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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 9:56 - 123 Comments

    Copper maintenance cost not an issue, says Turnbull

    news Upgrading Telstra’s copper network to fibre to the node was the “quickest and easiest” way to get better broadband for Australians, the office of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this week, highlighting a study which had shown that the cost of maintaining the decades-old infrastructure was not significant compared with the overall investment required for universal fibre.

    Yesterday Delimiter published a photo gallery of the “worst of the worst” aspects of Telstra’s copper network, which was first constructed gradually over the past century. The photos show that in many cases the network has not been adequately maintained, with many aspects of it open to the elements or in obvious need of repair. Currently, the network is slated to eventually be scrapped and replaced by optic fibre infrastructure under Labor’s National Broadband Network plan, but the Coalition is proposing to re-use portions of Telstra’s network under a modified plan to run fibre only part of the way to end users’ premises, in a rollout style known as “fibre to the node”.

    In a response to the photo gallery, a spokesperson from Turnbull’s office said the Coalition’s policy was to be “technologically agnostic”, so it wouldn’t rule out using one technology or another.
    “We recognise that in some areas, the cost of maintaining or upgrading the copper will make it uneconomic to upgrade,” they added. “But the experience around the world by telcos is that there has been a lot of investment in upgrading the copper because that is the quickest and most efficient means of upgrading broadband.”

    The spokesperson said that on a recent trip to the United States, Turnbull had learnt that major telco AT&T had opted for a fibre to the node approach to upgrading its broadband network, taking the view that there was “no technical need” to go to the NBN’s fibre to the premise-style rollout in most areas where the copper network already existed.

    “BT in the UK takes a similar approach. The technology is moving quickly and the right approach is one which combines a rigorous cost effective approach with an open minded attitude to technology,” they said.

    The spokesperson also forwarded Delimiter comments Turnbull made to a recent conference in April, where the Liberal MP extensively commented on the cost of maintaining Telstra’s copper network.

    At the time, Turnbull acknowledged that some advocated for the FTTH option had stated that costs for network maintenance, fault remediation and provisioning were lower with fibre, with US telco Verizon stating that eventual reductions as large as 80 to 90 percent could be possible, assuming a fully fibre network (compared with a copper network). Research house Analysys Mason had also analysed the issue, he said, finding that in the long term, the cost of operating a FTTH network could be in the region of 30 percent lower than the costs of operating the current copper network.

    However, according to Turnbull, Analysys Mason also found that in the short-term, the total operating costs may increase due to the inefficiencies of operating parallel fibre- and copper-based networks, as Telstra and NBN Co will do for some time while the NBN is being rolled out.

    In addition, the analyst firm found that the “the magnitude of the savings in operating costs is relatively small when compared to the overall investment required. In the case of [FTTN], therefore, the available savings are unlikely to be sufficient to make a business case unattractive; for [FTTH] the savings are likely to be substantially less than would be required to fund the investment based solely on savings in operating costs.”

    opinion/analysis
    Personally, I really don’t understand the argument that Turnbull is making here. Yesterday I sent his office an email asking him, given the somewhat shocking photos we published, whether Telstra’s copper network represented infrastructure worth upgrading to a fibre to the node-style deployment. In return, I got this complex economic analysis.

    It’s important to note that at this stage, discussion over the cost of rolling out the National Broadband Network is somewhat moot. The network is slated to make a modest return on investment over the long term; hence it will not cost taxpayers money and is not an expense; in fact, it is an investment which will make money. This return is virtually guaranteed by the fact that there will be no fixed infrastructure competing with the NBN’s fibre (with Telstra’s copper network to be shut down and the Telstra and Optus HFC cable networks to stop providing broadband).

    If the Coalition has analysis showing that the NBN will not make a return, then it should present that evidence. Until it does, we can only rely on the information we have right now, which shows the NBN will make a return.

    With this in mind, the discussion about the NBN should now be turning purely to technical grounds. And on technical grounds, which I was trying to get at with the photo gallery I published yesterday, there really is no comparison between FTTN, which will partially rely on Telstra’s often-dodgy copper infrastructure, and the NBN’s FTTH style of rollout, which will completely replace it. Those awful shots of network infrastructure we published yesterday? All of those cables and terminating units will be ripped out and replaced with brand new gear under the NBN.

    Unlike some commentators, I do feel the FTTN model has merit, and I agree with Turnbull that it would still meet many of the aims that both the Coalition and Labor hold with respect to delivering fast broadband to Australia. Personally, I’d love to have FTTN rolled out to my house, as it would deliver an instant speed and reliability boost over teh current copper network.

    But I don’t feel that the Coalition has yet done enough to make its argument yet for FTTN; I’d like to see it try harder to justify its preference for this style of rollout. Labor’s NBN policy is a complex and highly evolved platform which the Coalition has not yet matched with its own plans. Before we start tearing down Labor’s vision, we need to see more detail about what it could be replaced with.

    Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull

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    123 Comments

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    1. Posted 02/05/2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink |

      “In return, I got this complex economic analysis.”

      He chose to answer the question he wanted to answer, not the question you asked.

      • Matthew
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink |

        In other words, he’s behaving like an average politician. I’m getting rather sick of listening to his bullshit, to be honest.

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink |

        He answered the question.

        And there’s nothing “complex” about the economic reasoning. If you trade-in a $5,000 old bomb which requires constant parts replacement for a brand new BMW, the regular maintenance bills may initially be lower — however, your interest payments on the car have now shot up dramatically.

        (And, no — the analogy isn’t perfect.) The fundamental point is that the higher capital servicing costs of a brand new fibre network dwarfs any reduction in ongoing maintenance bills.

        • Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink |

          What?

          There is almost zero servicing costs for a GPON FTTH installation in comparison to the FTTN solution Malcolm proposes.

          It doesn’t use power. An FTTN network will require enough electrical power in each of the estimated 80,000 cabinets to deliver 40 volts to each and every copper pair that that node services. An FTTH installation is passive – (that’s what the “P” in GPON stands for) – and requires no power whatsoever.

          Where’s all this power coming from, and who’s paying for it?

          The initial install cost of the FTTN solution might be cheaper, but the ongoing costs of physically powering the network with electricity over time will mount. And mount. And mount.

          Water doesn’t affect fibre. You can run a fibre optic cable through a swimming pool and it will still work perfectly. Many people currently lose their phone lines – (for voice calls, let alone maintaining DSL sync) – the moment it rains more than a little bit. Water ingress is the number one problem with a copper network, and is a significant problem right across the network.

          The copper will continue to age, and be affected by this more and more as more and more time passes.

          An FTTN solution would still be afflicted by this problem. People will just LOVE the Coalition spending $17B to build their “better” solution, only to have all the same old problems.

          The only common fault to both solutions would be some idiot powering a backhoe through the cables.

          By the time the NBN would be finished, the copper network would be ten years older, and ten years of age less reliable.

          Don’t fall for the crap notion that the Coalition solution is “better” or “cheaper”.

          It is only “cheaper” or “better” for populist political reasons, and delays an inevitable shift to an FTTH solution anyway. Why would we want to do this twice when it can be done once, and properly?

          • Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink |

            Nice tangent, but let’s get back to the original point of contention….

            If you trade-in a $5,000 old bomb which requires constant parts replacement for a brand new BMW, the regular maintenance bills may initially be lower — however, your interest payments on the car have now shot up dramatically.

            That is what I meant by capital servicing costs.

            • Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink |

              Irrelevant.

              The investment makes a return, and the network is planned to be sold after completion. There’s your capital service right there.

              • Noddy
                Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink |

                I am pretty sure this is Tosh. I am not sure you will get anywhere with the cost arguments. If you remember he eventually got banned for his BS.

                • Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink |

                  Most likely… :o)

                • Alex
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink |

                  Renai has made it clear that this is a forum where evidence, not pig-headed opinions count.

                  So only if one’s comments are unproved/unfounded but still continually claimed, will any of us will get the boot (unless we are rude etc, of course).

                  So as most of what 1% claims certainly appears to be baseless rhetoric (although credit for persistence and for taking old disproved claims and making them more colourful, before rehashing)… you may have a point Noddy.

              • Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink |

                Agreed.

                All this is irrelevant if you believe in “free lunches”.

                (Re. “free lunches”, please consult: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TANSTAAFL)

                In a similar vein, modern chemistry is “irrelevant” if you believe in alchemy.

                • Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

                  Well, there’s a tangent if ever I read one…

                  O_o

                  • Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink |

                    Let me elaborate then…

                    The belief that you can rebuild the entire last-mile network from scratch and still service the substantially higher capital base with existing levels of wholesale revenue is a belief in “free lunches”.

                    • Noddy
                      Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink |

                      “The belief that you can rebuild the entire last-mile network from scratch and still service the substantially higher capital base with existing levels of wholesale revenue is a belief in “free lunches”.”

                      But that isn’t what the current wholesale revenue pays for. It has a substantial profit margin. Much higher than the 7% NBN Co are looking for.

                      Thinking you can service the future needs of exponent data growth with a technology that cannot supply that demand for more than a few years is “false economy”

                      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

                        A short reply:

                        If Telstra was building a new network from scratch, it may well require double-digit returns during the risky construction phase, whereas NBNCo is apparently happy with the magical “7%”.

                        The reality is Telstra Corp bought the already-built network from the Government during the privatisation scheme under which the ACCC regulates returns on the CAN as a utility with single digit returns from day one. So, the fact that NBNco is apparently happy with “7%” offers no cost advantage when comparing “new fiber” with the old copper regime.

                        On the other hand, if you are debating the cost of Telstra-built brand new fiber network vs. NBNco-built, that would be a different story.

                      • Alex
                        Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink |

                        And how much did Telstra pay for the network?

                        Don’t confuse Telstra’s privatisation and shareholders thus owning Telstra, for PSTN ownership – two completely different kettles of fish…

            • Alex
              Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink |

              Nice tangent indeed, not factoring that the new BMW will do the job, whereas the old bomb, may/will continually break down at any given time.

              But then it has always only been just about the dollars for those on a political mission, even though as Renai explained, until PROVEN otherwise, the dollars really aren’t an issue.

              • guy
                Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

                Firstly the NBN FTTP system is an OVER ENGINEERED network. That should be enough for any network competent person to understand that it is essentially a white elephant.

                explaining, to promote 1-10Gbps capability on a carriage delivery system to millions of homes comes with a premium cost of implementation and maintenance. It will only be feasible if users actually do take up such speeds at a large porporation to areas where it will be offered ie. 93% of households.

                Failing that it simply amounts to over-engineering and over capacity / capability, a qualitative point which translates quantitatively into paying too much for what is really needed. This is a common pitch that many IT and Telco companies have fallen victim to, and have gone under as a result or suffered big write downs.

                Given that the network will have a life of approx 30yrs, it is unlikely that speeds will ever reach 1Gbps where the built in engineering capability of the fibre network will ever be about to reach its potential. And, given that ADSL and Cable has been around for nearly 20yrs, we see average real user speeds to be around 4mbps all the while there have been many various ISPs offering different broadband products.

                The FTTN system would at least allow NBN to no have to maintain main pair runs and for it to only look after last mile copper loops, which is a good cost saving. It will also allow it to decomission its exchange MDFs and copper runs and terminations to DSLAMS. FTTN does have the benefits of reducing network scale significatly as will remove main cable runs and associated infrastructure (eg, Pillars cabinets, MDFs) and also minimise the number of pits and joints when only the last mile needs to be maintained.

                • Kevin
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink |

                  Firstly the NBN FTTP system … I think we can stop right there.

                • peter
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink |

                  “Given that the network will have a life of approx 30yrs, it is unlikely that speeds will ever reach 1Gbps ”

                  Many people are already using 1Gbps networks in their homes. Why is it unlikely that they will want to use the internet for the same speeds?

                  Over-engineered, reliable, long term infrastructure (FTTH) is a smart option as it is actually the lowest cost in the end with lower maintenance costs and very low upgrade costs. Under-engineered, unreliable, infrastructure (FTTN) keeps copper-line maintenance workers in jobs without having them retrain in fibre maintenance and makes sure that future governments will offer even more money to the private sector to upgrade FTTN to FTTH when it inevitably happens.

                  • Hubert Cumberdale
                    Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

                    “Many people are already using 1Gbps networks in their homes. Why is it unlikely that they will want to use the internet for the same speeds?”

                    You bring up a good point peter. Given that our LANs are capable of 1gbit these days perhaps the ones advocating a FTTN patchwork could explain why we cant buy anything slower, surely all that speed is not needed locally, I mean if you really think about it we don’t even need LAN connections at all, if we want to transfer files we could just put them on SD cards to move them from one computer to another… It seems to me faster speeds would actually make more sense over longer distances… so say I need to transfer 2gb of files to three different people, one is in Amsterdam, one is in Sydney and one is in the next room what would be the most practical way to get it to all of them… hmm I wonder.

                    • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

                      +1

                      • guy
                        Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

                        This talk about LANs just shows you have little understanding of networks.

                        You need to educate yourselves.

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink |

                  “Firstly the NBN FTTP system is an OVER ENGINEERED network.”

                  I get the feeling you don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “over engineered”.

                  • guy
                    Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink |

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overengineering

                    its used perfectly well

                    • guy
                      Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink |

                      QUOTE -

                      “Overengineering generally occurs in high-end products or specialized market criteria, and takes various forms. In one form, products are overbuilt, and have performance far in excess of needs (a family sedan that can drive at 300 km/h, or a home video cassette recorder with a projected lifespan of 100 years), and hence are more expensive, bulkier, and heavier than necessary.

                      “Overcomplexity reduces usability of the product by the end user, and can decrease productivity of the design team due to the need to build and maintain all the features.

                      …now, one example is needing the complexity and cost of managing a high bandwidth capable carriage system (fibre network) which is capable of 10Gbps for use with broadband, such that 93% of households will have this capability but never exercise for the life of the infrastructure….

                      • Richard
                        Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

                        Perhaps if fibre were not such a big technical leap over copper we would not be having this futile discussion.

                        But what would we be using the bandwidth for then :-)

                        Perhaps it is only those with adequate internet speeds who can afford the resources to participate in the debate at all; internet has to be rationed in other places.

                    • Hubert Cumberdale
                      Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

                      “its used perfectly well”

                      Except the NBN doesn’t fit into this category since it is engineered to be sufficient for today’s and tomorrows needs.

                      “which is capable of 10Gbps for use with broadband, such that 93% of households will have this capability but never exercise for the life of the infrastructure”

                      What a ridiculous argument. So because it is capable of 10gbps that means it’s “overengineered”? The fibre is also capable of 100gbps, 1tbps AND more and it doesn’t cost any more or any less based how much or how little data each strand is capable of transferring. So does that make it more or less “overengineered” now? If you are not getting this yet let’s play a game to help you along, let’s pretend the fibre by some bizarre twist of fate is limited to something like 50mbps, would that make it more acceptable to you that we are building a network no better than what copper can provide? Of course not, so the speed that the fibre is capable of cannot be used as a reason why the NBN is “overengineered”. Come up with a better excuse please.

                      • guy
                        Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

                        yes it does… because fibre comes with certain operational specs. and usually they are not very flexible, for example doing a good splice vs and poor one, a tech would only get an OK for a job if he does a good splice, which means its takes more expertise and time. This function is performed the same more or less for a 10Gig link or a 10meg link, but because you can charge more for the 10gig link, the cost in build and ongoing maintenance averages out making it feasible.

                        now the 10gig fibre is the same as the 10meg fibre, and you cant cut down quality due to fibre specs, which as i said are rigid. Now if you have 1,000:1 uptake ratio of 10meg to 10gig services you quickly run into the problem where you are paying a lot more for the upkeep of lower speed services which must be built to the same or similar standard as premium speed links, and hence you fall into a hole and cant make up the difference.

                      • Alex
                        Posted 02/05/2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink |

                        Hubert, those bitumen roads we travel on are also “over engineered”, as one could do 300+ Kph on bitumen.

                        So instead of paying for bitumen and not being able to use 200 of the 300+ Kmh “over engineering”… dirt is much more feasible for the speeds we need and much more financially prudent.

                      • Hubert Cumberdale
                        Posted 02/05/2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink |

                        “This function is performed the same more or less for a 10Gig link or a 10meg link, but because you can charge more for the 10gig link, the cost in build and ongoing maintenance averages out making it feasible.”

                        Apart from you drawing ridiculous conclusions (no one has said anything about offering 10gbps, iirc NBNco mentioned it would be possible to offer 5gbps but nothing is confirmed) you are also trying to predict the future, who’s to say we wont be using 10gbps connections maybe 20 years down the line and don’t you think it makes more sense for NBNco to make sure the NBN has that ability while they are rolling out FTTH now or wait and have to rip it all up and replace it again? Oh and this is of course all assuming what you say is actually true…

                        “10gig services you quickly run into the problem where you are paying a lot more for the upkeep”

                        Describe the financial and labour differences between the “upkeep” of a 10mbps fibre service and a 10gbps fibre service then describe the financial and labour differences difference between the “upkeep” of a 100mbps fibre service and a 1gbps fibre service.

                • Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink |

                  Over engineered?

                  Heaven forbid we designed and built something that won’t last it’s planned lifetime. How dare we do something so sensible?

                  • Simon Reidy
                    Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

                    LOL. Exactly.

                • Alex
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink |

                  Over Engineered?

                  My goodness, this is yet another new angle on the old white elephant/waste/we don’t need it.

                  Fibre is fibre, it not over engineered. FTTP fibre is not made with overrated/unneeded components in comparison to FTTN fibre, it’s all fibre!

                  As for the NBN itself, it is being “provisioned” (not over engineered) to allow for future advancement.

                  Seriously…!

                • Gordon Edwards
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink |

                  Firstly the NBN FTTP system is an OVER ENGINEERED network. That should be enough for any network competent person to understand that it is essentially a white elephant.

                  Ummm… Umm… mmmmmm. Over-engineering.

                  Let’s talk about under-engineering. Remember the Skylab? Launched 14 May 1973, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere July 11, 1979. 3 missions, 171 days of occupation. Remember the Mir? Launch 19 February 1986, completion 23 April 1996. Occupied for a total of twelve and a half years of its fifteen-year lifespan, 4,592 days in total, 3,644 of them sequential (continuous). Anecdotally, I recall a comment that Mir exceeded its service life by around 40%.

                  Which do you regard as the white elephant?

                  Personally, I would ^%()* hope the NBN is over-engineered. That way, it wiil definitely prove to be the least-cost solution.

                  Gordon.

            • Noddy
              Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink |

              That assumes the alternative is very cheap and has a decent life span. To keep similar time frames we will assume the BMW will last for 50 years, could scale it but makes it easier not to.

              Option 1:
              Buy a BMW , use it for 50 years.
              Loan on car 32K, payed off over 30 years.

              Option 2:
              Buy some upgrades for your Datsun 180B
              Loan for upgrade 14K, payed off over about 15 years
              10 years on Datsun potential surpased. Need a BMW.
              Buy a BMW at price 10 years on, use it for 40 years.
              Loan on car 64K, less trade in (money saved on having FTTN to cabinets) 5K
              Payed off over 30 years.

            • Richard
              Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink |

              And there is no value on reliability? Be it buses, trains, ambulances or fire engines. Perhaps we should seek out the “quickest and easiest” test to managing those assets too.

              Parliament could still be meeting in Old Parliament House thus saving some interest. And energy, no doubt.

              • Shannon
                Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

                You mean like Translink’s busses and trains in QLD?

          • guy
            Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink |

            Doubt it, the battery in the nodes are for safety power backup in case of your suburbed suffering a blackout, the phones would still work. The NODE can run without these batteries, but it is always installed as part of providing emergency services, there is no reason why a NODE would require batteries put in them, but they are added for assurance and network robustness.

            FTTP would require optics to fibre lasers both at the exchange and from each NTD (customer modem) in addition to a battery back up, which needs to be replaced en mass, ie. 93% of households every 5 years, that is a lot of waste and cost. IN addition to needing the continually keep the batteries charged. You may opt out of having a battery back up, but that is at your own risk, if there is a power outage then be sure your mobile is charged and the tower isnt at full capacity with people calling all at once

            As for the provisioning of services, the FTTN and FTTP systems would be similar in cost and complexity. a FTTN node would be wired out to every house and via fibre optics to the exchange, so activations would be the same process as FTTP, ie. mostly software. This is different from the curren tall copper system where a technician will need to jumper at MDF’s, pillars and at exchange DSLAMS. There is little cost difference between FTTP and FTTN at all in this area.

            The main point is that as I mentioned in fibre has fault tolerance comparable to copper, however to keep the same level of tolerance, there has always been a higher degree of maintenance in keeping the fibre in shape due to its more senistive nature to damage. While both would experience the same incidences in outages it would cost more to keep a 1-10Gbps servce capable carriage in full operational state due to the bar being higher which is a direct result of much higher specs. (which as i have said, will never be utilised by most of the population nor is engineering of such a network possible.)

            • Noddy
              Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink |

              “As for the provisioning of services, the FTTN and FTTP systems would be similar in cost and complexity. a FTTN node would be wired out to every house and via fibre optics to the exchange, so activations would be the same process as FTTP, ie. mostly software”

              For this to happen via software every household must already be connected to the VDSLAM in the node. That’s a lot of idle VDSLAM ports. Also the node would need to be able to handle PSTN, or are you giving everyone who doesn’t have broadband a VDSL2 modem with VOIP capability and phone adapter?

              “This is different from the curren tall copper system where a technician will need to jumper at MDF’s, pillars and at exchange DSLAMS.”
              Since when has an MDF jumper been needed to convert an existing phone service to handle ADSL2? That said, if the line isn’t connected, the time the MDF jumpering is needed, it will still be needed. Unless, as a mentioned above, a technician is going to go out and jumper at the node a lot of VDSL ports will be wasted. Of there are options, that could switch electronicly, but that’s more expense, it has to handle the high frequencies of VDSL2 and there is still the PSTN problem.

              “While both would experience the same incidences in outages it would cost more to keep a 1-10Gbps servce capable carriage in full operational state due to the bar being higher which is a direct result of much higher specs. (which as i have said, will never be utilised by most of the population nor is engineering of such a network possible.)”
              Whether the fibre is carrying very little data or 10Gb data it’s the same. It’s properly connected or not. Unlike copper it doesn’t have a range of abilities due or poor connections, etc. Light gets through in sufficent quantities or not. If it doesn’t or is border line, it will be so at 10Mb or 10Gb.

              But that is probably completely wrong. As you keep pointing out. No one but you has a clue on anything.

        • MarkD
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink |

          “If you trade-in a $5,000 old bomb which requires constant parts replacement for a brand new BMW

          (And, no — the analogy isn’t perfect.)”

          Careful mate. If you want to try and taint the NBN with elitism your analogy must be a Roll Royce. A BMW is getting dangerously close to what the average coalition MP drives. And it’s a popular family sedan in Germany, so that just won’t do.

          Of course another imperfect analogy is getting a young Aussie family out of their 30 year-old death trap into a modern family sedan, but I guess that just won’t impart the right spin, will it now?

          • Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink |

            Yes, re-fashioning the analogy in terms of a “30 yr old death trap” vs. a Toyota Corolla would work too — the key point is to illustrate huge discrepancy between the capital values of a highly-depreciated copper network vs. a brand new fiber network. (l picked BMW on a whim because I thought it would accentuate the point.)

            Also, aren’t German cops and taxi drivers the luckiest?. . . driving around in BMWs and Mercs all day ….

            • Tim
              Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

              WHile the technical capacity of the network can be upgraded to 1Gbps in relatively few years (currently it is built for 100Mbps max) and probably 10Gbps in the future the reality is that NBN Co. does not expect everyone to demand such high speeds. Furthermore they have planned aroudn this, initially their business plan was constructed to be conservative with them suggesting that only 50% of those connecting to fibre will want faster than 12/1 (with 50% of those being phone only I believe, dont quote me on this part).

              NBN Co. has anticipated the markets demands and the fact that over time the demands of people will increase. As such it suggest that as this happens they will be able to decrease their prices per Mbps. As I have said they have planned for the people who do not want these high speeds.

              What your over engineered arrogance misses is the capability of this netowork to scale to demand. Unlike copper based technologies which are based primarily on distance a Fiber network can be scaled based on what people actually want and are prepared to pay for. That is the bueaty of FTTP, it has the ability to cater for a large range of people. If people only want a low end connection buy one from SkyMesh for $30m/o. If you are like me and will get the max you can get for the same price you pay now that will be 100/40 with 100+100Gbps with VOIP. The point is the network is not built to assume that all will want or demand 100/40, it is built to allow consumers the choice.

              • guy
                Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

                Recent upgrades of international links to 1-2Tbps, or 2000Gbps. That means 2000 users on the international links. Even if oversubscribe 50:1, it means we get 100,000 users, which at peak times would slow down to way below 1Gbps, making such an offering quite pointless.

                In the mean time, every single line is built to a premium standard capable of running 1-10Gbps, while most users may be on 12mbps, and potentially 100mbps, that is a redundant over head start at about 90%, which is money spent keeping the fibre in top condition, way above what will ever been transmitted over it, now apply that to millions of homes, and you will see the cost of ongoing maintenance when you have a network that is not fit for purpose.

                • Noddy
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink |

                  “Recent upgrades of international links to 1-2Tbps, or 2000Gbps”

                  You answered your own FUD. When there is demand for greater international volume the links are upgraded. If in the future 1Gb becomes something people want their would be reason for further upgrade.

                • Dean
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

                  How much traffic today goes over international links? I’ll wager it’s a lot less than you think.

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink |

                  “Recent upgrades of international links to 1-2Tbps, or 2000Gbps. That means 2000 users on the international links. Even if oversubscribe 50:1, it means we get 100,000 users, which at peak times would slow down to way below 1Gbps, making such an offering quite pointless.”

                  Because even more “upgrades of international links” are not possible and you expect us to believe this will remain static just because you say so?

                • Gordon Edwards
                  Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink |

                  Even if oversubscribe 50:1, it means we get 100,000 users, which at peak times would slow down to way below 1Gbps, making such an offering quite pointless.

                  As a simple home user, if I could get 100Mbps thru the WAN, I’d be ecstatic! Just noting my LAN won’t go faster than 100 anyway… My modem would actually have to do some work!!!!!

                  Gordon.

        • Paul Krueger
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink |

          Since there is no cost to the government to build the NBN, and it will cost either the same or less then current ADSL, surely it would be more reasonable to equate it to SWAPPING a 1920 BMW limited to traveling less then 24km/hour to a modern car capable of cruising at 100km/hour at a (possible) slightly higher petrol cost.

          Maintenance costs go down, and registration/petrol costs will be the same or cheaper.

        • MK
          Posted 14/05/2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

          Except this is like spending 70-80% of the money of the new bmw,
          upgrading the Bomb, installing airbags, ABS, EBS, Cruise control, new seats and interior,
          new paint job and lights
          while keeping the oringal engine and Transmission

          You save a LITTLE on that 30% less cost on the finance
          which may in the short run be more than the massive increase in service costs
          as the transmission starts to head out
          and then finally the transmssion or engine dies
          and you still have to go and buy another car

    2. Abel Adamski
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink |

      Rheir using AT&T as an authority and example of a successful result for FTTN is interesting..

      http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/419626/broadband_infrastructure_time_real_policy/

      A USA article specifically referring to massive customer dissatisfaction with the company’s product

    3. Abel Adamski
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink |

      Sorry, Their . – blame the cat, attention monger sitting in front of screen and playing on the keyboard

      • Tim
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink |

        should be they are or ‘they’re’

    4. Muso1
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink |

      My Telstra line (phone and ADSL) has gone down at least once a year for the last four years. One service engineer mentioned moisture and cold being a factor, and went on to say Telstra wouldn’t replace failing infrastructure until it actually failed.
      If my line goes dead on a Friday, it can take until Tuesday to get it fixed. Telstra also quote 3 to 5 working days to address a line failure, although I admit they’ve usually done better than that.
      But I’m working from home, and The Coalition should factor in lost hours of production when calculating the cost of FTTN vs FTTH.

    5. Matt
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink |

      I have the feeling that its the political system which is letting us down here.
      If we put the question up for referendum then FTTH would pass and it would become party agnostic, with both sides trying to get the best for Australia.
      As it stands, the role of a shadow minister seems to be to disagree with everything done by the reigning party.
      We need a better political system.
      Why cant we vote online on issues like this?
      A wikipedia article says that we had 70% internet availability within the population in 2008 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Australia#Social_trends).
      To me, that suggests that we have enough of the population to make online political voting a definite possibility.
      I would rather see our politicians debating issues for the public’s benefit rather than for their parties.

      • SMEMatt
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink |

        Direct elected PM with increased voting power in the house(ie votes worth 5) so the house can force through legislation if it needs to but the PM can get through close legislation for the good of the country but only with the below.
        Extend bike gang legislation to apply to political parties.

        • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

          +100

        • Posted 02/05/2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink |

          Except that would also allow a PM to force through bad legislation as well. Internet Filter anyone?

          • SMEMatt
            Posted 03/05/2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink |

            Against the combined voting power of the rest of parliament who are no longer by Law allowed to be part of a political party.

            I think Douglas Adams had it right

            “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

      • Tim
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink |

        Vote online? Need proper infrastructure to do that, unless you want to make public school computer available for it or it work with dial – up connection (people stil ldo use them).

        That kind of E – Governance has potential though, needs a robust indentity system but why not?

        • Matt
          Posted 04/05/2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink |

          Agreed that the infrastructure would have to be built but from a technical perspective (I’m a programmer), there is no reason why it should not be done.
          To make the idea real would require support, planning and probably a whole lot of arguing between parties

    6. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink |

      Of course Turnbull would say maintenance cost not an issue. He’s not the one that has to pay for it. It’s Telstra who pays and then passes that cost onto ISPs who then pass it onto the sucker consumers who stupidly thought all that money they’ve been paying would have eventually be put back into the network and upgraded.

      More hilarious is the “technologically agnostic” line he keeps peddling, if that were true and if the coalition truly wanted to be “technologically agnostic” then they wouldn’t care what technology is rolled out to provide 100/40mbps now and 1000/400mbps later, since they do they cant claim they are being “technologically agnostic” at all.

      Turnbulls rhetoric is starting to remind me of a bad magician who can’t figure out which was the card you picked, after exhausting most of the deck with haphazard guesses he comes across the eight of spades and then tries to convince you and the audience that it was actually your card… Sorry but we actually know what the card is and we are not convinced.

    7. Noddy
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

      “But I don’t feel that the Coalition has yet done enough to make its argument yet for FTTN; I’d like to see it try harder to justify its preference for this style of rollout”

      So would I. I don’t just mean a short term, here is the price, see it’s cheaper analysis. I want to see the long term analysis. NBN has looked far into the future, 30 years plus, to show the growing requirements, costs, returns, etc. I would like to see similar from the Coalitiion. Not, here is what FTTN will cost. They acknoledge that an upgrade to FTTH will be needed at some stage for some areas. Map out that 30-50 year time frame and show that in the end their solution is more cost efficient than the current one.
      I get this terrible feeling the idea is spend minimum with no plan beyond that. Answer the immediate problem and forget about the future.

      • peter
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink |

        “I get this terrible feeling the idea is spend minimum with no plan beyond that. Answer the immediate problem and forget about the future.”

        Politicians have no innate reason to think long term. If something good can be put off until after the next election they can use it as a campaign “promise”, and if an issue can be put off until after the next election it was never their fault as at some stage the “others” were in power and you can conveniently blame it on them even if it was your fault.

        Unless journalists put effort and company money into FOI requests noone is the wiser as to whose fault it actually was and the best spin-doctor wins. Even if FOI requests succeed the government could hide the evidence behind National Security or another equally vague reason.

        • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink |

          *sigh* speaking from experience, most govt departments are very well versed in how to block journalists from successful FoI requests.

          However, I have had a great deal of success this month with the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

    8. SMEMatt
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink |

      I want to be “technologically agnostic” too. I want to know that no matter where I move inside the 93% coverage area I will get a certain standard of service. Not the pot luck of your phone line was installed in the in the late 50s and you can only get <10% of the max advertised speed bull we have now.

      I want to be technologically agnostic in what I quote and supply to clients because I know if they are in a major center they are going to have available a minimum amount of bandwidth. I want to know that even if my client isn't in a major center they will still have a standard I spec my solution against.

      The LNP solution promises everything while guarantee nothing.

    9. David
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink |

      I’m sorry, but how does it concern Turnbull what the ongoing costs of copper maintenance ($1b per year by many estimates) are?

      Is he suggesting that a Liberal government would see tax dollars – the ones he’s tried so valiantly to defend from the pollution of Labor’s FttP – funneled to maintaining a copper network that belongs to Telstra? Copper maintenance has never been the government’s job in the past – which is why the network is so dodgy for so much of its length.

      Unless he has it set in his mind that a Liberal government would buy the copper network outright and therefore fund its ongoing maintenance. Which would be a disastrous waste of government funds, not to mention a political and philosophical defeat of the highest order that would contradict 20 years of Liberal dogma.

      • Alex
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink |

        Yes through blind ideology they will ‘subsidise” private companies to run and own our NBN.

        So which plan really is wasteful?

      • AJ
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink |

        No he is suggesting that the consumer should pay more money because that is what will happen YOU will pay MORE money directly and you will prop them up with your Tax Dollars

    10. Abel Adamski
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink |

      Telstra/Thodey, Turnbull, Integrity. Brisbane South exchange.

      The exchange had to be relocated. Telstra had 3 choices

      1) reroute/replace the copper
      2) Replace with FTTN
      3) Replace with FTTH

      Being a private company with shareholder interest as primary focus, it would be a requirement that they chose the most cost effective and practical solution with a longish term view, which was????

      Consequences for the subscribers and Competitors ??

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

        South Brisbane is not a good example for comparison.

        It is a high density area – (read: highly profitable area) – where copper connections to all existing premises were replaced, and would receive a 1:1 take up ratio, as one day it was copper, next day it was fibre.

        There was little or no risk.

        • peter
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

          The NBN is designed to be 1:1

          What gave you the idea that copper would stay after the NBN moved into a site once the Telstra agreement was finalised?

          • Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |

            By 1:1, I mean you don’t HAVE to take up an NBN service even after the copper is gone. If you had an existing copper service in South Brisbane, you now have a fibre service.

            One for one swap out.

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 05/05/2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink |

          Michael, Actually a perfect situation for fibre to the node and VSDL, high density with shorter cable runs minimising noise and crosstalk using existing customer end copper. It is the exchange being shifted, not the customers. Telstra by their choice, considering their shareholders best interest, practically demonstrated their respected technical competence and financial acumen, in the process validating Labors NBN

    11. Mr.B
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink |

      The last time I checked, Telstra stated it cost them just shy of $1B to maintain the CAN and that the cost continued to increased yearly.

      If the LNP got into Gov, scrapped FTTH and installed FTTN, it would take at least another 30 years to “upgrade” the FTTN network to a full FTTH – in that time, the CAN maintenance cost would come very close to paying for NBNCo’s FTTH network.

      And that is just looking at the maintenance cost of the CAN, factor in the cost to actually upgrade to a full FTTH after those 30 years and also consider the lost revenue that NBNCo’s FTTH network is expecting to make over the next 30+ years and all you can do is sit back and wonder what the hell the LNP are really trying to achieve by going FTTN – because it isn’t going to save money in the long run.

      And you’d expect all the Telstra shareholders to be a hell of a lot more vocal, considering the HUGE impact that the $1B CAN maintenance cost has on Telstra’s net profit each year. The CAN maintenance cost alone is equal to approx 30% of Telstra’s yearly net profit last year. And that CAN maintenance cost is continually increasing. I wonder if Telstra’s net profit will drop another 17$ this year…

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink |

        “…If the LNP got into Gov, scrapped FTTH and installed FTTN, it would take at least another 30 years to “upgrade” the FTTN network to a full FTTH – in that time, the CAN maintenance cost would come very close to paying for NBNCo’s FTTH network…”

        Precisely, in a nutshell.

        But be very careful using such clear and simple logic around here. Some will jump on you and label you a heretic for applying such common sense.

    12. Mr.B
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink |

      Typo above – 17% not 17$.

    13. Shannon
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink |

      ” the cost of maintaining the decades-old infrastructure not being significant compared with alternatives.”

      That’s because the decades-old infrastructure is not being maintained, if you live in an area with sufficiently old and degraded copper, good luck getting it replaced.

    14. Duke
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink |

      hmmm… 1% poster, 99% trollster?

    15. Tedd
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

      Typo in “Personally, I’d love to have FTTN rolled out to my house, as it would deliver an instant speed and reliability boost over teh current copper network”

      s/teh/the/

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

        #regularExpressionWin

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink |

        I’ll have you know ‘teh’ is a technical term.

        • Tedd
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

          I can haz Teh Copporxz?

    16. Brendan
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink |

      It’s actually very simple.

      Where does Mr Turnbull get the multi-billion dollar funding from, to convince Telstra to continue to maintain copper?

      They aren’t “maintaining” it now. Investment in the CAN has stopped; at most Telstra has invested some in getting upgrading a bunch of FTTN cabinets (what do you think a RIM or CMUX effectively is?).

      Where does Mr Turnbull get the multi-billion dollar funding from, to convince Telstra to then deploy FTTH?

      That’s the logical conclusion; if you push Malcolm on the topic, he stops debating the topic.

      All these ridiculous “car” analogies drive me nuts. Clearly the advantage of “replacing” a network — using government funding with a ROI requirements, that has long since surpassed it’s use-by date — is lost on some.

      The government is not buying a new car.

      We, the people, are funding a replacement of a technology that has exceeded it’s use-by date, with a new network that will achieve ever greater performance and service offerings; the best bit? We, the people, will see that investment returned to the Federal Government.

      Where’s Malcom’s cost offset? Where’s the return? Where’s the plan? Where’s the stage-two plan? Where’s that funding?

      Hello? Beuller?

      The man has been charged with “destroying” the NBN, not finding a better solution. Thus his entire rhetoric is built around the (mistaken) belief that there’s no issue to fix. That big-business can solve this for us.

      We tried that. It’s called “Telstra”.

      • Alex
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

        +1

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink |

        Where does Mr Turnbull get the multi-billion dollar funding from, to convince Telstra to continue to maintain copper?

        In the context of the FTTN vs FTTH debate, this artificial juxtaposition of “copper” vs “fiber”is wrongheaded and completely misleading.

        The FTTN approach recognises that the copper network is old and replan’s with fiber

        • Alex
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink |

          Why we know where FTTP is coming from Bonds, securities, BAF, etc

          Where’s Turnbull getting the money for not just the copper but everything he wishes to gift to private companies.

          The taxpayer?

        • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

          blah. Fttn replaces as much of the copper as possible with fiber except the final bit which ramps costs up exponentially. fttn is not anti -fiber, it uses fiber up to a point where it then becomes prohibitively expensive to go any deeper .

          • Tim
            Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

            True, to an extent.

            FTTN does use Fibre, ass indicated in the name it is to the ‘node’. What you fail to acknowledge is that by using copper over hundreds of metres you are effectively placing a noose around the capability of the network.

            This noose is there primarily because of the nature of copper and xDSL technologies. Added to this the qaulity of the copper used and some areas (unknown amounts) will be in serious trouble requiring reinvestment in bringing the copper up to scratch.

            I honestly do not know why people keep flapping on about FTTN when NZ tested that theory, it failed, spectacularly. They on average got 13 Mbps on VDSL2 technology, if you believe some people that is a massive 3Mbps faster then the average broadband user gets now. Now they have to replace a majorit of that FTTN with FTTP and look what prices they pay per MB.

            BT is the other example, it has only recently started a FTTN build and is already getting heavily criticdsed for it. The British government is promising 2Mbps to ‘rural’ users and up to 50Mbps for the rest. Notice the ‘up to’ there.

          • Greg
            Posted 02/05/2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink |

            Lol. When you say prohibitively, you dont mean it in the sense in which you wrote it, do you? Since, as it stands, we ARE actually doing it. Bwahaha. So really, what your saying is, according to you, its more expensive than you personally are willing to accept. But given the funding arrangements, I am willing to accept it and it looks to me foolish to NOT do the upgrade now. Hee hee. I guess I would argue that with my excellent health I dislike my taxpayer money funding those prohibitively expensive hospitals! And that prohibitively expensive campaign to prevent smoking related illness. I dont smoke, and by god I am sick of the ads.

          • Alex
            Posted 02/05/2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink |

            Blah indeed 1%.

            As you are the one who keeps bringing up new analogies in relation to the NBN costs, please enlighten us as to where the opposition (whom you seem very warm and cosy with) are getting the money to throw at private companies from…?

            It’s not a trick question, give it a go…!

        • MarkD
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink |

          “The FTTN approach recognises that the copper network is old and replan’s with fiber”.

          Getting to the node is relatively easy and solves no particularly hard problem. Exchanges and RIMs and CMUXs are all nodes of a sort connected via fibre.

          Getting the population off the last-mile lottery *is* the hardest and most time-consuming problem. It is also the most important part of this whole debate.

          Every time you build or move or have to work in the wrong part of the country (or wrong part of a suburb for that matter) you get to buy a lottery ticket. Can you connect? At what speed? Will it continue to work after it rains? Will it be upgraded as needs increase? Can it be fixed if it breaks? No one knows.

          FTTN avoids, ignores or, as you say, defers this problem to the distant future.

          If you really want and alternate policy that reliably connects the whole population in a shorter time-frame, then eliminate the last-mile lottery and let commercial interests get to the node. The coalition should have a Home To The Node policy (HTTN) if they genuinely want to help everyone as cheaply as possible.

          If that means remediating the CAN, so be it, but fixing the non-problem and leaving the real problem to some future fairy godmother? Who does that really help?

    17. Brad
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

      “We recognise that in some areas, the cost of maintaining or upgrading the copper will make it uneconomic to upgrade,”

      It has been quite amusing to see how much over time Turnbull’s position has got closer and closer to the existing NBN plan, much ado about nothing. This line leaves his position wide open that it could be determined that replacing the entire copper CAN would be the most economic option.

      It’s like he is trying to follow his directive to “destroy the NBN” but as he continues to make futile arguments, his position creeps closer and closer to what is already being built. If and when Abbott forms government (I shudder writing that) if Turnbull is still in the same department I will be quietly confident in the NBN’s future. However I suspect Abbott would replace Turnbull with someone less thoughtful and more hardline, who will follow out his NBN directives with less thought with regards to the technical ramifications.

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink |

        +1 to what you wrote about Turnbull getting closer and closer to the NBN. I think they find it hard to argue against it at the moment.

        • Tim
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink |

          I certainly has been progressively getting closer, they are not there yet though. I mean lets be honest remember their first alternative? 6bn for wireless? They could hardly do worse.

          • Tim
            Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink |

            It*

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 05/05/2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink |

          They have a problem, there is world wide interest and the Markets and investors are enthused at the opportunities, let alone the software developers. Guess you have read the current Buzz on Technology Spectator

          Extract “Kennedy reckons that the Coalition’s approach is actually viable but it will be challenging because there aren’t too many instances where a fibre to the node network has worked with one company controlling the fibre and another controlling the copper needed for the last mile.

          “They can probably negotiate a deal but they will have to work out the best service level agreement ever written,” he says.

          And this article syndicated in Fairfax.

          http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/telcos-already-up-for-the-dawn-of-a-new-age-20120504-1y45f.html

          The coalition concept gives the appearance of planning for first , second and third class citizens, National infrastructure designed and implemented to disenfranchise a large number of our populatiom

      • Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

        There’s frankly nothing new there. Malcolm talked about the existence and necessity of replacing wet copper with fiber in selected locations many many months ago.

        • Alex
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink |

          So FTTP where there is wet copper in Brownfields and FTTP in Greenfields…

          But isn’t FTTP a wasteful Ferrai like extravagance to be avoided like the pox?

          Seems the opposition want their truffles and caviar and to eat them too?

    18. Alexs
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

      FTTN is cheaper only if Telstra gives away the copper network for free.

      In reality, Telstra will ask for a large amount of money to lease/sell off of copper network. Then it can use the money to build its own FTTH network in the most profitable area, and competes against FTTN. (No other telcos has the money to build FTTH). Maybe this is what Mr Turnbull wants for his infrastructure competition. We will be back to square one with Telstra controlling the infrastructure again.

      Also, FTTN won’t be built over night, it take years. By the time it is built from east coast to the west coast, it is time to upgrade to the FTTH anyway.

    19. Brad Cann
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

      the car analogy only works if you factor in the old car and everytime it breaks down it costs you money sending out a tech to half ass patch it, whereas with a new car you are likely to see much longer periods between service/breakdowns. Also factoring in that you can sell that new car later down the track for a better price then some beat up old crapbox. A dollar spent today is going to be much better value then the dollar spent later on down the track as you will get less for your dollar ten years down the track once inflation and a million other things are factored in.

      The biggest issue is the fact that like just about everyone else nowadays, people are focused on the very short term gain rather then the longer term benefit for all. At least with FTTH we get something we can sell down the track for some $$$. by going the FTTN route we are affectively paying telstra to upgrade something that they should’ve done a long time ago AND it remains in their ownership so we can’t sell it down the track to recoup some money.

      What is the saying of late with the banks and massive profits and losses, “privatise the profits, socialise the losses” or in this case “privatise the profits, socialise the expenses”

    20. Black Sheep
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink |

      With all the discussion of FTTH and FTTN there seems to be an assumption that they are two new alternatives to what Telstra offers now.

      Many housing estates have their broadband provided by cabinets in their street (CMUX’s and RIM’s). These are feed on fibre and are therefore Fibre to the Node. How are they any different to the FTTN that Tony wants to give us.

      The current Telstra FTTN offering has a limited capacity back to their parent exchange which is then shared to a couple of hundred customers resulting in slower speeds.

      The discussion should be between what many have now remarketed as FTTN and real broadband FTTH

    21. Richard
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink |

      “technologically agnostic” Malcolm’s favourite phrase. What this country needs is “technologically agnostic” railways… but wait… isn’t that what we used to have? And how long did it take to sort that out?

      Meanwhile the nation’s defence was put at risk according to General Macarthur who thought the arrangement had been a foreign plot.

    22. Daniel
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink |

      I don’t care about the costs of the maintenance.

      It’s the issues that PROP UP thats the issue.

      Fault finding and trouble shooting is going to be worse than ADSL because Telstra just hide the faults by using an already existing technique that causes the faults to HIDE because it still relies on the Copper and copper carries currents.

      And now with the Sweden Primary CBA Study completed on FTTH Network (for those that do not know – http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2012/05/01/3493131.htmI) do wonder what Malcom is DRINKING – PERHAPS THE SAME DRINKS THAT PYNE HAS DRINKING WITH ASHBYy.

    23. Mark Ryan
      Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink |

      I’ve already posted these comments in the “Worst of the worst: Photos of Australia’s copper network” Article here:

      http://delimiter.com.au/2012/05/01/worst-of-the-worst-photos-of-australias-copper-network/

      Also posted them in the “A challenge for Telstra: Show us your best” Article here:

      http://delimiter.com.au/2012/05/02/a-challenge-for-telstra-show-us-your-best/#comment-401231

      But I thought it was worthwhile to also add them to this Article as well.

      As someone who worked in Telstra Engineering (and Telecom Australia) for many many years, I can tell you that the External Plant isn’t in very good condition and isn’t and hasn’t been maintained very well. Others who know what I know would agree with these statements. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this because they are many and varied, but your photos do paint a picture of the condition of a lot of the network. Yes in new areas the infrastructure “looks” good for a while but it soon falls into disrepair quickly. Anyone could provide “evidence” such as photos to support an argument either way. Big deal! Cooper, electricity and moisture together form the bases for this decay of the network. Moisture gets into the copper cables (both Plastic covered, plastic insulated Distribution Cables as well as Lead/Moisture Barrier covered paper insulated Mains Cable etc.) at joints and in-line for many reasons including sloppy workmanship, poor equipment design, flawed procedures and practices, pests (ants/termites etc.) environmental condition and mechanical damage. They all end in the same result….Faults!

      Those who have an agenda will cry foul of what I’m saying. I have no agenda just years of experience in Telstra & Telecom Australia. I don’t care if you believe what I’m saying or not because the facts are the facts regardless of the agenda or political slant that some of you have.

      Before shooting your mouth off about something you know nothing about, get your fact straight. Do a bit of research first. Cooper, Electricity and Moisture are a bad combination. It is very difficult to keep moisture out of the joints and cables in any cooper telephone network regardless of the techniques, and procedures used. Think about the fact that the air itself contains moisture and as the temperature drops at night etc. the water vapor condense into liquid water. What do you think happens inside a joint or cable where this moisture forms?

      I’m not going to connect all the dots for you. But anyone with any experience in the Telecommunications industry know all this stuff and know why a fibre network is superior to a cooper network with regard to fault tolerance let alone the fact that fibre provides almost endless capacity. Yes fibre is still affected by such things as mechanical damage both man made and animal/insect. But it certainly doesn’t suffer from the biggest cause of faults in the cooper telephone network which is moisture ingress.

      • Richard Ure
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink |

        Mark,

        I wish we could hear more from the likes of you and your colleagues and less from Malcolm Turnbull who, I feel confident, has never shared your lunch box or put his head inside a pit.

      • MarkD
        Posted 02/05/2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink |

        “As someone who worked in Telstra Engineering (and Telecom Australia) for many many years, I can tell you that the External Plant isn’t in very good condition and isn’t and hasn’t been maintained very well. Others who know what I know would agree with these statements. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this”

        There have been tens of 1,000s of dedicated technicians, engineers and scientists who put their heart and soul into building and maintaining the network. A network they were once justifiable proud of. A network they designed and built to last for many decades. And it did, and then some. And it now carries traffic they never dreamed of. Perhaps Mark Ryan is one of those people. He sounds like it.

        But as short-term business decision dominated, they got to witness all their hard work going down the drain. And we consumers of course get to witness the consequential third-rate service that follows.

        So now the country nickel-and-dimes over FTTN vs FTTH because one might be a couple of dollars cheaper in the short term.

        The irony of arguing for short-term solutions using a network that only exists because of a long-term thinking must not be lost on all those who built the original network.

        • Alex
          Posted 02/05/2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink |

          “The irony of arguing for short-term solutions using a network that only exists because of a long-term thinking…”

          +1 MarkD

    24. Mark
      Posted 03/05/2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink |

      I just viewed Mr Ashford’s comments here in his submission:

      http://www.zgeek.com/telstra-vs-tim-ashford/

      I understand exactly what he is talking about. These high resistance faults (as we called them) but as he calls “high open” faults are temporarily masked by the standard robotic tests as they temporarily “breakdown” the high resistance by the voltage/current applied to them during the testing. This also can happen when you lift the handset on the telephone and the circuit is completed and 50volts applied to the entire circuit. However this isn’t always the case depending on the amount of oxidation between the conductors at a joint, or on a cross connect point such as a cabinet or pillar, or in a socket within a house etc. In pure telephoney terms these faults were and are characterised by noise heard during a telephone conversations. Like the sound of cracking bacon cooking or a scratching noise or just a crackly noise on the line. On Naked ADSL this wouldn’t be heard. The only way to test for this fault is a “loop test”. Anyway some more information is available here:

      http://www.dslreports.com/faq/11821

      The testing procedure that Telstra is currently using needs to change (as it once was) so loop testing is done first to detect the high resistance faults or high open faults as Mr Ashford calls them.

    25. Mark
      Posted 03/05/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

      Here is a link to the documents that Mr Ashton has posted. Of most interest is “Letter to ACMA – Copper Oxide Faults in the copper network” and “The effect of copper oxide on telephone and D.S.L bearers”:

      Letter to ACMA – Copper Oxide Faults in the copper network:

      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9HEaIeTa06rS2Z5MjdmNmx5cGc/edit?pli=1

      Letter to Stephen Conroy:

      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9HEaIeTa06rM3VDNVhNQ1RtQW8/edit?pli=1

      The effect of copper oxide on telephone and D.S.L bearers:

      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9HEaIeTa06rQnhfbkpXUmtGS28/edit?pli=1

      LTS-2 Analogue Meter Scale and Specifications:

      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9HEaIeTa06rWEpHblFDTXdiQlE

    26. Oliver
      Posted 03/05/2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink |

      I can’t believe people are complaining about the ‘over engineering’ of labors NBN network. The whole idea of the NBN is to provide all Australian’s with world class internet. If the NBN wasn’t over engineered, we would be building a network that is merely adequate today to replace our barely adequate and for some people useless ADSL copper network. When I think about the roads network and public transport, I wish they were over engineered when major work was being done years ago. We wouldn’t be facing as bad traffic congestion issues today. If bandwidth on fixed line internet connections doubles every year, you wouldn’t want to be building a network for the bandwidth requirements of 2013. But for the potential bandwidth applications of 2020 and beyond. And if you can’t technically build a network that will provide adequate bandwidth in 2020+ and design an upgrade path. Let’s not forget labors NBN can be upgraded to 1Gbps as required.

    27. Posted 08/08/2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink |

      Hey I just visit your blog and its intresting. There are some big news you provide. I am prety sure that these are helpful.MDF Jumpering

    28. Posted 10/08/2013 at 4:08 am | Permalink |

      Hey thanks for shareing this useful information.




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