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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Friday, July 26, 2013 12:22 - 98 Comments

    BT’s FTTN has passed 16m since 2009

    news British incumbent telco BT revealed overnight that its fibre to the node network has passed more than 16 million premises since the network rollout was commenced in 2009, with more than 1.7 million customers having signed up for active connections to the infrastructure.

    BT first started deploying fibre to the node throughout Britain in January 2009, with a number of trials being conducted around the country that year, and commercial services launching 12 months later in January 2010. At the time, the platform was dubbed ‘BT Infinity’. The deployment of this kind of service can broadly be considered analogous to the 2005 plan outlined by then-Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo to upgrade Telstra’s copper network to FTTN, in that the rollout is predominantly being conducted by an incumbent telco which already owns its own copper network and all associated infrastructure, and which already has tens of thousands of engineers in the field to help deploy new infrastructure.

    That same year, 2010, BT’s infrastructure arm Openreach, announced it would deploy FTTN to some 19 million households across the UK, and in October 2010, UK regulator Ofcom announced that BT would be required to provide open access to its fibre infrastructure, in the same way that telcos such as Optus, iiNet and TPG access Telstra’s network in Australia.

    In May 2012, OpenReach announced it had passed the 10 million premises mark, and the end of June 2014, Openreach expects to have completed its rollout, although it has also already announced that it will extend the rollout to new areas, beyond the two thirds of the UK that it had initially planned; and it seems easy to predict that some rollout work will progress indefinitely.

    Overnight, BT revealed just how fast its network rollout had progressed. “Fibre remains at the heart of our plans and take-up is strong. Our fibre network now passes more than 16 million premises with more than 1.7 million connected,” BT chief executive Ian Livingstone said at the company’s first quarter financial results briefing session. The FTTN service allows download speeds of up to 76Mbps.

    BT’s Openreach division also commented separately on the rollout. “We achieved 265,000 net fibre connections, an increase of 56%,” the division stated. “Other service providers are now more engaged in marketing and selling fibre and their net additions in the quarter have more than trebled. More than 1.7m homes and businesses are now connected.”

    Openreach is also working directly with the UK Government to fund improved broadband to rural areas. “We won a further nine Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) regional bids to deploy fibre broadband including Cheshire, Durham, Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire and West Sussex,” the division noted. “We have now won a total of 29 regional bids. The programme will have a long payback but, unlike other companies, we have committed the capital and are focused on helping the UK achieve its short-term goal of more than 90% fibre availability. The UK is seen in many countries around the world as an exemplar of what can be achieved by government and private sector working together.”

    In addition, BT is also pushing ahead with improvements to its technology in terms of its network infrastructure. Juliette Garside, a technology reporter for the Guardian in the UK, reported from the financial results briefing session that BT is shortly to start live trials of vectoring, which ups home broadband to 100Mbps. “Street cabinets that run it already ordered,” Garside wrote on Twitter overnight.

    However, the news is not all good for broadband consumers in the UK. PC Pro reported overnight that of the 1.7 million customers connected to the telco’s fibre to the node network, 1.5 million were connected with BT’s Retail division. We recommend you click here for the full article.

    “BT Retail’s early dominance of Openreach fibre is mainly down to the fact it began selling and marketing fibre connections ahead of many of its rivals. Companies such as TalkTalk and Sky have only recently begun to aggressively market fibre connections, while BT Retail has been doing so for well over a year,” PC Pro reported. “… Last week, TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding told the Public Accounts Committee that BT Retail was driving down fibre profit margins to the point where rivals were finding it difficult to compete.”

    The news of BT’s success with its FTTN rollout comes as debate continues to swirl in Australia regarding the FTTN technology which the telco is using.

    In Australia, the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network Company is using a technically superior fibre to the premises model, which sees fibre extended all the way to customers’ premises rather than merely to neighbourhood nodes (FTTN requires reuse of some of the existing copper networks operated by BT and Telstra). However, since it was setup in April 2009, NBN Co has only successfully passed a total of 207,500 premises to fibre, and a further 27,300 in terms of fixed wireless services. In addition, the company has admitted that a number of those premises are not actually able to connect to the NBN, due to issues with the connection to the actual premises — such as when the NBN needs to deal with a strata authority to connect up a block of apartments.

    The slow speed of the NBN rollout, and issues around the perceived cost of FTTP rollouts, has led the Coalition to propose a FTTN model similar to BT’s in the UK. FTTN has also been deployed in the United States by AT&T, France by France Telecom, and in Germany by Deutsche Telekom, although other countries, such as Singapore, Korea and Japan have preferred to deploy all-fibre networks similar to the Government’s NBN project.

    However, there are also key differences between the two countries when it comes to broadband. The UK has a much higher population density than Australia, concentrated in a much smaller area, easing some of the broadband rollout challenges found in Australia. In addition, it is currently unclear to what extent Telstra’s copper network is maintained at a similar level to the copper network operated by BT, with some claiming that Telstra’s network is inferior and not as capable of supporting high broadband speeds under a fibre to the node-style rollout. The Coalition has pledged to remediate Telstra’s copper or extend fibre all the way to premises where necessary.

    This week, Communications Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese severely criticised the Coalition’s rival NBN policy, describing its reuse of portions of Telstra’s copper network as “bizarre” and “neanderthal”.

    “You know, the idea that you have fibre to a fridge on a corner, and then use the old copper network of not last century but the century before to connect up to the home, with all of the unreliability that copper brings, is quite bizarre,” said Albanese during a NBN launch event in Melbourne yesterday.

    “You know, in 1910 in the Federal Parliament there was a debate about copper versus iron. And during that debate there was a fantastic speech by a member of Parliament saying, we don’t need this new fandangle copper stuff. The iron, wire we’ve been using for 30 years for the telegraph, it’ll do. It’s good enough.”

    “It wasn’t good enough. Copper was good enough in 1910. It’s not good enough in 2013. In 2013 it is fibre first and Neanderthal land second. It really is. It really is. There isn’t a debate anywhere in the world which says copper will do. And we need to compete in this century of growth in our region, by using the best technology possible.”

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    1. looktall
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink |

      i thought premises passed was supposed to be a pointless metric?

      also, 16 million premises passed with only 1.7 million connected?
      that doesn’t sound like a very good rate of uptake.

      • Lachlan
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink |

        Actually, Renai has confused passed with connected in the article. 207k fibre premises passed at 30 June, not connected. Connections were 33,600 at 30 June, giving a 16% connection rate.

        30 June 2013 connection rates for Fibre brownfields was 12.5%, compared to Openreache’s <11% connection rate.

        The NBN fibre figures do include about 25% service class 0 premises (being upgraded by the hundreds each week), and about 40% of fibre premises passed in the May-June period, giving a limited chance for connections.

        You can draw your own conclusions about the connection rates from that, and the profitability that follows.

      • Arran
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink |

        What do u think it will look like if the Liberals charge 3000 for it here?? Do u think any1 will pay that much

        • John Smith
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink |

          I’d rather you pay it, then I, as a tax payer, pay $3000 per residential address that the FTTN network costs to install at.

          If you can’t fork up $3000 to get it installed, then clearly there isn’t much of a business case for you to have fibre internet anyway. I don’t see why taxpayers should have to subsidise people who want to download porn quicker.

          • Observer
            Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink |

            You’ve got the wrong site. This is not The Australian. People here discuss the real issues, not Coalition talking points. If you want to participate, it may be useful if you acquaint yourself with the facts.

          • Alex
            Posted 29/07/2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink |

            @ John,

            Please explain why it is ok for a government to roll out FttN and not FttP…?

          • Arran
            Posted 30/07/2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink |

            I don’t care either way, I don’t do much with my connection only use it for study, streaming radio/TV and that about it. I’m on a pension and it would take ages to save 3000 glad we’re getting proper nbn

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 31/07/2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink |

            What’s the main difference to you for FTTP Vs FTTN, considering the “taxpayer funding” component is the same for both networks John?

            I look forward to your response…

    2. Tib
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink |

      I would like to know a % breakdown of how many people are in certain speed rages on their network. How many are below 25mbit, how many are between 25mbit and 50mbit, how many can get above 50mbit. or even 10mbit.

      Also why isn’t New Zealand talked about more, what speeds were their FTTN getting and why the speed up to fibre so suddenly.

      • Tib
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink |

        wow I fail at my speaking England this morning :P It is my last day of work after all, celebrating a little too early.

      • Mic
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

        Hi Tib, here is a link I posted in a earlier article reply http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2013/03/14/average-uk-broadband-speeds-hit-double-figures/ it has some recent stats you’re after.

      • Mike
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink |

        I was listening to a Pommie radio station on-line yesterday and there was an advertisement from Sky Broadband, spruiking a ‘no-cap’ fibre connection. It was going on about how the kids at home (their summer holidays) will want heaps of download capacity etc etc – you know the stuff – typical advert! At the end, a bit like our political ads (ugh!), there’s a breathless and fast-paced voice with the nasty little details. The one that caught my ear was ‘speeds UP TO 38 megabits per second, subject to line and distance limitations’.

        So a “fibre connection” in the UK is actually a copper connection from the nearest cabinet – as expected. And, more importantly, note the painful truth – UP TO 38Mb/s. If you are lucky!!

        Says it all, really. If it wasn’t so utterly pathetic, it would be hilarious!

        • Observer
          Posted 26/07/2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink |

          For the sake of accuracy, there is also “Fibre Unlimited Pro” which offers up to 76Mb. with the following disclaimer “Selected fibre areas only. Speeds vary by location. Downloads speeds shown”

    3. Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink |

      There is no doubt that “premises passed” is a signficantly easier thing to achieve with FTTN, since the copper has already “passed” the premises 50 or 100 years previous.

      I’m not au-fait with the geometry of the British network, but in Australia, each DA (Distribution Area) covers around 300 premises. You would have a node for each existing DA, so every time you fire up a new node, you add 300 premises on the existing copper to the number of “premises passed”.

      And you don’t have to physically “pass by” the premises to do anything. You do everything at the node once you’ve strung the local fibre run to it.

      Whether or not “premises passed” is a valid metric or not – (I believe it has some value, but everyone is bending the meaning to suit their political needs) – it’s always going to be a figure that’s going to increase more rapidly with FTTN than with FTTP.

      And Britian is a much more densely populated land mass than Australia. You get more premises over less distance covered.

      • Lionel
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink |

        There is another reason why their rollout is so fast, and FTTN would rollout slower here.
        BT rollout cabinets and leave the copper running back to the exchange. They only ever connect the customer to the cabinet when they take up a VDSL2 plan.
        Here they are planning to switch people onto the cabinet and not use the copper back to the exchange.
        Having copper back to the exchange plays havoc with vectoring.

        • bern
          Posted 26/07/2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

          Wow. That’d be like the NBN only running fibre to the neighbourhood distribution cabinets before calling a premises ‘passed’. No wonder BT were able to do it so fast…

    4. bern
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink |

      So. This tells us that an incumbent Telco, with a standing army of design teams and installers, can roll out an incremental upgrade to their existing network faster than its possible to start an entirely new company, recruit staff, start design of an entirely new network, negotiate access with the duct owner, trial equipment, place orders, and start to roll-out.

      Apples & oranges once again.

      One question: how much design work had BT done *before* their rollout started? Is 2009 really when this upgrade project commenced, or did they start design work done time (perhaps years) earlier?

      My next point, and it’s one that we’ve seen on this site repeatedly: FTTN would have been a great interim upgrade if it had been rolled out starting in 2004 when it was first proposed. But Trujillo was more interested in playing regulatory games to exclude competitors, so it never got off the ground.
      Today, in 2013, we’re left choosing between an underway FTTP rollout (which has a million connections under construction, expected to be complete in a year) and an FTTN rollout that will deliver a far inferior network in about the same timeframe for hardly any less money.

      What was a good option in 2004, or even 2009, isn’t so any more.

      BTW, we know BT rolled it out fast. How much did they spend on it?

      • Lionel
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink |

        I don’t know about BT, but according to Malcolm Turnbull, if you almost tripple the cost of the FTTH rollout, FTTN will cost about a third. 8|

      • Mic
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink |

        Very good points Bern. I doubt if we started from scratch with FTTN like we have with FTTP we would be dramatically further along.A lot of the delays the NBN has had are irrelevant to the technology being deployed.

        • Karl
          Posted 26/07/2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink |

          Well yes, BT started rolling out FttN in 2009, that’s not the start of the project. Here FttP rollout was only started last year.

    5. Tinman_au
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink |

      Is this the same OpenReach that’s now full fibre?

      Even then, analysts have worried that BT’s capital expenditure is too risky – the investment return is as long as 12 or 14 years. The fibre cables are tough but technology is developing at such a rate that it could all be redundant before then. Garfield insists fibre is a “really good, future-proof network”.

      “Fibre is still your creme de la creme technology. I’m sure there will be loads of new clever things, there’s plenty of stuff in the labs right now, but they are all based on fibre in the ground,” she says. “It’s like cars – we were told that everyone would be flying in the future, not driving. But we’re not.”

      The Government has already backed the plan to extend fibre cover to almost all of Britain – although the final 5pc may be a stumbling block, given it could cost as much as £30,000 a house. Garfield reckons it will be worth it: “We believe the future is going to be speed-orientated,” she says.


    6. Observer
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink |

      Let’s see if I get this right. After 4 years BT has a take up rate of 11%. After 2 years, one year on the mainland, the NBN has a 16% take up, going up weekly.

      Looking at Willunga, one of the first sites on the mainland, with a take up rate of 63%, gives a top end indication of the potential take up of the NBN. Especially considering that the copper network has yet to be shut down.

      It will be interesting to watch how much the NBN take up rate increases in the next few months or, even by next year.

      Perhaps, the low take up rate in the UK (incidentally, similar to the low take up rate in NZ for FTTN) may be a reflection on the real speed of the network, compared to ADSL2, rather than its potential.

      • Lachlan
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink |

        Based on the 265k net additions per Qtr stated by Openreach, there would be about 6.6% annualised increase in “fibre broadband” take up. Note, BT doesn’t separate out FTTC and FTTH connections and this figure would also reduce due to continued rollout, same as NBN co’s gross connection figures.

        Making a bravely linear assumption, this would be about 11 years to approach the take up rate Wilunga achieved in two years. Realistically, the HFC cable competition and FTTH substitution in the UK would cause FTTC to peak at a lower take up rate.

      • Joe
        Posted 27/08/2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

        12% is good when you compare to other non-forced upgrade paths like Comcast FIOS. It means 12% of people so far want more than 25Mbit/sec, which gives another indication for Australia.

        You can’t contrast with Australia since there is no ‘fallback’ service that offers 25Mbit and second the old copper is being switched off, so users are being forced to adapt.

        but if you want a pro-Labor NBN way to spin that 12% number, you can say that it argues 25Mbit isn’t enough for people since in Britain a large number are preferring to take up a larger plan as soon as it becomes available.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 27/08/2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink |

          Whats to spin, $30b spent for a 12% take-up, and “pro-Liberals” would chalk it up as a “win”?? I used to think the LNp was smart with money, but things like this, the “Buy the Boats” scheme and the PPL just show me how wrong I was…

    7. Michael B
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

      So Openreach is passing 16k premises/day and NBNco are passing 674…

      They’ve been doing that sort of run rate since 2010 as well.

      • Lachlan
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink |

        Do you have a citation for the 674/day?

        But here are my calculations.
        Worst case, the 484,800 total premises at 30/6/13 were 1,421 days from the NBN’s founding on 9/8/09, giving 341/day. So you should use that bravely linear claim if you want to say NBN co’s slow.

        However, NBN co was passing about 1,600/day in June 2013 just for the brownfields per http://www.mynbn.info/stats
        and it looks like staying at about that level over the next quarter.
        Batch processes line FSAM rollouts don’t tend to have straight linear outcomes.

        • Jon
          Posted 26/07/2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink |

          Dude, in England, you can walk a mile and pass 674 premises.

          • Karl
            Posted 26/07/2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink |

            Haha, in England you can walk 100m and pass 674 premises.

      • Posted 26/07/2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink |

        @Michael B

        That is a misleading number. NBNCo. passed 163 500 brownfields on June 30th. They passed 186 000 yesterday. That’s over 1000 brownfield premises per day.

        • Michael B
          Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink |

          How is it misleading to compare progress for FY2013 for both rollouts?

          BT passed 16k per day this financial year. NBNco passed 674. That factually accurate. Cherry picking one month of results from NBNco is pointless.

          BT are passing more like 40k per day if you look at it on a month to month basis now, but for a comparison you need to pick a suitably long time period and measure against the same.

          • Lachlan
            Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

            Again, where is your citation for this 674/day number?

            From the NBN 30 June rollout figures, there was 271,800 additional premises passed in the year, giving 745/day.
            I can’t see where you got your figures from, but your figures seem to think 26k premises fewer were passed than were actually passed.

            • Michael B
              Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink |

              Im comparing the FTTH rollout with the openreach rollout.

              The satellite boost is just signing a different contract anyway, its temporary and means even less as only 48k people max can connect anyway.

              • Lachlan
                Posted 26/07/2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink |

                Again, where is your citation for this 674/day number?

                You still haven’t give any factual basis for your figures. I can’t find the 246k figure anywhere on the NBN co website, and I’m just wondering if I’m missing something. I know it’s not much of a difference but I’d rather know where the discrepancy lies.

          • Karl
            Posted 26/07/2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink |

            “but for a comparison you need to pick a suitably long time period and measure against the same”
            Except you aren’t measuring against the same. BT’s rollout started in 2009, NBN Co’s started in 2012. You’re comparing 4 years to 1.

      • Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink |

        @Michael B

        How about because this financial year has seen NBNCo. ramping up as Openreach did in 2010 financial year?

        Also, daily run rate is a short term measure. It changes over weeks, not years. A better comparison would be average over the month. This month NBNCo. are over 1000 premises per day. In March they were under 400. Next month they’re likely to be close to 1500 a day.

        And finally, while it is an interesting comparison between 2 different technological rollouts, just because BT are ‘beating’ NBNCo. doesn’t mean they’re doing a worse job. That was your insinuation. BTs total rollout goes for 5 years. NBNCo’s, 8. And NBNCo. has far less density to work with.

        • Michael B
          Posted 26/07/2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

          Seven you know there has been bugger all of the “ramp up” that was predicted. Look at the corporate plan, 1200/day was the goal this year did they even touch that? Nope.

          You said it pretty well yourself back when Devoted NBN’s list showed the true state of the rollout, Syntheo and Silcar had done basically nothing.

          The rollout is falling apart, 80% of it is likely to be uncontracted once silcar and syntheo walk and where does that leave the rollout?

          The ramp up simply did not happen, they pushed out a handful of areas, full of Service Class 0 premises that aren’t MDU’s. And activated plenty of areas without actually finishing the work (WP is littered with the stories, people who make an order and fibre isnt even in the street).

          Do you actually have a limit where you think the rollout is in trouble? The 2010 corporate plan was gospel, then the 2012 corporate plan was gospel. Now they are both in the trash and NBNco will have to squeeze even more work into even less time. What makes you think they can actually make it?

          • Posted 26/07/2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink |

            @Michael B

            Really? Bugger all ramp up? 1200/day you say? My, and here I was thinking 400->nearly 1100 a day over 4 months was a ramp up. And that 1200 was awfully close to 1100 a day….

            Syntheo- now there’s acase in point. The company has practically collapsed because they’re apparently incapable of doing what every other contractor has done- rollout the NBN. Notice too, Syntheo was suspended from the NT rollout in May:


            And just last week, the first homes are switched on in Darwin:


            From replacement to a full switch on following on from whatever work Syntheo DID do (very little by the looks) in just 10 weeks. And ALL under NBNCo’s direct management. No, that’s not showing they’re dealing with their issues at all.

            80% of it is uncontracted?? I’m sorry, I was unaware Silcar were contracted for 80% of the rollout. According to my figures, of the approx. $4 billion awarded, Silcar got $1 billion. That puts them at 25%. And Sytheo got $800 million, that puts them at 20%. And I was also unaware they’ve refused to sign on again? Or that there aren’t other possible contractors for the position? Oh, that’s right, you’ve been reading the Australian and assumed that because contract negotiations are ongoing, that’s an automatic refusal to continue, yes?

            They pushed out work on Service Class 0 that AREN’T MDU’s? That’s interesting, considering the numbers I’ve seen showed over 80% of SC0 premises were MDUs….. And I don’t know what WP posts you’ve seen, but I’ve seen 2 people, in the same suburb, who were mistaken marked as SC1 early. The rest required works like side-of-street lead ins and demand PCD drops.

            What makes me think they can make it? The fact that despite ALL the troubles they’re having they’ve passed more in a month than they did in 3 months late last year. And the fact that until they DO start to go backwards on the number of premises passed per day, they are CONTINUING to NOT fail.

            You have made it very clear over time you wish them to fail. You’re not interested in seeing them recover over time, you are determined to see the whole thing scrapped because it hasn’t gone brilliantly. I’m not even gonna bother going into the things that wouldn’t have been built if it was scrapped when things were under the weather. And NBNCo. isn’t even under the weather now! How can you not see the increase in premises passed?? It’s not made up, it’s not estimated, it’s ACTUALLY passing more than 1100 a day! Yes, it’s far short of 6500 a day. But considering the earliest that was supposed to happen was early 2015, I think I’ll wait a bit and watch the numbers climb thanks.

            As I said, should that number start to fall rapidly, THAT indicates a problem. Until then, if they’re continually increasing the per day rate….how the hell does that mean they’re failing???

            • Harimau
              Posted 26/07/2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink |

              The worst part is, Michael B isn’t even making up numbers, he’s giving us someone else’s made-up numbers.

              The quality of the debate sometimes…

          • Observer
            Posted 26/07/2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink |

            “Do you actually have a limit where you think the rollout is in trouble?”

            And do you have a limit where you think the rollout is not in trouble? Just asking.

          • Tinman_au
            Posted 27/07/2013 at 2:59 am | Permalink |


            Looks like a ramp up to me, perhaps you meant it’s not ramping up fast enough for you?

    8. Posted 26/07/2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

      As several others have mentioned, premises passed here means even less than NBNCo’s metric.

      BT don’t even have to have any subscribers on a node to have called them passed. And they have cut over to do when they DO actually connect. So building the node and connecting the fibre to the exchange makes all the premises potentially served by that node “passed”.

      Obviously, it is significantly easier to provide services on FTTN quickly- a simple re-termination of the copper from the pillar (or equivalent) to the cabinet plus a tech visit to install a central filter (both of which can be achieved by one tech) and you’re done. This is NOT the sort of FTTN rollout that would be done in Australia. It would be mass cut-over. That is, once a node is built and fibred to the aggregation point, the entire copper services of the area would be cut-over to the node. This is because Turnbull has promised that the E-side copper (copper from pillar to exchange) will not be used for PSTN. Therefore, no DSL or PSTN is possible without connection to the node. It is a considerably different rollout technique from BT. This may change, but is the info we have thus far.

      It is an impressive number, 16 million premises in 3 years however- it shows the power of FTTN rollouts to cover vast numbers of premises, even if services are considerably lower speed than FTTH overall. Once NBNCo. have had 3 years of commercial rollout (2016) it will be interesting to compare. NBNCo’s current run rate is approx. 1000 premises per day & accelerating. (it was <400 in March)

      • Lionel
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink |

        If they don’t do the chop immediately they can rollout like BT. However, once they start on vectoring here, and in the UK, they will need to cut the copper from the exchange. This maybe why there seems to be such a long time from trials to BT starting to implement vectoring. It will be a huge job for them. They need PSTN, move people getting ADSL from the exchange over. They may never actually go ahead with it, other than in areas where demand is high.

      • Tel
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink |

        That is, once a node is built and fibred to the aggregation point, the entire copper services of the area would be cut-over to the node.

        That sounds ridiculous… why would anyone do that?

        This is because Turnbull has promised that the E-side copper (copper from pillar to exchange) will not be used for PSTN.

        Hmmm, I wouldn’t take any politicians promise too literally. I’m sure when pushed he would explain to you that me meant *eventually* E-side copper will be phased out, and so it will, *eventually*.

        • Posted 26/07/2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink |

          Um, it’s an accepted way to do FTTN. It’s been used in several parts of the world.

          Keeping the copper online from cabinet to exchange means keeping PSTN equipment in the exchange is a considerable extra cost. It also requires extra planning for cabinets and termination. If Turnbull DOES use the E side copper, then his dream of saving money is gone….you require a central filter to split the VDSL signal, ESPECIALLY with vectoring. That means a home visit Turnbull keeps saying isn’t required. There goes any saving. They can’t guarantee speeds without a central splitter (see BT experimentation with DIY filters) and they ARE guaranteeing 25Mbps….so he’s backed himself into a corner.

          • Tel
            Posted 27/07/2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink |

            So just in summary, FTTN is working just fine for BT, but if we do it the same way as they do it, then it will cost a lot more, because Turnbull said something he should not have said.

            I think I understand now…

            • Posted 27/07/2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink |


              Turnbull’s cost per premises (where he’s gotten it from Verizon I believe) for the whole cost of rollout, is $900. He has been, in every interview, at pains to say FTTN is so cheap because you build the cabinet, swap the line, plug in new customer equipment and you’ve got instant increase in speed- NO HOME VISIT NEEDED like the NBN.

              If Turnbull WANTS to do a rollout like BT, then home visits will be needed. Therefore, how does he expect to save money from not visiting the home? Here’s some rough calculations:

              $150K for the node (that’s based on BT by the way, 85K pounds and higher labour prices here, you can look it up). A node serves ~300 premises (400 maximum, but you’d never design it maxed out). For 71% of the country to be covered by nodes (working on 11 million premises in 2016) that’s 7.8 million premises, so 26 000 nodes. That’s EXTREMELY simplistic however, because that doesn’t take into account line length. If we assume Turnbull’s figure then, of 50 000 nodes, with about half at 1/2 size, then you’re looking at 25 000 nodes for $150K = $3.75 billion and 25 000 nodes at, say, $120K (because the civil works are the most expensive part, not the equipment) = $3 billion. So $6.75 Billion….almost $900/premises…hey, look, exactly what Turnbull came up with a while back…strange hey, it’s almost like he did it on the “back of a napkin” like I’m doing…:


              So that’s $900/premises to deliver the node. But then, assuming he does it the same as BT, he HAS to include a home visit to install a filter (it’s a requirement because Turnbull is GUARANTEEING 25Mbps, something not even BT will do with a central filter). NBNCo. do a home visit for $1200 per premises. Swap the price of the NTD for the filter (give or take a few dollars at that sort of scale) and you’ve got $2100 per premises. Even taking $200 off for 2 hours less work say, still makes it $1900/premises. That’s a saving of $400/premises over the NBN. For the WHOLE rollout to the same 71%. That’s $3.1 billion saving. Not small change. But as far as I’m aware $3.1B =/ $60 billion…..

              Turnbull has said many things that aren’t right. The fact that they contradict what is actually required to build and commission the network is no surprise at all. He mixes overseas rollouts together all the time.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 27/07/2013 at 3:04 am | Permalink |

          That sounds ridiculous… why would anyone do that?

          Why would anyone lay fibre to cabinets in the street and keep using the copper?

          And Malcolm’s on record for saying they won’t be using it, so what FTTN plan are you talking about anyway??

          • Tel
            Posted 27/07/2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink |

            Why would anyone lay fibre to cabinets in the street and keep using the copper?

            Because there’s a massive cost saving in not having to dig up driveways and run new connections to each house, duh!

            • Observer
              Posted 27/07/2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink |

              Massive savings which will be eaten away by an even more massive cost of upgrading to fibre, eventually.

              • Tel
                Posted 27/07/2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink |

                No, the savings never get eaten away. Remember NBN is built on debt, with a nominal 7% return. So you save $100 today, and that effectively pays $7 every year forever. If you have to spend $100 in 10 years time you are already starting out $70 ahead, and technology has moved in the mean time so more options are available.

                It gets better, with fiber rollout being done a little at a time, you have the luxury of building up specialised teams who work more efficiently, rather than the current mess of attempting a massive nationwide rollout but hiring contractors who hire subcontractors who hire whoever.

                • Harimau
                  Posted 27/07/2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink |

                  “a little at a time” “more efficiently”
                  Really? Have you ever heard of “economies of scale”?

                  Also, I take it you’re not an accountant…
                  Neither am I, but let’s try to work this out:
                  If you save $100 in investment today, and the return is a flat 7% over the duration of the project (Turnbull said he’d pass on cost savings to the consumer, right?), then you… lose $7 of earnings over the duration of the project. That’s pretty obvious. Whether you invest using savings or you invest on debt, the difference is that you don’t pay interest with savings. In other words, your profit, using savings, is simply Revenue – Investment, while your profit, using debt, is Revenue – Interest – Investment. This is Modern Capitalism 101.

                  Now that we have established that, Turnbull’s plan doesn’t have the $13.7 billion of private investment (which also has the 7% return) but that is of course immaterial… we’re talking about government debt here… Turnbull’s plan saves $900 million of government investment… in other words, the government loses $900 million/$100*$7, or $63 million, of earning. So now your position (comparing FTTN to FTTP) is +$900 million (saving) -$63 million (lost earning), or net +$837 million saving. A decent saving, nothing to scoff at… But then, in the future we (as a society, not the government) have to fibre up ~12.2 million homes. In other words, in order to be a long-term cost-effective solution, connecting each home to fibre needs to cost less than $68.60. Maybe the answer is robots.

                  Okay, okay, maybe it isn’t fair to disregard private investment if we’re talking about a cost to society. So let’s do that calculation again. Turnbull’s plan saves $14.6 billion in total investment (by society), but loses out on $14.6 billion/$100*$7, or $1.022 billion, of earning. Our society’s net position (comparing FTTN to FTTP) when we need to upgrade to FTTP is therefore +$13.578 billion. Excellent, that is far more than $873 million. Now, in order to be a long-term cost-effective solution, connecting each home to fibre needs to cost less than $1112.95 in 2019. Well that sounds a lot more reasonable! Yeah… no… good luck with that. Increased efficiency is one thing… falling wages is quite another.

                  Maybe my calculations are completely wrong… I’ve always been more at home on the engineering side of maths than the economics side… but the fact is, Tel, you’re dreaming.

                  • Posted 28/07/2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink |

                    “the fact is, Tel, you’re dreaming.”

                    hey mate, this is not polite. This is also the second time I have warned you in this article. Keep it polite or I will ban you for a period of several weeks.


                    • Harimau
                      Posted 28/07/2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink |

                      Sorry Tel. I’ve been told that I’m brutally honest.

                      Just as an aside, Renai, where was the first time I was warned about being impolite in this article?

                • Chas
                  Posted 27/07/2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink |

                  “No, the savings never get eaten away”

                  Sorry, but you are using only the Capex numbers and are forgetting about the rest of the costs (like maintenance). Copper is far more expensive to maintain than fibre, especially the old existing fibre.
                  The aggregate cost of FTTN must be significantly more than FTTP, though deployment should be faster.
                  While the cost of the debt will defray the difference, it can’t come close to overcoming it.

            • Alex
              Posted 27/07/2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink |

              Does BT own the copper?

              • Posted 27/07/2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink |


                Openreach do. That is their vertically separated network arm. Openreach are rolling out the cabinets.

              • Observer
                Posted 27/07/2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink |

                I think the point here is that if you don’t own the copper, it is not just a case of just keeping the copper, but having to buy the copper. So, you may save initially by keeping the copper but how much would do really save if you have to buy it? And you are still left with the cost of upgrading.

                • Alex
                  Posted 27/07/2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink |

                  Exactly :)

    9. Damien
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink |

      Telstra could have rolled out an FTTN network with the same appartent success of BT had they been prepared to offer the product wholesale. The fact remains, Telstra didn’t want to do this, so now we have NBNCo rolling out fibre, why would we want to go backwards?

    10. martino
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink |

      NBN build rates are hitting 2000/day now.

    11. Arran
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink |

      What do u think it will look like if the Liberals charge 3000 for it here?? Do u think any1 will pay that much

    12. Rich
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink |

      I like how BT / OpenReach insist on calling their FTTN connections “Fibre” … Guys, it’s still copper to the home – just shorter than before!

      • Matt
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink |

        This is a result of Virgin Media calling their HFC cable network ‘Fibre’ a while back and the Advertising Standards Agency giving it the all clear. It makes me very angry :(

        I’m not sure exactly how BT are counting premises passed, but one thing that annoyed me for a while was that while my exchange was enabled for ‘Fibre’ in around March 2011, it took them until June 2012 to actually enable my cabinet. Presumably they’re counting it properly, but you never know (ie counting premises based on cabinets, not on exchanges).

    13. Brett Haydon
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink |

      Based on the UK experience I still don’t get how Malcolm is going to go from nothing to completing his rollout by end of 2016. Even with 50% covered with fibre + cable it’s a stretch of the imagination.

      • Posted 28/07/2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink |

        By the end of 2019, you mean.

        • bern
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink |

          Well, he promised 25Mbps by the end of 2016. Hard to see how he’s going to do that is he doesn’t have the rollout substantially complete by then. Not sure what the increase to 50Mbps by 2019 entails.

          • Posted 29/07/2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink |

            I think the argument is that premises passed by HFC already have access to 25Mbps+. Sure, it’s not really true, but it’s what passes for true in today’s political environment ;)

            If they could open up the HFC networks and remove the MDU issues, it could become true.

            • Lionel
              Posted 29/07/2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink |

              LOL. I’d love to see the speeds on HFC if everyone now on ADSL2 switched to it. A lot of people I know in Melbourne switched from HFC to ADSL2 to escape the horrendous evening slow downs. I have HFC out front but they really aren’t interested in connecting it. Maybe could push through TIO. I know someone else who had to do that to get HFC, but they had an added problem. Too far from the exchange to get ADSL. Who would have throught it in an inner Melbourne subburb. The BB black spot program missed them. They were classed metro area so the plan didn’t cover them.

              • Tinman_au
                Posted 31/07/2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

                I know someone else who had to do that to get HFC, but they had an added problem. Too far from the exchange to get ADSL. Who would have throught it in an inner Melbourne subburb. The BB black spot program missed them. They were classed metro area so the plan didn’t cover them.

                That’s the boat I’m in (but on the Gold Coast). it’s a PITA being stuck with one ISP (that charges so much), but at least it’s fast.

    14. Kevin Cobley
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink |

      All the British Telco’s are using deceptive and dishonest marketing tactics, selling a copper VDSL connection and branding it as “fibre”, in Australia this would clearly lead to prosecution. It’s a part of the Government deceiving the public into believing they are getting “state of the art fibre connections”.

    15. Mike
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink |

      Is there any particular reason why the UK always gets dragged up when making build comparisons of Australia’s NBN? It’s so apples and oranges.

      We’re doing FTTH, they’re doing FTTN. The UK land mass is 243,610 km². The Australian land mass is 7,692,024 km². The population of the UK was 62.74 million in 2011. The population of Australia was 22.32 million in 2011.

      We’re so unique that I just don’t see any point in comparing what we’re doing with any other nation.

    16. Jason Bailey
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink |

      As an Australian that has lived in London for the last 8 years and works in IT a few facts…

      BT Infinity 76M – Joke, most the people I work with that are paying for it manage to get about 20M because there two far away from an Exchange. The idea that they want to guarantee 50M down the track on a FTTN network is preposterous.

      A significant portion of my colleagues are on Virgin Media cable which is 100M but due to the fact that the quality of cable is different depending on where you are, you either get a fantastic service or an unusable service.

      As for the option to pay for Fibre to the Premises, while BT OpenReach Wholesale offers that service (as well as a 330M option), there are no retail service providers that do so thats a pipe dream as well.

      It is a lot of work but the only long term option is FTTP.

    17. Harimau
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink |

      “FTTN has also been deployed in the United States by AT&T, France by France Telecom, and in Germany by Deutsche Telekom, although other countries, such as Singapore, Korea and Japan have preferred to deploy all-fibre networks similar to the Government’s NBN project.”

      This is important. I would argue that, in terms of our country’s competitiveness, we should be aiming to compete with those in or near our region, rather than countries like the US and European countries on the other side of the world. In other words, we should be using a technology that is the same or better than these countries have chosen for their future internet needs. Having said that, Singapore, Korea and Japan are far more dense residentially than Australia, so it is of course more cost-effective for them to roll out either technology. However, FTTN would not really allow us to tap into the full potential of future internet-based developments, and cater to the Asian countries in our region, let alone compete in the region or on the world stage. Considering the ultimately trivial difference in taxpayer investment and expected completion dates, FTTP is clearly the better choice. Australia has an opportunity here, to lead the world, I think we should take it.

    18. Alex
      Posted 26/07/2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink |

      Seriously, why do people insist on comparing the build of the Australian NBN to the UK FttN roll out.

      Just a few things…
      1: Queensland alone is 7.6 times the size of the UK.
      2: The typical suburban residential block in Australia has nowhere near the housing density of any given street in the UK, left alone the same land area.
      3: You can get an unlimited 80meg line for less than £20/mth.
      4: All ISPs are pushing the fibre product where available and more people are our of their ADSL contacts.
      5: FTTP would be extremely difficult to deploy in the UK due to the building construction.
      6: The copper run from the cabinet is usually very short due to the use of aerial cable delivery using drop lines from a very nearby cabinet.
      7: Unlike Telstra. BT is a ‘Brand’ and all the different arms are operationally separate. Openreach owns the infrastructure and is prevented by law from doing any other BT Brand company any favors or anti-competitive deals.

      The Australian roll out is a completely different beast to any densely populated country, using these countries as examples makes no sense.

      • MT is a douchebag
        Posted 26/07/2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink |


      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 27/07/2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink |

        “Seriously, why do people insist on comparing the build of the Australian NBN to the UK FttN roll out.”

        Indeed, it is a bit of a worry Alex. There are many differences but reducing the debate to arguments like this is needed for simpletons. They will take any copper “success story” as a reason why fibre is not needed. Alan Jones listeners love this sort of thing too.

        “The Australian roll out is a completely different beast to any densely populated country, using these countries as examples makes no sense.”

        Exactly. Also I’d much rather the effort be put into rolling fibre than relying on obsolete copper and pretending it’s fast broadband. Turnbull can bleat all he likes about what the copper can do in the UK but I’m afraid those believing his misinformation are going to be very disappointed with their speeds in a FttN scenario here. Besides UK can rollout FttN now but ultimately we know it’s a pointless exercise.

        • Posted 28/07/2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink |

          “There are many differences but reducing the debate to arguments like this is needed for simpletons.”

          Hey mate, just a warning — that comment is trending towards impolite. Keep the comments clean please ;)

          • Hubert Cumberdale
            Posted 28/07/2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink |

            I wasn’t referring to anyone here specifically. I’ve seen comments on sites like The Australian and have to assume that.

    19. Diachronic
      Posted 27/07/2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink |

      [Deleted by Renai because most of the post represented a personal attack on the author of this article, and it was impolite]

    20. david
      Posted 27/07/2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink |

      So in summary, BT started serious rollout mid 2009, and after 4 years they have 1.7million connections.
      In Australia, with much lower housing density, Malcolm plans to have about 8 million active connections from a standing start in 3 years. He plans to do this while guaranteeing minimum speeds and replacing the copper to the exchange.

      In short, the FTTN plan in Australia is absurd. Malcolm surely knows this.

      Renai, maybe you should replace

      >> The slow speed of the NBN rollout, and issues around the perceived cost of FTTP rollouts has led the coalition to propose…

      with the more accurate

      >> The need to portray everything Labor does as a catastrophe, combined with the difficulty of canning the popular NBN has led the coalition to propose…

      • Observer
        Posted 27/07/2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink |

        “Malcolm plans to have about 8 million active connections from a standing start in 3 years. ”

        Less than 3 years.

        2 months for reviews
        + time to digest and act on review
        + time to negotiate with Telstra
        + time to inspect copper network
        + time to design network
        + time for remediation
        + time to re-train workforce
        + time to honour FTTP contracts

      • Posted 27/07/2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink |

        The Coalition plan is to finish FTTN in six years, to my knowledge, not three.

        • Posted 27/07/2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink |


          Beat me to it!

          The plan spans 6 years. The first 3 will cover approx. 41% of the fixed footprint with FTTN (that calculation is done by the fact that by 2016 they plan on having 22% FTTH, approx. 30% using HFC and 7% of wireless/sat giving 41% to be covered by FTTN in the first 3 years). The following 6 years will cover the remaining 30% (HFC areas) with FTTN and upgrading the original 41% to allow 50Mbps minimum.

          That would mean, assuming a Liberal government went to Election in November 2016, they need to have passed 4.5 million premises from a standing start in 3 years. As well as continuing to pass 2.42 million on FTTH. So 6.92 million (working on there being 11 million households total in 2016) passed in 3 years.

          Comparing that number to BT is pointless- BT/Openreach have a contractor workforce in the tens of thousands. We have about 4000. The densities are different, the regulations are different and the regulatory and rollout hurdles are different.

          But the straight numbers are the Coalition has promised to pass 4.5 million premises with FTTN and 2.42 million with FTTH by 2016. And remove legislation hurdles to allow HFC into MDUs and come to a deal with Telstra to unbundle their HFC access for wholesale use. And presumably pay a subsidy for Telstra to upgrade it to handle that many premises, because it can’t now.

          • WhatsNew
            Posted 27/07/2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink |

            “That would mean, assuming a Liberal government went to Election in November 2016, they need to have passed 4.5 million premises from a standing start in 3 years. As well as continuing to pass 2.42 million on FTTH. So 6.92 million (working on there being 11 million households total in 2016) passed in 3 years.”

            Should be easy, I mean if BT can pass 16 million in 4 years, surely the Coalition can do all 11 million households in 3? ;-)

            “Comparing that number to BT is pointless- BT/Openreach have a contractor workforce in the tens of thousands. We have about 4000. The densities are different, the regulations are different and the regulatory and rollout hurdles are different.”

            I know, I know. Yet we are still shown “look at BT’s rollout rate”. fwiw, I take that 16 million figure with a grain of salt. We know that in the UK they still use the E-Side copper and in AU they will not be. We know in the UK they have ~10% of the 16 million premises passed on active connections. It seems unlikely that they would have 90% of idle capacity just sitting there waiting for orders to come in (and this diary link provided by Michael B seems to back that up: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=2123954&r=39396821#r39396821), so unlike in the AU context (for either FTTH or FTTN) the rollout in the UK can proceed at a leisurely stroll (in terms of the actual work being done) while the premises passed figure gives the opposite impression.

        • Observer
          Posted 27/07/2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink |

          From the policy:

          “our aim is that everyone in the nation should have access to broadband with download data rates of between 25 and 100 megabits per second by 2016, and between 50 and 100 megabits per second by the end of 2019 in 90 per cent of the fixed line footprint –”

          So 100% between 25 and 100 Mbs in 3 years. This obviously includes wireless and satellites.

    21. Observer
      Posted 27/07/2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink |

      ‘No, the savings never get eaten away. Remember NBN is built on debt, with a nominal 7% return”

      Not the FTTN version

      ” So you save $100 today, and that effectively pays $7 every year forever.”

      Strange logic. Could you elaborate how this works?

      “If you have to spend $100 in 10 years time you are already starting out $70 ahead”

      And magically, the cost of upgrading will have remain the same as today.

      “and technology has moved in the mean time so more options are available.”

      Such as?

    22. Daniel
      Posted 28/07/2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink |

      [Deleted by Renai because it was impolite]

      BT may have passed 16 million, but it has only 1.5 million subscribers.

      Elsewhere BT Group’s fibre optic based superfast broadband services (i.e. up to 80Mbps FTTC and 330Mbps FTTP) have now passed 16 million homes and businesses (up from 15m in Q1-2013) and 1.7 million have subscribed (we make that an uptake of 10.62%), which is up by +265,000 during Q2. BT Retail’s (BTInfinity) share of this is a dominant 1.5 million, although their growth slowed slightly by adding +197k in the quarter (down from +211k in Q1-2013 and 200k in Q4-2012).

      There is no savings on Coalition Broadband Policy either.

      1. Nodes need to be powered, this costs money in both construction and it costs money to power them.
      2. copper will need to be replaced.

      BT in UK is in Top 10 users for power usage, and is going to 100% renewable because it cannot keep costs down, so that’s further investment.

      [Deleted by Renai because it was impolite]

      • Daniel
        Posted 28/07/2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink |

        I’ll also add that it only has 6.8 million retail subscribers.

        And I will also point you to the recent UK Audit Office report with BT further being delayed for another 22 months.


        The Department forecasts that the programme will complete its rollout 22 months later than planned. Only nine out of 44 local projects are expected to reach their original target of providing 90 per cent superfast coverage by May 2015. The delay is partly because gaining approval for the project under EU State aid rules took six months longer than expected. In June 2013, the government revised its target, and now aims to secure delivery of the rural broadband programme by December 2016, as well as 95 per cent superfast coverage by 2017.

    23. Diachronic
      Posted 28/07/2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink |

      So Renai, you think a model that produces an actual take-up rate of 16% is a solid model to pursue???

      Do you seriously think the BT FTTN model that Malcolm Turnbull is touting as a guide for his vision is the way for Australia to go?

      And, do you feel the BT model can *in any realistic way* be used as a comparison plan for Australian conditions?

      Am I in the twilight zone or something???

      • Posted 28/07/2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink |

        “Do you seriously think the BT FTTN model that Malcolm Turnbull is touting as a guide for his vision is the way for Australia to go?”


        So, do I personally prefer the Coalition’s policy?

        No. I don’t. Fundamentally, it’s a worse policy than Labor’s. Its critics are right; it betrays a tragic loss of long-term vision for Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure. Fibre to the node is a dead-end technology which will, in several decades, be already fading into memory. By investing in fibre to the node, the Coalition isn’t skating to where the puck is going to be, nor even where it is now. It is looking backwards, not forwards, and by doing so it is throwing away the opportunity for Australia’s economy to transition from digging things up out of the ground to a more sustainable knowledge-based export economy — you know, the kind of economy which countries such as Germany and Japan already have.

        • Tinman_au
          Posted 29/07/2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink |


          Getting sick of us being a “quarry country”, only a small percentage get rich from it, and it screws the rest of the economy up.

    24. Captain Ninteenth Century
      Posted 28/07/2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink |

      I want my tax-payer dollars spent efficiently on Fibre to the home ploise!

    25. MeanMofo
      Posted 28/07/2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink |

      BT Openreach is fraught with problems. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/apr/28/openreach-customers-unconnected-angry

    26. telict
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink |

      For another perspective I cite a diagram in May 2013 issue of IEEE journal Spectrum that illustrates the penetration of broadband both fixed and mobile for a range of OECD countries. The figures are OECD data for June 2012. The figures are “subscriptions” per 100 of population.
      Australia Fixed 24.6 per 100 pop Mobile 72.8
      USA Fixed 28.4 per 100 pop Mobile 47.8
      South Korea Fixed 36.3 per 100 pop mobile 68
      OECD avg Fixed 26 mobile 30.6
      Not surprising the mobile data service providers are scrambling for more radio spectrum and pushing administrations to free up more bandwidth
      Personally, I would like to see some more spectrum allocated for WiFI type purposes, where we get to use for free the resource we already own rather than it be captured for commercial purposes where we pay for what we previously had free use of.! But I wont hold my breath since governments of all persuasions are delighted with the idea of milking radio spectrum as a source of revenue.What a ripper, you don’t have to do anything productive , needs hardly any labour, just issue bits of paper and collect the $BN’s! .

    27. Goresh
      Posted 29/07/2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink |

      Funny thing, in the same time frame vis-a-vis projected project completion, NBNco is probably doing better than BT

      Following UK model would take 8 years

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