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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:29 - 151 Comments

    Huge 100Mbps demand:
    44% of NBN users take top speed

    news 44 percent of NBN customers signed up so far have opted for the company’s fasted 100Mbps speed tier, the National Broadband Network Company revealed this week, as evidence continues to accumulate that Australians will overwhelmingly pay for the fastest broadband speeds available if given the chance.

    NBN Co’s corporate plan published in December 2010 previously predicted that in the early years of its fibre rollout, the majority (52%) of customers who signed up for its fibre services would have picked the entry level speed tier it’s offering — a 12Mbps service which is slower even than current theoretical ADSL2+ speeds. The remainder were to be split largely between the next speed tranches of 25Mbps (17%) ad 50Mbps (23%), with only a small number (8%) taking the highest speed 100Mbps plans.

    However, NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley told a Senate Committee several months ago that, when it came to the actual uptake experienced by NBN Co in the real world so far, this predicted trend had been somewhat inverted. “Overall, 38 percent of active services on our fibre network have been on the fastest speed tier, which is 100Mbps down,” he said. “Only 16 percent of the active services on our fibre network are for the entry-level speed tier of 12Mbps.”

    In a new Senate Estimates hearing this week, NBN Co head of product development and industry relations Jim Hassell revealed that the proportion of NBN customers signing up for 100Mbps speeds had grown even higher over the past several months. “What we have seen is that the top tier – the 100Mbps service – has attracted 44 percent of services,” said Hassell.

    Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam asked the NBN Co executive whether “it is still too soon to know whether that trend is going to continue, or whether you are still just harvesting early adopters who are going bonkers with this stuff”. In response, Hassell said although it was too soon to say whether the trend would continue nationally, NBN Co did have some sites already with very high take-up rates, such as the town of Kiama in NSW, where over 40 percent of residents have taken up NBN broadband services. And in those areas, he said, the take-up rate of the top-tier 100Mbps service was still very high – 38 percent in Kiama, for example.

    Peter Harris, secretary of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, which helps oversee the NBN scheme, told the Estimates hearing that the uptake mirrored statistics put out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this month, showing very significant growth in the number of Australians seeking broadband speeds above 24Mbps – some 469,000 in the past year. “So we are talking about very big shifts in preferences for higher speed,” said Harris. “In practice, for fixed lines it means that the share of people looking for those very high speeds has gone from 18 per cent in 2011 to more than 25 per cent now.”

    The news mirrors survey data released in late June by analyst house Telsyte, which found that 85 percent of Australian consumers wanted to be able to connect to the Internet at speeds of 50Mbps and higher.

    The statistics fly against the face of repeated Coalition claims that Australians do not want the higher speeds (up to 100Mbps) which the NBN will offer. “The Rudd-Gillard government’s most notable contributions to infrastructure have been roof insulation that’s caused house fires, school halls built at double the normal cost and a National Broadband Network that’s digging up streets so that families can pay three times the current price for broadband speeds they don’t necessarily want or need and that could be delivered sooner at vastly lower cost,” said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in early May this year.

    And the strong demand for the higher speeds also calls into question what the Australian public’s reaction to the Coalition’s rival plan, currently based around so-called fibre to the node-style technology, would be if the Coalition takes power at the next Federal Election. The FTTN style of broadband rollout sees fibre extended only to neighbourhood nodes, rather than all the way to premises.

    In June 2011 Malcolm Turnbull put the proposed speeds of such a network at about 60Mbps — less than many users are signing up for on the current NBN infrastructure. “A download speed of 60 megabits per second would be very achievable, along with an upload speed, depending on whether it was 750 metres or closer, of five to 10 megabits up to an effectively symmetrical speed of around 50 to 60 megabits per second,” he said at the time.

    “That type of bandwidth is more than adequate to cater for every conceivable application that a residential user would need. To go from 50 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second in a residential context would be imperceptible; the user experience would be no different. You would not be able to tell the difference because there are simply not the services and the applications to take advantage of that higher speed.”

    In this week’s Senate hearings, Greens Senator Ludlam stated that under the Coalition’s rival FTTN plan, those 44 percent of customers who had already bought 100Mbps services on the NBN would not have been able to access such speeds.

    If Labor continues to hold power in the Federal Government and the NBN project continues, and if uptake levels of the 100Mbps speeds continue to be strong, NBN Co has stated that it is likely that it will be able to use the increased revenues from such high uptake of the highest-level speeds to drive down the real-world consumer cost of accessing the NBN over time, as the network will pay for its own construction much faster than NBN Co has been anticipating – a fact raised by NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley in another Senate Estimates hearing in May this year.

    Evidence, evidence, evidence. I absolutely love that word, and the great thing about the NBN project right now is that we’re getting increasing levels of evidence all the time about how people are adopting it.

    Up until this year, much of the dominant public discussion of the NBN has been based around the unspoken assumption that the project is delivering something which a lot of Australians don’t really want, and a lot of the rest of Australians don’t really need. Faster broadband, it is so often assumed, is the domain of geeks tied to their computers downloading pirates movies from the Internet and playing video games – either that, or a small number of content production companies which need to upload video.

    But it turns out that this assumption is just complete hogwash. The reality – as we’re seeing at the moment through these remarkable uptake figures from NBN Co – is that the Australian public overwhelmingly wants faster broadband speeds – and I’m talking about everyone from businesses to grandparents to families. It turns out that Australia is a highly educated nation, a nation of early technology adopters, which soaks up new technology as fast as it can and runs with it.

    This should give the Coalition cause for pause. If only 20 percent, or even 30 percent, of NBN adopters had picked 100Mbps speeds, then the Coalition could have successfully argued that this proportion of the population did not represent the mainstream. But the closer the 100Mbps adoption rate comes to 50 percent, the more likely it is that the NBN debate needs to acknowledge that most of Australia wants 100Mbps speeds – not just geeks and businesses. In fact, as we saw in June, surveys of the Australian population have already shown this. But surveys are one thing – and people buying broadband with actual money are another.

    It continues to seem that as time goes by, the argument for the NBN continues to get stronger and stronger. As Greens Senator Ludlam pointed out in Senate Estimates this week, under the Coalition’s rival FTTN NBN policy, the 44 percent of NBN adopters who have signed up for 100Mbps speeds would not be able to – the speeds available would simply not reach that high. When you take into account the fact that this higher uptake will help pay off the NBN rollout quicker … it becomes very hard to make the argument that a lesser speed, lesser capacity FTTN network – even if it can be delivered faster than the FTTH NBN by several years – is actually worth it at all.

    These figures illustrate that the demand is there. It’s gradually seeming increasingly foolhardy that the Coalition does not want to meet that obvious electorate interest in the project.

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    1. craig
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink |

      The problem is always that evidence, logic, critical thinking and analysis of complex issues don’t always lead to rational decision making.

      Retarded slogans and fear work on a large chunk of voters around ~10% i’d guess and those people will decide the next election unfortunately.

      • Fenixius
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink |

        That’s a procedural issue, which is (and is caused by being) unrelated to the evidence itself.

      • Michael
        Posted 20/10/2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink |

        As you state facts are everything?

        What are the absolute proportions in these areas? Not just the customers who have signed onto the NBN. There will be some first mover bias as customers will still have existing contracts will other telco’s in place. This will mean that those who move across first or break contracts will be ones who do desire the faster speeds.

        • Posted 20/10/2012 at 5:41 am | Permalink |


          Kiama is a 40% uptake. 38% have chosen 100Mbps.

          Even if not a single extra person chooses it, that’s 15%, some DOUBLE what NBNCo. were predicting. Sorry to ruin the ‘facts’….

        • Posted 20/10/2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink |

          Sorry I don’t agree, and here is my scenario.
          I’m with Internode atm, I’m not sure if I’m still on a contract and I don’t care, because when I’ll connect to the NBN sometime in the next year I will stay with Internode and simply start a new contract, this time on the NBN fibre. So I will not be waiting for any old contracts to expire. I’ll be bugging Internode to connect me to the NBN ASAP, and because I’m staying with the same ISP I’ll get no disconnection fees cause I’m not changing ISP’s. I’m just changing my plan (to fibre).
          Am I wrong ? Cause this is what I’m planning on doing soon.

          • Posted 20/10/2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink |


            You should be fine. However, some RSPs (*coughtelstracough*) are unlikely to let people break contracts to go on the NBN as they have no financial incentive to do so early. In general RSPs like Internode DO have the incentive.

            • Posted 20/10/2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink |

              @ 7T That’s what I thought too.

    2. NPSF3000
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink |

      “If only 20 percent, or even 30 percent, of NBN adopters had picked 100Mbps speeds, then the Coalition could have successfully argued that this proportion of the population did not represent the mainstream.”


      So the fact that 20~30% would need those speeds today is irrelevant? Particularly when combined with Moore’s law?

      Maybe if 95%+ of the pop signed up to 12 Mbps and showed no interest in upgrading would the Coalitions policy have a decent argument to make.

      • skywake
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink |

        Successfully argue does not mean correct or justified it just means they could make the case. Much harder to stand up and say that nobody wants speeds above 50Mbps when 44% of people on the service were willing to pay extra for 100Mbps.

        If Kiama is repeated across the country and of the first 40% in 38% grab 100/40Mbps then they have a problem. Even if the other 60% don’t go near 100Mbps there’s at least 15% of the population who are willing to vote with their wallet for something more than best case FTTN.

        Strange that so many people are willing to pay an extra $10-15/mo for an “imperceptible” benefit. In order to argue their case the Coalition has to stand up and say at least 15% of the population are idiots.

        • Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink |


          In order to argue their case the Coalition has to stand up and say at least 15% of the population are idiots.

          That’s not hard for them to say…..after all, more than 15% of Australians vote Labor which counts for them….. ;p

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

          Well they will just have to say the Coalition NBN is either capable of upto 1Gb (in areas covered by Labor NBN fibre in small print) or make up and up to figure that is achievable even if it by a bum who lives in the FTTN cabinet and thus can achieve the high speeds that VDSL2 is capable in theory by not reality.

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink |

          “Successfully argue does not mean correct or justified”

          I know, but I’m not letting Renai get away with such semantics. Yes they could potentially ‘successfully argue it’ – but they could also ‘successfully argue it’ if the average person used 1Gbps though deception & luck. The fact is even a substantially lower amount need 100Mbps today [which we might actually see – these are early take-ups as people get used to the plans] that’s a strong argument for FTTP and against FTTN.

          • skywake
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

            I don’t think we should shrug these off as early numbers. It’s worth remembering that the 8% on 100Mbps figure in the 2010 Plan was with ~75% takeup (with -12.5% for vacant properties and -12.5% for wireless only). If you look those numbers for Kiama (38% after 40%) they already have almost 3x the number on 100Mbps they were expecting to have *after* the copper was shut down.

            Whatever way you slice it these numbers make it harder to make a rational argument for FTTN. Their argument so far has been that NBNCo’s numbers are off and that nobody wants 100Mbps. Clearly they do and it seems like the ARPU will probably be higher than NBNCo predicted.

    3. The Claw
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink |

      100% of NBN adopters could pick 100Mbps speed, and the Coalition would still handwave it away with embarrassing nonsense responses like accusing the government of wasting money to allow people to download porn and pirated movies faster.

      They’re not interested in technology. They’re only interested in saying that whatever the government is doing, it must be the wrong thing.

      “I’m no Bill Gates here, and I don’t claim to be any kind of tech-head” – Tony Abbott, 10/8/2010 – one of the few statements he’s made that I think is actually completely true and accurate.

    4. djos
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink |

      Unfortunately the coalition cant support the FTTH NBN due entirely to flawed ideology and a desperate need to oppose EVERYTHING that the current minority government does!

      Quite pathetic really!

      • ZackMcKrakken
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

        To be fair, there are a number of policy decisions made by Labor that are bi-partisan.

        But yeah, the desire of the Coalition to be negative nancy will always drown out any decent decisions they may made.

        Of course, I still don’t know why there is so much focus on the opposition… they are not the government. They need to hide in the corner, making policy that they can actually release, fully costed, before the next election cycle.

    5. Dominique M.
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink |

      I think that 100 Mbps isn’t that much of a ground-breaking improvement anyway. There are some things that are very much better with 100 Mbps than with 12 Mbps, but that’s not why this network is really being built. One big thing this does do however is offer a financial benefit to make it a lot more viable. In fact, if more people choose faster speeds, those faster speeds will actually drop in wholesale price.

      The one big difference is elsewhere.

      Upload speeds. Typical upload speeds on VDSL2 are going to be 3 or 4 Mbps. Maybe with consistent vectoring and bonding and a good line, and thick copper, you can up that to 15 Mbps if you’re lucky. But to get those speeds consistently, you’d need to rebuild the entire copper network.

      And sure, it’s better than 1 Mbps that is currently near enough the typical upload speed on DSL. With NBN, it’s 40 Mbps for those people, right now. They can just as well do 400 Mbps for some more, but not groundbreakingly more, money. That’s a massive improvement. Going from 1 or 1.5 typically to 40 today and 400 tomorrow is insane.

      40 Mbps upload over the current status quo is an equally valid selling point as 100 Mbps download over the status quo.

      And that’s not even mentioning HFC.

      • Matt
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

        I sync at 19999bps with BT Infinity’s VDSL2 in the UK and the modem reports an attainable rate of about 30meg. In my limited experience, upstream speed seems to cope ok with distance – I’ve seen very few people get less than 10meg up.

        Obviously I’d rather FTTH, though.

        • Mud Guts
          Posted 19/10/2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink |


          I had BT Infinity last year when I was still living in the UK, and got 38/8 so not your at least 10Mbps up as you are claiming.

          FTTN is a bad decision for Australia, as is comparing what BT are doing in the UK. The geographical differences between the size of the UK and Australia is only one of many things that Turnbull is ignoring.

          NZ is the closest appropriate comparison for Australia and guess what, their FTTN experience was a disaster! FTTN = Failure to the Node.

      • Matt
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink |

        The above is upstream sync rate – downstream is 79999bps with 88meg attainable I think. I’m pretty close to the cabinet though I think.

        • Posted 18/10/2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink |


          I think you would be in the minority. The average in the UK BT FTTC has actually dropped over the past year from 36Mbps to 32Mbps.

          • Matt
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink |

            Sounds a bit low to me – do you have a source? My ‘gut feeling’ source ;) suggests that most people get at least 40meg down, with a smaller minority getting less than that. It doesn’t sound like average sync rate – which is not necessarily congruous with average throughput I suppose!

            Mostly my reply was in response to upstream VDSL2 being quoted as 3-5meg though, when that doesn’t seem consistent with how I understand it to perform.

            Obviously the NBN is better solution technically + for everyone etc, especially again with Australia’s love of detached housing. So keep up the good work in building it guys so I can take advantage of it if/when I return home ;)

            • Posted 18/10/2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink |


              There’s a better source than this, looking specifically at FTTC, but this illustrates the point anyway:


              Average in May this year 31.6Mbps, down from 36Mbps

              I’ll look for the better one. Problem here is Australia is that FTTC has a number of other challenges- first and foremost, we are MUCH larger geographically, meaning either/or MANY more nodes, or worse average speeds.

              • Posted 18/10/2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink |

                Actually, you can see already the same affect in BT’s rollout in that article:

                We also fully expect BT’s FTTC service to suffer slower real-world speeds in the future, which will occur as it pushes out to more rural areas where the technology’s VDSL2 component can lose performance over the longer telephones lines. Average actual speeds recorded for FTTC connections have already fallen by 12% (from 36Mbps to 31.6Mbps) in the six months to May 2012.

                • brutally handsome
                  Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink |

                  I’m on TPG unlimited $60p/m and sync at 18mbps…

                  and to be honest, i’m a bit over it, sure it was nice downloading lots of blu ray ISOs and other unnecessary things at first, but the novelty wore off quickly if youre not constantly on the internet, which i think that would be 95%+ of people.

                  Id like to be able to downgrade to a cheaper plan eg. $30pm for the same speed and with about 200Gigs of data. Use the extra $30 to go on another mobile / tablet deal.

                  I think im the majority of users here, and like i said at first it the speed and data was exciting, but you do run out of things to download and things to do on the net.

                  This is what will happen with the NBN. People will just use it for a few months at 100mbps and quickly realise theyd rather spend the money on something else.

                  • Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

                    @brutally handsome

                    I think im the majority of users here

                    You can think it all you like. That doesn’t make it true. I would never presume to know what the “average” person would use based on my own usage. But considering there are some 6 MILLION families in Australia (ABS statistics 2011). I have a feeling that their needs would be SUBSTANTIALLY different to yours. And they make up the majority of the population fortunately.

                    Most people fail to comprehend also, the NBN is not just about raw faster internet. It is about sustained, multiple device use on the web. You know that $30 for an extra tablet/mobile? You’d get maybe 3GB on that if you were lucky on a plan. Compared to 200GB on broadband, which you could SHARE with your tablet at home, wehre you would use it for 75% of its’ time.

                  • djos
                    Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

                    And this is why there are different speed tiers on the NBN, not everyone needs a 100Mb/s, Im a “power user” and in the IT industry and 50/20 Mb/s will do me just fine.

                    Compare the NBN to now tho and you get folk like me in a dense metro suburb that can only get 5Mb/s (as long as it’s not raining) and who really need much higher speeds (especially for uploads) and folk like you who could easily run on a 12Mbp/s plan and yet get 18Mb/s – at least under the NBN consumers can choose what they need.

      • Matt_R
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

        I’m 600m from a VDSL2 cabinet (Auckland, NZ). I get 39 megabits down, and 10 megabits up.

        My download speed is almost as good as my Brunswick friend’s upload speed. Copper is dead, fibre is the only reasonable future. the NZ govt has realised this, and is now rolling out FTTH over the top of the existing FTTN network, however we’re not due to receive it until 2019…

    6. Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink |

      Poor Turnbull…..every Senate Estimates he’s hoping to grab something and run and he just can’t get past the EVIDENCE…..

    7. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink |

      The numbers don’t surprise me one little bit. 100/40mbps is the most popular plan and people are shunning the 12/1mbps. Like I’ve said previously the only reason why this plan exists on fibre is because of the satellite & wireless plans. Anyone in the fibre footprint would be crazy not to opt for something higher if it is available to them. One could still argue that these are early adopter numbers however it’s clear that there is a real “need for speed” because if you add up the numbers an overwhelming majority so far have decided that 12/1mbps is just not enough.

      I’d like to see NBNco release the 250/100mbps plan sometime in the next year, it would be a good test and it would be interesting to see how many jump from the 100/40mbps plan.

      • Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |


        I’m certain there would be uptake on the 250, but I don’t think it would be huge. The wholesale price jumps massively from 100Mbps to 250Mbps. It essentially doubles.

        • Hubert Cumberdale
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink |

          Seven I’m not saying there would necessarily be a huge uptake of the 250/100mbps plan either. The point of the exercise would be to find out if these are early adopter tech “bonkers” users. Say about 5% made the jump, we would be left with 39% still on 100/40mbps. Can it still be argued that those on 100/40mbps are early adopter tech “bonkers” users? If so why is 100/40mbps the tech “bonkers” threshold? why not 50/20 or 25/5mbps? Is the threshold determined by what speeds are unattainable on FttN?

          • GongGav
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |


            simple argument from Mr Not Bill Gates would be the ‘ridiculous’ pricing model of the NBN. 100/40 is turning into a sweetspot, where you get the best bang for your buck but after that the pricing does get too expensive. $23 CVC (or whatever it is) for 100/40 is a great price, but it does jump massively like 7T says.

            Not Bill Gates would just claim its ‘evidence’ that NBN is too expensive…

            • brutally handsome
              Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink |

              You can offer people 1000mbps but they need to have a use for it.

              The only reason why skype works is because its free. If you had to charge people for video phone, people wont use it, just like facebook.

              while video phone is good, most people still dont use it, or want to pay for it, when you can do pretty much the same just calling someone on the phone.

              we all know that in todays world with the internet, things desire to be FREE, and like music and advertising companies, they are looking to make margin from not the product solely but other things as value add streams.

              if anything anything that relies on old school business models is not profitable, and NBN has put itself at the bottom of the value chain by being the supplier of infrastructure, everyone else will be leveraging off it as a -cloud- and be making money off that.

              • Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

                @brutally handsome

                Old-school infrastructure model??

                You do realise the web doesn’t just “exist”? It is actually based on a complex and redundant series of fibre links around the world….rather like NBNCo’s own domestic network for Australia?

                So, let people leverage the profit off their network- cause everytime they do, they’ll be earning more profit off them. Mr Quigley himself has stated their profitability on fibre is over 70%…..

              • Hubert Cumberdale
                Posted 19/10/2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink |

                “You can offer people 1000mbps but they need to have a use for it.”

                You could offer them 1000000000tbps too. What is your point exactly?

                Oh wait I’ve got one, all that speed is worthless unless everyone else connected is doing so at similar speeds. The NBN is the first step. We now have a network that is not a bottleneck in the great technology food chain and our network is waiting for the devices response rather than the reverse making everything FAR more efficient.

              • NBNAccuracy
                Posted 19/10/2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink |

                Why wouldn’t they? Tried copying large files on a hard drive and waited ages? Well that’s about 1000Mb. Copying the holiday videos from your home machine to a friends. Do you really want it to take 2 hours?

      • Daniel
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink |

        1Gbps plans are being noted for release in 2014.

    8. Jake Cordon
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink |

      Well you know what they say, go big or go home. Perrsonally if I coud get Fibre (will eventually get Fixed Wireless), I woud certainly go for either a 100mb/s or 50mb/s plan. Hopefully these kind of uptake figures keep up when the NBN reaches more areas, to show that there is a definite want amongst Australians for fast internet.

    9. Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink |

      Look at it this way.

      92% of users choosing the higher speed tiers above 12Mbps/1Mbps.

      That’s up from 82% of users choosing the higher speed tiers in May.


      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink |

        Careful, you are showing a downward trend there. Wait for the nay sayers to jump on that and use it to interpolate to people only wanting slower speeds as time goes on ;)

        • Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |


          How is 82% six months ago, and 92% now, a downward trend?

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink |

            I should have been clearer. I meant that they predict a lower percentage taking up 100Mb (37%) than actually are. And the percentage of users taking up the 100Mb plans is slightly lower that at first. Watch someone linearly interpolate that to no one wanting a 100Mb connection by 2021. Your know, lies, damn lies, statistic and turnbull’s maths.

            • Francis Young
              Posted 18/10/2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

              How about this worst-case take up outlook for Kiama:

              The revenue forecasts in 2010 were based on 8% takeup of 100/40 services.

              Currently, 40% of premises in the Kiama fibre area have taken up fibre.

              38% of those with fibre (15.2% of all premises) are already enjoying the 100/40 Mbps they paid for.

              So, even if ZERO of the remaining premises in Kiama were to take up 100/40, even when the copper is extinguished, Kiama has already almost hit TWICE the forecast 8% takeup of 100/40 services.

              NBNCo’s revenue forecasts were always going to be laughably conservative. It is a users-pays infrastructure project par excellence.

              Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull’s bandwidth demand forecasts dramatically undervalue the facts on the ground.

              • brutally handsome
                Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink |

                My prediction is that wireless will explode…

                NBN has got people fixated on speeds, but it means you have zero mobility , and hence does not appeal to consumers and the new social and connected trend of users.

                I think a large pool of consumers will go for the overall experience vs just looking at how fast they can download a blu ray to their TV at home.

                As wireless gets to 10-20mbps and quotas 50-100Gb pmonths large number of people will leave POTS/ADSL and Fibre. Now lots of people will complain about wireless, but a good stable service is all thats required to take a large chunk of the broadband market, this will happen as Optus and Voda, or any new player begins to catch up with Next G.

                • djos
                  Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

                  The more Wireless “explodes” the worse the service, simple fact of shared RF spectrum!!

                  Sure theyll eek out a few more tweaks here and there but large wireless vendors are on the record as saying there will be no 5G, just small evolution’s of 4G as they are approaching the limits of the RF spectrum’s that are useful for running wireless networks!

                • Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

                  @brutally handsome

                  And where is your evidence for this prediction of “explosive wireless”? Or are you just regurgitating what the media against the NBN have been telling you? You know for every SINGLE wireless base station, fibre is required, or a high speed wireless link TO fibre? This is exactly the reason VodaFail happened in 2009- not enough fibre backhaul capacity for Vodafone’s towers.

                  NBN has got people fixated on speeds, but it means you have zero mobility , and hence does not appeal to consumers and the new social and connected trend of users.

                  Actually, if everyone has NBN fibre in cities, then telco’s can do things like pay households to put up pico cells to allow more base stations and increase throughput on mobile wireless. Because WITHOUT more base stations, physics says it is not possible to squeeze much more out of the current spectrum available. 4G, even the LTE-Advanced standard, will not allow for more than 20Mbps or so per user on a base station and that’s assuming no heavy downloaders. And LTE-A is still 5-6 years away minimum. It also STILL has capacity issues, meaning quotas will be kept artificially low. Quotas of anything above 20GB for less than $100 will not be around for several years yet. And in the meantime, the amount of data we use at home KEEPS RISING:


                  94% of ALL data downloaded was over fixed line this year…..your argument seems to be unravelling.

                  It is not just about “downloading a blu-ray” (actually, I don’t know anyone who’s ever done that, that’s pointless). It’s about streaming, it’s about working from hoe as if you were in the office, it’s about doing your normal, everyday downloads of 5 or 600MB (Steam update or Windows update) in 1 minute instead of 10. There are so many different things we have to use this bandwidth for. Just because you don’t see the need for it, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Look at the figures in the ABS statistics on data and THEN tell me we all only want wireless….

                • The Claw
                  Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink |

                  I don’t think so.

                  Going forward, sure, people will be doing things wirelessly that currently you would only consider feasible to do with a wired connection. Just as, right now, people are doing things wirelessly that a few years ago, you would only have considered feasible to do with a wired connection.

                  Thing is, by that time, we’ll be doing even more demanding things with our wired NBN connections that even the improving wireless connections can’t handle.

                  • djos
                    Posted 19/10/2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink |

                    Bzzzzzt, Wrong – wireless congestion (not backhaul congestion) is already a serious problem in most capital cities for even Telstra – the problem is only a small part of the RF spectrum is useful (and allocated) to mobile wireless operators and at current adoption levels it’s being pushed to the max!

                    4G will only delay this – Telstra have already got 500,000 4G devices on it’s network and that will continue to skyrocket until 4G is just as congested as 3G now is.

                    • Posted 19/10/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |


                      What to you mean 4G ‘will be’ as congested as 4G? :D



                      First is 4G. Second is 3G. Same location. Speed difference? 1Mbps…..

                      It’s already happening in the cities.

                      • Posted 19/10/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

                        Oooops, will be as congested as 3G. Sorry.

                      • djos
                        Posted 19/10/2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink |

                        lol, I thought i’d made a typo or something for a second. :-)

    10. Tinman_au
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

      “use the increased revenues from such high uptake of the highest-level speeds to drive down the real-world consumer cost of accessing the NBN over time”.

      Actually, I (as a tax payer) would be quite happy to see the extra funds used to extend the “93%” out a bit more before using the extra funds to make it cheaper and/or pay it off faster.

      MT said: “That type of bandwidth is more than adequate to cater for every conceivable application that a residential user would need. To go from 50 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second in a residential context would be imperceptible; the user experience would be no different. You would not be able to tell the difference because there are simply not the services and the applications to take advantage of that higher speed.”

      I wish Malcolm would give up “cooking” the argument to create a perfect example for his view. We all know that for a SINGLE user that ONLY browses the web, 50-60 mbps is over kill Malcolm, but how many Australians live on their own and just stick to web browsing????

      Whats the network like at his house when the wife and two kids jump on? Maybe he’s already on fibre in his $50m house?

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

        Funny how the “user experience would be no different” going from 50 to 100 but going from ~12 to 50 would be and that is what Turnbull is implying. If he wants to argue there is no difference with this jump then he just took a dump on his own FttN plan.

      • Phil
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink |

        Those who argue that “for a single-user 50Mbps+ is overkill” are completely missing one of the advantages of the faster services. Sure 50Mbps its quite a lot, and 100Mbps is double that, but 100Mbps gives you a 40Mbps upload.

        Suddenly “in-the-cloud” backups become useful, etc. I think that with the advent of The NBN there will be a paradigm-shift towards greater use of online services which have a non-trivial end-user-uploading component.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 19/10/2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink |

          “Suddenly “in-the-cloud” backups become useful, etc. ”

          See, thats the thing, stuff that you wouldn’t even consider with the current system(s) actually become workable. But that doesn’t even take in to account all the things that people haven’t even thought about yet.

          As an example that I haven’t seen floated anywhere else yet, if we have a pervasive Australia network that connects 93-95% of Australian homes, then Electronic Voting from your own home could easily become a reality rather than something that happens in sci-fi.

          Democracy could be strengthened vastly, by using the same system to do snap referendums.

          Think of the applications that could be based of Folding@Home type systems that could actually utilize large data sizes.

          Heck, theres probably dozens (hundred?) of uses that people wont even have thought about yet!

          • Posted 19/10/2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink |

            Bang on tinman.

            I’d love to see government take advantage of a online voting system made ubiquitous by the NBN.

            • brutally handsome
              Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink |

              Firstly, the cloud is supposed to be for mobility. okay so you can upload your movie collection to the cloud, but can you afford to pay for mobile broadband and a tablet?

              If im a limited to the fast speeds of cloud only at home, why wouldnt i just use my NAS?

              • djos
                Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

                They were talking about backups but you are too busy trying to poo poo the NBN to pay proper attention!

              • Posted 19/10/2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink |

                @brutally handsome

                The Cloud is as much about redundant backup as mobility. I’m relieved everyday I have a full copy of my music, emails, contacts etc. in the cloud. Sure, it’s great that I can access them anywhere, but the REAL point comes where my HDD dies (or your NAS….) and I can use my 100Mbps service to download my 20Gb worth of data in 20 mins….

                I have a One XL on 4G. I get 2GB of data on it. I have a Nexus 7 also. They both use the same connection via tethering. I’ve never gone even CLOSE to 2GB. Meanwhile, on my home broadband, I use upwards of 50GB BY MYSELF, let alone the rest of my family. And no, I don’t pirate or download movies. I stream, I play games, download games and many other VERY LEGAL things.

              • Justin
                Posted 19/10/2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

                Missing the point of how the cloud works. The point is if you have access to the internet you have access to the cloud. Right now the issue with doing this is upload speeds not available on ADSL.

                I already use a few services for document storage etc, i can access them on my phone, tablet, home PC, work PC. I don’t have the bandwidth to do anything too big though.

                Also if you have a family of say 4 all try and stream video at once…..I’d say most of the population couldn’t do this now.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink |

        The other issue he completely ignores is future requirements. In less than two year 1Gb will be available on FTTH. FTTN will be still stuck at 50Mb.

    11. Tom Russell
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink |

      The Coalition are living in the past. Hey guys and gals, this is the 21st century. We need 100Mbps and more so everyone in the house can watch their favourite movie stream, play interactive online games and upload those home videos to social media all the while hosting an online hangout with our friends.
      Even a modern business needs these speeds for it’s own world wide online meetings and video data exchanges.
      Tony “push-bike” Abbott and Malcolm “dial-up” Turnbull better get out into the real world where decisions are made by modern people, instead of thinking that they are still the old fashioned arbiters of change.

      • LM
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

        I have weak-as SDL2+ and can already do those things you mention. No need to spend $40+ billion so I can download my torrents or iTunes movies faster.

        • djos
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink |


          I luv it when FUD’sters make up their own imaginary technologies! :-D

        • GongGav
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

          Here’s an idea, lets go back to dialup then. That more than served the needs of the day, didnt even need one of thost snazzy 56k modems either!

          Build now and replace an aging network relatively cheaply, and in a manner that recoups the cost, or wait 10 years for the private companies to rollout a patchwork system at 3 times the cost.

          This is about future needs, not current needs, and with that in mind which is the smarter option? The one that will need replacing in 10 years, or the one that doesnt?

          LM, we’re getting a NBN one way or the other. Which of the 2 options is better for Australia in the long term? You cite a $40b cost, but that has a plan to get the money back. Meanwhile, the Liberal plan costs $20b with no method of getting the money back.

          So the final outcome will be one costing zero taxpayer dollars versus one costing $20b. Again, which one of those 2 options is better for Australia? If you’re going to use the cost argument, try to mention both sets of costs.

          • LM
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink |

            We’ve gone from 2400 to 9600 to 56K to DSL to DSL2+, all driven by the competitive market, similarly with mobile data. Government should seed a new market, or incentivise the telecoms market to upgrade to new tech perhaps, but not create a new telecoms monopoly. For the 21st century that’s just ass-backwards.

            I disagree with this government’s ‘government knows best’ approach (to most things, not just telecoms, but I digress).

            • The Claw
              Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

              Those of us lucky enough to live in the big city, near to telephone exchanges, have gone from 2400 to 9600 to 56K to DSL to DSL2+, all driven by the competitive market.

              The competitive market is never going to deliver quality connectivity to regional areas, though.

              These areas need electricity. They need telephones. And in this century, I believe they need quality internet connectivity. And that requires everyone to share some of the expense, because it won’t happen if the infrastructure is purely built for profit.

            • ungulate
              Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink |

              The government is creating a new market by insisting that NBNco provide only the physical hardware (the cables and connections) and a bitstream service. Then the RSPs create that new marketplace.

              The high take ups we are now seeing has everything to do with the success of that new marketplace and the value inherent in retail plans that give you a vastly improved service for more or less the same price.

            • Zok
              Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink |

              I’d just love to see the state of internet in Australia had original telephone cable rollout been left to “competitive forces”… the only reason we currently have a fairly widespread (if not universal) access to ADSL2+ over copper cables is the visionary rollout of the original network by the government some hundred years ago. That served us well during the last century, but we are now exceeding the limits of that technology and need to advance further.

              History has shown that those countries which leave investment in and management of crucial infrastructure to the private sector are left in the wake by those who don’t. Ideological right-wing opposition to government management of infrastructure is absurd; in the end, it will be private businesses that will reap the greatest benefits from the modernisation of this national communications infrastructure, much as they do from government-build road and rail networks, public transport and public education systems.

            • NPSF3000
              Posted 18/10/2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink |

              “We’ve gone from 2400 to 9600 to 56K to DSL to DSL2+, all driven by the competitive market, similarly with mobile data. Government should seed a new market, or incentivise the telecoms market to upgrade to new tech perhaps, but not create a new telecoms monopoly.”

              Amazing Logic.

              Government puts copper in ground. Then the market releases:

              2400 [copper] to 9600 [copper] to 56K [copper] to DSL [copper] to DSL2+ [copper] [EOL]

              So tell me again why the government shouldn’t be installing fiber again?

            • Mud Guts
              Posted 19/10/2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink |

              @LM SDSL2+ is this some magical wireless tech that opponents of the NBN are waiting for or is it Alan Jones’s “laser” technology that you’re using.

              I’m waiting to hear him talk about attaching lasers to shark heads in a Dr. Evil style in order to deliver better broadband.

              Just because you’re happy with yesterday’s technology and have no vision for the future doesn’t mean you should condemn the rest of Australia to this.

              • Posted 19/10/2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink |

                Not that I’m advocating anything here, be we all do know SDSL is just symmetrical ADSL yeah?

                So he’s probably on something like 5/5.

                • djos
                  Posted 19/10/2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink |

                  @ST He didnt write SDSL2+, he wrote SDL2+ which is why we are poking fun at him. :-)

                  • Posted 19/10/2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink |


                    Ah yes! I missed that! Probably a typo, but even so…..lol….

            • Tinman_au
              Posted 19/10/2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

              Funnily enough, the USA also has an NBN (though theirs could cost up to $350b, source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Broadband_Plan_%28United_States%29). Their plan is a lot closer to Malcolms “bribe private enterprise to do what they should have done anyway” plan (also known as Corporate Handouts).

              The US is waking up to the fact that their plan isn’t working as intended, as in it’s failing (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/four-signs-americas-broadband-policy-is-failing/).

              What makes you think our companies are any better/less greedy than their US counterparts?

              And of course actions always speak louder than rhetoric, which makes Malcolm investing his own cash money in countries that are rolling out FttH rather curious, does it not? There are other countries that are using FttN, but Malcolm knows they’d be a bad long term investment…

            • Gav
              Posted 19/10/2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink |

              “We’ve gone from 2400 to 9600 to 56K to DSL to DSL2+, all driven by the competitive market” – all based on the same cables in the ground. Nobody is proposing a solution that keeps all the same cables – FTTN still lays new cables, just not as much as FTTP.

    12. Fenixius
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink |

      What sort of real-world throughput do people actually get on the 100Mbps plan? Obviously, it’s going to go down as more and more people sign up and so contention ratios get worse, but I’d love to know what sort of actual speed the marketing spin turns out to be. We all know that ADSL2+ is 24Mbps, but not really…

      • djos
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

        I’ve seen real world speeds of 95/38 pretty consistently posted on WhirlPool by those luck enuf to already be on the NBN.

        • Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink |




          So, RSP’s will have to be VERY careful in what they advertise on Fibre, because, UNLIKE ADSL, they cannot blame the medium anymore. Under the NBN, you get what you pay for or…else.

          That is the beauty of the NBN. No “up to” anymore.

          • djos
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

            I dont think it’s that bigger deal, the layer 2 speed is eg 100/40Mb/s and the TcpIP overheads are responsible for a small parasitic loss.

            The real issue as addressed in that court case is providing adequate backhaul to to each POI to sustain those speeds most of the time.

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink |

            Which pretty much shows why TPG is only risking a 12/1 plan.

            (Yer yer TPG fanboi, they don’t have slowdown issues, everything is perfect, those 100 TPG to 1 otherISP complaint ration on Whirlpool just doesn’t exist as far as you are concerned or is a result of TPG customers being 100 times dumber than those at other ISPs and not realising it is all their own fault)

        • Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink |

          Yes, 100/40 is the line speed. Once you start framing packets into that line speed, you do lose a little.

          xDSL loses line speed on distance from exchange, and then has the same framing overheads.

          NBN is specced for no loss of speed due to distance, within 15km.

      • Soth
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

        262mb down / 160mb up :P Fibre power!
        But I’m at work in the city so.. and Then I have to go home and use my ADSL2+, cruel world.

      • RyanH
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink |

        I’ve been able to get 90/38 using speedtest.

        When I’ve been downloading torrents, porn and all manner of copyright breaching media and downloading violent games on steam I’ve managed to get over 10MB/s download, which is pretty well maxed.

        As some people point out, the best part is the uploads. My previous residence had Telstra cable at ~120 Mb/s downloads but upload speeds of about 3Mb/s. The difference is very noticeable. For work I have a constant data stream going to an overseas server and I often make use of Skype and various Remote Desktop type applications with contract programmers. The 38 Mb/s observed upload speed makes all of this seamless.

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink |

        “Obviously, it’s going to go down as more and more people sign up and so contention ratios get worse”

        This isn’t obvious – TBH I’d expect speeds to get better as more and more people sign up. Contention isn’t a big issue [it’s a matter of provisioning – there’s no major bottlenecks] – and as more people sign up the applications and services they use will start supporting the higher speeds.

    13. LM
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink |

      Shame that 44% of connected NBN users is still only about 7 people total.

      I would love faster broadband, and 100MB would be just dandy, but I don’t think to the nation it’s worth the $40+ billion spend.

      • djos
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink |

        A/ The NBN is not being build to deliver 100MegaBytes a second, it’s 100MegaBits a second

        B/ The NBN is and investment payed for by selling Government Bonds to large investors around the world and not from Tax Revenue!

        Seriously, get informed already!

        • Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

          The bonds are guaranteed against future tax revenue. Either the $40 billion is paid for out of higher Internet prices, or it is paid for by the taxpayers (at some future stage), of the government defaults on the bonds (unlikely to happen, but possible). The money always comes from somewhere.

          • Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |


            Either the $40 billion is paid for out of higher Internet prices, or it is paid for by the taxpayers (at some future stage)

            Ahhh, no. We don’t need to increase prices in real terms beyond what they are to pay the loans back. Sure, inflation will push them up, but it’s mandated BELOW CPI. The extra revenue comes from people paying more FOR MORE SERVICES, not just for the SAME services. Which is exactly how the ISP business market works- increase your ARPU by increasing your high-value customers, ie, increasing a customers service buying, not increasing the price of their service.

            • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink |

              As tested twice with the HFT rollout, that extra money for extra services never came.

              There are only about 7000 active NBN fiber connections right now, and if I remember rightly the NBN gave up on the CVC charges in order to get this far. The “build it and they will come” strategy can work, but it is very risky.

              • Djos
                Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink |

                Ignoring the facts as usual, the copper network where NBN is complete are already being scheduled for shutdown rendering the risks non-existing.

                • Posted 20/10/2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink |

                  Ignoring facts as usual. Facts are what HAS happened, not what you think is GOING to happen.

              • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink |


                So wait, because HFC ISN’T CAPABLE of those speeds for a start AND because applications are only in the last few years becoming available that are overshadowing ADSL, that’s an automatic failure of the NBN?

                Did you READ Renai’s article? Almost half a MILLION Australians looked for above 24Mbps this year alone. And that’s not bad considering only some 3 Million Australians actually have the capability of ordering such a service. Imagine if that capability was stretched across the country…..oh wait, that’s what’s happening…..

                There are only about 7000 active NBN fiber connections right now, and if I remember rightly the NBN gave up on the CVC charges in order to get this far.

                NBNCo. “gave up” the first 150Mbps CVC as it was prohibitive for scale of RSP’s. Once several thousand people are on each POI, it becomes sustainable. That’s just good sense. It’s got nothing to do with takeup rate of end-users. But keep saying things like this, please. Cause in a years time when that takeup rate is at 50 000 and the connected premises is at 350 000, you’ll be getting right nervous about those statements….

      • djos
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink |

        Mb = Megabits
        MB = MegaBytes

        Huge difference!

      • Posted 18/10/2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink |


        Isn’t it fortunate we as taxpayers aren’t paying $40 Billion then…..it’s borrowed and we as users pay it back to the government….through fees we were already going to pay on ADSL. Instead of Telstra getting them, NBNCo. and by consequence, the government, gets it.

        Pretty neat, huh?

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink |

        1. It’s funded from bonds and paid back with a 7% return.

        2. The majority of the cost is labour. Jobs for Australians right there. It’s good for the economy.

        3. Claiming numbers like “7”, ignoring that eventually all internet would be on it, with that 40% or whatever on 100Mb is just plain ignorant. What are you trying to say, that at the start of a 10 year rollout the few who have connected mean no one will use it?

        • LM
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink |

          I don’t let the facts get in the way of my opinion.

          3. It was a joke about the slow rollout.

          • Dean
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink |

            “I don’t let the facts get in the way of my opinion.”

            Wait, what? Did you really mean that?

            • LM
              Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

              Talk to any Apple fan or [insert name of favourite] religion practitioner. We all do it (let beliefs override rationale that is, not talk to Apple fanbois or religious people. Ahem).

              • NPSF3000
                Posted 18/10/2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink |

                I’m a religious person and yet I can make a heck of a better rationale argument about the NBN than you can.

                Maybe you should put aside your prejudices and get informed?

                • MikeK
                  Posted 19/10/2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink |

                  I’m a religious person too, and as soon as I get by fibre I’m going to email him and thank him for sending us Mike Quigley.

      • Zok
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink |

        LM, as others have also noted (and as I am sure you already know, but are just regurgitating the Coalition’s “talking points” here), taxpayers are not bearing the cost of NBN rollout.

        However, even if NBN was fully financed from the budget, it would still be worth it. Long term benefits (both economic and social) to the whole nation will far outweigh the costs.

        To put it into perspective, $40bn over ten years is just one per cent of the commonwealth budget. Yes, 1%! Direct spending on road construction over the same period exceeds $100bn; another $50bn will be spent on “Fuel Tax Credits” alone; yet another $100bn+ will be spent on unemployment benefits…… $40bn for a nation-wide ubiquitous network that will serve our growing population and give our businesses a technological boost for many decades in the future is a fantastic investment. AND ESPECIALLY SO AS IT IS NOT FINANCED BY THE TAXPAYER!

      • ungulate
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink |

        Fibre to the home is an inevitability. Its not a case if, but how and when.

        Think about it. If we don’t use fibre, what will we do? Keep the copper? No, it will continue to deteriorate and have to be replaced with something. It costs the same to replace it with fibre as with copper. By that fact it is clear that copper will be replaced with fibre and that cost has to be met, ultimately by the user.

        So again, fibre is not a case of if, but how and when.

        We have the choice of how. We can build a fibre network like we are now and enjoy the most cost effective solution, aided by the cheap interest rates that a government enjoys. Or, we can leave it in the capable hands of Telstra which does not enjoy cheap capital and also demands a profit. Which will mean we will end up paying dearly for fibre.

        And when? We can build with fibre now and enjoy a network that will last 50 years or more. Or we can have a temporary network that costs half as much but only lasts 5 years. You do the math. $40B paid off over 20 years, or $20B paid off over 5 years. Yep, with FTTN your connection may cost more. And if the Liberals hand the job to Telstra or otherwise waste public money doing a hasty deal with Telstra, you certainly will pay more.

      • Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

        Actually, it is hard to get updated figures but the most recent I found was that about 10% of connected NBN fiber is actually being used for a real service. What that means is:

        * 90% of NBN connection speeds are ZERO, and the fiber is sitting doing nothing.

        * 4.4% of NBN connection speeds peak at 100 megabit/second which is probably a reasonable rule of thumb that around 5% of the population are interested in these speeds.

        * 5.6% of NBN connection speeds peek somewhere less than 100 megabits per second.

        • Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink |


          Actually, it is hard to get updated figures but the most recent I found was that about 10% of connected NBN fiber is actually being used for a real service

          Congratulations, you pass the Coalition spin school of politics! Seriously, that is ridiculous. Fibre takeup WILL be 70% in areas 18 months after they’re provided. Satellite services on interim were never GOING to be high- they’re not even forecasting more than 120 000 on LTSS. And wireless they’re only forecasting some 200 000.

          You can spin numbers any which way you like, fact is, in a years time, they’ll be very different and a year after that, different again. Taking numbers from a singular point in time and extrapolating them out over the life of a project without taking anything else into account is classic propaganda creation.

          • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

            So it is propaganda to look at what really is happening right there in the real world?

            But strangely, “should be”, “could be”, “oughta be”… that’s not propaganda, that’s facts, errr, or some such.

            The agreement between Telstra and NBN has heaps of escape holes. Telstra does not need to shut down any existing fiber (and there is a lot of that in the cities). Telstra can still deploy active fiber between network elements (i.e. into a basement mini-exchange in any commercial building). That means Telstra have no intention of giving up their high value fixed-line customers.

            NBN will at best get the low value residential customers and the sort of struggling small business that Telstra don’t see the value in deploying a mini-exchange. That’s presuming the 18 month deadline actually happens, which will be a political nightmare if residents feel they are being bullied. I note that the ALP have carefully scheduled the first copper shutdown to happen after the next election… I’ll make a little prediction that those shutdowns are going to get significantly delayed. Care to stick your neck out and stake your online reputation on the belief that the scheduled copper shutdown regions do happen on time?

            • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink |


              The agreement between Telstra and NBN has heaps of escape holes. Telstra does not need to shut down any existing fiber (and there is a lot of that in the cities).

              To businesses, yes. Major corporations and Large Businesses mainly. And they’re paying thousands to tens of thousands for that privilege. Under the NBN, that’ll drop to hundreds or thousands instead, because Telstra are no longer the ONLY provider- competition does that you know….

              Telstra can still deploy active fiber between network elements (i.e. into a basement mini-exchange in any commercial building)

              How many basement exchanges in apartments do you know of outside of the CBD? Or commercial buildings outside the CBD? There’s a reason places outside the CBD don’t have them- they cost too much through Telstra. The NBN gives them access to that at a HUGELY reduced cost, so much so, that corporations like CBA are looking at becoming their OWN provider across the NBN and skipping Telstra altogether.

              NBN will at best get the low value residential customers and the sort of struggling small business that Telstra don’t see the value in deploying a mini-exchange.

              Now I know you’re delusional. LOW-VALUE???? Telstra made $3 BILLION dollars from residential broadband and Data last year. PROFIT. How is that low value????

              That’s presuming the 18 month deadline actually happens, which will be a political nightmare if residents feel they are being bullied.

              That’s part of the deal. That’s how long it will take. Residents often won’t even do anything- their current provider will ring them up and say we’re coming out to connect you up, you’ll be offline for 2 hours and we’re putting you on this plan at a reduced rate for the first 6 months. Customer here”s “reduced rate” and says “when are you coming?”. You really are making a mountain out of a molehill.

              Care to stick your neck out and stake your online reputation on the belief that the scheduled copper shutdown regions do happen on time?

              Happily. I predict that the first complete shutdown will happen by May 2014. The end of the 18 months after 23rd November this year. I don’t really understand why you think this is such a big deal. We’re talking all of 25 000 customers here. Or about 3% of what iinet have in total….it’s really not that difficult a task.

      • Ben Zemm
        Posted 21/10/2012 at 11:29 pm | Permalink |

        I would love to drive to work on a motorway and 100 km/hr would be just dandy, but I don’t think to the nation it’s worth the $36 billion spend.

        Oh wait? That was a spend, not investment (do you want more toll roads? The NBN is effectively a toll road so the government isn’t “spending” it’s “investing”)

    14. nonny-moose
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

      Malcolm said in 2011″
      “A download speed of 60 megabits per second would be very achievable, along with an upload speed, depending on whether it was 750 metres or closer, of five to 10 megabits up to an effectively symmetrical speed of around 50 to 60 megabits per second,”

      so at that time hes called a 750m minim with “5 to 10″ mbit upload minim, which may have improved since. it goes up to an ‘effectively’ symmetrical (whatever the hells that means) around 50-60mbits.

      asides from the rubberiness of the figures i want to know what effectively means. in this context im not sure there is any such thing? either it is symmetrical or its not?

      thirdly im not even sure at all as to the capabilities of VDSL WRT symmetric…. or even near- symmetric upload speeds at that.

      just looking at the downloads side is pretty shortsighted (the ‘you wont notice anything from 50-60 down to 100 down’ claim). the upload side is at least as important. the download side at those speeds might be adequate for only a few years. but a fttn network is only barely going to havve adequate upload (at “5-10″mbits) and for a fleeting moment at that. those lucky enough to be by their node instead of ~600m away will have useful upload for a longer period but thats poor comfort to those at the other end. congratulations on preserving the DSLAM line length lottery! precisely one of the effects the FTTH policy was designed to obviate.

      in other words it is not a step to, nor even a steppingstone to the future. you are boldly marching into the past.

      • Austcc
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink |

        I was wondering whether I was the only one to see that glaring error in Turnbull’s comment.

        A 60Mb/s down, 5-10Mb/s up channel is obviously not symmetric for a start. If you want to put an “effective symmetric speed” on it, it would be 5Mb/s. That is what symmetric means.

        Not looking so crash hot now, is it?

    15. Brendan
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

      Every time the Member for Wentworth opens his mouth on the NBN, I am reminded of his recent lament over said Shadow Minister’s fixed line service into his electorate office; tweeted for all to join his misery. I assume.

      The one that shares the same base connectivity (copper) as his apparently superior plan.

      The numbers don’t lie. People are moving to faster services due to the combination of price-point and capability. Just as dial-up users moved to ADSL. Argue the cost, go on, feel free.

      Malcom won’t tell us how much it would cost to migrate from FTTN to FTTP. That’s okay, though – we have ample examples from overseas showing just how much of a money-pit FTTN has become.

      • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink |

        Like in NZ where FTTN was rolled out in just 3 years, performs significantly better than ADSL and probably will do 10 years of service (easily paying for itself) before being replaced by FTTP (probably, but the FTTP schedule is far from certain).

        • Posted 20/10/2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink |


          Like in NZ where FTTN was rolled out in just 3 years, performs significantly better than ADSL

          You mean where it was getting AVERAGE <10Mbps? And that's why they stopped at 80% and went no further, though they were supposed to go to 95%? Have a read of the Senate Estimates- your buddies in NZ think FTTN was a terrible idea….

    16. ungulate
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

      The high take up of higher speeds became predictable the moment the first NBN plans were released and it became obvious that many people now on ADSL could upgrade to 50 or 100Mbps for more or less the same monthly cost.

    17. Stephen H
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink |

      But, but… nobody will ever need 100Mbps! We’re paying for technology that we don’t use, and all Australians are being forced to pay for this crazy government spending!

      Who on Earth would even bother paying for the top tier speeds that the NBN offers? Just people who are stealing content from our friends in the United States movie and music industries. So it’s promoting crime, too, and we will have to create new laws to stop this!

      /sarcasm off.

    18. Observer
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink |

      I think you are making a fantastic point

      /sarcasm on.

    19. Observer
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink |

      More seriously, a point often missed when discussing upload speed is it cost saving potential.

      I have been using VOIP for quite a few years. I usually I find the quality at my end as good if not better than PSTN. I do, however, often get complaints from people I call about the quality of the communication.

      This one of the reasons I am looking forward to the NBN, Quality at either end should be excellent. More people should eventually be able to take advantage of VOIP and get the savings which come with it and in doing so reducing the overall cost of communication.

      • Zok
        Posted 18/10/2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink |

        Or high definition video conferencing… not the low-res Skype kind, but full-screen, wall-sized (if need be) near-realistic virtual presence sessions will be phenomenal for business meetings. Imagine how many days of wasted non-productive travel will that save every year!

        • Hubert Cumberdale
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink |

          Not just HD video conferencing but 4k video conferencing. Only the NBN can make such resolutions practical and it’s not just higher resolutions that will eat the bandwidth, there is higher frame rates and higher bit depths to consider as well. Imagine having virtual multi-site parties with your friends & relatives on new years eve and saving all that time and trouble travelling.

        • Myke
          Posted 18/10/2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink |


          It’s the nuances you get at super high definition. I take at least 2 meetings a week with Americans and my home adsl 2+ just doesn’t cut it. So I cart myself into work at ungodly hours.

          It’s something you have to experience. I really thought it wouldn’t make any real difference when they installed it at work. I was so very wrong.

          Telecommuting is not a pipe dream. You just need a big fat pipe.

          • Harimau
            Posted 18/10/2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink |

            “Telecommuting is not a pipe dream. You just need a big fat pipe.”
            Best quote of this thread.

    20. Posted 18/10/2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink |

      I got an email from NBNco this morning with a link to the new rollout map, and my street in Kallangur Brisbane is now in the orange zone (under construction).
      The last map stated construction would start in October 2012, the new map states construction has already started and it started in September 2012. So construction in Kallangur is a month ahead of the old map. I’ve been watching them build it for the last month too. So hopefully I’ll be able to connect to the fibre sometime in the next year and when I can I’ll be going straight to the 100/40 speed on Internode with the unmetered uploads (business grade) for my home. atm I only get 12/2 on ADSL2+ with Annex M, and we badly need the extra upload in my house as my 10 year old daughter is a bandwidth hog. It seems the younger a person is the more bandwidth they consume.
      So it will be 100/40 for us as soon as we can get it.

    21. Nathan
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink |

      Only 100mb?! Can i have 1000mb please?

      • Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink |

        Yes sir you can. Big Air offers this speed right now, over wireless.

        Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein did not immediately return our calls for comment.

        • Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink |


          Yes sir you can. Big Air offers this speed right now, over wireless. Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein did not immediately return our calls for comment.

          Well played sir- trolling at its’ finest. You fail to mention Big Air must connect back to something…..it’s also only for business….and likely hideously expensive, although that I can’t confirm.

          Or are you NOT suggesting every home can connect like this and it is, in fact, just a solution for some people in specific circumstances?….Because if you are saying that, I wholeheartedly agree….bu tI don’t think you are….

          • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

            So you don’t like the price? That’s basically your argument. Well, we know that technology makes prices come down over time… happens in every thing from phones to desktop machines.

            Long distance backhaul fiber has been deployed in Australia for yonks, the NBN is about last mile fiber so please don’t conflate these things, it only confuses people.

            • Posted 20/10/2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink |


              You’re suggesting the price of BigAir type products, will come down from several thousand dollars a month, to several tens of dollars a month in <10 years? And that everyone will be happy to have one of these on their roof? And tell me, where is the other end going to be? A tower? A central building? How many dishes can you get on it, because that will determine how many people can access it?

              So you're suggesting BigFibre type products could REPLACE the NBN?

        • Djos
          Posted 20/10/2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

          The hardware + spectrum licence required for a gigabit wireless p2p microwave link is over $25,000 dollars and f you want a managed internet service (not buying the setup for a wan link) you’ll be up for around $4,000 per month!

          I know because I used to manage the provisioning of these on a very regular basis!

          • Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

            Spectrum license is a matter of government policy, it could be any price… get your Red Underpants ready.

            Hardware cost in microwave equipment is falling like a stone. The competitive private market ensures this.

            • Posted 20/10/2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink |


              Spectrum license is a matter of government policy, it could be any price… get your Red Underpants ready.

              Actually, these spectra are pretty much set. They have been for decades. The spectrum YOU’RE talking about is almost entirely reserved for Mobile wireless. And you’re suggesting that a Coalition government would come in and simply drop the bottom out of a SHARED PUBLIC RESOURCE so that these businesses can sell stuff better, while losing billions in license fees?

              • Posted 20/10/2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink |

                Egats. Not many handheld mobile devices work in the 10GHz to 11Ghz range. By all means post up a link if you know where to buy one that does.

                You are arguing in favour of tens of billions of dollars of actual spending as against what might be only 100 million at most in foregone spectrum license fees (as others have pointed out, the spectrum licence on point-to-point microwave is not huge). Do you want to reconsider that?

                All of this is a distraction from my original point that you can have a 1 gigabit full duplex completely uncontended last mile link over wireless right NOW, if you don’t mind paying it. At some maybe future stage the NBN might offer a comparable service, we can wait and see. We know the price of technology always falls, but obviously I can’t tell you exactly how fast it falls. Everything depends on production volume. The whole point about a free market is that some people will prefer brand new fiber, some people are happy to hang onto old faithful copper, some people will experiment with wireless, and you end up with a mixed network, well adapted to each local area.

                The government approach of a one size fits all network, with a small cadre of central planners deciding what’s good for us, has never worked, and will never work.

                • Hubert Cumberdale
                  Posted 21/10/2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink |

                  “The whole point about a free market is that some people will prefer brand new fiber, some people are happy to hang onto old faithful copper”

                  Ok, I prefer brand new fibre. Now could you explain why in your scenario I have to pay more for my fibre connection than the people living around the corner in a greenfield estate who have theirs installed as standard? Actually don’t bother, the problem has been solved, bring on the NBN!

                  “and you end up with a mixed network, well adapted to each local area.”

                  Doesn’t sound very efficient at all despite your “well adapted” claim. Thankyou for highlighting this major flaw however.

                  “The government approach of a one size fits all network, with a small cadre of central planners deciding what’s good for us”

                  False. You have it all backwards I’m afraid. The NBN is a many sizes you choose network. In a FttN scenario the speed you get is dictated by the length and condition of the copper and you have NO choice. When and if you get FttH would also be dictated by someone “deciding what’s good for us”.

                  “has never worked, and will never work.”

                  Except it is already working. A coalition clown win at the next election with them halting the roll-out does not indicate a failure either btw.

            • Djos
              Posted 20/10/2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

              You really are clueless, the spectrum is a tiny fraction of the cost, ($800 on average), the rest is the HW and installation.

      • MikeK
        Posted 20/10/2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink |

        Well if you vote for the Coalition next year you wont get 100mb let alone 1000mb.

    22. Posted 18/10/2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink |

      The Coalition don’t want the NBN because it upsets there Business mates. They don’t want to upset Murdock and his crew because they are looking for a easy Job after Politics. Murdock rubbishes the NBN because he knows that the profits on Foxtel/ Telstra will drop. I hope the NBN is that far along at the next Election that they have no chose but to continue. But they will probably still can it and blame Labor just to keep they mates Happy.

    23. Markie
      Posted 18/10/2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink |

      “…The statistics fly against the face of repeated Coalition claims that Australians do not want the higher speeds (up to 100Mbps) which the NBN will offer…”

      Are you paying attention Malcolm?

      We certainly are, and that 2013 ALP narrow majority/hung parliament mkII is looking good…

    24. Pete
      Posted 19/10/2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink |

      These figures are great and all, but how many people are actually on the NBN that these percentages are based on? 30k? Probably a pretty small sample of the population.

      • Posted 19/10/2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink |


        That’s very true and I don’t think any of us who believe that the takeup is looking higher than predicted believe it will stay quite this high. I’ve said right along I expect it to settle to an average of about 40 or 45Mbps, rather than the 30Mbps of the Corporate Plan.

        However, saying that, while it IS a small sample size (some 6500 of 36 000) these locations are EVERYWHERE across Australia- Urban, semi-Urban, regional and semi-regional (including in Tasmania, widely predicted to be the slowest uptaker of speed because of their historic lack of good internet access and evenTHEIR breakdown exceeds the Corporate Plan predictions). It’s a decent indication actually- hell a Newspoll is only 1100…..mind you, that’s politics and is about as fickle as your average copper phone line. But still, it IS statistically relevant.

      • The Claw
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink |

        That was somewhat covered in the article, with the suggestion that it could be “early adopters who are going bonkers with this stuff”. Certainly I’d expect a large overlap between “people who sign up for NBN as soon as it’s available” and “people who want high speeds”.

        But as NBN Co’s Jim Hassel said, even in a town like Kiama where a large slice of the town have signed up for the NBN, it’s still a very high takeup of the top speeds, indicating that a greater-than-predicted desire for speed exists amongst more than just the keenest early adopters.

    25. MikeK
      Posted 19/10/2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink |

      If you wonder why there is such a large take up of high plans just look at some of the ISPs plans
      eg Exetel
      25000/5000 100gb $50.00
      50000/20000 100gb $55.00
      100,000/40,000 100gb $60.00
      Only $10 between these plans, even there very top plan is only $70.00 for 300gb @ 100,000/40,000.
      and in the near future they will proberly throw in a free phone number with free local and national calls or maybe just an extra $10.00 would cover your phone. Either way the total cost would proberly be below the average monthly phone bill.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink |

        I’m on Telstra cable (too far from the exchange to get ADSL, even though I live in the middle of a large city…go figure) at 50/2 and pay double what Exetel charge for it :/

        Can’t wait till I can get off the Telstra monopoly and get on a system that actually allows competition.

    26. OliphanT
      Posted 19/10/2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink |

      Bring on the NBN! Enough said…

    27. FlopFlip
      Posted 19/10/2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink |

      What’s missing here is the availability of Gigabit as an option. If 44% want 100Mbit then statistics would suggest a reasonable percentage would want more.

      • djos
        Posted 19/10/2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink |

        apparently speeds above 100Mb/s will be available to business customers only for a limited time (not 100% sure of the details).

    28. Observer
      Posted 20/10/2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

      It is interesting to note that those coming here, to tell us how NBNco is going to fail achieving their target, never seem to have much interest in the very real problems the coalition are likely to face with they magic pudding solution.

      I suppose, in their mind, the government is useless and the coalition embodies perfection. Additionally, they have clear and unbiased views and we are biased lefties, victims of group-think.

      • Posted 20/10/2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink |

        They actually already failed to achieve their first target (I know, spare me the excuses, I’ve seen them). No argument about that.

        • Observer
          Posted 20/10/2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

          Is this meant to be a reply? If it is, your point?

          • djos
            Posted 20/10/2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink |

            He’s a died in the wool LNP luving troll and just trying to sow seads of doubt, he doesnt need a point!

    29. Observer
      Posted 20/10/2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink |

      “The whole point about a free market is that some people will prefer brand new fiber, some people are happy to hang onto old faithful copper, some people will experiment with wireless, and you end up with a mixed network, well adapted to each local area.”

      There is one major flaw in your reasoning. To end up with a well adapted network in each area, you would need all people with a given preference to live in the same local area. Fat chance of that happening.
      Furthermore, you offer a very narrow description of free market. With NBN, free market means that you can purchase or not purchase the download/upload speed from the ISP of your choice.

      “The government approach of a one size fits all network, with a small cadre of central planners deciding what’s good for us, has never worked, and will never work.”

      Two points here. Firstly, how can it be one size fits all, when you can choose to use fibre or wireless. No one will stop you. As for hanging to copper, only the fools or the uniformed would choose to do that.

      Secondly, the planner in this instance, have not decided what is good for us. They have decided what is good for country. Evidently, this does sit well with your “lf you have the money, you can have the best” approach.

      Finally, your ideological soul mates have tried the approach you advocate for 16 years and that definitely did not work

    30. TimC
      Posted 14/01/2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink |

      I noticed they never quoted complete and/or in-use numbers. What NBN Co says is they have started construction, what they really mean is a contract for constructions has been signed. Many of these contracts have not had any equipment ordered far less a rack filled nor a trench dug. Real physical construction may not occur until 6 to 9 months latter and take another 6 months until it’s actually available to customers.

      If 100% of those they pass take it up then the cost might be $2000/home + $200pa or about $33pm to pay it off. If only 25% take it up then $8000/user + $250pa = $87.50pm. Then you have the retail ISP costs and services on top of that to pay. So who is going to pay the REAL cost ??? The current pricing is only temporary and are less than cost recovery. They are hoping equipment and construction costs can be reduced with time and economies of scale.

      The Liberal Coalition plan is to leverage the existing copper and FTTN (fibre to the node). This shifts the exchange equipment closer to the home and allows a whole neighbourhood to get close to max ADSL2+ speed or use cable modems (coax) for 100Mbit for the last leg to the customer.
      Yes, that’s right, a minimum of 12 – 20Mbps and a max of 100Mbps under the coalition plan. Cost’s much less to run the backbone cable to each street instead of every house and it can be slowly upgraded in 10-20years time for the last leg of fibre to the home/premises when the copper runs out of speed. Focus on new premises to get fibre and let business invest in Fibre when it’s economically feasible instead of a waste of money.

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