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  • Blog, Featured, Telecommunications - Written by on Friday, April 19, 2013 9:40 - 136 Comments

    Game on: NBN Co fires broadband afterburners with 1Gbps services


    blog The election’s just months away and it’s game on at NBN Co, which this morning announced it will add three more speed tiers to its services, now offering a maximum 1Gbps wholesale service at a wholesale access price of $150 per month.

    That service will come with a 400Mbps upload channel, while two other intermediate packages – 250Mbps download speeds and 100Mbps upload, and 500Mbps/200Mbps – will come at wholesale access prices of $70 per month and $100 per month, respectively. Retail prices will of course be higher, depending on individual retail service provider (RSP) offerings.

    In a move that’s sure to elicit an apoplectic response from Malcolm Turnbull – who has repeatedly denied there might even be uses for 100Mbps services, let alone 1Gbps services – John Simon, NBN Co head of product & sales, is confident that users will warm to the new offerings:

    “We are confident there will be a healthy market for higher speed tiers. Global broadband leaders such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States already offer 1gigabit connections to homes and businesses. In Australia, around a third of homes in the fibre footprint have signed up to the NBN in the neighbourhoods where it’s been up and running for 12 months. And once people have the NBN they’re discovering the power of greater speeds. A third of fibre users already subscribe to the fastest speeds available. They’re also downloading around 50 per cent more data than the average Australian broadband connection each month and uploading an average of 14GB per month.”

    The 1Gbps service had been a long time coming, with NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley creating a furore in the leadup to the 2010 election after raising the prospect three years ago. Telstra CEO David Thodey has previously said demand for 1Gbps services is “a good few years away”, while at the time Tony Abbott dismissed the promised speeds as an election ploy. This time around, the same may hold true – the services won’t be available until December, and the hidden subtext here is that they won’t be available at all if the Coalition is elected and its alternative NBN policy adopted.

    Image credit: US Navy, public domain

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    1. Posted 19/04/2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink |

      It’s going to be so awesome in 5 years when they finally get to my area and I can get 25Mb on fttn!

      • midspace
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink |


      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink |


    2. jingo
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink |

      They’ve gone to plaid!


      • midspace
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink |

        The Space Ball salute should be reserved for Tony Abbott.

    3. Simon
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink |

      Nice one! Can someone remind me the wholesale cost of the current 100mbps offering? Just want to do some guestimates of retail pricing in my head :P

      • Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink |

        guestimates of retail pricing in your head? how do you do that? where do you calculate back-haul costs and contention ratios?

      • Lachlan
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

        AVC for 100mb is $38/month. excluding GST.
        Rough estimates for other costs would give a 1000mb link with 2TB of data for about $250/month or so. Upgrades to 10 TB/month would run to maybe $300/month. (which would be full 1Gb speed for 22hrs/month.)

    4. Stephen H
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink |

      I’d go for 1gb/s. Probably not at that price, but in a few years once it’s dropped a bit.

      How does Malcolm think we’re going to download 4K (oops, I mean Ultra HD) movies on 10mb/s lines? What about 8K and larger? Technology doesn’t stand still while waiting for Australia to upgrade its Internet.

      • bern
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink |

        Why do you want to watch UltraHD movies anyway? They don’t look any better on the old 51cm telly I bought back in the 80s… Or does that new-fangled set top box thingy that let’s me watch those lovely shopping channels run that?

        • midspace
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink |


          What about Cinemas?
          They’re all gone digital, but run 2K content.

          4K content is that much more to pull from the main content servers.

          How about the pub, running streaming 4K screens of Football?

          Been watching the Crown Casino adds in Victoria? They’re promoting a huge kickoff to the footy season, watching the matches on large screens.

          • midspace
            Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink |

            “Giant Screen TV”
            “Watch the biggest AFL games live on a massive 5-metre screen.”

          • Woolfe
            Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink |

            I believe Bern was being funny :-)

            • Simon Reidy
              Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink |

              Nah, he was being deadly serious. A 4×3 1980’s 51cm TV playing an interlaced 240i pan n scan VHS tape, is indistinguishable from 3D 4K video on an 3860x2160p 80″ OLED (but only if you are certified blind).

              I hear the same principle applies for 64kbps mp3s played back on a clock radio vs lossless DTS HD sound on a $10,000 7.1 sound system (if you are deaf).

            • bern
              Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink |

              Yep, though I keep getting errors when I try to post comments on Delimiter from my Nexus4, so only half the comment made it through the first time. The rest seems to be down below…

      • bern
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink |

        Why do you want to watch UltraHD movies anyway? They don’t look any better on the old 51cm telly I bought back in the 80s… Or does that new-fangled set top box thingy that let’s me watch those lovely shopping channels run that?
        I don’t know, back when I was a lad, we watched Doctor Who on our black & white telly, and it was wonderful, I tell you, wonderful!* you young whipper snappers don’t know how to appreciate good television…
        (*) true story, though we got a colour TV when I was about five…

        • midspace
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

          I’m waiting till they find all the original episodes of Doctor Who, digitally clean them up into HD1080, colorise them, and re-broadcast them for free before I watch them, otherwise I might hurt my young eyes.

          • Ray Herring
            Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink |

            Except they can’t, they can only do what they have done, which is for all missing episodes use the radio broadcast and photos.

            Basically when the BBC warehouse where they were kept went up in flames they lost a lot of content.

            • Woolfe
              Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink |

              I believe most of the missing episodes were due to the BBC wiping them rather than a fire.

            • Simon Reidy
              Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink |

              I’d forgotten about the BBC fires and all the lost footage. A real shame. Should also add that regardless of the lost footage, Doctor Who would be difficult to remaster in HD anyway. As like many TV shows from that era, most of the indoor footage was shot on video tape, and outdoor location shots only were caught on film (I’d guess it was only 16mm film too). While you could theoretically extract some further detail from the scenes shot on film (and clean up some of the grain) there’s not a lot you can do to improve studio footage shot on low resolution tape.

        • Stephen H
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink |

          We got our first TV when I was 15 – in 1984. My parents did without TV in Port Moresby for six years, and then didn’t see any value in buying one when we moved to Canberra.

          They were right – there are so many good books, and so few good TV shows.

    5. Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink |

      Sign me up.

    6. Troden
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink |

      Where do i sign up, i was planning to sign up for the 100mbs but now 1GB will be the go.

      Well of course that’s if the libs don’t win.

    7. Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink |

      CVC charges need to be overhauled to make it a reality.

      • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink |

        How much does everybody think the full model (considering CVC and other charges) would end up costing as a retail offer? And: would most RSPs keep pricing high above the 100Mbps and lower offers to better contain their CVC expenses, or go for numbers and bring the pricing closer to encourage subs to make just that extra commitment?

        These services certainly complicate (in a good way) the potential service model options.

        • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:39 am | Permalink |

          @David Braue

          As a residential offering with NON-unlimited quota? Maybe $500 or $600 a month. CVC will not be a great deal of an issue with a quota still in place. And a 1:20 contention on CVC for that service (500Mbps/1Gbps) would still be acceptable in an CSA with (likely) average 500Gbps CVC (20 000 connections @ 25Mbps average- not unreasonable for a large Telco like iinet with a 1:30 contention ratio) alot of which would be unused at most times.

          As a BUSINESS offering, you’d be looking at MINIMUM 1:10 contention. (that’s about as high a contention ratio as you’d want if you were relying on it as a business tool, not just web browser for employees) so that’s $2 000 JUST for CVC. And that doesn’t take into account traffic management (TC 2 or 3) if you wanted to. It’d, realistically, including an SLA, be a $2.5-3K a month connection for a proper business grade connection- say 1TB upwards. Which isn’t unreasonable- Telstra Ethernet Broadband from exchanges is $7.9K for unlimited data…at 10/10…..AND their Ethernet point-to-point STARTS at around $10K I believe for speeds even 1/10th of that.

    8. midspace
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink |

      Telstra CEO David Thodey has previously said demand for 1Gbps services is “a good few years away”

      Well, a good few years have now passed! Demand is here.

      Symmetric services are also in the NBNCo roadmap for a couple of year time. 1Gbps up and 1Gbps down anyone?

      The current roadmap is good reading material.

      • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink |

        So, I take it you would sign up immediately?

        Anybody else chomping at the bit? Or are these speeds starting to look a bit… excessive… for most people?

        • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:27 am | Permalink |

          For residential, I think there would be a very modest demand for it. Understandably.

          But for SME’s, particularly online related or centred ones, it would be revolutionary. No question. I think you’d be seeing easily 5-10% of total connections on higher than 100/4- just for uploads alone. And WITHOUT having to pay the extra for PTP.

      • Tel
        Posted 21/04/2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink |

        There is always demand for everything. The question is whether there is commercially realistic demand at a price people are willing to pay.

        However, I agree that technically once NBN have installed a GPON, there’s no sensible reason the throttle it at all… but then you have to explain to people that 30 other users are contending for the same space… no big deal, you just have to make people understand this.

        • Posted 21/04/2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink |

          Why? It’s not like Internet providers have had to explain that hundreds to thousands of users are contenting for the same space when it comes to international undersea cables. Why now do providers have to explain to the general public that “oh by the way, you know you’re never absolutely assured to get the speed we promise you, but in reality you’ll probably never notice, nor care, because we’ve been doing it since the Internet existed, mmkay?”

          Seriously dude, get off the grass.

    9. Dan
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink |

      Our business is in the “green splodge” with services slated to start in 2015. Assuming current build contracts are honoured, we’ll be connecting a 1000/400 service purely for the upload capacity, and at a wholesale price of $150, that is 30% of what we currently pay for the sdsl & adsl2 services, let alone the 3 x onramp 2’s for the phones.

      Switching to pure IP on fibre I estimate we will save about $400-500 a month and have 100x faster speeds in both directions.

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink |

        Sounds like a worth while productivity boost to me!

      • TrevorX
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

        This is precisely where huge immediate benefits from the FTTH NBN will come from – small to medium business who can’t afford the tremendous outlay for dedicated fibre but desperate need a much faster and more reliable service than is currently possible from any currently available (or competing) technology. Forgetting all the advantages and opportunities that tremendous performance improvement will enable, just on VoIP alone any small business that makes a substantial number of phone calls as part of its daily activities will save itself a small fortune. Money that, instead of going to Telstra, will stay in the local economy, will directly benefit these businesses and will increase business confidence overall.

        There are a LOT of businesses in your position, Dan. And yet so many of them believe the LNP are the best party for businesses and the economic future of this country *shakes head*

        • Nathaniel
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink |

          I work for a huge business, we pay for wireless broadband costs for a hell of a lot of employees, some for travel, and some because they work in the field and rarely visit an office so they upload from home.

          There is no way the company would pay a huge upfront fee to give all of these guys a fibre connection so they can get a decent upload speed.

          • TrevorX
            Posted 20/04/2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |

            Are you essentially saying your company wouldn’t pay the connection fee required for FTTP delivered over FTTN under the coalition’s plan? If so, of course they wouldn’t – that would be ludicrous!

            It’s also horses for courses – it sounds like you have a lot of employees who are out on the road a lot, so in their case mobile broadband is undoubtedly the most appropriate solution. If they need faster connections they can be upgraded to LTE, but they won’t help them much if they’re outside LTE tower coverage. Only other option here is satellite – you can rig up satellite comms from a vehicle that then shares a Wifi hotspot for whatever device needs access. I’ve worked with mining companies that have used this effectively all over the planet and remote regions of Australia, but it’s definitely not cheap ;-) I can vouch for it being a faster, more reliable service than 3g mobile broadband in most cases.

    10. Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink |

      On a serious point, it just highlights that there IS a superior technological choice (with ongoing upgrade possibilities) and puts the lie to all that rubbish about using a “palette of different” technology and let the market decide.
      A single tech solution is all the market can afford, but with intense competition at the retail level.
      The debate is about which is the best technology to choose.
      I am just disappointed this technology choice debate is being driven by ex-lawyers and ex-union officials.

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink |

        Let us not forget Lawyers and accountants are about precedent and current status

        • NBNAccuracy
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

          Yes, if you have no idea what your doing, copy someone else.

    11. Craig Watkins
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink |

      Spare a thought for those stuck on 40 Mbps fixed wireless sectors serving 200 premises, 60 subscribers, in regional areas. While FTTP users suck up the extra bandwidth, full contention rates on fixed wireless provides for 0.66 Mbps. FTTN makes a lot of sense in many of these areas.

      • EmmettB
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink |

        Despite what Malcolm says, FTTN won’t even work in those areas.

        Rural areas are by nature spread-out over long distances. Long distances are the enemy of ADSL2+ and ADSL1, but especially of VDSL.

        The local farmer won’t get anything from FTTN, unless there’s a cabinet at his front gate, and if the opposition were to provide FTTN cabinets at all the farmer’s front gates… why not simply extend the fibre all the way to the farmhouse.

        I’ll tell you why… because it’s pie-in-the-sky, and it ain’t gonna happen. Not with fraudband NBN… not even with the “real” NBN. Not in my lifetime anyway.

        Australia is a big country. That’s why the fixed wireless and satelite solutions have been developed.

      • Karl
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink |

        2 points:
        1) It’s the FttP users who are subsidising those in wireless areas to make them viable.
        1) FttN makes sense in no areas – but especially not the more regional areas because where premises are more spread out the nodes cover much fewer premises making them a waste of money.

      • Brett Haydon
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink |

        The coalition plan is to upgrade the wireless to be capable of 25Mbps. No FTTN for regional subscribers…

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

          Well it seems to be how they claim success by doing something that has already been done http://delimiter.com.au/2013/02/06/nbn-confirms-doubled-satellite-wireless-speeds/
          Likewise with claiming the HFC areas as already completed under their plan.
          If you build less of a network I would expect it to cost less.

        • Craig Watkins
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

          I suspect that FTTN is potentially on the radar from the coalition camp. You need to consider the comments on utilising the fixed wireless infrastructure for mobile. Also, I don’t think that all the cards have been played yet.

          FTTP is most certainly NOT subsidising fixed wireless areas. The cost per premises for FTTP is around 3x the highest estimate of the fixed wireless cost. Other estimates would put this factor at 5x or 6x.

          FTTN does make sense for SOME regional areas. In many areas there are significant clusters of premises around exchanges. In the Harcourt case (I am familiar with this only because that’s where I live), two towers are planned quite close together to provide coverage to up to 30% of the premises. The other 70% will presumably have to operate off copper in any event. 200 or so premises are within 1km of the central exchange, so VDSL here would be an obvious choice. There are also a number of smaller clusters that would be well-served by smaller FTTN equipment options — presumably these exist as the situation here is not unique globally. We should also consider the option of ADSL repeater equipment for more remote customers. Ultimately those not served would be pushed onto satellite — probably far less fitting in this category than with 2.3GHz foliage factors for the fixed wireless offering.

          FTTN most certainly does make sense in Harcourt. Fixed wireless relies on ADSL in any event, and with usage increasingly turning to streaming the conention issue with fixed wireless will imply far greater service levels through ADSL (with appropriate provisioning). Replace ADSL with VDSL and see how many are likely to opt for the fixed wireless service. You will get a few in the outer regions, but the bulk of the population base in the central region will be well-served by VDSL/FTTN. So you have options for the more remote bits: FTTN with smaller node equipment options, or fixed wireless. If you figure at least $300k to erect a fixed wireless tower, this will pay for quite a few smaller nodes. I’d be willing to bet that FTTN will win out over fixed wireless in all but the most spread-out regions. Don’t forget that the radius of the fixed wireless offering is severely limited to obtain the high SNR needed for 16-QAM (QPSK doesn’t get a look in for the NBN LTE).

          • Posted 19/04/2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink |

            @Craig Watkins

            FTTP is most certainly NOT subsidising fixed wireless areas. The cost per premises for FTTP is around 3x the highest estimate of the fixed wireless cost. Other estimates would put this factor at 5x or 6x.

            I have NO idea where you got this, but it is completely untrue. FTTP is (according to today’s Senate Hearings) $2300-$2600 per premises. Exactly as NBNCo. predicted in their Corporate Plan. The Fixed Wireless premises on the other hand, according to the Corporate Plan, are $3000-$4000/premises, depending on density. Compared to supplying these premises with FTTP, which would be $5000 upwards.

            FTTP IS subsidising Fixed Wireless. Otherwise how would they offer $27 for 25Mbps on Fixed Wireless when it costs nearly twice as much to supply the service?? No to mention CVC.

            • Craig Watkins
              Posted 23/04/2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink |

              Previously I saw a figure on NBN Fixed Wireless talking about $2billion project cost for 2150 (approx) tower sites. Some of these are obviously co-located with existing towers, some are new towers. This translates to around $930,000 per tower (ignoring any differences in the classes of new or existing towers). In anyone’s eyes this is a considerable amount. I made an informal enquiry to an Ericsson manager and the consensus was more like $350,000. The NBN Co submission to the recent Joint Select Committee details a cost range of $400,000 to $440,000 for new tower sites.

              If we assume the upper figure and further assume that the Harcourt example is broadly representative (not a bad assumption as other calculations can show), then we have a cost of $880,000 for 660 premises. This translates to $1333 per premises.

              Are you still convinced that Fixed Wireless is somehow being subsidised by the rest of the country?

              Note though that the Fixed Wireless design allows for service subscription levels of only 30% penetration. Presumably additional RF bandwidth (with additional antenna and other tower-base equipment) can be added for a lot less than the $400k to service additional subscribers.

              I do question the use of this 30% design ratio. I know 2.3GHz suffers severely with foliage, and I acknowledge that the fixed wireless cell radii are small to allow for good SNR (good signal strength) in order to facilitate the higher symbol rate modulation schemes (64 QAM close in and 16 QAM further out). However, the obvious question is how many premises will not be able to obtain good signal and hence no NBN fixed wireless service due to foliage in the line-of-sight? Is this a factor behind the seemingly low design factor of 30% maximum fixed wireless adoption?

              Ignoring this concern, the primary concern with fixed wireless is that it is effectively a shared 40 Mbps RF channel with a maximum of 60 subscribers (30% of the design maximum of 200 premises).

              If individual channel data usage patterns are primarily web surfing and viewing short low-definition video content (as embedded in online news reports), the overall QoS (Quality of Service) is perhaps likely to be “acceptable” for many of the fixed wireless towers. Frustration will be present during “busy hour” times, but overall it is possible to argue that NBN fixed wireless is a “practical” engineering solution.

              The global consensus is however that data usage demands are changing dramatically. I don’t see too many people arguing against this concept. The implications for fixed wireless are severe. As few as one or two moderately heavy users on a fixed wireless sector will dramatically impact the overall QoS experience of all other subscribers on the sector.

              I contend that fixed wireless represents an extreme short-term vision for many areas.

              FTTN has severe limitations, and if the FTTP implementation cost decreases indicated in the recent NBN Co submission to the Joint Select Committee report can be accepted, then perhaps FTTP is a real option for many of the more densely populated townships currently being pushed NBN fixed wireless. Failing this option, we should consider the applicability of FTTN here. 25/5 Mbps is far from something to jump up and down about with joy for most of the country, but if FTTN can provide this out to 1km, then it is far better in terms of overall QoS than 25/5 through fixed wireless.

              Take a look at satellite imagery of a town like Harcourt. Common to lots of other smaller towns, there is a cluster of residential-density premises within ~1km of the exchange. To service other smaller clusters of premises further out is clearly more difficult. Here the obvious options would seem to be small micro node FTTN equipment, or fixed wireless. Instead of two fixed wireless towers close to the centre of town you might consider one with the main township zone covered by FTTP or FTTN. Harcourt and many other towns are expected to see significant infill growth in these central township zones over coming years.

              Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against FTTP if it can be provided with reasonable economics (and a couple of thousand per premises fits within that category — it is nation-building infrastructure). However, I do not see that NBN Fixed Wireless provides much long-term benefit. It should only be used in areas where FTTP or FTTN doesn’t make any sense (ie. where it is too expensive to do anything else). FTTP should perhaps extend beyond the 93% point, and FTTN should be given a fair trial as an option beyond that.

              The “need” for FTTN in the sense suggested by the coalition would seem to be far from proven at this point. However, that is clearly not my point. I am only claiming that Fixed Wireless doesn’t seem to stack up well in some areas, and that FTTN should perhaps be a part of the mix.

              I hope I have been able to clarify my thinking in this long post. I readily admit to cramming a lot of ideas into a shorter earlier post, and apologise if this has confused others.

              • PeterA
                Posted 26/04/2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink |

                I’d like to add; your figures are back of the envelope; Seven’s figures are straight from the horses mouth.

                I am sure there are areas where the deployment of Wireless comes in below the average cost to deploy FTTP.

                But; NBNCo has stated the cost per premises it is seeing right now; and the fact is they have stated wireless is more expensive per premises than fibre.

                25/5 Mbps is far from something to jump up and down about with joy for most of the country, but if FTTN can provide this out to 1km, then it is far better in terms of overall QoS than 25/5 through fixed wireless..

                If they are all within 1km of the exchange; why deploy FTTN? Convince Telstra (or iiNet; or TPG; or start a neighbourhood internet company) to install a VDSL capable one. No need to build nodes if everyone is already within 1km of the exchange.

                • Craig Watkins
                  Posted 26/04/2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink |

                  The $400 to $440k range for a single fixed wireless tower is not back-of-the-envelope. It comes directly from the NBN Co submission to the recent parliamentary joint select committee. My earlier $350k estimate was back-of-the-envelope. It also seems that the initial $2 billion figure for fixed wireless from NBN Co was back-of-the-envelope, and that this has subsequently been revised to $1.4 billion.

                  The 2010 NBN Implementation study seemed to suggest an average cost per premises of around $3k for both fixed wireless and fibre. We are happy to note that the average cost per premises is now closer to $2.3k for fibre. We expect that NBN Co should also have a much clearer idea today of the cost of fixed wireless. In the local area this cost is $1333 per premises (using the higher $440k figure from above). This may be back-of-the-envelope in terms of extrapolation to the nation, but it is not atypical in the following sense:

                  Each fixed wireless tower has 3 sectors of maximum design allowance of 200 premises. Hence the maximum number of premises for each tower is 600. If we assume that a tower magically met this maximum for all three sectors then the cost per premises is $733. However, this is almost an impossible situation. The local Harcourt situation works out about 330 premises per tower average, and this is not so far away from the average nationally for each tower (if I scratch around a bit I can find these).

                  My point is not that it costs X to do fixed wireless, but that there is unlikely to be any substantive justification to yabber on that fixed wireless areas are somehow being subsidised by the rest of the nation. Indeed I see quite the opposite as the actual situation. I think we need to stop regurgitating “facts” that we may have picked up along the way without some proper consideration as to the reality of where numbers are coming from.

                  In terms of the issue of whether FTTN makes sense versus a simple installation of VDSL in the exchange, again I’m not suggesting that there is a simple answer. Clearly VDSL in the exchange would serve the needs of those close to the exchange far better than fixed wireless is likely to. There are others outside of the magic 1km radius (or whatever other number you choose). Do you supply these with fixed wireless or FTTN, or do you simply supply the central region with VDSL and make others wait a couple more years? There is no magic bullet and lots of options. The key point is that blind roll-out of fixed wireless is perhaps able to be justified in an engineering sense if you lock yourself into out-dated data traffic statistical considerations. It is perhaps able to be justified if you view the need to negotiate with Telstra differently in these regional areas as “too hard”. It is not however a good engineering or practical outcome for many of the fixed wireless communities.

                  At even the lower bound of $400k per tower, a similar spend is likely to provide for far improved service through one of these other options.

                  I believe it cost something like $25 million for the 2010 NBN Implementation Report. This covered a lot of things, but there were a large number of gaps. I’m not sure that these gaps are all that significant for the 93% of the country in the fibre footprint, but they would appear to be significant in the fixed wireless group. Satellite is perhaps again an area where not much alternative exists, although stacking the satellite offering with users unable to connect with fixed wireless due to foliage factors seems a bit insane if these users are close to an exchange or in a ‘dense’ cluster of premises that could suit FTTN.

                  We don’t seem to have much opportunity for real national debate on this issue. We are happy to jump up and down about the fact that FTTP is a rolls-royce solution to the coalition’s FTTN, but once we get past the facile comments, where is the debate? We have all seen numerous “professors” sprout rubbish and add to the community misinformation. It is one thing to see a technical misunderstanding coming from an economics professor when speaking about the NBN, but we have our fair share of “telecommunications professors” in this country doing similar things from time to time. If we can’t look to the experts, and there is way too much noise on the public discussions, then what hope is there for informed national debate?

                  As a nation we commission a report such as the 2010 NBN Implementation Study at great expense to help to fill some of the knowledge gaps. However, such a report is only ever going to be as good as the specified objectives or terms of reference, without people with comprehensive expertise driving the production of the report. Even with such people being involved (I’m not sure where such magically qualified people are found in this country), the terms of reference may be limited for political reasons. I don’t think I’m being overly cynical in suggesting this possibility.

                  No online forum such as this can hope to drive national debate. However, it can potentially hope to raise the profile of key issues such that we might see wider debate.

                  The big consulting companies such as McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and others, have a role to play in objective analysis and synthesis of core ideas across complex considerations. They do this very well in many areas due to an “independent” focus and a trained mindset of looking at the big picture in a systematic way. However, in general we should not be looking to these companies to supply the primary telecommunications expertise needed for something like the NBN Implementation Study. We need to have national debate to draw in expertise from all quarters. While considerations might not be “rocket science”, they most clearly do have a significant level of complexity. It would be exceedingly unwise to take what any single person said on face value without debate. Yet, this is perhaps not far away from the reality of what has happened to date.

                  We can blame regulatory and market factors on the lack of progressive telecommunications endeavour across the board in Australia compared to many overseas countries over the last few decades. We have some very clever and passionate engineers, but as a whole our industry doesn’t seem to excite compared to the best examples from countries such as the US, UK, and other countries in Europe and Asia. While we might claim that a comparison with the best in the international environment is unfair, the fact is that the opportunities to be progressive don’t seem to be a big part of the national psyche. A lack of practical endeavour in this sense is clearly not just limited to telecommunications, and is a large part of the rationale behind the entire CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) program. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we can’t point to success. I am simply saying we don’t seem to compare favourably on a global stage in many ways.

                  The consequence of this fact is that we do seem to have a dearth of real experts in telecommunications as in many areas. We have a supply of very bright people in academic settings that are often doing great things in niche areas, but we don’t in general have strong connections from here to the industry sector in this country. Equally we have some bright engineers in industry, but the reality is perhaps that most young engineers speed more time on management than engineering before very long in their careers. The reasons for this are non-trivial, but the result is very real, in a dearth of broad-based engineering competence at the highest levels, honed through years in a variety of engineering roles.

                  The question remains: Where do we look for national debate?

                  For his part, as Shadow Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has not had direct access to NBN Co in the same way that the government has. This has perhaps forced him to fill in a lot of knowledge gaps through his own journey of learning in conjunction with The Hon Paul Fletcher, MP, and perhaps a small team of advisors. Does this represent a route to national debate? I doubt it, at least not by itself. It is simply not easy to assimilate the vast amount of background experience a senior engineer would be expected to acquire over a couple of decades (at world best practice level). Malcolm Turnbull and Paul Fletcher are not new to this area and are clearly extremely well informed. We have to admit this even though we might have differences of opinions on key points. Are there big gaps in their knowledge at this point in time? Almost certainly! No doubt these can be filled over time, but the point is that expectation that national debate can be primarily informed on technical matters by a political party in opposition would seem as insensible as suggesting it can be primarily informed by the efforts of a large consulting company.

                  I suspect the way to ensure a lively national debate starts with expecting that our publicly owned companies such as NBN Co outline the rationale to all their key decisions. I fail to see that there is much public interest served by hiding behind a veil of secrecy. If we take the fixed wireless issue as an example, then I am suggesting that NBN Co should provide far more than their glossy PR brochure for public consumption. There should be readily available information from the company discussing the key design parameters (40Mbps RF channel, 200 premises, 60 subscribers, etc.). Rationale should be provided for key decisions, and links should be made to “foundation” reports such as the 2010 NBN Implementation Study. Of particular interest should be noting clearly the changes in “as designed today” compared to “as conceived previously”. Without this the public is left guessing as to what is actually being implemented and to what extent it is likely to serve their real needs.

                  It is obviously a lot harder to imagine this sort of information being available if the NBN implementation model was one of private company provision of network construction services. However, in this case the decisions being made shift to the terms of various government funding incentive programs. This is not the situation we currently have with the NBN, so it is perhaps of little interest. However, the same ideas apply to other areas of government involvement.

                  It is important to note that wherever the transparency is needed, it is only ever going to be the opposition calling for transparency and not the government. It is perhaps a bit naive to imagine that any newly elected government would actually spend much time improving transparency. The interest is likely to remain “playing politics” as opposed to governing in the national interest.

                  So the question still remains: Where do we look to for national debate?

                  It seems that perhaps this is indeed the zillion dollar question not just for NBN, but for many other things. While various media outlets struggle to adapt to changing times, we can’t expect too much leadership from that sector. In any event there is a heavily entrenched mindset of reporting the news rather than being a part of creating it. “The Conversation” would appear to offer the prospect of broad academic debate on issues such as this, but I suspect their very narrow definition of what constitutes “an academic” will prevent much coming from that direction.

                  I just posted a question on “Our Say” on this issue of encouraging national debate. If others agree that this is the key concern, then feel free to surf over to Our Say and cast your vote. Perhaps fora like this can indeed be the grass-roots action leading to real national debate!

                  At the end of the day we will all have differences of opinion about various things. With luck we can form consensus viewpoints on key matters as long as a proper national debate exists. It would seem to serve short term political interest to shroud decisions in secrecy and provide limited real information to the public. However, this clearly does not seem to provide for much longer-term benefit to the nation.

                  The NBN Fixed Wireless roll-out is just one example where transparency is needed. We must ensure that the trade-offs visible at the project engineer level have featured prominently in the senior-level decision process. We must ensure that “Chinese Whispers” has not created a situation where very real technical concerns have not even featured significantly in the decision process. Several management layers in the chain can very easily create such a situation. I suspect this is part of the problem with NBN Fixed Wireless, but it is not the only concern. Perusal of the 2010 NBN Implementation Study shows that little attention was paid to alternatives from day one.

                  I ask only for the best bang-for-your-buck NBN to serve this nation for the next 20+ years. To get this we would seem to need transparency and real, informed national debate. I don’t care which side of politics provides this, but I do think that we as constituents need to call for it.

                  • Posted 26/04/2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink |


                    While I appreciate your sentiments, your analysis has a few flaws:

                    1- NBNCo. wireless towers are based on an average 200 premises PER TOWER not per sector. Please see NBNCo. Network design rules, page 21. Having 600 premises PER TOWER would result in 1.2 million premises covered, when only 450k are needed. This works out to be, then, approx $2200 per premises. Not $1333.

                    2- NBNCo’s assumed takeup of wireless is forecast to be approx 45%. Please see NBNCo. Corporate Plan.

                    3- What more information do you want that NBNCo. hasn’t provided?? They’re the most scrutinised company in Australia right now. The only information they won’t supply is CiC data from contracts. No private, let alone public, company would do that. They’d never do business with anyone.

                    I dont really understand what your issue is with VDSL and Fixed Wireless. I’m on 8Mbps DSL. I’d be over the moon to have 25Mbps fixed Wireless. Yes, there will be issues for some….as there would be on VDSL because the copper is by far the worst in the last 7%.

                    I’m sorry, I don’t actually get what you’re arguing about?

                    • Craig Watkins
                      Posted 26/04/2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink |

                      Thanks for the info.

                      Page 21 of the Network Design Rules just confirms what I have already said about the fixed wireless system. The design is for 60 subscribers per sector, but this translates to a design parameter of 200 premises maximum per sector. It is unreasonable to expect a system design to allow for all premises to connect, and NBN Co seem to have chosen 30% as the magic number. (I only know this as I’ve talked to a senior NBN Co engineer on this one — I can’t point you to any published information.)

                      I’m sorry, but I can’t find any reference to 45% take-up in the corporate plan. I do see on page 72 consolidated figures for fixed wireless and satellite indicating mostly less than 30% adoption, and a figure is quoted on page 75 of 24% adoption. Given the 30% factor in the fixed wireless design process, I’d be surprised to see an expected take-up of 45%. However, many sectors will have less than the maximum of 200 premises, and the limit of 60 subscribers still applies so the average take up rate could be greater than this design limit 30% rate. Perhaps I simply missed the vital info and you can point it out?

                      What more information do I want to see? Plenty! Where is the discussion about the details of the fixed wireless design? Where is the information on where the rest of the $1.4 billion is going? I believe the answer here is indeed back-haul network, but clearly this applies in a highly uneven fashion across the approx. 2150 sites.

                      The local situation involves no significant cost here as a microwave mesh network is used from the towers to the local larger town where fibre is deployed. Such a situation applies for all 12 towers in the local shire and many more in surrounding shires. However, this shire is far from “remote” on a national level. Many other fixed wireless towers are indeed likely to have no nearby fibre access, and this will need to be provided by NBN at tremendous expense. No doubt this portion of fixed wireless areas requiring large network expense is the reason why the average deployment cost of fixed wireless is now noted to be higher than the average fibre cost.

                      Does 30% create 70% of the cost? I have no real idea, and I have not seen anything to suggest that this type of information is publicly available from NBN Co. I feel it probably should be to allow the public to fully understand what NBN Co is facing/doing.

                      I do contend that there are many tower sites not dissimilar to the local context where $1333 per premises is closer to the reality. Two points: (1) for even this spend in some areas I’m sure NBN Co can do better — see earlier comments about VDSL/fixed wireless mix; and (2) some areas must of course be far cheaper than the national average, but is it equitable to both give a region such as the Mount Alexander Shire (and other similar regions) poorer service than average and ask them to subsidise the rest of the country?

                      It gets back to whether you think 25/5 on fixed wireless is OK or significantly worse than 25/5 over fibre. This in turn requires some consideration of trends in individual usage. How often is the reality of fixed wireless closer to the full contention rate of 0.66 Mbps down and 0.15 Mbps up? Perhaps not very often with common usage patterns today, but what about next year???

                      And yes, there has been no focus on this issue by either political party, but that is more an issue with the lack of national debate than to claim the issue is somehow not an issue.

                      Feel free to add comment. I do not claim to know everything by any means, but I also have not seen a scrap of comment from any source to date that casts any doubt on any of the points I have made. I am more than happy to move past trading insults and start discussion with the hope of improving my own understanding and general knowledge about what I see as an important issue for the nation.

                      • Posted 27/04/2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink |

                        You thank him for the information and then don’t modify your argument to account for the new information?

                      • Posted 27/04/2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink |


                        Firstly, quite correct, 25%, not 45%. Slip of the keys.

                        Lets analyse that for a moment?

                        25% of an average 200 premises at (let’s assume the worst) 25Mbps gives us 50×25= 1250Mbps total peak throughput (this would include some that only took 12Mbps and some that took more than one 25Mbps service). Now, all towers are provided with 180Mbps minimum of fibre or microwave backhaul. At this level then, contention sits at approx. 1:7. That’s LOWER than your average Business DSL connection (1:10) and much lower than your average residential connection (1:30-1:80). Now, would I expect this to stay static? Of course not. Just like the fibre areas, it will grow. Lets say another 5 years after completion, 2020 (assuming NBNCo. launch 50Mbps services, which is likely in many areas, but not all, depending on spectrum) we have a 40% takeup of 35Mbps average- not an unreasonable growth. That now give s us 80x35Mbps or 2800. Now we’ve a contention ratio of 15.5. STILL higher than almost all residential offerings of DSL and certainly than many offerings in fibre (medium to budget range).’ And this, of course, assumes absolutely NO backhaul upgrades, while at the same time upgrading to LTE-A to ensure increased user throughput. Which is ridiculous- if you’re going to put in LTE-A, you would at least double backhaul capacity at the time. No issue for either fibre or microwave in 5 years.

                        As you can see, even with fairly unrealistic expectations, there is no chance of the towers becoming significantly more congested than fibre, let alone current DSL (which is not a great model in and of itself I might add, but a model nonetheless).

                        On your other issue, which I now understand- what you want is a detailed analysis of the CROSS-SUBSIDY of wireless. ie, how much did this tower cost compared with that one and could savings have been made from making, say, 400 towers VDSL cabinets instead? There are 2 major issues with that line of thinking in my eyes:

                        1- VDSL CANNOT be guaranteed. Now, you might say, neither can wireless. NBNCo. have a limit of -92dB signal strength which will provide a minimum of 25/5Mbps over normal LTE, in all but the absolute worst atmospheric conditions (monsoon/cyclones or massive electrical storms). VDSL is entirely dependent on your line. But, you might say, if there’s only a few lines that bad, they can be remediated. Of course, but how far do you go? Where do you draw the line AFTER finding out how bad the copper is in an area before saying “this is too hard, its’ going to be cheaper and more reliable for all to go to fixed-LTE”

                        2- Ubiquity. With 4% on wireless and 3% on satellite, it’s bad enough trying to homogenise bandwidth and potential applications for the last 7%. I’ve always been an advocate of the idea that any increased revenue from NBNCo. above and beyond price stabilisation (ie- real value flatline of prices) should be used for extending the fibre footprint where viable first. Ideally, in all the wireless and some portion of satellite areas, making for a system which is close to what we have now (98.9% copper line penetration I believe.) in a decades time. With fibre to 98-99% of homes (there will always be a portion of premises that are simply unviable to connect via fibre and satellite will continue to play a role here) the true possibilities of e-commerce, health, education and entertainment are unlocked for almost the entire population, leading to large savings and efficiencies in many sectors as well as high contributions to the economy. If we start to add in VDSL, while potentially not an issue, what happens, again, to those that cannot be guaranteed at 25/5 connection as a minimum? Do we upgrade them to fibre straight away? (as the Coalition originally suggested, before they backed down once they realised how stupid that would be) Remediate the copper? That’s drawing a long bow on useful return. The copper will eventually be bled dry, even with good maintenance. And before you say, but it’s being maintained in the 7%, yes, but ONLY for voice. There is no requirement for a it to be serviceable for data.

                        The fact is, fixed-wireless LTE and even LTE-A are not some saviour technologies for those who aren’t viable for fibre. It is a transition fixed-line technology, just like VDSL. You wish to know if there’s a BETTER or cheaper way to do it? It’s feasible, I don’t deny that. But why, when already 1/3 of the way through construction, would you change it?? Could it have been done better? Perhaps. But then, it could just as easily have ended up getting nowhere because of complications in adding VDSL etc. to long copper lines and the 7% could have NO guarantees from either party right now what they’ll get in 2015. You say will 25/5 be enough in a year, or 2? Perhaps not, as is likely. But it CAN be upgraded relatively painlessly to LTE-A to increase that to 50/20 for a large portion of the footprint. Something NOT anywhere as easy to do on VDSL, simply because of line length.

                        The 7% was not, as some would have you believe, an afterthought. It was a selection of technologies that are proven, reliable and relatively cheap and painless to rollout quickly. As I said before, could something else have been done to guarantee better service? Perhaps, but how much longer and how much more would it have cost? Government’s are always accused of not “doing their research” after the fact. But in many cases, it turns out they did- its’ just that no one said the magic words “Yes, you can”. Saying “might” and “possible” to GOVERNMENT doesn’t cut it. It does for Opposition’s (ahem….), but Government’s need solidarity in projections and possibilities. That’s never easy with Technology, but choosing a standardised, ratified, highly-upgradable, easily implementable and high-quality fixed wireless solution is eminently more sensible than relying on completely untested assumptions of the possibilities on GOOD copper (in 2009, Vectoring wasn’t even out of the lab) , let alone the possibility of bad copper in the 7% (VDSL).

                  • Posted 26/04/2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink |


                    Please, for the love of god, learn to be concise. Although I took the time to read you post I frankly have absolutely no idea what you just said.

                    However, I will point out the following. The local area cost you have quoted does not include factors like Transit fibre and premises equipment costs, only the cost of the tower. If you add those costs in you would realise the cost per premises is actually, as stated in the Senate Estimates, is over $3000/premises

                    Therefore, as it seems the entirety of your post is about inadequate debate and misinformation, and adding to the fact that your back of the envelope calculations have come to a conclusion contrary to expert opinion I concluded that you have no idea what you are talking about, and instead of directly contesting PeterA and explaining your position you decided to baffle us with some noble speech about how the state of national debate.

                    I find that extremely hypocritical Craig, and interesting enough, this entire thread is redundant because under the Coalition plan the wireless sections will remain unchanged according to the plan.

                    It is all well and good to suggest that, in your previous post, that wireless is a short term solution, but don’t forget, the alternative on the table is even more of a short term solution than the current NBN. Frankly, I don’t know how you think we as a country can afford, long term, considering the CAN network will continue to operate for the next decade, to pay to rollout expensive infrastructure to remote areas.

                    If you’re a bitter customer getting fixed-wirelsss, I sympathise, but ultimately, you need to get over and stop expecting the government to fix your own problems.

                    I find it somewhat ironic using that last line. :)

      • TrevorX
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink |

        Please do try to construct a coherent sentence, Craig. It really is difficult trying to decipher meaning from your rambling nonsense.

        Let’s work on key words, then. You’ve mentioned high contention on fixed wireless. Under ALP NBN those not covered by FTTH will be delivered fixed wireless or satellite services guaranteed to provide a minimum of 25mb/s downstream. The network is designed specifically to handle the number of clients for each service, so contention will not be an issue: those premises will receive exactly the service that has been promised and nothing less – the network design is robust enough to ensure this and flexible enough to provide substantial scope for future upgrades. FTTH will have zero impact on the performance of fixed wireless subscribers – your confusion here simply demonstrates your fundamental lack of understanding for what contention actually is.

        You go on to make a false assertion about the applicability of FTTN to solve this fictional problem. Ignoring for a moment that we don’t actually have a problem to solve, the fact that you make mention of FTTN in relation to regional premises further demonstrates (as though any more evidence was needed) just how little you comprehend about the subject; in order for VDSL over FTTN to achieve even the stated 25mb/s the subscriber needs to be less than 500m from the node. As Emmett said, they would have to stick a Node out the front of every farm (in fact, in many cases it would have to be located a fair way on their property). FTTN is useless for regional premises. Please refer to this graph for a comparison of network performance over distance between competing technologies (hint – FTTH is the horizontal line right up the top).

    12. NBNAlex
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink |


      Having for years argued speeds aren’t important, the naysayers since MT’s announcement have started arguing speed is important but the difference between the ‘proposed’ FttP speed and FttN speed being negligible, made FttN a viable alternative…

      So what now?

      Back to the old cost argument I’m guessing… $125B anyone?

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink |

        Your attributing too much imagination to folks that none, I think they’ll just stick to the “Who needs more than 25Mbp/s anyway!!1″…

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink |


          • NBNAlex
            Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink |

            Agree, plus the $125B of course ;)

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink |

        “So what now?”

        Coalition fraudband destroyed again…

        “Back to the old cost argument I’m guessing… $125B anyone?”

        No, no Alex. I’m pretty sure they’ll say it is all a political stunt just like when Quigley announced 1gbps would be possible on the NBN back in 2010. Thing is we’ve known for some time now that these plans would be made available at some point so that argument holds no water

        Anyway, me personally if I was running NBNco I would have done it sooner rather than later. I’m also interested to see now many people would upgrade specifically to the 250/100mbps plan and if these people will be considered the new “tech enthusiasts” and if those on 100/40mbps will still be considered “tech enthusiasts”, we will see…

      • Non Puto
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

        Back to the old cost argument I’m guessing… $125B anyone?
        Plus it will add another 5+ years to the build as there will need to be gigabit fibre installed to allow for this electioneering upgrade to happen ;)

        This simple addition to the speed scales shows the undeniable truth to why the current and only NBN is the only real way forward for communications infrastructure in Australia!

        Quigley for Prime Minister!

        • Mathew
          Posted 20/04/2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink |

          > This simple addition to the speed scales shows the undeniable truth to why the current and only NBN is the only real way forward for communications infrastructure in Australia!

          Why? Those who need 1Gbps will pay the ~$3000 for fibre it is much cheaper in the long run than $150/month AVC ($1800/year).

          Yes it would be nice to have FTTP (preferably direct fibre like Google) but Labor have so badly managed the project that it simply is unlikely to happen now. Secondly the 50% that Labor are content to see connect at 12Mbps will have more than double the speed (25Mbps) and quadruple in 2019 (50Mbps).

          The Labor fanbois have done this country a disservice by refusing to criticise NBNCo and are sadly now seeing the result of that.

          • Abel Adamski
            Posted 20/04/2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink |

            What a deal, I did not read it in the plan , but as you have stated it, it must be true.

            Why? Those who need FTTP 1Gb will pay the ~$3000 for fibre, it is much cheaper in the long run than $150/month AVC ($1800/year).

            Just pay the $3,000 fibre install (whenever it can be done if not applied for when install of FTTN happening ) and there are NO AVC Charges, so effectively free broadband, great deal, but seeing as that $3,000 is only 1/2 the install cost on a one off so NBN is losing money, still paying $3,000 to provide your FTTP and not collecting any AVC

            • tinman_au
              Posted 22/04/2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

              Not sure why the Libs want to charge $3000 for it anyway, BT starts from £200 :/

          • tinman_au
            Posted 22/04/2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink |

            Secondly the 50% that Labor are content to see connect at 12Mbps will have more than double the speed (25Mbps) and quadruple in 2019 (50Mbps).

            Shame the Libs will be charging $66 for that 25Mbps…

      • RocK_M
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink |

        125Billion? My guess will be 200billion =P

        I predicted the “100billion estimate” ages ago when this debate started and here we are today. And the Coalition has predictibly managed to inflate the cost to 100billion.

    13. midspace
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink |

      “while at the time Tony Abbott dismissed the promised speeds as an election ploy”

      And Tony Abbott is so far up himself like a Camel with its head in the sand, that he can’t see anything going on around him.

      NBNCo roadmaps have been available since well before the election was announced.
      Admittedly the 1000Mbps speeds are a little early (slated H2 2013), but releasing the information now only helps inform every one of their choices.


    14. NPSF3000
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink |

      This is impossible! I mean, did not the extensively researched coalition document clearly state that all the NBN would deliver is 100Mbps in 202? ?

    15. Node4Me
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink |

      When you are under the pump it’s time to deploy a smokescreen, although the timing of the announcement is a bit off the Coalition Policy release was 10 days ago, I suppose an announcement too close would look like it is politically motivated (it is anyway).

      Nice to have something else in the brief case when you are facing the hard questions about rollover delays by the Parliamentary committee on Friday, but that 1 Gig announcement was just coincidence on timing.

      “Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Lee questioned whether the announcement of 1Gbps speeds was a “political ploy” by Mr Quigley to increase pressure on the Coalition.

      “To be rolling out 1Gbps to everybody when they are so far behind their corporate plan targets you would question the methodology or the thinking behind it,” Mr Lee said.”



      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink |

        Yes, that’s right, even though it’s in their road map from 2012, it’s a political ploy /rolleyes

      • Tinman_au
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink |

        And while I’m at it, what’s up with Peter Lee? You’d expect the “Internet Industry Association” CEO to understand a change to 1Gbp/s is back end, it doesn’t require re-running fibre to a house, so has little, if any, effect on the speed of the roll-out…

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink |

        Speaking of smokescreen…

        Why is it that the chronically anti-NBN can never admit anything NBN is good, not once?

        Surely such progression, competition and choice for consumers, in having 1Gbps is a GOOD thing…?

        Oh sorry your blokes plan revolves around the old antiquated copper and 25Mbps donn’t they? How embarrassing for them.

        • Mathew
          Posted 20/04/2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink |

          > Surely such progression, competition and choice for consumers, in having 1Gbps is a GOOD thing…?

          Only if consumers can afford it. The NBNCo Corporate Plan clearly suggests that NBNCo expect very few 1Gbps connections (less than 5% in 20280

          > Oh sorry your blokes plan revolves around the old antiquated copper and 25Mbps donn’t they? How embarrassing for them.

          Yes, only cheaper and double (quadruple in 2019) the speed of the FTTP plan for 50% of fibre customers. I’d consider that embarrassing for FTTP advocates. Plus the Coalition plan makes it easy to obtain fibre for those who require the speed. Pretty sad when the majority of customers on a FTTN plan will be faster than FTTP.

          • NANAccuracy
            Posted 20/04/2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink |

            “Only if consumers can afford it. The NBNCo Corporate Plan clearly suggests that NBNCo expect very few 1Gbps connections (less than 5% in 20280:
            Oh really? I am sure you can point out where they say this. Of course you wouldn’t be lying about something like that. It would dtestory what little credibility you have.

            “Yes, only cheaper and double (quadruple in 2019) the speed of the FTTP plan for 50% of fibre customers. I’d consider that embarrassing for FTTP advocates. Plus the Coalition plan makes it easy to obtain fibre for those who require the speed. Pretty sad when the majority of customers on a FTTN plan will be faster than FTTP:

            Vareful you don’t start going beyond that. You might accidentally show the limits of the Coalition plan deadline around there.

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 20/04/2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink |

            Exactly and WITHOUT the NBN and with user pays FttP, they certainly won’t.

            Seriously I can’t understand how you can expect to be taken seriously by suggestion FttP supplied by the government is less affordable than FttP which is user pays…!

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 20/04/2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink |

            “The NBNCo Corporate Plan clearly suggests that NBNCo expect very few 1Gbps connections (less than 5% in 20280″

            The NBNCo Corporate Plan also clearly suggests that only 8% would be on the 100/40mbps plan this year. The number is now 31%. You lost.

            “Plus the Coalition plan makes it easy to obtain fibre for those who require the speed”

            This is an interesting statement. Flip-flop ftw. You’ve basically gone from saying speed tiers shouldn’t exist because it disadvantages the poor and everyone should be on 1gbps like Google fibre to the next extreme which is not everyone requires 1gbps and if they need it can pay for fibre on demand… Up to $5000 or more plus whatever you end up having to pay your ISP doesn’t sound very easy to me. I doubt that you’ll find many who will agree with you either since most people have more than one brain cell.

            “I’d consider that embarrassing for FTTP advocates. ”

            At this stage I think you’re just embarrassing yourself…

            “Pretty sad when the majority of customers on a FTTN plan will be faster than FTTP.”

            Pretty sad when the coalition are saying the majority will be on 12/1mbps with FttN too.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink |

        Of course, because all anyone caresd about is politics and no one gives a damn about a good solution for Australia’s communications needs. Is showing the current FTTH solution is one that can increase in speeds to provide for the future politics? I guess it depends on how you look at things. I prefer to look at the best solution regardless of party. Not everyone’s view of everything is tainted by their political allegences. Not having any and purely looking at policy and results is a more pragmatic approach.

        • Non Puto
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |


          Good post

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

        BTW alain, why the name change? Were you banned again?

        • AJ
          Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink |

          He was I believe

    16. Soth
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink |

      Man it’s going to be a punch in the guts if Liberal’s win the next election, to know that I was this close to getting fibre! :(

    17. Harri
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink |

      I’ve been suspicious of MT’s links to OZEmail for some time,
      EFTel and IInet have invested in VDSL Tech since 2008, the same tech that would be used for a FTTN deployment.
      IInet brought out Ozemail, which MT benefits from.
      It’s not hard to imagine that some ISPs may have MT’s ear.
      It also strikes me that publicly supporting the NBN while secretly talking about alternative policies with politicians would be a good way to keep the attention off of yourself, MT and Abbott take the heat, the ISPs keep supporting them.


      Then again, this could just be me being paranoid.

      • Nathaniel
        Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink |

        You are being paranoid, MT is a rude sob everytime he is talking to or about anyone from iinet.

    18. Paul Krueger
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink |

      I had to laugh at some of the report saying contention will be an issue, here some figures I provided to my QUT Engineering group.

      Here’s an example using 1 gig plans and extremely large plans.
      – You have less than 32 people sharing a 2.5 gig GPON node.
      – Everyone is on a 1 gig plan.
      – Each person has 2 terabyte of downloads a month.

      That would be a total of ~ 5 hours of full speed download for each person a month, or 0.008 of the month.

      You can see that the occations when 3 or more would simultaneously wish to use their full 1 gig speeds and be slowed by contention would be rare.

      • Stephen Gentle
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

        Not to mention that gigabit speeds probably will be too expensive for the average home for the next three to five years, so only businesses will be using it at present until the prices come down.

        In ten to fifteen years, when gigabit speeds are normal, NBN Co should probably have upgraded the NTUs and ONT equipment to 10G-PON (or 100G-PON which is not yet even specced but should be available by then) so you’ll be able to get 2.5Gbps with little contention for the fibre (Or we could have the Coalition’s plan and only be getting ‘up to’ 50mbps by then – it’s a toss up at this point).

        The other part is that the retail service providers tend to only provision 50:1 or similar amount of bandwidth in the CVC and transit from the POP, so that’s more going to be the problem (but hopefully the NBN will allow a lot more competition between providers so ones not provisioning enough backhaul will be forced to upgrade)

        • Nathaniel
          Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink |

          It’s my understanding that ONT’s don’t need to be upgraded until we need more than 1gbps speeds, and even then they will only need to upgrade the ONT’s for those that order the faster service.

          And the same goes for what they could do to rectify any issues they have if a bunch of people take out the higher plans in an area, they can just add some new faster equipment on the NBNCo side and still use the same ONT’s they are currently using.

          Please correct me if I’m wrong, which I very well could be :D

          • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:29 am | Permalink |


            Bang on. Current ONT’s will do 1Gbps/400Mbps. Being switched on late this year. Business capable ONT’s doing 1Gbps Symmetrical )possibly higher at some stage) will be available from 2015 or so.

            Further upgrades will almost certainly be on demand NBNCo. have said.

    19. Aaron
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink |

      Let’s see Mals copper #fraudband try to compete with that…

      Mal i know you read this so ill just say ill take 100/40Mbps + over your UPTO 80/5 anyday AND THATS BEING EXTREMELY GENEROUS .

    20. Sathias
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink |

      I’d be happy with 100Mbps for now, but good to have the extra capacity there.

    21. Frank Miller
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

      1Gbps is fantastic news, I will certainly get it, if it gets to my home.

      Ask yourself why do countries experienced with 100mbps like South Korea and Sweden upgrading to 1Gbps? … shouldn’t 100mbps be lasting them for the next several decades or so, lol?? The truth is, I think 1Gbps will be standard for developed countries in the near future.

      Coalition is investing billions into this infrastructure and is aiming for 50mbps?? Really??

      Regardless of how bad a picture Delimiter is painting for Labor’s NBN now, I’d never vote for the Coalition, not in a million years.

      • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:17 am | Permalink |

        Reports today suggest Japan has just gone to 2Gbps.


        • Posted 20/04/2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink |

          Too late David:


          Already done. And by The Australian…..as expected….

          • TrevorX
            Posted 20/04/2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink |

            BTW nice to have you back, 7tech :-) Your input has been sorely missed the past couple of weeks.

            • Posted 20/04/2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink |


              Cheers :-) Needed a break from the madness. And work got on top of me a bit.

              Nice to be back!

              • tinman_au
                Posted 22/04/2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink |

                Welcome back buddy!

          • Posted 23/04/2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink |

            What can we say… guess they were right all along and Labor’s NBN is indeed already as outdated as they’ve been saying. Pah! Only 1Gbps for Australia.

            Better to just stop it now and go back to communicating via smoke signals.

            It would certainly make Instagram an interesting exercise. Most people would struggle to blow a smoke ring, much less model an entire cat photo in smoke.

        • TrevorX
          Posted 20/04/2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink |

          Much easier to do when you’re only deploying to a single city with one of the highest population densities in the world. Unfortunately stories like this lead the uneducated to conclude that private enterprise can deliver faster and cheaper, when the reality is essentially the opposite. Let’s see Sony (or insert any private company you’d care to name) deliver FTTH across a country as big as Australia with such a low population density. The only reason it works for NBN Co is the extremely modest ROI, a return much smaller than the risks warrant for a private company that needs to return a reasonable profit to its share holders.

    22. Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink |

      Mathew hasn’t commented yet? This article is way up his alley.

      Let me get the ball rolling for him:

      -Only 50% of customers are protected to use the 12Mbps plan.

      -It will be cheaper to pay for FTTHoD than pay the prices set by NBNCo.

      -NBNCo should be offering 1Gbps as the standard plan otherwise low income families miss out.

      Did I miss anything? xD

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

        You could point out that prices will skyrocket because CVC will increase 630% based on expected growth in usage and then don’t point out that the dollar increase is about $5.

      • AJ
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

        Banned as well I think but probably posting unger Gods truth

      • Abel Adamski
        Posted 20/04/2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink |

        See above, add on cheaper to pay $3,000 to install FTTP from an active node for 1Gb rather than paying $150/Month Wholesale for AVC

        • Stephen G
          Posted 21/04/2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink |

          I forgot the part where you wouldn’t have to pay for internet access in the Coalition’s plan after you paid for installation.

          In reality, it would be the thousands of dollars for installation, PLUS the $150 AVC price…

    23. dave
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

      upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.upload upload upload upload upload.

      I want upload. The higher download speeds are gravy.

      • Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

        With the exception of a few lower tier plans every NBN plan has a 5/2 ratio. I realise it’s not symmetric but it’s far more realistic than the current 20/1 ratios most people experience.

      • Simon Reidy
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink |

        I hear you! While I’m obviously going to love 100mbps and higher downloads, its escaping from my current 1mbps DSL upload speed that I’m most looking forward to.

    24. Brendan
      Posted 19/04/2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

      Telstra once said there’s no demand for speed.

      And then deployed ADSL2+. And then deployed NextG. And then upgraded the hell out of it. And still keeps upgrading it. And HFC. DOCIS versions have been upgraded..

      There is an established pattern that shows across the entire broadband spectrum that there will always be a demand for high speeds. Which feeds new services and options. Which drives a demand for yet more performance..


      To claim there’s no demand for faster internet, is to ignore decades of history that patently shows otherwise.

      • Woolfe
        Posted 19/04/2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink |

        Telstra’s advertising pretty much revolves around the speed aspect of 4G as well. You can be pretty sure Speed is important to consumers when the advertisers start playing it up

    25. Goddy
      Posted 20/04/2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink |

      Stick that curve ball in your pipe and smoke it, Coalition.

      • God's Truth
        Posted 22/04/2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink |

        #Sept14 #Coalition #winning

        • tinman_au
          Posted 22/04/2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink |

          Noun: Hubris

          1. Overbearing pride or presumption

          • God's Truth
            Posted 22/04/2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink |

            #Sept14 #Coalition #Newspoll #Fairfax/Nielsen #winning

            • Posted 22/04/2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

              @God’s Truth

              Glad to see you’ve got nothing better to do….

              • God's Truth
                Posted 22/04/2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

                #Sept14 #Coalition #Newspoll #Fairfax/Nielsen #winning #suckitup

                • Posted 22/04/2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |


                  • tinman_au
                    Posted 22/04/2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

                    It’s what he falls back on when he looses a point….

                • Simon Reidy
                  Posted 22/04/2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink |

                  #immature #presumptious #pointlesshashtags #thisisnttwitter

                  • NBNAccuracy
                    Posted 22/04/2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink |

                    Grow up

                • NBNAccuracy
                  Posted 22/04/2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink |

                  And you call anyone pro NBN out as politically biased?

                • djos
                  Posted 22/04/2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink |

                  #just #confirming #you #are #an #IPA/Lib #troll

        • djos
          Posted 22/04/2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink |

          When a comedian can expose your policy as a bad joke you know you’ve Lost argument:


          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 22/04/2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink |

            That was awesome. Shaun Micallef is great if not a genius. Totally nailed it.

            • djos
              Posted 22/04/2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink |

              So true, luved the “High Speed Rail” pi$$ take at the end! :-D

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 22/04/2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink |



    26. Tel
      Posted 21/04/2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink |

      … now offering a maximum 1Gbps wholesale service …

      That would be “up to” 1Gbps service, right?

      But wait, I seem to remember something about “NBN debate full of ‘erroneous’ information”:

      “Up to” speeds, up to no good

      Professor Rod Tucker, director of Melbourne University’s Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society, said using the term “up to” when referring to broadband speeds was deceptive.

      “For example, we often hear how 3G and 4G wireless can deliver “up to” many tens or even hundreds of megabits per second. But these bandwidths can be achieved only if there is one user per wireless tower and that person is beside the tower.”

      Where did I get that from? Gosh, ummm, wait… I remember it was right here! Linking to the SMH:


      Well there you go, look at all the erroneous misinformation that you come across. Rough old world out there, sure is.

      • Posted 21/04/2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink |

        No, no it isn’t “up to” when it comes to the NBN 1Gbps service because the contention isn’t so bad that it will be practically impossible to ever achieve your stated maximum peak speed, as in the case with wireless, or factors such as line length or distance from tower as is the case in ADSL2+, VDSL, and mobile wireless standards.

        See, if you had continued to read the article you has so helpfully linked you would note that the author notes that the stated problem isn’t a problem with FTTH, and with good reason, because in all realistic implementations of the technology, it isn’t.

        Sure he wasn’t exactly technical and in-depth in explaining that just like all contended connections, which I might add at this point is practically every packeted switched network on the planet, be it connected to the Internet or otherwise, it is possible to sometimes not achieve your peak speeds but provided the designers and operators of the network adequately provision this should be very unlikely to occur. Unlike AFDL2+, VDSL and mobile wireless where the limitations of the underlying technology, not the provisioning made by the provider, is at fault when it comes to not achieving stated maximum peak speeds.

        But hey, you continue to spread erroneous misinformation under the guise of being technically correct at the expensive of actually bringing helpful conversation to the debate.

        • Tel
          Posted 24/04/2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink |

          The contention is 30 to 1.

          So if contended links are OK, just state the contention openly. Truth in advertising, that wasn’t so hard no was it?

          But abusing some people for selling contended links while giving others a pass on the same thing… that’s just hypocrisy.

          • NANAccuracy
            Posted 24/04/2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink |

            Truth in dissing too. Where do they say they will not enable 10GPON when is just a software upgrade?

          • Posted 25/04/2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink |

            Which says to me you didn’t read my post at all…

          • Djos
            Posted 25/04/2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink |

            Contention ratios are strictly up to the ISP and nothing to do with nbn co!

      • Djos
        Posted 21/04/2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink |

        You’re being a twat as usual! It’s a layer 2 bitstream product and is a full gigabit in bandwidth – there are small losses from applying layer 3 tcpip on top of that and ISP contention levels may also come into play depending if you buy your service from a Dodo vs an Internode style ISP.

        In summary you are exaggerating the situation as usual Tel, why don’t you grow up!

        • Tel
          Posted 24/04/2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink |

          It’s a SHARED layer 2 gigabit. Read the fine print. Sheesh.

          • NANAccuracy
            Posted 24/04/2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink |

            Well, at least 2.5Gb, and they haven’t specified if they intend a 10GPon upgrade which is transparent to the current GPON 2.5Gb adding 10Gb for 1Gb connections.

          • NBNAlex
            Posted 24/04/2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink |

            Err, you are arguing over up to 1Gbps whilst supporting up to 25Mbps.

            You don’t find that at all humorous…?

            I do, just sayin’

          • Djos
            Posted 25/04/2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink |

            Actually you are effectively allocated a dedicated slice of that 2.5 gbps bandwidth! Compare that with HFC where whole areas share 300mbps and are sold “100mbps” plans!

      • NBNAlex
        Posted 21/04/2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink |

        Yes and I suppose 25Mbps is almost “up to” 1 Gbps…

        Seriously is the argument getting sillier?

        • Posted 23/04/2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink |

          Gentlemen… can we all just take a deep breath and count to 10.

          [tightens grip on Delimiter Cudgel of Doom]

          Thanking you.

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