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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:31 - 126 Comments

    HFC the “steam train” of broadband, says Budde

    puffing-billy

    news Australian telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has published a strongly worded blog post arguing that the HFC cable networks focused on by the Coalition in its rival NBN policy are akin to steam trains in the 1930′s through the 1960′s — they’ll still around for decades, but don’t represent the future of their industry.

    The Federal Government’s current National Broadband Network policy would see the HFC cable networks operated by Telstra and Optus shut down as the NBN’s fibre to the premise network is rolled out. The two networks are only used by close to a million premises in Australia and have not been strongly focused on by the two telcos over the past decade. Many in the technology industry consider them to be legacy technology as they represent a shared telecommunications medium which slows down dramatically when many premises use the networks simultaneously.

    However, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week confirmed part of the Coalition’s telecommunications policy would see at least one of the networks – that belonging to Telstra — upgraded and opened for wholesale access. The Coalition’s policy would also see a national fibre to the node network constructed — but areas outside the HFC cable footprint would be prioritised, despite the fact that many within the HFC footprint cannot technically connect to the HFC networks.

    In response to the issue, Budde published a lengthy blog post this week entitled “the end of HFC and FTTN networks is approaching”.

    “While the DOCSIS 3.0-upgraded HFC networks theoretically can deliver 100Mb/s, the reality is that most are delivering speeds of between 20Mb/s and 50Mb/s,” wrote Budde. “The shared nature of these networks and the extra cost involved in providing consistent services at higher speeds to mass markets makes HFC increasingly less competitive with FttH networks.”

    “This is not to say that the existing HFC and FttN networks will immediately die out,” the analyst added. “Diesel trains started to replace the steam train in the 1930s – this happened at the height of steam train technology (reaching 220km per hour) – but it was not until 1960 (30 years later) that the last steam trains disappeared in the USA and Europe. Good quality HFC and VDSL2+ networks could possibly survive for 10 to 20 years. The problem is that there are only a limited number of areas where this is technically possible or economically viable.”

    Budde noted that it was definitely possible that the Coalition would win the upcoming September Federal Election and continue to use the HFC networks and a simultaneous FTTN rollout to support Australian broadband users.

    However, the analyst noted that the low penetration rate of HFC cable in Australia was a clear indication that Telstra and Optus had never been keen to maximise the use of the networks. “the decisions by Telstra and Optus to not further pursue HFC were made well before anybody started talking about the NBN. If the industry is not keen on pursuing HFC it will be interesting to see what the Opposition will do to make it change its mind,” he added.

    And the long-term future is also a question.

    “FttN and HFC technologies are the modern-day equivalent of the steam train, and their days are numbered,” Budde wrote. “Customers who would be affected by a reversal of the FttH decision under a possible change of government will most certainly want to know the plans for their services once the old infrastructure finally begins to run out of steam.”

    Budde’s comments come as others in the industry have also warned of the dangers of focusing on HFC cable technology for Australia’s future. Last week, The Competitive Carrier’s Coalition — representing most of the non-Telstra carriers — demanded Turnbull abandon what it described as his “HFC fantasy”, criticising it on commercial and technical grounds, as well as the long-term interests of consumers. ““These comments ignore the reality that such a proposal would mean that for 30 percent of the population there would be no effective competitive broadband market.” said Matt Healy.”

    Not everyone has been so negative about the potential for HFC cable to provide for Australia’s medium-term broadband needs. In an extended opinionated article this week entitled “Get a grip … HFC could make a fine interim NBN technology”, the publisher of industry newsletter Communications Day argued that HFC was a suitable technology for Australia’s future needs.

    “There are some in the industry who really need to take a good look at what they arguing for and against, especially their “see no evil, hear no evil” attitude to interim DOCSIS 3 and VDSL2 technologies,” wrote Lynch.

    opinion/analysis
    I don’t always agree with Paul Budde, but I think the analyst’s comments here represent a very solid view of the current situation in Australia when comparing the potential mix of broadband technologies to be used for the nation’s future telecommunciations needs. Could the HFC cable be used, in tandem with a FTTN rollout, to provide for the nation’s needs? Yes, in the mid-term, this is certainly possible. It’s one option on the table.

    However, like the steam train situation, it is clear that this would not provide for Australia’s long-term future, which will no doubt be based on fibre running to every premise. I don’t think there is much doubt out there — no matter which side of politics or the industry you speak to — that in the long-term, say 30-50 years — fibre to the premise is going to be the dominant technology.

    And this, as Budde correctly identifies, is the real issue. Do we really want to ditch the current FTTP NBN project, which represents the long-term future of the telecommunications industry anyway, and which has a huge head of steam behind it right now and the support of most of the industry, and move to a HFC cable/FTTN rollout?

    Do we want to go through the hassle of forcing Telstra and perhaps Optus to open their HFC cable to wholesale access, incentivising them to upgrade it, legislating so that those in multi-dwelling units such as apartments can actually connect to it and incentivising retail ISPs such as iiNet and TPG to provide services over the HFC?

    Personally, I say no. Let’s have some vision for once and go for the technology which everyone agrees is the right one for Australia’s very long-term future: Fibre to the premise. Just because a technology works, as the steam trains continue to to this day, does not mean they are the best technology out there. Personally, whenever I go to Japan I prefer to ride on the country’s high-speed Shinkansen train. Getting from Tokyo to Kyoto in a couple of hours via rail is a satisfying reminder of the things humans can achieve when we have some vision and the will to implement it.

    Image credit: Timo Balk, royalty free

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    1. quink
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

      In related news: http://www.telecompaper.com/news/fibre-passes-cable-on-global-broadband-market–926062

      • quink
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink |

        > And yet it is extraordinary you get blog after blog after blog filled with bile, uninformed bilious abuse but nobody goes out, why hasn’t somebody got on the phone and interviewed Mike Galvin who’s doing the BT broadband rollout? Have a chat to him.

        And then there’s the charge by Malcolm Turnbull that nobody is looking overseas to see what’s happening there. And this stands in direct contrast with what Paul Budde – and half of what his company does is looking at what’s going on overseas – has said now.

        I think it’s time for the journalists to fulfill Mr. Turnbull’s demands and look at what’s going on overseas. In fact, I’m doing that right now. From South Korea to Romania to New Zealand. By the way, what’s best for BT’s profits may not necessarily be the best for Australia. However, FTTN is a nice interim upgrade for copper, especially for BT, we get it, and no one is disputing that. What’s in dispute is whether it’s the way to go here, and the challenges are different. For starters, BT doesn’t own the biggest HFC network in the UK.

      • quink
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

        And I’m going to disagree with the headline summarising that Paul Budde’s sentiment is that HFC is the steam train of broadband. What I think he means to say, and that’ll make for a headline that’s too long, is that HFC deployments originally designed for carrying CATV have an infrastructure that is less than optimal than FTTH and while there was a period about ten years ago where it would have been more sensible to roll out HFC for Internet usage – and an architectural design thereof that would increase capital expenditure greatly – than either telephone or FTTH, that period is now gone and Australia’s HFC network was built before that period and was designed mostly for CATV and FTTH makes more sense over building new HFC – albeit extending it may be more sensible in some circumstances. Anyway, enough from me now.

      • Tony Brown
        Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink |

        That article replies to ALL FTTx technologies, including FTTN, FTTB and FTTH.

        Fact is running FTTH direct to all homes on the network is very, very expensive and time consuming, that’s why the vast majority of FTTx subs are basically FTTN and FTTB.

        The number of subs receiving FTTH all the way to their actual residence is very small, HKBN do it in Hong Kong as does PCCW if you pay for it yourself.

        In Korea KT has done a lot of FTTH but a fair chunk of FTTB (about 35%) as well and in Japan NTT East/West also run a mixture of FTTH and FTTB.

        In Taiwan Chunghwa Telecom currently runs FTTB and so does Telekom Malaysia on its new HSBB network.

        NBN Co.’s mandate to deliver FTTH to every residence – especially MDU’s – is a very, very big challenge indeed.

        Ultimately, if the NBN is finished as planned you will have an awesome world-class network in place but it will take a very long time and cost a lot of money to achieve.

        Whether Australia’s politicians will have the fortitude to keep faith with such a long-term and expensive project – especially during what seems likely to be an economically flat period, maybe even a recessionary one – remains to be seen.

        • Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink |

          You do realise that in Australia we don’t have as many MDU as Japan or Korea, so the extra expense of running to homes in MDUs isn’t actually as significant in Australia right?

          Futher, there is no evidence to suggest that NBNCo will not opt for Cat5e or Twister Pair for the last few hundred meters in an MDU to save costs. All statements I have read indicate the following:

          1) In general they will attempt to try FTTP.

          2) Every MDU is different and must be individually evaluated.

          I take that to mean “We want to install FTTH in all MDUs, but some MDUs might not have the infrastructure to allow that to be a cost effective option.”

          There was also a comment about how if the body corporate does not agree to install then they will be declared “frustrated” by NBNCo and NBNCo will move on. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to often.

          • Tony Brown
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink |

            1] About 35% of total HH on the FTTH portion are MDU’s – that’s over 4 million residences.

            To give you an idea of the scale of this it took HKBN in Hong Kong well over 10 years to run FTTH to 2 million MDU residences in Hong Kong, that’s how hard it is.

            2] If NBN Co. don’t run FTTH all the way into every apartment then they cannot guarantee the 100Mbps speeds that have been promised – especially if they use last-mile Copper which we are told by so many is ‘rotten’

            3] Even confirmed NBN supporters like Michael Wyres (Hi Michael!) acknowledges that MDU’s are a very, very big issue for NBN Co, as do many, many others – acknowledging the challenges ahead does not mean you don’t support the project it means you are being realistic about how extremely hard it will be to deliver it.

            • Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink |

              About 35% of total HH on the FTTH portion are MDU’s – that’s over 4 million residences.

              And what is the proportion of MDUs in Japan and South Korea? More than 35% right? Hence my statement is not false.

              If NBN Co. don’t run FTTH all the way into every apartment then they cannot guarantee the 100Mbps speeds that have been promised – especially if they use last-mile Copper which we are told by so many is ‘rotten’

              Diddiums. I’m sorry, but just like the LTE and Sat Customers living in a remote area, if you live an MDU where the Body Corporate is not willing to play ball with NBNCo and the Contractors over installing cabling this is the price you must pay. By the way, do you agree that in the instances where installing FTTH will not be practical FTTB is a reasonable compromise?

              You can’t turn around and say “the rest of the world are doing FTTB, and this is much cheaper and easier to do” and then call foul at the suggestion that “NBNCo might have to FTTB in some cases.” Do you want to discuss this project and the challenges it may face or nitpick?

              Even confirmed NBN supporters like Michael Wyres (Hi Michael!) acknowledges that MDU’s are a very, very big issue for NBN Co, as do many, many others – acknowledging the challenges ahead does not mean you don’t support the project it means you are being realistic about how extremely hard it will be to deliver it.

              And telling a person that you feel they are overstating the challenges by quoting problems that arises in countries that have a higher proportional amount of MDUs and a different regulatory framework for the handling of MDUs does not mean you are not acknowledging the problems that MDUs will present.

          • MikeK
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink |

            Well the Body Corp better agree because 18 months after the fibre is turn on in their area the copper will be turned off.

        • quink
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink |

          I’m looking at this and the statement is:

          > FTTx had 125.05 million users or 19.7 percent of the global market

          The real thing to look at is Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics (for lots of money) which would have the necessary level of detail. In any case, we can combine the slightly outdated data from FTTH Council EU’s new magazine TLA, for a total FTTH/B of 82.09 million. Since then it’s likely gone up by at least another ten million – just in Europe by about 2 million by the end of 2012 from data from the same people, the FTTH Council EU.

          And then there’s iDATE’s analysis here: http://blog.idate.fr/?p=2489

          There’s some discrepancy between this and FTTH Council Europe’s data, but the data behind the 82.09 million doesn’t include South America, for example. To suggest that all of FTTN, as long as we assume that FTTN is VDSL only, however is quite possible and you could be right. However, if the implication is that VDSL has any significant impact on the number of total FTTx subscribers, then that’s not right.

          This graph alone should make the point of how very much VDSL is just a transitional solution and how unpopular it is: http://blog.idate.fr/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/web_FTTHB_vs_VDSL_subscribers_worldwide_2011_2016.png

          And VDSL is only really popular in European countries with high quality copper such as Belgium, Germany and the UK as well as in the US AT&T with U-Verse. It’s under consideration or in early stages of rollout in France, Spain and South Africa, but all of these combined are still not going to throw the above prediction out of whack.

          So, yes, FTTx may be more popular than HFC and FTTN has probably pushed it over the edge. But considering the growth of FTTH/FTTB in for example Russia or China alone, adding or removing FTTN to that statistic would change the date at which this would have happened by only months anyway.

          • Tony Brown
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

            @Quink

            I have my own companies figures right here in front of me, our customers pay us a lot of money for this data so cannot share too much detail!!!

            Anyway, this should give you an idea of the state of the overall market at end-2012…..

            Total FTTH/B SUBSCRIBERS: 107 million

            FTTH/B Subs by Region

            Asia Pacific – 78 million
            Western Europe – 4.6 million
            Eastern Europe – 11 million
            North America – 12.8 million
            RoW – 1.6 million

            Now, getting a split between FTTH and FTTB is not easy because not all operators provide these splits in their results or are willing to share them.

            However, we KNOW that of Asia Pacific’s 78 million FTTH subscribers that 36 million of these are FTTB subs in China, mostly receiving poor speeds, although things are better in some areas of the big cities.

            That leaves the following FTTH/B markets in APAC….

            South Korea – 12 million, split about 60/40 FTTH vs FTTB
            Japan – 24 million – NTT don’t split these subs so probably split similar to Korea.
            Hong Kong – 1.7 million – about 1 million proper FTTH
            Taiwan – 3 million – Vast majority are FTTB subscribers
            Singapore – 250,000 ‘full’ FTTH subs on new NGNBN.

            Of course, in the US most of Verizon’s FiOS is genuine FTTH, but the costs got so high they had to halt the project…..

            So, we can see from this that right now ‘full cream’ FTTH – as proposed by NBN Co., is strong in some APAC markets but even there many operators prefer FTTB because of last-mile connection costs and, in some cases, regulatory uncertainty.

            For example, Chunghwa Telecom has mainly transitioned from FTTN to FTTB but will not roll ‘proper’ FTTH unless the government guarantees that it won’t ‘declare’ their network and force them to offer wholesale access to others.

            Like I say, ‘full’ FTTH is wonderful, but very hard to get to.

            Forecasts

            • quink
              Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

              Yep, FTTN is included in Point Topic’s stats.

              > However, we KNOW that of Asia Pacific’s 78 million FTTH subscribers that 36 million of these are FTTB subs in China, mostly receiving poor speeds, although things are better in some areas of the big cities.

              I think the numbers I saw floating around were $160 to $180 per premise for *cough* “FTTH”… http://ovum.com/2012/05/10/ftth-council-asia-pacific-conference-low-pon-prices-inspire-new-applications/ At that price point, it’s no wonder that it’s really FTTB instead and quite incomparable to proper FTTP, no matter how much The Australian insists on the opposite: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/in-depth/a-billion-chinese-to-get-an-nbn-for-a-third-of-the-cost-of-ours/story-e6frgaif-1226535736511

              I think that if China Telecom/Unicom were to bother publishing more details on this it would be just like Russians saying “we’ve deployed FTTB to a 150 buildings in Dagestan” as something like that was in Telecompaper recently, you can probably imagine that it’s not really worth writing home about :| Still, they’re getting huge increases in upload speeds at Ookla’s netindex.com, so a steam train even crappy FTTB isn’t in that regard. The variations in China’s data are more likely to be because of the GFC than anything else too. http://goo.gl/LIv2F

              So saying that poor speeds are a thing in China’s FTTB deployments is one thing, but looking at the uptick on netindex.com and as for a comparative level of derision, they’re at least twice as fast as ours, more so without the GFC, and Russia’s – also likely to be mostly driven by FTTB deployments – is more than seven times faster. In any case, this statistic here is really interesting: “MDU’s are going to be a huge challenge for NBN Co. there are 1.2 million residences on the network in ‘big’ apartment complexes of 25+ Units and 1.3 million in complexes of 5-25 units.”

              And The Age recently had an article on this: http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/computers/blogs/gadgets-on-the-go/fibre-to-the-basement–an-acceptable-nbn-compromise-for-units-20130221-2et7k.html and it’s not out of the NBN business plan either – although NBN has not had to go that way yet. But let’s face it,

              I guess if nothing else we can conclude that FTTB may in some cases be a viable thing and delivers good performance even in China or Russia and that FTTH is hard and expensive. But harder is going for the majority of the deployment through a piecewise deployment of FTTN – or with less demand, FTTB – to FTTH – even if just for let’s say 20% of premises over the next 15 years – through several dozen capital works, and a cost of thousands each.

              And while the ABS is telling us downloads are going up 50% a year and Cisco’s VNI and Ookla are telling us download speeds are going up 30% a year, then there’s going to come a time where even FTTB – unless it’s Ethernet or some other relaying of copper – won’t do :|

              Also, http://delimiter.com.au/2013/02/21/hfc-the-steam-train-of-broadband-says-budde/#comment-581179

    2. Karl
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink |

      1 premises
      Multiple premises

    3. B
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |

      The Shinkansen network is great, but considering the Japanese government ended up with a 28 Trillion Yen debt and privatised it a 19 Trillion Yen loss…

      • Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink |

        Well sometimes these things happen. Doesn’t mean it will with the NBN through.

      • quink
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

        And the French TGV makes a billion euros a year in profit these days. What is your point?

        • B
          Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink |

          I didn’t say it was going to happen with the NBN or thought it would happen with the NBN, I just thought it was an amusing analogy considering the outcome of the Shinkansen network.

      • midspace
        Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink |

        Yes, just one of many bullet train networks deployed throughout the world. A very reliable and trusted network (regardless of cost issues).
        I’m glad you didn’t mention the Chinese one, that actually had a crash and fatalities.

        Dialup ~ bicycle (only enough bandwidth for 1 person)
        ADSL ~ horse and cart (some carts are better than others)
        HFC ~ Steam trains (I think I can, I think I can.. oh, its 5PM)
        VDSL ~ Diesel
        FTTP (12-100Mbps) ~ Electric train
        FFTP (10Gbps asymmetric) ~ Bullet train

    4. Hubert Cumberdale
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink |

      Budde is right and I think his suggestion that HFC and VDSL2+ could survive for 10 to 20 years is a scary one. If Turnbull for example implements GimpCo and leaves the private sector to roll out fibre then it’ll take about that long to finally get there. Imagine being stuck on dial-up for 20 years. Innovation will stagnate.

      • Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

        …and in the meantime, all the other countries doing FTTP/FTTH without all the derp will leave us behind dead in the water in the productivity stakes…

        *slow clap for Malcolm*

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 21/02/2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

          The UK is known to be years behind Europe and the UK are going from FTTN to FTTP. How many years will we be behind the rest of the world if they start rolling out FTTN in a couple of years? All it will mean is lots of wasted money til Labor gets in again to continue FTTH again. Turnbull and Abbott will cost this country dearly on communications, and looking at the rest of the policies, the general public dearly to divert money to the wealthy.

          • TechinBris
            Posted 23/02/2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink |

            Have you noticed that all the Countries were Rupert has concentrated his Media interests, they have this same argument festering like a pustule that requires lancing and any telecommunication evolution is being stifled in order to hold the status quo? Seems like Goebbels’s manifesto on propaganda is being utilised in order to protect a Vested Interest’s profits. Surprise! Oh how predictable.

            Yes I know this will attract the rabid “Right” to release their dogs. But then now I have said it, they might just hold them back.

            • quink
              Posted 23/02/2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink |

              Just want to say that Austria and Germany, as two random examples, also went the VDSL way and while Rupert owns Sky there, it doesn’t really have any political influence at all.

    5. Goresh
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink |

      I thought most, if not all of the Telstra HFC was ALREADY DOCSIS 3?

      Certainly my connection in Brisbane is.

      • Michael
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

        Indeed it is.

        One thing I always notice wrt HFC is that – perhaps because it’s got a relatively small share of the broadband market – people are oblivious to the network’s capabilities and just rot away on ADSL2+ because they don’t know any better.

        It’s not the Bad Old Days of 2001-02 anymore, where broadband WAS cable and it was 10Mbps during the day and dial-up speeds at night. Really I don’t know if I’ve *ever* heard of a DOCSIS 3 connection legitimately getting <40Mbps or so.

        • Tib
          Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink |

          The fastest speed I’ve seen on my HFC connection was 7.2mb/s… at 4am.

        • Richard L
          Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink |

          My HFC option recently got upgraded to all of 8 Mbps.

          And while that is a better headline speed than my ADSL1 gives me, the latency is reportedly very poor and the back haul highly contended. I’m not willing to change from a situation where I am out of contract and pay for the migration costs to something that would be arguably worse and find myself locked in for a couple of years..

        • PeterA
          Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink |

          It costs more than ADSL. The premium Telstra product, (in other words) lower quotas, or badly aligned quotas – ie counting uploads – and higher prices.

          The speed of the network is dependent on your area. You *can* be in an area with Telstra cable and get 100 megabits. You also can be in an area that gets 8.

          That is because the network is shared with vastly greater numbers than (for instance) a GPON fibre will be.

          All this; before you get to the part where Cable requires re-wiring your house, requires some forethought about where you put the cable point (in the TV room? or in the Computer room?).

          ADSL plugs into a telephone socket anywhere you have one. You already have one (don’t even need to check), and you aren’t limited to one provider. (even IF you go Telstra; you still have choice). You might even already have the hardware to connect. (ubiquitous hardware makes it cheaper to sign up).

          Many reasons Cable doesn’t have the mind-share it perhaps could have given its reach.

        • Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink |

          @Michael

          Really I don’t know if I’ve *ever* heard of a DOCSIS 3 connection legitimately getting <40Mbps or so.

          Head over to the Optus thread on WP….

          Then scoot through the Telstra Ultimate thread too, you’ll find the odd one that drops to 30Mbps during busy periods on a bad node here and there.

          These are the numbers: Telstra, 200 users per node. 450Mbps down, 130Mbps up (EuroDOCSIS 3.0, 8 channel). That’s a contention ratio of 1:45. That’s worse than much of Telstra’s ADSL network, which runs at 1:30.

          Optus? Up to 2000 users on a node. 370Mbps down, 110Mbps up (DOCSIS 3.0). That’s a contention of…1:540. I’ll leave that lie where it should….

          Telstra HFC is in much better shape, but still needs to almost HALVE it’s contention ratio to be comparable to the NBN or ADSL decent services. That DOUBLES the number of nodes.

          • Michael
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink |

            Optus’ contention ratio, if that’s true, is atrocious. Telstra’s is fine, really. It’s not comparable to ADSL because with HFC there’s not the same expectation that you’ll actually get 100% of the speed 100% of the time. But… you can get 30% of the advertised speed, and it’s still better than ADSL. If you get 50%, it’s better than most will ever see on VDSL. In that regard, per unit of bandwidth, Telstra cable actually has lower contention than its ADSL backhaul…

    6. Posted 21/02/2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink |

      I think Renai’s final analysis is the most pertinent and something I’ve been saying since I weighed in on this debate:

      Just because FTTN is cheaper, as it was primarily designed as a profit turner for incumbents and can provide a bit more bandwidth than we have now, doesn’t mean we should automatically do it. ESPECIALLY with the NBN now under full steam.

      Its the equivalent of buying a used car every 2 years and spending the same amount keeping it running and the I convenience of it being unreliable, instead of buying a brand new one and keeping it 10 years, but needing a loan to do so. I’ve never understood people who do that when they have the choice actually (i recognise some can’t get loans). I’ve seen so many people piss away thousands on unreliable cars cause that was the cheapest option at the time.

      FTTN is a commercial technology designed to ease the CAPEX requirements of incumbents. That diesnt make it the right or best technology for a complete replacement of our Telco infrastructure. Of course Mr Turnbull would have us believe its a waste of money replacing all of it….he just wants to choose which parts get replaced and spend as little as possible.

      • BuildFTTP
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

        I agree with your comments on the NBN, just an unrelated comment about used cars. I spent $3500 buying it 6 years ago, spent $1000 on replacing the radiator, brakes etc. over the years, it’s done about 110 000km without breaking down once. I have a nice car as well but I hate using it as a daily driver because I stress about it being hit (it’s happened and the person who hit it didn’t pay), people have scratched it with trollies and bags etc. My $3 500 car is just an old family car with a less than average paint job, i don’t stress about what happens to it. Not all used cars are reliable but many are. Just thought I’d give you some insight into the mind of someone who drives an old heap of crap that looks like it breaks down every month.

        • Walter
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink |

          I bet your car 2nd or third hand care can still go over the speed limit though.

          • BuildFTTP
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink |

            It can but I’m not sure what point that is relevant to?

    7. nonny-moose
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

      ‘“There are some in the industry who really need to take a good look at what they arguing for and against, especially their “see no evil, hear no evil” attitude to interim DOCSIS 3 and VDSL2 technologies,” wrote Lynch.’

      My problem with the statement from Lynch is the 7th last word in the quote above: interim. Philosophically I have no objection to interim solutions in and of themselves. But the LNP are it there screaming about ‘how much does this cost?!’ about the nbn and completely ignoring the fact that interim solutions are an extra cost – if it were truly an interim measure that could be shown to save costs id be fine with it, though disappointed that an across the board network wasn’t built and that people will still have varying outcomes depending where they are.

      That was what was good about the pots network – if you had a phone jack you knew that plug in in a handset you would at least have 000 and paying the line rental you would get voice from the other end. As long as you didn’t have a line fault that’s what you could expect. Any other network than nbn means you don’t know what you could expect without a NTU on the side of the house… You could be stuck with voice only copper, ADSL, VDSL or pushed onto HFC, providing you were in an area with the stuff. Or wireless in the case all fixed connections failed. The other thing being interim, is no specification has been made for how long that will apply. The best guess is ‘as long as it takes to recover costs’ and then further improvement can be considered. Its all rather ad hoc seat of the pants stuff.

      THATS what bugs me about HFC, and that’s where I disagree with commsday. Its more than just its technical abilities, tho congestion with HFC is a pretty high ranker to me also.

    8. saundersxvi
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

      I agree with Malcom Turnbull’s on one point. Tech journalists and fibre ‘zealots’ should examine what is happening overseas when comparing networks.

      http://www.ftthcouncil.eu/resources?category_id=2.

      The case studies quickly refute any claims that the NBN’s rollout is unprecendented.

    9. CharlieM
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

      Im sorry Renai, but FTTH is not a technology that will be used worldwide in 30-50 years, it is being used right now. All over europe in German, Switzerland, Austria, hell even Columbia, ALL of China, governments are mandating (if private entities are not already) rolling out large scale fibre networks directly to the home.

      In most of Europe this is P2P fibre architecture, other places its P2MP. Whatever way you look at it, this is happening right now, and it is going gangbusters everywhere but in our political discourse.

      It is so discouraging to see leaders like abbot sit up and proclaim that copper will do, when everyone else at the playing field have already realised the folloy of metal in the last mile.

      Partial disclosure (id rather not name myself or the company…), I work for a last mile vendor, and we are seeing deployments go up in more places than youd care to list here.

      • Bob Smith
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

        Sorry, I nearly choked on my lunch. Abbott a leader? Abbott won 1 more vote than Turnbull to be the front man of the collective known as the Coalition. A leader he is not.

        • CharlieM
          Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink |

          Like it or not, he IS the leader of the opposition :/

          • MikeK
            Posted 21/02/2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink |

            (Like it or not, he IS the leader of the opposition :/)

            Lets hope he remains that way.

            • Abel Adamski
              Posted 21/02/2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink |

              Let us all pray

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink |

        Charlie, this may be the case, however consider that the expensive bit is the last mile. An upgrade to P2P whilst not cheap would be feasible

        • CharlieM
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:33 am | Permalink |

          Abel,
          My comment actually says that both P2P and P2MP are taking off equally as well as one another….both fibre based last mile technologies. Apologies for any confusion.

      • Tony Brown
        Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink |

        @Charlie

        Sorry, but if you are trying to say that China is deploying nationwide FTTH then that is absolutely incorrect.

        There are currently 36 million ‘FTTH’ subscribers in China but the vast majority of these are FTTB using copper as their last-mile and therefore receiving low speeds.

        Yes, there are some FTTH projects in major cities with operators like Shanghai Telecom, Beijing Unicom, Guangdong Telecom but these are tiny in comparison to the entire market.

        In fact the Chinese are currently trying to bring their HFC cable networks into play in the high-speed broadband market, they are creating a ‘China Radio & TV Network’ a national cable operator which they want to see offer cable broadband services to compete with the telcos.

        As for the other markets you have listed….

        Germany – Deutsche Telekom doing FTTN + Vectoring + Massive HFC market

        Switzerland – Swisscom doing FTTN + Vectoring

        Austria – Telekom Austria doing FTTN + Vectoring

        Colombia – You may be right, don’t know.

        If you are talking about ‘universal’ and genuine FTTH like NBN Co. is doing here then you are looking really at the following markets for similar NBN rollouts – with network deployed by new entities….

        Singapore
        Brunei
        Qatar
        Bahrain
        New Zealand

        Elsewhere most markets have a combination of technologies, FTTH + FTTB + HFC

        China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, UK, Germany, France, Spain.

        Outside APAC – which are very different markets to Oz – we are actually seeing the strongest FTTH + FTTB growth in the old Soviet Bloc countries!!!

        There are massive new housing developments there which are pre-installed and they can do FTTB in brownfield sites very cheaply because of the cost of labour.

        In fact, one of the most impressive FTTH builds that I have seen in recent years was in Armenia (can’t recall the ‘brand’ name) which deployed 90% + FTTH very cheaply BUT this was largely a ‘Greenfield’ network.

        • quink
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

          > Outside APAC – which are very different markets to Oz – we are actually seeing the strongest FTTH + FTTB growth in the old Soviet Bloc countries!!!

          Yep, they have a weird combination of a tradition of monolithic state-driven infrastructure investment yet crappy copper and this investment being, confusingly, driven by private companies like UPC and at the end of an end-user price of about $15 for 150 Mbps is a thing there. With three months free. It’s not everyday where one wishes Australia were more like, for example, Romania :P

          • Tony Brown
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink |

            @Quink

            Another big help is the extremely low cost of labour in those kinds of markets – although you have to balance that with the very low ARPU that comes with it.

            I was in China last year and met with a guy from one of China Telecom’s less glamorous provincial operators and asked him with labor being so cheap why weren’t they rolling FTTH more widely?

            “Our subscribers pay less than $10 per month for broadband, how can we do anything?” he said.

            Things are better up in some parts of Shanghai and Beijing but most operators in China have very little cash on the fixed-line side.

            In Australia, of course, our labour is probably amongst the most expensive in the world at the moment.

            • quink
              Posted 22/02/2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink |

              Actually, speaking of China, it’s another good example of Paul Budde’s point.

              A huge number of municipalities in China have cable TV. The Chinese government went crazy starting in the late eighties and went everywhere with it. In part also because satellite TV is restricted. Virtually none if it is used for Internet. It’s so architected that the signal quality is crap, the signal levels are split like crazy so the SNR ratio is pants and designed in such a way that it’ll be maintained enough for the bouquet of the usual CCTV and Weishi channels over PAL at the moment and DVB-C once it gets more popular and not much else. And it’s because, again, cheap labour and a cost effective good enough investment that the network is like that – and at a monthly fee of near enough nothing, that’s inevitable.

              In this environment, introducing DOCSIS would be pointless. And considering that IPTV is also quite huge there, HFC is almost literally a steam train by Chinese standards.

              And it shows that it doesn’t necessarily matter so much what people will pay for it in China. Both China Telecom and Unicom are government owned and should even the slightest hint of FTTH (or FTTB) make it into a five-year-plan (I’m sorry, they’re “guidelines” now) it’ll be billions invested in that regardless of any sensibility or profit. And, in fact, “FTTH” is now mandated for all new properties after April 1st. The target of 40 million premises on fibre by 2015 has been set and that date matches the end of the current five year plan. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a target of let’s say 200 million come along for 2016-2020.

              • Tony Brown
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

                China is a fascinating market because of the constant state intervention in the telecom and media markets.

                The telco market is controlled by the MIIT (telecoms ministry) and the cable TV industry controlled by the SARFT (broadcast regulator).

                These guys have been at war for years now, principally because of the way that convergence is ‘blurring’ the lines and making existing regulations redundant.

                For example, under current laws telcos are not allowed to offer IPTV services themselves – they can only ‘carry’ IPTV content of licensed platform providers such as Shanghai Media Group (BesTV) or CNTV.

                In addition, cable network operators are not really supposed to, by law at least, offer cable broadband services but many such as Shenzhen Topway are already doing it and the regulators turn a blind eye.

                This is interesting because the SARFT is terrified that the telcos ability to offer Broadband + Mobile +TV is leaving their own cable TV networks (which pass around 180 million homes) are getting ‘stranded’ in the market – this would mean SARFT itself losing huge power and prestige.

                So, SARFT lobbied the State Council to step in and level the playing field (although it denies this) and so the State Council mandated the creation of this new ‘National Cable Operator’ (China Radio and TV Network, CRTN) to compete against China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile.

                The idea is that CRTN now upgrades its networks and offers fixed voice + video + data on the upgraded HFC networks and competes with the existing telecom players.

                They have already raised some money but the only way I can see that they can bring anything like the money they will need on board would be to bring China Mobile in (which has very low fixed line penetration even with China Tietong) and wants to be in the fixed-business.

                However, this would be politically very tricky to do because of the MIIT-SARFT crossover and even if were allowed is questionable whether China Mobile has the cash to do it anyway.

                As for FTTH/B, well, we forecast China will reach 125 million FTTH/B homes in 2017 from about 500 million total households – so that’s a 25% penetration for FTTH/B in China.

                However, critical to remember that whilst new-builds are FTTH installed that legacy builds will cost an awful lot to deliver ‘true’ FTTH and this won’t happen for a long time ahead.

                There is very little incentive for Chinese telcos to offer ‘full cream’ FTTH (outside new builds, obviously) it is near impossible for them to generate any revenues from VAS, especially TV, so why build huge bandwidth.

                Right now, cable delivers the usual dirge for about CNY15 per month (often less) and IPTV content is not really much different to cable TV, just more VOD functionality.

                The real ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ in China will be when 4G steams into the market, the government screwed 3G because of all the license delays and then splitting technology/licenses so even now 3G penetration in China is below 15%.

                When we see China Mobile go big with both TD-LTE and FD-LTE then that could change the game in China completely.

                • quink
                  Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink |

                  BTW, the comments on the FTTB mention by the coalition as posted on the SMH website are fun reading: http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/computers/blogs/gadgets-on-the-go/fibre-to-the-basement–an-acceptable-nbn-compromise-for-units-20130221-2et7k.html#comments

                  Yeah, SARFT is pretty toothless and just barely clinging on. There were rumours late 2011/early 2012 that the number of new entertainment programs was going to be reduced. Example being that 非诚勿扰 was to be cut to one episode a week. Needless to say, that wasn’t going to happen. In fact, it even made the NYtimes. When I read it back then I just shook my head: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/world/asia/censors-pull-reins-as-china-tv-chasing-profit-gets-racy.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

                  > For example, under current laws telcos are not allowed to offer IPTV services themselves – they can only ‘carry’ IPTV content of licensed platform providers such as Shanghai Media Group (BesTV) or CNTV.

                  Actually, and here’s something fun, universities can carry it too. They used to do it on an individual basis, but now have a common platform, video.edu.cn, which is accessible via IPv6 only and streams all of them, including the CCTV3, 5, 6 and 8.

                  > The idea is that CRTN now upgrades its networks and offers fixed voice + video + data on the upgraded HFC networks and competes with the existing telecom players.

                  Also, I think that’s why C-DOCSIS was announced. It was basically just a way of saying that they could make Internet work on crappy HFC and that’s probably their statement that it can work. But you actually look at the details, here’s some slides from something IEEE802 related: http://www.ieee802.org/3/bn/public/oct12/yao_01_1012.pdf and you see that they don’t get to tap into any DVB spectrum and that they’re trying to go all the way up to 3 Ghz. Over coax. Yeah, they’re that desperate, and I can already sense the contention and attenuation from here.

                  > When we see China Mobile go big with both TD-LTE and FD-LTE then that could change the game in China completely.

                  Yeah, I know about NTT dropping prices on FTTH and such – you mentioned it – but LTE or no LTE, it’s not going to affect uptake that much in the long run as there’s diminishing returns in mobile evolution. Take up rates are not going to be affected especially in FTTB deployments – while someone on LTE is less likely to pick FTTH and NBN Co acknowledges that to a great deal in their corporate plan – on FTTB that choice just goes away, it just won’t be relevant. And China, unlike Japan, has a very very desktop centric Internet culture.

                  • quink
                    Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink |

                    > And China, unlike Japan, has a very very desktop centric Internet culture.

                    By which I mean the whole Alibaba ecosystem as just one really important example.

                  • Tony Brown
                    Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

                    @Quink

                    Wow, that was an amazing post, many thanks, some great new information there I was not aware of.

                    Out of interest, are you Chinese or live in China? I have never ‘met’ anyone else in Oz with this level of detail about the goings on in China.

                    • CharlieM
                      Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink |

                      @Tony,

                      Keep an eye out for CMC / C-DOCSIS deployments over the next 18 months in China. Aiming to take CMTSTTB (CMTS to the building) by way of EPON, using DPOE to make it all look and feel like a fluent docsis network, leveraging existing building coax runs.

                      Essentially replacing the existing EPON-EPOC MDU style setup atm with something that allows far more control, and “in theory” more available bandwidth to the end users.

                      Should be fun :)

                      • Tony Brown
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink |

                        @Charlie M

                        Bloody Hell, Charlie, I sure as shit wish you would spill more details on this and who clients are and where the money is coming from because what you just said is extremely interesting!

                        I have some great sources ‘in’ China for information but its so big one can only ever grasp so much at any time and, like the US, there is no single reality across the country.

                      • CharlieM
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

                        @Tony,

                        No can do. This stuff is still in the early stages.

                    • quink
                      Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink |

                      Neither, but have been there and have relations and speak the language a bit. Still greatly reliant on Google-fu though :|

            • Posted 22/02/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

              @Tony Brown

              Firstly, I agree entirely, MDUs are going to be the most challenging part of the rollout for NBNCo, no question. It’ll make the wireless towers issues with residents look like a a single biteme compared to a swarm of bees.

              However, in saying that, let’s remember a few things:

              1- Of the 1 million odd FTTH full done in HK MDUs, 95% would’ve been to 25+ MDUs. You’ve been to HK, you know as well as I, about 80% of the population lives in apartment complexes of hundreds of apartments and dozens of stories. That is incomparable to Australia.

              2- <25 MDUs are not going to be, in general, a substantial challenge. Yes, there's bound to be some moron Body Corporates who just don't get it together, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say 80-90% of them won't be an issue. Don't forget, I that 25 MDUs, many, again, will be business parks/shopping centres. Your’re probably talking 15-20%. And again, the Body Corporates will be in trouble if they don’t get their A into G.

              4- Of what is left, about 40% of MDUs, these are going to be the most challenging. Many will be 70′s and 80′s dozen or more story apartments with HORRIBLE conduit systems. The modern ones aren’t such a big deal, though it depends how they’re designed- all telco boxes external= relatively easy. All internal could cause headaches. Although saying that, I’d like to ask the question, does anyone know if the Federal power to install Telco infrastructure in a house applies to MDUs? As in, if the resident refuses, can they be forced? Or if they’re away and consent, can the Landlord let the contractors in? HK is a minefield for regulations. Ours are considerably more robust, but I don’t know the answers to those questions.

              There’s no question MDUs will be a challenge overall. But it’s going to be a minority that will be difficult and hopefully and even smaller minority that slow NBNCo. down.

              Could FTTB be used instead in some cases? That’s difficult. As we know, in copper runs over 100m, you can forget 100Mbps, even over Cat6. That leaves these MDUs at a disadvantage (mostly very large apartment complexes) using FTTB. And of course, there’s the elephant in the room that won’t piss off- politics. Conroy CANNOT suggest FTTB is suitable right now or risk caving the support the NBN has continued to enjoy as policy AND give Turnbull’s BB plan a lot more credence- ie. ‘If Turnbull was right about that, what else was he right about?…’ They need to maintain FTTH to all premises mantra until after the election. I would then DEFINITELY like to see them consider FTTB for frustrated MDUs or we could end up in a big debacle along the line for many hundreds of thousands of premises.

              • CharlieM
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink |

                Ive designed large scale FTTRoom setups in 11+ storey hotels using GEPON technology, (aggregation in the basement….dedicated uplink fibre) for a few places around australia now. Granted these were generally at mining sites where the owners had garunteed rent in each room for 3+ years….but still….its possible.

                Construction/labour isnt the concern, its tenancy to pay the buildout off. Running fibre through existing building drops in occupied areas is a pain in the ass at the best of times.

              • Tony Brown
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink |

                @SevenTech

                Very valid points on MDU’s there, will have to come back later on this as have to run out for a meeting.

                Great chatting and will respond later more fully.

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink |

          You’re right Tony. What were we thinking about? Trying to roll out FTTH in the most efficient way possible, to be a world leader. To be envied by those who can’t afford to do so and must transition through FTTN because that is what they can do now.
          Australian’s should know their place. We should look overseas for everything we do because we are inferior in every way to other countries. Ignore that NZ, our closest neighbour has had a disaster with FTTN, ignore the reports that UK FTTN has set the UK years behind the rest of Europe. If failure is good enough for them it’s more than good enough for us convicts too.

          • Tony Brown
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

            Happy to debate but not trade sarcasm or insults.

            You need to accept that there are plenty of people out there with genuine questions over the viability of the NBN, questions grounded in an intimate knowledge of the global broadband market.

            Read my posts on here, do I sound like some 18 year old Intern at Liberal Party HQ or someone who actually knows the broadband market pretty well?

            In the past I have had stuff published on here pointing out the madness of Liberals pushing LTE as some sort of magic ‘fairy dust’ solution and critiqued Malcolm Turnbull for ignoring the problems created by extensive ‘facilities based competition’ in South Korea in the fixed-market.

            Of course, you might well prefer to be on here and spend all the time agreeing with everyone about how the NBN is the best thing since sliced bread and how anything else is a complete waste of time and what a clueless w—–r Malcolm Turnbull is – but I don’t see where that gets anyone.

            I think Renai runs a very good site here but people need to be careful that they don’t just tune in here like a bunch of 2GB Ray Hadley/Alan Jones listeners to have their opinions/prejudices confirmed rather than have a productive and informative exchange of views.

            • Posted 22/02/2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

              @Tony Brown

              Well said. Many of us genuinely don’t deserve the Zealots tag, we simply cannot condone Turnbull being so coy about everything when its taken almost a decade to get to HERE. We don’t want to see it take another decade of faffing before the majority have a better service. And yes, that INCLUDES supposed FTTN ‘faster’….we all know its not going to be any substantial amount faster than the NBN on track to targets. Mainly because of Telatra and regulatory hurdles.

              However, some pro-NBNers do produce a worryingly large amount of Alan Jones-esque rhetoric that FTTH is the saviour of mankind. This isn’t helpful or productive.

              We need to keep our heads above petty politics and concentrate on what’s best for the country. I’m still of the belief that the NBN in its’ current form is closest to what Australia needs. And that DEFINITELY adding HFC would be a mistake. SOME limited FTTN, especially for MDUs might be sensible, but I’m not convinced at all that Turmbull would ever consider giving the majority FTTH, which I cannot agree with.

              • NBNAccuracy
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

                Yes, sorry, did hit the sarcasm pretty heavy there. I am just sick of debates based on what country X did or didn’t do, like Australia has to follow the rest of the world. Most of the example countries are rolling out FTTN becasue they can’t afford FTTH and are examples of rollouts ABOUT to happen. Previous rollouts like NZ gone badly wrong ignored. If there is going to debate of the merits of one over the other both the fores and against each approach shown. Cherry picked data does nothing but muddy the water.

                • quink
                  Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink |

                  Plus, there’s an election coming up, so every one is high on HYPERBOLE and SELECTIVE OUTRAGE and MISLEADING STATISTICS and IGNORING THINGS! Not least of all the coalition. They’re the masters of that. I apologise on behalf of Australia. We have elections every three years, so we’ll be just as derpy again in about 2016, so just avoid us that year.

                  > As to being a wanker, well, if he debated with the tech community, providing arguements that aren’t obvious twisting of facts and figures rather than insulting them they may have a higher opinion of them.

                  Yeah, ditto. MT has gone for the ad hominem attacks, including at Renai, so frequently and consistently by now while ignoring overseas deployments (other than the US and the UK) and using so many misleading statements or dumb slogans like “faster, cheaper, …” and I forget the third one, that any outrage towards MT is really just blowback and a reflex at this point.

                  • NBNAccuracy
                    Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

                    I actually wouldn’t mind he using BT as an example and he can say 1/3rd all he likes. But when presented with questions or arguments that go against it, rather than showing data or answering the questions he does one of the following:
                    Ignores it.
                    Answers a different questions to that asked.
                    Insults the person.

            • quink
              Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

              Well put. FTTH isn’t the best thing since sliced bread, regardless of how super it is. It is also the truth that the majority of Australian premises are not likely to genuinely need FTTH over FTTN or HFC over the next twenty years. The only question that we should ask is, however, what is the most cost-effective way to go. For me the answer, after having looked at all the data, is FTTH to most premises even if there isn’t a genuine need for FTTH but because it’s cheaper and more cost-effective over fifteen to twenty year time period and provides a long-term infrastructure solution for the time after that.

              But it, in association with everything else surrounds the Labor NBN has a genuine answer for the problem of Telstra, which right now is more important whether we have FTTN or FTTH.

              It’s not a religious debate that should be as dumb as “Turnbull is Abbott’s puppet” or “Stop keeping Australia backwards”, but one in which we should rather ask more fruitful questions like “Why is Turnbull investing in FTTH overseas?”, his answer being that the ducts and population densities make it more efficient, and then say things like “But the NBN could change its ribbon cable design to support a lower bend radius – like Corning has ClearCurve – which would increase the capital expenditure in probably the low hundreds of millions.”

              Actually substantiated discussions. Sure you can say things like “Why do you hate Australia, coalition?” (which I may have done in the past), but only if you actually have a point sensible enough to ask that question in association with it.

              > Australian’s should know their place. We should look overseas for everything we do because we are inferior in every way to other countries. Ignore that NZ, our closest neighbour has had a disaster with FTTN, ignore the reports that UK FTTN has set the UK years behind the rest of Europe. If failure is good enough for them it’s more than good enough for us convicts too.

              Also, the statement that UK FTTN has set the UK years behind the rest of Europe is flat out wrong. FTTN is a sensible investment for an incumbent telco that owns all the ducts and has copper in good quality with shareholders to consider. Or consider also that the rollout state of ADSL2+ in the UK has been substantially worse than here in Australia, so a rollout of any improved DSL or broadband is sensible. VDSL has provided a genuine improvement in the UK in the short-to-medium term at least and that seems to be enough of a merit for BT. Or mention things like the HFC alternatives not being owned by the incumbent telco, like here in Australia. That doesn’t preclude the possibility of a certain ex-BT CTO being wrong when he says that FTTN is humanity’s biggest ever mistake or whatever that was. That too contributes something tremendously important, and the video of his expert testimony also deserves to be watched.

              What you should do is measure the discussion, productively, and in terms of how they are conducted in the UK, like the Shadow Cabinet Minister in the UK: “Why is it that companies that announce large long-term investments, such as in FTTH, will find that their share prices suffer? If BT was committing to put £1bn a year into fibre for the next 10 years the markets would not reward that. Why is it that we do not reward long-term investment?”

              And that’s the crux of the matter. FTTN isn’t a complete failure or anything like that. It’s put the UK ahead for now, but is likely to be a less sensible long-term investment. It’s not evil, it’s not good, and we’re not conducting this conversation in terms of black or white.

              • quink
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

                What we may have to tolerate, however, is the dumbening down of a philosophy to good vs. evil if we’re in an election campaign that determines the future of this country. I guess it’s also a time where we have to take side in strong terms to make sure that we do the best thing possible as we’re presented with a very binary choice only…

                For better or for worse :|

                And in those terms I can understand why NBNAccuracy has an incentive to exaggerate claims.

                • NBNAccuracy
                  Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink |

                  I didn’t exagerate anything. What claims did I make? I simpy threw my mind back to the 70s and 80s where Australia was too scared to make it’s own decisions, that is the impression I got from Tony, the old chesnut that Australian’s are stupid and should look for all their tech advice overseas. The same mentality that mean most of our best and brightest leave Australia to work overseas.

                  • quink
                    Posted 22/02/2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink |

                    > Ignore that NZ, our closest neighbour has had a disaster with FTTN, ignore the reports that UK FTTN has set the UK years behind the rest of Europe. If failure is good enough for them it’s more than good enough for us convicts too.

                    This. Is. Exaggeration.

                    • NBNAccuracy
                      Posted 22/02/2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink |

                      “This. Is. Exaggeration.”

                      Umm? Really?

                      “NZ, our closest neighbour has had a disaster with FTTN”
                      Do I really need to dig up references for this one? I thought it was widely known that speeds were way below expect, prices high, low uptake and they decided to then roll out FTTH because of that? Or isn’t that a disaster? A failure perhaps?

                      “UK FTTN has set the UK years behind the rest of Europe”
                      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/london/uk-still-behind-in-european-worldwide-broadband-speeds/115
                      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/24/akamai_state_of_the_internet_report/
                      http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240149721/FTTH-Council-UK-broadband-not-ambitious-enough

                      Need any more references?

                      “If failure is good enough for them it’s more than good enough for us convicts too.”
                      Is this the exageration? It is what it was like in the 70s and 80s when Australia kept looking at the rest of the world for what to do , and still does to some extent.
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_cringe

                    • quink
                      Posted 22/02/2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink |

                      If you want to make the argument that VDSL2 rolled out by BT may not have been the wisest long-term investment, then I’m on board with that. But to suggest straight out that it’s a failure isn’t the right thing to do either. I go to netindex.com and look at the data. Belgium, which started early with VDSL, has about 22 Mbps. United Kingdom is at about 20 Mbps. Japan is at 34 Mbps. I’m sorry, but this isn’t a failure, it’s a pretty good success. There isn’t much realistic difference in the usage of 20 Mbps vs. 34 Mbps. Sure, it won’t be able to keep up with growth, but that’s not going to matter for many premises until maybe five or even ten years for now.

                      It’s not a wise long-term investment by the standards the NBN Co should have, but it’s one that’s good enough for now, and was a sensible one to make for BT and the results speak for themselves. However, the above assumes that the Internet is effectively being used as a content delivery mechanism. When it comes to uploads, then yes, the UK is lagging far behind. Belgium is at 3 Mbps, the UK at 4 Mbps. But just because a country has a vast deployment of fibre doesn’t mean high upload speeds are a given. The UAE is at 6 Mbps. Japan, however, is at 17 Mbps. Again, FTTH may or may not be a game-changer, but there are extenuating circumstances.

                      For example, do I think Australia would do well to point the boat, with FTTN, at the UK’s 4 Mbps (and a little bit more than that)? No. It’d make much more sense, in 2013, for it to point to where Japan, or Russia is in 2015. Why? Because there are many different factors that come into play. But simply writing off FTTN based on making the contrived argument that it was a failure in the UK, I’m not so sure that it was or that that’s a good enough justification.

                      • NBNAccuracy
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

                        Oh, OK. No, not an outright failure. The point I was trying to make was that BT is held up at this ideal by Turnbull. They it did it this way, so should we. The question is why? Just because they did? Stating all the positives and ignoring the negatives?
                        They rolled out FTTH way before we ever will and are already falling behind the rest of Europe because of that decision. Should we ignore that? Should we ignore the years that have gone by since they started their rollout? No, but many do.

                        It’s good enough given when they started their rollout and the state of the UK finances. But stating we should because they did is not a reason. Ignore them owning the copper is deceptive. Ignoring the stick they get for the short term thinking is deceptive. Comparing their FTTC to Turnbulls FTTN is deceptive. Has he ever once mentioned the difference in copper distances involved?

                        “But simply writing off FTTN based on making the contrived argument that it was a failure in the UK, I’m not so sure that it was or that that’s a good enough justification”
                        And the point I was making is pushing FTTN just because someone else is doing, presenting the positives, some of which do not apply here, and ignoring the negatives, is very deceptive.

                        The reason I am against FTTN has nothing to do with BT or NZ or any other rollout. It is to do with it’s useful life once it is rolled out, the cost to roll it out (including copper and it’s maintenance), the need to eventually upgrade. I think it’s too much money and too late for Australia to have FTTN. Pointing to the UK and saying they did it, is comparing apples to oranges and irrelevant. Learning lessons from other countries isn’t irrelevant, but saying should because they did, isn’t.

                      • NBNAccuracy
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink |

                        Sorry, learning leasons from other countries IS relevant.

                      • NBNAccuracy
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink |

                        ISN”T irrelevant. Damn double negatives, had it right the first time.

                      • quink
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink |

                        I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a failure from a vast majority of perspectives. Also, the commercial launch was in 2010, only three years ago.

                        But one says “Apples and Oranges” and all that gives people is justification to not only stop using the UK or US as an example, but also in the same stroke the UAE, Japan, China or South Korea. Unreasonable and unfair as it is of the coalition to walk with the blinders on, it would be petty of us to fall into the same trap and try to justify it. Instead we should hold up the UK and Belgium as a shining example and acknowledge that those were prudent decisions. Maybe not in the 20 year time frame, but in a long enough time frame.

                        There is nothing wrong with the statement “Rolling out VDSL2 was a prudent decision by BT.”, and you should do well to acknowledge that, hard as it is. A mistake it was, from certain perspectives, but that doesn’t change the veracity of the statement itself. And yes, the coalition is being obtuse by not looking at successful FTTH deployments overseas in an honest manner or not answering questions. But, if ignore for the fact that that stupid election is coming up, it shouldn’t change or level of honesty.

                        I’ve spotted plenty of mistakes by Nick Ross or Richard Chirgwin in their recent essays. I’ve also spotted plenty of mistakes by Lynch in Commsday with his rebuttal. Does it matter all that much with this election coming up? Unfortunately no. Everybody is on the edge. And everybody has an incentive to bend claims in their favour. Some, like Malcolm Turnbull, or Senator Conroy, more than others. His claims are deceptive. But despite that or however unfair it is, that doesn’t justify a point where we insult by presumption or discontinue a discussion of this importance.

                        If you do that, I get to call you a Heffernan.

                      • quink
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink |

                        That said, I have a comment in moderation, but I hope that it will provide enough of an incentive or reasoning as to why you should probably reply down there and say you’re sorry, or whatever phraseology you’d prefer.

                      • NBNAccuracy
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink |

                        That would depend on the reason for saying I was sorry. I shall await your reasoning. If it is for saying his posts read like Commday’s or Turnbull’s, no. He regularly chats to Turnbull on Twitter and links Commday articles to Turnbull. I may apologise for the “not done” here post, I do not know his trust is like Lynches and Turnbulls that we should be followers. It was unfair on me to paint him with the Turnbull Lynch brush of ignoring their negatives. He still didn’t say anything negative about NZ when pushed, but at least he aknowledge it existed. As to the me not being interested about what happens overseas, he owes me and apology for that strawman.

                      • seven_tech
                        Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink |

                        @quink

                        <i?I've spotted plenty of mistakes by Nick Ross or Richard Chirgwin in their recent essays. I've also spotted plenty of mistakes by Lynch in Commsday with his rebuttal. Does it matter all that much with this election coming up? Unfortunately no. Everybody is on the edge. And everybody has an incentive to bend claims in their favour. Some, like Malcolm Turnbull, or Senator Conroy, more than others. His claims are deceptive. But despite that or however unfair it is, that doesn't justify a point where we insult by presumption or discontinue a discussion of this importance.

                        Hear hear! Well said. I agree entirely. While Nick’s and Richard’s articles were good, there are several assumptions in some of them that show a certain amount of bias (IMO Nick’s more than Richard’s). Like the cost of the FTTN being around $25 billion. That assumes it will go to 93% (or similar), where Turnbull has clearly stated that won’t be the case.

                        I agree we need to keep debating and keep trying to point Turnbull and Co. into PROPERLY looking at it for the country’s best interest, not theirs. But simply assuming things, like they do and stating them as fact, doesn’t help the debate at all. And insulting does NOTHING to help debate.

            • NBNAccuracy
              Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink |

              There was no insult there, but plenty of sarcasm. People keep pointing to what other countries are doing like it is what we should do. Other countries ARE rolling out FTTN. BUT in almost every case it is for short term economic reasons, they cannot afford to roll out FTTH. We can. It is a miniscule portion of our GDP. I believe we have missed the FTTN boat, it seems like it could a wasteful step in the end goal of FTTH. I am not buying the 20 plus years til fibre is needed line, that is simply how long some countries will take to get there. It would ideally be inplace by 2020 given the increase in global network traffic.
              Using arguments of what others are doing and saying they are doing this therefore so should we is ignoring the reason they are doing it and why we dont have to.

              “Read my posts on here, do I sound like some 18 year old Intern at Liberal Party HQ or someone who actually knows the broadband market pretty well?”
              No, but given your examples and what you say, you and Turnbull seem to get every example and argument from Lynch.

              “how the NBN is the best thing since sliced bread and how anything else is a complete waste of time and what a clueless w—–r Malcolm Turnbull is – but I don’t see where that gets anyone.”
              The NBN isn’t perfect, you are correct, there are other options, but I still believe Turnbull’s option is a short term wasteful one. As to being a wanker, well, if he debated with the tech community, providing arguements that aren’t obvious twisting of facts and figures rather than insulting them they may have a higher opinion of them. The tech community in the large part want the best solution for Australia’s future and being called a Zealot because you dare question his plan is BS.

              I am fine with an exchange of views, but playing the “not done elsewhere” card is rubbish. I thought Australia had got past that mentality. Argue for one way or the other based on it’s merits not others decissions that don’t necessarily align with ours. Especially when talking up FTTN you use NZ as one of the few FTTH countries but ignore the history of their disastorous FTTN rollout.

              • Tony Brown
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink |

                OK, more insults, eh? Lovely.

                “Given your examples and what you say, you and Turnbull seem to get every example and argument from Lynch.”

                I might easily respond that 99% of what is on here regarding the NBN looks like it comes straight out of NBN’s PR machine, including your own stuff.

                Look at the reaction when Renai forced NBN Co. to release their end-December rollout figures and questioned why the rollout was so slow, it was like he had suggested putting Dennis Ferguson in charge of a kindergarten.

                For the record, I have never met or spoken to Grahame Lynch, the first piece I ever read of his was the other day, the one on open access on HFC.

                Since then I have corresponded with him on Twittter and a couple of short emails sharing articles and, er that’s it. Sorry to break your fantasy world.

                As for Turnbull, he has spoken at a couple of our industry conferences and I have spoken to him then, he is superb company but has told me absolutely nothing more about his broadband policy than anyone else already knows.

                In addition, I have not been a member of any political party since a one-year membership of the Labour Party at University in the UK in 1993, largely in order to pursue a young lady who was already a member – and have no political agendas at all, FWIW I find the level of debate embarrassing.

                I have also met and corresponded with Mike Quiqley, a superb and very impressive man, and one who willingly admits that there is more than one way to deliver high-speed broadband and whose treatment by the Coalition was appalling in my view.

                The fact that you want to ignore the history of FTTH rollout in the rest of the world is, to put it frankly, ridiculous, especially when one of the justifications for the NBN is that we need to keep pace with what’s happening in competitor markets.

                In all my years working on these areas I have ever heard anyone say that they are not interested in what’s happening elsewhere or that its irrelevant to them.

                Just last year we worked with a major telco that was considering an FTTP rollout, they looked at the data from the rest of the world we provided and we shared some insights and they eventually opted for FTTN/B instead – that’s called doing your research in the real world.

                In addition, before you get too excited about New Zealand’s FTTP rollout, bear in mind the following….

                1] They are only covering 75% with FTTP, not 93%.
                2] So far they have only passed around 100,000 homes, still a long way to go.
                3] The vast majority has been done by Chorus – the Telecom break-out.
                4] They have already had to set up a special fund to deal with problematic last-mile FTTH connections, folks at CFH tell me they have had some major rollout issues.
                5] Chorus is doing the vast majority of the rollout, effectively they have split Telecom NZ and handed the majority of the rollout back to them – similar to the BT model except they are doing FTTH not FTTN.

                I shan’t be checking back so don’t bother replying, all I would say is that if you want to persuade people to your opinion you’d make a good start by not insulting them.

                • quink
                  Posted 22/02/2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

                  > Just last year we worked with a major telco that was considering an FTTP rollout, they looked at the data from the rest of the world we provided and we shared some insights and they eventually opted for FTTN/B instead – that’s called doing your research in the real world.

                  You shouldn’t have said this, this makes you the devil around these parts. In all honesty though, good.

                  For many many privately owned telcos at this point in time FTTN is a wiser investment than FTTP on any timescale short enough for shareholders, especially if they have the government agreeing to allow them vectoring and if bonding is an option. It almost happened here as early as 2005, but Telstra under Trujillo made this happening an impossibility. VDSL may not be as popular as FTTH with technologists or end-users, but it’s good as a transitional solution, especially where ADSL2+ isn’t wide-spread or said telco needs to compete with HFC owned by rivals. There are commercial realities that can’t be ignored, and as much as we can acknowledge FTTH/B/P as an end-goal for some very substantial fraction of premises with some evolution of wireless serving the remainder – it’s not always the most sensible option as a middle goal.

                  FTTH is hard. Damn hard. And in Australia’s case it’s most trying to replicate the result of century of accumulated infrastructure in basically less than a decade and better it too.

                  And the New Zealand rollout is still a heavy fraction FTTN.

                  The reason for the reliance of NBN pablem is quite simple. The coalition has been attacking it on the basis of hurr-durr-it’ll-cost-$80-billion. And the next day it’ll cost $100 billion. And then our grandchildren will be old before it’s finished. And then it’ll take 20 years. The coalition isn’t able to talk about specific flaws in the corporate plan or the plan in general in a way that has a basis in reality or at least taking the step that NBN Co has a ramp up going up. Not in public at least.

                  NBN Co has a $1.5 billion “blowout” because it’s actually doing a lot more work, and The Australian reported it in doomsday terms. It was funny to see. In fact, just looking at articles The Australian has published, the fourth estate has done nothing to earn greater trustworthiness than NBN Co. And that includes, to a limited extent, people like Nick Ross and Richard Chirgwin who, albeit much less than The Australian, may have at times be exaggerating towards the positive.

                  NBN Co’s own words are more trustworthy than the vast majority of our media on NBN Co, and that’s not a good thing. But even analysts like Paul Budde don’t find fault with NBN Co except to say, effectively, that FTTH is damn hard and that the plan doesn’t account for social or economic benefits. And having commented on the NBN substantially and following them, even critically, there’s good reason to assume that NBN Co, apart from people like Paul Budde or Renai LeMay in the top list of trustworthy people on talking about NBN Co.

                  Anyway.

                  • quink
                    Posted 22/02/2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

                    Hang on, here’s the quote, directly from Malcolm Turnbull:

                    > Several very experienced civil contractors and engineers have said to us recently that they think the actual build cost is likely to be $80 to $100 billion for example.

                    If that’s the most coherent alternative to oppose NBN Co pablum like the corporate plan, which actually explains things in detail (and MT just threw that figure out there without any reasoning behind it) and has a basis in reality, then NBN Co pablum it is, a thousand times over.

                • NBNAccuracy
                  Posted 22/02/2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink |

                  “OK, more insults, eh? Lovely.”
                  Take it as you will. I have just read virtually every example you’ve given on Lynch’s and Turnbull’s sites. If you find me saying that insulting that is your issue.

                  “I might easily respond that 99% of what is on here regarding the NBN looks like it comes straight out of NBN’s PR machine, including your own stuff.”
                  Fine, I like to do my own research however. I always try to follow data in articles back to their source no matter who it is to see if they are cherry picking or misquoting.

                  “Look at the reaction when Renai forced NBN Co. to release their end-December rollout figures and questioned why the rollout was so slow, it was like he had suggested putting Dennis Ferguson in charge of a kindergarten.”
                  He forced them? I thought they released them in January when they were scheduled to report them. Yes, the reaction of some people was pretty pathetic. That said, a reporter demanding they release the figures every month to plot progress is a bit over the top also, they answer to the government, not Renai.

                  “Sorry to break your fantasy world.”
                  No fanstasy, virtually every one of your examples have also been given by Turnbull and Lynch. What is the fantasy bit?

                  “The fact that you want to ignore the history of FTTH rollout in the rest of the world is, to put it frankly, ridiculous, especially when one of the justifications for the NBN is that we need to keep pace with what’s happening in competitor markets.”
                  Did I say I wanted to ignore the history of FTTH in the rest of the world? No. I said mentioning various countries are rolling it is not a reason for ourselves rolling it out. Too many times rollouts are mentioned but not the reason for them. For example, Turnbull held up NZ as a FTTN rollout, the rollout failed, he ignores that because it doesn’t suit his agenda. BT cops a lot of stick from Europe for it’s FTTN rollout, ignored. FTTC in the UK is over much smaller distances than in AU, ignored. Many of those FTTN rollouts you mentioned are due to limited money, ignored.

                  “In all my years working on these areas I have ever heard anyone say that they are not interested in what’s happening elsewhere or that its irrelevant to them.”
                  And you haven’t from me either, you created that strawman.

                  “Just last year we worked with a major telco that was considering an FTTP rollout, they looked at the data from the rest of the world we provided and we shared some insights and they eventually opted for FTTN/B instead – that’s called doing your research in the real world.”
                  As did NBNCo and others a few years ago and abandoned a FTTN rollout for a FTTP one. Does Turnbull know better than them? I’d suggest not.

                  “In addition, before you get too excited about New Zealand’s FTTP rollout, bear in mind the following….”
                  Who is excited by it? But to suddenly ignore it as Turnbull is doing when he did hold it up as a FTTN poster child, that’s not a problem? He shouldn’t examine why it failed then tell us what will be done to make sure we don’t have the same problem? Or should he just pretend NZ doesn’t exist as he seem to?

                  “I shan’t be checking back so don’t bother replying, all I would say is that if you want to persuade people to your opinion you’d make a good start by not insulting them.”
                  OK, take your bat and ball and go home. If mentioning that your arguments are the same as Lynch’s and Turnbull’s is such an insult you are lucky you are not pro FTTH. Then you’d be a Zealot, a commie, a labor stuge, effeminet (a new one today to sortius), you’d have Turnbull personally insulting you because you don’t run a pay blog, you’d have jumped the shark (you have used that term as has Turnbull), you may even have Liberal supporters on Twitter contacting the police with photoshopped twitter messages saying you had threatened to kill their kids (it’s happened)

    10. damien
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink |

      Australia will become an international laughing stock if we do a U-turn from an already well advanced FTTH program to a FTTN/HFC system!

      Labor should use that sentiment as a soundbite whenever MT/LNP produce another braindead alternative.

    11. MikeK
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink |

      I will say this one more time, if the Coalition wont replace HFC with FTTN, why should they replace ADSL2+ with FTTN, other then in black spots and rims.
      For all those people outside of the HFC foot print think they will automatically get FTTN, thing again.
      Everyone knows that eventually under the Labor NBN plan 93% will get fibre to the door but under the Coalition plan HFC will remain the same and I suspect those will ADSL2+ will be ignored as well under the Coalition plan ( lack of a plan ).

    12. Warwick
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink |

      Um, no Mr Budde. I regularly (in fact, pretty much always) achieve over 13MB/s download on my Telstra HFC connection. That’s actually over 100Mb/s as the Telstra service is actually about 115Mb/s, though not advertised as such. Am I just lucky?

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

        Based on friends I know on it, very lucky.

      • AJ
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink |

        Please test at 7pm tonight from my experience at that time most HFC is much slower than max as people are using it.

      • BuildFTTP
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink |

        Why no to Mr Budde? He didn’t say it can’t achieve over or only up to 100mbps, he said it ‘theoretically can deliver 100Mb/s’ for comparisons sake. 100mbps is one of the key speeds being offered on the NBN (for now). You have completely missed the point. He is saying many do not receive 100mbps (what they could easily achieve on a FTTP network), they get much less. Just because you and small percentage of others get a very good connection over the HFC network does not mean everyone does.

      • Goresh
        Posted 22/02/2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink |

        Yes, you are just lucky.

        When I first went 100mb/s I got better than that rate. As more and more have switched over, that has fallen quite quickly. A couple of months ago I got 75mb/s, last month 60mb/s and now I am getting about 55mb/s.
        The more people who realise how good it is and upgrade, the worse it gets.

        The same will happen to you over time. Enjoy it while you can bit for God’s sake don’t TELL anyone because the might switch their service and that is just bad news for you.

    13. Diachronic
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

      30-50 years?

      I might just have to go out on a limb and say, on the basis of all the available evidence to date, that 5-10 years would be about right for when we really are going to be gagging for high capacity broadband services.

      Once we have it and the related services start operating (many of which were not even though of) we will be wondering how we ever did without it.

      Am I too far off peoples?

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink |

        Right on the money. That’s what the big networking companies are saying, any commentations that vary from that, like Lynch, have a history of political agendas.

        If FTTN was a stepping stone to FTTH, great. It isn’t, efficient rollout requires whole areas to be rolled out at once, piece meal fibre upgrades do get to the same point but at much higher cost. With such a short FTTN life, shorter, than the remaining NBN rollout time, and that it will take 10 years from rollout start to correct the situation, delaying things by 5-10 years just makes FTTH 5-10 years later and with a intermediate cost that could have been avoided.

      • BuildFTTP
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink |

        I’m already gagging for a reliable connection, let alone a high capacity (both down and up) connection.

      • MikeK
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink |

        I would have said about 10 to 15 years but I reckon your figure would be more like it.

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink |

          And if it is 10-15 years that means a rollout is needed, that’s 10 years, that’s still means a FTTH rollout would need to start while or just FTTN has rolled out.

    14. the lone gunmen
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink |

      The Industrial Revolution was built on the back of steam engines. So not a good analogy Mr Buddle. Even today steam turbines are used extensively in power generation. So the modern world stills rides on the steam engines back.

      In any case you are hopelessly conflicted on the issue. What else would a Telco analyst want but a new shiny fibre network paid for by the taxpayer? Just like Delimiter geeks.

      Give me higher upload speeds now with adsl and I will be happy, instead of waiting 10 or 15 or more years for the NBN.

      • quink
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

        Not feeding you today, troll. OK, maybe a little.

        a) If you prefer, change the object in the analogy. A Walkman vs. an MP3 player. A feather with inkwell vs. a pencil. The point Paul Budde is making is quite clear, reasonable and not dependent on that analogy. b) Taxpayers don’t pay for it. The NBN’s users do. c) Less than 10 to 15 years. If you have concrete up-to-date evidence to the contrary, or extensive analysis or even just a reasonable guess as to why this would be the case, please let us know. d) VDSL might give you four times faster upload speeds. There’s nothing coming along that can do more with copper than VDSL. What will happen in a few years time? The copper will need replacing, simple as that.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink |

        “Give me higher upload speeds now with adsl and I will be happy”

        I’m sure you would. No doubt for porn, movies and games. No need to waste taxpayers money on a dodgy FttN network just for this Michael. Please, use your head.

        “instead of waiting 10 or 15 or more years for the NBN.”

        Getting things faster is important to you? Oh wait, who are we kidding, you are quite the impatient one when it comes to data transfers too: http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?p=9576944#post9576944

      • nonny-moose
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink |

        nice that we agree! however, two things: there ARE no higher upload speeds out of ADSL, excepting Annex M, and even then that doesnt work everywhere. just like how DSL2+ does ’24 megabit!’ but you rarely get that in practise.

        secondly, you wont BE waiting for 10-15 years for NBN.

        unless of course, as you seem to wish, you interrupt the build for a FTTN build.

        remember, completion mid 2021, from current date that gives you a bit under 8.5 years. it turns out that you dont need to change a thing, and you beat your lower bound!

        but despite all the claims as to ‘how fast’ fttn can be rolled, my expectation is the more you mess with the network, the more time you add. and even if it were ‘built fast’ (crappily?) the more of any alternate build there is – the more there is that has to be paid off before you can return to a FTTH plan, and again, the more time you add.

        if you want to be *sure* you beat your own mark of 15 years – or better yet, 10 – the best thing you can do to ensure that happens is dont play the obstructionist. let it proceed.

    15. Abel Adamski
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink |

      Talking overseas experience, worth noting another Paul Budde article on Tech Spec

      http://www.technologyspectator.com.au/us-broadband-story

      An M.T staple disected with precision and flair

    16. Jason
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink |

      What makes you think you can get a fibre to your apartment Renai if you can’t get a coax cable theres really no real difference.

      • Posted 21/02/2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink |

        Your comment is, sadly, invalid.

      • tinman_au
        Posted 21/02/2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink |

        Just to add a bit more to Renais comment about why you comment is invalid, NBNCo has a mandate to replace the CAN (Telstras Customer Access Network…basically all the copper phone lines) where ever possible (some folks in unusual situations will end up with sattelite/wireless to keep costs manageable/responsible). This includes MDU’s (Multi-Dwelling Units). They basically take over responsibility of the USO (Universal Service Obligation, which is basically Telstras current obligation to provide and Australian with a phone line).

        The reason Renai can’t get HFC is because Telstra and/or Optus aren’t required to offer it to him as they are “private” networks outside of the USO. More than likely he can get a copper phone connection, but that doesn’t mean he can get ADSL/2+ as there are various reasons many people can’t (distance from exchange, RIM, degraded copper lines, etc).

        So that’s it “in a nutshell” form…and yeah, that’s why your comments invalid…

        • Paul Thompson
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink |

          There are still some good questions about how exactly NBNco will deal with MDUs.

          I am not aware of any specific details, or even any proposals about how they will tackle that particular issue.

          • Tony Brown
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink |

            Some very big questions indeed Paul.

            MDU’s are going to be a huge challenge for NBN Co. there are 1.2 million residences on the network in ‘big’ apartment complexes of 25+ Units and 1.3 million in complexes of 5-25 units.

            The larger complexes of 25+ units are the type of installs that are a nigthmare, especially for older buildings – very often the internal plans are badly drawn up (sometimes the internal plans are unusable) and the telco has to re-wire the entire building.

            Newer buildings which are ‘NBN ready’ will be relatively straightforward but having toured with engineers in FTTH markets like Hong Kong to see them do a real install I can tell you for a fact that older buildings can be a total horror story.

            Problem here is that if a building needs a complete re-wiring then who pays for that? Does NBN Co. pick up the tab for the whole thing – very expensive if they do but also hard to see Body Coporates etc. being willing to pay for any part of a very expensive install.

            Christ, the tenants at my parents unit complex whinge like crazy paying $400 per year for someone to do the communal gardens!

            • Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink |

              Please see my other comment here.

            • quink
              Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink |

              Yeah, MDUs are awful. Not least of all because they are wired for cable TV or have some weird satellite dish on the roof and some distribution system… or a pay TV provider like TVB may actually have a DSLAM in the local exchange to provide a special service to people living in the MDUs… all of this plays a part.

              And then there’s the problems that were mentioned in the Netherlands as well, in a very good Ars Technica article that is absolutely worth reading: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/03/how-amsterdam-was-wired-for-open-access-fiber/

              See pages 3 and 4 in particular with quotes such as: “One example is if the utility cabinets are placed inside the apartments. Nicely stacked on top of each other, a piece of cake to drill a hole in the floor to the next cabinet and guide the cable. You only need someone to open the door, and the next one, and the next one. This can be a showstopper if on the first floor of a 25 story apartment block someone is away on a world tour for six months. Or if someone refuses to open the door or answer calls for no apparent reason.”

              Good stuff to read.

            • Paul
              Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink |

              Its actually not that difficult – NTT solved the problem with thin pushable fibre with an ultra-low-friction coating they developed. Push it through the existing small ducts that carry the existing phone cabling, or even the mains power cabling, without even removing the existing cables.
              I saw it demonstrated in NTTs lab a few years ago, being pushed around right-angle bends – and pushed a few through myself.

              https://www.ntt-review.jp/archive/ntttechnical.php?contents=ntr201206fa2.html
              http://www.ntt.co.jp/RD/OFIS/active/2010pdfe/hot/nw/04.html

              MDUs aren’t as difficult to fibre up as many would have you believe. Some undoubtedly will be a pain, but many will not.

              • quink
                Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink |

                Good stuff – but somehow I don’t think that NBN Co will be pushing single fibres into anything but the smallest MDUs. Rather, they’ll be trying with ribbons and branching them out. But that’s going to be MDU specific. And considering that internal conduits in Australia seem to have come about more by accident than any specific purpose… yeah.

    17. tinman_au
      Posted 21/02/2013 at 11:33 pm | Permalink |

      “the publisher of industry newsletter Communications Day argued that HFC was a suitable technology for Australia’s future needs.”

      Telstra and Optus disagree, they stopped investing in HFC over a decade ago.

      Seriously, it’s time we start building this coming centuries/millenniums infrastructure and stop trying to keep something limping along that commenced it’s life in the 1850′s…it had it’s time and served us well, but now it’s time for us to do the same for the generations that are to follow on from us…

    18. Paul
      Posted 22/02/2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink |

      So HFC takeup is about 33%, and its roughly evenly split across Telstra and Optus HFC networks. If the Optus network is shut down, then the userbase on Telstra’s HFC network will grow about 600%. Wonder what that will cost to expand, and what performance you’ll get at 5pm when the kids get home from school? And who is going to pay?

    19. Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink |

      Good article Renai. Before I read it, I was musing over another simile: about railways built from a mixture of technologies. E.G. There are the remains of a wooden track in the hills outside Melbourne. It is not a religious issue (a la Turnbull) to see that steel is superior and makes better sense long term.
      It is amazing that we got copper, designed to pass 300bps, to handle 20,000,000bps, but it has had its day. HFC is great for TV delivery, not for interactive Internet to a large number of premises.
      Basta !

      • quink
        Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink |

        > It is amazing that we got copper, designed to pass 300bps

        I disagree with that sentiment. Copper wasn’t originally designed for that quantity of 300 bps, and it can handle way in excess of 20 Mbps, or less. The fact that copper wasn’t designed but we’ve instead had an evolution all the way from the telegraph from a hundred fifty and some years ago step by step improving what we could use it for… that’s the amazing part.

        And it’s something that I hope we’ll see with fibre again. The original telegraphs used a simple amplitude shift keying system, aka Morse Code before moving on with more complex modulation schemes all the way to LDPC and QAM and whatnot. What we have with the fibre and the equipment as used in the NBN is once again simple amplitude shift keying.

        And that’s beautiful. We’ve gone through a continual evolution from the telegraph to the telephone to 300 bps modems to cable TV to DSL to DOCSIS 3.0 – even if not on the same kind of copper. It’s only ever mostly been an evolution. With fibre, we have a revolution towards a new medium, that from any technical and historical perspective, is the telegraph of the next two centuries. It’s putting us on the track of another series of evolutions, and that’s why it’s something different.

        • Paul
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

          Fully agree – It is beautiful, and it is already happening in the long-haul world. Up to 40 Gbps was simple square-wave waveform, but 100Gbps was achieved using DQSK with two 25 Gbps waveforms. Now the 400Gbps and 1000Gbps optical technologies are using 16QAM optical signal processing, which can only get faster over time as the technology matures.
          But this has nothing to do with MDUs :-)

        • Posted 22/02/2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink |

          The fact that copper wasn’t designed but we’ve instead had an evolution all the way from the telegraph from a hundred fifty and some years ago step by step improving what we could use it for… that’s the amazing part.

          It is on the one hand amazing, but for anyone familiar with the history of technology not amazing at all.

          The microprocessor went the same way — a long series of incremental improvements, from 4 bits, to 8 bits, to 16 bits, etc. The same could be said for automobile, we are still running the Otto cycle engines from a century ago, but now they have been fine tuned again and again. Same for aircraft, a jumbo jet is much the same shape as aircraft from World War I, but over the years many things have been improved here and there.

          Genuine paradigm shifts in technology are rare indeed. Fiber optics very rapidly took their place for long distance communications (e.g. undersea cables, or interstate cables) and that revolution already happened, you missed it. Fiber optics are not cost effective for typical home user last mile communications, except in greenfields where you have a fresh start available. Copper pairs are easier to maintain and anyway have the advantage of already being installed almost everywhere. That’s exactly why so much research has gone into incremental upgrades to DSL technology.

          • quink
            Posted 23/02/2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink |

            > Fiber optics are not cost effective for typical home user last mile communications, except in greenfields where you have a fresh start available.

            There’s a bunch of presumptions here that I don’t like. Over what time frame? What about growth in usage? What about copper being more expensive in opex? What percentage of premises {I’m sure it’s not 100%)? Is cost effective just defined in terms of profit for the telco? What about social and economic benefits? What about accounting for the fact that NBN Co is a GBE?

            And lastly, even if the above statement is true, there is the presumption that rolling out fibre for each individual premise may not be cost effective, but that is not the same as asking, for example, whether fibre for everyone and not maintaining other networks is the most cost effective way to go.

            The sentiment I appreciate, and from many perspective and in many cases and at face value it’s also quite true. But the way you phrased it is a bad blanket statement that doesn’t give justice to a vast number of other quite important things.

            And the statement that copper is easier to maintain is disturbing. Because the only eay copper is easier to maintain is if you don’t maintain it much at all. Sure, fibre is hard to install, but there’s been great strides with that. NBN Co, for example, uses whole ribbon splicers.

            And there are very much diminishing returns with what can be done with copper. VDSL, for example, has come about by using higher frequencies as well as those ADSL uses. Attenuation is much greater there, which is why it doesn’t do much past 1 km. Vectoring is astonishingly interesting, but it also requires a lot of compromises to work well. There are diminishing returns with copper and we’re close to the end. With HFC not yet so much because coax doesn’t have that high attenuation in comparison.

            • Posted 24/02/2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink |

              Let’s suppose someone is rummaging around in a pit or tunnel and for whatever reason they pinch the fiber by mistake (i.e. bend it at a radius less than 5cm or there abouts). This action will leave no trace, and will not immediately stop the fiber from working but injects micro-cracks into the fiber. Some time later the fiber will fail, and someone else needs to find that little piece that got bent, and splice in a new piece.

              Beyond that, no one has publicly documented the grade of fiber being used here, the good one uses a carbon layer to keep out the water (a true hermetic seal), the so/so one uses silicone (hydrophobic) and the crappy stuff just uses plastic. Proper economic calculation would judge the cost of replacing the fiber in future against the cost of buying a better grade of fiber now. This requires the incentive that the person owning the network is also the person making the decision (which never happens in government).

              Let’s suppose a vehicle mounts the curb and knocks out a cabinet, that’s a whole stack of fibers now smashed. How quickly can they replace those? What will they pay you in compensation? If the compensation is little to nothing (almost certainly the case) then they will fix it when they have some quiet time and nothing else needs doing.

              Maintenance never goes away. The only thing that makes people care is competition in the industry, that is to say the ability to switch to a different network. In effect, the NBN plan is to ensure that all consumer and small business terrestrial communications will be on the same network, so there won’t be a choice (other than wireless, and yes it is possible that wireless will provide sufficient bandwidth that people start using that instead, I guess we will see).

              • Posted 24/02/2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink |

                @Tel

                Actually, It’s well known what type NBNCo. are using. I’ve held some of it. 12 core Ribbon fibre (in bunches of 6) for local network and 144-576 core bunched ribbon fibre for distro. The ribbon fibre and distro fibre uses injected Petroleum jelly (waterproof, not water-resistant) for sealing and each has their own sheath as well as the ribbon sheath, nylon outer sheath AND high tensile nylon bunching sheath. It is 10 micron fibre and the build drop fibre (the one that will actually be most likely to receive bend stresses, because it is being manhandled individually) is “Bending loss insensitive” fibre, meaning it takes a radius of less than 15mm to actually damage it. Proof stress is 690MPa:

                http://nbnco.com.au/blog/how-fibre-optic-cable-is-made.html
                http://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-G.657-200612-S/en

                The ribbon fibre can’t actually bend at that degree, because its’ contained within a sheath and is only removed up behind the splitter and in the SMP. It is pre-terminated in factory and quality tested. It’s not possible to “accidentally” pinch part of the ribbon fibre by mistake unless you actually are reterminating the end, which you would likely only be doing FOR a fault. Not rummaging around in the pit. And besides, any micro-cracks introduced will not propagate until the fibre is stressed again. At which point, the service stops. Someone comes out, inspects the fibre and reterminates. Fault rectified. It’s not difficult.

                A vehicle would have to be probably at least a heavily ladened ute or truck to knock out a cabinet as they’re all protected by hardened stop bars, like Telstra pits (but unlike Telstra pillars or RIMS…). If that did happen, the CSG will require NBNCo. to repair the damage within a set amount of time and any compensation will also be according to the CSG. Just like Telstra now. This is all well known, not some theoretical calculations.

                Of course maintenance never goes away. But when you have a environmentally inert medium over which to travel data, compared to a environmentally affected medium, the maintenance will ALWAYS be cheaper. Couple that with not having to dig through bunches of copper pairs to figure out which is the right one (because all ribbon fibre terminations are in known logical groups to known SMPs) and your labour is greatly reduced. As well as the fact that it has one central location for electronics and less actual required electronics overall than FTTN. It is publicly documented FTTH has 1/3-1/2 the maintenance costs of FTTN.

          • Paul Thompson
            Posted 24/02/2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink |

            “Fiber optics are not cost effective for typical home user last mile communications, except in greenfields where you have a fresh start available.”

            Please provide evidence for this statement.

            “Copper pairs are easier to maintain and anyway have the advantage of already being installed almost everywhere.”

            Horses are easier to maintain then cars. They can self heal. Also they are self fueled on a substance that grows for free. So we should stick with horses and not cars.

            Your soundbites aren’t sound, and lack bite.

            • Posted 24/02/2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink |

              I think at this stage I might as well wait for the inevitable commercial failure of NBN to provide the evidence for me. At any rate you will without question blame it on the Liberal party so there’s not a whole lot more to say about it.

              • Posted 24/02/2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink |

                @Tel

                I think at this stage I might as well wait for the inevitable commercial failure of NBN

                You know we require evidence on this forum?

                • Posted 24/02/2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

                  How would you propose I give evidence for a future event?

                  I’ve already been through their business plan pointing out the shortfall, already pointed out insufficient uptake, the inevitable backlash when the first copper get disconnected and the fact that growth in wireless connections is much larger than growth in terrestrial connections. You just wave hands and reject it all. Good for you.

                  • Posted 24/02/2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink |

                    @Tel

                    I’ve already been through their business plan pointing out the shortfall

                    What shortfall?

                    already pointed out insufficient uptake

                    This is completely false. You’ve ignored the fact that is is ACTUALLY inevitable (rather than your use of the word which is “in my opinion inevitable”) that ALL those using landline WILL be on the NBN. Therefore takeup is irrelevant right now.

                    the inevitable backlash when the first copper get disconnected

                    How does that translate to low takeup? People might get angry….people get angry about comms all the time. They still use them. And they have no choice but to use the NBN if they want to KEEP using them.

                    and the fact that growth in wireless connections is much larger than growth in terrestrial connections.

                    No, what you proved is that Telstra’s analysis of their own data is flawed. The Telstra CEO saying “our wireless only rate is 24%” does not automatically mean the entirety of Australia will follow suit and is fundamentally flawed because they cannot possibly know the if majority of their wholesale customers’ are in fact wireless only. Using a false premise to extrapolate data produces false data.

                    How would you propose I give evidence for a future event?

                    You don’t. Like us, you give evidence of LIKELY OUTCOMES of future events. Saying it’s “inevitable” means it is certain to happen. That is demonstrably false as you have just proven- you cannot say it is inevitable because you have no evidence to prove it, being a future event, will be.

    20. Brendan
      Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink |

      Budde also happens to not address the Elephant in the room.

      What is the financial cost to ‘convince’ Telstra of the merit of wholesaling HFC? Further more, is there any existing systems or infrastructure to do so?

      The Opposition seems to be of the continued opinion that few short conversations and hey-presto Telstra will be “a good guy, eh wholesales HFC and doesn’t afraid of anything”.

      The considerable flaw in every ‘thought’ Turnbull has had (and there have been quite a few of late) is that the incumbent monopoly owner isn’t going to ‘give away access’.

      Never mind that HFC isn’t actually set up for wholesale access, it’s not declared and pricing will be such that it’s almost a give-in that the ACCC will be involved. Never mind whether it could cope with a surge of new users.

      How can that not be time consuming?

      If the Opposition stops the NBN build, the costs and delays will dwarf any supposed short term gains.

      By all means ensure NBNco remain fiscally responsible going forward. Telstra, I am sure, will be leading the charge to try and secure better pricing deals. The ACCC is there to keep everyone honest (stop laughing, I know the system is flawed, but it’s all we have).

      But to stop further deployment, and shift what is to ostensibly become a very valuable government asset into a massive debt, is illogical and frankly economically irresponsible.

      • quink
        Posted 22/02/2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink |

        Where, kind sir, has the opposition ever mentioned even once that they’ll force Telstra to wholesale HFC? All Turnbull has ever said is that the Competitive Career Coalition’s statement isn’t technically 100% correct. (while ignoring the point they were making)

        • Brendan
          Posted 22/02/2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink |

          Sir, if Telstra is not coerced (the government cannot force Telstra to do anything, as is now wholly a commercial entity; I think I’ve said that a few times now, it can’t be that in-obvious at this point?) then how, pray tell, does the end consumer access HFC?

          They would either a) go without, or b) have to become a Bigpond customer.

          Turnbull has repeatedly stated he’d have (apparently) non-complicated conversations and magically it will all be fine. I challenge that statement strongly, as history shows that this is FAR from the case.

          That includes questioning HFC statements when they appear to be highly unlikely.

          • quink
            Posted 22/02/2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink |

            > The government cannot force Telstra to do anything, as is now wholly a commercial entity

            Actually, the government has the ACCC, for instance, and this would quite definitely be a competitive concern. However, on the other hand there are Telstra shareholders to consider. The shut down of Optus’ HFC network, inevitable even if the coalition does win the next election, and useless as it was, is a scary prospect to consider for a bunch of reasons.

    21. quink
      Posted 22/02/2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

      In other news, btw, sortius is pissed: http://sortius-is-a-geek.com/?p=2776

      > “He explained to me that there was both 4volts of foreign battery (voltage leaking from another service) & a short on the line was not being seen from the exchange indicating there was a break or high resistance on the line, more than likely the latter due to being able to actually synchronise.”




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