[ad] The service leader for Cloud is now in Australia. Secure, reliable cloud and managed hosting all backed by 24x7x365 Fanatical Support. Create your free account now.
Buy an Seagate Business Storage NAS for your chance to win a holiday
[ad] Purchase a selected Seagate Business Storage NAS to receive a $20 cash-back AND go into the draw to win a $1,000 Flight Centre voucher so you can holiday in the destination of your choice. T&Cs apply.
Great articles on other sites
- IBM accuses Qld govt of trying to ‘rewrite history’
- Newlease undergoes reverse takeover to score ASX listing
- Australia Post loses battle | The Australian
- Start-ups leap at Telstra's accelerator
- Labor won't hand over NBN advice to Turnbull
- Adelaide Uni on hiring blitz for tech transformation
- Human Services to cut 56 IT jobs
- Turnbull to release NBN review next week
- Canberra blitzes states with NBN take-up rates
- War on whistleblowers from Abbott, Turnbull as ICJ case arrives
How mobile and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy
[ad] How will the adoption of mobile devices and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy? Are you reaching your organisation's customers through these touch points? Click here to download a whitepaper by Fifth Quadrant examining consumer and business attitudes to these new contact channels.
50 things top IT pros need to know
[ad] This 18 page TechRepublic whitepaper explores 10 things you should know to become an epic IT manager, 40 other essential tips to advance your IT career and practical guidance for starting an IT consulting business. Click here to access the whitepaper.
News, Telecommunications - Written by Renai LeMay on Monday, June 18, 2012 11:08 - 204 Comments
NBN: Turnbull strengthens FTTN focus
news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has intensified the Coalition’s focus on fibre to the node as an alternative to the fibre to the home-style rollout used by the NBN, using similar FTTN rollouts by AT&T in the US, BT in the UK and Deutsche Telekom in Germany as examples for how the broadband rollout style could be carried out in Australia.
The Gillard Government’s current NBN policy being implemented by NBN Co focuses on using a fibre to the home rollout in which cables are deployed from centralised points (usually telephone exchanges) all the way to home or business premises around Australia. The previous NBN policy focused on rolling fibre out to neighbourhood cabinets known as ‘nodes’, using Telstra’s existing copper cable for the last hop to home and business premises. However, it was ditched in April 2009, after an independent panel of experts warned the Federal Government that the policy was not feasible due to the requirement for industry involvement — and no satisfactory industry proposals.
The Coalition has never explicitly detailed how it would evolve the current Labor Government’s FTTH NBN policy to a FTTN if it took power, but since October 2011, Turnbull’s public discussion of the NBN under a Coalition Government has increasingly focused on using FTTN. Last week on Twitter, Turnbull added to that focus. Turnbull pointed out that in a number of “comparable” telecommunications markets to Australia, the “common sense” FTTN approach was being used, such as by giant telco AT&T in the US, and incumbent telco players BT in the UK and Deutsche Telekom in Germany.
In the US, AT&T’s so-called “U-verse” fibre to the node build was scheduled to hit some 30 million homes by the end of 2012 (consisting of some 55 to 60 percent of the company’s addressable footprint). The platform provides speeds up to 24Mbps, although such speeds are generally much more guaranteed at various tiers, compared to the so-called “up to 24Mbps” speeds which Australia’s current ADSL2+ footprint offers. In the UK, BT is rolling out fibre to the node in a number of areas and plans to achieve 80Mbps download speeds and 20Mbps upload speeds this year, while in Germany, Deutsche Telekom is also rolling out fibre to the node to millions of homes.
Turnbull said the only question regarding telecommunications infrastructure is “whether the fibre needs to go all the way into every premise”. “If we are a few years behind US why has Verizon stopped its FTTP rollout and AT&T is continuing with its FTTN?” he asked the ABC’s Technology and Games channel on Twitter, responding to an extensive article posted by the media outlet last week analysing the potential of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy.
The Shadow Communications Minister also addressed the issue of the potential return on investment which NBN Co could achieve from a FTTN-style rollout, as opposed to the current FTTH structure.
The NBN is not expected to cost the Federal Government money; it is currently expected (based on financial projections) to make a return on its investment in the long term of between 5.3 percent and 8.8 percent on that investment — from $1.93 billion in the worst case to $3.92 billion in the best case.
In contrast, the Coalition has not yet detailed the costs involved in its own policy, which in general features a scaled down approach to the NBN, focusing on the likely separation of Telstra, upgrading current HFC cable infrastructure and targeted fibre to the node rollouts, as well as, potentially, satellite and wireless use in rural areas. A recent analysis by Citigroup found that the Coalition’s policy would cost $16.7 billion. The Citigroup report didn’t mention what financial return, if any, the Coalition’s proposal was slated to bring in on its own investment.
However, Turnbull said on Twitter last week that AT&T’s FTTN rollout cost a third or less of Verizon’s rival FTTH deployment, but had very similar average revenue per user; so he expected the return on investment from FTTN to be “much better” than FTTH.
The Liberal MP didn’t give detailed answers to all of his questioners on NBN-related issues, however. Asked by the New Zealand Government had switched to a FTTH-style deployment, abandoning its initial FTTN plans in its own high-speed national broadband project, Turnbull said: “Politics”.
I know that this isn’t what many Australians want to hear, given the strong popular support for Labor’s current FTTH-based NBN policy, but Turnbull is beginning to make a strong case with respect to the rollout of fibre to the node infrastructure in the mid-term in Australia.
If it is true that a much better ROI could be achieved from replacing much of the current FTTH rollout structure with FTTN, and if speeds of up to somewhere like 80Mbps could be achieved in Australia as they are with BT’s similar rollout in the UK, and if the planned industry re-structure could still be achieved, with Telstra ceding control of its copper network somehow and its attached vertically-integrated monopoly, then the Coalition’s NBN policy starts to look very appealing.
Of course, these are a lot of ifs. The task of modifying Telstra’s extensive agreement with NBN Co to focus on a FTTN-style rollout instead of FTTH is a gargantuan one alone, and I anticipate it would take at least 18 months or so of negotiations (similar to when this agreement was first negotiated) to get that out of the way. Then there is the fact that NBN Co itself does not believe that Australia’s copper network is capable of the same FTTN speeds as seen elsewhere, and Turnbull hasn’t yet provided hard data as evidence for why his FTTN approach would provide a better ROI than the FTTH-style NBN rollout.
In addition, overweighing all of this is the fact that Australia will in the long-term very likely shift to FTTH anyway, even if FTTN is used as an interim solution. In the 20-30 year time frame, such a deployment will likely be necessary and affordable, given the ongoing commoditisation of technology and growing bandwidth requirements. In this context, a focus on FTTN in the short-term looks short-sighted.
But at the end of the day, the Australian consumer would still end up with a good outcome from a FTTN-style deployment by an organisation like NBN Co (if it is indeed NBN Co that Turnbull wants to deploy such infrastructure; he has also discussed the potential for industry to do so). Up to 80Mbps broadband to a large swathe of Australia would help provide for our needs in the medium-term, and I personally would love to be able to get such speeds to my residence; as would most Australians. I would most assuredly make good use of them.
As I have previously mentioned, although it doesn’t match up to Labor’s more strategic vision, there is still a lot to like about the Coalition’s current NBN policy as a whole. It just needs to provide a lot more detail about how it would be implemented.
Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Dec 9, 2013 11:35 - 0 Comments
More In Enterprise IT
- Harbour City Ferries goes Microsoft across the board
- Payroll disaster: Queensland sues IBM
- End of an era: Oracle Australia’s ‘safe hands’ leaves
- Qld launches whole of government IaaS panel
- Defence finally allows staff iPhones, iPads
News, Telecommunications - Dec 9, 2013 17:23 - 22 Comments
More In Telecommunications
- NBN Co still has 1Gbps on way
- Delimiter appeals Turnbull Blue Book censorship
- Final closure: TPG buys AAPT for $450m
- NBN FTTN analysis “devastating” for Coalition
- NBN Co internal FTTN analysis: Turnbull refuses to retract inaccurate claim
Industry, News, Startups - Dec 9, 2013 15:40 - 2 Comments
More In Industry
- The Australian IT sector needs a stronger voice
- Xbox One goes off with a bang … but will the PS4 launch eclipse it?
- It’s not just Freelancer: Aussie tech IPOs are back in general
- Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care
- Australian retailers online: Late to the party and much to do
Blog, Digital Rights, Gadgets - Dec 9, 2013 11:15 - 15 Comments
More In Digital Rights
- Censored: Appeal for AG’s Blue Book fails
- Senate to force TPP publication
- Global privacy group files formal ASD complaint
- Labor open to surveillance discussion
- Snowden an “American traitor”, says Australia’s Attorney-General