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  • Analysis, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, July 30, 2012 11:06 - 145 Comments

    Turnbull needs evidence for FTTN claims

    analysis A consensus is developing amongst National Broadband Network commentators that Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull needs to provide more evidence that Fibre to the Node is the best style of broadband infrastructure rollout for Australia’s long-term telecommunications needs.

    Last week, Turnbull published an article on his website in response to a television appearance made by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy several days before. In the article, Turnbull made a number of points arguing that the Coalition would not sabotage or destroy Labor’s NBN project, but would “complete” the project and “do so sooner, cheaper and more affordably for users”.

    In his argument, the Member for Wentworth strongly pushed the potential to use a Fibre to the Node (FTTN) style of broadband infrastructure rollout. FTTN is a deployment style which would see fibre extended from Telstra’s telephone exchanges located around the nation to neighbourhood cabinets, instead of all the way to home and business premises as under Labor’s plan (Fibre to the Home, or FTTH). The remaining distance would be covered by Telstra’s existing copper cable. Turnbull also made a number of other points about the Coalition’s vision for broadband, such as an alternative method of supplying wireless services to rural areas. Delimiter subsequently invited readers to fact-check Turnbull’s article, in the interests of keeping the debate over the National Broadband Network objective and based on fact. This article is a follow-up to that article and the discussion amongst readers it created.

    What emerged from that process (both on the site and in private communications) was predominantly a strong concern by many who follow the NBN debate that Turnbull has not yet provided sufficient evidence to back the claim that FTTN is a better style of broadband infrastructure rollout to meet Australia’s long-term needs, compared with Labor’s FTTH style, which NBN Co is currently deploying. Many readers agreed that FTTN was a viable style of broadband infrastructure deployment in Australia, subject to certain constraints, however they questioned what the long-term impact of that choice would be.

    For example, on the issue of cost, one poster, ‘Brendan’, wrote that he agreed with Turnbull’s premise that FTTN was a cheaper deployment model than Labor’s FTTH. “That’s not a lie. It’s quite true,” he wrote. However, he added, this cost was “one side of a two-sided coin”, because the real expense appeared when there was a long-term need to transition from FTTN to a FTTH-style model. “This is the point where Mr Turnbull will not comment. Will not provide policy,” Brendan wrote. “There are deployments (overseas) he has used as examples of FTTN being the answer. Those same places are now struggling to come-to-terms with how to translate to FTTH.”

    “The world is moving towards fibre. We can either spend now, or spend later. Either way, we spend — It’s not an avoidable, optional decision. Turnbull would have us believe minimal Government expenditure will solve the problem. It doesn’t; his policies simply delay the inevitable. So someone else has to clean up the mess.”

    Another poster, Sydney, pointed out that a document on Turnbull’s site disclosed that up to half of the outlay on a FTTN-style deployment would have to be written off, if there was a later switch to FTTH. And another poster, Goresh, highlighted the fact that the cost of a FTTN-style network was debatable, given the high ongoing cost of maintaining the copper portion of the network over a long period. Others highlighted the differing returns which could be made from each style of network deployment, which could affect the overall return on investment (if any).

    Others questioned the timing of Turnbull’s FTTN proposal. For example, PeterA addressed Turnbull’s statement that FTTN could be delivered “in a year or two” by pointing out that it took more than a year for NBN Co to reach an agreement with Telstra in relation to the current NBN project, and a further six months for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to approve that deal. “It is very unlikely that the FTTN could rollout within 2 years,” he wrote. “More information from Malcolm is required regarding his rollout if he wishes to call this a fact.” Another poster, Dean, wrote: “How are you going to deliver FTTN in a year or two? That seems laughably optimistic.”

    Another aspect which was questioned was the time frame in which a FTTN-based NBN would continue to be useful, before a transition to a FTTH-style would need to occur, based on increasing bandwidth requirements. “I don’t know for certain that FTTH is the ultimate technology but it has the potential to serve Australia’s requirements for the internet and other data communication platforms for the next 30 years or more,” wrote another poster, Bob.H. “Now the claim is that using FTTN as a basis, we can put in a “suitable for now” system that will meet current demands but this doesn’t address how long “suitable for now” will last.”

    “If we put in a “suitable for now” system to meet current demands then it is obvious that when the demand increases in the future, as it inevitably will, then this system has to be upgraded. The upgrade is likely to be, and most of the experts say, is certain to be, a FTTH system. The question then becomes how long and how much is it going to cost to upgrade the “suitable for now”system to the FTTH system that is going to be required. If the FTTN system has to be totally replaced and extra fibre deployed then have we really saved any time or have we just deferred the upgrade and condemned Australia to a future substandard system while the upgrade is done.”

    Not all commentators agree that Turnbull’s NBN proposal wasn’t viable, however.

    On the other side of the fence, a commenter named Mark Addinall pointed out that the UK, Germany, France and Italy were all adopting FTTN models that were providing a mixture of ADSL2+ and VDSL2 services over existing copper networks, with some vendors such as BT offering FTTH as an extension to the FTTN in place. “It is interesting to note that all of these countries first planned a full FTTP network roll-out,” wrote Addinall. “But on the analysis of the costs versus the benefits to the consumer, the more modest approach has been taken. So Mr. Turnbull’s plan puts Australia on par with the global internet community.”

    Carl Jackon, a technologist with experience building fibre networks, gave a number of real-world examples relating, for example, to TransACT’s fibre network in Canberra.

    “To build VDSL2 FTTN in canberra came out at about $800 per home connected. At that price you could put a node with 100m of 99%+ of premises in the city and guarantee 50Mbits/sec. To build FTTH in Canberra came out at over $1400 per home connected for houses with aerial wires, but far more for suburbs with underground wiring,” Jackson wrote. “I can’t imagine a way you could price FTTN to be anything but much, much cheaper than FTTH, and that is the experience right around the world – I read through detailed case studies from Verizon, France Telecom HK Telecom, Malaysia and many others. This is not a serious topic of conversion in the industry. FTTN is cheaper than FTTH full stop.”

    In addition, Jackson added, FTTN could be deployed “way faster”. “People who argue otherwise probably haven’t had the experience of building both,” he said. And the reduced cost of FTTN could also make deploying FTTN to rural areas cheaper — meaning some locations which aren’t currently slated to receive NBN FTTH could receive FTTN under the Coalition’s plan.

    Writing on the ABC’s Technology & Games site last week, telecommunications journalist and analyst Richard Chirgwin published an extensive analysis of the Coalition’s FTTN policy, noting that it had many challenges and limitations, but also that the plan was possible. “Is it feasible to build an NBN-like network using FTTN?” Chirgwin asked. “Yes — subject to a very long footnote.”

    More information needed
    I’ve followed the National Broadband Network rollout and policy debate day in, day out over the past five or so years, and I’m familiar with all of the evidence that Turnbull and other Coalition figures have put forward with respect to their alternative NBN policy.

    After reviewing Turnbull’s comments last week, and the evidence which commenters on both sides of the fence put forward to support their views of which of the Shadow Communications Minister’s views are based in fact or not, I think it’s safe to say that many agree with Turnbull that a FTTN-style rollout is viable in Australia. As a number of commentators pointed out last week, many other major countries are currently deploying FTTN-style broadband networks, with optional FTTH extensions where needed.

    However, there is also general agreement that from a factual perspective, Turnbull has not yet presented enough evidence yet to support his statements that a FTTN-style rollout would serve Australia better than the FTTH-style rollout currently being used by Labor’s NBN project.

    It appears that most informed technical commentators on that policy are highly sceptical of Turnbull’s FTTN model at the moment, with most holding the view that although FTTN could be deployed in Australia, that it is a worse long-term solution for Australia’s telecommunications needs than FTTH, and that in this kind of infrastructure rollout the Federal Government should be thinking long-term rather than short- or even medium-term.

    It seems clear that Turnbull and the Coalition have not yet done enough to demonstrate how overseas examples of FTTN-style deployments such as in the UK could apply to Australia, or how the current NBN model could be evolved to take on a similar FTTN-style approach, with issues ranging from timing to costs, long-term RoI, the interaction of NBN Co and the Government with Telstra and so on. With this in mind, and based on last week’s debate, Delimiter will forward the following questions to Turnbull’s office and invite lengthy responses, in an attempt to give the Coalition a chance to further explain its policy:

    • What international examples of FTTN-style broadband deployments do you consider most pertinent to the Australian situation, and why?
    • How long do you estimate it would take, if the Coalition wins the next Federal Election, to deploy FTTN to more than 90 percent of the Australian population?
    • What, specifically, do you estimate would be the cost difference between deploying FTTN and FTTH as part of the NBN rollout?
    • Do you consider it possible to re-work the current Telstra/NBN contract to focus on FTTN instead of FTTH, and how long do you estimate this would take?
    • What broad details of this contract would need to change, and how long do you anticipate the ACCC would take to approve a modified version?
    • Do you have a long-term plan to upgrade a FTTN-style network to a FTTH-style network, or a medium-term plan to allow ad-hoc upgrades of this network to FTTH?
    • What do you consider to be the time frame on which a FTTN-style network would continue to be used without an upgrade to FTTH? Will there, in fact, be a need to upgrade in the long-term to FTTH? On what evidence do you have these beliefs?
    • How would you address the claim that FTTN is a short to medium-term technology that will be superceded over the next several decades by FTTH, and that Australia should only be investing for the long-term when it comes to this kind of telecommunications infrastructure? On what evidence do you feel this way?

    We’ll publish Turnbull’s responses in full if/when we receive them. In the meantime, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed with comments to this process; it has already been highly valuable in terms of uncovering further information about possible future telecommunications policy in Australia.

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    1. Sathias
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink |

      I think the other question that needs to be answered regarding FTTN, is what would need to be done to resolve issues such as RIMs and Pair Gain, or a lesser-known issue which has plagued my connection, AM radio interference on the last mile of copper.

    2. Simon Reidy
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink |

      Excellent set of questions you’ve assembled. I look forward to hearing if you get a response, but somehow I think that list is a little bit too transparent for Turnbull. I can’t see him answering in anything other than vague terms that cover the Coalition’s butt for a range of congitencies, but I hope to be proven wrong.

      With the announcement of affordable gigabit broadband in the US from Google Fiber, the timing has never been more pertinent for Mr Turnbull to explain while we’ll only a fraction of that bandwidth over the next decade using outdated technology like FTTN.

      • socrates
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink |

        Dead right, Simon. You say ‘I can’t see him answering in anything other than vague terms that cover the Coalition’s butt for a range of contingencies, but I hope to be proven wrong.’

        Sadly, that seems to sum up the whole Turnbull/coalition attitude of attacking NBN while completely failing to demonstrate that they have a viable national network alternative.

        Turnbull may trumpet that he ‘will not destroy’ NBN, but we have no reason to think that he will not abort NBN the minute he takes office, and will substitute something shonky wherever the NBN has not been rolled out at that point.

    3. NBNAccuracy
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink |

      Some of the comments on who is doing FTTN are misleading.

      France are aiming for 60% FTTH for the cities and rolling out wireless or FTTN to small communities:

      Italy, mix, aimed for FTTH as much as possible and FTTN where too hard to roll out:

      UK: BT criticised for rolling out so much FTTC, now rolling out Gb FTTH and offering FTTC upgrades at substantial cost.

      • Rhys
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

        Did you post this before. This is hard hitting information..

    4. GongGav
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink |


      This is what FttH can deliver. Can FttN? Admitedly, this is a private company rolling it out, but there’s absolutely no reason similar deals cant happen here.

      With multiple usage points of the net connection, 50 Mps is simply not going to be enough by the time the Liberal plan hits a significant portion of the population, so why is it even being considered.

      The stubborn pride of the Liberals over this is going to cost our country, and cost it dearly. Pleas dont let this happen.

      If you had to roll out a nationwide wireless network, you wouldnt be choosing 3G as your basis when you know 4G LTE is already there and better, so why are they considering FttN when they know FttH delivers faster speeds, and wont have to be replaced right when its finished being rolled out?

      • Dean
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink |

        What’s interesting about Google Fiber is that it’s specifically not a telco that’s rolling it out. People are hailing it as the most disruptive thing Google has done since Gmail.

        So while it’s possible for a private company to roll out fibre (and it’s certainly true that Google are going to cherrypick the most profitable areas) it’s not a matter of waiting for a “traditional” telco to do it. Australia doesn’t have a company like Google, so as far as I can see, that just leaves the government.

        • Simon Reidy
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink |

          Exactly. Unless we want the world to leave us behind and for Australia to become a true technological backwater of the 21st century, the only hope we have of remaining competitive, and enjoying the next generation of broadband applications, is for our government to build the underlying infrastructure.

          Surely any Government building communications infrastructure (that it knows will need room to grow as the need for speed rapidly increases) should build it with the best possible technology available at the time to cater for that future growth. The only technology to fit that description is FTTN, by a country mile (no pun intended).

          • Simon Reidy
            Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

            Damn you, lack of edit button!! :) Make that FTTH. NOT FTTN

    5. SammyG
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

      love your Work Renai.!

    6. djos
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

      “It seems clear that Turnbull and the Coalition have not yet done enough to demonstrate how overseas examples of FTTN-style deployments such as in the UK could apply to Australia, or how the current NBN model could be <b<evolved to take on a similar FTTN-style approach”

      Surely you mean “devolved” Renai?

      • GongGav
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink |

        evolved is the right word. There are parts of the Liberal plan, what we know of it at least, that would dove-tail nicely into the Labor rollout.

        For example, whats to stop FttN being rolled out to those sub-1000 premise community’s, and let competition drive the upgrade (or non-upgrade) to FttH? Or leave the entire 4G/wireless aspects to competition, with incentives?

        Much of Renai’s stance is that, while its the better package, not everything about the Labor plan is best practice, and he’s right.

        It might be 90% there, but that still leaves 10% to improve.

        • djos
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink |

          FTTH -> FTTN = devolution in my book.

          • GongGav
            Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink |

            Fair enough. Where they are getting neither, FttN is an evolution though.

            In my mind, I’m picturing a run down the south coast of NSW, roughly from Nowra to Batemans Bay. There are a bunch of small towns along the way that may or may not hit the 1000 premise limit. The ones that arent 1000 wont get either, as they arent on the backhaul, but would be branches off that line. Not long branches (most of the towns are a few hundred meters off the Princes Hwy), but branches nonetheless.

            Common sense suggests that running a fibre line down that 500m and plonking a node or 3 into the township is going to be hitting a lot of the residents, at relatively small cost. So rather than be tied to a tower or two needing to be spread, they at least have access to a fixed fibre line.

            Its not FttH –> FttN, as they wouldnt be getting FttH in the first place. Its wireless –> FttN, which is a step forwards. 12 Mps –> 50 Mps.

            Basically, my idea would be to add FttN into that last 7% that arent getting FttH, as an alternative for the wireless 4%. The last 3% on satellite, I dont think there’s all that much that can be done. Not in the short term at least, perhaps subsidise a line to them after the full rollout is done.

            It would obviously be better for them to get FttH, but if thats not in the plan, FttN is the next best option of whats out there.

            • djos
              Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink |

              “Common sense suggests that running a fibre line down that 500m and plonking a node or 3 into the township is going to be hitting a lot of the residents, at relatively small cost. So rather than be tied to a tower or two needing to be spread, they at least have access to a fixed fibre line.”

              Gav, that would be true if Telstra had been maintaining the copper, bu they havent been. In fact it’s in far worse condition in the rural areas than it is in the city so the chances of getting a decent service without replacing the copper first are imo low.

              Fixed wireless @ 25/5mbps (NBN are aiming for this as the next Fixed wireless tier once they’ve proven it) from the NBN is in reality going to be a much better solution for country towns not slated for FTTH.

              • GongGav
                Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

                The problem as I see it is that right NOW, neither party is going to service those areas with effective fixed serices, period. Labor gives them 4G, Liberals MIGHT give them 4G. Best they can hope for is ADSL2 which wont be enough moving forward, so what can be done with the ideas out there?

                My idea is to at least give them something thats a step forwards. I see your point regarding the quality (or lack of) of the copper lines, but to me at least that becomes a relatively minor issue. Most copper is being ripped out, it shouldnt be a significant issue to service the remainder.

                Plus it gives jobs to the old copper techo’s :)

                All I’m looking at is those townships that just miss out on getting fibre, either because they are just under 500 premises, or just off the fibre backbone so dont get caught up in the 500-1000 premises loophole.

                Because of how the main spine of the rollout is going to happen, there are a lot of townships that will get caught up like that. Fibre backbone will follow the main roads, and with so many bypasses these days, it will happen.

                I used the Princes Hwy as an example, but the plenty of other main roads are the same – the road that will have the main fibre line will miss many towns by a matter of meters. So instead of effectively leaving them with nothing beneficial, take some of the aspects of the Liberal ‘plan’ and fill in those gaps.

                Thats all.

                • SMEMatt
                  Posted 30/07/2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

                  NBNco Fixed Wireless != 4g mobile wireless. Fixed wireless services done right can be very reliable and low latency.

            • Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |


              Common sense suggests that running a fibre line down that 500m and plonking a node or 3 into the township is going to be hitting a lot of the residents, at relatively small cost. So rather than be tied to a tower or two needing to be spread, they at least have access to a fixed fibre line.

              In theory, this is an excellent idea. In fact I’ve advocated it in the past.

              However, in practice….it means taking the copper off Telstra in those areas….and do you think Telstra would be willing to play ball even in some SMALL amount of copper buyout? ESPECIALLY when the copper will likely STILL make them money charging for phone services over it under the NBN wireless scheme?

              It is a good idea and with exploring- but it is not as simple as just doing it, because NBNCo. don’t own the copper. That’s the point- they’re bypassing it.

              • Karl
                Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink |

                Yeah that’s always the part people forget about FttN, the copper. It will either need to be bought, repaired, and maintained; rented (horrible idea); or re-laid and maintained, at which point you may as well just lay fibre.

                • GongGav
                  Posted 31/07/2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink |

                  I hadnt forgotten the copper, I just thought it would be a relatively minor detail. Most of the copper in existence now, lets call it 93%, will be irrelevant post-NBN, so whats left will be relatively minor to maintain. There are resources set aside NOW for maintenence, they can be used to maintain any still in existence.

                  Running FttN to those communities would actually reduce the amount of copper needing to be maintained, thanks to the need to only rely on the copper loop from the node rather than from the exchange. Win/win.

                  As it is, in my snoozing slumber this morning, I heard a story that gives an interesting twist. It seems that for convenience, all the small communities in the area I was thinking of are going to get FttH anyway as its easier…

                  Cant find a link, so dont quote me, but the local Wollongong radio this morning reported that most of those small hamlets and towns in Joanna Gash’s electorate would get FttH instead of being missed completely. From what I gathered, pretty much for the reasons I stated – while they technically werent on the backbone, they were pretty damned close.

                  Score 1 to Labor.

                  If so, it sets a very interesting (and nice) precedent, and suggests the 93% target isnt set in concrete. There are plenty of other areas around the country that will be in a similar situation, where they are a spur just off the main arterial roads, and in the normal rollout would miss out.

                  If they start looking at a distance measure (ie, less than a couple of km’s from the main feed) as well as a population, then plenty more small communities are suddenly getting it. Right up and down the east coast you have the national highways that detour around those communities. There is now a precedent for plonking a spur into them, and get them up to speed as well.

                  • RocK_M
                    Posted 31/07/2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink |

                    @GongGav: One would assume that the 93% of guaranteed 1000 premises + 500 or more as long as their on the backbone was really more of a conservative estimate (heck they technically fudged it already to get that 3% by making the backbone concession). So one would assume that if it can connect an area economically they would do it.

                    As they say it pays to aim “low” so that when you go above expectations everyone is pleasntly surprised!

                    • GongGav
                      Posted 01/08/2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink |

                      Fully agree, and that seems to be the gist of it in this case. Its simply cheaper to roll out FttH for these simple spur lines than otherwise.

                      Nice play on the part of NBNCo though, it undermines a lot of the Liberals complaints and accusations, and announcing it in a Liberal electorate first really rams home what people will miss out on. Now that Liberal electorate gets either FttH, or satellite…

                      At best, subsidies that can be revoked at any point.

                  • Karl
                    Posted 01/08/2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink |

                    The absolute amount of copper needed is completely irrelevant. The important factor is it’s cost relative to fibre. Paying for less of something doesn’t make it any cheaper (quite the opposite usually).

            • Abel Adamski
              Posted 30/07/2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink |

              There is a list of towns available, includes places such as Pambula, Pambula Beach.etc
              Lots of smaller communities on or just off the fibre backbone.Available from Sen Conroy or NBN

        • Goresh
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink |

          Most of those sub 1000 premisis communitis will be fairly spread out meaning that it would not be possible to sie nodes in locations that could provide a decent spead gain. Too much copper in the last leg will kill performance.
          The other likely problem is that there is no existing backhaul of the capacity needed for broadband to the community and it would simply be too expensive to plough in hundreds of kilometers of cable to service a handful of customers.

        • Trevor
          Posted 31/07/2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink |

          The problem with FttN for premises that don’t meet the tests for economic feasibility (ie less than 1000 premises per node) is that the vast majority of them are in regional areas where the premises are too far from the exchange (node) for ‘last mile copper’ to provide anything like broadband, anyway.

    7. Soth
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink |

      Yes brilliant set of questions to be answered there. The election draws closer everyday Mr.T… Voters who are sitting on the fence, such as myself see the NBN as a very good step in the right direction for Australia’s future, it will be the tipping point of many votes.

    8. Would You Like Fibre With That?
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink |

      I call shenanigans! The Mad Monk has muzzled Turnball in order to make him out to be a fool.

      This is nothing to do with coalition NBN policy and everything to do with Tony Abbot preventing a leadership challenge from poor Malcolm.

      • Bern
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink |


        Put Turnbull into the portfolio where he has the most expertise, then set policy that is designed to make him fail, so you can point to his poor approval ratings as ‘evidence’ he would make a poor leader.

        • Richard Ure
          Posted 01/08/2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink |

          That’s the sort of thinking that had the troops going over the top into withering machine gun fire in WWI. How could Turnbull have credible leadership aspirations if he believed in one thing (e.g. fibre) and advocated its destruction?

        • jane
          Posted 02/08/2012 at 1:29 am | Permalink |

          Has everyone forgotten that Malcolm has already been tried and found wanting? Does anyone really think that he is any less hubristic, arrogant and lacking in political nous than he was in when he bought into the utegate/grech debacle.

    9. simon
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink |

      what about speed?
      What speed will we get out of this FTTN network? download and upload

      I have spent 3 days uploading 7gb of photos to my sky-drive

    10. SMEMatt
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

      My problem the coalition “solution” is that they constantly talk about the white elephant that is the NBN while completely ignoring the bright pink flying elephant they gave birth too.

      The NBN does one thing it puts vital national infrastructure back in the hands of the government and the people of Australia where it belongs. Infrastructure should be in public hands delivery of services over that infrastructure is perfectly fine in private company hands and that separation should remain. It works with road it mostly works with power(where state governments haven’t sold too much of it off), and it should be the case in other areas also but one battle at a time.

    11. Bob.H
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink |

      Thanks Renai. I like the questions that you have asked.

      Let us now hope that we can at least find out whether or not the Coalition have really thought through their policy on the future of internet access for Australians.

      I for one will be assuming that, if Malcolm doesn’t provide a factual, detailed reply, the Coalition doesn’t in fact have a substantive policy on the future needs for high speed internet in Australia.

    12. NPSF3000
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink |

      “How would you address the claim that FTTN is a short to medium-term technology that will be superceded over the next several decades by FTTH”

      This is what I don’t understand: ‘Decades’.

      Technology in general grows exponentially. The rough rate of internet ‘download speed’ growth is ~50% per year, ~57x per decade. The predicted speed necessary for 2020 is about ~1Gbps*. This is not new or surprising, but just basic facts of life for tech. So I’m not exactly sure where you got the idea that FTTN could last ‘decades’.

      *This means we’d need 50Mbps before the end of this year. Which considering how easily we could transmit and display ‘quality’ HD content barring the copper, shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.

      • Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink |


        The rough rate of internet ‘download speed’ growth is ~50% per year, ~57x per decade. The predicted speed necessary for 2020 is about ~1Gbps

        Hehe, we’ve argued this before privately. I don’t agree with 1Gbps, but there’s NO question in my mind it’ll be MUCH higher than 50Mbps by 2020, which is what we’d see under the Coalition. :D

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

          “Hehe, we’ve argued this before privately. I don’t agree with 1Gbps, but there’s NO question in my mind it’ll be MUCH higher than 50Mbps by 2020, which is what we’d see under the Coalition. :D”

          I use it because it works and continues to work – for decades, even centuries depending on how far you’re willing to go back. You are correct though – it could be higher than 1Gbps, it could be lower than 1Gbps. Either way FTTH will be able to handle it. But the idea that it could be 50Mbps or less [which appears to be the target for FTTN] – and that could stay that way for ‘decades’, while a theoretical possibility, is simply laughable.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

        “This means we’d need 50Mbps before the end of this year. ”

        Correction – in about 1 month and 13 days.

      • GongGav
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink |

        I’m supposed to be on a 24Mps connection now, and could very much use double that. The lag when there are just 2 people online is unacceptable in this day and age. I can only imagine what its going to be like in 5 or 10 years…

        • Bern
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink |

          The lag you speak of is likely not due to your connection download speed – more likely due to a slow *upload* link, an under-performing router, or network congestion elsewhere.

          I find that all the time. I’m on HFC cable, nominally 30/1 speeds (in reality, about 22/0.8 with a tailwind). Most of the time it’s pretty good, but any high-load activity (such as streaming video) will pretty much choke things up. I’m not sure whether it’s due to the low upload or my dusty old router (8 years old and going strong!). I know sometimes it’s network congestion elsewhere (which you can easily check by going to different sites and seeing how they perform).

          I know I’m one of the fortunate few, in terms of what I have access to now. But I find I’m really looking forward to an NBN connection (due in my area near the end of the current 3-year plan), primarily for the upload speeds. 50Mbps would be plenty down, for my usage, but I’d really like at least 5, preferably 10 or more, up.

    13. Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink |

      Good set of questions Renai. You seem to cover most of the pertinent points. I’d be interested to see if he answers and if any of the points are actually dealt with directly.

      However while this point:

      Do you consider it possible to re-work the current Telstra/NBN contract to focus on FTTN instead of FTTH, and how long do you estimate this would take?

      Covers, partially, my point I’m about to make, I don’t think it emphasises enough the importance. What would the Coalition do about needing to either rent or buy the copper from Telstra for FTTN as WELL as needing to use their conduit for fibre? Would they simply get Telstra to build it to make the whole thing easier? Or would they allow NBNCo to build it? But then what would happen for the transition to FTTH? Who would build that if Telstra built the FTTN? Would everyone be transitioned to Telstra FTTH over time? That would be a DISASTER.

      Part of the main point of the NBN was spite- K Rudd developed it to remove Telstra as an obstacle for generations to come. THAT is why, in part, it is so expensive.

      My question to the Coalition would be, do they believe Telstra should be allowed to play a large enough part in owning their FTTN rollout that would mean Telstra continue to have a MASSIVE monopolistic influence on telecommunications in this country? If they DON’T advocate this- what legislation/regulation would be put in place to prevent the new network simply becoming as monopolised (retail) as Telstra’s copper CAN?

      • andrew
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink |

        i’m glad you both raised those points , as I thought it would be the number one question for the coalition to answer. What happens to telstra copper in a FTTN. who owns what?

        The Richard Chirgwin article raised these questions , not sure it wasnt referenced more.

        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

          This has been my argument from day 1… using a road analogy.

          Why build a heap of 10km roads consisting of 9km of lovely new asphalt and then leaving the last km old used, worn out dirt…

          But worse, that 1km section of dirt is paramount to the final product, is owned by someone else (i.e. a profit driven company) and can be used to hold the other 9km of every road to ransom…

          There’s plenty more, but that’s the crux and it is ideological lunacy beyond compare, imo :/

          • jw
            Posted 31/07/2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink |

            “Why build a heap of 10km roads consisting of 9km of lovely new asphalt and then leaving the last km old used, worn out dirt…”

            Although I support FTTH, the reasoning behind using lower grade links at that consumer end is because that end is only used and paid for by 1 consumer, whereas the trunk lines are used and paid for by thousands or millions. That’s why we we had fibre between exchanges for decades already and copper was ok.

            Until now.

            Because techical advances in computing have allowed more people to afford creating and consumng huge amounts of data and optical fibre advances have allowed it to carry it cheaply too.

            And that’s what the Coalition refuses to accept

    14. CMOTDibbler
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

      I think you could add the question “Who is going to build the FTTN network?”. How long it will last is largely irrelevant if he can’t get it built in the first place.

      The Liberal party web site says it will be the private sector so that rules out the NBNCo.

      Tony Abbott says he doesn’t like foreign state-owned companies investing in Australia so that rules out Optus.

      If it’s to be a Network Co created by structurally separating Telstra then the follow up question “How long will it take to create the Network Co and get it to a position where it could start building the FTTN network?” needs to be asked.

      If it’s to be Telstra then the follow up question “At what price to access seekers?” needs to be asked. We’ve seen their proposed prices before.

      Any other options?

      • Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink |


        Excatly my point I tried to make above. Though you did it better.

        Who is going to build FTTN Malcolm? And how much extra will we, the taxpayer, have to pay for the “privilege” of owning our own infrastructure which we’ve ALREADY paid for?

        Dammit it’s hard sometimes not to end a sentence with for……there I go again, bad grammar and all!

      • Bern
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink |

        Don’t be silly – of *course* it’ll be Telstra!

        The NBN rollout may or may not be continued while they’re conducting their “cost / benefit analysis”, but the findings of that CBA will almost certainly be:

        1) Private-sector rollouts are cheaper than government-funded ones (true, given they cherry-pick the most profitable areas and ignore the more expensive ones);

        2) NBNCo should be sold, lock stock & barrel, to the private sector *immediately*, so the private sector can continue the rollout in the most cost-effective manner.

        After which tenders will be called for, and (particularly with the xenophobic comments from the leader of the opposition lately) almost certainly the only ‘suitably qualified’ bid will be from Telstra, who’ll buy the partially-complete NBN at a fire-sale rate, then jack up the prices to Velocity levels while stopping the rollout until it’s “commercially viable”.

        Or possibly the bid will be from “Telstra Wholesale”, which will then make so much money that it’ll buy Telstra Retail to “expand it’s market share”, and we’ll be right back where we started in terms of monopolistic pricing & service.

    15. Snow_Crash
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink |

      It is very easy to see that some commentators in Australia have a blind-spot and completely misrepresents International super-fast broadband strategies especially in North America

      So here are some quick facts from the FTTH Council: (Note: As of March 2011)

      Number of North American fiber-to-the-home connections: 7.1 million

      Number of homes passed: 20.9 million

      FTTH household market penetration in North America: 6.6 percent

      Estimated number of North American providers of FTTH services: More than 770

      Proportion of small independent telecoms that say they will likely upgrade to or expand
      FTTH service in the next few years: Approximately 75 percent

      World’s leading economies in FTTH household market penetration:
      South Korea (55% of households have FTTH), Japan (40%), Hong Kong (39%),
      United Arab Emirates (32%) and Taiwan (27%)

      Rank of US among world’s G-20 nations in terms of FTTH penetration: Third (After South
      Korea and Japan)

      Percentage of US FTTH subscribers who are “very satisfied” with their FTTH Internet service:
      74 percent.

      • Dean
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink |

        Infrastructure-based competition working wonders, eh?

        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink |

          LOL +1 Dean.

          Also I note the people who bag FttP, still refuse to demand detail of the alternative and are happy to run with, whatever the opposition throw at them/us, which I find rather telling.

          That’s simply what this article is about. Ok Malcolm, benefit of the doubt, spill your guts and show us how wrong we are..!

          And according to Renai below, Mt’s office has accepted on his behalf, so, +1 Malcolm Turnbull & Co.

          Because let’s face it, regurgitating their slogan from 2007 “sooner and cheaper” (although the word quicker is now sneakily used instead of sooner) when ironically telling us all how superior their OPEL policy was to the then opposition’s FttN plan – which they even referred to as fraudband, is quite laughable, imo!

          I look forward to Malcolm convincing me :-)

    16. Daniel
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink |

      How come you folk continue miss the point where the Coalition have been demanding a CBA.

      Also Coalition’s plan is to wipe out Federal Labor, much like they did at QLD State Level.

      That is what was heard on the radio a week or so ago.

      You need to do more than just pointing out the FUD.

      • Goresh
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink |

        WHere is the CBA for a FTTN solution?

        If it fails the CBS, will the NBN in any form be scrapped?

    17. Ryan
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |


      One critical question that has not been asked, is how will a FTTN system provide the required UPSTREAM speeds. We all know that the current FTTH model will provide significant upload/upstream speeds, however ADSL, etc do not provide the upstream bandwidth, meaning a lot of the problems we already experience, will still exist with a FTTN setup. How does the member for Wentworth plan to address his lack of upstream ability with a FTTN solution.

      The amount of cloud storage options that are available, are growing daily, however they are crippled by the consumers inability to transfer large amounts of data, upstream, in a reasonable timeframe.

    18. Camm
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

      In regards to the example used of Canberra FTTN; the reason nodes can be delivered cheaply is that Canberra as a planned city has plenty of access corridors between houses (alleyways), with short throw aerial off telegraph poles (which are already carrying power so can power the nodes). Now, transpose this to Sydney or Melbourne and this quickly starts to fall apart. Now to step one further out to the Regional, to maintain speeds that MT are advertising you can start going down (in worst case) to a node per household due to the size of landblocks. This is obviously discounting that in Australia, we traditionally don’t use as many Copper Pairs as foreign nations did in their roll outs, and issues with pair gain.

    19. Adam
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

      I think you forgot to ask why the original FTTN was abandoned.

      FTTN is cheaper (on the surface), but Telstra’s compensation was huge making it simply not value for money. This seems to have been left out of the discussion.

      • Snow_Crash
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink |

        The Australian Government had previously (in 2007) under Kevin Rudd planned to subsidize a privately-operated FTTN project.

        The collapse of capital markets altered that plan


        • Adam
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink |

          There’s more than one reason why it failed.

        • RyanH
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

          The collapse of capital markets is point 1 in that document. The Telstra matter Adam raised is number 8 on that list and subsequent events told us the dollar value of that Telstra matter. I agree with Adam, Telstra is the key reason we have the current plan.

          I personally think the productivity savings in not having to contact Telstra to sort out their billing stuff-ups (and then have to chase them up again and again and again) will pay for the whole NBN anyway.

        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

          @ Snow_Crash

          Dare I say the most telling (considering this panel was put together to adjudicate on the RFP options) is point 8…

          8 The Proposals have also demonstrated that rolling out a single fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network is:
          unlikely to provide an efficient upgrade path to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), because of the high costs of equipment associated with rolling out a FTTN network that would not be required for a FTTP network (i.e. FTTN is not a pre-requisite for the provision of FTTP); and

          likely to require exclusive or near-exclusive access to Telstra’s existing copper sub-loop customer access network (CAN), the so called ‘last mile’, thereby confirming that strong equivalence of access arrangements would be essential. As well, providing such access to a party other than Telstra runs a risk of liability to pay compensation to Telstra. The Proposals have this risk remaining with the Commonwealth but they have not addressed the potential cost to the Commonwealth of any such compensation. In any event, the Panel considers that no Proponent could accept the cost risk and continue to have a viable business case.

          • Alex
            Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink |

            Seems RyanH beat me too it, kudos…Ryan :-)

          • Snow_Crash
            Posted 31/07/2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink |

            Seeing that all the points are considered equally in the findings of the panel, they are combined with “AND” – NOT “OR” in the logical determination!!!

        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink |

          But to be totally correct Snow_crash, the original RFP prior to the current NBN/93% FttP… asked for either Fttn or FttP… not just FttN.

          FttN was the main crux because of the two main candidates Telstra (owning the copper) and Optus/G9/TERRiA, thinking they may get their foot in the copper door.


          Dot point 2…

          * have the network rolled out and made operational progressively over five years using fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-premises technology;

          Can’t be any more straight forward than that.

          • Snow_Crash
            Posted 01/08/2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink |

            You are 100% correct it was pure FTTN. Good! Then you are with me

            However, there was a change of plan when they discovered worldwide success of broadband’s emerging technologies such as GPON and Fiber To the Home technology which is far superior and is the clear cut winner in 2012.

            In United States, the growth of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, which incorporates ultra hi-speed broadband and innovative new applications, is paramount to recovery from the country’s recession.

    20. Observer
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink |

      This post and many previous posts on the coalition’s policy reveal an intriguing scenario. Malcom Turnbull has managed to call the shots. Here, we have a man with a very vaguely outlined alternative policy being asked precise questions about it. The problem with this is that a policy is a complete body of work where the relationship between elements is there for all to see. It is, ideally, driven by a vision about what is desired in the short and long term.

      Had Malcom Turnbull released a complete and detailed policy, none of these questions would be necessary. Most commentators could work out the pros and cons, as well as the implications, of the policy.

      Should Malcom Turnbull reply comprehensively to the proposed questions (one has to be optimistic, given his past record), we will still be left with many more questions simply because we will not have all the pieces of the puzzle.

      The one thing that has become evident, reading the many commentaries over time, is the enormous amount of complexity and detail involved in building an NBN, No matter, how pertinent some of the details are, nothing short of the full picture will ever provide a satisfactory answer.

    21. Daviesh
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

      Great article Renai. The hangup for me is the timing question, we took so long to get NBNCo to volume rollouts due to negotiations with incumbents and regulators (as you mention, it probably cost 12-18 months). I would hate to think how long the delay will be while the Coalition refers their plans to the productivity commission, re-negotiates various deals and files updated regulatory undertakings.

    22. Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink |

      Hey everyone, FYI Turnbull’s office has consented to answer the questions where they can. I think the man is away at the moment so it may be a bit — but if I know the Earl of Wentworth, I suspect we’ll get pretty detailed answers.

      Of course, I don’t think we’ll get all the answers — they have save something for the inevitable glitzy pre-election policy announcements. But we may get more than what we have right now.

      • Dominique M
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink |

        More than anything I’d like to have an answer as to who will own and who will operate the HFC and VDSL networks under the coalition plan. Telstra or NBN Co or someone else?

    23. Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

      I’d like to know whether the LNP would halt (or terminate) the current NBNCo 1- and 3
      year plans while they faff around to figure out their FTTN “plan”.

      At present my district (western suburbs of Brisbane) isn’t on the 3 year plan, and I’m
      veryvery keen to see us get FTTH. If we get FTTN instead, while just down the road
      gets FTTH instead I’m going to be incredibly pissed off.

      I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that having FTTH rather than FTTN
      would make an observable difference to property prices.

      • Snow_Crash
        Posted 01/08/2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink |


        Someone would have to talk to Space Systems LORAL about that contract, because construction of the new satellites is now well underway and listed on their website

        Space Systems LORAL: NBN Co 1A and 1B http://www.ssloral.com/html/satexp/nbnco1a_1b.html

        • Posted 01/08/2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink |


          True. But Malcolm has already publicly stated he’s likely to keep the satellites. It’s just that their cost will go on-budget cause they’ll stop the rest of the NBN….so the prices ON the satellites will sky-rocket….

    24. Simon Reidy
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink |

      I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that having FTTH rather than FTTN
      would make an observable difference to property prices.

      Most likely . Once the benefits of FTTH become more readily apparent to people; not having fibre will eventually be equated to not having electricity, so I’m sure the real estate market would take that into consideration! :)

      I know that every house I’ve lived in, I’ve checked ADSL availability before even considering it, and I’m sure I’m not alone there.

    25. Snow_Crash
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink |

      A World of Fiber (to the Home) A collaborative map of fiber to the home (FTTH) deployments worldwide.


      Your comments please Malcolm Turnbull

    26. Richard Ure
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink |

      More questions for Malcolm:

      Do you have detailed information on the state of the existing copper network? What percentage of the copper and at what cost would the copper need replacing so subscribers can connect to the nearest node to deliver the promised “up to” speeds? Will the “up to” qualification be removed or, at the very least, be refined?

      What are the comparable energy demands of FTTN v. FTTP? How many nodes? How many backup batteries?

      “FTTN is cheaper than FTTH full stop.” A Trabant is cheaper than a Holden.

      ‘In addition, Jackson added, FTTN could be deployed “way faster”’reminds me of the complaint of lower ranking service people: “Hurry up and wait.”

    27. Gordon Drennan
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink |

      The author of the article suffers the same problem that all experts, real or self-appointed, suffer from when they are discussing an issue related to their area of expertise. It is that because they are so close to it, they can’t see that they see it as more important than the community as a whole sees it to be. If you ask a bunch of defence “experts” they will to a man, say we ought to spend a lot more on it. If you ask car “experts” they’ll all say everyone ought to buy Medeceds and BMWs. Ditto education experts. Ditto police. Ditto all experts. Then go out and talk to ordinary people and they just don’t see that area, whatever it is, as that important.

      So if you want to know what Australia ought to do on high-speed broadband, sure, go ask the experts, see how much they want to spend and how fast/whetever they think it ought it “needs” to be. They halve it, tell them that’s how much they are allowed to spend, and tell them to do the best they can with that much.

      That’s what’s NOT being done with the NBN.

      Its the problem with all “experts”. They don’t understand that whatever it is they are experts in just isn’t as valuable or important to everyone else.

      • Alex
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink |

        Yes… always better to ask those with NFI rather than experts, perhaps Taxi drivers, Dentists and the guy selling kebabs at 2am….

        Let me ask… would YOU use that same rationale if you needed heart surgery?

      • Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink |

        hi Gordon,

        you’re right in theory, but wrong in practice on this specific example. Car choice, for example, is a matter of personal preference. Whether or not your country’s broadband infrastructure will be able to handle 2020 bandwidth demand is not — it’s an objective measure of national capacity.


      • djos
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

        Ah yes, I’ll just ask my local dentist for advice next time I need a cardiology checkup shall i? it’ll be cheaper for sure!


        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink |

          Indeed djos… only in relation to the politically volatile NBN, would anybody be silly enough to say expert advice should NOT be heeded.. seriously.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink |

        “The author of the article suffers the same problem that all experts, real or self-appointed, suffer from when they are discussing an issue related to their area of expertise. It is that because they are so close to it, they can’t see that they see it as more important than the community as a whole sees it to be.”

        Nice try, but that argument simply doesn’t stack up with regards to the NBN.

        For a start, the NBN is a ‘user pays’ system… so its value is strongly tied into the value that *others* perceive of it.

        But, go ahead, waste tens of billions of dollars on a system that won’t work, blame the experts, and then proceed to waste tens of billions more on the next *solution* you think up.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink |

        “The author of the article suffers the same problem that all experts, real or self-appointed, suffer from when they are discussing an issue related to their area of expertise.”

        And then we have people like you that are so daunted and confused by the great NBN debate that instead of contributing to the discussion in a meaningful way all they have to offer is vapid statements.

        “They halve it, tell them that’s how much they are allowed to spend, and tell them to do the best they can with that much.”

        Great. It has been said that a FttH network covering close to 100% of Australia would cost 3 times as much. In order to satisfy you all we have to do is change the goal temporarily to a 100% FttH build. See now the goal is a more sensible 93% FttH build for $43 billion which is less than half. Problem solved.

        “Its the problem with all “experts”. They don’t understand that whatever it is they are experts in just isn’t as valuable or important to everyone else.”

        So what are you an expert at exactly? Telling the experts they are wrong?

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink |

        With respect.
        The NBN is not just for the man in the streets understanding of what they want right now..
        It is for the long term, it is for working from home and decentralisation, it is about the SMBE’s and home business. It is about many things and many as yet intangible potentialities.

        Much is made of VSDL – OK Limits, capabilities, reliability and cost to upgrade from ADSL2 and monthly cost. Will there be suitable pairs if VDSL is needed.
        Also it is mentioned if FTTH is needed, the customer can pay to have it provided, at what cost?.
        What happens to the pricing on the installed NBN as the business model is destroyed, in fact where will the now capitalised onto the Budget costs be taken from, health, education, roads, pensions, the PBS. Sure won’t be from Politicians allowances and Benefits.

        Australia will have lost it’s hope for a better future, for what?

      • PeterA
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink |

        This is what we do with roads right?

        We build them to accommodate one half of their expected utilisation over their expected life…
        Or is it we build them to accommodate only next-years expected traffic…And upgrade it again a year later…
        Or is it we build it to last the shortest term expected growth making sure to avoid building for predicted growth…

        I just can’t remember how they decide to build roads. God help us if they ask an expert. They’ll say things like: “In the next year there will be twice as many cars as now, so remember to build it to accept more than that so you don’t have to begin the next upgrade just after you finish the current one”. Stupid experts.

        What do they think they are? What do they know?

      • PeterA
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink |

        Ask a layperson if they want 2 gigabytes of ram, or 2000 gigabytes of disk space.

        The layperson is a layperson *because they don’t know what they are talking about*. This is precisely why you don’t ask the layperson how to build an upgrade on your current telecommunications network.

        If you ask an expert, they will take the knowledge they have in the field, and give you the most cost effective future proof solution at the budget you set.

        The NBN is the answer. It really is. They came up with a network design that cost 46 billion dollars, they handed it to a DIFFERENT expert (an accountant) who came up with a payment schedule, and with some Logistics experts they predicted the usage of the network and calculated that it can pay for itself entirely by itself with a modest return on investment for the government.

        But hey, even though it pays for itself lets still only give them half as much money because they are just silly experts.

    28. Francis Young
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

      Much of the twisted pair copper which is needed by FTTN is struggling to deliver modest speeds now.

      Technicians in many places have already long since exhausted any spare twisted pairs when trying to bypass faults, and pair-splitting is widespread, preventing ADSL2 from functioning at all.

      This means that a significant part of Turnbull’s target FTTN footprint will require brand new copper to be supplied and pulled through the trench to the customer, to be replaced with fibre in only a few years.

      This is madness. What is wrong with this man?

    29. faster and cheaper
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

      *What international examples of FTTN-style broadband deployments do you consider most pertinent to the Australian situation, and why?

      Pick any, you can clearly see it can be done faster and cheaper than FTTH. Especially when you don’t have a failed illegitimate government lead by Juliar wasting billions of dollars on a wasteful extravagant Not Bloody Needed waste rollout. of waste.

      * How long do you estimate it would take, if the Coalition wins the next Federal Election, to deploy FTTN to more than 90 percent of the Australian population?

      That would depend on the productivity and it’s constrained by our terms of reference inquiry into deploying anything but a FTTH, but I can guarantee it will be faster and cheaper as we take away Juliar’s extraordinary government waste. Never mind that it won’t be faster or cheaper for the consumers, but hey, we’re not here to serve to the people are we, we’re here to help News Corp from avoid annihilation for another decade.

      * What, specifically, do you estimate would be the cost difference between deploying FTTN and FTTH as part of the NBN rollout?

      The cost difference will be significant. Avoiding the $50 BILLION of TAXPAYER FUNDED JULIAR GOVERNMENT WASTE and getting Telstra to do it will mean we save BILLIONS that can be spent on faster and cheaper hospitals, roads, schools and boats.

      *Do you consider it possible to re-work the current Telstra/NBN contract to focus on FTTN instead of FTTH, and how long do you estimate this would take?

      Yes. It’ll be faster and cheaper than the NBN rollout that’s for sure.

      * What broad details of this contract would need to change, and how long do you anticipate the ACCC would take to approve a modified version?

      We would eliminate the waste, stop the trucks and start building roads and schools and boats. The ACCC will do what we tell them to do, and it’ll be faster, cheaper and less wasteful than Juliar’s plan.

      * Do you have a long-term plan to upgrade a FTTN-style network to a FTTH-style network, or a medium-term plan to allow ad-hoc upgrades of this network to FTTH?

      Yes. The Gods of the Arena will provide all the market competition you need.

      * What do you consider to be the time frame on which a FTTN-style network would continue to be used without an upgrade to FTTH? Will there, in fact, be a need to upgrade in the long-term to FTTH? On what evidence do you have these beliefs?

      Mate, I’m not here to build for the future, I’m here to win the next election and stop the gays from marrying on the internet. By building faster and cheaper boatpeople.

      * How would you address the claim that FTTN is a short to medium-term technology that will be superceded over the next several decades by FTTH, and that Australia should only be investing for the long-term when it comes to this kind of telecommunications infrastructure? On what evidence do you feel this way?


      • Alex
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink |

        faster and cheaper…

        I don’t particularly like Gillard either… but mate seriously, I stopped reading when I got to Juliar…

        Why do you think?

        • andrew
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink |

          yeah i think he was answering humourisly from his “Abbot” LNP media stance

      • Alex
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink |

        I just read it all.. and perhaps I was hasty in my earlier assumption ;-)

      • Dean
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink |


        Sorry, I was going to read what you said, but I never bothered reading past this.

        • Alex
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink |

          Me too Dean, until I read the rest…

          I believe it was tongue-in-cheek.

          But sadly, it was so similar to actual comments, which sorta makes it hard to determine the satirists from the sheep.

          • andrew
            Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink |

            It reads like a skit from John Clarke and Bryan Dawe

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink |

            When it’s almost impossible to tell the difference you know what the real joke is.

            • James Q
              Posted 30/07/2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

              Poe’s law.

              • Dean
                Posted 30/07/2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink |

                Wow, I thought my satire-detector was pretty good, but it seems I was fooled. Well played!

              • Alex
                Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink |

                Spot on James.

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink |

          I think he was just doing his TA impersonation. At least I hope so.

      • Observer
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink |

        Some got it, others didn’t.

        • djos
          Posted 30/07/2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink |

          Had me fooled, I got to Juliar and my “liberal party FUD” detector was bouncing of 12! :-p

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink |

        Too True

      • PeterA
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink |

        I particularly can’t wait for the Faster Boat-people :)

      • jw
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink |

        Funny post – shows how the stupid many of the coalitions’s arguments are. The only problem was that you simply stated “money should to go to roads and hospitals instead” without pointing out how wrong it was, so some readers mistakenly believed you were serious.

        And unfortunately there are many commenters who really believe that stuff.

    30. Simon Shaw
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink |

      Also curious as to how FTTN deals with situations like mine. My local pillar was full, so actual copper to my house is connected to a pillar MUCH further away. (So in effect copper comes near me, then heads away before coming back to my house).

      My line length is in effect, about 5km. (Which gives me a measly 3-4 mbit, (surprised I get that much)).

      I can just see a FTTN rollout putting a cabinet where the local pillar was, connecting all that copper up, (leaving me out), then putting another cabinet further away at the other pillar I AM connected, giving me a line length too great to get good VDSL speeds.

    31. Snow_Crash
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink |

      Malcolm Turnbull: This is what a USD$350 Billion National Broadband Plan (Connecting America) looks like! Note: It also incorporates Smart Energy Grid technologies which does not work on FTTN topography


      Malcolm Turnbull: Have you heard:

      President Obama’s recent executive order?

      US-Ignite and partners, communities and Universities?

      Hi-tech 21st century model cities like Chattanooga, Clemson/ Portland, Cleveland, Lafayete and Lake Nona in United States?

      Mozilla Ignite?

      North America is relying on FTTH for more than voice, data and TV – in some cases all-fiber networks are proving their value in energy management and conservation, as well.

      FYI: I am an Australian ex-pat living in the San Francisco Bay area (Along with an estimated 15,000 other Aussies in this area) – CEO of a tech startup. Been working in ICT since 1978 specializing in software development and network engineering

      NOTE: To prevent duplicity and further information, please refer to my technology tweets over at the NBN hashtag on Twitter – Meta Starostin (@Snow_Crash)

    32. James Q
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink |

      One important point I see with overseas FTTN networks, is that they are built to maximise PROFIT. Providing high speed services is not actually their goal, only getting the best return on investment.

      The NBN is being built to maximise coverage and performance. This is NOT the goal of many of these overseas projects!

      Another thing I would like to know is just what the end user pricing would be with FTTN. FTTN supporters insist that lower capex == lower end user pricing… but NBN wholesale pricing is currently cheaper than Telstra ADSL wholesale pricing!

      What would be charged with FTTN? $23? $22? “It’s cheaper, honest!” doesn’t cut it, especially if Telstra builds it and wants a 30% RoI.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink |

        Spot on
        Will it be open wholesale?
        What actually is the point of changing the NBN?

    33. Abel Adamski
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink |

      Australia will get what it wants and will deserve the consequences

    34. Abel Adamski
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink |

      Australia has been known to get a little warm at times. The active FTTN cabinets will need some sort of cooling and milspec components. What happens during an extended black out on a stinking hot day, how well will the electronics cope, sure battery backup for the comms electronics, but how about the cooling power requirements ??. What will be the cost of a fully equipped FTTN cabinet and how many will be required?
      What plans are there for when a node is short just a few suitable pairs , a whole new copper cable?.
      How many other countries have allowed their copper CAN to degrade to the extent that we have.?
      How many other countries have the Gell Joint issue to the extent that we do.
      Apples with Apples

    35. Goresh
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink |

      One question that isn’t answered is what do we use for a telephone service between the time the copper cable is cut to when it is terminated on the node and up and running?

      It is very unlikely that there will be existing, useful cable jointing options everywhere they are needed to connect the nodes to. In this case, the cable will need to be physically cut, removing service.

      In order to achieve the data rates Mr Turnbull is talking about, we will need to use something like VDSL and it’s associated crosstalk is liely t make the other pairs in the cable unuseable for oter technologies.
      It will be an all or nothing basis for the cutover, once the first VDSL comes online on the cable, all have to be VDSL to work.

      • GongGav
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink |

        I think you’ll find that the copper line will still exist until after the fibre line is up and running.

        Dont quote me, but there is something like 18 months grace between fibre being deployed in an area, and the copper being disconnected. People/ISP’s have that long to access NBN.

        Where there are no fibre connections, copper will exist in perpetuity in the form of ADSL/ADSL2.

    36. Abel Adamski
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink |

      Considering AT&T FTTN and Verizom Fibre are similar prices due higher maintenance and operational FTTN costs
      FTTN plans will be similar for less , so seeing that the NBN business Plan will be destroyed, what will happen to the pricing for the existing customers.?

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink |

        Sorry should have read “FTTN will be a similar price for a lesser product”

      • Snow_Crash
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink |

        Nice try but, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse is FTTH

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 31/07/2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink |

          Actually SnowCrash.
          I was basing my statement on US forums, a link was provided on Delimiter. to one, it
          included discussions in relation to the AT&T FTTN as it was appreciably cheaper to build (as also alluded to by the anti FTTH brigade).
          Much of the discussion was over relative merits and brought out that residence, even suburb and city was being selected on the basis of what was on offer, the cable TV was also a factor.
          Verizons FIOS was much preferred for B/Band.
          That may be why you tell us that AT&T’s Uverse is now FTTP

          • Snow_Crash
            Posted 31/07/2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink |

            It depends on WHEN the discussion took place. In the United States anything, including documentation and articles before 2010 is considered ancient history and completely irrelevant in 2012.. we move much faster than Australians do. Pedal to the metal!!!!

            Incidently, I don’t go much on forum discussions when it comes to the USD$350B National Broadband Plan. I have provided the link to Connect America in this thread.

            AT&T rolled out FTTN years ago! Recently, like hundreds of other telcos, are rolling out FTTH/P in many areas and there is plenty of evidence of that. For an AT&T service it depends on where you live that determines if they can provide you FTTH or FTTN.

            Point to note is the cost of the upgrades from FTTN to FTTH in many cases cost more than the original FTTN rollout.

            Recently I noticed the LNP clinging to rubbish in a Verizon document dated 2008. This is simply laughable in United States.

            At the present time, the biggest problem in the US is the mixture of technologies…it is hardly ubiquitous unlike the Australian National Broadband Network.

            There are now well over 700 service providers that can provide homes, business and utilities with a FTTH service.

            Currently I am with Verizon FiOS (300Mb/s), VOIP and TV and LOVIN’ IT!!!!

            • Richard Ure
              Posted 31/07/2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink |

              “At the present time, the biggest problem in the US is the mixture of technologies…it is hardly ubiquitous unlike the Australian National Broadband Network.”

              You mean like the differing rail gauges in Australia? The most important of which (Sydney to Melbourne) was only sorted out in about 1960? General Macarthur said incompatible railway gauges were the biggest espionage challenge to our war effort. Perhaps if we could convince the NBN is a defence project, their attitude would change to unlimited expenditure.

              • Snow_Crash
                Posted 01/08/2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink |

                Because of the complexity, it’s a damned financial headache and affecting America’s overall broadband speeds.

                But thanks to the hard work of the Federal Communications Commission and the US National Broadband Plan gradually the FTTH footprint will expand as it is still currently being rolled out State by State

            • Abel Adamski
              Posted 01/08/2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink |

              Thanks for clarifying and updating us, much appreciated

      • Mike
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink |

        “…seeing that the NBN business Plan will be destroyed, what will happen to the pricing for the existing customers?”

        Frankly, this terrifies me. I am lucky enough to be in the Applecross WA area and am likely to be receiving a fibre connection within a few months. What the hell will happen if – when – it is given to Telstra – which, have no fear, it will be if FTTN goes ahead? The whole business plan for the current NBN will be shot to pieces and I – and all the other fibre subscribers that will have been cut-over – will be fleeced shamelessly and something rotten by Telstra. And – we will have no choice but to bend over and be shafted!

    37. PeterA
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink |

      As far as I am concerned, FTTN isn’t worth it.

      I would prefer to have ADSL2+ for as long as it takes to wait for someone to finish an FTTP network.

      Just not worth wasting the money on a half arsed solution.

      But hey; I get 20 megabits on my ADSL2+, I’d be getting the 50-80 megabits on an FTTN and 100 megabits on an FTTP. I’m fine as long as my tax dollars aren’t wasted, FTTP and a unified wholesale-only provider is a game changer. FTTN and maybe cherry picking infrastructure competition, is just incremental bullshit with a worsening continuation of our current failed integrated monopoly “market” solution.

      Sick of politics these days where there are just no facts or any substance beyond a sound bite.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 30/07/2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink |

        I totally agree Peter, more speed now and sooner would be great but if such a FttN patchwork was built by the time it is built we’ll all be scratching our heads saying “ummm, now what?”. We could be getting that 50-80mbps now or in 6-9 years time but it makes no difference. The upload speed is the selling point now with a FttN patchwork this feature would still be very much crippled. Turnbull and his apologists want to disregard upload capacity and totally ignore it because it doesn’t fit in with their outdated view that the internet is all about downloading. Of course it’s all going to be about downloading when the other direction is as slow as it has been. They’d love for the internet to remain this way because they simply cannot comprehend such a network. You have to realise what they have been comparing it to; things like television broadcasts that only work in one direction, the more upload speed you have, the more symmetrical it becomes the less like a TV station it is (not that it ever was). This frightens and confuses people that have no idea that the internet is not just about downloading… I used to know someone who asked me “where is the central station?” when asking about the internet many years ago. This is the type of person that would find anything to do with uploading pointless yet (assuming the NBN is built as planned) will in 10 years time be uploading HD videos to YouTube in seconds and taking it for granted.

        • Alex
          Posted 31/07/2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink |

          Interestingly, knowing how conservative governments prefer to build cash reserves rather than build infrastructure (that’s not meant to be derogatory, per se`) … perhaps this is their broadband plan after all.

          Offer FttN and when those who actually know, say no, and even say what you guys are saying here, i.e. give us nothing, if FttN is your option, what’s the bet they will indeed heed that advice, rather heed the call for FttP?

    38. Snow_Crash
      Posted 30/07/2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink |

      “How would you address the claim that FTTN is a short to medium-term technology that will be superceded over the next several decades by FTTH, and that Australia should only be investing for the long-term when it comes to this kind of telecommunications infrastructure? ”

      FTTH superceded FTTH in 2005 and even more so in 2010 which break into time division (TDM) and wavelength division (WDM) .

      The fact is that FTTN is now legacy technology like dial-up Internet.

      Fiber has two main architectures. Passive optical networking (PON) aggregates data from a local neighborhood of users, multiplexing it into a single connection either by frequency division or wavelength division. Because they are shared, PON systems require less backhaul fiber and can be cheaper to install, but the total capacity of the fiber uplink is distributed between all the shared connections. (Note: GPON architecture is utilised in the Australian National Broadband network as well as Verizon’s FiOS with a shared 2.5Gbps )

      Verizon has already trialed the XG-PON technology in the field, announcing in December 2009 that it had done its first successful 10Gbps test outside the lab.

      Press Release: http://newscenter.verizon.com/press-releases/verizon/2009/verizon-conducts-worlds.html

      XG-PON can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) downstream and 2.4 Gbps upstream, four times as fast as the current top transmission speeds supporting the company’s all-fiber FiOS network.

      GPON and XG-PON can also run on the same optical fiber network.

      By 2027, PON should offer 100Gbps of download capacity; split between end users, this should guarantee 10Gbps downstream connections.

      (Infopic)The Evolution Of The Active Layer

      Verizon and Comcast in the United States have increased their maximum speed tiers to 300Mbps and I am currently waiting on Verizon to switch me to 300Mbps (Business Plan)

      • Snow_Crash
        Posted 31/07/2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink |

        2nd paragraph should read: FTTH superceded FTTN in 2005

        Sorry! My bad – I’ve forgotten even how to spell FTTN – XD!!!!!

    39. Gwyntaglaw
      Posted 31/07/2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink |

      So much of the talk of FTTN being “faster” to roll out treats the issue as though you could simply swap out all references to “FTTH” with “FTTN”, but otherwise simply zoom ahead like a F1 car out of a pit stop.

      The reason – really, the only major reason – why the FTTH rollout has taken so long to get going is NOT because some bureaucrats have been taking too many tea breaks. It’s because the amount of planning and negotiating has been massive. Which, when you understand the unprecedented scale of the NBN, should not be surprising. Around the first third of any large, complex project is planning. Get that right, and the rest flows without a major hiccup. Get it wrong, or fail to plan properly, and you meet one disaster after another. To say nothing of the spiralling out-of-control costs.

      The thing is that in planning terms, the work for the FTTH rollout is now pretty much a sunk cost. But most of that goes out the window once you shift to FTTN. EVERY major agreement, contract andnetwork plan needs to go back to the drawing board. How many years will it need to redo? Properly, I mean? That’s another question to add to Renai’s excellent list.

    40. Bruce Wallace
      Posted 31/07/2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink |

      I would like to know the difference in retail cost for a Labor NBN fibre/wireless/satellite service compared to a LNP NBN copper/wireless/satellite service.

    41. Abel Adamski
      Posted 31/07/2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink |

      Once implemented, the Coalition version with it’s private sector involvement realistically means that we get in the next few years is pretty much all we will ever get for many, many decades, maybe limited fibre upgrades for those that can afford the major cost. A truly massive structural digital divide will have been created with minimal retail competition in any form.

      The Regional areas will be screwd over for the long term and the metropolitan population pressures with all those drawbacks magnified. Good for the Lib support base and their property investments however, that is about all. Apart from the Telstra shareholder of course

    42. nonny-moose
      Posted 31/07/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

      my only addition on the questions is: apparently Telstra has hit $4 once again, the highest its been in a long time. Does Malcolm have anything to say about his Coalition policy and any possible negative effects on Telstra shares – as they will inevitably sink if there is any chance any part of it will have to be negotiated over again?

    43. Abel Adamski
      Posted 01/08/2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink |

      Interesting article on ZNet that casts massive doubts on the Rural aspects of MT’s claims


    44. Abel Adamski
      Posted 01/08/2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink |

      Another interesting article.
      Whatever Turnbull states or claims is completely irrelevant


    45. Brian
      Posted 01/08/2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink |

      A point most appear to be missing and in my mind one of the most pertinent questions for Malcolm Turnbull is: “What is the maximum distance from a household to a node in your FTTN plan and accordingly how many nodes will you have to build”

      Given that the distance to the node is a major determining factor in the potential speed of an FTTN connection and the cost of installing, maintaining and powering the nodes is a major ongoing expense, I’m at a loss as to how anyone can possibly consider FTTN cheaper than FTTH, especially given the passive nature of the FTTH equipment and consequent lack of any requirement for power, cooling etc.

      • GongGav
        Posted 01/08/2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink |

        Cost is one of those details that has a little asterix next to it. The build to the node is most definitely cheaper than a build to the premise. Nobody has disputed that. After that, the debate becomes one of personal choice.

        If you just look at the cost to build up to the point of gaining access, FttN wins out. If you look at the overall plan, and the cost to public monies, FttH wins out. Its a matter of choice as to which way you want to look at it – personally, I prefer the Labor model as it has the least overall impact on public monies, which is what every Govt should be looking at as their main priority. That doesnt mean that the Liberal claim of being cheaper is wrong though, it just depends on how you look at it.

        As for distance to the node, again I dont think anyone has ever worried about that aspect. Telstra has done studies, with their final answer being somewhere between 50k and 75k nodes being needed. That puts 90% or something like that (if wrong, someone will correct me) as being within several hundred meters of a node – 600m I think was the number.

        Which is plenty to hit maximum speeds, at least under current technology rules. I wonder what the plan would be if a new tech was able to produce 1 Gps speeds for 300m…

        Anyhow, after that, the quality of the copper loop is the issue, and probably the biggest gap in the Liberals plan.

        • Brian
          Posted 02/08/2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink |

          “The build to the node is most definitely cheaper than a build to the premise. Nobody has disputed that.” Well, I’m afraid I’m disputing that – given that they have to build then power/cool “between 50K to 75K nodes” I believe that it’s a foregone conclusion that FTTN will be *more* expensive overall.

          “That puts 90% or something like that (if wrong, someone will correct me) as being within several hundred meters of a node – 600m I think was the number.

          Which is plenty to hit maximum speeds, at least under current technology rules.”

          Really? Given the spread of the Australian population, I’d be stunned if that number of nodes could get to 90% of the population and I have to ask what you’re considering “maximum speeds” – are you suggesting that you can get 100/40 on FTTN at 600m?

    46. Richard Ure
      Posted 01/08/2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink |

      Assume the exchange is at 1 MyStreet. There are nodes at 100, 200, 300 and 400 MyStreet. My address is 296 MyStreet. Am I connected to the node at 200 MyStreet or the nearer one, 300 MyStreet? If the 300 MyStreet, does this not require new copper; and if 200 MyStreet, is my speed not slower than my close neighbour at 300 MyStreet?

      Does this not also mean more nodes are needed than if connections were made to the nearest node, not the “en route” node if the maximum distance between each house and each node is not to exceed a promised maximum?

      Malcolm should explain.

      • Posted 01/08/2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink |

        @Richard Ure

        That would be the question IF that was how FTTN would be rolled out. But, that is unlikely. To be at all efficient, it would have to be rolled out depending on where the copper for a street amalgamated before heading back to the exchange. So it would change from street to street and area to area to follow the copper.

        Which makes the planning and implementation even MORE complex….

        Not sounding so good now Malcolm is it? AND you haven’t even looked into how you can do it, before assuming it’ll be “cheaper, faster and better”….hmmm….

    47. Snow_Crash
      Posted 01/08/2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink |

      We can only FIGHT THE LUDDITE FUD with the FACTS.

      Recommended Reading: The 2012 version of the popular Fiber Primer from Broadband Communities magazine.from the FTTH Council


      But I predict that Malcolm Turnbull would refute them as well and call us liars…like he did with the ABC article which simply made the public aware of Cisco’s White Paper analysis and predictions of global Internet traffic.


      You can visually monitor the Global Web Performance with Akamai

      Global Internet traffic is currently peaking at 23% over normal as I type this post

      Abysmal Malcolm…pathetic!

    48. John Stone
      Posted 03/08/2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink |

      This is a very sad debate in this Country. Reminds me the famous George Bush saying “either you are with Us or against Us”. Answer is not whether FTTN or FTTH is correct but a mix of Technology is the correct way to go. I used to build CAN networks for Telstra and we never deployed one or the other but designed the network as required. There are 6000+ FTTN (RIMs and ISAMs) serving approx 1M customers. Out of which 600K has some type of DSL capability built into them. Others are either fully equipped or close to 80% equipped with DSL capability. These customers can be turned to VDSL services with a couple of years programme. Telstra has 2.5M customers on their HFC network and these can be esily turned to DOCSIS 3.0 with the replacement of customer modems. I am not talking about OPTUS crap HFC network where node is designed at 2000:1 compared to Telstra 500:1. Therefore these numbers will bring down the premises count to somewhere around 70%. At 70% the FTTH rollout looks fairly comparable if you look at McKensy costing. Therefore what Turnbull is saying is correct we Australians can have broadband earlier and at low cost but Liberals hasn’t articulated their policy. For all those guys who says FTTN will cost a lot churn to FTTH I say you guys need to look at the costs. FTTN node does not cost much. An ISAM will cost less than 60K for 800-900 customers so if we can use one of these nodes for 3-4 years before replacing we have recovered the costs.

      • Brian
        Posted 03/08/2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

        I’m shocked, I tell you. Completely shocked.

        Who would’ve guessed that a Telstra worker/fan would try to sell FTTN, Telstra HFC and badmouth Optus in the same paragraph!

        Also, while you’ve covered the potential to recoup the costs of *installing* the nodes, there’s also the ongoing cost of powering/cooling them over that timeperiod.

        Plus, what we do with them when we bypass them entirely for FTTH. You know, the actual future-proof technology we should be looking at rather than further entrenching the current digital divide!

      • Posted 03/08/2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

        @John Stone

        While I appreciate your sentiments that there is definitely too much political ‘one upmanship’ going on, I think you’ve missed the point John.

        Your work with Telstra has showed you what is COMMERCIALLY viable. That is, what is a decent investment for a decent return. That is not relevant to the NBN. It is NOT a commercial concern. It is about providing ubiquitous, fast, reliable and cheap access to all Australians.

        As much as Telstra does do some good work, their concern is serving their customers and getting more for thepurposes of increasing profit. The examplt of Telstra’s 500:1 nodes in HFC is a perfect example. They were originally designed to provide TV primarily with a Secondary function being internet. Why? It was cheaper and it got more profit. Even so Telstra lost huge amounts in the cable wars.

        The NBN objectives cannot be achieved commercially in this country. Telstra would’ve done it if it could. Your suggestions amount to ways the government could save billions by doing nothing but giving money away which Telstra would then make a profit on. It would benefit perhaps 40-50% of the population. This is NOT the objective of the NBN. It’s objective is to cover 100%.

    49. Posted 08/08/2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink |

      Hey everyone, just a quick note that Turnbull has not yet responded to Delimiter’s questions on this issue. I am disappointed by this.

      • Bob.H
        Posted 08/08/2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

        If I was a nasty bastard, which of course I am not, I would say that he has been too busy making up more FUD and hasn’t got time to properly develop an alternative plan.

        So I will just politely suggest that he is very busy and will certainly get around to it as soon as he is able to. Unfortunately it may be after the next election.

        :-) :-) :-)

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 08/08/2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink |

        Don’t worry we had noted.
        A factor behind actually doing what I had never done, pop a comment or two on his site. Doesn’t even respond there, maybe just using it to get Ideas, I understand original thought can be difficult for some, surprised he may fit that description

      • Posted 08/08/2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink |


        Disappointed and not surprised personally.

        Turnbull seems to be crawling further and further into the “politics” shell…..

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 08/08/2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink |

        Not a “Core Promise?, must be catching

    50. djos
      Posted 08/08/2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink |

      But not surprised?

      Everything from him so far has been vague weasel words, we need to face the facts and they are that the coalition (Malcolm excepted) does not see “an NBN” as important and we would be “lucky” to see FTTN rolled out to 60% of Premises under their tenure!

      Even if we got FTTN it would only be after the coalition has handed Telstra their monopoly back and it would be on par with the outrageous prices Kiwi’s pay for BB.

      • djos
        Posted 08/08/2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink |

        Doh, double post, Renai please delete

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