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  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, September 2, 2013 12:34 - 56 Comments

    FTTP “superceded” by FTTN, claims Turnbull

    Communication progress

    news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week made the controversial claim that the fibre to the premises technology used in Labor’s National Broadband Network had been “largely superceded” by the Coalition’s preferred fibre to the node model, and that there wasn’t significant evidence to show that the higher capacity of FTTP was “necessary” or “valuable”.

    Under Labor’s NBN policy, some 93 percent of Australian premises will receive fibre directly to the premise, delivering maximum download speeds of up to 1Gbps and maximum upload speeds of 400Mbps. The remainder of the population will be served by a combination of satellite and wireless broadband, delivering speeds of up to 25Mbps.

    The Coalition’s policy will see fibre to the premises deployed to a significantly lesser proportion of the population — 22 percent — with 71 percent covered by fibre to the node technology, where fibre is extended to neighbourhood ‘nodes’ and the remainder of the distance to premises covered by Telstra’s existing copper network. The Coalition’s policy will also continue to use the HFC cable network operated by Telstra and will also target the remaining 7 percent of premises with satellite and wireless.

    According to the Coalition’s media release issued in April upon the policy’s launch, the Coalition’s policy is based on the core pledge that the group will deliver download speeds of between 25Mbps and 100Mbps by the end of 2016 — effectively the end of its first term in power — and 50Mbps to 100Mbps by the end of 2019, effectively the end of its second term. According to the Coalition’s statement, the 25Mbps to 100Mbps pledge applies to “all premises”, while the higher pledge by 2019 applies to “90 percent of fixed line users”. The Coalition has not specified certain upload speeds for its network.

    In general, globally, FTTP is considered a vastly superior broadband service delivery platform to FTTN on a technical basis, due to FTTN’s continued reliance on the legacy copper networks of incumbent telcos such as Telstra and British Telecom. Copper networks are inherently less reliable than fibre networks, being subject to water damage, and do not deliver uniform speeds to customers, with potential speeds decreasing rapidly as premises get further away from their telephone exchanges and local neighbourhood ‘nodes’, in the case of FTTN. In addition, the width of the copper cable is seen as a significant limiting factor in terms of speed, and significantly lower upload speeds are possible than download speeds.

    In addition, the limitations of the copper portion of FTTN networks means that there are some applications — such as uploading large files, very high-definition video broadcasting (especially multiple channels simultaneously to the same residence), remote health work such as remote surgery and others — that are inherently more suited to FTTP. Globally, telecommunications experts are predicting, based on past growth, that bandwidth demands will continue to explode over the next several decades, pushing the boundaries that FTTN networks are able to provide.

    FTTN networks, utilising a portion of the existing copper networks, are predominantly being deployed globally by telcos such as AT&T, France Telecom, BT and Deutsche Telekom because they are viewed as representing a useful and economical interim step to the long-term replacement of entire copper networks with fibre. In most cases, including in the UK, the telcos deploying FTTN are also making available FTTP services in certain areas or on demand, due to the recognition that FTTN may not be adequate to suit all uses. The Coalition itself has pledged to make similar FTTP ‘extensions’ available at a cost in Australia, in its NBN policy.

    For example, in February this year, the French Government revealed that a combined €20 billion investment in fibre broadband technology, representing a combination of public and private funding, would be ploughed in to help bring the nation’s ageing telecommunications networks up to spec and “terminate the copper”. At the time, French IT Minister Fleur Pellerin said it was important to realise that governments needed to plan for the long-term.

    “We think maybe today we don’t realise what kind of speed our citizens will need in the mid-term. But with e-health, with e-education, with smart grids, all these new uses that are not plain, not developed today – you will need maybe in the next five years or in the timeframe that you don’t expect today – you will need these speeds. So I think it’s a very good investment to choose the best long-term technology.”

    However, in an interview with radio shockjock Alan Jones last week (the full transcription is available online), Turnbull appeared to deny this long-term future.

    “I mean Alan I believe in being absolutely straight and transparent about this, there is no doubt that fibre optic technology gives you the potential for the highest speeds but the question is are those speeds necessary, are they valuable, is there anything you can do with them that you can’t do with a smaller pipe as it were?” asked Turnbull. “… the problem with the Labor Party approach is that they specified a particular technology in 2008 and it has been in large measure superceded.”

    “Now I’m not suggesting it doesn’t remain, if you like, the ultimate solution, but what’s happened in the interim – and Jennifer Hewitt has a very good piece about this in the Financial Review today – what’s happened in the interim is the other technologies using the last few hundred metres of copper have got better and better and better so you’re now at a point where if you are 400m, say, four or five hundred from one of these nodes, under the technology we are proposing you will be able to get 100 megabits per second.”

    Turnbull added: “… you hook into that last four or five or two or one hundred metres of copper and what you do there is you save all of that expense of that last section … anything between 75% to 80% of the cost of the project and the point is that there is very little additional advantage or value or utility that comes from doing that given the improvements in technology.”

    The Liberal MP said that at 25Mbps, Australians would be able to stream “four high definition video channels at the same time”. “Now I imagine there are some people who might want to watch five high definition channels at the same time,” said Turnbull. “I can honestly say I’m not one of them.”

    Turnbull also claimed that the Labor Federal Government had not examined alternatives or properly costed its NBN project before going ahead with it.

    “The Labor Party is disconnected from reality,” he said. “At no time did they ever ask the fundamental question: what is it we are trying to achieve? Now the answer to that would be we want everyone to have very fast broadband. The next  question would be: what is the fastest, most cost effective and most affordable way to do that? Lets look at the options and weigh them up. They never did that either. They went for the most expensive, the most laborious technology option without considering any of the alternatives and they did so without any reasonable basis for knowing how much it would cost or how long it would take.”

    However, the then-Rudd Government did examine both FTTN and FTTP technologies in late 2006 and early 2007; in fact, Labor took a FTTN NBN policy to the 2007 election. Ultimately it concluded that a FTTP rollout would allow the Government to break Telstra’s monopoly over Australia’s last-mile telecommunications infrastructure and lay a foundation for the next 50-100 years of broadband service delivery in Australia. The National Broadband Network Company has produced several corporate plans since mid-2007 showing that the Government’s estimates of over $40 billion worth of capital investment required to build the NBN remains more or less on track.

    opinion/analysis
    I know we’re in an election campaign, and politicians are supposed to represent their own policies in the best possible terms and their competition’s policies in the worst possible terms, but Turnbull was really spinning some high-grade horse manure on Alan Jones’ show last week and severely misleading listeners.

    Sure, FTTN is a viable technology for high-speed broadband service delivery in Australia for many premises for the next several decades, and some of the speeds which Turnbull has talked about are realistic in Australia. We can clearly see this through the examples we have in other countries, where FTTN is already being used extensively. This is a trusted technology, which is well-understood and is actively being developed. It’s only getting better, and there’s life in the copper yet.

    But only someone very disconnected from the reality of the telecommunications industry would believe that FTTN has the potential to “supercede” FTTP in any sense.

    FTTN will likely always remain part of the mix. But I think most telecommunications industry experts expect that, on a globally consistent basis, FTTN’s utility will rapidly deteriorate over the next several decades. If we go forward 20-30 years, which is not actually that long a time frame (remember, it will take most of the next decade to build either version of the NBN), current bandwidth growth strongly suggests a shift to FTTP will be inevitable.

    Much of the issue is in FTTN’s weak ability to deliver upgraded upload speeds. Increasingly, as more knowledge workers start working from home in smarter economies, and consumers consume more and more entertainment from their own residences, the lines between home and work are becoming more and more blurred. Education, health, employment, entertainment and other outcomes will increasingly be delivered from the home in future, and increasingly already are. And the global bandwidth growth evidence strongly suggests that only FTTP will be able to handle these demands in the long-term. Not wireless. Not FTTN. Not even HFC cable. FTTP.

    I’ve written many times that the Coalition’s NBN policy is a sensible alternative to Labor’s NBN, and it is. Turnbull’s right — what matters right now is not that Australia has the highest speeds or most reliable broadband infrastructure, but that we move quickly to get the nation up to speed with decent high-speed broadband over the next five or so years. We’ve delayed this upgrade for a decade. It needs to happen quickly, and FTTN is a good way to make that happen quickly. FTTN, with some limited FTTP in areas such as business estates and CBDs, and to educational institutions and hospitals, will stand us in good stead

    However, it’s also important to realise that FTTN is very much only an interim step. It does not “supercede” FTTP. As soon as a FTTN rollout under a Coalition administration was complete, discussions would then turn very quickly, and rightly so, to the next step: Deploying FTTP gradually, firstly in areas where it’s most needed but then everywhere else, over the succeeding several decades.

    Let’s be very clear about this: FTTN is an interim broadband technology. As a nation, if we’re going to talk about replacing a copper telecommunications network which has been in use for a century, then we need to realise that the infrastructure we use to replace it must also last at least that long. It is a certainty that FTTN will not and that an upgrade to FTTP will need to kickoff as soon as FTTN is in place. Technology’s like that: It doesn’t stand still while politicians and bean-counters bicker about costs.

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    1. Sathias
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

      Mal has gotten to the same stage as Tony these days, he knows he can say whatever bullshit he likes and get away with it. Our political discourse is seriously down the toilet.

    2. Ray Herring
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink |

      First things first, i can’t highlight text on the page…

      Second: little error, paragraph 5, first/second line: FTTP is considered a vastly superior broadband server delivery platform to FTTP on a technical basis.

      I’m guessing the second FTTP should be FTTN.

      Thirdly: The Coalition has not specified certain upload speeds for its network.

      On a Google Hangouts live interview last week, Turnbull answered that question and stated between 4 to 6Mbps upload speed on FTTN.

      Or did you write that particular line in relation to the April policy launch?

      • Thateus
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink |

        Bit annoying that Delimiter has disabled copy/paste as well as other mouse actions.

        Content thieves will still get the content (eg via Google Cache) – legitimate readers have a reduced experience.

        • Ian M
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink |

          It does seem odd that Delimiter, read by the tech-savvy, would try to protect content in such a fashion. No need for Google cache or any other external service, the page is still plain text.

          On Turnbull’s upload speeds: it’ll be interesting to see how he backs them up in Australia’s context. Are these now part of the Coalition’s policy?

      • Dan
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

        Mal suggested last week that the upload speed would be 4-6Mbps. A highly dubious and doubtful claim, as xDSL uploads are so low (synchronous DSL aside) compared to the download, often 1/10 or less.

      • Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink |

        “i can’t highlight text on the page…”

        I’m trialling a WordPress plugin which disables the n00b-level content theft stuff. It’s been on Delimiter 2.0 since it launched, without problems. I’m trialling the same system on Delimiter over the next week to see what happens. It’s not a permanent feature yet; it’s in evaluation.

        Of course it can be easily defeated by those of a technical bent ;) However, it may stop some of the more obvious behaviours which I’ve been seeing; in addition, it may have a positive effect upon the discussion. If commenters can’t simply, easily copy each other’s comments and rebut them point by point (a particularly useless form of discussion), it may lead to people thinking more deeply about how they respond to other peoples’ comments.

        I’m also considering giving pre-moderation a try on Delimiter next week. The comments here have become atrocious. I’ll take any measure I can to heave them out of the cesspit which they are ;)

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

          I agree, the following is much better:

          ““i can’t highlight text on the page…”
          I’m trialling a WordPress plugin which disables the n00b-level content theft stuff. It’s been on Delimiter 2.0 since it launched, without problems. I’m trialling the same system on Delimiter over the next week to see what happens. It’s not a permanent feature yet; it’s in evaluation.
          Of course it can be easily defeated by those of a technical bent ;) However, it may stop some of the more obvious behaviours which I’ve been seeing; in addition, it may have a positive effect upon the discussion. If commenters can’t simply, easily copy each other’s comments and rebut them point by point (a particularly useless form of discussion), it may lead to people thinking more deeply about how they respond to other peoples’ comments.
          I’m also considering giving pre-moderation a try on Delimiter next week. The comments here have become atrocious. I’ll take any measure I can to heave them out of the cesspit which they are ;)”

        • Nacimota
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink |

          Mate, that’s just silly. This is basically web DRM and if we’ve learned anything from DRM in the last decade, it’s that it doesn’t benefit anyone. What if I want to highlight something on the page and click “search in google” with my context menu? I can’t even highlight text in this edit box if I want to revise my comment before I post it! You’re going to disable basic functionality in my browser to prevent content theft even though you freely admit that it won’t really stop people from stealing your stuff?

          If someone wants to steal you content, they will. A piece of JavaScript is not going to stop them. All you’ve succeeded in doing is pissing off your actual readers. The ones who came straight to your site to read your content rather than go elsewhere (where your content may have been copied). This is pointless.

    3. quink
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink |

      Any ideas on how we might be able to repurpose AM spectrum to be put to better use?

      I’m thinking that a scheme based around LDPC + Opus + COFDM + a nice big guard interval should give a much better use of each kHz and not least of all better reception quality.

      Plus, we could use it for digital data too. There’s so much we could do with this spectrum. Not least of all we could use it, in some way, to support wireless services. Not for the bulk of data transmission, no, but for multicasting of radio programmes and such.

      • quink
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

        Failing the ability by the media to regulate itself or a failure by the government to regulate AM spectrum effectively, we should instead demand that a large a variety of voices as possible is present on this public spectrum.

        For every Alan Jones, there should be one sortius, two Steve Jenkins, three Renai Le Mays and four Rod Tuckers on the airwaves.

        • GongGav
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

          You seem to be saying it takes a team of 10 to hose out the stables after Alan Jones…

          Sounds about right.

          • quink
            Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink |

            If Alan Jones gets to spew his crap on AM, which is public spectrum, why don’t I?

            All it takes, for starters, is a willingness to manage the spectrum a bit more efficiently.

    4. GongGav
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink |

      The Turnbull knows very well that by the time history is in a position to judge any decision to focus on FttN, it will be someone else’s problem.

      So he can bullshit as much as he likes, in the interests of getting voted in, without having to care about the short, medium, or long term consequences.

      Oh yeah, and whats up with not being able to highlight any text on the page? Quoting becomes a lot more tedious.

      • Aaron B Lingwood
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

        Disable Javascript , View Source, or use Dev Tools.

        But seriously, it is a pain in the ass. I can’t even right-click on links to open in a new window, share, or bookmark.

        If it is an attempt at DRM to stop plagiarists, Renai should possibly consider something like this http://thejh.net/misc/website-terminal-copy-paste to watermark the article/paragraphs. Though many of these plagiarists/agregators just use bots.

        I think this will likely just piss of the legitimate users.

        • GongGav
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

          I mostly read at work, where two of those arent an option, so its basically view source, or nothing. But man its annoying not being able to bulk delete something.

          If Renai knew how many times I’d rant at someone like Fibroid, then delete what I wrote and put something more reflective, he’d realise that crippling the text options like this can actually encourage what he’s trying to prevent.

          Its a lot harder to bulk delete something now, so I’ll be more inclined to just post what I initially feel, at the risk of getting banned for a week, rather than edit and sanitise before posting.

          • Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink |

            “I mostly read at work, where two of those arent an option, so its basically view source, or nothing.”

            Not sure what you’re saying? It’s still perfectly possible to read Delimiter in any normal browser window. Why do you need to view source?

            • GongGav
              Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink |

              It was in response to the options presented above my post – disable java, dev tools, or view source.

              Mainly, if I want to quote someone, or something from the story, its a lot easier to highlight, then copy and paste, than it is to view source then hunt for the text to do it there.

              Not a big thing for me, I dont quote all that often, but disabling things is still annoying.

              Its more fixing text, or wanting to go back and retype what I wrote. You say you’re testing to make people thing about what they write a little more, and thats fine, but as plenty of people write what goes through their head, then edit it, its counter-intuitive to have to be so selective when editing a broad rant.

              For me, I’ve F-bombed fibroid so many times in an initial post its not funny, just to get it off my chest. Then gone back and edited it to read much nicer. Most of the time anyhow :) I know there has been plenty of times where I’ve gone back and deleted half a dozen paragraphs, just because I’d cooled down.

              Not as easy to do now.

        • Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink |

          “I can’t even right-click on links to open in a new window, share, or bookmark.”

          Hmm … you can command click to open a link in a new tab/window — and why do you need right click to share or bookmark?

          • Aaron B Lingwood
            Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink |

            I will often bookmark a link I want to read later. I do this by right-clicking the link and selecting bookmark. There is no other way to do this other than to load the page first then hit Ctrl+B.

            I also share links I have previously read, usually via FB, and have that as an option in the context menu.

            Shift-Click is not an option for me as I utilize Qubes-style security-contexts.

    5. Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

      FTTP “superceded” by FTTN???

      Amazing. Just don’t tell those in Greenfields. They would be fuming having nice new houses with old superseded technology.

      Turnbull is really good at the spin. Only a few sulking on Zdnet are fooled by it.

    6. midspace
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink |

      After having dug to a depth of 1000 meters last year, English scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 1000 years ago.
      Not to be outdone by the English, in the weeks that followed, Scottish scientists dug to a depth of 2000 meters and shortly after headlines in the UK newspapers read; Scottish archaeologists have found traces of 2000 year old fibre-optic cable and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech digital communications network a thousand years earlier than the English.

      One week later, Irish newspapers reported the following: After digging as deep as 5000 meters in a County Mayo bog, Irish scientists have found absolutely nothing. They, therefore, have concluded that 5000 years ago, Ireland’s inhabitants were already using wireless technology.

    7. Tinman_au
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink |

      The bullshits really flowing from the LNP at the moment. Here’s a quote from the Guardian:

      Abbott says his broadband policy has been “out there for several months now and the Labor party has not been able to shoot any holes in it”. It’s “bulletproof”, he says.

      I mean seriously? “Bulletproof”???

      • midspace
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink |

        “If it bleeds, we can kill it”

      • RocK_M
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

        It’s pretty much on the same vein as Turnbull’s claims “90billion costings” was “solid” and no one has really come up to say it’s wrong. =/

    8. Brendan
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink |

      Wait, how can something be superseded if we don’t need it, yet?

      This is right up there suggesting that computers will never be used in the home, because (at the time) they were the size of a home and twice as expensive.

      It’s an idiotic statement and Turnbull could do a lot better than throw away, patently distorted garbage like this, in the lead up to the election.

      Also Renai, bad form on the removal right-click context; it breaks spell check within dialog boxes, never mind being unable to quote that which one might wish to respond to.

      • Posted 02/09/2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink |

        “it breaks spell check within dialog boxes”

        Not sure what that is?

        “being unable to quote that which one might wish to respond to”

        That’s a plus, to my mind. I want to slow the discussion down. I don’t want people to cut, paste and respond quickly. I want people to start to think about what they are typing.

        Anyway, as I said, it’s an experiment for the next week. We’ll see how it goes.

        • midspace
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink |

          IE10 features its own spell checker now, allowing corrections whilst typing comments.
          I don’t have any issue with spellchecker, however I cannot highlight words that I am typing, in case I want to rearrange words/sentences.

          iPad also has spellchecker. Not sure if that has been affected.

        • midspace
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink |

          “want people to start to think about what they are typing”

          I usually type a lot of stuff, then re-read through it before posting, to removing the more aggressive and inflammatory stuff.
          Been able to highlight and delete sentences before I post, does help.
          But having the ability to highlight will just make me more susceptible to posting it as is without deleting anything.

          My 2c on this “experiment”.

          • Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink |

            Fair comment.

          • midspace
            Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

            “But >NOT< having the ability…"

            Also goes to show, that I'm not proofreading my writing properly, as I keep getting stuck up on not been able to select a word to correct it.

    9. Karl
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink |

      Controversial claim? Malcolm Turnbull is a smart guy, he knows what’s what with broadband technology and he knows what the word superceded means. He didn’t make a controversial claim, he lied.

      • midspace
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink |

        Karl could do with a spell checker also ;)

    10. NPSF3000
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink |

      “Sure, FTTN is a viable technology for high-speed broadband service delivery in Australia for many premises for the next several decades”

      Excuse me?

      You are aware that a decade is 10 years and that several refers to a number larger than 2 or 3 but less than many?

      So you’re seriously suggesting that there’s not only evidence FTTN is viable for say 40 or 50 or more years, but that it’s so clear you don’t even feel the need to source it?

      I’m sorry, but I call a big fat BS. FTTN might just scrape past *this* decade… heck I’d be willing to conceded that while unideal, it could possible power the beginning of the next decade… but that’s far below what you’re claiming!

      Do me a favour, just one, go and spend a few hours learning about Moore’s law and how the principle applies to bandwidth demands in telecommunications – because for years now it appears you fundamentally miss the point. Heck, I’ll even consider paying you for your time!

      • Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink |

        So what speeds do you believe Australians will need in, say, 2033?

        • Lionel
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink |

          I’d be very interested to know how long before you think copper technologies will just brick wall and hold back our internet speeds like ADSL2 is currently.
          All predictions point to some time shortly after 2020.
          2033, if growth continues at current rate, 50Gb. It could be out by orders of magnite, but I’d doubt that order of magnitude is 500. I guess we will see in 2020 if 100Mb is starting to limit things.

        • NPSF3000
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

          First of 2033 is only a couple decades away, not the ‘several’ you claimed.

          Secondly, I explicitly asked *you* to do the research – and even offered to pay.

          My own personal opinion is that the 50% annual growth is a ‘good enough’ estimation, which would indicate by 2033 we would need about 3300 times the current acceptable bandwidth needs. Defining what currently acceptable speeds are is hard, but I’m of the opinion it’s in the ball park of 25Mbps… which would give a estimation of 83Gbps.

          Now, there are other factors involved – I am well aware of platueing because of technical or human limitations – e.g. audio is not increasing in bit-rate simply because the current bitrate exceeds human hearing. However, it seems obvious to me that between increasing screen size and resolution, multiple devices, increasing ability to generate and consume data (e.g. 3d scanners and printing) and increasing capability for non-human agents to generate and consume data that FTTN isn’t going to be close to sufficing our demand before a hypothetical plateau. It’s also fairly obvious to me that there are no major technical limitations due anytime soon that could put a significant dent in this trend – because all the fundamentals are already proven – it’s simply a matter of mass commercialisation.

          • Posted 02/09/2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink |

            83Gbps … riiight.

            Apologies NPSF3000, but I am putting you on a pre-moderate list for irrational comments.

      • Brad
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

        + 100.

        It is disingenuous to rate FTTN vs FTTP purely on downloads speed…even though FTTP shits all over the alternative.
        Taking into account network stability, reliability, upload speeds and quiality of service there is no competition.
        As for the tired old “how fast do you need it” argument, that’s entirely the point….how do you know how much speed FUTURE innovations will need?

        Another tiresome Malcolm soft-soaping effort. You can’t polish the turd any more…

    11. Soth
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink |

      Hear ye, hear ye! Horse to replace automobile *rings bell*

      • midspace
        Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

        Certainly won’t produce as much CO2 emissions.

    12. Harimau
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink |

      “FTTN is… viable … for the next several decades”?
      Are you sure about that? Or are we talking about MDUs where the copper length is minimal, here? Even then, several DECADES?

      • Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink |

        Question: What Internet speeds do you feel most Australians will need in two decades’ time — 2033?

        • Bruce H
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink |

          I work from home off and on and even now I struggle doing VConfs, etc. God forbid someone does something concurrently while I am working – bit like allowing the wife to play the stereo full noise while trying to do a Voice conference on speaker.

          I am keen to get 100mbps asap. Given that 1gpbs is available today pretty much across any fibre length you want, I don’t think 1gbps will be unreasonable requirement in 20 years for home connectivity. If Moore’s Law is applied, will 10gbps be required – that is already available today? Thing is, with Fibre I know that I can get these speeds as soon as I and the carrier upgrade the points on the end of the Fibre. Even with FTTN, I’ll have to wait for (T$ Probably) to pull the fibre through then wait for them to upgrade my particular cabinet.

          • Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink |

            I don’t disagree that many people will want 1Gbps to their home in 20 years, but I would point out that Moore’s Law does not apply to telecommunications networks ;)

            • Lionel
              Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

              You are correct. The law for home internet connections is Neilson’s law
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen%27s_Law#Contributions
              50% increase a year, slightly slower than Moore’s law

            • GongGav
              Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

              But it has applied up to now, and surprisingly evenly. There are plenty of reports showing a direct growth rate of ~50% per annum from dialup to ADSL2.

              Simple chart.

              1999 –> 2001 –> 2003 –> 2005 –> 2007 –> 2009 –> 2011 –> 2013
              56k –> 128k –> 256k –> 512k –> 1 Mbps –> 2 Mbps –> 4 Mbps –> 8 Mbps

              That last number is so close to where we’re at now its uncanny, and the growth of the average speeds isnt all that far away from the same growthlines.

              So why do people imagine the growthrate is just going to drop off a cliff? You keep doubling, you’re looking at 16 Mbps in 2015, 32 Mbps in 2017, 64 Mbps in 2019, and 128 Mbps in 2021.

              Even if it doubles every 3 years then at some point every 4, needs will outdo FttN very soon after the best case 2019 rollout. A doubling every 4 years from 2021 to 2033 will see 1 Gbps needs by that point. A doubling every 2 years means around 8 Gbps by 2033.

              As to WHY we’ll need those speeds, who knows. Nobody in 1999 would imagine we’d be needing or even considering the speeds we’re talking about today. When the ADSL network was built, it was imagine it would last 20 years. Instead it was outdated in 5.

              • Posted 02/09/2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

                “needs will outdo FttN very soon after the best case 2019 rollout”

                Which is precisely why I wrote:

                “As soon as a FTTN rollout under a Coalition administration was complete, discussions would then turn very quickly, and rightly so, to the next step: Deploying FTTP gradually, firstly in areas where it’s most needed but then everywhere else, over the succeeding several decades.”

        • jasmcd
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink |

          Downloads will be one question whilst uploads and stability of connection will be another.

          Right now I find it completely unacceptable that I can lose my connection upto several times an hour and worse during heavy rainfalls. I can select a more stable profile, but that reduces my download and upload speeds.

          I want a fast, affordable internet connection that is stable. As a customer I know that both policies can achieve this, however as a voter there are some questions that I feel that haven’t been thoroughly answered by Turnbull.

          What are the likely true costs of FTTN? Remediation, number of cabinets, telstra deal etc.
          What is the point of upgrading to FTTN if it is practically going to cost the same as FTTH?
          What is the point of opening up the NBN to wholesale competition when the only possible outcome is to spread the build and maintenance costs over a smaller proportion of the population?
          What action will be taken if a line does not meet the “guaranteed speed”?
          What is the point of remediating lines with copper when it is an almost identical cost to do it with fiber?

        • Harimau
          Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink |

          Many Australians *today* need 100Mbps download speed – or else why would there be anyone who would take up that speed tier? In 2033, many Australians will need 1000Mbps, and most will need more than 100Mbps.

          If you are one of the very luckiest, you might get as much as 100Mbps download on FTTN (though not even BT who, unlike Turnbull, actually own and operate a FTTN network claim that; theirs is up to 76Mbps, isn’t it?)… with, what was it?, 4-6Mbps upload, according to Turnbull himself.

          I can say with absolute certainty that Australians in 2033 will need more than 6Mbps upload. Australians today need more than that.

          As Turnbull likes to remind us, 6Mbps is a single HD stream (if you’re lucky^). So even with Turnbull’s numbers, only the luckiest Australians will be able to upstream HD video – provided no one else is using the connection, of course. It gets worse, when you consider that HD streams can actually be significantly more bandwidth intensive, up to 12Mbps^, in fact.

          With this in mind, there’s a far greater likelihood that most Australians on Turnbull’s FTTN network won’t actually be able to upstream HD video. Is that a function that most Australians in 2033 will want? Absolutely. Many want it today.

          ^
          •5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
          •7.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for Super HD quality
          •12 Megabits per second – Recommended for 3D quality
          https://support.netflix.com/en/node/306

          • Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink |

            “and most will need more than 100Mbps.”

            Safe to say over 200mbps. But I’m being conservative. In theory possible to deliver on copper but to most Australians reliably it’s very doubtful. Multiple node/modem upgrades less efficient and more costly than doing it properly with fibre to begin with.

            “With this in mind, there’s a far greater likelihood that most Australians on Turnbull’s FTTN network won’t actually be able to upstream HD video. Is that a function that most Australians in 2033 will want? ”

            Forget HD Skype already has 3D video calling in mind: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/29/skype_3d_calls_prototype/
            Not just bandwidth that is important here but latency. Coalition clowns will tell us there are no apps that require more than 25mbps download disregarding upload requirements. Skype disagrees and certainly cant make it a reality without a capable network. Turnbull will tell us Skype are “conspiring against the taxpayer”.

    13. Bruce H
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

      I think what MT is talking about is that Labour made the FTTP decision back in the days when FTTN meant only ADSL2+ for the last 1KM, back in 2008 (I’d cut and paste the quote in…..but you know…).

      And to be fair, Malcolm is right. Since 2008 ADSL2+ technology has largely been surpassed for the last 400m or so, assuming perfect copper and a copper diameter larger than what we have today – but sure.

      What shits me blue is that Malcolm has said it in such a way to infer that it is FTTP that has been surpassed and not the individual technologies within copper after ADSL2+. And he won’t get caught….again….

    14. Plover
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink |

      NBN will be used by businesses of all sizes as well as private homes, the advocates of FTTN never mention that.

    15. Liam
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink |

      What I’d like to see is a report from the Liberals on the state of the copper in that last mile, whether pair gain lines are affected etc.

      I suspect Telstra won’t say what the condition of the lines is, because they don’t know or possibly worse, know that the condition of a fair portion of the network is less than ideal.

      Which then the Libs will turn around and say you can replace that link at your own cost…

    16. dave
      Posted 02/09/2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink |

      Their FTTN policy is only ‘sensible’ if you assume there is no existing policy being implemented.

      Destroying FTTP for a slightly cheaper (supposedly, where are the real costings?) and inferior FTTN is not ‘sensible’.

    17. Posted 02/09/2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink |

      Hey everyone,

      hope you’re well!

      As is becoming usual, this comment thread has turned into an attack thread on a few small comments I made about FTTN being a viable option. Unfortunately the majority of commenters are not discussing the broader points I made about the FTTN network needing to be upgraded to FTTP as soon as it was completed.

      I would ask people to note that I wrote the following comments to conclude the article:

      “FTTN is very much only an interim step. It does not “supercede” FTTP. As soon as a FTTN rollout under a Coalition administration was complete, discussions would then turn very quickly, and rightly so, to the next step: Deploying FTTP gradually, firstly in areas where it’s most needed but then everywhere else, over the succeeding several decades.

      Let’s be very clear about this: FTTN is an interim broadband technology. As a nation, if we’re going to talk about replacing a copper telecommunications network which has been in use for a century, then we need to realise that the infrastructure we use to replace it must also last at least that long. It is a certainty that FTTN will not and that an upgrade to FTTP will need to kickoff as soon as FTTN is in place.”

      Despite my views on this issue being very clear, the majority of commenters are avoiding the main point of the article and appear to be taking a “FTTP or nothing” approach to the debate. Most commenters appear to believe that there is no situation in which it would be appropriate to roll out FTTN to upgrade telecommunications networks in 2013, despite the fact that FTTN is being rolled out in many countries around the world and is providing a viable option to upgrade people’s broadband connections.

      Because of this, I’m closing comments. I made a much larger point here — that FTTN will eventually need to be upgraded to FTTP in fact as soon as the FTTN rollout is complete. This rollout will need to take place in the decade after FTTN is deployed through 2019.

      I’m really sorry, but if people are going to wilfully ignore the point I made and paint me as a pro-FTTN campaigner, then I don’t want to continue the discussion. That viewpoint is irrational. I don’t want to have a “FTTP or nothing” debate, because it is very obvious at this point that we are very likely to have a Coalition Govt in a week which will be deploying FTTN. This is reality, people. Get used to it. Railing against it will not change it. I don’t like the FTTN model either, but it’s viable and it’s very likely coming.

      From next week, the debate will very likely not be “FTTN versus FTTP”, but “how do we do FTTN, and when do we upgrade to FTTP”. And people need to understand that.

      I would ask you all to consider seriously the points I’ve made here, and their nuances. I’ve said previously that Delimiter is not to be a forum for people to have closed minds and continually promote their own point of view, as well as attacking me personally and ignoring the article topic. If commenters continue to ignore the points being made in NBN articles, and focus only on the FTTP or FTTN debate, continually painting me personally as someone who is pro-FTTN, then I will consider closing comments on NBN articles permanently.

      In fact, I am already considering that. I am tired of Delimiter being a haven for zealots who are constantly bashing each other in the face with irrational arguments, ignoring what’s happening in the real world.

      If you’re going to comment here, you must respect that I am the host, and address the arguments I make. I’m not going to run a site where people are continually wilfully misunderstanding my position and using my own site to sledge me ;)

      Renai




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