone wants to upload some files while video conferencing with say 2+ others what is your solution? Put those calls on hold? This will be a normal everyday scenario.

                    “FTTH connections. They should pay a premium for the priveledge.”

                    (“priveledge” LOL) The NBN is about raising the standard. It is sheer narrow mindedness to consider it a “premium” technology in this day and age especially when the bandwidth it can provide is virtually limitless.

                    “However they do not represent a majority.”

                    Actually they do. Your claim that they don’t is just plain erroneous.

                    • Bourke
                      Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink |

                      Hubert wrote:
                      ‘How would you know what home users will want?’

                      I am not stating that I know what choice of technology that users will want – I have only ever demanded that users be given a choice.

                      If you read what I wrote – I stated the higher speeds that FTTH offers into the future – i.e. 1Gbps and beyond. Both VDSL2 and Wireless already offer 100+Mbps so of course only in the future will fibre show its bandwidth advantages. So choice is the key argument here.

                      Hubert wrote:
                      ‘no one should be told by politicians or armchair bean counters what speeds they require, that should be up to individuals…’

                      Precisely my point Hubert – thank you for finally agreeing with me: the final choice of last mile technology should be 100% up to the end user. End of story :)

                    • Bourke
                      Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink |

                      Hubert wrote:
                      ‘(“priveledge” LOL) The NBN is about raising the standard. It is sheer narrow mindedness to consider it a “premium” technology in this day and age especially when the bandwidth it can provide is virtually limitless.’

                      And here you strike upon another fatal flaw in your argument for raising standards.

                      As mentioned earlier, any economist worth their salt will point out to you that the opportunity cost of spending 50+billion (in the end) is that you have to cut costs on things like education and healthcare.

                      20 years down the track, is 1Gbps fibre over 100Mbps wireless really going to be more important to society than stopping our slide yet further back down the world education standards ladder?

                      It is utterly ludicrous to suggest that 30 billion of our tax dollars is better spent on last mile fibre in preference to providing university places for those that can’t buy their way in like the rich do. It’s stupid choices like that tat have seen Australia stagnate in both growth and smarts. This thing just goes to prove that we are no longer the clever country. Labor used to stand for so much more than pork barrelling the entire electorate.

                      • Abel Adamski
                        Posted 17/04/2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

                        Bourke, I have been reading your posts with interest, the one point that stands out like the proverbial dogs “” is “There is no justification to force fibre onto everyone.”
                        It appears more about being “forced” or “told”. many years ago when you had your new home built there was no bitumen or footpaths provided, we had the night cart or septic. We were “forced” to connect to sewerage” and “horrors” they HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT OF WAY AND CAN DIG UP YOUR PROPERTY IF THEY WISH TO. We were forced to pay for the bitumen and footpaths
                        There are still homes in some suburbs that have a dirt track beside them with bitumen further up the street, nor do they have a footpath , usually just unkempt grass verge.
                        Once Phys Ed and Sports were compulsory and obesity was a rarity, but for the sake of the precious little spoilt brat darlings, these became optional, and our taxes have to pay for their growing health problems, then the little darlings drown coz they can’t swin let alone dog paddle coz they refused to be taught or forced to learn.
                        We are talking essential NATIONAL infrastructure that will either pay for itself or largely defray its costs, not catering to the petulant whims of some now adult precious little darling.
                        This is where this obsession with ROI or CBA is so anal, apply the same ROI and CBA demands on hospitals, education, transportational, law and order or military funding by the taxpayer

      • Francis Young
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink |

        The NBN is about the entire population, not the majority. FTTH is cheaper than FTTN in Australia, because Telstra owns the copper to premises (see my post just above).

        Consider this. In any given residential suburb, there will be a number of small businesses. If you build a residential grade service such as ADSL to that suburb, then each business is also constrained to 1 Mbps upload speeds that are inadequate for such things as offsite backup and file sharing between offices or clients. Ditto for schools and hospitals.

        If instead you lay fibre, then those who have modest needs can buy a very cheap service, cheaper than today’s line rental plus ADSL, in fact. Meanwhile, those with serious needs for two-way data are no longer constrained by the pitiful limits of ADSL uploads, nor the price-rationed data costs of wireless, with its limited capacity.

        Our Armidale office has a symmetrical 2/2 Mbps service now, costing $800 per month. They will soon have an $80 NBN fibre service running at 25/5 Mbps. The $720 saved each month will go a long way for small businesses. Only fixed fibre has no limit in upgrade speeds, with no cost except putting a faster switch on it. (The current record for one single fibre strand, 250 km long, with no repeaters, was 69.1 Terabits per second in Japan in May 2010. That’s 69,100 Mbps off one fibre strand. Today.)

        There is no reason to spend more than $12 billion delivering a future proof service to every modest sized town and city in the nation, yet power-hungry and costly FTTN still gets trotted out as if it was an option!

        • Bourke
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

          Francis wrote:
          ‘FTTH is cheaper than FTTN in Australia’

          For who – users, the government?

          My 4Gb Optus wireless plan costs $14.50 per month, month-to-month, no contract.

          What is the equivalent NBN plan?!

          • Noddy
            Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink |

            Now use a even 40-60GB on your mobile plan and even 1TB NBN plans are cheaper. Yes, mobile plans are cheap for small amounts of data. You could use up all that data by downloading the latest windows patches, watch one streaming movie and maybe grab a game. One person, one day and your mobile plan is done.

      • Izeart
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:39 am | Permalink |

        I’m sorry, but you come to the conclusion that wireless will progress and Fiber tech won’t?

        I was looking this Clip that is an hour long pretty much explains the engineering side of both wireless and fiber. Describing the Non political side in the as basic as you will get it explanation.
        Shows the bandwidth limitation of wireless and how it will NEVER surpass fiber. I looked at it and was like “Wow… that much of a gap”
        Skip to 24 minutes and 30 seconds in the video. Shows basic chart of spectrum.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6a2ne1WKxek

        I would suggest EVERYONE watches the whole thing (Except for the first 5;30 minutes as its just an intro) Come back to me when your a little more educated.

        • Mike
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

          +1
          an excelent series of videos about the NBN done at Macquarie University by a senior NBN engineer.
          its called MYTH- BUSTING THE NBN a must watch for thoses that are teleconmunication technically challenged.Here is the link again….

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a2ne1WKxek

        • Bourke
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink |

          Izeart ,
          ‘I’m sorry, but you come to the conclusion that wireless will progress and Fiber tech won’t?’

          I came to no such conclusion – where did I imply that?

          I explicitly said that for applications like video conferencing current (4G LTE) wireless is insufficient – so in order to cover the majority of the population’s needs we would need wireless at least an order of magnitude faster than 4G LTE.

          No where did I state that the FTTN connections would not increase in speed – in fact I pointed out many times that FTTN is the core ESSENTIAL part of any infrastructure! So please don’t make stuff up.

          What I am stating is that the FTTH fibre speed (the bit in between the node and the property) is not relevant for the majority of home user requirements (and won’t be for at least a couple of decades).

          • Mike
            Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink |

            What I am stating is that the FTTH fibre speed (the bit in between the node and the property) is not relevant for the majority of home user requirements (and won’t be for at least a couple of decades).

            Hey Bourkey your above statement is going to come back and haunt you.

            • Bourke
              Posted 16/04/2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink |

              Mike wrote:

              ‘Hey Bourkey your above statement is going to come back and haunt you.’

              As is already proven – the 5G and 6G wireless technologies of the next decades will support the majority of home use applications. It is already (recently) proven that we are no longer limited to one data channel per frequency.

              Just because 4G LTE isn’t sufficient to support video conferencing in no way means the new technologies will not be capable of that. And that will then support the majority of home customers needs.

              • Posted 16/04/2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink |

                Technologies that _might_ be available in “the next decades” are surely not valid reasons for the country to halt the rollout of a technology in this decade that has been solidly proven over the last 50 years, and will certainly be able to keep up with capacity needs for the next 50 years.

                • Alex
                  Posted 16/04/2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink |

                  +1 Dan,

                  This is exactly what I was alluding to here, which you worded much more succinctly…

                  http://delimiter.com.au/2012/04/13/back-in-your-box-nbn-co-shuts-down-wireless-expert/#comment-380805

                • Bourkie
                  Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink |

                  Dan wrote:
                  ‘Technologies that _might_ be available in “the next decades” are surely not valid reasons for the country to halt the rollout of a technology in this decade that has been solidly proven over the last 50 years’

                  As I mentioned at least three or four times – I am not againt anyone who wants fibre to have it installed. What I have stated every time is that it should be the end-user’s choice as to whether they go with 100Mbps fibre, 100-250Mbps VDSL2, or 4G LTE, or 5G etc.

                  No one should be forcing fibre onto anyone. And you are by forcing tax payers to pay for it.

                  • SMEMatt
                    Posted 17/04/2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink |

                    Why?

                    Why should an end user have a choice in the technology used to deliver a service?

                    Yes they should have a choice in service which is why we have RSP setting the own pricing and plans with the all add on or included options RSP what to charge for, you want a choice in speed you have it, choice in after sales support quality there is a RSP for you, and many other ways RSP distinguish themself from their competition. This does include if they want a more mobile internet service. Damn you telstra I still want a choice of having my mobile phone service Delivered via CDMA and you water company I want you to bring buckets to my house instead. How the service in delivered should be determined by the delivery network. In the end the same basic service is being delivered with the RSP adding their own twist on top. The primary reason FTH was chosen is because we can be sure that everyone is receiving the same basic service.

                  • Russell Stuart
                    Posted 17/04/2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink |

                    > What I have stated every time is that it should be the end-user’s choice as to whether they go with 100Mbps fibre, 100-250Mbps VDSL2, or 4G LTE, or 5G etc.

                    That is not a choice anybody is offering you. The choices on offer are:

                    1) A US style system, where it is left to private enterprise to build a cable to your house. While everyone is allowed to lay as many cables as they like, the economics of this means that only one cable will be run down your street. You do not get to choose what it is. In this laissez-faire system the company who owns the cable also gets to control who uses it. In practice that has meant they don’t allow anybody but themselves use it. So that means no choice of ISP, so no iiNet, TPG and so on.

                    2) The NBN is similar to the above. Everyone is still allowed to run cables. However the government will be running a cable to every house, so if private enterprise runs another one you will have two cables going to the same house. Secondly, there is a rule that anybody who runs a cable (including the NBN), must wholesale it on an equivalent basis to them to every ISP (including themselves). Despite the NBN being under an additional restriction (they can not retail their cables) in practice this will mean nobody will run cables except the NBN.

                    3) From what I can make out, the current Liberals policy is rather like (2). The one difference is the government won’t run cables, instead they will invite private enterprise to run them, retain ownership and maintain them. They will nonetheless still have to wholesale the cables they built and own to all comers (including themselves) at the same price – which will probably mean at a government determined price just a Telstra does now. So far this is essentially the Lib’s policy when they were last in power, and it failed because it was so unattractive to private enterprise. So now the Libs are saying they will sweeten the deal by paying private companies a bonus to run the cables.

                    Running two cables to your house under any of these scenarios would be commercial insanity, so you get no choice under any of them.

                    Well almost no choice. You comment about wanting to be able to choose between 4G, 5G etc is odd, because you most likely will have that choice, not in the least because you do now. Even under the NBN no one is prevented building a competitive network. The only restriction I am aware of is Telstra can’t advertise their network as being a replacement for fixed line, which isn’t much of a restriction.

                    As repeatedly pointed out this is not unlike your water supply, your electricity supply, or the road to your house. You get no choice there either. This happens because these things are natural monopolies.

                    In every society I am aware of (including the US, with the exception of internet), the way these natural monopolies are handled is they are owned by the government, and paid for through taxes. Currently best practice seems to be to shrink those monopolies down to as small as they can be and let private enterprise handle the rest. In the case of the communications this appears to mean shrinking the monopoly down to the last mile cable, and then letting private enterprise handle the trunking and retailing. We are moving in the same direction for electricity and water.

                    It is also worth pointing out that a private enterprise owning a natural monopoly will try to grow it – ie the reverse of what is considered best practice. Thus Telstra’s natural inclination is to make it as difficult as it can for competitors to use its last mile cable so it can be a monopoly ISP provider, and at the other end deny any other trunking provider business so it can be a monopoly trunking provider too. The incentive is once you are a monopoly provider you can charge what you damned well please – well up to the currently 10 time higher wireless price anyway. This is why some view the Libs proposal (where private enterprise is left owning a natural monopoly) with suspicion.

                    • Bourke
                      Posted 18/04/2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink |

                      Russel wrote:
                      ‘That is not a choice anybody is offering you.’

                      Yes it is – right now in 2012 we have the choice of fibre, 4G LTE, VDSL2 (depending on ISP). What made you think it wasn’t?

                      • Russell Stuart
                        Posted 19/04/2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink |

                        Yes, you can have Fibre run now, it you are willing to pay to have it run. Companies trying to make a profit out of you won’t run redundant cables, but if you are paying for it anything goes.

                        Maybe you are referring to the fact that if you have multiple cables running to your premises now then you are going to lose some choices. This isn’t because of some law. It is because the NBN, Optus and Telstra made some back room deals, and as a consequence it isn’t in Optus or Telstra commercial interest to continue supply you. Someone else is free to of course, because under the NBN everybody is still free to run cables. But as you and I full well know, no one will. If you were insanely rich you could pay for it yourself, but my guess is you aren’t insanely rich.

                        Or stupid for that matter. Who in their right mind would demand a copper connection when they already have a fibre connection running to their house? And this is the point. What is removing your choices is fibre. Nothing is better than fibre. So once fibre is connected to your house building a business on offering ADSL, VDSL or any other copper based technology simply isn’t going to fly.

                        Or to put is another way, the only reason you have choices now is the existing copper connections are 2nd class. Thus people can make a buck by offering you something better. But once you have fibre that business case is gone, and so you will have no one offering you choices.

                        Well maybe that is not true. If you are the sort of person who might pay for fibre or VDSL2, then maybe you are the sort of person who would pay to exclusive access to a fibre, rather than the shared 100Mb/sec access the rest of us will have to put up with. I am sure you will be able to find someone who will offer you that, along with wireless of course. So maybe to you will still have choices after all.

                    • Bourke
                      Posted 18/04/2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink |

                      Russel wrote:
                      ’3) From what I can make out, the current Liberals policy is rather like (2). The one difference is the government won’t run cables, instead they will invite private enterprise to run them, retain ownership and maintain them.’

                      Have they changed their policy? I thought they were going to pay for FTTN?

                      • Russell Stuart
                        Posted 19/04/2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink |

                        I confess I am not exactly sure what the Liberals are offering. I did read their policy statement, but it was like reading a marketing proposal. I don’t have a clue what the nuts and bolts of their proposal is. I am pretty sure they don’t either.

                        I took two points from it. The first is the Liberals are still intent on upgrading our comms infrastructure to the minimum NBN spec – 12Mb/sec, and maybe they are prepared to up that. Secondly, they are opposed to implementing this via a government owned entity (ie the NBN), either for philosophical or political reasons. Instead they prefer to have the entire thing built and owned by private enterprise.

                        There aren’t too many ways of achieving this. All you can really do is publish the spec, ask for bids and if no one bids keep upping the price and weakening conditions until someone does bid. You can use all sorts of slick financial mechanisms with cute names to accomplish that process, but in the end that is what it boils down to. Note that the Liberals did go through this process last time they were in power. The compromises the Liberals had to accept (mostly to do with coverage and equal access to all retailers) in order to get it done were too great for Labor, and that is how we got the NBN.

                        The thing about spec’s is people are free to choose whatever technology they want to implement it, and I am sure the Liberals implicitly acknowledge this. That means we will get a hybrid. So if the spec remains at 12Mb/sec, people who get 12Mb/sec now won’t get any upgrade. The lowest cost option (short term anyway) for people who are on ADSL but aren’t close to the exchange might be to run a fibre from the exchange until a point close enough to that copper can supply 12Mb/sec. Thus you get FTTN. So no they aren’t proposing to use FTTN, but they realise it is a likely outcome from what they do propose. That is why the Libs are doing their best to sell FTTN.

                        Whether FTTN is in fact the cheapest option is an interesting point. Some one has to pay Telstra for that copper. If that happens, the NBN calculations say it won’t be the cheapest and I am inclined to believe them. However if Telstra does it, or more precisely the wholesale arm of the newly split Telstra does it, then the problem goes away. So it seems very likely this will be the cheapest option on offer. (IMHO Turnbull does realise this is the most probable outcome, but he knows it would be unpopular so he carefully avoids any line of discussion that might lead to people thinking about it. Thus he focuses entirely on criticising the NBN, and studiously avoids discussing what might replace it.)

                        In summary my guess is if the Libs get in, the NBN corporation will get canned and the entire lot will end up in Telstra’s lap, meaning the Liberals will pay Telstra to build a new network that Telstra owns. That isn’t what they are planning now, and if you say it is their platform they will truthfully deny it – but only because they currently don’t have a clue how they are going to pull it off.

                        There are a lot of similarities between what the NBN is offering and what we will end up with under the Libs. In particular in both cases the status quo does not change – a monopoly owns and runs the last mile. The differences between the NBN and what the Liberals seem to be proposing are:

                        1) The Libs proposal will deliver a hybrid network which is on average slower. The choice the NBN offers you of going higher speeds than the minimum spec won’t exist. Just as now with ADSL, you get what you get.

                        2) Under the NBN, the last mile network will be paid for and owned by the government, and the government will earn a commercial rate of return on it. Under the Liberals proposal this network upgrade will be paid for by the government, but it will be owned and run by a private corporation. All earnings from it will go to that private corporation.

                        3) The retail price we pay in to use that last mile connection will in both cases will be determined by the government, but the mechanism will be different. Under the NBN it will be determined more or less by decree. Under the Liberals if the current situation is any guide (which was put in place by the Liberals) Telstra will always try to push prices up, restrict access, and extended its monopoly. This will be resisted by the government, and we will continue with the practice of resolving this perpetual war using phalanxes of lawyers and accountants facing off on a regular basis in a High Court.

                        You are probably right in one thing. Under the Liberals proposal some of us will have more choice. But only because, as I pointed out in my other post, Telstra will be delivering a 2nd class network, so there will be a buck to be made out of offering something better. That will only happen where it makes commercial sense to do so of course, so if you don’t live in a high density city you won’t have any choices, just like now. Even if you do live in a high density area Telstra will resist this will all the usual tools at its disposal – like obstructing access to ducts, predatory pricing and forcing the newcomer into expensive legal battles, asking the government to protect their monopoly so they can keep prices down. They have proved very adept at this, so even if you do having choices available, expect to pay a high price premium to exercise it. Just as you do now.

              • Goresh
                Posted 28/05/2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink |

                “Just because 4G LTE isn’t sufficient to support video conferencing in no way means the new technologies will not be capable of that. And that will then support the majority of home customers needs.”

                Yes, it does.

                Acquaint yourself with Shannon’s Law and basic physics.

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

            “is not relevant for the majority of home user requirements (and won’t be for at least a couple of decades).”

            Once again what are you basing that on? Didn’t you say in another comment “anyone just looking 10 years ahead is a complete fool”?

            • Bourke
              Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink |

              Hubert, if you read back you will see that my comment relates to the bandwidth required to faciltate video-conferencing – which at the moment is the highest bandwidth application that any average home user is likely to want to engage in.

              Therefore until an application requiring even higher bandwidth comes along, future wireless technologies will have the bandwidth to support average home user. I made this condition explicitly as, yes, I admit there is a possibility that a different type of internet application may become popular in the future that requires higher bandwidth, Obviously also, as today’s ‘HD’ becomes tomorrow’s ‘SD’ I’m sure that video related applications will also become more bandwidth hungry.

          • Goresh
            Posted 28/05/2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink |

            FTTN is limited by the physical constraints of the copper.
            Wireless is even more severely limited by the constraints of the air.

            FTTP is limited only by the constraints of the glass which is already in the Tb/s.

            What is the difference between the glass fiber connected to the individual house and the glass fiber carrying the backhaul for an entire city of a million people? None.

            The only difference between the two is the terminal equipment at either end.

            Bandwidth available to carry data on LTE = 20,000,000Hz.
            Bandwidth available to carry data on fiber = 300,000,000,000,000,000Hz

    28. Rob
      Posted 15/04/2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink |

      The people in the media that peddle the misinformation on the technical merits of the NBN are always the older middle-older aged demographic. It also seems that the people who listen the most to this argument are in the same age group. Despite the fact I’m a systems engineer even my own mother rejects my opinion and thinks wireless is the future and most cost effective broadband out there. This is also because it sits in line LNP policy arguments against NBN. She’s been an LNP voter for a long time.
      Because of her age and unwillingness to learn much more about what you can do on the internet she only understands the internet as web pages and emails. She uses the internet now the same way she was introduced to it in the 90′s. With this in mind 10GB of data literally lasts her 6 months. So roughly her internet works out to roughly $25 a month. So in her mind wireless is cheap affordable broadband internet, compared to that expensive ALP NBN thingy. My point is I guess a lot of the anti NBN commentary is mostly from older people who can’t see or understand an immediate direct benefit since most current broadband services meet most of their needs. They will refuse to see a need until something like IPTV is forced apon them because DVD rental stores have been made redundant and are closed down.

      • Izeart
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink |

        Rob i’m sorry but i had an Engineer who was my age (27) telling me that it was going to be Obsolete by the time it was built. The fact that he didn’t look at the tech because 1) His ENTIRE family are hardcore Liberal voters. 2) Even tho he wasn’t an Engineer he was a mechanical Engineer so this wasn’t his field of choice.

        I assure you the whole “Not wanting to learn” ability isn’t bound to older people. There are those who have taken this more on a political note and don’t care because “labor thought of it and everything that they do fails”

        I honestly don’t care if Liberals or Labor provides me with the NBN… as long as it gets done as it is now (FTTH). Fixing a problem of Bandwidth/availability/service all in one hit. No more two fingers in the pie like Telstra.

        • Izeart
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink |

          Edit: My spelling and grammar is horrible

        • Mike
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

          If the Libs get into power at the next election, according to their rhetoric, your going to get HTTN not HTTH, so who are you going to vote for ?????

          • Izeart
            Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

            Will be voting for Labor solely on the basis of the NBN being completed

            • Mike
              Posted 16/04/2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink |

              +1

    29. Mike
      Posted 15/04/2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

      This article says a lot about David Chalke knowledge and his research capabilities but would you hire Quantum Market Reserch to do your research, I think not.

      • socrates
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink |

        It might be hard to get hold of David Chalke, even if anyone wanted to do so.

        On the basis of his ‘research’, he’s probably working full time for the Liberal Party!

        • Mike
          Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

          Chalkes real name is “Alan” back in your box Alan.

          • Mike
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink |

            What I cant understand is, why go to all the trouble to set up a business and foster maybe years of good wiil and credibilty and then hire an egghead like David Chalke to destroy it for you ?????

    30. Posted 15/04/2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink |

      wireless is way to slow

      http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1269197&p=68#r1354

      50Mbit/21Mbit on WiMax, slightly higher average than many of our customers but still.
      the tower the guy connects to only cost us $3500 to build.

      • Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink |

        Nice speeds. I am impressed.

        Just out of curiosity if your wireless plan can deliver such high quotas and speeds why have Telstra/Optus and Vodafone not all done the same. I mean only $3500 a tower!

        For that matter 4g WIMAX with Vividwireless got me at best 8/1Mbps, what did you do that they didn’t?

        Does it have something to do with few customers per site?

        Is it maybe point to point wireless requiring a transmitter be aimed at each individual house or premise?

        I am actually quite curious here, not trying to bust your balls or anything.

        “Fixed Point Wireless works by mounting an antenna at your address and positioning it towards the nearest NuSkope Access Point. A direct secure connection is then established and configured for optimal performance by our technician” (from your website)

        It appears my point to point hypothesis is correct. Definitely a great technology I agree. The problem is while this work for covering ADSL black spots (god knows there are many of them). A National system of this would likely cost more and require many towers which we know would be incredibly unpopular. All these sites also have to be fiber fed to get the kind of speeds you are quoting.

        While point to point wireless is a very good technology, even it cannot compete with fiber. Also the logistics of a national rollout of point to point wireless would make it simply impractical and likely more expensive than FTTH. At least in higher density areas.

        Nuskope gets my applause for decreasing the frustration caused by no ADSL in SA blackspots. God knows you are doing a very good thing there, I do think however that you are being disingenuous as your current business model pre-NBN seems to be focused on rectifying black spots, something that the NBN will fix requiring you ot drastically alter your market niche.

        • Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

          We have been doing the wireless ISP thing for 10 years now, so have lots of experience in management of our network.

          our service is a ‘fixed point’ service, so you need the antenna on your roof, this basically replaces your fixed line. Telstra/Optus and Vodafone don’t sell ‘fixed point’ its all roaming so you cant control how many people are on each tower. we can.

          we generally only connect 30 customers per ‘panel’ each tower can have upto 15 panels. when we start to fill up we just get a new site. In some suburbs we have as many as 3 ‘towers’ . when we install we try and connect the customer at 50-100Mbit to our towers. we then ‘shape’ them down to 12/1Mbit.
          as of last month, after many weekends of testing we removed the ‘speed cap’ for all local traffic. thus anything hosted/peering with pipe networks our customers can get their ‘line speed’. some its as high as 80Mbit/60Mbit others its as low as 6mbit.

          the ‘towers’ are small. most of the time a few antennas on a light post or the roof of a corner deli. Unless you look for them you wont see them, they are nothing like mobile phone sites.

          you don’t need to feed the sites by fiber, most interconnect back to a central site with fiber. we have 200Mbit-300Mbit wireless backbones to sites that we have fiber.

          We are not to concerned about NBN. for one we offer it, so our customers can migrate, however we also undercut most NBN plans and our entry level plan, our most popular is much cheaper than the comparable NBN option. If a customer is getting good service and speeds why change.

      • PeterA
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

        Hi Nuskope,
        Your wireless is slooow. My work deployed Gigabit Microwave!
        And that was after our deployment of Gigabit Lasers!!

        1000/1000 beats your 50/20!

        • Posted 15/04/2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink |

          this is obviously point to point technology. usefully in its own area but not relevant to delivering services to 100′s of surrounding households. Our fastest ptp is only 800Mbit/800Mbit and is very expensive unit. not a residential product by any stretch of the imagination.

          • Posted 15/04/2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink |

            I admit i do not know much more than what I have said about fixed point wireless, It is a technology that is not very widely used.

            It definitely looks like it is a promising technology, however may I ask how it performs in adverse weather? My experience on mobile wireless is lackluster to say the least.

            If your network really does work how you promise it I can say without reservation I wish I had it instead of the mobile wireless I had to rely on for 9 months. Unfortunately I was in the wrong state :D.

            You say your not concerned about the NBN, I must have misunderstood a previous post. While this technology is great to fill in black spots left by the old monster Telstra I do not see it competing with Fiber optic broadband of price or speed in the long run.

            • Posted 15/04/2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink |

              adverse weather does not effect us much, Generally speaking only 5% of out customers would be effected by very heavy rain. Most of our outages and issues occur form power interruptions and occasionally tower damage.

              Our network does work as advertised; you only need to look as far as our whirlpool thread. We also rank nice and high on the Adelaide speed-test archive: http://www.netindex.com/download/4,1170/Adelaide/?tab=1 Our customers generally start to complain when they get down to 6Mbit with 100ms pings (spoiled much?)

              In regards to NBN concerns, our infrastructure overheads is about $1.29 / customer compare this to ISP’s who need to pay port/interconnect fees for NBN and we can undercut them without any issue. We can offer a 12Mbit/1Mbit 10GB plan for 8.95 and make the same margin as we would on a comparable NBN plan. (its a few years away but i doubt any NBN plans will be under $29.95).

              If a customer wants 50/100Mbit then NBN is the way to go… Personally i have 100Mbit NBN at home here in Willunga and its way overkill for me; and I’m one heavy net user.

              • SMEMatt
                Posted 16/04/2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink |

                Yes fixed wireless is good tech maybe that’s why it is being used for the 93%-97% deployment group where it is more cost effective to roll out per a customer than fiber.

                Fixed Wireless != Mobile wireless.

    31. Posted 15/04/2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink |

      “In addition, local commentators on the NBN have repeatedly emphasised that even leading mobile networks such as Telstra’s Next G network will increasingly depend on fibre-optic backbone links to mobile phone base stations in future, as they largely do today.”

      You may have noticed, but the NBN does not do backbone links, they do last mile links. I might also point out that the backbone fiber is already in place (put there by private enterprise I believe) and a reasonable fraction of existing mobile phone towers actually use point-to-point microwave. There’s a huge Telstra tower in Redfern, radiating somewhere around 11GHz.

      It’s whack how poorly the pundits understand wireless.

      Getting back to the subject at hand, David Chalke is a social analyst not a technical analyst, so this is nothing to do with what the technology can do, but it is a matter of market research and whether the buyers are more interested in low-bandwidth, mobile communication, or high-bandwidth fixed communication (you remember “customers” the people who pay for product?). Of course, there will always be cases at the extreme end of the spectrum, but no one cares about that, what matters is where the bulk of the middling people go. Have a think about it.

      • Alex
        Posted 15/04/2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink |

        Of course people want tech on the run, which is why most of us have 2, 3, 4 devices and some say average, 4 people families have 10 or 15. While the same family also has 1 fixed, to do all the hard slog… or to use Wi-Fi connectivity, from the fixed source.

        Being so, mobile take up has increased markedly, no arguments the stats show this clearly as does our everyday lives. But as these numbers increase, with the load, so does congestion (yes LTE will be better – as they told us 3G would…)

        http://delimiter.com.au/2012/03/15/telstras-3g-network-is-dying-in-cbds/

        But what the stats also show is, more and more of this hard slog is being done via fixed.

        http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8153.0Chapter7Dec%202011

        So while those who are critical of the NBN for whatever their reasons, are using wireless as their ‘current argument’, the facts tells us, with all the wireless limitations (we all know what they are) as well as the “IF” factor (maybe it will improve, one day) wireless is and will always be inferior for the “hard slog/serious stuff”, but convenient, as the stats suggest.

        • Posted 15/04/2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink |

          But there’s only so much money to go round, isn’t there? So what are people willing to pay for?

          • Alex
            Posted 15/04/2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink |

            Both, according to the stats

            • Posted 15/04/2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink |

              The stats you linked to say nothing whatsoever about how people spend their money. They are by volume of data downloaded which is largely unrelated to the value of that data.

              • Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:58 am | Permalink |

                You just hit the proverbial nail on the head.

                The bureaucrats at NBNco love to quote the increasing volume of data downloaded over fixed line networks as “proof” that we need to build FTTP.

                Instead, the relevant metric to judge the economic value of further investments in fixed line networks, or the financial viability of the NBN itself, is “dollar value” generated. Ultimately, NBNco has to service equity and debt capital with actual cashflow. The flow of electrons doesn’t pay the bills.

                The fact is while global traffic over fixed line networks has been rapidly increasing, actual industry revenue has shown little to no growth. This is all too easy to comprehend in the Australian context, when you consider the fact that locally broadband quotas have been doubling at the same price point at regular intervals in recent years.

                The significance of these empirical facts is hard to miss (or dismiss). While broadband users (or the active minorty of leeches) are downloading more and more, telcos are experiencing revenue stagnation in the fixed line business.

                One may well ask: why don’t ISPs force broadband subscribers to pay more for increased data usage, instead of allowing them to enjoy the benefits of bigger downloads over time at the same price point? The simple answer is: incremental data usage beyond a certain point over fixed line connections has minimal incremental economic value to the average user; hence, telcos are unable to extract even greater premiums for more intensive data usage.

                If revenue was actually positively correlated with traffic growth (as NBNco seems to imply), then given the sizeable double-digit fixed line data growth they love to quote, global telcos should currently be experiencing massive revenue booms in their fixed line business, when the reverse is true. (Yet, puzzlingly, NBNco’s profit model assumes such a correlation.)

                Anyone trying to frame the debate in terms of “all fixed” or “all wireless” is being silly. Nobody is proposing to shutdown the fixed line communications network altogether. Instead, the pertinent question is: where should the bulk of the incremental billions (to be invested) be directed, or where is it most likely to be recovered?

                In fixed line, where the average residential broadband user appears largely sated? Or, in better wireless networks, which is attracting the lion’s share of marginal discretionary spending? It is precisely in this regard that David Chalke’s market research on social trends and consumer behaviour sheds valuable insight for accessing optimal investment outcomes.

                • Alex
                  Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink |

                  That’s all good and well to try to find something that’s not there, but in the end, fixed download data is increasing and more so than wireless.

                  So what does that tell you?

                • Noddy
                  Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink |

                  “If revenue was actually positively correlated with traffic growth (as NBNco seems to imply), then given the sizeable double-digit fixed line data growth they love to quote, global telcos should currently be experiencing massive revenue booms in their fixed line business, when the reverse is true. (Yet, puzzlingly, NBNco’s profit model assumes such a correlation.)”

                  No it doesn’t. It does not require increase income from increased data over time. In fact they costed in reduction of cost of data over time. Have a look at the CVC charge reductions planned over time.

                • Goresh
                  Posted 28/05/2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink |

                  I think you have it backwards. The point is that Telco revenues have remained relatively stable in the face of exponential growth of data transported and falling price per megabyte.

                  This means it is essential that ISPs use the cheapest medium per megabyte transmitted and that, by far, is FTTP.

              • Russell Stuart
                Posted 16/04/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

                Actually, they tell you a lot about how spend their money. In the two years since the ABS last did their stats, downloads per fixed connection have grown by 300%, and downloads per mobile connection have [i]dropped[/i] by 10%. (I did have a URL to back this up, but when I included it in my post was accepted but disappeared without a trace.)

                Why this is happening is a matter of conjecture I guess. It’s possible that people are just using their mobile phones less, but that seems unlikely. I imagine it is more to do with being able to tell modern smartphones to download stuff only when connected to WiFi. In other words when confronted with a choice about where to download the same byte of data, the consumer is choosing to give their money to the provider who charges less to transfer it. As it stands fixed line charges roughly an order of magnitude for internet data and 3 orders or magnitude less for voice data.

                When put like that, it almost sounds like a statement of the obvious. So, yes those stats do tell us something about how people spend their money.

                The interesting thing about the NBN is it will make what is driving this – this cheap, fast WiFi, near ubiquitous. Those of us who live in the cities will be blanked by it. The other thing the NBN will do is replace all our POTS lines with VOIP, so most people with a land line will end up owning a VOIP account. Most smartphones have no trouble connecting to VOIP (aka SIP) providers now. So it seems likely in the long run most smartphone users will choose to route their calls over VOIP land lines whenever they have WiFi available, which will probably be most of the time. So it is not just data the fixed lines could rob from mobile operators, it is their cash cow, voice.

                Right now, with lots of new smartphones being added every day mobile so total usage is rising even though per user usage is dropping, so this cannibalisation of mobile data by fixed line isn’t being felt. But that won’t continue forever. Once it the mobile device market is saturated this cannibalisation will lead to total revenues dropping. The mobile operators will have to fund their large fixed costs somehow, so that means the price per byte will have to go up. It could turn into a vicious circle for a while, with the increased pricing driving further cannibalisation, which in turn increases the prices.

                Mobile wireless won’t go away of course, all that will happen is a new equilibria will be struck between how revenue is divided between the mobile and fixed line operators. The point is, your contention that it will go the mobile operators way is not at all obvious, and if the current cannibalisation continues (with fixed line rising from 93% to 97% of all bytes transferred between the latest ABS reports), they will lose ground in the long term.

                • Posted 16/04/2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink |

                  Tel is correct. Looking at raw traffic data doesn’t tell you anything about “value”.

                  Instead, to make inferences about “value creation” in the fixed space, you need to assess “willingness to pay “. The fact is the cost of fixed broadband has been dropping rapidly over recent years; and the surge in fixed line traffic we are witnessing is a direct response to this favourable pricing environment. Revenue gains at the industry level from this traffic growth is close to zero.

                  The $64 million question is: if the cost of broadband had been rising instead, would we now be witnessing high, double digit growth in fixed line traffic? The answer is probably : no. If you give something (higher broadband quotas) to consumers for “free”, they will gladly lap it up because it doesn’t cost them anything.

                  But, if you tried to charge for it, you will find that “demand” will vapourise. Otherwise, global telcos are missing out on a golden opportunity to engineer a revenue boom just by partially monetising the surge in fixed-line traffic. (Mike Quigley appears to believe that Labor’s government monopoly will manage to achieve something giant telcos all around the world are failing to do.)

                  Secondly, to prove that WiFi is “cannibalising” 2G/3G/4G, you would have to show that average data traffic over 2G/3G is actually decreasing on a “same user” basis. As you pointed out, a drop in traffic on a “globally-averaged per user basis” could simply be due to statistical distortion from the flood of new devices onto wireless networks (compositional mix effects).

                  The trend towards higher device downloads over WiFi does not constitute “cannibalisation” unless mobile users are actually purchasing smaller and smaller data packs from 2G/3G providers. If this is indeed the case, then the value of digital spectrum rights should be declining rapidly on a global basis.

                  Thirdly, WiFi is an old, established technology. If it is indeed cheaper to service mobile device users via ubiquitous WiFi nodes, telcos would have done so a long time ago. The clear cost superiority of 2G/3G/4G is that you minimise the fibre backhaul footprint to just connecting mobile towers. (Apparently, some mobile operators find even that too expensive and opt instead for microwave links!)

                  • Alex
                    Posted 16/04/2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink |

                    No it’s not about value, imo… It’s simply about whether wireless is able to replace fixed.

                    This is not a pedantic dollar issue. So seriously let’s not cloud the facts with semantics about dollars, this is a clear data comparison – period.

                    Now not including any of the obvious limitations we all know about wireless technically, these stats show us clearly that 93% (and increasing) is currently the data download amount being undertaken via fixed.

                    Which part of 93% do you not think is overwhelming or a telling figure?

                  • Russell Stuart
                    Posted 16/04/2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink |

                    > Tel is correct. Looking at raw traffic data doesn’t tell you anything about “value”.

                    This is obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs stating. Bytes don’t acquire value because they travel over one route and loose value if they travel over another. The value of a byte is in the information it carries, and how badly you want that information at the time. There is nothing magical about wireless bytes other than they can be delivered to us when we are out and about.

                    In other words, wireless does not add value. It simply makes data available to us when we value it more. It follows if someone can get those same bytes cheaper some other way they will do it, we won’t get them over wireless just because it is wireless.

                    I don’t think there is much doubt the NBN will mean smartphone users will find more and more places they can get their bytes cheaper and faster than the mobile wireless providers can provide them. Not all of the time of course, but a greater proportion of the time as the NBN gets rolled out. I also don’t think there is much doubt smartphones will evolve to allow them to take advantage of those cheaper, faster bytes without the user having to think much about it.

                    None of this is rocket science. It has an air of inevitability about it, really.

                    • Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink |

                      “In other words, wireless does not add value. It simply makes data available to us when we value it more. “

                      That is adding value.

                      That’s why someone can sell you an ice cream for twice as much at the beach as it would cost you to buy in a big supermarket. Because no one wants to sit in a supermarket car park eating ice cream.

                      • Russell Stuart
                        Posted 16/04/2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink |

                        > That’s why someone can sell you an ice cream for twice as much at the beach as it would cost you to buy in a big supermarket.

                        The point is the supermarket is moving onto the beach. Or at least parts of it. And while this is happening you are predicting the guy on the beach is going to wipe out the supermarkets.

                      • Goresh
                        Posted 28/05/2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink |

                        And yet supermarkets sell far more icecream than vendors at the beach.

                        People will pay a premium to get what they want, where and when they want it but they also like to buy in bulk and save money too.
                        Guess which one tends to win out overall.

                  • Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink |

                    “(Mike Quigley appears to believe that Labor’s government monopoly will manage to achieve something giant telcos all around the world are failing to do.)”

                    Maybe they could, but only by using the leverage of their monopoly position to force prices up beyond what would be achievable in a competitive market. I know I keep getting told that this could never happen and you can put $40 billion plus of investment into a business without needing to cover that with revenue (apparently, the more you invest, the less revenue you need), but just take that as said and count me as still skeptical.

                    • Abel Adamski
                      Posted 17/04/2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink |

                      Tel, there are differences.

                      1) Our internet is already expensive by comparison so there is no need to up the prices, if those other teco’s could get away with what we have been paying it would be a dfferent scenario

                      2) The dividend requirement is far lower as a share price does not have to be grown, thus margins can be lower, plus their funding cost will be better and realistically as essential national infrastructure ROI can be over a very extended period

                      3) Even if homeowners don’t sign up now their kids will pressure them to over time.

                      Plus remember port 2 , We could have alternate cable TV, maybe from India, China, US, Europe, we are after all a diverse culture (News Ltd/Foxtels big fear)
                      VOIP etc has already been covered, in many ways FTTH is a Game changer and the opposition from established interests is to be expected as a commercial necessity, however it does expose their methods and how that is applied in other areas. It will be a subject on its own in in future Media and Social Science courses

      • Russell Stuart
        Posted 16/04/2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink |

        [quote=Tel]David Chalke is a social analyst not a technical analyst, so this is nothing to do with what the technology can do, but it is a matter of market research and whether the buyers are more interested in low-bandwidth, mobile communication, or high-bandwidth fixed communication (you remember “customers” the people who pay for product?).[/quote]

        David Chalke made his claims just after the ABS [url=http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/01/abs_december_2012/]released the results of its broad band survey[/url]. In the 3 years since the last survey was done, fixed line data per fixed line connection had [b]increased[/b] by 300%. Over the same period data per mobile connection had [b]decreased[/b] by 10%. Yes, it was also true that there was a huge number of new mobile connections in that same period. But even with in the face of that huge growth, the fixed lines proportion of total data transferred grew from 91% to 93%.

        In the face of those figures the claim that people were replacing their fixed line connections with mobile connections was is never going to fly. I don’t care whether the man is a social commentator or technical commentator if the man is going to claim expertise he has to have some awareness of the figures he is commentating on. From what I can tell David Chalke doesn’t.

        In fact if anything those figures seem to show the reverse is happening – people are moving their downloads from mobile to fixed line. I can only guess why that would be, but maybe consumers are doing what I do. They tell their device to do the bulk downloads only when connected via WiFi. The 10 fold price difference is too large to ignore. With the NBN bringing ubiquitous fast connections to the entire country, I can only see this getting worse for mobile operators. It’s not hard to foresee a time where your average city dweller spends 90% of his day blanketed by WiFi. For voice running over VOIP is 1/1000 the cost of what mobile carriers charge now per byte for voice traffic, and one of the “side effects” the NBN will have is to move all land lines to VOIP. It won’t be difficult to tell your mobile phone to use your VOIP account whenever it can see WiFi, just as we do now for other data.

        I am sure it is true that sponsors of the NBN are nervously looking at what the mobile carries are doing. But I am equally sure the mobile wireless operators are looking very nervously what the NBN will do their cream, which is the big city traffic.

    32. Simon
      Posted 15/04/2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink |

      Why is News Limited so anti-NBN?

      • Apollo
        Posted 16/04/2012 at 12:40 am | Permalink |

        This mate – could be considered one of those “generationally based opinions” rather than one of free thought based on hard information.

        It could also be that News Limited is run by Magic and Dragons.

      • Mike
        Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink |

        Because they consider the Internet to be a threat to their news paper distribution (they charge for advertising) and news in general. They want to charge you for news but you can get it for free over the internet. The better the delivery (fibre optic) system the more of a threat it is. People wont be buying news papers in the future they will be reading the news off tablets etc for free.

        • Simon Shaw
          Posted 16/04/2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink |

          Stone tablets if News Corp get their way :)

          • Mike
            Posted 16/04/2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink |

            I thought Moses got the stone tablet gig ???

      • Goresh
        Posted 28/05/2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink |

        Possibly because they are a major shareholder in cable TV here as well as them losing market share to online news services from their print media. Possibly because they tend very much towards the conservative side of politics.

    33. GrannyAnny
      Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink |

      News Corp and other media barons are anti-NBN for a very simple reason. Without the NBN our only source of high volume media is via their outlets along with the embedded opinion and advertising. When we all have a high speed connection we can go anywhere. These people espouse the benefits of competition but will do everything in their power to stop it.

      • Posted 16/04/2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink |

        No they just hate the ALP.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 17/04/2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink |

        GrannyAnny, not completely true, most of us readers of Delimiter look to diverse sources, however most unthinking or suitably conditioned conservatives almost exclusively use News sites such as the News Ltd. and increasingly Fairfax that feed and reinforce their beliefs and predjucies,that will not change. However many of these will be in nursing homes using the WiFi provided by the time the NBN is finished and it is the current crop of pre teens through to the early 20′s that will have grown up with the internet and freely flip to alternate sources and opinions that will be the coming market, they wish to limit their choices and their sources.
        Also News Ltd. has major investments in video content and satelite and cable TV, they rightly see the NBN as a very serious long term competitor and threat
        One thing they are doing is looking ahead 10-50 years and how it will impact on their profitability and business model, as a result using any means possible to protect their empire, fair means or foul

        • Jojo
          Posted 19/04/2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink |

          Well said.

    34. Abel Adamski
      Posted 27/04/2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink |

      http://www.smh.com.au/business/nbn-ads-queried-20120426-1xnxu.html

      Poor Libs must have a facial complexion fetish, always getting egg in the face.
      Feel sorry for Australia, a Nation and economy built on a web of deceit cannot prosper. The actions and statements become more and more irrational and extreme just to maintain the cover up of the preceding history of deception by those that influence public perceptions and beliefs. Find out why Howard did not split Telstra Retail and wholesale, – follow the money/influence/favours – who benefited ? and at what cost to the nation

    35. Nexus789
      Posted 13/05/2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

      The NBN and Mobile Internet will evolve to become complementary delivery infrastructures so the debate of ‘either, or’ is a bit of red herring. What is relevant is who ‘creates’ the means to deliver effective and meaningful information services across all of this infrastructure. They (Media, News, Telco, etc) have no idea how to do this. Have you noticed how one dimensional and uninventive the information services are and how fragmented they are. For example try getting on line in an effective way as a small business.




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