FTTN a huge “mistake”, says ex-BT CTO


news One of the UK’s foremost telecommunications experts, a former chief technology officer of British telco BT, has publicly stated that fibre to the node-style broadband is “one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made”, imposing huge bandwidth and unreliability problems on those who implement it, as the Coalition may do in Australia.

The UK Parliament is currently holding an inquiry into ‘superfast’ broadband, as the nation struggles with many of the same issues which the Australian political system has in Australia over the development of the National Broadband Network initiative in this country. Fronting that enquiry in March, according to a transcript seen by Delimiter this week, was Peter Cochrane, one of the country’s most experienced telecommunications experts.

Cochrane spent most of his career at BT, the country’s former monopolist telco similar to Telstra in Australia, where he started as a linesman before progressing into the telco’s research and development department, eventually leading that team and becoming chief technology officer. Since leaving that role a decade ago, he has worked extensively as a force helping to accelerate tech startups, as well as a consultant.

In Australia, the Labor-led NBN initiative is currently using so-called FTTH technology, which sees fibre rolled out to premises all around Australia. However, the Coalition has stated that it sees the deployment as too expensive, and instead is proposing to switch to a fibre-to-the-node style rollout if it wins the next election, where fibre is rolled out to neighbourhood curbside cabinets, with the existing copper cable used for the remaining distance to houses.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has used BT’s FTTN rollout — which the telco has said will achieve 80Mbps download speeds and 20Mbps upload speeds this year — as evidence for his case that the style of deployment will work in Australia.

However, in testimony to the UK Parliament, Cochrane rubbished claims that FTTN was an appropriate rollout style for national broadband networks.

“Fibre to the cabinet is one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made,” he said. “It ties a knot in the cable in terms of bandwidth and imposes huge unreliability risks … It is a shame, but I understand why people have made that decision. They have made it worldwide, by the way.”

There were a range of problems with FTTN-style rollouts, according to Cochrane. To start with, he said, it was easy for the streetside cabinets to be vandalised. “Once the local bandits have recognised that there is a car battery in the bottom, you can bet your bottom dollar that a crowbar will be out and the battery will keep disappearing,” he said.

Other problems, he added, went to the speeds which FTTN offered (generally considered to be up to 80Mbps at the moment, although they may be extended in future) compared with fibre, which will in future off 1Gbps on Australia’s NBN infrastructure. “What are the leaders doing? There is Sweden in greater Europe, and in the Far East you have Korea, Japan and China. They have a minimum level of 100 Mbps. That is where they start,” Cochrane said.

“They are rolling out 1Gbps, but they are planning for the next phase of 10Gbps. To return to an earlier point, if you have got fibre to the cabinet and you are relying on copper, I can tell you that the network is going to collapse on copper when you get to 1Gbps. It will collapse much earlier. You may do 200 to 300Mbps over a short distance, but you are not going to do anything with a reasonable reach over 1Gbps, and you are certainly not going anywhere at 10 Gbps. So you have immediately got this knot in the bandwidth.”

And reliability was also an issue. “The number one fault problem with copper is water ingress,” Cochrane told the parliament. “Fibre does not care about water … The fault level in an optical network goes down very low. You can reduce manning, buildings, power consumption and everything.”

The Coalition has also raised the possibility that many Australians will primarily access the Internet through wireless networks such as the 4G (fourth generation) infrastructure currently being rolled out by Telstra and Optus, which will allow speeds dramatically higher than previous 3G rollouts. Telstra has stated claimed customers using the device in its 4G coverage areas (capital city CBDs, associated airports and more than 80 regional and metropolitan locations) could access download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps and upload speeds from 1Mbps to 10Mbps.

However, on this subject also, Cochrane had much to say. “I am saying that it will not do what it says on the tin,” he told the parliament. “One of the things that amuses me greatly is “up to 20Mbps”. It is like “up to 5,000 cornflakes” in my box, but there are three. It does not help. It is an absurd product description. If anything needs deleting from the English language, it is “up to”.”

“If 4G is rolled out, for sure, if you are close to the base station, you will get bandwidth. The further away you go, the less bandwidth you will get. That is a function of physics; you cannot beat that. The only way to get a lot of bandwidth everywhere is to have more and more and smaller cells. That is really what the wireless future is about. To do that, you need more fibre.”

If you read beyond the commentary which I have included in this article and look at the wider transcript, it is clear that in many senses, Cochrane is the UK telecommunications equivalent of a hippy. In his segment in the UK parliamentary committee into broadband, he rants and raves about how great fibre to the home is, and highlights many examples where communities have independently rolled out fibre to their neighbourhoods without the assistance of major telcos like BT.

Cochrane is an out and out evangelist for fibre broadband, and it shows in his one-sided approach to the matter. There really is no point, he says repeatedly, in rolling out anything other than fibre; fibre is cheap enough and delivers such exorbitant levels of bandwidth that it will fill all of humanity’s broadband needs for the foreseeable future.

However, it’s important to realise several facts here.

Firstly, I have included Cochrane’s UK comments in Delimiter, a media outlet concerned with events in Australia’s technology sector, to illustrate how mainstream such discussions are overseas. In Australia, we very rarely see this kind of out and out fibre to the home evangelism, and in general, most of the media commentary around the NBN has been extremely negative. However, in the UK, in the US and in other countries, there are many groups pushing very hard for universal fibre rollouts to every neighbourhood. Cochrane, in the UK, is one example of such an evangelist. He won’t stop until he gets fibre everywhere, and fair enough, as he believes it has incredible benefits for industry.

We haven’t had many such evangelists in Australia, and what this has led to, I believe, is the creation of a debate that is somewhat one-sided.

The Labor Government has taken a strong view that fibre to the home is the appropriate high-speed broadband rollout mechanism for Australia, and there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that its approach is a visionary one which will serve the nation well over many decades to come.

But in the absence of avid broadband fanatics like Cochrane, what has happened in Australia is that the debate over the NBN rollout, despite its ongoing popular appeal, has become extremely one-sided. The volume of the NBN critics in Australia is just so much louder, that they get heard a lot more. In comparison, the volume of those for the NBN in Australia — even though they represent the majority of the country — is much softer. Without strong voices like Cochrane, Australia’s NBN continues to suffer from a bad public relations problem, which does not reflect its actual support in the community.

I suspect that in 50 years, we will look back upon people like Cochrane as visionaries, for daring to say out loud that fibre to every house and business premise will unlock a technological nirvana in global society. And I suspect that we will include Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and the Rudd/Gillard Governments in that camp. In the meantime, for the NBN debate to progress beyond the current unintelligent sniping and become an intelligent, balanced one, Australia needs more voices on the pro-NBN side of the fence.

Image credit: Peter Cochrane


  1. “The number one fault problem with copper is water ingress,” Cochrane told the parliament.

    Hear, hear! Every time it rains heavily, my ADSL connection drops out completely due to massive number of errors on the line.

    • yeah my DSL thinks it’s James Brown every time it rains to “Get Down, Get Funky, Get Up Again” …..

      FTTH for the Win!!!!!

      • Begs the question though, if FTTP can delivery 1Gbps or 10Gbps, then why does labor expect the majority of people 50% to be on 12mbps on its fibre network? Thats also not considering the wireless technologies will mostly likely eat into that 50%.

        Saying that the network will offer 1Gbps is misleading, as it would cost an incredible amount to deploy core and aggregate networks that will provider end user consumer grate internet services that is in anyway affordable. For example, a 400Gbps DWDM head end will cost around half a million dollars, In addition to that add a 400Gig Router head end, $1Million. That does not include installation cost and on going support and maintenance, in addition to providing power protection and network support at an ongoing cost, do you realise that is a lot of money for 400 uers on 1gb internet? How much will it cost per customer? okay lets say it costs 5million to set up, And do some handwaving, its around $12,000 per year.

        Oh wait, do you know why our international links are only 1terabits per sec…ie. 1000 gigabits per sec…

        oh, how much it cost for them to upgrade that….tens of millions, how many users on 1gb will be on that link, 1000? …okay lets say we do some overbooking which is normal, say 1 :50, that means with 50,000 users wed have killed off a big slice of our international internet bandwidth…. oh yeah, you better upgrade that international link then….

        • ever heard of data centres? with gigabit networks you pop a few of them in and keep it local.

          • Data centres already have 1-10Gig fibre links, they are dedicated fibre,which PON /FTTP would not be suited for. There arent many data centres compared to homes, i know of no data centre within 10km of where i live in metro sydney.

          • The engineering folly of the NBN is that is has over engineered itself to the moon.

            It is true that each fibre on the NBN will be able to deliver up to 10Gbps, probably more, but does every house in your street need this? Well, they are going to get it. At least the fibre anyway.

            This is the cost that comes with providing and having to maintain into the future a premium grade carriage system which should be exclusive only for commerical uses and those where viable.

            Building a carriage system (fibre) capable of running at 10Gbps, and running it at 12 or 100mbps is simply wasteful. Trying to be less wasteful and at the same time being wasteful is to try to overbuild network capacity to put everyone on 1Gbps and that the same time digging yourself further into the hole.

            The solution is really to find the best fit and practical approach.

          • You could also argue that building a carriage system capable of running 9,600bps (ie the apparently still possible but mysterious Conditioned Local Loop) and trying to run it at 24,000,000,000bps is wasteful too.

            I wonder how much time and sanity has been lost explaining and diagnosing ADSL faults?
            I know that I have personally had a 20 minute discussion on Christmas day explaining that no, in fact we didn’t drop the customer’s line speed from 9.1 mbit to 8.9 because of some oppressive policy.

            I suppose it paid, but it wasn’t exactly productive.

          • We have found that its the fibre laying that costs the money, not the lighting of it. You can light it at 1 gig for virtually the same price if not cheaper than lighting it at 100meg. just sayin.

          • DUDE WRONG AGAIN

            “Building a carriage system (fibre) capable of running at 10Gbps, and running it at 12 or 100mbps is simply wasteful. Trying to be less wasteful and at the same time being wasteful is to try to overbuild network capacity to put everyone on 1Gbps and that the same time digging yourself further into the hole”

            This was true of copper but it is certainly untrue for an optical network!

            You need to take a course in network economics!


        • Because it’s 2012 and the plan is to upgrade it over time as necessary with technologies that are affordable at the time.

          • Indeed…

            In a nutshell, it is ridiculous when we need Oz wide future ready infrastructure to do it with yesterdays technology.

            It is clear, the motives of those who advocate we do so…imo.

          • yeah sure conspiracy…i’m thinking about the rorts going on and all the pushers like this ex-BT guy trying to get governments to overbuild and over engineer networks so which ever board thisguy now sits in, will be able to hock more gear and consulting $$$ at tax payers expense to fund this hopefully long and costly project.

            the nbn is nothing more than an OVER ENGINEERING and therefore COSTLY and INEFFICIENT proposal. The claim that every line in the millions of houses will be capable of 1G-10Gbps should not be said with pride but with shame, as it is an example of very poor engineering practice, that we pay for a top of the line fibre link to the majority of residents who may only use a small fraction of the lines capability throughout the life of the NBN.

            this kind of over-spec. is not new in engineering,


          • Did they way over engineer copper too, because it was capable of carrying a lot more than the initial phone call? Of course not. Fibre can carry way more than they are providing, so what, the fibre isn’t that expensive, it’s a pretty small cost compared to lablour. Why not use it? It would be stupider to roll out something a little cheaper that, say coax, if it is even that much cheaper, and then have to replace it with fibre eventually anyway.

          • Not to mention that Copper is far more expensive than fibre these days (fibre cables being essentially glass strands in a series of protective polymer sheaths).

          • @ DUDE in Telco

            Sorry, as this is somewhat off topic, but I need to inform you, that I find you and guy’s comments uncannily similar.

            Especially the OVER ENGINEERED (shouted like this) and repeated 10Gbps comments you “both” use.

            Perhaps you have found your doppelganger?


            “i’m thinking about the rorts going on and all the pushers like this ex-BT guy trying to get governments”

            I’m not trying to get government to do anything of the sort…just getting them to realise that they have been misinformed and need to start thinking about the needs of a nation rather than the easy life desires of companies with outmoded thinking.


        • The Problem With DUDES in Telco’s

          1) They come infected with the limited thinking aligned with their business

          2) And their business is founded on a 200 year legacy of copper and not future IT needs

          3) They have been used to a monopoly past

          4) Like the bankers they have lost all sight of their full responsibilities to the society in which they live

          5) Their old technology choices and management systems mean they cannot respond fast to change

          6) BUT their was a bit of a golden time when their networks were transformed by optical fibre linking cities

          7) In BTs case this saw staffing fall from 242,000 to 110,000, and if they did FTTH it would fall to 30,000 or less

          8) AND THEN they did really dumb things like MPLS which is a concatenation of decision errors

          9) More equipment and interface types than necessary is really bad engineering

          10 And so is over 6000 buildings when you need less than 100 – and this is copper v glass

          Here are things telco’s real don’t get:

          8) The world is not asymmetric

          9) The cost go getting bandwidth to any location is zip – 1 bit/s or 10Gbit/s it is the same – civil engineering dominates all cost – even when you already have ducts in place

          10) The cost of fibre is much less than copper for long lines and the local loop – there is no difference….

          11) FTTH provides a future proofing, ease of operation, lowest cost and the ultimate flexibility

          12) FTTC/K et all with electronics between switch and customer just adds unreliability operating costs

          13) PONS – GPON AND BPON et al made sense when fibre was 25p/m but not any more!

          14) Direct fibre is simple cheap and reliable and can be built with office grade EtherNet kit

          15) Without FTTH we will never have effective 3G or 4G – we need these nodes in offices and homes

          16) The UK will be frozen out of Cloud Computing without a bandwidth everywhere

          17) Bandwidths like 1Gbit/s might look huge today but they will look puny tomorrow

          18) In my lifetime fast was: 90, 110, 300, 600, 1200, 2400, 9600, 18,200, 56,000, 64,000, 365 bit/s…,1, 2, 10, 20, 100, 200, 1000Mbit/s……why would anyone think this progression would stop or even slow down ??

          19) No surprise then the leading industrial nations look upon the UK and its silly debates with pity and amusement whilst they get on with the job.

          20) It is worth visiting China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Scandinavia, Jersey +++ to see the actuality and their plans to move up to 10Gbit/s to the home.

          21) Over 35% of the UK population work on the move from home office/s, hotels. cars +++ and without bandwidth on the move they cannot achieve what is possible.

          22) This country has its back to the financial wall and needs to focus on the GDP enabling technologies and those members of the population that can invoke +ve change to the benefit of all.

          The very saddest thing for me:

          23) I realised that all this was possible in 1979 when I completed my PhD – and then I demonstrated that FTTH worked and was cheaper than copper in1986. By the early 90s BT had built the factories to build these systems and we had commence roll out when the Thatcher government stopped the programme in favour of getting in the USA cable companies – who by the way were not allowed to supply telephony service in the USA! Our collaborators at that time were the Japanese and Koreans….and they just kept going….looking at the UK in amazement as we were left in the dust of time!

          Now to my position – lest you think me some impractical academic. In my BT life I was employed as:

          1) A digger of trenches

          2) An installer of poles, cables, telephones PBXs, exchanges

          3) A maintainer of PBXs, switches, repeater and radio stations

          4) A network designer and planner

          5) A research engineer

          6) A software writer

          7) A designer of test equipment

          8) Systems and networks designer

          9) Head of Group a then Head of Section and then Head of Division for Transmission Systems

          10) Head of Research and then CTO

          And since leaving BT life and experience has been even faster and even broader…

          I do hope this helps, Peter

          PS = You sound like a smart guy – you should move into IT and out of the old telco world…..lots of good companies out there…

          • I used to be the Business Customer Delivery & Data Center Manager for Adam Internet here in SA and I can tell you that the views of “Dudes in telco” here does not reflect the majority onion of those in the ISCT Industry – most of us know full well that the NBN plan (ACCC POI decision excepted) is first rate and will have a massively positive impact on Small to medium business who cant afford fibre or P2P microwave services.

            It will also revolutionise content delivery to residential premises and have many other positive flow on effects for government delivered services.

        • Over engineered, huh?

          Once upon a time, the county laid in a laneway for 3 local serfs to use to get to market, was pretty good for them, and it coped.
          Then someone decided it was a good route to use for a Cobb & Co coach, but the damned serfs with their donkeys kept getting in the way, so the coach was delayed. Someone at Cobb & Co had a chat with the county, and next thing, county turned up with horses and moshees and made that track into a boulevarde wide enough for the serfs to pass each other as they dragged their buggies and drays back and forth, and Mr Cobb’s coaches had room to overtake and not be delayed.

          Some idiot working in the neighbouring county said it was over-engineered, all that wasted space…

          Crank forward 100 years, the county has become a nice sized town, with happy residents, thankful for the county having had the foresight to make that road so wide, never any delays for the happy burghers whizzing up and down in their cars, but they dont like to go over to the hick-town over the hill, because the roads there are narrow little tracks with houses and stuff built right up to them preventing the byways from ever being widened.

          Even the citizens of hick-town grumble about their forefathers lack of foresight, unlike those of the neighbouring county

          Guy in TELCO and other narrow-minded retrogrades, Take Note!

          • Spot on Paul, if we don’t build the highways nobody will visit, and the rural areas will continue to decline. As our food and water comes from them we should take better care of them… they are the lifeblood of the cities. The information superhighway is more necessary for them than for anyone. Its vital to get the fibre out into those areas.

  2. I pretty much agree with your opinion/analysis on this. The big problem I think is that the lies News Corp have been spouting have become very much entrenched. Then you have the Turnbull apologists who use shaming tactics to criticise anyone in favor of the NBN: “It’s for movie downloads”, “It’s for games”, “It’s for p0rn” etc.

    Just the other day Abbott was speaking in Melbourne repeating the same nonsense about the NBN describing it as “great leap backwards to the 1960s” amongst other things and what details did he provide for his alternative? “there is a better way and we will put it in place” and that’s all he needs because of our apathy, our collective apathy is so great we dont even question this we just accept it. The point is how can anyone even try to promote FTTH in the same way as Cochrane here when they know they are up against Australians rabid stupidity.

  3. Because there is no valid technical argument against FTTH, which was an outcome of Telstras dominance and intransigence, the fallback is an economic one of “it costs too much”.

    Invoking the laws of physics won’t help because politicians are already in denial of any science that contradicts their political beliefs.

    And we wouldn’t want to be seen as investing in anything that lasts more than one term of parliament.
    Wasn’t it the same economists that foresaw the GFC?

  4. My business (which is just me working from home) would expand and grow immensely with a competitive net speed – I mean competitive with similar businesses operating in the USA, UK and Scandinavia.
    I live semi rural, not remote by any means. I despair at the coalition, with city slickers like Turnbull blocking quality infrastructure for the majority, while urban dwellers have fast speeds and wi-fi already.
    I’m going to have to move to an NBN location I think, but fear for the future of people like me if Abbott and Turnbull get to shove a stick in the spokes of technological progress.

    • okay say you live in semi rural, how far are you from the telephone exchange say 10Km? to haul a fibre cable to where you live…hmmm lets say there is best case senario the is already a conduit that has free capacilty inst blocked and doesnt run through heavy forest or up and down hills, around creek bends , across roads etc… that would cost around…hm $50K ? nah probably 100K if you factor in labour, materials, paying for work in regional area such as accomodation, cost of fuel, contractor equipment hire, additional hrs of work, logistics, project management…. thats the best case scenario…. real scenario would be more like $150-200k …maybe more.

      • If that was the situation they would be on the wireless NBN. Or are you betting on being stupid enough to do a run like that for a couple of premises. And that is assuming the OP is even in that sort of location.

        • problem is most people “think” they will be getting the fibre,reality is, when they start rolling out and the costs start blowing out, ….

          btw wireless is inferior , even to copper. youd rather have a reliable 1Mbps over copper than a flakey 20mbps over wireless

          • Well, that depends on the wireless. I have used fixed wireless and it was very very reliable, in fact I don’t know of any downtime in over 5 years. It was a link between inner city offices, I think about 7km apart Way more than 12Mb though, it was around 100Mb Though it wasn’t a patch on the 8G fibre speed or latency wise.


        “okay say you live in semi rural, how far are you from the telephone exchange say 10Km?”

        85% of the UK population are less than 1km from a BT fibre.

        AND REAL trenching cost vary from £3 – £85/meter

        COMMUNITY NETWORKS do it even cheaper!


        • Agree again Mr C. Trenching can be very cheap. Especially in rural areas with uninterrupted vast tracts of land. And especially if you get farmers on the job. They can do it really easily, they are used to hard graft and long days. Men of grit. We already know fibre and ducting is cheap. So what’s the problem?


        “btw wireless is inferior , even to copper. youd rather have a reliable 1Mbps over copper than a flakey 20mbps over wireless”

        This is all getting dumber by the contribution.

        You know this makes no sense and is totally erroneous!


      • what country are you from?
        this is australia. they get contractors to carry out the work for all telco work now so it costs them a pitance and they charge the same amount and then screw those contractors to the ground. they use intermediate company contracts to screw them for as much as they can to cut cost(they say(telstra,foxtel,optusnet & bigpond).

  5. And why would we expect at a techie to say anything else? He is not paying the bill. I have been exposed to IT long enough to know they over promise, invariably under delivery and at a higher price than agreed. Then someone else pays the bill.

    • Techies generally look for the best, most cost effective solution. It is the salespeople who try to con people into buying IT that they don’t need. A salesperson will tell someone they need a new computer every year just to send email and browse the web. A techie will just fix up that same person’s 8 year old computer instead.
      In this case I think that the techie is looking to save money. FTTN is throwing money away on something worthless. FTTH is investing money. It costs more to begin with, because it is much more valuable. FTTN is like putting a spoiler and chrome rims on a clapped-out Datsun 180B, FTTH is like buying a new car – it is more expensive up front but economically much more sensible.

      • Actually FTTH the way Labor is doing it is essentially free. It’s destroying Telstra’s stranglehold on telecom and basically using Telstra’s absurdly high monopoly margins to pay for the cost of the buildout. Given every single person who cares for voice communication or internet over landline will be using NBNCo’s lines, the revenue required to turn a profit is virtually guaranteed. And as we’ve seen already, prices are often *lower* than what Telstra charges.

        • sorry to burst your bubble but telstra is one of the major contractors to have won the nbn co rollout.

          • So? I believe that has been mentioned a number of times. He was talking about Telstra’s vertical monopoly. Telstra are doing work for hire, they retain no ownership of what they are paid to build.

      • Like “up to” it would also be nice to see the end of another one – the demeaning term “techies”. Generally used by clueless marketing people to put people with technical aptitude in the lowest slot possible.

    • Although you foot the bill, its not an expense – its an investment, much like the NBN.

      That techie not meeting the deadline and spending extra hours on optimisation/perfection may have saved or earned you much more.

    • Err, but it’s not just about the bill, either, something the critics can’t quite grasp.

  6. ” Australia needs more voices on the pro-NBN side of the fence.”


    What Australia actually needs is more intelligent, balanced, voices that can speak with reason and appeal to all.

    These voices will not only voice their approval of FTTH – but also hold the Labor Party and NBN Co accountable for the way they manage the whole project (FYI – the management has not been perfect and should not be excused just because “its the NBN”).

    THAT is what we need.

    Unfortunately – all we get are crazy people who end up polarising the whole debate. I see a lot of them commenting here in fact.

    • I thinbk we are better off as it is. NBNCo managing the project. Don’t put any political party in charge of an IT projects. Most of the time it’s politics (including company internal politics) that is the ruin of most IT projects. Just leave them the F alone and let them do their job. Most techies take pride in neat, eligant, cost effective sollutions. It’s invariably the pointy haired bosses that screw the whole thing up.

      • “Most techies take pride in neat, eligant, cost effective sollutions.”

        There are actually two extremes here, there are techies that look for the most neat elegant & cost effective solutions and then there are those who try to optimize and squeeze as much as they can out of available technologies. Both have their faults of course but the most glaring and counter productive one is the optimization techies never know when it’s time to upgrade. This as manifested itself into a small vocal group in favour of FTTN, they want to prove to the world they have the “skills” to squeeze the most out of redundant copper. This is just a big ego trip for them just like overclockers.

        • Good point. I remember a few programmers who got carried away with their favourite little project. Usually once a few get together they tend to pound some sense into the ones that get carried away. I see the beauty in squeezing more performance out of what exists already. That said though, hopefully it would be to squeeze performance at a minimal outlay until a solution was available to take it further. If FTTN was implemented 5-10 years ago as was originally proposed it may have had some use. Now it’s like the guy with the 10 year old Hyundai Accent putting on sports exhausts and body kits. Spending as much money in the end as if he’d bought a better performing car in the first place. The end result is a massive waste of money.

          • Noddy, I’d suggest the fact that when we buy a current ADSL2 plan that is up 24Mbps and most are lucky to receive even half that, suggests we have “already squeezed the performance to beyond coppers limitations” and it is simply time to move forward…

          • Yes, I agree. Take some time to read comments before replying. i was not suggesting trying to get more out of copper. I was saying it was uneconomical to try to do so.

          • And if you take Turnbull’s advice, you will upgrade from Win31 to Vista!

            But no extra CPU or RAM, mind you…

    • I am inclined to agree. What we really need is more intelligent debate on both sides of the spectrum.

      Renai, you do a good job, but there needs to be a wider media attitude that seeks to critique the policy and the NBN’s management and things of this nature, rather than just spouting populist nonsense.

      I don’t say this to troll, but why don’t we give a little bit of consideration to alternative ways of achieving ubiquitous, accessible and fast broadband? Hypothetical I know, but what if the gov and have gone to Telstra in the post-soul, David thodey era and tried to collaborate. Maybe the gov pays to upgrade the HFC network to docsis 3.0 nationwide, and extend the network to areas that have developed to sufficient density post the initial rollout (here ftth can be used, as a way of saying sorry for years of rim torture even) and in exchange the network is opened up to wholesale access with pricing set by the accc.

      And in regional centers of a sufficient size, open access ftth can also be rolled out.

      Regional towns that aren’t of adequate size for ftth, but where Telstra is the only player should have back haul installed, and then let market forces build the dslam infrastructure. The regional back haul program seems to be doing a good job of this: internode/iinet have built dslams in places like geraldton because of the backhaul. Or perhaps wireless can be used, especially in places where the copper lines are particularly decayed.

      And of course, everywhere else some better satellites should be deployed. A tick here to the NBN.

      This isn’t a thorough detailed plan by any stretch. But I always struggle with extremism in any setting. It’s simply not a question of brand new FTTH or decrepate 50 year old copper lines. There are HFC cables which are less than 20 years old. Surely there is plenty of life still in them?

      Is fast broadband vital to this country? Yes, we can’t compete on things like manufacturing, but we can when it comes to things in the digital economy. So we need good broadband, and I believe that HFC ought to be part of the mix.

      Surely we can found a sensible balance between Alan jones’ laser beams and the NBN which threatens to show us we have learnt nothing since the fiasco that was telstra’s privatization, and their enduring monopoly.

      • The issues you bring up have been covered numerous times on both this website and by NBNCo, especially in its business plan. In a subsequent comment you claim both sides of the debate should be represented equally. This is a common logical fallacy where two sides are automatically considered “extreme” and the truth thus must lie inbetween.

        The reality is there is no such truth to the anti-NBN “side”. None of their technical or economic arguments have any merit whatsoever. You talk of “20 year old” HFC that’s not too old. It’s been explained that HFC is inherently asymetrical, and the quality of the system depends heavily on which company rolled it out. It’s also massively shared, as in 100+ users per node, and each node is only capable of a *theoretical maximum* of 5 gbps if *all bandwidth is provisioned for internet*. Once you reach that max, there’s no going further as the copper can’t handle it. Compare that to GPON, which achieves 2.4 gbps among 32 users on a single node, and is easily upgradable to XGPON (10 gbps among 32 users), and will soon enough be upgraded to 40 gbps among 32 users. Upgrading also requires nothing more than replacing the equipment at the ends of the fiber, an extremely cheap process.

        Furthermore NBNCo-style wholesale service over coax hasn’t been proven technically feasible anywhere in the world. The entire economic plan whereby the government recoups its entire investment on the NBN and then *makes an annual 7% profit* requires the implementation of a wholesale service.

        As for your DSLAM and wireless comment, they are an order of magnitude slower than HFC, and a complete waste of investment.

    • Umm crazy people polarizing comments really where in the press have you seen Positive commentary?? Nowhere but in IT media but mainstream is 100% Negative

      • @AJ that’s exactly the point, we need balanced and intelligent debate on both sides of the spectrum. The current spectrum where it is almost 100% ridiculed by mainstream media is a very bad situation.

        • Sadly, when Australia’s media is run almost exclusively by those who oppose the NBN for their own selfish reasons, what chance do we have of rationality reaching the average Aussie?

    • “What Australia actually needs is more intelligent, balanced, voices that can speak with reason and appeal to all.”

      Agreed. I’m not sure why Renai thinks Cochrane would be better for the NBN debate. I think our Paul Budde beats the UK’s Peter Cochrane (of what little I know of him) any day of the week. I’m totally against Mr Budde’s NBN stance but I have always respected his nuanced arguments.

    • “What Australia actually needs is more intelligent, balanced, voices that can speak with reason and appeal to all.”

      We tried that. It turns out that 99% of the media doesn’t listen to people like that. That’s why we need more pro-NBN crazies. The media loves crazies ;)

      • Even though the Australian printed a pro NBN article today?

        The Age recently wrote some positive NBN articles

        The ABC’s Nick Ross is a strong NBN supporter:

        Also, the majority (56% of people surveyed according to Essential Research) support the NBN.

        So it’s hard to see why more one-eyed pro-NBN evangelists are needed.

        • The Australian’s article was an opinion piece from an ad agency. The other stuff has achieved marginal distribution.

          I take your point; things are slowly changing. But it would be good to have some more people to say passionate things about the NBN in general.

          • “I take your point; things are slowly changing. But it would be good to have some more people to say passionate things about the NBN in general.”

            You should lead by example. Show us how to be a “pro-NBN crazy” :-)

        • KingForce,

          Thanks for the URLs (I will peruse them later, at my leisure).

          However, I see, without looking into it too much, there are only two from mainstream media, one from here and another from ABC’s “technology and games” blog.

          Unfortunately for the two positive mainstream media articles you possibly pained to find, there are probably 20 negative articles, readily available.

          This probably explains why we need more one-eyed, pro-NBN evangelists and many less, blindly political anti-NBN sheep.

      • Balance is meaningless in this case. There is no argument for FTTN over FTTH. These are real-world speeds BT is seeing in the UK:

        Distance to Cabinet Downstream Upstream
        147 m 106 Mbps 22 Mbps
        171 m 121 Mbps 27 Mbps
        183 m 98 Mbps 9 Mbps
        245 m 104 Mbps 21.6 Mbps
        248 m 107 Mbps 27 Mbps
        269 m 98 Mbps 27 Mbps
        392 m 81.5 Mbps 19.8 Mbps
        416 m 96 Mbps 30 Mbps
        490 m 76 Mbps 24.2 Mbps
        612 m 56 Mbps 22 Mbps
        857 m 32 Mbps 8.5 Mbps
        1372 m 22 Mbps 1.7 Mbps

        That’s it. That’s all you get. Beyond 1500 meters the speeds aren’t even worth talking about. There’s no “upgrade path” either. Look how terribly assymetrical it is. This isn’t what you want to spend billions of dollars on.

        • These speeds would have been impressive in ~2006 and might satisfy a few people 2012 – 2014 but the big problem like you said and also my main concern is the upgrade path too, we’ll have to be satisfied with these speeds for a very long time if FTTN is rolled out. Maximum of 80mbps down & 20mbps up in 2021 when NBNco will most likely be offering 100/40mbps as their slowest option? Certainly puts it into perspective the glaring inadequacies of FTTN.

          • I think there’s a little bit more than could be squeezed from this – at the moment I think they’re using profile 17a without vectoring.

            But basically, you’re right.

          • If they start signing up more and more customers I hope they move to vectoring. With the low uptake they are getting there would be very little crosstalk and those numbers would be inflated. If VDSL2 FTTN replaced ADSL2+ here there would be way more than the 5-10% the UK are getting. That would mean way more crosstalk and crosstalk is the big speed killer vectoring fixes. I still cannot find a home grad VDSL2 vectoring enabled modem available for home use. Only a few vectoring modems are available and they are big expensive (3000+) commercial units.

          • Also I’m concerned about the exorbitant prices that will eventuate from a FTTN network, since it won’t allow people to choose any slower or faster speeds, what you get is what you’ll be stuck with. Using FTTH enables people to choose a plan based on their wants/needs/budget and with FTTN there will be less choice, the only way individuals will be able to save money will be to choose a plan that has less quota reducing the usefulness of a these FTTN plans to dial-up levels. The disadvantaged will be forced to pay much more under this scenario.

        • FTTN system is devised so that max distance is between 1.5-2km… which is a replacement for the whole copper based system.

          Those figures look correct for ADSL2+, but of course it talks nothing about how technology will improve the throughput over a copper loop given <2Km length if this is the system to be adopted and research continued given certainty.

          • It isn’t a replacement for the whole copper based system because its still using the copper based system and only those close to cabinets will benefit. Also the cost to the end user will remain very high as this is an expensive system to maintain and run. It will be of no benefit whatsoever for those on longer line lengths or with old wires.

          • Favourable? to make do with 15 meg or less unless you are close to a cab? The whole job will be to do again if they do that Andrew, in another couple of years 15 meg throttled and capped if its anything like the UK will be useless. I still think the job should be done once, and done right.

          • All depends on how much money you want to spend now, and how much money you think you will have in the future…

            Remember that South Korea which apparently has fibre everywhere so we are told, only has an average speed of 17 Meg. So even a 15 Meg connection given low contention in the backhaul networks can perform close to South Korean levels.

          • If all the bottlenecks are removed by using fibre everywhere, and we take an abundance model instead of the scarcity model which is used now, then that will make all the difference. Someone on 15meg on a cabinet can’t go much faster and will end up slowing down further – whereas Korea only have to change the lights or buy more data and they can go as fast as they like. Fibre can keep ramping up. Copper has got almost as far as it can. We can’t change the laws of physics. We can’t shrink the miles. Only fibre can deliver for the next generation of people and applications. Its like trying to go from lands end to john o groats on a bike in a day, whereas in a car its entirely possible. With a high speed jet its minutes. Nowt wrong with bikes. But you need the right tool for the job, and copper is a bike. Adsl is a bike with a puncture. Cabinets have bald tyres ready to burst.

    • How has the management not been “perfect”? I honestly haven’t heard of a single major screwup. NBNCo has been run as efficiently as any privately owned corporation- and contrary to the way most major corporations are run these days it’s demonstrated a certain level of ethical dedication to society. It’s quite astonishing really.

      • The only ‘screw up’ that I can recall is the one regarding the tender for subcontractors. And in that I see nothing unremarkable. I imagine it could be exactly the same thing that could occur with any private enterprise corp. Rather it’s a case of NBNCo being subject to degree of scrutiny far above what would experienced in the private sector. And just like the private sector, it was dealt with. A revised contracting procedure and parameters. No big deal.

        Other than that is been minor issues regarding greenfield estates, etc. And considering the scope of works then they are what would justifiably be considered to be fairly minor details.

    • ”Australia needs more voices on the pro-NBN side of the fence.”

      Completely disagree. The NBN can look after itself. They have two dozen people working in PR and not a week passes that you don’t find a fluff piece somewhere in the media highliting a case study (usually the same people) of the NBN about how it is enabling business.

      The standard case study users are Paul Gosney and Sharon Turner. Google their names with ‘NBN’ and you will find hundreds of hits. Fairfax wrote about them twice in one week:



      There is a false argument here that if you prop up one side of the argument against the other that you will somehow arrive at the truth. The NBN is a complex topic and an important part of our future, it shouldn’t be simplified in for-or-against tribalism and nor should it be trivialized with repeated off-the-shelf case studies.

      • Agree Rick, we need to expose the truth, the facts, and encourage sensible debates to bring these out. I can’t stand case studies, they trivialise the whole thing, but the policy makers seem to need them. The real case study should be the vast number of forums, social media is discussing it all and they are not seeing it. They are mainly sat in ivory towers getting their emails from a secretary printed on dead trees. As I see it we all have two choices:
        1. We make do and mend, and patch up the old phone network using cabinets, and keep the expensive monopolised networks running for another decade, and then we upgrade to real NGA,
        2. We do the job now. Do it once, and do it right. With fibre to the homes, recycle the expensive copper, and build a futureproof infrastructure.

        • Instead of a case-study, why not a full-blown build in one major metro?

          For example concentrate resources and roll it out to all of, say, Adelaide. Then we will have real data about costs, real data about take-up, and real data about timelines. All at a fraction of the price of a national roll-out. This would be a prudent economic approach and is hard to argue with.

          If Adelaide works, do another big city or even two – say Brisbane & Canberra. Around the same time you hit some smaller regional cities like Geelong or Fremantle to see if things are different.

          If it all still adds-up, do the rest.

  7. A question for anybody that knows.The Govt. has paid Telstra a large amount of money to use its facilities to hasten the NBN rollout. Why does this, if indeed it does, mean only to the “node” and not all the way to the “house”?. If I’m reading this correctly it appears that it is a big hole that anybody could exploit to their own ends and not “ours”.

    • NBN Co have only leased the ducts and some existing Dark Fibre, If Malcolm really wants to roll out FTTN he’s going to have to hand over even more money to telstra to add the copper to the lease deal and we all saw how long it took to get Telstra to agree to a deal with NBN co – so much for faster cheaper, stupid libs!!!

      • So are you saying if the fibre doesn’t go all the way to the house, but Telstra’s copper is used that will have to paid for because at this moment it’s not included in the contract?To cut to the chase as a layman with an interest I’m trying to understand why or how this variable came about.

        • Correct, if the Libs forced a change to FTTN, NBN Co would run fibre and power to where the pillars (most like outcome) are now and install the powered Nodes in their place which “convert” the optical fibre into an electrical signal and send it down your old rotting Copper cable.

          This is of course Telstra’s Copper so the libs will have to throw many more billions at Telstra as NBN Co will require exclusive rights to the copper to do this.

        • When you lease a car do you lease a trailer you don’t need.
          So why would NBNco lease the copper they don’t need.

          • They would have to lease the copper, because they have scrimped and only got fibre to the nodes. Far better to get fibre to every house, and then they are free from the constraints and costs of upkeeping an obsolete phone network.

  8. It does mean all the way to the house (thought I believe the conduit from the street to the house is the property owners responibility? The conduit, not the copper in it.). The current agreement lets them use Telstra ducts everywhere. It does not let them use the copper. Part of the agreement is that Telstra would decommision the copper after a certain number of years. I think the standard is 3, and some areas are 10 years where there is wireless NBN. The 10 years is to make sure they have comparable service or better than ADSL2+ as time of decomission.

    • Thanks Noddy.So if the copper is decommissioned won’t it have to be replaced with something at some stage?

      • the copper has to be replaced at some point, might as well do it now and save the expense of rolling out BB twice (FTTN followed byt FTTH).

        The FTTH network also costs a lot less to run and maintain as the only power that is required is at the POI/Exchange and the House at the other end – there are no powered FTTN cabinets littering the landscape using big battery backup systems to be vandalised etc either.

        • If the NBN work has proceeded to a stage and or the Contract is irreversible at least up to the node why would the LNP(I’m presuming it will be them) then not choose to go right to the house if it has so many cost and practical advantages?

  9. Thanks Paul H for those links.

    Cochrane doesn’t say that the British should copy the Australian NBN model of creating a government owned wholesale monopoly that builds FTTH to 93% of premises. He only says that the British government should provide money, ₤560 million, for start up companies (pg 10).

    Intriguingly, when Cochrane talks about internet access he says “The cost of a mobile phone and a laptop is so low that, believe me, everyone can afford one.”

    But in 2011 ACMA found that 2.6 million Australians do not have access to the internet


    Also, according to Turbull who cites the ABS; only 43% of households earning less than $40,000 have access to the internet.


    The most perplexing statement from Dr Cochrane is that he thinks high speed broadband, as a strategic utility, is extremely important, “probably even more so than road and rail.”

    Perhaps then, Cochrane may also be exaggerating that FTTN is “one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made”.

    Cochrane may well be a visionary, but his head seems too far up in the clouds for my liking.

    • Every country should copy Australia’s model. When the devil did people stop taking Econ 101? Infrastructure should be provisioned by government. Private companies have perverse incentives that lead to substandard service if infrastructure building is left to them.

      • The insulation scheme is a case in point. I am not using this as a negative comment on the labor party. More to show what scum bags private enterprise are.

        • The noalition are at it again.

          In all seriousness, FTTH is the way to go. Do it properly once and it’ll last 60 years. Do only FTTN and in 10 years you’ll have to upgrade to FTTH anyway, most likely at greater expense. Might as well take advantage of economies of scale and get it done all at once.

          The advantage of going FTTH is obvious: once you’ve done it, all you need to do is upgrade the equipment at each end, which is relatively cheap, quick, and has excellent cost/benefit ratios.

          I’m not against genuine arguments against the NBN, especially cost; if we can bring it down while still delivering the same thing, let’s do it. And the argument about cost over all is a vaild argument – but it’s the only really valid argument against FTTH, and that argument is largely overcome by the fairly futureproof nature of FTTH.

          As to the wireless fanatics? Yes, wireless will have its place in the mix. But the physics of wave propagation mean that you can only get so much out of wireless. Fibre obviously has a limit somewhere too, but light can carry a far greater amount of information (having higher energy) than radio waves (which are relatively low energy). I think the most illustrative example of this is that once signals get to the network, they’re translated across to FIBRE. So an upgrade of fibre becomes necessary anyway.

          That’s not to say that wireless won’t continue to be successful, and continue to grow strongly. It will, of course, but the uses people have for wireless are fundamentally different than those for wired connections. Wireless is for portable or small amounts of data, where volumes aren’t that huge. If you’re downloading a 22GB database from another of your business’ data centres though, you’re not going to be using wireless. Ditto for the home user downloading movies, or the IT user working from home who’s tunnelling SSH (Imagining the latter across a wireless connection gives me nightmares), or the university student accessing a 2 hour lecture from a companion university overseas to further his study (there are uses for video other than movies, after all).

          In addition, I think wireless data will always be more expensive than wired, being a comparatively scarcer commodity (scarcity increasing price and all that), limiting its growth and use somewhat. I’m using 3G internet as my main connection right now (no choice – I live in a granny flat with a fubar copper pair), and I long for the stability of wired.

          • At least read my comment properly before posting. Afterall it seems you spent a long time writing it at least spend a few seconds to read what you are replying too. I know the words “insulation scheme” are usually mentioned by coalition supporters. I was mentioning them as an example why the coalition’s idea of giving money to private enterprise to be “more efficient” isn’t always good. There are scumbags that will just try to rip them off.

      • No other country should copy the Australian Scheme.

        We want all the economic advantages to our self.

    • @ KingForce

      If I were part of a government and 2.6m of my fellow countrymen and women/43% of households earning under $40K couldn’t afford access to privately owned internet, I’d probably take the reins, “as a prudent and fair minded government would”, say enough and roll out affordable internet for them/all Aussies.

      Wouldn’t you?

    • @King Force someone looking at the wider picture.

      As a visionary and guest speaker Cochrane has carved a nice niche. What Australia needs is a key figure who understands the nuances of your demographics. how business works and also how the technology can work.

      At present you appear to have diametric views, who are fighting rather actually building the network.

  10. FTTH is the best thing since sliced bread (something fast than light? please let me know). This type of thing is the reason we are looked upon as a backwards country people like Turnbull and Abbott speaking and paying others to speak meaningless dribble at whatever cost to get their seats in the top job. They’re have tried to stall the NBN at every move at whatever cost and have succeeded in doing what they do best NOTHING !

    • I have a feeling it’s meaningless dribble from Abbott. His only interest is to win the next election. As for Turnbull, I think he is saying what he has to say, not necessarily what he believes.

      • “His only interest is to win the next election.”

        So true. There’s a disturbing amount of desperation to it too. No one that desperate should ever be prime minister, they are the worst kind. Australia would be crazy to just give it to him.

        • Well he must be. If he is still there come election time it will be his one chance. I doubt they would keep him if he lost.

  11. Pushing for the highest possible technological level is being a “hippy”?

    While others are planning for 10Gpbs there are actually people here considering a network that won’t even let us reach 100Mbps!!?

    We need 100Mbps now, and later we’ll need more. Give us the NBN already…

    • I agree – Hippy ? (no way)

      Watch the youtube video
      That guy is a typical conservative

  12. I would like ask about the cost of FTTH. Not laying the fibre, but the cost to the end user.

    How much bandwidth can someone on less than the average wage [$40K], or pensioners like me afford?

    Peter Cochrane, and others, only seem to talk about how beautiful the FTTH solution is and not what benefits the user can afford.



    Mr Malone* — My point was that, in relation to OPEL—forget about whether or not it should
    have been awarded to Optus or how that should have been done—what it was suggesting was
    that you use the appropriate technology to address each problem, and in my opinion that was the
    right thing. You use fibre to the node for the cities and the very large regional centres, ADSL2+
    with increased capacity for people that are just outside those areas and then something like a
    WiMAX or a wireless or a 3G, or whatever it is you want, for the infill to get you up to 96 per
    cent. Unfortunately for those people that are outside the power grid, satellite is usually the only
    option. Again, we kind of like that.

    Mr Malone — We have been quite open about this: our belief is that government should
    bugger off and let industry get on with doing what it does best
    . There is a social requirement
    here. There is a social obligation that people that cannot get access should be assisted to get
    access where it is not commercial, and we fully accept that.

    Mr Malone — We are presently only running ADSL2+. That is world’s best for suburban anywhere. There is a total of only 10 million houses in the entire world that are on fibre to the home and none of them look like suburban Australia. You have got very limited rollouts, obviously, in places like Hong Kong
    and Japan, but in places like Milan or Paris as well, it is always into high-density, high-rise

    ° Michael Malone, CEO & Founder, iiNet

    Wow, sure sounds like the Coalition’s policy. . ..

    Maybe the reason why Labor’s NBN is so poorly received in the so-called “mainstream” press is because the economic underpinnings of the plan is completely bonkers?

    Hmm… just a thought…

    • @1%

      Since you now and previously, like to post the words of Michael Malone, here’s what Michael had to say 25 February 2012 (so not 4 years ago) –

      “With a debt-to-GDP ratio of 8 per cent, it was an absolutely safe bet Australia could afford the National Broadband Network, founder and chief executive of iiNet Michael Malone told a lunch of the Canberra Business Council yesterday.

      Even if there were risks: ”We can afford to take that risk.” In 10 years people would wonder why there had been an argument about it, he said, recalling a similar argument about the roll out of electricity in Victoria…”



      Feel free to use this in future, as it is more up to date ;-)

      Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/aust-can-afford-nbn-risks-industry-expert-says-20120224-1ttnj.html#ixzz1tYxUoJAF

      • Actually 1%, let’s recap on everything your source of valuable information, Michael Malone said about the NBN recently (not years ago)…

        1. It was an absolutely safe bet Australia could afford the National Broadband Network

        2. running bang on target

        3. Take up was a weak measure

        4. The government’s policy was largely to begin building the network in areas which did not have competitive infrastructure.

        5. This left internet service providers with a similar margin but consumers would have a faster, more reliable broadband connection for less.

        6. Though mobile technology was an absolute unstoppable trend, he said the speed, performance and cost of fixed line services were much, much better.

        7. Congestion on the mobile network already saw incentives to people in the United States to return to the fixed line network.

        Thank you Michael, for clearly verifying for us all (particularly those who have been sneakily using your outdated comments) as to exactly what is occurring…

        I.e. the “NBN build is affordable”, is “on target”, is being “rolled out to a lot of Aussies who currently do not have”, “RSP’s will be no worse off”…whilst connections will be “faster, more reliable but will nonetheless cost less” and whilst complementary, is “superior to wireless”.

        So really what is the problem?

    • Funny you mention technology suitable for the job. The implementation study did that.
      That is why the 93-97% get Fix wireless because that is the point at which the fiber roles is not cost effective. It was not a point chosen at random by the government. FTTN was discounted for one simple reason it could not meet the stated aim of meeting a minimum standard for EVERY SINGLE USER on the network, and be able to meet those requirements when the minimum standard is needed to be increased in the future. None of the DSL bull of when you can only get this speed because your across the road from the exchange and not next door so your cable runs up the street first.

  14. Interesting given BT is getting their backside whooped here in the UK by companies like Virgin – who incidently do a FTTN service (I am currently on a 100mb plan for not much at all – its awesome). BT is known for being as bad if not worse than Telstra so what would you expect? Sounds like the sort of thing to come out of the good ‘ol ex senator Richard Alston (broadband is just for porn and serves no real purpose etc)

  15. What is going to happen in the long term is that we will get out fantastic speeds and then the content will die.

    Just like with TV where we have a plethora of delivery mechanisms, and we have a plethora of channels, and we have fantastic quality TV sets to watch it all on, yet we have absolutely nothing worth watching.

    Sometimes I wonder what people really expect to have when they get their fantastic fiber bandwidth. What problem will it solve? And what effect will it have on content?

    Incidentally, the greater the bandwidth and the greater the delivery throughput you can guarantee the greater will be the government involvement in keeping everything “nice and safe”, especially for business. Lock-down is rapidly approaching!

    • And private enterprise can/are by the sound of it, making a fortune flogging premium tin foil hats :/

      It’s a win – win.

    • If you have symmetry you will find content makers will bloom and grow. At the moment with asymmetrical slow old copper its too much effort to produce anything. The country who gets that first will corner the market.

      Once the kids are given the bandwidth their productivity will soar. Games. Videos. Apps. Businesses will start to germinate and the next big thing could come from OZ.
      Don’t compare it to reality shows… the real reality is that people have been throttled back for too long already. Give them the fat pipes and turn them on.

      • Commercial content making will still suffer from contention no matter what the last mile of connectivity.

        So even if NBN is rolled out as full fibre to 93% of properties, if the core network is insufficiently sized and international links are not large enough people will not see much more. This is the reason commercial fibre with 1:1 contention for use by broadcasters and in data centres costs as much as it does.

  16. “One of the things that amuses me greatly is “up to 20Mbps”. It is like “up to 5,000 cornflakes” in my box, but there are three. It does not help. It is an absurd product description. If anything needs deleting from the English language, it is “up to”.

    Give that man a cigar !

    My broadband claims it is “up to” 24Mbps, but is ACTUALLY only 3Mbps, no where near the “up to” speed.

  17. I have come to the conclusion that the Majority of Australians are stupid when it comes to technology. They make stupid comments like:

    Fibre only has a life span of 15 years
    Wireless is the future
    My current ADSL speed is enough
    What application would need such high bandwidth in the future? show me….

    These stupid mouth pieces includes:

    News Limited
    2GB Crew
    Mal Turnbull
    and course….Alan Jones and his love for the German laser technology.

    I give up on explaining to peoples why FTTH is a good thing for Australia.

    • fibre has a life span of 30yrs once its in the ground, and depending on the quality of the cable too. Given NBN is going wholesale deployment i doubt it is the quality that is traditionally used by telcos who deploy to business standards where fibre is a premium service. This would also depend on not just the cable but practices and parts associated with the fibre.

      It would be rare to find fibre over 30yrs still in operation anywhere, a cable does not need to be completely dead, but with age you may find faults occuring more frequently due to being in operation, usually its replaced every 20yrs ideally as to guarantee that for business in particularly they run without issues for crucial services.

      • which is why:

        A final observation on investment is that NBN’s heavy capital spending will not cease with the rollout. Both the Greenhill Caliburn review and NBN Co’s Corporate Plan show its completed networks require remarkably high ongoing capex to sustain them, presumably reflecting upgrades of the active electronics and in due course replacement of the fibre.

        By the 2020s, the Corporate Plan shows ‘replacement’ capex escalating to around $1.5 billion annually – double most estimates of the current cost of maintaining Telstra’s copper (the most costly and remote parts of which will still have to be maintained at that time). Greenhill Caliburn estimates in total $14 billion in ‘replacement’ capex will be incurred by NBN Co by 2028 for a network that by then will only on average be about ten years old.

        Analysis of the 2012-2021 period (where NBN Co has made public more detailed projections) show that ‘replacement’ investment averages an extraordinary $115 each year for each premise with an active service. So much for another frequently repeated NBN myth – that FTTP will drastically curtail network upkeep costs.


        • The ongoing costs are to provide for upgrades to the active electronics; NBN has already said that GPON is going to be upgraded to 10GPON once the rollout of the fibre is complete so stop with the lame liberal conspiracy theories!!!

        • > double most estimates of the current cost of maintaining Telstra’s copper

          Since Telstra don’t tell us how much it costs them to maintain the copper, where are we getting these estimates from? Malcolm Turnbull’s blog?

          • Just shows some people’s rationality and/or extreme partiality doesn’t it Dean.

            According to some, whatever Conroy/NBNCo say are lies (apart from the odd clause or comment which thse same critics can perceive as negative, then Conroy/NBNCo are to be believed… sigh).

            And “everything Turnbull” says is pure as driven snow… and they even supply URL’s?

            Seriously, until I started commenting at places like this I “obviously naively” thought Aussies were pretty fair, unselfish, mate orientated and open-minded. Boy was I wrong…

            READ, all sides of politics will exaggerate their positions, that’s a given.

            But goodness, haven’t the antics of those opposed to the NBN, with the out and out lies some espouse, given me a wake up call. Sure some of the e-health initiatives outlined for the future via the NBN sound far fetched to us now. But then so did sending instant mail/messages around the world from your own home, let alone from a mobile device, not so many years ago. Ever seen those old secret agent movies now on the greatest hits channels – where the agent actually had a digital watch or a micro-telephone, wow. Bet some thought, no way, back then, too.

            But before I am painted with the same but opposite coloured brush let me repeat…

            “The NBN is NOT perfect”… but it is EASILY the best plan I have heard…!

          • Too right Alex. Nothing in this life is perfect anyway, and getting good infrastructure into your country should rise above politics. Its mission critical to get the job done right. As best as you can, and that means fibre.

      • Hey dude, are you saying copper lasts forever then? Or copper lasts longer than fibre? Or that we should just keep replacing copper forever to protect the telco’s investment, or what? It can’t possibly make sense to use something that is suitable for telephones instead of a medium suitable for massive amounts of data transfer. Why use something as expensive as copper which degrades quickly when cheap glass can do the job so much better and isn’t as subject to degradation?

  18. I think a lot of techos need to understand that a huge chunk of Aussies:

    a) dont have a computer at all (eg my grandmother and aunt)
    b) barely use the one they have (my parents)
    c) will not get benefit from the super speeds the NBN offers. (

    On top of this…what exactly can a schoolkid learn using the NBN that they cant today?

    And who wants to see a virtual GP over the net? Maybe a sprinkly of people in remote areas who cant visit specialists frequently like someone in Sydney.

    Im not against the NBN but I think waaay too much money is being spent on it. Those billions could give us real hospital beds or payrises for teachers or a myriad of other better things in my opinion.

  19. Cochrane says, “Fibre to the cabinet is one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made,” How shallow! Or does this just show his ignorance. I think that there are a lot of larger mistakes that humanity has made … mistakes with dire consequences for the victims.
    Still, I should expect myopic people who think the world and its starving, poor, dispossed and war-torn have no consequence compared to their capitalistic money-making plans. But then again, that is how they got rich in the first place.
    Nect time I read about the NBN I will be so glad that its rollout will be righting “one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made”! I hope the refugee fleeing to Australia in a leaky boat understands that point!

  20. The ROI on a proper, fit for purpose, futureproof, ubiquitous fibre to the home network must not be underestimated. It will bring untold benefits to government, healthcare, education and ordinary citizens. Businesses will thrive, new businesses will start, and Australia will become a world leader in the digital revolution.

    If you go back to cabinets you go back to the dark ages and waste your time and money, as the whole job will be to do again in a few years.

    Break free while you have chance, and work together to make this network happen.

    The world is looking to you to show how its done, we need men of grit. Go to it Oz. Do the job once and do it right, don’t be sucked back into the copper pit with cabinets and old phone lines.

    chris (UK)

    • Interesting extract from B4RN business plan for those interested…

      Laying new fibre optic cables all the way to remote rural properties is an expensive exercise. However
      if a different ownership, funding and operating model is used instead of that traditionally deployed by
      the telecommunications companies and ISPs, the costs can be much reduced from the £10K headline
      figure per property quoted by the BSG in their report to around £1K per property.

      The vast majority of the cost of the fibre laying is for digging trenches, installing duct and fibre and
      then making good. Traditionally telecommunications companies have used their code powers and
      installed duct under the highway or associated verges. This is expensive for several reasons not least
      the high costs associated with complying with health and safety and the street works act. However
      from their point of view this is a manageable process as issues around access and wayleaves are
      solved for them without having to negotiate with hundreds of landlords and regulatory bodies.

      B4RN will adopt a different approach; we will lay the duct not on the highway but across the farmland
      on the other side of the wall. Digging a narrow trench and installing a duct within it is dramatically less
      expensive across private farmland than along the highway. The work can be done by agricultural
      workers and the farmers themselves; it’s not high technology, similar to laying a simple water or
      drainage pipe which they do all the time. The combination of lower cost labour and simple installation
      without the regulatory burden of the street works act and similar impediments results in a dramatic
      reduction in cost per metre installed.

      This is nothing like Labor’s current approach….

      • Certainly an interesting approach to FTTP, but you forgot to mention a few things about B4RN.

        Unless I am mistaken (and I must admit to not knowing too much about them) they have been neglected by both private enterprise and governments and are doing it themselves (we have only been forsaken country wide by private companies).

        They are self funded/community owned, so a lot if not most of those cables/ducts would be being dug by each individual owner on his/her own property, in one small area in the north of England – not quite the same as Australia, eh?

        So of course they can save costs… but good on ’em I say…! Because here is the best part from B4RN (listening Mal) –

        *** “This is a community-wide, co-operative, and collaborative initiative to do the job once, and do it correctly without costly stop gap solutions…”

        • True Alex, this is a community project, but it just goes to show the power of people who are desperate to get a decent connection for their area. No help at all so far from any public funds, but lucky to have in its midst a network designer who says ‘it isn’t rocket science, its more like herding cats’ and we just get on with it. more details on http://b4rn.org.uk – including videos of moleploughing which in OZ could cover many km a day, we only have small fields here, you have open plains and can cover a lot. Get the core in and let people dig to meet you, pay them in shares, let them take an ownership of it and then they look after it and take pride in it. B4RN has a lot going for it, and the model can be adapted to suit.

          • As I said good on ’em… in other words I applaud and admire your resolve Chris… and especially your words of wisdom – “…do the job once, and do it correctly without costly stop gap solutions…”

            A far cry from some here in Oz who unlike you, are receiving modern infrastructure without having to pay from their own pockets and don’t have to lift a finger, still whinge and whine about every facet, simply due to their own entrenched ideologies.

      • bad idea… it is a last resort that fibres be laid across private property. should be done on council property, otherwise you would end in a lease agreement.

        the reason why fibre was laid along highways one is that it is easy to get to, for obvious reasons. it also means its the short path in most cases, in addition the civils is much simplier as with the planning an project management of any future works.

        if you come up to a telco constructor and you say to them , i want an indirect route, i want to go through a private land, through other operator, through a utility eg. rail or power grid, they will say, you are asking for trouble….

        although it may seem it is high cost at first, in the long run it isnt, and i doubt that it is the higher cost at all, unless its some leased agreement.

        but in all cases the cost of providing civils infrastructure is always the highest component of any project without exception and by a mile too…

        • If a community wants a connection and is prepared to do it themselves they will give free wayleaves like ours are doing. All the routes are to the landlords wishes, as the landlord knows where they will be safest. All routes are mapped and put with the deeds of the land and the network has a copy. This means in the fields by the sides of the road its soft dig, and a massive cost reduction in civils. In some areas its definitely worth thinking about, you shouldn’t dismiss it so easily.

        • What it means is if the farmer of the neighbouring plot of farmland that sits between your land and the nearest fiber node decides to rip out his section of the trunk route, you’re stuffed.

          I’d imagine that landowners would be less than keen to have their title deeds encumbered by perpetual third-party leases.

          • The farmer can’t remove the infrastructure if he’s signed the wayleave. Why would he want to anyway? Once folk have had a decent connection and found all the benefits its like ripping out water pipe. You wouldn’t do it.

          • Typically Chris, our friend appears to have now altered his stance of using the great work you guys at B4RN are doing, as his supposed evidence that our NBN is no good… to turning against you, too?

            Sadly (as you will have now clearly witnessed) to our NBN critics, people such as B4RN are only useful to them, while they are able to misquote and misrepresent you. So thanks for your input.

            But, I bet you wouldn’t have believed the hatred some have towards our nationwide NBN and the disgraceful lengths they will go to, to try to discredit it, had you been told and not witnessed the political grandstanding BS, at forums like Delimiter for yourself?

          • Its only by using forums like this to argue, discuss, constructively criticise etc that we all start to think, and figure stuff out, and make informed decisions. That is the power that this technology is giving to us, and everyone should be able to have a voice in this debate. We just have to keep on delivering our messages, inspiring others, and bringing out the truth and voices of reason. We will get there. Keep the faith.

          • Agree Chris…

            And wouldn’t it be great to see rational “constructive” criticism, even only once.


    • it is quite possible to demonstrate these applications given that there has been fibre links in the country for over 30yrs…

      the problem with this argument is that Labor is unable to demonstrate this …

      the reason is because the so called benefits are from technology that currently do not exist, nor can be shown to have a significant impact in the traditional way of doing things like health, transport and education …

      The reason is because they are promoting something that may or may not happen, or so its a prediction based on a prediction.

      It would be entirely feasible that labor use any of the hundreds of thousands of fibre links in place today from telstra, optus etc. to demonstrate how future benefits and income will be derived, however they cant , but show some grainy and cumbersome set up of ehealth and eduation that is far from satisfactory for general application and release … why? Because its just a prediction.

      • @ DUDE, it’s all good and well to day such things don’t exist, when those who oppose refuse to acknowledge any that do, and always will?

        • That’s only because you apparently suffer from an inability to research what is happening in the ICT space – had you actually spent some time following what is actually going on you wouldn’t be taking uneducated pot shots at the NBN using FTTH for 93% of the population!

  21. There are plenty of models to choose from, but the fact remains we have to get the fibre in, and do it quickly before we are all left behind. There is no way a phone line is going to be able to cope with what is coming. We ain’t seen nothing yet. And we won’t if we settle for cabinets.

    • Hi Chris,

      You’re mistaken. The current Labor Government in Australia has no real working “model” to fund the roll-out of fibre to 93% of the country. The present political directive to build FTTH was a face-saving, knee-jerk reaction of a bunch of incompetent politicians and bureaucrats who bungled the original FTTN tender. A sham study was subsequently commissioned to justify the political decision ex post facto. The so-called “business case” for the project has been ridiculed by various senior industry leaders — one well-known, straight-talking CEO publicly derided it as “bullshit economics”.. . .

      Enough about the Australian fiscal train wreck. . . . on the other hand, what your organisation is proposing (or currently implementing) is genuinely innovative and does represent an alternative model that is potentially viable because it proposes directly to reduce the onerous labour costs involved in building last-mile networks.

      Your “model” deals with reality in an honest fashion and implements innovative work-arounds, viz. drafting voluntary labour. The current Labor Government’s “approach” (in Australia) is to entirely disregard the cost and just keep pumping borrowed money into the project until they get kicked out of office.

      The whole world will be watching your innovative initiative with great interest — a 90% reduction in capital cost is truly astounding!

      • FFS, stop with the politics. If you want to say they haven’t got a working model to fund the NBN say WHY the current model is wrong. That has been put to Turnbull and many others (and probably you under another alias) in the past and guess what? All that resulted was a stream of BS. Mainly claims that it’s obvious economics that everyone else is too dumb but you to understand, but no facts.

        “Enough about the Australian fiscal train wreck” More baseless assertions and emotional word play. How about going to post on a Liberal/Labor debate and leave politics out of the future of Australia’s communication system? The amount being spent is tiny compared to virtually every other expenditure of government so why not just bugger off and bang you Libral drum somewhere else and stop screwing with Australia’s future?

      • Interesting 1%

        That’s not what your #1 quoted expert, Michael Malone says about the NBN, is it?

      • Tosh, it was you that used the term “bullshit economics” in your comment on Slattery’s talk. The reason, 7% ROI after 30 years isn’t a commercial level of ROI and that they’d be better off putting the money in a bank. They would too, if they just wanted more money, but then there wouldn’t be the infrastructure in place that will hopefully last us a long time.
        Other complaints he had is they needed access to telstra ducts and infrastructure, they have now.
        There was no indication of end user prices, there is now.
        His wasn’t against fibre, but thought there was too much, give the country 3G broadband as he is worried fibre is being rolled out to too many and the ROI may be very hard to achieve. mainy that the 30 year time frame is way too long.
        He had some positives too, the unified support for the project from the government, community, industry and the “generational opportunity” to create leading communications infrastructure for the next century.

  22. Hi Onepercent,
    I don’t profess to know much about OZ and NBN, although I read everything I can about it. I admire a country who is trying to do such a massive task, and not try to patch up the old phone network. Maybe there is a middle ground? OZ sticks to the plan to build a ‘proper’ network, and instead of pumping in money it enables the people to help themselves? IE featherbed the routes. cut out the bureaucracy. Empower the communities? I am sure there are many men of grit in OZ. If we can do it in Lancashire I am sure they can too. How to convince the powers that be though?
    The internet is a network of machines. We are building a network of people, not just infrastructure. A web spreading through our parishes, joining us all up.

    We come across natural obstacles. Bedrock. rivers, deep gorges, stone walls, fences, bogs. We find a way to get our fibre through and solve problems as they arrive. That is what people are good at. The worst things to sort out are HSE, tax, highways planning, insurance, bla bla ticking boxes. Those are the obstacles government could help with, it wouldn’t cost them much, but would make a tremendous difference to self dig projects. Dig where you live, like in the nordic countries – we can all take a leaf out of their book.

  23. Wireless is the way of the future. BYOD is where it is going. Fibre infrastructure goes to the cells where u connect wirelessly. As time rushes buy, new modulation techniques will enable greater bandwidths to the wireless devices and considerable increases in device densities on the wireless towers. ‘I’ believe this is a much more cost effective solution than that currently being sold by government. I love technology, but this is a waste of taxpayers money.
    Sorry if I am not toeing the party line, or not following the NBN groupies, but a country as large as oz with such a small population should not be inflicted with a cost that will inevitably blow out during its installation phase.
    Why should ozzys pay for something that a minority of users want. Most of us are happy with the meg or so we have now. Put the money into new tech power solutions so we can use petrochemicals for medicines etc, instead of burning it in transport. There are so many more important things to worry about. Faster internet porn is not one of them :)

        • Yes, there are lots and lots more mobile devices, so many are wireless enabled. In real terms 93% of data is still on fixed connection, the data usage on fixed connection grew 80% in the last year.
          I have lots of mobile devices. 2 phones, a kindle 3G, a laptop with 3G, printer. I use them through my fixed connection at home. Out I use 3G, about 0.5G a month. At home I used 60G. Fixed devices, but since they are connected via a router they don’t get counted like 3G wireless devices, PC, NAS, bluray player, XBox 360. Nor does my mobile device fixed usage appear as more than one connection. Yep, there are lots of new LTE devices, I guess it will be a few years before LTE is saturated and reduced to a crawl like 3G is now.

        • Funny Phil, maybe you don’t do any research and blindly believe whatever you are told by your guru’s (pity they are so dumb ). In the US the Comms providers are desperately trying to move their mobile users onto their landlines. I wonder why?

      • I have some statics as well.
        “The volume of data downloaded via mobile handsets over the three months ended 31 December 2011 was 5,000 Terabytes, an increase of 35.3% from June 2011.”

        Wireless will not slow down. I know I sound like a long playing gramophone record but it is the natural course of our society. All to do with trends. This particular trend will not diminish anytime soon.

        • pales in comparison to Fixed line:

          “During the June quarter of 2011, 254,947 terabytes of data were downloaded via fixedline broadband networks. Downloads via fixed-networks accounted for 93 per cent of total
          internet downloads during the June 2011 quarter, compared to 91 per cent during the June
          quarter of 2010.

          The average volume of data downloaded per subscriber (excluding mobile handset
          subscribers) increased by 56 per cent to 25.1 gigabytes during the June quarter of 2011,
          compared to the June quarter of 2010.”


          Fixed line data is growing even faster than mobile data!

        • and the trend continued in 2011:


          Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were asked to report the volume of data downloaded for the three months ended 31 December 2011.

          The ability of ISPs to report the volume of data downloaded is variable. Data presented for these items should only be considered as an indicative measure of internet activity during the reference period and should be used with caution. The occurrence of special events may result in abnormally high downloads.

          The overall volume of data downloaded increased by 26.0% since June 2011 to 345,518 Terabytes.

          Data downloaded by fixed-line broadband accounted for 93% of all internet downloads, and increased by 26.4% since June 2011. Data downloaded using wireless broadband continued to grow, with a 20.9% increase compared to June 2011.”


        • I agree, mobile will not slow down. Wireless will not slow down. In takeup. But it is gonna slow down if the cells and masts don’t get the feed. The future is fixed. Stopgap measures have to be grasped in some places, but we need fibre connectivity everywhere, so data rates can be ramped up when needed without having to change the infrastructure.

          Build it once. Build it right. On top of a fibre nation you put a mobile and wifi cloud that will also work. We need them both. But fibre comes first.

  24. Chris. I brought what is happening in the UK and Europe up in different forums previously and I believe it is very relevant in Australia in the smaller communities that will be receiving wireless. The NBN Co has indicated they will work with communities and councils. So yes it is very feasible, but not for larger towns and cities where it is public roads and footpaths that will have to be impacted. Bear in mind with many farms, the PMG/Telecom/Telstra only ran cable to the gate. The farmer had to provide from the gate to the residence, sometimes up to a Kilometre. In the old manual days many a phone service was run via the barbed wire fence, open the gate and the phone line went down. Principle could still apply if farmers worked in together for the rural sector, depending on density

    • No reason why not, I am sure the farmers would be up for it if it meant they got a decent connection. It depends how badly they want it, and how badly government want them all online to save money in admin. Working together and chucking a heap of common sense into the pot could solve the problem.

  25. The NBN debate is almost always about technology – whats faster, better, etc. from a technological perspective.

    What happens if it costs $1 million per house to connect to the NBN? Will it then be a good idea? What if it only costs 15c per house? What value is acheived? How many customers will take it up? What is the sensitivity to less/more take-up? Less/more value?

    None of this has been properly answered. Until then I neither support or reject the NBN but remain constantly worried that I’m being conned by people who think govt money is a bottomless pit. Don’t justify it with emotional dreams of a technological utopia. Show me the simple economics.

    • The fact remains that technology is here to stay. Just like when the printing press was invented and everyone then had access to books.
      We now have to find a way of enabling all our people to have access. There is no point in wasting money trying to use obsolete solutions. We must build it properly and do it once. The only way to do this is with fibre. Nothing else is worth the money. It matters not whether its a few cents or a million, if we don’t do it we will be left out of the digital revolution and the cost to the country will be far greater than what we have saved.

      • Chris: “It matters not whether its a few cents or a million”

        Are you really saying its worth doing at any price? I’m afraid thats just not logical. Should Sudan put in a FTTH network at any cost; i.e. would that be good public policy for their population? I would say “obviously not”. For Australia, the question is murkier.

        For Australia there must be a point where it makes no sense. Very little attention is given to where that point is, nor on which side the current NBN sits.

        Instead, all I see is emotional statements about “the future of our nation” or “its a disgraceful waste of money”. Neither is a basis for cold hard public policy.

        • Yes Claude, I am saying it is worth doing. The price is down to the policy makers getting the best bang for their buck. It depends totally on whether you want to be a world leader in the digital economy or a third world country. The choice is yours.
          We can’t turn back the clock, and the future is digital. That is where the money will be made. Or lost opportunity for the next generation. The job will have to be done, and you may as well get it done now and reap the benefit sooner.

    • Claude, it’s all in the corporate plan, which is about to be updated (for the better one could assume) due to the Telstra deal.

      You can either accept it as a good approximation or not… and at this stage considering the info you seek has basically been around for quite sometime, I’m suggesting you’ll do the latter, “again”.

      It’s worth doing as per the Corporate plan, please stop introducing non-existent BS and then arguing over the non-existent BS.

      +1 Chris

      • Alex, you need to read my comment again. I am lamenting that the debate isn’t about things like the corporate plan instead of almost always being about technology. Telling me I’m introducing “BS arguments” is only showing me you don’t understand my point.

        • Claude, you complained that the debate is always about the tech and then went on to lament about costs (which incidentally I believe, sadly this debate is always about) $1m or 15c, take-up rates/how many customers (and strangely mentioned Sudan, harped on about at any price) and claim that none of this has been properly answered, as such, you are INCORRECT.

          I then pointed you towards the official costings from NBNCo, along with ROI, take-up, ETA etc which are all contained within the Corporate Plan.

          They have already been answered.

          Now if you don’t like the answers or refuse to accept the answers, fair enough. But don’t then say they haven’t been answered because they have.

          However, benefit of the doubt, you may not be familiar with the corporate plan, so here’s info for you…



          But to be frank, I think after perusal if you ask the same questions about costs, etc and thus completely ignore the corporate plan (no it’s not gospel, it’s estimations – for a ten year build – there’s no crystal ball with definites) well I think you don’t understand or don’t want to understand your own point!

          • Alex, thanks for the links.

            RE: Sudan. I was highlighting that an NBN is not intrinsically a good idea. It has to be assessed. In Sudan perhaps public health would be a better priority. In Australia, is there a better priority?

            RE: costs. Its not this alone; that would be pointless. Its cost/benefit & risk of NBN vs.some other objective Australia might have. I mentioned bio-engineering as a wild example of another thing that might be good.

            Often the debate is about wireless vs. fibre. What a stupid comparison; we don’t compare push-bikes with ferarri’s yet both remain useful. We compare ferrari’s with other things we might buy, like a house.

      • That’s because it is FUD! I like Malcom and you vote for him but his “analysis” is based on biased speculation and conveniently ignores most of the relevant facts ….. Mmmmm, sounds familiar!

        • Agreed, same FUD. This person thinks the ACCC could drop regulation therefore NBN co would massively raise prices like this. Wireless will take over so they won’t get the uptake. Every bit of “proof” that is financially unviable based on wild supposition and BS.

        • I particularly like the part where he argues there is no demand for increased speed and volume then goes on to argue that the price of plans will rise by 6% per year because of increased speed and extra CVC for the increasing volumes.

      • It’s more the point 1% that you are a religious Liberal supporter. Most here couldn’t give a shit about party politics. You’d have much more credibity without your tounge up Malcolm Turnbull’s butt crack.

        • Noddy, I recommend you start caring about party-politics if you want an NBN. The liberals are probably going to win and will probably tear up the NBN in some fashion. You can continue to rant like a child who has lost his ice-cream, or you come address the economic arguments.

  26. Chris, you failed to say “at any price”. Was that a mistake, or did you avoid that intentionally?

    If you are saying it is “worth doing” then I presume that there is some rational analysis that makes the case. The very word “worth” means some kind of cost has been assessed and some kind of benefit. They have been compared to make the judgment of worthiness.

    If it is “worth doing at any price” to perform analysis would be a waste of time. It is just religion and it is no more sensible than saying “it will never be worth doing”.

    Appeals to being a “world leader in the digital economy” are empty statements. You might just as easily appeal to being a world leader in the bio-engineering economy and spend the money on that.

  27. Claude, if I say its worth doing at any price I just sound like a dreamer. It is worth doing. It is worth doing well. It is the future. It is not going to go away. Better just bite the bullet and get on with it. The benefit will not be apparent for a while, but the ROI will spread over many areas. Health, education, government savings, carbon footprint savings, the list is endless and well documented elsewhere. There is no one thing in the world today that is such a game changer. Invest in it now. Spend the money wisely on good infrastructure. Australia will reap the benefits. Once the fibre is in then its done. You can upgrade the lights on the end whenever needed. Patch up the old phone networks and you’ve wasted your brass.

    • Chris, I’d really like to see many of the ROI things you talk about debated. I don’t want to see another article that uses gigabit speed metrics as the reason I should want an NBN, or that my children will be happier, etc. I want facts.

      As it stands, the NBN is probably going to be gutted when the Liberals win the election. I’d expect this will be the worst of all outcomes. Only an honest debate can avoid that.

    • Chris – thanks for the link. I doubt you can measure quality of life for national infrastructure – these things are probably best left to individuals as one persons “quality” is another persons “so what?” This will translate into take-up rates. With the NBN the take-up will hopefully be pretty good because the govt is shutting down all the competitive fixed-line infrastructure. BTW, that shutdown make me suspicious. No other business gets to do that. Surely if NBN is so good, that wouldn’t be necessary?

      • There’s nothing suspicious at all, imo Claude.

        1. NBNCo and existing network owners have “negotiated, as businesses do” to migrate the existing customers on to the newer, updated NBN technology from the old obsolete technology… and then close down the old technology.

        It’s common sense, progress and a win-win.

        2. Like private companies, the government can make money in the cities but not in the bush. But unlike private companies the government are willing to build in the bush not just the cities, by cross-subsidisation and accepting a lower than normal ROI.

        This keeps the bush happy with updated and cheaper comms and even though the cities are in theory subsidising the bush, with the lower ROI NBNCo will accept, the city customers will still receive great prices.

        It’s a win-win-win.

        But without being too personal, for someone who claims to be neither for nor against the NBN, you have rattled off many of the standard NBN critics lines and not really mentioned many plusses at all. Curious.

        • Alex, good point about negotiating – but I don’t think it was that clean. But I’ll accept what you say.

          RE: the lower ROI. I think that’s ok too. If the NBN is to be a “social good” it doesn’t really have to make a profit of any kind. It just needs to not be a money-pit like, for example, the railways. The question in my mind is do the numbers add up? I see the odd complaint that they don’t and the counter-claim that they do but very little educated discussion one way or the other.

          I’ve not rattled off pluses because I can only see technology ones, or “think of the children” motherhood statements. As a consumer, I can’t wait for the NBN – when it gets to my street I’ll be the first to connect. As a taxpayer I’m worried about the risk being taken in my name if it goes pear-shaped. As a citizen I’m worried that all the social benefits are an illusion.

          Visionary comments about being a world-leader in broadband impress me not. Its just a cop-out that doesn’t explain *why* broadband and why not some other thing. Why not a world-leader in software? Or medicine? Or nano-technology? Or nuclear-power? I’m not saying any of these things are actually better, but it seems that such discussions about how to spend the money never occurred. It just became a debate about the best technology for delivering the internet.

          Its probably all moot now: the libs will most likely either pro-actively disband NBN or they will set it up for failure so they can point and say “See, the Labour policy was rubbish”. Which will be a shame.

          • I just find it amusing when ppl complain “we might be wasting 36 billion on the NBN” but no one seems to mind us spending 40 billion on 12 subs that are only good for 20 years (vs 60+ for NBN) and like the current ones will prolly spend 2/3rds of their life docked due to a lack of sub-mariners!

          • Djos: I mind :) Spending on projecting power with subs when most of our military activity is effectively police actions seems pretty dumb.

          • I’d suggest the coalition will alter the NBN minimally, blame the already signed contracts/Labor for them only being able to make minimal changes and any cost blow out, but when the NBN inevitably works, beat their chests wildly and claim that without their managerial magic, the NBN would have failed.

            It’s really a no lose situation for them… anything positive take the credit for and anything negative blame their predecessors.

            Of course we will all know better (all except the same old NBN critics who will lap that BS up)…

  28. Alex, I agree – it is a plausible option for them.

    It might depend on the accounting – they might move the NBN back into the books so they can say “Gasp! Look how big the budget hole is!” when they take power. Then cancelling it or selling it will allow them to point at enormous savings.

    As you say, it is a no-lose situation. Even if they make major changes any resulting problems can still be passed back to the origin of the project.

    Its a pity this important decision has been so poorly handled by all concerned.

    • Good point,

      Put the $17B for FTTN on budget, blame the NBN and run huge deficits for as long as they like and forever blame Labor’s mismanagement/NBN…

      It’s a win, win, win for them, nicely spotted.

  29. Its a crying shame that politics has anything to do with this important work. We ‘should’ rise above it and work together on matters that concern so many people. This is too big a thing to mess up, those making the decisions should have a solid grasp of physics, and also the global picture of what is happening in other countries. They should not rely on information from telcos and those with something to gain from protecting an obsolete asset.

    • Sadly Chris it quite simple…

      We here in Oz are an ageing, ever more conservative and selfish lot. Being so, an ultra right opposition leader is using his party members, media affiliations and forum sheep, to play upon this, by using FUD about the NBN at every opportunity.

      And it is being swallowed…

  30. not necessarily so… many read forums and don’t contribute. Keep the faith, keep discussions going and the truth will out. Knowledge is power.

  31. Throwing this into the mix, as not seen it mentioned.

    FTTN does not rule out a FTTH architecture. Is there not a mixed model that is possible? Openreach (UK) FTTN will be offering full fibre option in 2013. If that proves popular, i.e. they see ROI one can see that they may change their viewpoint.

    In Aus with it all being bankrolled centrally things are different, and NBN seems to have become a political football, which is not good.

    Question really is whether to spend a lot now to do full fibre, or spend over a longer period going through further upgrades in the future. An outside view of Australia is that it is a nation in a good position to do full fibre in the cities and large towns.

    • Hey Andrew,

      Here’s what the panel of experts gathered to analyse the initial Labor RFP, which primarily consisted of FTTN proposals, said…

      “The Proposals have also demonstrated that rolling out a single fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network is:
      ␣ unlikely to provide an efficient upgrade path to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), because of the high costs of equipment associated with rolling out a FTTN network that would not be required for a FTTP network (i.e. FTTN is not a pre-requisite for the provision of FTTP); and
      ␣ likely to require exclusive or near-exclusive access to Telstra’s existing copper sub-loop customer access network (CAN), the so called ‘last mile’, thereby confirming that strong equivalence of access arrangements would be essential. As well, providing such access to a party other than Telstra runs a risk of liability to pay compensation to Telstra. The Proposals have this risk remaining with the Commonwealth but they have not addressed the potential cost to the Commonwealth of any such compensation. In any event, the Panel considers that no Proponent could accept the cost risk and continue to have a viable business case.


      This is a lot of the reasoning behind why the government moved on from FTTN, but strangely the opposition are still clinging to, regardless of the unviability of FTTN according to this panel. But of course a bunch of stuffy suited conservative pollies would know better than a panel of experts in this very field :/

    • Using the UK openreach infrastructure as it is being planned at present (for fttc) is not going to encourage take up of the fibre to the home (ftth) product as it will be far too expensive, even if it has travelled a short distance to a cabinet, what difference will that make? There has always been ftth available in the UK, but the prices make it unviable. The monopoly has to do this to protect its investment in the golden goose that is the copper phone network. Its simple economics, that rely on lack of physics knowledge to fool most of the people all of the time. But they can’t fool all of the people all of the time, and voices are now filtering through to try to raise awareness of the mistakes before they get made. We need a futureproof solution, not a copper patch up stop gap to speed up a few and ignore the rest.

      • Future proof at what cost?

        How fast does it need to happen too. If full fibre to 90%+ were to take ten years, versus FTTC to take 3 years which would be better for people? At the end of the day, a mixed network is really the only way forward and offers a fast roll-out – full fibre to all business premises and cabinet solutions for suburbs.

        FTTC is a stop gap, and even Openreach acknowledge this, which is actually more than Virgin Media appear to be doing, their architecture is more of a dead end.

        Australia has a very different situation to the UK, as in no big commercial operator appears to have got into fast services commercially.

        • Considering openreach know cabinets are a dead end or stop gap they are certainly not telling the consumers that on their constant bombardment on TV of their ‘superfast’ broadband LOL.

          They are also convincing councils to fund them to do it too.

          Rather than try to make them admit their shortcomings, its far better to fund the altnets to supply decent fibre connections to the areas the telcos aren’t interested in. Let the rurals help, let government help, and lets get some new businesses building out in the final third, or even better, the final 10%. The telcos will take care of the cities with their stop gap solutions, and then everyone will be happy? Why worry about 90% and how long it will take. Concentrate on the difficult ones, then the new networks will knock spots off the telco networks and slowly take them over, or at least provide some much needed competition to up the game.

        • Interesting (or perhaps typical) Andrew, that you asked why not FTTN then FTTP and when given the answer from a panel of experts set up to analyse and measure this very topic (because it’s unviable) you just ignore it and keep promoting FTTN.

          BTW it’s been well documented that by the time the opposition are elected, the job planned, a CBA carried out, contracts etc, work on FTTN wouldn’t start until 2016. Then add your mentioned 3 years and its 2019 before the dead end, half arsed, UNVIABLE, FTTN is up and running anyway…


          • If the start of work is not until 2016 then yes, FTTC/N makes very little sense.

            Another big difference in Australia is that you don’t have a big fast cable broadband coverage. Virgin Media with its 100 Meg service passing 48% of UK households means people have a good choice already in the UK.

            Australia is hamstrung, as the parties and press appear to disagree. UK press just lapped up any news on broadband positively, and the political parties had a consensus to improve things. Australia almost seems to have one group wanting to do as little as possible.

            If a country can afford it, then full fibre is the way to go. The UK situation is different as we are well into commercial roll-outs, and some alt-nets have been at it longer, though oddly very small numbers.

        • Have to agree with Chris on that comment, if FTTN/C is a stop gap and the telco has admitted that then not a single penny of tax payers money should be wasted on it.

          Yes FTTN/C will give some users faster connections, but how long will these be sufficient? Only a few years ago we were all happy when we upgraded to a blistering 56Kbs. “Who would need more”, we thought at the time.

          As Peter has stated elsewhere here, why should we assume that the hunger for bandwidth will reduce. It won’t. So why go for a stopgap solution that will have to be revisited in a few years time?

          • Openreach has given FTTC a life span of around 15 years.

            By 2025 to 2030 I am expecting lots of empty exchange buildings to be demolished and flats built on them. With perhaps just 1,000 handover nodes for fibre voice and broadband

  32. Claude, you’re not going to be able to “prove” the demand for ftth broadband and more than you can prove the demand for a high-speed rail link. But that doesn’t stop governments all over the world ploughing billions into high-speed rail on pretty finger-in-the-air estimates. What you’re doing by enabling ultrafast broadband is giving your citizens a first-class ticket to the next phase of this industrial revolution.

    Why aim for ftth rather than fttn? First up, do you really want to be punching below the weight of your economy in the international rankings? A major part of the returns for ultrafast is the opportunity cost for the economy and individuals’ welfare of being outside the ‘premier league’ of internet countries. Online competitors can appear like a plague of locusts and destroy an incumbent industry in no time – if this sounds melodramatic, see the fate of Clinton Cards this week, Game and most video stores in the UK. The internet does not respect venerable brands. You want to be spearheading that disruption through a vibrant digital scene, not at the mercy of swarms from their clusters in Silicon Valley, Eastern Europe and South Korea.

    No doubt more studies on the relationship between web speeds and economic growth will emerge. But in the UK the most recent forecast is that 20% of GDP will be web based by 2016, a leadership position our government seems intent on squandering through an at-best second-division infrastructure plan.

    Secondly, you need to look at what’s emerging from the early adopters – Google’s Kansas experiment, superfast trials in Cornwall, England, the b4rn project – and ask yourself whether you want a piece of that. Application wise, it’s early days but off the top of my head (and based on today’s applications only), think about seamless video-based distance learning, online gaming (bigger than cinema now), eliminating unnecessary journeys through a home-based flexible workforce (e.g. huge under-utilisation of stay-at-home mothers) being able to access files anywhere, ensuring your best and brightest don’t leave rural areas for hyper-connected cities, medical diagnosis over the web, marketplaces and trading systems, not to mention people getting back the time they spend waiting for downloads. That’s not to mention the apps we won’t know we need until we’ve got them – Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone spring to mind.

    Basically, anything sold by an Australian company that’s not nailed down and incapable of being digitised will be turned into a web service by someone. Dropbox and Netflix are the early examples – have you ever tried sync’ing a Dropbox containing what’s on the average PC via a standard connection? 1GB data connections to office PCs are common – people don’t question that. But remote computing at 1/10th of that speed isn’t going to cut it.

    Of course we all face budget constraints. Why should investment in broadband infrastructure trump, say, extra public health investment with more predictable returns? Web investments are fraught with uncertainty. Deciding funding allocations years in advance to build an infrastructure fit for a medium that’s evolving in dog years is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. But build an internet infrastructure below international benchmarks and the long-term effects could be huge, especially for the geographically isolated. You can argue that investment with this level of risk should be a matter for the private sector, but most governments have accepted the premise that there’s widespread market failure with returns dispersed so broadly, albeit poorly understood returns.

    What this means for Australia’s budget priorities isn’t for me to comment on. Look beyond the myopia of one administration and current web apps, on horizons at least as long as for rail and air investment. As for the UK, our government has just announced a £200bn transport programme; broadband is getting around 0.5% of that number, and yet we’re building a high-speed rail link costing tens of billions. Who said we still think we’re running the Empire?

  33. Agree Dan.
    We in the UK also struggle with the same concept as OZ, even though we are tiny in comparison and theoretically the job of providing the infrastructure should be a lot less, we are still being brainwashed into thinking that patching up a short term fix on the old copper is ‘progress’.

    Its no wonder we are no longer running an empire.

    If we all had FTTH we could possibly catch up, but at this rate we’re soon going to be a third world country in the digital revolution. We need OZ to prove what can be done with a bit of grit. (no pun intended)

    The industrial revolution is nowt compared to the digital one. Either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way is the message my gran would have given to the politicians stalling the process through ignorance of physics. Its time to light the fibre, and recycle the old copper.

    I want to use your quote in my next report to the European Digital Agenda. its mega. “Deciding funding allocations years in advance to build an infrastructure fit for a medium that’s evolving in dog years is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. But build an internet infrastructure below international benchmarks and the long-term effects could be huge, especially for the geographically isolated. ” #da12bb

    My feeling is that if we concentrate on altnets in the more rural areas they will provide competition to the incumbents because only fibre can supply remote locations, and that service will be far better and cheaper than anything they can force down an old phone line. Therefore the telcos will have to up their game before the golden goose is dead. win win.

    • What is this golden goose in the rural areas?

      B4RN is very different to my view of rural Australia, which based on my limited knowledge generally means much long distances, between farms and small settlements, with regional towns.

      Full fibre in the towns should be relatively straightforward, question is if running 10 miles of fibre to one property, would it ever pay for itself?

      Now if we forget economics, and decide that full fibre is needed for the greater good, then fine, but as we see this makes it very political, and Australia seems to take a very different view to the general consensus that investment in broadband is good. OK so in the UK we can doing a patch up system, that means network build will continue until 2020, as FTTC is repatched to full fibre to meet EU targets. Though the €9bn from EU funds to do Europe 2020 targets is peanuts.

      • I don’t necessarily mean do a B4RN, but I am sure the men of Australia could come up with a solution if asked, just like we did for our community.

        In order to join the townships you pass many farms, join them in. make a web, all over OZ. Moleploughing a duct in for 10 miles would probably be childsplay to OZ farmers. A couple of hours would blow a fibre through. It isn’t rocket science.


    To contribute to this blog – but having worked in technology for 50 years – and having been a prime mover in Optical Fibre from the start + running one of the best labs in the field in the 1990s – I can tell you the the ‘Fors’ and going in the right direction and are mostly correct, whilst the ‘Against’ are just plain wrong or protecting some vested interest….but I don’t believe them to be just dumb, no one is that dumb…are they….???


  35. Ignore Peter – he is a relic and is seen as totally out of touch in the UK.

    “Delivering fibre with normal office ethernet equipment?” spanning tree to deliver a reliable service? anyone with a CCNA in networking could tell you that only the withering of a total madman would do something like that.

    FTTN is perfect for broadband delivery- today drives up to 100M and will drive up to 1G in the near future. Fibre would be nice but to dig up the road to everyone’s house doesn’t come cheap. Copper is here and works perfectly.

    UK left out of cloud? hmm, that’ll be why Google and HP have their main cloud labs here in the UK? As I said totally out of touch.


    • Neil McRae

      “Ignore Peter – he is a relic and is seen as totally out of touch in the UK”

      BUT seen as in touch in the rest of the world…and they pay my bills :-)


    • “Fibre would be nice but to dig up the road to everyone’s house doesn’t come cheap. Copper is here and works perfectly.”

      Nothing to dig up. They have use of the existing copper ducts and pits. They just need to pull it through.

      Copper DID work fine, until privatisation. Since then they cut staff that maintained those lines to 20% They have only been making patch work repairs where needed and the copper network is deteriorating. I am sure you know the scenario since the same thing happened to British rail.

      • Agree Noddy, the ducts and poles are there, all that needs to happen is you pull out the copper and recycle it, (worth a lot of money) and pull through the fibre. I also agree that copper worked fine for phone calls, and also for some people they managed to get 1st generation internet access through it. As more people used it, and more applications came along, and video started to be used a lot it exposed the limitations of copper. Lots of clever work going on in laboratories to try to squeeze a tiny bit more out of it, but the infrastructure is goosed, and needs a total upgrade. Its like darning socks. The darn gives you a blister, and a new hole appears right next to the darn. Its a thankless task, but one the telcos will do to try to protect the golden goose that gave them prosperity. Sadly its not laying any more eggs for them. The time has come to move on to fibre, and the sooner the better.

    • 1Gbs over copper?! Are you dreaming? Over what distances? Most of the people outside of the village I live in live more than 1000m from the nearest node/cabinet so FTTN/C is not feasible. If you have evidence that is is over those distances Neil please provide some details.

  36. djos = “I can tell you that the views of “Dudes in telco” here does not reflect the majority onion of those in the ISCT Industry”

    Sanity at last !


    • I think DUDE in Telco seems to know f… all about what he is talking about. Either his alias is an attempt to impart him with some cred or he works as a Telco salesman.

        • Hey, maybe he does more than that. But to argue that FTTH is over engineered because fibre has the capacity to go to 10Gb, 100Gb, 1Tb etc is pretty dumb. Well copper can never meet future needs, not for 50+ years. So what is his argument? We should artificially limit fibre’s capacity? Use some other technology that is faster than copper and slower than fibre to do this? I don’t see the point as you would still need to run cable (coax, HFC, whatever his “not overengineered” idea is” and there would be about zero difference in the cost overall.
          He then compares what speeds will be available with FTTH at some future time to Austalia’s overseas link capacity today. Assuming everyone would be wanting data at full speed at only a 50:1 contention.
          There are a lot of people spin this stuff on here purely for political reasons. Bugger politics. Politician’s are meant to serve the people. They will happy spend billions to line company CEOs pockets or waste money on $40 billion for 12 submarines for the armed forces to play with. About time they gave the people who vote them in something that improves their life and ensures Australia can be competitive in a more and more data connected society.

  37. Neil = “that’ll be why Google and HP have their main cloud labs here in the UK?”

    No that’s because the UK is the number one international hub for the EU connected by optical fibre.

    The quality of the power system, political stability, legal system, people capabilities and availability +++

    Feeling out of touch yet :-)


  38. One of the great things about a scientific and engineering education and training is that it focusses the mind on the facts and realities, not the slogans, advertising, word-smithing, financial distortion, politics, and nor the personalities, or indeed all forms of personal attack and character assignation. It is a factual science that looks to get the best solution for individuals, society and mankind – which by and large it does in good measure.

    * In this case the facts are irrefutable and have been for decades – FTTH wins over all copper solutions

    * This has been demonstrated by the world leaders which some of the bloggers here choose to ignore

    * What is causing the real steam here is a new model – people so frustrated by living in a not spot they have chosen to go do it themselves

    * Across the planet there are a growing number of these groups and projects – check out ‘Woods Hole’ (USA) who were ignored by Verizon – and if you get to visit check out the wifi – which is open, free, and faster than ‘supertfast’. I just love working their because it is a professional community of ‘can do’ people.

    Finally – some big points:

    1) B4RN are doing it

    2) It will work

    3) There will be problems – there always are – but they will be overcome

    4) If this was a stupid idea the B4RN people wouldn’t be doing it – because that are not stupid!

    5) If FTTH does not pay in – then it would not pay in for B4RN or Japan et al

    I take my hat off to the B4RN folks for their ‘gutsy project and JDI attitude’

    My version of B4RN is BUG = BroadBand for Ufford Group

    And because of the screaming need by businesses in a 422 dwelling village I am going it alone with a 5GHz WiFi system tethered on a fibre just 2km away giving me a Gbit/s feeder. When we have cured the initial demand problem…then I may be able to get the community behind fibre all the way. The sad thing is that we have dark fibre from both BT and The Railway Company less than 500m from my home….but neither is interested in providing service by any means or at any level. I have been quoted £140k for digging a ditch – and refused the option of local farmers providing a DIY solution at our cost!

    The only company that is willing to play ball has a fibre access node that is only 11km away. So who knows….

    What can I say further ?

    And now I gotta go as I am working on another FTTH project for another overseas client and I’m due at a meeting shortly :-)

    Aint life, and engineering great :-)


    • hey Peter,

      it’s great to have you with us on this thread :) There is a lot of Australian interest in what’s happening in the UK :)


      Publisher, Delimiter

      • Agree Renai, its good to see the subject of a post actually chip in with comments, I have never seen a post like this before with so many different viewpoints, well done!

        For too long our countries’ politicians have ignored the people, and as a previous commenter said, ‘they work for us’ so this blog is giving us a chance to make our voices heard.

        I think the whole thing boils down to; Do we want a patch up solution, then save up for a proper one?
        Do we want to do the job once, and do it right?

    • Ironic isn’t it Peter.

      You guys have the need, but no one including your government, is interested in supplying you.

      So people over there can see the benefits and as a consequence are saying, we need it, but since no one cares, we’ll have to do it ourselves… kudos all round.

      Then there’s us…

      We also have the need and private companies also refused us as a nation too.

      But our government for all their flaws, took the reins and decided enough, we will supply our entire nation – FTTP to 93% and satellite/wireless to the remaining 7% ( the most remote areas) – and have presented a comprehensive plan, run by universally recognised experts in their field, to not only make it work and be a boon for the nation and it citizens, but projected for it to be financially prudent which will fund itself and inevitably, will be a valuable assets for the nation, for many, many years.

      It really is a win all round imo, regardless of politics.

      Yet unlike you guys who will even do it yourselves because you can see the need, we have those who don’t have to lift a finger, for new national infrastructure which will assist them and their families in many ways, to be supplied (as government’s should) directly to them and us all.

      But they are either ill-equipped to understand, are easily misled by those who see the NBN as a threat to their empire (media) or their inbred ideological, immovable political partiality (NBN = socialists), selfishness (what I’ve got’s good enough) and short sightedness (WE ((as in I)) don’t need it) has them do nothing else but whinge and whine, 24/7. They even invent lies to promote their own dirty agenda’s, at the NBNs/nations expense.

      Disgraceful ingrates.

    • Peter, can you refer me to any other studies regarding FTTN failures in Britain and other countries?

  39. Keep the faith Alex, even the ingrates are entitled to express their views! It is sad to see some are inventing lies, and some are misinformed, but truth will out, and hopefully the majority will believe the real experts like Peter and see through all the weasel words of telcos wanting to protect their obsolete assets. That is the beauty of social media, its giving everyone a voice. Now we need to get everyone singing the same song eh?

    • The thread is also coming to the point where it is unmanageable size wise.

      Given the Australian timeline, if what I’ve seen is correct, then starting with a FTTP roll-out is the only way. Since by the time any FTTC rollout completed it would be around 2020, and FTTP over due.

      Roll-out of FTTP could be faster, particularly if communities work together at the local council level. Not sure how autonomous they are allowed to be in Australia. Waiting for a big monolothic roll-out no matter if commercial or government is always going to be slow.

      Mr Cochrane does sometimes appear to talk some ‘out there’ comments, but that is the joy of being a free man. I enjoy my own devils advocate position too.

  40. yes Andrew, it is getting very hard to keep track of all the comments, it has certainly opened up a great debate!
    Its also very good that informed people and free men have taken the time and trouble to join in. Knowledge is power.

  41. “13) PONS – GPON AND BPON et al made sense when fibre was 25p/m but not any more!”

    Seems to have been skipped over. ie, Labor’s GPON-based NBN is still not really good enough.

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