• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Friday, February 1, 2013 14:06 - 61 Comments

    Telstra remediation work delaying NBN?


    news The Federal Government has advised Sydney residents that at least one suburb due to have been connected to the National Broadband Network’s fibre rollout has had its connection delayed due to the need to wait for Telstra to conduct remediation work in its pits and conduits in the area; however, Telstra has stated that the delays could be more properly attributed to NBN Co.

    In August 2011 NBN Co announced a number of what it termed ‘second release’ sites in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, where its fibre would be rolled out over the 18 months from that period, following the signing of a contract with construction firm Silcar. At that stage it was estimated that construction in the areas would take 12 months from the start of construction, with areas such as Coffs Harbour and Armidale to start immediately and others, such as the Western Sydney suburb of Riverstone, to start later in November 2011.

    However, according to complaints from local residents in Riverstone, the construction has not been proceeding apace, with NBN Co regularly updating its rollout maps to note changing planned construction dates.

    “There are many people that are connected to the RIVE exchange and are suffering from issues due to over congestion and a delapitated copper network,” wrote one resident, David Borg, on the Federal Government’s NBN Facebook page this week. “While I am sure only a small number of people eventually complain about this factor, there are still a large number of residents that I know in Schofields that comment regarding slow sync speeds and how they are relying on the NBN to come in and solve these problems. Unfortunately people are becoming more and more inpatient with the proposed dates (that are clearly expelled).”

    Borg wrote that he personally worked in the IT sector, but was forced to rely on Telstra’s 4G network in Riverstone, as the copper network in the rgeion was degraded.

    “If Riverstone is one of these “early sites” and NBN Co tested and implement[ed] more efficient processes thanks to these “early sites”, why have we seen no progress?” wrote another resident, Tom Rothwell. “Was this information truly relevant to this location? Why have other locations like Blacktown suddenly received priority over RIVE?”

    In response, the Federal Government’s NBN spokesperson (not NBN Co itself) noted that it had received advice from NBN Co directly about the situation, advising that the delays in the Riverstone area had been due to Telstra.

    “The main issue experienced with the Riverstone build is that a significant amount of existing infrastructure needed to be remediated to make it ready for the fibre,” the Government’s representative wrote. “This includes pits and conduits in the streets, and the remediation work, which is carried out by Telstra, is ongoing. It’s only when that’s finished that a site is handed over to NBN Co and then NBN Co can begin installing the fibre optic cables.”

    However, Telstra had another view of the situation when invited to comment on the situation today, stating that it was actually NBN Co which had been the source of the delays. A spokesperson for the telco said: “Telstra is responsible for remediation of its infrastructure to support the rollout of the NBN. We cannot commence remediation work until we receive designs from NBN Co and then a final commencement notice, which follows council approval of the plans. We received commencement notices for the three FSAMs in Riverstone in late 2012 and have completed work in one, and expect to complete the others in early March.”

    The news comes as NBN Co in January this year announced that it had installed what it described as the first fibre-optic cable in the Sydney metropolitan area — in Blacktown — despite the fact that Blacktown was not on the list of second-release sites announced in August 2011, and work has been labelled as ongoing in Riverstone ever since that time.

    “In addition to today’s news Penrith will also reach this important milestone with the first fibre being laid tomorrow,” NBN Co added in its statement announcing the Blacktown deployment (PDF). “The NBN will connect around 9,100 premises in the Penrith area and services will be available from mid 2013.”

    Meanwhile, NBN Co’s monthly ready for service database published this month still shows extensive delays in the Riverstone area; with May through November delivery dates this year published.

    The arrangement under which NBN Co has gained access to Telstra’s infrastructure is its $13 billion arrangement with the company finalised in March 2012 after more than a year of negotiations between the pair. However, it may be that Telstra’s infrastructure is not in very good condition. In early December 2012, the telco signed a deal worth up to $420 million with infrastructure services company Service Stream for “the remediation of Telstra Pit and Pipe infrastructure in connection with the roll-out of the National Broadband Network”.

    Under the contract, Service Stream will undertake network remediation activities for Telstra in Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in an arrangement which is to last for an initial three year term with two renewal periods of two years each. And in January this year, Telstra signed a similar deal with Leighton’s Visionstream subsidiary for $90 million to cover Victoria and Tasmania.

    As I was researching this story (and bear in mind we don’t have all the information yet), a picture became clear. Right now, Telstra’s pits, pipes and ducts are not in the greatest condition. In fact, considering the telco just allocated more than half a billion dollars to contractors to repair them, I would have to say that in many locations around Australia (including, apparently, in Riverstone), they are in pretty shocking condition.

    This fact appears to be causing NBN Co substantial headaches in some areas, as the company is being forced to wait for Telstra to clean up its infrastructure before NBN Co can move in and start to deploy its own fibre infrastructure. I don’t know to what extent NBN Co had accounted for this kind of issue in its contract with Telstra and its own rollout plan, but you’d have to suggest both that many NBN Co executives (many of whom used to work for Telstra) would have had some idea about the situation, but also that, given the experience at Riverstone, NBN Co didn’t account for the issue quite as much as it probably should have.

    One other thing which this situation demonstrates is the heterogenuous nature of Telstra’s infrastructure. We’re not talking here about a single, pristine, uniform copper network which can easily be upgraded to fibre. As NBN Co lays fibre around Australia over the next decade (irrespective of whether it’s FTTP or FTTN), it is going to find unexpected difficulties such as is occurring in Riverstone in many other locations as it delves deep underneath Australia’s streets and into Telstra’s labyrinthine network. I wish it the best of luck in keeping its rollout on track while doing so.

    This article was updated after it was published with the following statement from Telstra:

    “Telstra is responsible for remediation of its infrastructure to support the rollout of the NBN. We cannot commence remediation work until we receive designs from NBN Co and then a final commencement notice, which follows council approval of the plans. We received commencement notices for the three FSAMs in Riverstone in late 2012 and have completed work in one, and expect to complete the others in early March.”

    Image credit: NBN Co

    submit to reddit


    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

    1. Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The strange thing is that there has been flyers distributed in the area from Silcar stating that Telstra has retained them to fix the Pits & Pipes in the area for the NBN rollout.

      Maybe Silcar is overstretched? I am almost certain that Silcar were also doing the 2RIV-01 rollout from memory.

      • NBNwa
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        That’s probably accurate.

        In WA, Service Stream have the Telstra remediation contract as well as both NBN greenfields work and a contract to supply up to 50% of Syntheo’s brownfields work…

        Stretched is a suitable word…

    2. NBNAccuracy
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well this will be interesting.

      I wait with baited breath for two contradictory remarks from Turnbull.

      1. The NBN should have already planned for this work to be done and they are using it as an excuse.
      2. The copper is in excellent condition for a FTTN rollout.

      • socrates
        Posted 04/02/2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

        No need to wait with bated breath.

        The Earl has possibly already suggested that NBN Co should have done the work itself; should have asked Telstra how long it would take; should not have relied on Telstra; or should have handed the whole lot to Telstra to perform.

        It’s called covering all (negative) bases. There’s a popular expression which says it well, but Renai runs a tight ship when it comes to gettin’ down an’ dirty :)

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 05/02/2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink | Reply

        Up to now – silence
        however the Coalition has decided to go on the attack with a two pronged attack on the NBN without even admitting to those issues

    3. Brendan
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “We’re not talking here about a single, pristine, uniform copper network which can easily be upgraded to fibre.”

      I don’t believe The Wizard of Wentworth has received the memo.

      It’s certainly something (condition of the CAN) that should be held in consideration where there is any talk of relying on it for at least a decade or two for any NBN alternative.

      This will equally slow down any FTTN deployment.

    4. Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I see this as a huge potential issue , and it may make the Telstra Deal much more cost beneficial to the NBN than first thought..

      I’m on the 3 year plan and my suburb was mainly built out in the late 60’s early 70’s , My telstra owned copper is direct burried from the street pit to my house, I havent lifted the lid , but i hope there would be conduit at least to the pits but it’s possible they are just bundled copper pairs?

      Should be interesting when they get to the many older suburbs which would have similar problems

      • Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I need a new nickname , as there are other posters using the same name as me

      • Mathew
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

        In our street the copper was direct buried in the 50s. Some houses are connected via overhead cables, while some have underground connections with no poles in sight.

        Fun and games.

    5. Fourbypete
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Telstra should be made to pay for not keeping there network up to a reasonable standard. I’m certain we don’t even have a pipe going to our place, just a 4 mm cable that’s been repaired 7 times!.

      • Brian
        Posted 03/02/2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

        How shortsighted of those planners in the 1950’s not to foresee the needs of the NBN! They probably thought that once the copper had been laid, there would be no need to pull through any other cables.

    6. Paul
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, it doesn’t matter how fast they rollout FTTN if the line from the node to your house is out of order.
      And will the NBN(lite) node be upstream or downstream of a RIM node?

    7. Jo
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      So NSW is screwed – the NSW government hasn’t reached an agreement on the telegraph poles and is being taken to court and elsewhere there’s problems with Telstra’s conduits

    8. Posted 01/02/2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It would be interesting to understand when the CAN was rolled out in this area…I wonder if it is one of the oldest areas where the copper network exists.

      Could explain more degradation than other areas. Either way, Telstra are supposed to be doing this work while the detailed design work for the FSAM is underway, so the contractors can come in with the design and pull the fibre.

      One of two things has happened:

      – Telstra didn’t get the work done as planned.
      – The underground infrastructure is in particularly bad condition in this area.

      • Dan
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Riverstone/Kellyville is not exactly and ‘old’ suburb

        • Posted 01/02/2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I have no idea. I’m not from Sydney, which is why I asked… :)

        • Baojiu
          Posted 03/02/2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink | Reply

          Riverstone is certainly not a “new” suburb either. A lot of houses and possibly infrastructure are from the 1950’s, 60’s and a lot earlier.

    9. Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi everyone,

      just a quick note: I have updated the article with the following statement from Telstra:

      “Telstra is responsible for remediation of its infrastructure to support the rollout of the NBN. We cannot commence remediation work until we receive designs from NBN Co and then a final commencement notice, which follows council approval of the plans. We received commencement notices for the three FSAMs in Riverstone in late 2012 and have completed work in one, and expect to complete the others in early March.”

      • Brendan
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Shorter version – NBNco waits for Telstra, who waits for Council.

        I can see how delays might occur, then. :)

      • Daniel
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

        That’s poor support from Telstra actually – you’d think they do whatever it takes to get that stuff sorted regardless if NBNCo are ready or NOT.

      • Dan
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink | Reply


        Telstra know their pits and pipes (where they exisit) are not exactly in tip-top shape, but will only ‘fix’ the broken bits once they know what is going to be used by NBN Co, who have to have their additional pit locations and rollout map approved by council?

        …Nup, there can’t possibly be a delay or anyone to blame it on using this process/logic, and the article thing just stinks of political points scoring against Telstra and the looming FTTNBN. Poor reporting Renai!

    10. Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m on 2RIV-01 and waiting eagerly for my NBN connection. Come to think of it, I’m also waiting for Telstra to fix a no dialtone fault with my copper line as well! ADSL is still chugging along at 4Mbit so at least I’ve got something.

      I’ve noticed quite a few pits have been replaced in the industrial area (Northern part of 2RIV-01) in the last 1-2 months (no grass has grown back yet), but haven’t noticed anything in the residential areas closer to town

    11. Baojiu
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think Riverstone has been served large helpings of BS by both NBN Co and Silcar.
      Telstra are just useless anyway.

      From the (now defunct NBN construction blog):

      15 Feb 2012:
      We have finished checking underground infrastructure to ensure it is suitable for our fibre build in the local area, and clearing dirt and debris.

      28 Mar 2012:
      Detailed network design work is currently in progress. We are also checking underground infrastructure to ensure it is suitable for our fibre build in the local area, and clearing dirt and debris.

      I didn’t see anyone from NBN Co or Silcar in the streets of Riverstone at that time.

      Silcar were seen on the 14 Sep 2012, checking pits and measuring along the streets.

      Silcar stated (in their flyer) that they had begun remediation (on behalf of Telstra) on 14 Nov 2012.

      I haven’t seen nor heard of Silcar being in Riverstone since……..and only now NBN Co say Telstra have been complacent when being pressured on this?
      All this despite NBN Co supposedly “finished checking underground structure” back in Feb 2012?

      Come on, give us a break……..

      • Daniel
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

        According to http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1753100 (Riverstone)

        Alot of it’s between Silcar and Telstra, either one of them are confused about what they suppose to be doing or both are.

        And on NBN facebook page:


        There are infrastructure issues at Riverstone.

        Response from NBNCo:

        The main issue experienced with the Riverstone build is that a significant amount of existing infrastructure needed to be remediated to make it ready for the fibre. This includes pits and conduits in the streets, and the remediation work, which is carried out by Telstra, is ongoing. It’s only when that’s finished that a site is handed over to NBN Co and then NBN Co can begin installing the fibre optic cables.

        That was 5 hrs ago – Telstra dragging the chain as per usual to get any advancement here in australia.

    12. Daniel Myles
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I know it’s Friday Renai so all good

      “Borg wrote that he personally worked in the IT sector, but was forced to rely on Telstra’s 4G network in Riverstone, as the copper network in the rgeion was degraded.”

      rgeion should be region I’m thinking :)

    13. tinman_au
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      it’s pretty important to keep this in mind too: The ~$500 million is _just for the ducts_

      How much would it be to get all the _copper it’s self_ up to par for a FTTN network?

      • Daniel
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

        The Coalition won’t get this upto par for FTTN, they will leave it as is, and claim that They didn’t need to touch underground network.

    14. Daniel
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Don’t forget, it was Telstra previous management for firing lots of ground staff.


      Telstra initially plans to cut the number of its 52,000 full time equivalent (FTE) positions by between 6000 and 8000 positions over three years, but there may be more losses.

      “On top of that, 10 and 12,000 over a five-year period of time,” Mr Trujillo said.

      He said most of the 6000 to 8000 jobs to be lost over the next three years will be drawn from the telco’s 6000 contract workers.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 02/02/2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

        The team that inspected and arranged maintenance and remediation of the Pits and Ducts were retrenched in the early/Mid 90’s

    15. Michael
      Posted 01/02/2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Do all of the regions around Australia need remdiation work or is just a proportion of them? Wouldn’t it also be possible for NBN Co’ to schedule it’s rollout so that it is not due to commence work immediately in areas where it knows that there is remediation work ongoing?

      It is not just dragging their feet but also poor communication and or planning.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 01/02/2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Remember they are just starting the rollout so that hasn’t been possible. You may have noticed that recently they have contracted a company to check the condition of pits and ducts and get them fixed before they move in to an area.

    16. Posted 01/02/2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The responses from NBN Co & Telstra are pathetic, it’s as if none of them have any knowledge of the ongoing issues. Telstra coming out mentioning “We received commencement notices for the three FSAMs in Riverstone in late 2012 and have completed work in one, and expect to complete the others in early March.”

      Telstra vague response doesn’t reference exactly what work was carried out and the exact area that was completed, typical. They’ve mentioned “three” FSAMs although NBN Co reports 4.

      FSAM: 2RIV-01
      Locality: Schofields, Riverstone

      FSAM: 2RIV-02
      Locality: Riverstone, Box Hill

      FSAM: 2RIV-03
      Locality: Riverstone, Schofields, Marsden Park

      FSAM: 2RIV-04
      Locality: Oakville, Vineyard, Box Hill

      Reference for NBN Co: http://www.nbnco.com.au/assets/maps/riverstone-nsw-rollout-map-2riv.pdf you’ve reported 4 FSAMs, maybe update Telstra on that so they can commence work on the forth.

      You’d think logically Telstra would of carried out the work on the first and smallest area, that being 2RIV-01 Schofields & Riverstone. I can safely assume based on the majority of discussion over the past several months that little to no work has been carried out within this area, that being said I live and drive around both suburbs on a regular basis.

      Now… my experience with Telstra Engineers goes along way… I’ve been living in Schofields for 22 years. Around 15 years being online going from Dial Up to ADSL1 and last but hopefully not least ADSL2+. I’ve used a range of ISPs, after reaching ADSL2+ I’ve spent countless days potentially even weeks on the phone to customer support complaining about latency, poor sync speeds & overall a terrible connection. I’m lucky to reach a max of 500 KB/s, with that being said I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on new phone lines, filters, phones, routers, modems & other hardware from the advice of Telstra and current ISPs of the time.

      I can safely say 10 or so Telstra Engineers have made the trip to my premises to examine lines and attempt to fix the so called “Internet” I’ve got connected.

      What’s the point of offering a product at an exorbitant price that hardly works? It’s nice that the Labor Gov is aware that our Telecommunications is in the dark ages but making empty promises just doesn’t help.

      How about a person form both NBN Co & Telstra collaborate together to come up with a reasonable explanation that’s detailed enough to end the countless complaints and headaches, from there you could actually make some progress in the construction of NBN and more specifically FTTP (Fibre to the premises).

      I’ve used technology the majority of my life, I’m an Engineer working at a reputable Incubator company. I’m tired of being told “restart your modem, this should fix it.”. GET IT TOGETHER!

      • Karl
        Posted 02/02/2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Are you calling 500 kb/s bad? I know people who would sacrifice a goat to get anywhere near that.

        • kato
          Posted 04/02/2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink | Reply

          Considering they’re selling it as a 24mbit connection, it is bad. It’s not like you’d be stupidly far from an exchange in sydney so the fact he is getting 1/5 of the maximum theoretical speed possible is cause to complain.

          • Brian
            Posted 04/02/2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink | Reply

            First, 24Mb/s is the maximum theoretical speed for ADSL 2+ based on the assumption that you live right next door to the exchange. The further away you are, the more the speed drops. After about 1km, the difference between ADSL2+ and ADSL 1 is minimal. If you are lucky, you can get a service 4km away, but not much more than that. You will find that Telstra like the other ISPs makes no guarantees on what speed you can get on ADSL 2+, so no one is “selling it as a 24mbit connection”.

            The limiting factor is not just the line quality or how well the ‘copper’ is maintained (in many cases, the ‘copper’ is actually aluminium), but simply a function of the laws of physics. Parallel wires suffer from what is known as parasitic capacitance that effectively short circuits the high frequencies. The longer the line, the greater the parasitic capacitance, the more of those higher frequencies disappear, the smaller the available bandwith, and the lower the speed you can get on ADSL. This is the principle behind FTTN (this is not an ad for FTTN, just explaining the principles) – by moving the fibre to within a few hundred metres of the premises, the parasitic capacitance is greatly reduced and the last bit of copper can support DSL running at near maximum speed.

            If you are having problems, look at the wiring in your house. I am not talking about filters and splitters, but the wiring itself. I put a central splitter in my house (effectively isolates the phone wiring to the rest of the house from the ADSL wiring at the first point of entry) and got an instant 20% increase in ADSL speed without doing anything else. As my house is only a bit over 10 years old and the old ADSL setup I had (minus the central splitter) was that best suited to ADSL, the improvement I experienced would have been at the lower end of the spectrum. In an older house with crappier wiring, you could get a greater improvement. By all means, whinge about Telstra if it makes you feel better, but if you want to actually get things fixed, open your mind to the possibility that they may not be the problem, and that the problem might actually be in your home.

            Finally, the issue over remediation for NBN is for the ducts, not the copper. After all, NBN Co wants the copper pulled out. They need the ducts in decent condition so they can pull their optical fibre cables through them. The copper cables themselves are robust with heavy duty sheathing. They are pressurised to ensure that should there be a leak, the positive gas pressure inside the cable keeps the moisture out. It also serves as an alarm. If the compressor is running too much, an alarm is raised to the existence of a leak, in the same way as the alternator in your car working overtime indicates a likely problem with the battery. The point is that the duct can be in fairly poor condition without overly impacting the copper. The condition of the ducts becomes an issue when it is time to pull a new cable through.

        • Tom Rothwell
          Posted 04/02/2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink | Reply

          500 Kb/s mixed with poor latency and dropouts (overal line quality) is extremely bad. Going from an ADSL1 connection maxing at about 160 Kb/s to ADSL2+ and paying $60 a month you’d have higher expectations. Obviously there are people with worse connections than me, it doesn’t take anything away from the point being how terrible it is within Riverstone’ current infastructure.

          I can go into technicalties on line of sight from the exchange to my house and post about attention and what not, there is no need. I’m well aware of some of the solutions I can achieve by investing a bit of money to get a slight increase in quality and speed.

          When it comes down to it the issue is about the delays with the NBN, why would i invest money into something that could potentially be made redundant at any point. I can and will blame Telstra for a lot of issues, I know too many people in the area suffering from the same issue with houses that are much more modern and have less wiring from house to street & distance to the exchange.

          I’m well entitled to complain, I pay taxes, I pay for the phone line, I pay for the connection of internet to the house and the setup at the DSLAM. If it was a free service I wouldn’t be opening be sating a word.

    17. Sean
      Posted 02/02/2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink | Reply

      I had a chat to some of the guys in my area that are fixing the pits for Telstra they are very tight lipped but quite pissed, The team supervisor did say they had lost a lot of the contractors due to Telstra cutting $$$ and not paying the contractors what they are worth. Maybe something you may want to follow up Renai.

    18. Bob
      Posted 02/02/2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink | Reply

      Riverstone residents, don’t feel you are alone….I think this issue is going to be replicated throughout Australia.

      Ngunnawal/Amaroo (ACT) is in the same boat and supposed to be the first sites in the ACT. It was supposed to be completed Xmas 2012
      Construction was set to commence in Sep 2011 (which it did shortly after)- they started pulling rope, and realised it was a bigger issue that what they thought.

      Now we’re slated for completion in May 2013, but in the meantime, Suburbs that were not in the list such as Gungahlin itself, Harrison, some other Greenfield sites in the ACT are up and running.

      Why?? Because it looks like every pit in the suburb is having remediation work done it, pulling the pit up. You drive out of the street and in the space of 500m, you can see about 6-7 separate vehicles performing work on each corner.

      NBN should have factored this in, however most of the blame is clearly Telstra’s. This is the poor standard that they kept their infrastructure up to. I have seen enough of Telstra’s pits & poor documentation, that when everyone (like the coalition & The Australian) keeps mentioning FTTN, I shudder……Replace every copper cable to each house and find a way of protecting it from the elements, and you might be able to talk FTTN…..



      • andyrob
        Posted 02/02/2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Bob, I hear ya brother. I am in Ngunnawal as well and you are spot on. But at least they are continuing the rollout (Gungas and Harrison) while they fix our suburb and Amaroo and Palmerston. They didn’t just stop so I think that is a good thing.

        Keep the faith, it will be here soon.

        Now I just got to get permission from my landlord after sending details and images of what will be installed, they want to investigate before making a decission. arrgghh, I gave them basically all the info they needed and they still want to look into :( . If I get a no, they can get new tenants in July when the lease is up. I am getting NBN somewhere!!

      • Baojiu
        Posted 03/02/2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

        You are correct in saying that this type of debacle will most likely occur in many Brownfields areas, with NBN Co and Telstra blaming each other.

        NBN Co were (supposedly) fully aware of the condition of the ducts/pits in 2RIV-01 back in Feb 2012, and quite possibly earlier. It took until Sep 2012 for Silcar to come and check them again.

        Up until Sep 2012, NBN Co were still forecasting a Ready for Service date of Jan 2013.

        In this “Binding, Definitive Agreement”: http://www.nbnco.com.au/assets/media-releases/2011/nbn-co-and-telstra-sign-binding-definitive-agreements-23-jun-11.pdf , it states:

        Duct Access Services – Telstra agrees to provide NBN Co with the right to access, occupy and use duct sections and associated duct infrastructure (e.g. pits and manholes).
        Telstra is responsible for the remediation of that infrastructure up to agreed fitness standards and within agreed timeframes in each area as the NBN is rolled out.
        Telstra must also provide ongoing maintenance and repair of the ducts and
        associated duct infrastructure in accordance with agreed service levels.

        We don’t know what the “agreed timeframes” are, and what triggers the beginning or end of them.

        For NBN Co to still be predicting a “Ready for Service” date of Jan 2013 up until Sep 2012, indicates either very poor (and possibly deceptive) communication between NBN Co, Telstra or Silcar and/or a poorly created contractual agreement regarding remediation.

        The events occuring in your FSAM and 2RIV-01 seem to indicate it is both.

      • J Wizard
        Posted 03/02/2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Interestingly I provided information relating to the lengthy delay of the NBN rollout in Gungahlin to Renai back in August 2012. Believe there was no interest because I was critical of NBNCo on how the rollout was going and of the feedback we were receiving about the ongoing delays.

        I’m no Telstra fan, but I can’t see how upgrading pits put in to handle copper infrastructure is Telstra’s fault in relation to NBNCo now looking to install fibre through the same infrastructure.

        Ngunnawal/Amaroo residents reported in 2011 the roping undertaken to check the status of the pits. Continuing delays and just more excuses they bring up the significant number of pits that need to be upgraded. They needed to do this even in the newer suburbs. What they didn’t realise at the very start the pits weren’t big enough?

        To me the whole thing seems like poor planning and name blaming.

        My understanding of the Gungahlin suburbs its not the condition of the pits, it’s the size. Is this the same issue at Riverstone?

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 04/02/2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

          There shouldn’t be a need for upgrading and Telstra signed the contract that is why it is their problem.

          • J Wizard
            Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

            What are you basing that on? Do you mean running FTTH requires the same space requirements as the copper? And I’m just talking about the pits here. There is obviously issues were the existing pits, which already support working phone connections, are needing to be upgraded to accommodate the roll-out.

            And yes, if the contract that Telstra signed said they would ensure the infrastructure could support the proposed roll-out, then sure its their responsibility to do the pit upgrades. But in relation to Gungahlin, the amount of pits being upgraded is costing someone heaps. Lets hope it is Telstra and not NBNCo.

        • tinman_au
          Posted 04/02/2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

          “I’m no Telstra fan, but I can’t see how upgrading pits put in to handle copper infrastructure is Telstra’s fault in relation to NBNCo now looking to install fibre through the same infrastructure.”

          I can think of 11 billion reasons why ;o)

          • alain
            Posted 04/02/2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

            They haven’t got it yet.

            • Cameron
              Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply


              But if they want it they have to abide by the terms of the contract they signed with NBNco. The one where they provide access to ducts and pits after remediating them if required. It really isn’t that hard to understand, Telstra has entered into a contract with NBNco to do this, it wasn’t forced on them and they took it to the AGM.

              NBNco had contingency plans in place should Telstra not have agreed, they we prepared to build it all themselves if the had to but Telstra realised it was in their interest to reach agreeable terms.

        • Bob
          Posted 06/02/2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink | Reply


          You are on the whole correct regarding the issue with Ngunnawal/Amaroo, it is the size of the pits.

          However, discussion with an NBN guy (sorry I can’t be more specific – I do know where he is from) I met in Gungahlin said that there were several issues, partly from collapsed pits (cars driving over pits) and also several areas where the conduit had collapsed/damaged as well.

          But moving back to the Pits, I wonder how much more of Australia is going to have the issue of the size of the pits….



    19. APC
      Posted 02/02/2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Silar and Visionstream senior engineers and often ex Telstra copper techs. One thing they have said to me and this was a few years ago now is that pretty much every pit and conduit will need remediation works. These contractors are not surprised and expected this. I find it amusing that the rest of the country find the news a revelation.

      Good luck to them all!

      • Gwyntaglaw
        Posted 02/02/2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Where I live, quite a few of the Telstra pits have been fixed up or replaced in the last year – the dodgy ones that have been cracked, leaking and looking pretty shabby are now spick and span.

        The odd thing is, my suburb in Sydney isn’t even on the 3-year rollout schedule. No green, blue or orange splodges for us! I assumed that this sort of work was more general, and that Telstra was just being very forward-looking. But if they are neglecting the areas that actually NEED the work done pronto, what is their game plan?

        • Abel Adamski
          Posted 02/02/2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I believe I have alluded several times to what I suspect may be the game plan by Telstra, they need a gullible and compliant government, they may well have one coming.
          It will be the coup of the century, a vertical monopoly without ACCC oversight and absolute control over the services on offer including media.

          They are too smart for the second rate journo’s and commentators, with the exception of some not aligned to the MSM ( Hi Renai ), either too complex for them or they are complicit as certain media interests will be a massive benficiary

          • alain
            Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

            @Abel Adamski

            ‘I believe I have alluded several times to what I suspect may be the game plan by Telstra, they need a gullible and compliant government, they may well have one coming.”

            … or they have one already, depends how you view the Telstra NBN agreement and the $11 billion payout to ensure Telstra customers use the NBN.

            ‘It will be the coup of the century, a vertical monopoly without ACCC oversight and absolute control over the services on offer including media.’

            You keep repeating that totally false politically driven mantra over and over, Telstra will be structurally separated and the Coalition supported that legislation in Parliament, it cannot be a vertical monopoly anymore.

            The ACCC is not going anywhere, it will have full control over monopoly fixed line infrastructure irrespective of who the owner is, also the Coalition have also stated they will INCREASE the ACCC’s power if they get into Government.

            • Abel Adamski
              Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

              We have our opinions, mine is based on the coalition and those such as yourselves who are anti the GBE NBN, the coalition has stated private sector involvement, Telstra has stated they have no wish to operate a fixed line network under the regulatory regime.
              The Coalition has effectively made promises. What actual options do they have?

              • Abel Adamski
                Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

                Re separation.
                Remember Keating had legislation passed and in process to separate Telecom which Howard reversed, so there is form.
                Even though there may well be stated agreeance at this time, once in power a litany of reasons and excuses can be presented to put the whole shebang in the hands of the professionals with experience running communications organisations of that size. After all a lot of bridges to mend otherwise and a matter of getting replacement management which MT has indicated he will be culling.
                After all the obsession with HFC suggests an interest in maintaining even extending the Pay TV and Media monopoly

                • alain
                  Posted 04/02/2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  ‘Remember Keating had legislation passed and in process to separate Telecom which Howard reversed, so there is form.

                  You ignored the bit where the Coalition supports the structural separation of Telstra, and the Coalition when in power operationally separated Telstra.

                  ‘After all the obsession with HFC suggests an interest in maintaining even extending the Pay TV and Media monopoly’

                  What Pay TV and Media monopoly that only the obsession with HFC supports are you on about? – remember Labor and the ACCC allowed Telstra to keep HFC up for FOXTEL in the midst of the NBN rollout, and it is the NBN Co/Telstra contract.

                  • Abel Adamski
                    Posted 04/02/2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

                    “remember Labor and the ACCC allowed Telstra to keep HFC up for FOXTEL in the midst of the NBN rollout, and it is the NBN Co/Telstra contract.”

                    No one except maybe the vested interests is trying to control Pay TV, just enable open equitable competition, however HFC whilst able to provide good broadband if designed for the purpose with low contention ratio’s it will never be able to provide an equivalent multi stream product (NBN 4x streams + 2voice) that is simply and cheaply scaleable, at this time operational max downstream available elsewhere appears to be similar to Fibre via FTTC = 350 Mb, whereas the NBN is 1Gb and will easily and cheaply upgrade to higher over time. After all 100Gb is being used on undersea cables now and the CERN/Science networks are using 400/500Gb on single fibre (equipment designed and made in China)
                    FTTH fed at this time by 2.5Gb, HFC Docsis 3 by 5GB

                    Telstra and Optus HFC was designed for monopoly cable TV not broadband, as such contention and upload is an issue that would cost more than it’s worth to renovate and actually be comparable to FTTH at this time (100Mb) to all potential customers in the footprint, yet it would if used for Broadband, at least in the early years strongly compete until competitive media products especially Sport are available, reducing economic viability and customer choice with long term higher maintenance costs and limited product development by it’s very nature..

                    Remember Abbot as Health Minister promised before the election a lift in Health, post election cut $1Bill from health with all the usual excuses

                  • NBNAlex
                    Posted 04/02/2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

                    Yes using your logic, they have flip-flopped well and truly in one year then, haven’t they…

                    2 Feb 2012 – ” Secondly, Turnbull said a Coalition Government would “never” deal with the issue of Telstra’s vertically integrated operations, which bitter rivals such as Optus, iiNet and Internode have long claimed prevented them from fairly competing in the broadband market, with Telstra being accused of playing favourites with its own retail division. There was “no need” to separate Telstra, according to the Member for Wentworth, as the telecommunications sector had “no shortage” of existing competition.


                    So much for “NEVER” and “NO NEED” eh?

                    • alain
                      Posted 05/02/2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

                      oh dear NBNAlex.

                      Renai’s comment at the end:

                      ‘This article is satire … did we get you? ;)’ – yep 12 months later you did!

                      It even has in bold ‘fake news’ at the beginning of the article.

    20. Brendan
      Posted 04/02/2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Really, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Tangental comments around copper are a bit irrelevant in this context; the network isn’t the concern, it’s what that network runs through.

      And it’s not in Telstra’s financial best interests to “tell the truth” regarding the physical nature of conduits; it’s one thing to survey if ducts and runs go where the records say they do, quite another to run cable through them.

      As for responsibility; Telstra has painted a picture that states the physical runs are “just fine”. NBNco has done preliminary work that may support that.

      Neither of which may match the actual situation when fibre runs are attempted. The truth as usual is somewhere in the middle; Telstra have provided delusional information over the state of the physical runs, and NBNco won’t have had time to physically validate all of it (yet).

      So, delays are inevitable. Why wouldn’t they? Even Telstra doesn’t know quite what the state of it’s own ducts are in all instances (didn’t they retrench quite a few line staff some time ago now) why are people surprised this is becoming apparent?

    21. alain
      Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well the NBN Co made predictions as to how many $$$ needs to be spent on all aspects of the rollout, including predictions that they may have to run new ducting in areas where Telstra ducts are already full or in such a poor state they require replacement.

      If Telstra or the NBN Co don’t know until you actually start doing pull throughs what the state of the ducts and pits are it makes you wonder what the original predictions are based on, on this basis I expect ‘Telstra remediation work causing delay’ will be used right up to 2021.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 04/02/2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

        ” ‘Telstra remediation work causing delay’ will be used right up to 2021.”
        alain, glad to see you are accepting realities, namely it will be finished on time, maybe even early

    22. Stephen H
      Posted 04/02/2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I won’t be holding my breath waiting for even FTTN if the Coalition wins. One of their first announcements will be “There’s less money than we thought, we’ll leave the job to Telstra”.

      At which point FTTN will be rolled out in half a dozen suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne by both Telstra and Optus – then they’ll realise that these were the same suburbs they duplicated fibre connections in.

    Leave a Comment


  • Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:

    Follow us on social media

    Use your RSS reader to subscribe to our articles feed or to our comments feed.

  • Most Popular Content

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT

    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications

    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry

    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights