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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, May 24, 2012 13:02 - 49 Comments

    Rural Australia wants the NBN as quickly as possible

    news Rural and regional Australian communities are strongly committed to the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project, with a focus on maximising the potential of the infrastructure when it arrives in their area, a new independent report has found.

    In mid-2011, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy established an independent body, the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, to conduct a new wide-ranging review into the current state of the market and attitudes towards telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

    The committee has been chaired by Rosemary Sinclair, a well-known figure within the telecommunications industry courtesy of her previous role leading the new defunct independent body the Australian Telecommunications User Group, as well as a number of other prominent figures such as beef cattle producer Warren McLachlan, telecommunications consultant Robin Eckermann, law lecturer Heron Loban, former WA agriculture and forestry minister Kim Chance (a Labor MP), and former senior Telstra Country Wide executive Alun Davies.

    In undertaking the review, the committee held public consultations in 20 regional locations around Australia, as well as roundtable stakeholder meetings in every state and territory capital city.
    The Federal Coalition has been strongly critical of the National Broadband Network project, with Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull noting that, had the previous Howard Government’s OPEL project gone ahead in 2007/2008, rural Australia would already have access to a fixed wireless broadband service of the kind that the NBN is currently rolling out in a number of locations. Additionally, the Coalition has repeatedly described the NBN project as a “white elephant” and stated that the project’s aims of universal access to fast broadband could be achieved faster and cheaper through re-using existing infrastructure and using alternative technologies such as fibre to the node.

    However, according to the review released this week, rural Australia is strongly on board with the NBN project and impatient for it to start delivering.

    “The NBN is regarded as an opportunity to bridge the existing digital divide in regional Australia and allow individuals, businesses and communities to more fully participate in the digital economy,” the review found. “The focus in many areas is firmly on the question of when the services will arrive and understanding how communities can help to get the best possible NBN services.”

    In addition, the review noted that the importance of the Federal Government’s commitment to uniform national wholesale pricing — an element of the NBN project which the Coalition has also objected to — “cannot be overstated, particularly in areas where competition in the broadband market has not previously been present”.

    The NBN’s interim satellite service, which is already providing broadband speeds of up to 6Mbps Australia-wide, while the company progresses its plans to launch its own satellites capable of up to 12Mbps speeds in several years, offered the bush ” an immediate improvement in high-speed broadband availability and affordability”, the review found; it recommended that the satellite eligibility program be expanded.

    Most of the committee’s recommendations in this area focused on the need for the Government and NBN Co to work more closely and transparently with rural and regional communities — especially on areas such as such communities’ ability to self-fund extensions to the NBN’s fibre footprint in their area.

    The review’s findings echo a recent analysis of rural media coverage following the announcement of the three-year rollout plan for the NBN, which showed overwhelming demand for the infrastructure from a large number of rural and regional Australian communities, with many expressing disappointment that they had been left off the list for the NBN’s first few years.

    The analysis was published earlier this week (we recommend you click here and read the full article) by telecommunications industry worker and blogger Michael Wyres. In a blog post, Wyres wrote that he had examined reports from a large number of local newspapers to determine what community attitudes in the regions were to the rollout, universally finding that local community representatives wanted the new infrastructure in their areas, and wanted it fast.

    Other areas of significant concern by rural communities centred around the need for better mobile voice and mobile broadband services in rural areas.

    “This issue was raised in every regional consultation and in around two-thirds of the submissions we received,” the report stated. “The committee accepts that there are commercial limits to expanding mobile network coverage, but it is equally clear there is strong unmet demand in regional Australia for an expansion of the mobile coverage footprint.”

    The nation’s largest telco Telstra currently offers the largest mobile coverage outside of Australia’s major cities, but both Optus and Vodafone are also investing in their networks on an ongoing basis. The extension of the NBN’s fibre backhaul footprint into rural areas is expected to assist with this process to a certain degree.

    “The committee strongly believes that increased priority should be given to expanding the mobile coverage footprint in parts of regional Australia where it is not commercial to do so. There is an opportunity for all levels of government and local communities to work in partnership with carriers to extend the mobile network,” the report stated. “The committee has recommended a co-investment program, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and interested state or territory governments to expand the mobile coverage footprint in regional Australia, focusing on priority locations selected with community input.”

    Popularity of the NBN
    The popularity of the NBN in rural areas is consistent with polling figures which have consistently shown high levels of popular support for the project Australia-wide. In February, for example, a poll released by research houses Essential Media and Your Source showed that the NBN policy has continued to enjoy strong levels of popularity, especially amongst Labor and Greens voters, since the last Federal Election.

    The pair polled their audience with the following question: “From what you’ve heard, do you favour or oppose the planned National Broadband Network (NBN)”? The response displayed an enduring level of support for the NBN, with 56 percent of total respondents supporting the NBN in total, compared with 25 percent opposed and 19 percent stating that they didn’t know.

    Just 10 percent of those polled strongly opposed the NBN, while 20 percent strongly favoured the project. Amongst Labor and Greens voters who responded to the poll, support was the strongest, with 80 percent and 77 percent supporting the initiative, 42 percent of Coalition voters supported it. Over the past 14 months since September 2010, Your Source has asked respondents the same question on three other occasions, with respondents displaying a very similar support rate for the project — ranging from 48 to 56 percent. Those opposing the project have ranged from 19 percent of respondents to 27 percent.

    This data was largely echoed in April, when another similar poll showed support for the initiative continues to grow to record levels. According to the polling data, in total, 42 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Liberal or National voters stated that they were in favour of the NBN, while 40 percent in total opposed the project and the remaining 18 percent didn’t know. Of that 42 percent, eight percent were strongly in favour of the Labor plan, with 34 percent being in favour, and of the 40 percent against, 14 percent strongly opposed the NBN, with 26 percent opposing it. Amongst Labor and Greens voters, the numbers are much more strongly in favour of the NBN, with 80 percent of Labor voters and 68 percent of Greens voters for the plan, and with a much higher proportion of those polled being strongly in favour.

    opinion/analysis
    I’m not surprised at all that the NBN policy continues to experience overwhelming levels of popularity in regional and rural Australia. These areas have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to telecommunications investment, and I’m sure these communities would welcome any government investment in this area.

    One other point should also be made. An overwhelming body of evidence is gradually being accumulated that Australia’s population as a whole is staunchly in support of the NBN. Views on this matter are not divided; research has consistently shown that the policy is very popular and that most Australians in all areas agree the project should go ahead.

    Now, I’m not going to say that the Coalition has to do everything the population says, should it win government. Clearly, sometimes a Government needs to enact an unpopular policy because it’s the right thing to do. But such overwhelming support does mean that the Coalition needs to produce a higher burden of proof for why the NBN policy as a whole should be substantially modified.

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    1. Posted 24/05/2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

      <<<“The committee accepts that there are commercial limits to expanding mobile network coverage,

      That's an outright lie.

      lf it is profitable for NBNco to push fibre to the doorsteps of a whopping 93% of Australians, these "commercial limits" to mobile network expansion within the 93% footprint is fictitious.

      Either the Government should also nationalize the wireless sector, or Mike Quigley's 7% ROl is complete hogwash.

      • Posted 24/05/2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink |

        Bear in mind the NBN is a wholesale monopoly — a vastly different situation compared with the competitive mobile sector.

      • Alex
        Posted 24/05/2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

        As usual, in amongst yet another example of analytically proven NBN need, there are those who will scour the article in it’s entirety, only to ignore 99% of it and look to find one sentence, any sentence, even an innocuous one, simply to try to circumvent the actual crux by creating a diversionary argument, to continue their crusade….*sigh*

        I now also await those who question the (READ) “independent” committee’s impartiality and will ergo use that as their reasoning for denying the committees findings.

        Do I hear a white elephant…?

      • PeterA
        Posted 24/05/2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

        Wuuhh

        Are you seriously claiming that there is no commercial limits to mobile network expansion by private parties, when compared to a fibre rollout to a much smaller footprint?

        The mobile network is expanded to 98% of australians.

        There is no commercial limit to expand the MOBILE network to that last 2%.

        The fibre isn’t being expanded to 98%. Fibre isn’t being extended to 100%.

        Therefore your argument, while not only bunk, while not only ignoring the rest of the entire article, is based on ZERO.

    2. Dean
      Posted 24/05/2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink |

      An overwhelming body of evidence is gradually being accumulated that Australia’s population as a whole is staunchly in support of the NBN.

      This is an important point. The fact that the NBN is a popular policy can no longer be ignored or discounted. People want the NBN.

      • Karl
        Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:59 am | Permalink |

        The people of this country voted for the woman who stole leadership of her party on the back of their want for the NBN, I think everyone already knew the NBN is popular really :P

    3. sb
      Posted 24/05/2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink |

      Rural Australia may want it as does the majority of Australians.
      However ther liberal parties village idiot (Tony Abbott) will squash the NBN like a bug wholly and solely because he has no policies other than opposing labor.

      A man that does not understand he is not in power today because he did not support the NBN.
      A man that although he is technologically impaired has refused to learn the basics of the technology to understand the benefits of much needed communications infrastructure.

      And then says he wants to be Australia’s next prime minister.

      Labor may not be doing a good job, but does Australia really want a man that fails to understand essential infrastructure, much needed communications, future proofing and the reason fibre was chosen. The fact that the Liberal Party village idiot claimed wireless could do the job just shows his ignorance.

      • Rhys
        Posted 25/05/2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink |

        Email I sent and got back from Malcolm Turnbull re my support of the NBN. Aren’t most copper loops well over 1000m… I don’t know, but I hope the fibers in the ground for my area soon =D

        Dear Rhys

        We don’t propose to cancel any contracted FTTP rollouts. FTTN will deliver very high speeds – well over 50 mbps – so long as the copper loop is less than 1000 metres.

        All the best

        malcolm

        First Name: Rhys
        Surname:
        Suburb:
        Postcode:
        Email:
        Message To Malcolm: Hi Malcolm,
        I have a question in regards to the NBN. I’d like to know how you plan on fixing the issue of Telstra’s monopoly on it’s copper network?

        I live in a small suburb of Townsville, though it is usually grouped with the largest suburb of Kirwan. Telstra has a long time ago set up it’s copper network. It is in a poor state, with no competition from other telco’s. We are ear marked for NBN roll out and I’m pleased to hear this will be going a head in our area.

        Why is it that at first you would want to take this away, and now you want adjust it so that the fiber will only go to the node, this will not fix the problem and feed Telstra’s monopoly by continuing to use their copper. Which as mentioned is in a poor state.

        I’m sure other suburbs face this issue, and I feel for them as they have not been marked for NBN at this stage, and I’d hate to think that if your party was to gain power that you would only give them half the speed and reliability because you want to cut the costs.

        A lot of people have now accepted the costs weighed against the benefits. These ideas of FTTN will not help the problem if you are stuck on Teltra’s copper RIM.

        I’d like to see the rest of Australia have a fair go, not just the capital city’s where competition is high amongst telco’s.

        Regards,
        Rhys

        • DUDE in Telco
          Posted 25/05/2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink |

          Your problem is answered right there… as with most of the posters here who seem to be from regional or rural AU.

          You like in a suburb near “townsville”.

          The simple fact is that it is most ecnomical to provide to areas where there is large population density and infrastructure support. For people in regional & rural areas to demand a premium fibre service is a ridiculous request.

          It is the same as wanting a several doctor surgeries and pharmacists to be in the main street of a small town, or to have competing service stations and pay the same price for fuel and groceries that people in the city pay. It would be the same as requesting that trains run every 15 mins to your town to the CBD. It would be like saying there should be boutique department stores like Myer and David Jones, etc. etc.

          • Alex
            Posted 25/05/2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink |

            No it’s like expecting decent road, water, electricity or sewerage infrastructure…

            And look like this other infrastructure, due to the reasons you outline, the outback won’t be receiving fibre!

            • Tony
              Posted 25/05/2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

              No, as much as you would like it to be, it’s not.

              This is infrastructure that is VERY expensive and requires intensive planning and ongoing maintenance. Laying out $3M+ worth of equiptment and labour to connect 3,000 people in an area the size of the UK is not a feasible thing to do for any government. Unfortunately Governments have a finite amount of funds regardless of political party and spending money in that way would put our economy in a postion equal to that of Greece. They will do their best to supply a feasible/usable service that will be as close to on par as current city broadband is using alternate technology whilst they wait for later, cheaper alternatives to be developed which will improve on wht that were able to supply.

              That unfortunately is the economic fact of having a land mass the size of the USA and a population inhabiting it that is equal to the size of one of their cities. The cost of infrastructure is the same to cover the same distance which has to be paid for from the taxes of a population a tiny fraction of the size.

              • Alex
                Posted 25/05/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

                Greece, please…it is universally known that we have one of the best performing national ecnomies anywhere.

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

                http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2012/s3508780.htm

                http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904140604576493831749969702.html

                Infrastructure building is NOT about anal fiscal conservatism, it is about supplying for the people.

                So if we can afford (which we can) the best solution, to give our nation the further opportunities and continue our happy econmic position or even improve it, anyone who suggest we accept second best (especially due to cost only) is a fool, imo.

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 25/05/2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink |

                  Great post Alex. It’s funny how we are living in such prosperous times here in Australia and yet we have those that don’t want to take advantage of it. You know what they say “Make hay while the sun shines” its is very poignant saying and has never been more applicable… I guess the ever depressives crying poor for Australia all the time will never be satisfied and they never want to do the hard work to improve anything either, typical lazy bludger attitudes we have here unfortunately.

                  • DUDE in Telco
                    Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

                    A realistic solution of country folk, ie. those not living in large / medium regional hubs, should be a mix between wireless and copper solutions, maybe FTTN or even ADSL extender technology.

                    If I could I would offer such people a choice to make a bet

                    1- put your bet on NBNCo giving you fibre
                    2- my offer

                    I bet most people here would pick option 1, and the reality would be they would end up with todays pair gain and loading coils.

                    • Alex
                      Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

                      I’d take that bet on…

                      One of the biggest problems I have read about from country folk, is lack of choice… they have Telstra only and must pay a lot for little.

                      So without wishing to start a Telstra argument, either way, I’d bet those who currently have sub-par comms and pay through the nose for it, because they only have one option, would prefer the choice of multiple NBN retailers (remember even those criticising the NBN have said, trying to bag the NBN, there will only be 4 or 5 “truly national/available to all” RSP’s… err, giving us 3 or 4 more than we have now)…

                      So given the choice of a competitively priced NBN service from a number of RSP’s or FTTN (which will still take years anyway) via Telstra copper and continue their current plight, I reckon it’s a no brainer.

                      Now refer to the above article… and also this article -

                      http://delimiter.com.au/2012/05/18/evidence-rural-australia-is-demanding-the-nbn/

                    • Hubert Cumberdale
                      Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink |

                      “A realistic solution of country folk, ie. those not living in large / medium regional hubs”

                      We call this the 7% that are getting fixed wireless and satellite. It’s a realistic solution. Thanks for stopping by.

                  • Tony
                    Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink |

                    It’s actually save some of the good times money to spend and stimulate during the bad times.. hence usualy, some of the greatest infrastructure work in the world was conducted during depressions and recessions to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

                    • Hubert Cumberdale
                      Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

                      “It’s actually save some of the good times money to spend and stimulate during the bad times..”

                      OK, great (new) plan. We’ll wait for the next depression and then roll out the NBN. What do you say?

                  • Alex
                    Posted 25/05/2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink |

                    BTW, thanks Hubert.

                • Tony
                  Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

                  I’m sorry, Greece is almost Bankrupt as a country, how does this work out to be one of the best performing economies?

          • Rhys
            Posted 25/05/2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink |

            You’ve got a good point in there. How good would it be to train 15 mins to work in the city every 15 min! Also we have a Myre, just saying.

            I don’t think outer brissy, melbourne or sydney should get any less or more than citys like, Townsville, Darwin, Albury, Rocky, Towoomba, etc. There is a demand for it, and it will be used. I for one have a bunch of smart tv’s, gaming consols and a the set up to run IPTV if I had a line that would carry it all. My partner does a lot of multimedia, and would love to send the work via the web if didn’t take all night or longer. In stead of sending a HDD accross australia full of raw footage in can be sent via the web. Cloude storage of our NAS drive would be nice to.

            I don’t see much of this being of any importance to you, but there are people that if given the chance will jump on FTTH. Some will be happy with FTTN but in time we will all have uses for FTTH, and people stuck on FTTN will bitch like those on RIMs. And for good reason..

            Do you live in an area that has ADSL2+ or Cable at the moment Dude? Or is it ear marked for NBN?

            Another thing I like that doesn’t really apply to the discussion of home internet, but how good would it be to have fibre in the suburbs for businesses that run datacentres and help desks ect. They won’t have to be in the CBD to get the connection that can hinder there productivity if its not up to speed, and they won’t have to base them selves in a high priced area for renting buildings adding 100′s or 1000′s of people to the work force based in the already congested city centres.

            • Hubert Cumberdale
              Posted 25/05/2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink |

              “Some will be happy with FTTN but in time we will all have uses for FTTH”

              Those people happy with FTTN speeds can still be satisfied with FTTH as there is nothing stopping them from getting a 12/1mbps or 25/5mbps plan (Though such people are obviously in a minority (33%), most (67%) chose 50/20mbps and 100/40mbps plans (Page 7 of the NBNco product roadmap). The reverse however is not true. Verdict: FTTH always wins.

              • alain
                Posted 27/05/2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

                What residences choose now as a NBN plan is entirely irrelevant, as it is all ‘fairy land’ subsidised by the NBN Co anyway.

                ‘NBN Co, the public-private partnership set up to oversee the construction and management of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), has revealed that it will now subsidise upfront access and service charges for operators until enough customers are connected to cover any respective operating costs’

                http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2011/08/09/nbn-co-confirms-it-will-subsidise-access-and-service-charges/

                • Alex
                  Posted 27/05/2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

                  From your URL…

                  “According to The Age, the decision comes on the back of pressure to lower start-up costs from a number of smaller retail-focused internet service providers (ISPs), which had complained about a speed and data charge that was required in order to start offering services, regardless of how many customers a company had connected to the in-deployment fibre infrastructure.”

                  Back in the early days of the Corporate Plan being circulated, the NBN critics following claims from Simon Hackett (and with some justification, mind you) complained about CVC charges in relation to smaller ISPs and claimed retail competition was dead.

                  Listening to those concerns and wanting to promote retail competition, NBN did something about it and guess what? Seems those same NBN critics who were whinging about small ISP’s being forced out, are now whinging about the complete opposite… NBN assisting small players!

                  *rolls eyes*

            • DUDE in Telco
              Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

              what you missed out in yoru list of have is – ‘a life’

              • Alex
                Posted 25/05/2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

                +1

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 25/05/2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

            “For people in regional & rural areas to demand a premium fibre service is a ridiculous request.”

            Except fibre is not a premium service. Fibre is now a standard service.

            • DUDE in Telco
              Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink |

              what according to conroy, whose got a life of 1yr left? or according to all the worlds telecoms companies?

              • Alex
                Posted 25/05/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

                Err according to practically everywhere (except you and the opposition) so it would appear, DiT

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

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 25/05/2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

                  Also let’s not forget greenfields. If fibre wasn’t standard they’d still be rolling out copper.

                  • Alex
                    Posted 25/05/2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink |

                    Indeed Hubert.

                    In fact even Turbull has said FTTP for Greenfields and FTTP in Brownfields where the copper is inadequate (or words to that effect).

                    Why not more of this wonderful copper?

                    • Hubert Cumberdale
                      Posted 25/05/2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink |

                      “Why not more of this wonderful copper?”

                      Well you know Alex I’ve asked these questions many times and I’m yet to get straight answers. I mean first we hear the rhetoric that “there are no apps that require fibre speeds” but they still endorse fibre in greenfields so there are either apps that need the speed now or apps that will need the speed in the future in which case rolling out FttN now would simply be pointless regardless of when they believe that need will arise.

                      • alain
                        Posted 27/05/2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink |

                        This question has been asked of you and the pro-NBN zealots many times as well, why doesn’t Telstra and Optus HFC BB have a 100% take-up rate if there is there is so much ‘need’ out there for the highest speed BB current infrastructure can provide?

                        The only reason the Labor NBN will be a ”’success”’ and I use the word success with triple quotes for a reason is when alternatives are shut down and residences are forced onto it, it’s as simple as that.

                        Roll on the election where people will vote properly with their feet on what they think of yet another waste of taxpayer funds and this Government hanging onto power on a shoe string courtesy of a few Independents.

                      • Noddy
                        Posted 27/05/2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink |

                        Areas with very high HFC uptake rates have bad evening congestion. Box hill was like this, people I know moved to ADSL2 because of this. It can’t support large numbers of users. Also it will not meet the needs of the next 10 years let alone 50.

                      • alain
                        Posted 27/05/2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink |

                        @Noddy

                        How do you know that Box Hill had high HFC uptake and has congestion problems? – do you work in Optus and Telstra HFC operations?

                        Secondly, how do you know the majority of these users cancelled their HFC contracts and went onto ADSL2+?

                      • Alex
                        Posted 27/05/2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink |

                        @alain,

                        All these years how dare they FORCE ME ONTO COPPER!

                        *sigh*

                      • Alex
                        Posted 27/05/2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink |

                        @alain,

                        The question has been asked of you and the anti-NBN circus many times, if HFC is so poor in take-up and nobody wants, why the hell do you care that it’s being closed down?

    4. Muso1
      Posted 25/05/2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink |

      I’m rural and I can’t wait for the NBN.
      In fact my work is suffering and if I had better than 1.5Mbps ADSL connection I could be doing more work and contributing more in taxes.
      I’m over 4000 metres from the exchange, so Turnbull’s comment is another nail in my commercial coffin.
      The coalition city dwellers seriously DO NOT get it.

    5. Tony
      Posted 25/05/2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink |

      Not involving myself in any of the arguments here. Just clarifying one aspect which may be confusing to some.

      FTTN is a proven technology that is pretty established in the ACT by Transact.
      The basis of it is the creation of “nodes” spread throughout neighbourhoods which are fed by fibre, and then the last section to the home is fed by copper. This short distance provides the ability of greater speeds and stability, also providing a simpler, cheaper infrastructure to maintain.

      The basis of using this method is that the majority of home users even require or would not sign up for 100Mbit speeds, and those that do could easily be connected to the node by fibre.

      Bear in mind that nodes are like junction points and not quite the same as RIM cabinets (Which are also similar in a fashion to nodes when upgraded with TopHat units). They are certainly going to be more numerous and would easily address black spots, providing broadband to many of those who cannot get it now or have problomatic services due to distance.

      Now in regards to the oppositions talk about wireless as a substitute. Many people have based their opinions on their experience with 3G or slower services that have been provided to date. My personal experience with a 4G connection shows great promise for the future of this technology with a stable and strong consistent speed in Canberra of 28Mbit download and 18Mbit upload with a ping of 45ms (read low latentcy). This is certainly faster than my home ADSL2+ connection of 18Mbit download and 1Mbit upload.

      Tests have been conducted by the CSIRO about 5 years ago of being able to acheive a stable wireless connection with a consistent speed of 50Mbit over 50kms using standard Wifi equiptment. Remember, that was 5 years ago. There is strong evidence that this speed can be increased to 500Mbit with currently available technology which is being investigated by a few ISPs.

      Either way, each parties policy will still provide a network that is greatly enhanced, just how enhanced at what cost benefit is the question that should be asked, not who is the bigger idiot or who is more trustworthy as a politician.

      • Tony
        Posted 25/05/2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink |

        The line should read:
        The basis of using this method is that the majority of home users don’t even require or would not sign up for 100Mbit speeds, and those that do could easily be connected to the node by fibre.

      • FlopFlip
        Posted 25/05/2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink |

        A couple of points.

        The TCO of FTTP/H is lower than FTTN. Less devices located in less locations and fibre is proven to be lower TCO than copper with higher reliability.

        Your 4G connection is currently in an uncrowded cell as few devices so far use Telstra’s 4G network. Performance will degrade as the number of devices using the 4G network increases. There is little to no likelihood that those speeds will be typical in a years time or that your experience with 4G will remain as consistent as your ADSL2+ service.

        The world’s fastest fibre today is capable of transmitting every single bit of internet data consumed by all of Australia for the year 2011 in 8 hours. The world’s fastest wireless PtP links would require centuries and Telstra’s new 4G network would require over a millenia (or 2 millenia at the speeds you’re currently seeing).

        Assuming individual users would sign up for 100Mbs services and providers would then run fibre is also incredibly optimistic given the additional cost it would incur. I could sign up for 100Mbit today if I had the cash, an FTTN isn’t required for that. An FTTN network doesn’t make this option significantly more accessible for average consumers and small businesses.

        FTTN is technologically adequate today. It won’t be in 10 years when it’s built if we decide to go that way instead. This is why several countries who have built FTTN networks are now replacing them. NZ, and the UK being 2 examples that spring to mind but you’ll find more if you look.

        • Tony
          Posted 25/05/2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink |

          Until very recentley my ADSL was less than 1Mbit due to congestion on the RIM I was on. The 3G connection I used was actually still faster than my home ADSL.

          In regards to 4G, Cell connection capacity can be increased greatly compared to the previous 3G capacities.

          The point is, that in rural environments, the likelyhood of oversaturating a 4G cell is not very high due to the lower population density. A good example was last Christmas on 3G. I was camping in the bush by a Dam about 10kms from Tumut in NSW and a good 5kms from the closest residence. I actually had a solid 8Mbit DL speed from my IPad on the Telstra 3G network and a very decent signal.

          Yes, the TCO of Fibre to the premises is cheaper, but that is based on having to lay new copper based on high density living. FTTN is actually cheaper when the copper is already in place and only requires redirection to the node rather than the pillar.

        • Tony
          Posted 25/05/2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink |

          Another point, the worlds fastest fibre is capable of awesome speeds, but it is currently priced at close to $150 a meter. Not quite feasible currently for massive infrastructure.

          • Lachlan
            Posted 25/05/2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

            Hi Tony,

            Just couldn’t let that one go.
            Got a quote on that $150/m cost for the fiber? Sure you haven’t dropped a k off the m?
            Just a cursory web search puts fiber in the sub USD$1/m price range for a couple of kilometer order size.
            I’m not sure that the internet is having a 99% of sale today.
            I would belived that cost for trans oceanic submarine cable bundles including repeaters, but that isn’t what’s being proposed for the suburban drops.

            Also, assuming a 1km fiber loop, 8 million active subscribers and $150/m fiber price, gives a fiber cost of $1.2 Trilion. I’m sure that someone would have noticed that cost difference by now.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 25/05/2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink |

        “FTTN is a proven technology that is pretty established in the ACT by Transact.”

        That does not make it acceptable now or in the future. Dialup is also a proven technology yet Transact are using FTTC??? (It’s FTTC btw, not FTTN)

        “the majority of home users even require or would not sign up for 100Mbit speeds”

        Please provide proof to back up your claim.

        • socrates
          Posted 25/05/2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink |

          ‘FTTN is a proven technology.’

          Of course it is. So are smoke signals and carrier pigeons, and dialup for that matter.

          We should be building something that can be used for the next 50 years, not something that will be obsolete by the time it is completed.

          • alain
            Posted 27/05/2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink |

            So what do residences that already have FTTH either NBN, TransACT or Telstra and others greenfield estates that have had it for years do that residences on ADSL2+ and HFC cannot do?

            • Alex
              Posted 27/05/2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink |

              So what do residences that already have ADSL2+ and HFC, that have had it for years do that residences on dial-up cannot do?

    6. Frank
      Posted 25/05/2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink |

      In Victoria, Ballarat & Golden Plains Councils have already blocked applications for fixed Wireless NBN towers, the NIMBY effect is at work, maybe NBN will give all the whinging NIMBYs Satellite NBN.




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