Latest figures show terminally slow NBN rollout


Slow connection as a snail

news NBN Co’s latest set of quarterly rollout figures show the company’s rollout progress remains extremely slow across Australia in general and has actually gone backward slightly in the state of Tasmania, as evidence continues to pile up that the company is not capable of delivering on Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN vision in a timely manner.

According to figures released by NBN Co in July, at the end of June the company had passed some 207,500 premises with its fibre network, including both brownfields (areas where there are existing telecommunications networks) and greenfields estates (where there are none). At that stage, the company also had some 27,300 premises passed with its fixed wireless network.

NBN Co has repeatedly stated this year that its network construction rollout would shortly enter a rapid ramp-up phase which would see the company speed up its fibre rollout to target hundreds of thousands more premises. For example, a leaked draft of its corporate plan, developed in June, stated that it planned that its fibre network would reach some 981,000 premises by the end of June 2014.

However, according to internal NBN figures obtained by Delimiter, and first reported this morning by the Financial Review newspaper, NBN Co has added on only 83,700-odd fibre premises in the three months since June, and just 18,000-odd fixed wireless premises. The company’s latest figures show the following:


Of particular note is the company’s Tasmanian operations, which have actually gone backwards slightly over the past several months. As at 12 August, NBN Co’s fibre network was listed as having passed some 32,003 premises in the state. However, by 7 October, the figures had gone down slightly for Tasmania, to just 32,001.

The news comes just a week after Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the National Broadband Network rollout in Tasmania as being “dead in the water”, with no progress in the state having been made “for months”, in the context of calls from activists in the state for the Fibre to the Premises rollout promised under Labor to be completed.

In a new interview with ABC local radio in Hobart at the time, Turnbull said with regard to Tasmanian NBN contractor Visionstream: “As far as we can see no work has been done by Visionstream for at least two months and they’ve basically downed tools … “It’s been dead in the water as far as progress is concerned in Tasmania for months.” The ABC subsequently reported, with regard to Turnbull’s comments:

“Mr Turnbull’s claims that no work has taken place in Tasmania in the last two months regarding the rollout of the fibre optic cable was instantly challenged by listeners to ABC Local Radio by text and on Twitter, as reports came in o people seeing Visionstream workers working in Kingston, Launceston and Beaconsfield in the last week.”

In addition, David Havyatt, a former senior telecommunications executive and senior advisor to Labor Communications Ministers Stephen Conroy and Anthony Albanese, posted an entry on his blog denying the claims that work had stopped in Tasmania.

It appears that some NBN construction work is still continuing in Tasmania, based on photographic evidence posted by Tasmanians of the rollout. However, it also appears Turnbull is correct, in that there appears to have been very little finalised progress on new connections made in Tasmania over the past several months.

My broad thoughts on this issue are contained in an opinion/analysis piece I published today on Delimiter 2.0 (subscriber content), entitled It’s official: Labor’s NBN project has failed. A sample paragraph:

“The National Broadband Network project has abjectly failed every construction target ever set for it, its rollout has slowed to a deadly slow crawl, and even its founder, former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, has admitted the previous Labor Government drastically underestimated the amount of work involved in delivering it. It’s time to admit NBN version 2.0 is dead and that the project desperately needs to be radically reshaped yet again.”


    • That was my first thought, too. A stoppage like that was always going to reflect in the premises passed figures a few months down the track. Doesn’t mean the project has ‘failed’. Not many infrastructure projects come in early or under budget, unless they’re are very large incentives for the contractors to do so. I don’t believe NBNCo has any such incentives in its contracts.

    • Actually I would like to see evidence that it really is actually back again.
      Ref Tasmania

      “The AFR reports a Leighton Holdings Ltd’s subsidiary Visionstream – which is responsible for the rollout in Tasmania – said the slow progress was due asbestos-related delays”

      Plus of course those subbies that had to go for months without income aren’t playing anymore, many have taken on different work and have gotten rid of their equipment.

      Asbestos issues first arose in 2012 but didn’t become an issue untill the rollout was ramping up, funny about that

  1. It’s funny how Conroy the NBN Pied Piper has already changed tune from “corporate plan is extremely conservative” to “CP was in hindsight overly ambitious”…. but the faithful blind mice are 50 bars behind still trying to find excuses for a FAILED PROJECT.

    • Umm, I think Conroy is talking about two separate things there.

      The “extremely conservative” aspect of the Corporate Plan is the long term financial viability based on predominantly low-speed takeup of NBN services.

      The “overly ambitious” is about the rollout schedule, nothing else.

      The two things are completely different.

    • This asbestos issue wasn’t going to go away, FTTN or FTTH. FTTN would at best have only kicked the problem down the road a bit. This is not so much an excuse as a reason.

      So, what’s this talk about excuses? How would such an excuse sound? “Sorry we worried about asbestos in the pits, we’ll just ignore it in the future.”

      What should have been done is that Telstra should have handled this in a timely fashion, and they didn’t. Here’s someone you can blame for Telstra being apathetic about asbestos:

      • And the politicisation of the asbestos issue continues, if not as explicitly as before. As the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia President said four months ago:

        “[Mr Oakeshott] is correct in his comments today, the coalition is seeking to politicise the current problem with asbestos, the NBN and Telstra. This is a cynical act.”

        “The coalition has never helped asbestos victims in all of the time I have been involved with ADFA.”

        But none of this is to say that Labor shouldn’t have done something about asbestos in 2010 when they just, I guess, assumed Telstra would be taking care of it.

        • What gets me about the whole asbestos issue is that Telstra DID try to do something about it. They went to the government of the day and tried to get help sorting it out. The Minister at the time, which I believe was a certain Tony Abbott, basically threw it in their face.

          There’s more than a little irony in that.

          • Well I’m not sure about that story, but the other irony that FTTN requires less duct access than FTTP in this scenario I’m sure you appreciate.

          • Sorry what?

            The ducts, that the copper runs through today, will be the same ducts any REMEDIAL work done would occur on, tomorrow.

            Same ducts, mate. So please stop shovelling this line that somehow FTTN wouldn’t be impacted; remedial work will disturb the same pits, the same asbestos.

            Hell, re-termination of copper alone guarantees this.

            It’s patently ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

          • The key point in your statement is remedial work, so unless all copper requires remedial work the requirement for duct access beyond the FTTN cabinet is always going to be a hell of lot less than FTTP which requires a brand new fibre run and pull through to the residence in existing ducting.

          • Fibroid,

            It will be non-zero.

            Whether they have to open 10,000 pits, or only 9,000 makes very little difference to the simply fact that it exists and thus has to be dealt with.

            Given the requirement to re-terminate large bundles of copper mid-point, that number is going to be very big, regardless.

  2. I agree its probably not correct to label the whole project a failure without looking into the detail of why we are here. Here’s why I think we are here.

    1. The Asbestos issue. Bad timing for NBN. An election was looming and all Telstra had to do was delay enough to see who wins as the result would determine where we went next.

    2. The change in government is having a dramatic effect on the project. Staff at NBNCo will not be pushing the contractors and the contractors will not ramp up until there is clear direction. The contractors will finish current work but they wont be racing to get it done (ramp up).

    This project has challenges but its resolvable. NBNCo was moving to a more efficient construction model where they didnt just give the work to the Tier 1 contruction companies as there is too much overhead. They were giving more work to the smaller firms which can ramp up and setup much quicker.

    This can be seen where an FSAM was rolled out in 3 months in NT by directly engaging smaller contractors to do the work.

    A mix of construction models is the right combination which can resolve these construction issues NBN is facing.

  3. The increase in service activations I think is amazing:
    Brownfields: 78%
    Greenfields: 53%
    Wireless: 54%
    Satellite 18%:

    And that’s in only 3 months!

  4. The NBN rollout was adversely affected by the rollout is centred on areas controlled by independent politicians and according to independent politicians “needs” like a rural and Tasmanian rollout priority.
    Of course the rurals and Tasmanians had no interest in the NBN, more interested in things like drought relief cheques and irrigation and fuel subsidies and of course their main interest the prices of produce.

    1)The rollout should have started first in the CBD’s and then progressed to the dense inner city suburbs in Sydney for example the areas bounded by Centenary Dr, Homebush Bay Dr and the King Georges and Roberts Rd’s and on the North Shore Warringah Rd, Boundary St, Pacific Hwy and Centennial Dr.
    Also areas like the CBD’s at Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown should be cabled in the first rollouts.
    2)MDU’s should have had fibre to the basement with the property owners required to cable buildings and property.
    3) The single port connection should have been applied, the dumbass all seeing and doing termination box not well thought out. The ISP’s should have supplied the termination equipment(including integrated modem telephones for the voice subscribers).
    4)Greenfield estates and new MDU’s to be cabled by developers.
    5) When fibre was installed the copper should have been immediately removed and ISP’s required to continue existing contracts onto the NBN.
    6)The construction contracts should have been advertised internationally to allow groups like Bechtel and Huawei to bid.

    This would have allowed the NBN to achieve a much quicker revenue stream with a lower outlay per subscriber on installation.
    Also a much greater emphasis on gaining the required skilled labour was needed, a major training program, if the program could not achieve the required take-up rates from Australians then the positions could have been granted to immigrants in which permanent residency could be obtained by 3 years work on the NBN program after training.

    • Kevin, the whole idea for the current rollout was to test the waters of several different sites. Labor installing fiber in the dense CBD and inner urban areas would just look like pork barrelling. Many of the inner urban areas are already supplied with fiber, I’d hazard a guess that in the background, there was work being done to purchase that fiber from whomever owned it (ala Google Fiber).

      You also can’t expect property owners to upgrade cabling in a building. I agree that they should have had FttC for those installations and provided VDSL throughout the building. Having fibre installed to your apartment from the FD would have been significantly cheaper than a typical residential install from the node.

      Equipment should have been ISP provided. The major flaw in the NBN, in my belief, is them providing the subscriber equipment. NBN should have all been about providing the physical cable and termination, that’s it.

      You can’t force people onto the NBN, especially if their RSP is not an NBN provider. Market forces as well as competition legislation would prevent this. The copper needs to remain in situ until the person is in whole transferred over to the NBN, data and voice.

      Companies like Huawei were considered, but ruled out due to issues with the possibility of the hardware having hidden ‘back doors’. How real this is, I don’t know.

      • The basis on which my point of view about cabling in MDU’s is that these premises are private properties(and some are businesses) not public streets. I do agree that the termination in these buildings should be VDSL routers, building cabling is generally much better than Telstra street cabling,the jumper frames are generally located in cabinets/cupboards or small rooms and the cabling is above ground and conduited in dry areas of buildings.
        I also think that a modification of Strata act’s is needed to allow for a majority verdict at the AGM re cabling of buildings and for loans from NBN at the long term bond rate for the installation of cabling.
        I also agree that cabling of buildings by NBN Co would have allowed premises connected numbers to built up quickly, but the politicians would have also seen through a ploy like this.
        The completion of inner cities first would not been seen as pork barrelling as there are a similar number of both Liberal and Labor electorates. In National areas there was not a large number of people crying out for the NBN and most of the opposition for the NBN was based in rural electorates, it didn’t help either Oakshott or Windsor but both these men were smart enough to realise the long term benefits of the NBN.
        It’s not a matter of “forcing” people onto the NBN, it’s a matter of replacing the network equipment with newer gear and junking the old.

  5. Wow. I can only hope you go into some actual detail to analyse the circumstances and events that have caused these delays in your Delimiter 2.0 article, because this summary is light on facts and evidence yet loaded with criticism.

    The circumstances are not only materially relevant to any analysis, you can’t actually perform any meaningful analysis or draw conclusions if any value without consideration of context and contributing variables. For example, if Telstra asbestos remediation directly caused all of the delays (and I’m not saying they did, I’m using this as a hypothetical example) then does that make NBN Co incompetent? Is that NBN Co’s fault? How much is NBN Co’s fault? You could argue that there should have been contractual or legal penalties for delays of this nature caused by Telstra, but I would say such mechanisms could only have been implemented by the Labor government.

    So what is the context? What circumstances directly caused or contributed to the delays? What responses were taken and procedures put in place by NBN Co to address these delays and overcome them? Because when you get down to it, it’s really what NBN Co did in response to whatever circumstances caused the delays that determines whether or not they have abjectly failed or actually done a good job in poor circumstances (or a range of possibilities in between).

    • In his Lateline interview last night, Stephen Conroy said the vast majority of delays have been caused by construction contractors not meeting contractual targets, and as a result they have had financial penalties imposed. As we know, NBN Co have taken up the NT build directly as well as other measures to address contractual failure by Syntheo and others. Is this ‘abject failure’? Is this gross mismanagement? Can they ‘not be trusted’? Or are you lambasting them for missed targets that will add three to six months to a ten year project?

      Don’t get me wrong, delays are in no way acceptable and should be minimised or eliminated, but as with everything they must be analysed and reported with context, not sensationalist hyperbole. Unless the aim is to undermine public confidence, in which case *golf clap*

      • You don’t have to worry about ‘ public confidence’ being undermined in October 2013 because the public have voted on what confidence they had in the Labor NBN rollout.

        We have a new Government and a new NBN policy all under a new NBN Co board, the Labor policy is defunct.

        Nice to see ex Minister Conroy out there commenting on defunct Labor policy, I am not sure but is he the new (old) Labor Comms Minister resurrected or is he just filling the void, fortunately he doesn’t have to provide pre election NBN spin anymore and his comments and the headlines in this Delimiter piece show just why Labor NBN policy should be in fact defunct.

        • Yes it is defunct Fibroid…

          So why do you keep harping on about it/[quote] Labor’s NBN, 24/7… old habits?

          Instead move on and vainly attempt to convince us (with a straight face) that your heroes dumb FttN network, which is slower in speed, has greater maint costs, cost nearly the same (gov. monies) as FttP and needs Telstra’s dilapidated (according to John Lindsay-iinet) obsolete copper to run, isn’t the obvious rubbish everyone who has two political eyes can see it is?

          Seriously… I reckon you guys would have had a field day in the childish nitpicking and silly arguments department, if the previous government had have served up such rubbish!

  6. Thats right; you build a national broadband network by first going to someones house, and building fibre from there, inwards.

    You don’t bother building fibre to central nodes outwards – how many premises can you claim are connected if you build it that way silly!

    And since there is asbestos everywhere you wait at everyones houses for them to fix the asbestos laden pits before building your inwards network.

    It’s obvious; since you measure progress by “houses on the NBN” you must obviously build your network from the houses inwards!

  7. Interesting coincidences (?) numbers. Over the quarter there was a 43% increase in the number of premises passed. And an identical 43% increase in the number of premises activated. With the result that the activation rate remains exactly the same at just a smidgen under 30%. Its starting to look like a trend. That without the compulsion of the copper network being removed that’s about how many customers the fibre NBN would have gotten. About half as many as it needed to be economically viable, and a genuine “investment” that justified funds borrowed and allocated to it not being included in the federal government budget deficits.

    A 43% increase over a quarter isn’t actually a bad number at all. It says they are not stalled, as the story asserts, they are successfully ramping up. How big that percentage is, and how small the counts are, merely shows they are a long way further down the rollout curve than they should have been by now. That they would have gotten there, but it would have taken a lot longer than planned. Along with too little effort expended on getting the planning and management of the rollout right, the 30% takeup rate indicates too much effort was concentrated on the best possible technology, and too little on the marketing.

    • You may have a point if any of these had remained horizontal at the 30% mark for any individual FSAM:

      But the only way a sum would remain at 30% is if you add a bunch of new FSAMs to a bunch of old FSAMs, which is what’s hidden in that 43% number.

      But so far, that factoid of 30% take-up is useless when you have so many FSAMs, each with near enough a 1% a week take-up and new FSAMs being added all the time. It’ll be a useful measurement some long way into the project, especially once copper starts being turned off. But right now the sum total during the ramp-up is a useless measurement. If anything, it staying the same (for a time scale of a few months but not beyond that) is a very good sign, because it means that progress is happening.

      • Those Tasmania pre-release numbers look an awful lot like someone locked a bunch of people in to 2 year contracts…

  8. And the politisation of the NBN goes on and on.. MT will not miss any opportunity to blame Labor for many years to come. If he is really serious about the NBN, wouldn’t it be nice if he got on with the job and build the fricking thing and show us how good he is, instead of telling us how bad Labor was. The election is over, so should the rethoric. Let’s see some action.

    • Indeed, and if the Coalition rollout falls behind MT can blame Telstra and the contractors for at least three years, it worked for Labor (well if you call losing Government ‘worked’).

  9. Indeed. Consider a huge part of the current rollout is spent getting greenfield zones connected as quickly as possible. How many people are actually living in those greenfield estates? Most won’t even have houses built on them yet.

    The brownfield rollout then expands out from the transit network that was installed to those greenfield estates. Imagine how much faster the rollout would be if the greenfield requirement wasn’t so onerous, for example allowing greenfield premises temporary wireless for an interim period until fibre is delivered as part of the natural rollout progression.

    Also consider that the majority of the transit network isn’t due for construction until 2015. It isn’t until the transit network and associated infrastructure are in place that you can even begin delivering the final GPON network.

    As NBN Co have stated, construction is still on target to meet the FY 2021 target. While there have been delays caused by construction partners and Telstra remediation work, efficiencies have been found elsewhere that have drastically reduced both costs and time frame to deliver various components. Added up over the life of the project the three to six month delay will be caught up as part of the major construction phase.

    Or it would have if MT didn’t get his way and FTTN apologists hadn’t muddied the water with misleading arguments and half truths.

    • This is something I can explain far easier visually to get the point across, but I’ll try. Imagine a logarithmic curve. Not hard to make one, just get a spreadsheet, start with a 1 and fill a series by doubling the previous number. Or any multiplier you want, doubling is just easier. Put a timeline against it, something like 3 months for every entry.

      Then do a second series with exactly the same numbers, only offsetting them by a cell at some point (at the start, or put a gap in the middle), so the numbers lag behind by one period on the timeline. Make a linegraph of those two series, and you should see that at the end of the process the second line is only half the first line. But its also only 1 time period out. Over a 10 year period, thats 2.5% for a 3 month timeline. 1% on a monthly timeline.

      At its simplest level, thats where these delays are at. The delays are because of isolated issues like asbestos and Syntheo causing a static, and they are such relatively small numbers compared to the overall rollout schedule of the project that they become insignificant. Even if they are only half what they should be, thats really only a few percentage points behind overall. Its not a big issue over a 10 year plan.

      And basic maths backs that up. It becomes a problem if it continues to be lower rollout growth than planned, but if thats the case its a capability issue that effects both plans.

      People get caught up in there being a delay now, and arguing that the delays will keep getting worse, when the problems are one off issues. Take those out, its very much on plan, people just dont want to see that.

      • “its very much on plan, people just dont want to see that.”

        I’m sorry mate, but there is just no way that anyone can claim NBN Co is anywhere near any of its “plans”. It’s revised its construction targets down what, now, three, or is it four times, this year? And it’s targets are changing literally almost every month at the moment? Seriously. Every time I see new numbers, they are lower than last time. It’s a farce. I don’t know how anyone could believe anything NBN Co is saying at this point.

        I’m sorry, but this contracted construction model the company has going has failed, mate — even Conroy has acknowledged that. There is no way the rollout will go ahead on an FTTP basis with the same construction partners and be anywhere near complete by 2021. It’s just not possible — things have gone too far for that.

        • I have to agree with Renai.

          One or two contractor “stuff up’s”, then fair enough, but it seems to have become the standard excuse for them. They should have taken what they did in the NT (drop the contractors and hire direct) and run with that.

        • I’m not saying its perfectly on plan, only that the claim that it will still be finished in 2021 FY is still a fair one to make. And that you can graph the plan, AND the changes, to show that the differences in the figures ultimately create a relatively small discrepancy at the end.

          Its that second thing people dont admit to. If the rollout issues continue, the gap between plan and reality slowly gets wider, but at the end of the rollout, the gap still isnt great enough to add much more than 1 or 2 extra timeline entries into a graph.

          Think of it this way. If they planned on rolling out to 750,000 per year at peak, but only do 675,000 that only adds 1 year to the end of the build. 10% over time on a national infrastructure build is incredibly small. In isolation, a 75,000 shortfall is a big thing, but its really only 10%.

          Similarly, if issues like asbestos, Syntheo, and the election all caused delays (as they all did), they are isolated issues that arent fundamental flaws in the model. They are significant, dont get me wrong, but they arent issues that should cause the gap between plan (original, current, take your pick) and the end result to grow to the point they add years to the build.

          Yes, they overestimated their ability to deliver. There have been significant issues that have caused delays, but I still cant see they are terminal, when they have all been issues that have just added a pause, and not been issues that delay things over the full rollout.

          When an exchange gets contracted, its expected to take about a year for the build to happen. For those under contract now, the asbestos issue caused a 2 to 3 month pause in the build. Is that going to happen in future as well for any rollout not started, or do you think Telstra will be there at the start of that 12 month window doing their remediation?

          Its just an issue for the builds in progress. As I said, I could explain this better visually. The delays are important lessons, but at the end of the day, I cant see they arent actually all that significant. What is significant about a 200,000 shorfall now when they can do that per month in 2 years? All it does is add a month at the end.

          Thats what I mean about being on plan – the discrepancies now, while significant now, dont necessarily play a big part by the time we’re in 2021. If they do, then they will stuff up both plans and its a moot point.

          • Gav, you are hitting the limit that is inherent in every human being.

            Humans are really bad at predicting exponential curves. Really really bad. We always underestimate exponentials. I read an article (which despite my attempts I cannot find any reference of) where they were testing experienced firefighters with simulated fire situations.

            Fire travels up and down slopes at a speed that is exponentially increasing with steepness. Pretty much all of the experienced firefighters got surprised by the rate the fire went up hill.

            They knew it got faster, but they pretty much always underestimated how much faster it would go.

            That isn’t to claim that NBN Co are going to succeed, but that almost no explanation of exponential-like graphs will convince people that a slow start – even an abysmally slow start – for a series with exponential growth can have only a small impact. With the obvious caveat that at some point, the growth really does need to hit predicted levels.

            The next 60+ days of the “review” and “no new work” are going to absolutely kill all the contractors. I wonder if it is a plan of Turnbull to bankrupt them thus freeing the government of their obligations.

  10. Wait… am I reading that wrong?

    83,700 NEW premises passed in 3 months – yeah?

    83700 / 60 working days = 1395 per working day

    I’m struggling to figure out how that isn’t gathering pace when the total was about 2/3 of that 3 months ago.

    What am I missing?

    • Someone will have the correct number, but as a ballpark figure, the plan was for something like 200,000 premises to be passed in June 13, and a similar amount in September 13, quarter and they havent been done yet. Wollongong for example was planned to be finished late September, but because of the remediation of the asbestos in the pits, that date has been pushed back to November.

      So the plan had something like 200,000 for the period, and has fallen short, only delivering 83,000. Every period in the past 12 months has had something significant happen, whether its the asbestos, Syntheo, or the election, and each of those has caused the planned rollout each quarter to fall short and be revised.

      And not predicting that such events were likely to happen was a terminal mistake when the Labor plan was put together.

      As I have said above though, I dont believe it actually adds any significant delay at the end of the project. 100,000 short today adds a couple of weeks at the end when they are rolling out 5000-6000 premises a day. Do the math, its 16 to 20 more days. Is that so bad with a 10 year project?

      Thats just my personal opinion, and no doubt 1 or 2 people will disagree, but the numbers back me up if people are willing to do their own analysis.

      • GG, It doesn’t matter if your math is right or wrong, there is no way the Labor NBN plan will be left alone by the Coalition and let to run intact until the projected finish date in 2021, even a projected Labor win in 2016 has to incorporate the Coalition build status and outstanding build contracts at that point.

        I like the blind optimism by many here that the election was just a dream and it’s Labor NBN policy as usual through to 2021, but you really need to revise your thinking.

        • I actually agree with you Fibroid. As things stand I cant see it being left alone myself. With the constant backlash from the community though, such as the 260k petion, the $40k advertising fundraiser, and even Renai’s FOI fundraiser, its very clear the public wants Turnbull to keep things as they are.

          So what do you think people should do? Stop pushing for the better option, or let misleading information keep being reported, and another conspiracy build about how it was “ripped out of the ground”? Thats where the Ziggy appointment is heading if you hadnt noticed – he’ll be the scapegoat those actually anti-FttN will point to, claiming he is there to scuttle FttH.

          I’m trying to get across that 100,000 might not be a significant issue when it might only represent 2 weeks. But whats the better headline? “NBN behind by 100,000” or “NBN will take 2 weeks longer”?

          Again though, I’ll have my FttH (in final stages now), so this isnt about me. Its about the rest of the country not being forced into what I see as an expensive step sideways.

          But if Turnbull is genuine about his review keeping the option open, then working off it being 2 weeks late is a fairer position than figuring 100,000 is too big a gap to make up.

          • ‘With the constant backlash from the community though, such as the 260k petion, the $40k advertising fundraiser, and even Renai’s FOI fundraiser, its very clear the public wants Turnbull to keep things as they are.

            No the the people that answered the petition or contributed to the advertising campaign are not a representation of all ‘the public wants Turnbull to keep things as they are’.

            Are you forgetting we just had a election on Government policy, so those that preferred Coalition NBN policy over Labor policy and it influenced their vote should not have representation on the fairest compulsory poll of them all and are of no consequence because….?

            ‘So what do you think people should do? Stop pushing for the better option,’

            I don’t agree the Labor rollout is the better option, it’s the most costly and time consuming option, that in itself doesn’t make it the better option, there are other factors at play in a public multi billion dollar rollout other than just fastest must be best and stuff the cost.

            ‘ Thats where the Ziggy appointment is heading if you hadnt noticed – he’ll be the scapegoat those actually anti-FttN will point to, claiming he is there to scuttle FttH.’

            I don’t understand the Ziggy point you are making at all.

            ‘I’m trying to get across that 100,000 might not be a significant issue when it might only represent 2 weeks. But whats the better headline? “NBN behind by 100,000″ or “NBN will take 2 weeks longer”?’

            Once again you are projecting to 2021 and making the somewhat bold prediction after four rollout targets revised downward in the space of only three years where the rollout is in its infancy that everything will be ok by then and be only’ two weeks out’ and all past losses made up, what were they going to do triple the rollout workforce?

            But even giving you the poetic license you are correct as I have said before you are not going to see the Labor NBN carried forward untouched to 2021 anyway.

            ‘Again though, I’ll have my FttH (in final stages now), so this isnt about me. Its about the rest of the country not being forced into what I see as an expensive step sideways.”

            FTTN is not a expensive step sideways, it uses existing infrastructure already laid in ducts that FTTP does not.

            ‘But if Turnbull is genuine about his review keeping the option open, then working off it being 2 weeks late is a fairer position than figuring 100,000 is too big a gap to make up.’

            I doubt if any Coalition review will have a outcome where they burn their own policy and embrace the Labor plan, it might have a higher FTTP percentage, but it has long way to go to get to a 93% Labor like figure.

          • @ Fibroid…

            “I doubt if any Coalition review will have a outcome where they burn their own policy and embrace the Labor plan, it might have a higher FTTP percentage…”

            And of course like the previous mob who altered their broadband plan, you will chastise them accordingly, if they do not stick rigidly to the exact policy they were voted in to deliver, won’t you?

            Otherwise it would be hypocritical to bag one and not the other when they are both doing the same, wouldn’t it?

            I await either typical stunned silence or a long winded reply trying to differentiate between a Labor and Liberal lie, due to magnitude…

          • The problem with your response is that I have always asserted going way back well before even the Coalition policy was announced that the Coalition FTTP percentage of the total rollout will be higher than they have indicated so far.

            But then you know that.

          • Fibroid.
            To what point?
            22%, 40% – meaningless, it is not ubiquitous and as such the services that could have been provided are no longer viable, the guaranteed minimum capability is now not only greatly reduced due to loss of the benefit of the 4 Port NTU and the shared data stream from a monopoly RSP., will be crippled to just being a super FTTN.

            Poor Fella Australia – you had your chance to make a better future and threw it away

          • Strawman… as per usual…

            Because we aren’t disputing what ‘you’ said or when ‘you’ said it… what you said was irrelevant (and your favourite word from a few months back) conjecture…

            What is the issue (sans your daily strawman) is your reaction to one party altering their plans after an election and what your reaction will be towards the other party if they do the same?


          • OK, we’re back to disagreeing. Didnt think it would take long. But you represent my point pretty well. 100,000 premises behind. At peak rollout of 5000 to 6000 premises a day, which has been shown to be likely, thats 16 to 20 days. Or 2 weeks, 3 tops. If it becomes 500,000 behind plan, thats 10 to 15 weeks. For a 10 year plan. Hell, 1 million behind only adds 20 to 30 weeks.

            The point being that while 100,000 or 500,000 seems a lot now, at the end of the day it would only have been a 1-5% delay, and I challenge anyone to show that any issue causing a continual lowering of expectations to show me that the same issues wont effect a FttN rollout. These should be things taken into account during the review. Yes, there are delays. But whats behind them, and are they likely to be issues that continue until 2021?

            You represent the point well, as I said. You cant admit that every 100,000 delay is only 2 weeks. Not today, but when everything is going as smoothly as possible and hence a delay to the overall build time. Its not a big delay.

            The Ziggy point. I’m stating quite categorically that the small group of people paranoid about FttN, and I dont include people on this site in that, are going to be looking for an excuse if and when FttH is finally dead and buried. And I expect any review that Ziggy makes that has ANY negativity in it will be held up as “justification”. That doesnt mean it will be correct, just that he’ll be one of those pointed as as “killing the NBN”.

            Or do you think every Australian will look at a negative review by Ziggy and say “fair enough, lets forget the whole FttH thing then, shall we?” Likely scenario is that Whirlpool goes in a tizzy arguing about it, and ultimately blaming him.

            This is likely in my opinion if the expected scenario happens and the 60 day review ends in a FttN rollout. If it doesnt and the review somehow endorses FttH and it happens, Ziggy and Turnbull are heroes, and we’re both wrong. Lots of people will be wrong.

            And finally, FttN IS an expensive step sideways. Its a $30b build that is outdated by the time its completed. Its not a step backwards, but its not a step forwards either. It only maintains our capabilities, and is a $30b expense to justify keeping a copper network that every person agrees needs to be replaced, and replaced soon. By fiber. And when that happens, what do you think its going to cost?

          • > NBN Co has never shown it has the capacity to get anywhere near this. I’m sorry, but there’s just no evidence this is possible at this point.

            While I agree with the former, the Optus/Telstra HFC rollout did 1.7 million premises a year for a 10-month peak. It was a far more aerial deployment on the one hand, but also driven by a much higher expected rate of return, Optus being a for profit business and Telstra undergoing privatisation at the time.

            I’d argue that there is evidence that it’s possible, because it has happened before. But as for NBN Co‘s ability to do this, or the evidence this is possible with the current contractors, etc., etc., that’s another matter entirely.

          • 4 million premises passed, Telstra did in 3 years.

            If only things had been done right straight from the day Labor was elected in 2007 :'(

            And if only the coalition hadn’t created the vertically integrated and horizontally expansive monster that Telstra still is.

          • Renai, have you figured the rollout the Liberals will need to get the country covered by 2016? Justifications will be made (its only nodes, so thats less work) but they have also offered a pretty optimistic timetable – at roughly 1000 days after inevitable delays, thats about 8,000 a day, assuming no ramp up period, planning time, etc etc.

            Do people need to prove they can do that? I know you’ll hold them accountable if and when they fail to meet that timetable but its hyporcitical to have different expectations for one group and not the other. Then repeat it all before 2019 to get the 50 Mbps ‘guaranteed’ connection.

            Labor has/had a plan, and while they havent met it by a long shot I’m simply stating that at the end of the rollout it means very little. Even 1 million behind adds a relatively small amount of time at the end, because the rollout was never going to stay at the rate it is right now.

            Even if its only 4,000 a day its about 8 months to do 1 million premises. Is that really a terminally slow rollout when it adds 5% to the timeframe? Seriously? And it doesnt have to be 4,000 a day now, only 4,000 at the peak. You just extend the peak by however long is needed. Apparently there’s a $3b slush fund there to cover these issues so its not costing any more to the overall budget either.

            If its 5,000 a day, thats 200 days. If its 6,000 thats 160 days. I’ll keep stating that in terms of the overall project length, those delays arent big, and in realty are actually quite respectable for a project of this size.

            You’ve followed this enough to know that people sensationalise every minor point way beyond its reality. This is one of them. People, who originally didnt want it, demand to have it now, and dont want to wait.

            End of the day, I’ve voiced my opinion, some disagree. Numbers back me up, people dont seem to care. Nobody’s put their own numbers up yet by the way. Thats fine, as I’ve repeatedly said I’ll have my connection so it doesnt effect me. But if peoples beliefs are being molded by misleading information as I see it, why do you think I’m going to keep quiet about it?

            Its simple. Lets assume worst case scenario. We get to 2021 under the Labor plan, and they are 1 million houses behind. If the capability delays keep as they are, how long would it take to catch up with that backlog? Go and do some math and see. Its not as long as you think. Certainly not ‘years’ as Turnbull would have us believe.

            As fibroid said, its a moot point with the Labor plan because in reality its very very unlikely to stay as it is. But get these issues figured now, because the issues causing the delays with FttH are ones that you can expect to be in play with FttN as well. As a journalist, its good to be forewarned, dont you think?

          • Mate, I’m not going to start calculating what the Coalition needs to do to hit their targets when they’re only one month in office and haven’t yet said how they’re going to do it. That would be preposterous.

            We’ve had four years to evaluate Labor’s performance. The Coalition just got on deck. Apologies, but any calculations about their rollout speeds are meaningless just now, especially when they haven’t said precisely what mix of technologies/contractors etc they are planning to use. That will come out of the Strategic Review.

          • The flipside is that headlines such as “Latest figures show terminally slow NBN rollout” are equally pointless. And in my opinion, wrong. Am I to expect a ban because I disagree with you?

            This is clearly opinion versus opinion, but I’m backing mine up with very basic maths. Nobody else seems to be. You want evidence, I’ve clearly offered the evidence behind my opinion. You can pick any shortage you want, and at even the worst predicted peak rollout rate it doesnt add much to the overall timetable of the rollout. How much simpler does it get than that?

            A very simple chart can show quite easily why the delays are irrelevant, but I expect nobody has bothered to look at one. Or wont admit it. The opinion of yours that a couple of hundred thousand behind is TERMINALLY slow, is bullshit. Emphasis delibrate. How can it be when it only adds weeks overall to a 10 year project?

            You clearly disagre, so I’ll put this to you. In your opinion, how much more time would the delays so far add to the end, and what would that opinion be based on? I’ve given 3 options, at a 4k/day 5k/day and 6k/day peak over any shortfall you want. Prove those numbers wrong. Others have given evidence why any of those peak rollouts can be achieved, and have in the past, so please dont tell me they cant. Prove it, dont just voice an opinion.

            Are you happy simply shooting dead fish in a barrel until the 60 day review is done, or would you prefer people to offer evidence why the fiber plan isnt as screwed as people seem to think it is? Thats what the 60 day review is trying to find out, isnt it?

          • “I’ve given 3 options, at a 4k/day 5k/day and 6k/day peak over any shortfall you want.”

            There is simply no evidence that NBN Co is able to deliver on those speeds, mate — that is the whole crux of the issue. You are basing your charts on theory. Whereas what we’re seeing in the real world is that NBN Co is continually failing to ramp up its deployment, and that nobody with authority in this situation believes at the moment that the company can make those peak speeds.

            I’m sorry, but I believe you’re developing your numbers using assumptions that have not yet been validated.

          • So again, the answer is a simple “I dont believe it, so it cant be true”. As fibroid said, its a moot point because the plan is incredibly unlikely to stay as is, so we’ll never know.

            But I firmly believe that the delays so far are explainable, the key ones being 3 specific situations (asbestos, Syntheo, and election) in different periods, and arent justifications to say they cant ramp up.

            And again, thats not saying they’ve stuck to plan. Its saying the plan should be offset to compensate, and that an offset means very little delay overall.

            Each 3 month period over the past year has had some issue happen, and nobody seems to care about why the delays happened, only that they happened. If you dont care about what happened, how can you assume they will keep happening? Thats what people seem to be doing, and I’m sorry but that appears to include you.

            Wheres the evidence that they cant possibly ramp up to thousands a day? Telstra and Optus managed it, so why wouldnt NBN Co be able to? You’re basing your argument on one off events delaying things, not events that will continue to be an issue year after year.

          • The progress of numbers in premises passed between FTTN and FTTH is going to be fairly incomparable. If you don’t look at every line and you make it the focus to get VDSL2 out there ASAP, including offering self-installation and the like, the progress the Liberals are going to make is going to be very quick indeed.

            The problem is the tail end and things like remediation, but I have not much of a doubt that in the easier areas, at the front end, the coalition will meet the targets they set themselves. Once it goes beyond that, where copper remediation is needed or where there’s issues with individual properties, all those kinds of things, it becomes very difficult indeed. On top of all this, the coalition has said that their rollout wouldn’t start until late 2014.

            My point is, I’m supposing you could just as well say that Labor has only managed to connect 10 or 50 or 300 premises a day or whatever since they first formulated an NBN, or since they started FTTP, or since they first started the volume rollout. But such statistics are fairly meaningless and unfair, and I’m guessing you wouldn’t apply them to Labor’s NBN, so why do it to the coalition’s FTTN?

            If, at simplest, your question is whether I think the coalition can do let’s say 20,000 a weekday to a minimum of 25 Mbps given Telstra’s support for at least the majority of their FTTN rollout… then I think yes.

            But on the flip side where that number is easiest to rise, the need for faster broadband is likely to be less. But to even talk about their supposed lack of progress only one month in when their policy is supposedly still in flux, especially comparing it to Labor’s performance, then that’s just a bit unfair.

          • So the coalition won 100% of the vote then? Therefore no one wanted a FTTH NBN!


        • I agree with Fibroid…

          Because for the first time ever IMO, he speaks factually and (although the obvious political slant will always be there) somewhat apolitically.

          Let’s face it there is no way, following their endless pursuit of JG over the carbon price, the current government especially following their vexatious and almost daily, unfounded vitriolic attacks on everyone and everything NBN, can possibly flip-flop on such a scale and support the previous governments FttP NBN.

          They have already stated they have a mandate to discontinue the real NBN, so they can’t now say, well the people have spoken via a petition. That’d be a double flip-flop with triple somersault and pike in the tuck position…

          Even if they try their old trusty… well we are better managers, on. They still can’t explain their previous FUD relating to we don’t need it, it’s wasteful to every home, 25, umm, no 50, no 100Mbps is as much as anyone anywhere will ever need, after all we know because MT almost invented the internet…they’d still be backflipping big time…

          Once again I say the new gov. are politicians, just like the last lot were politicians. The say what ever the gullible will believe to get their ideological arses into the seat of power…

          *rolls eyes*

        • The point is even if Labor won in 2016 and I will be fighting against that – (Let Australia truly experience the consequences of what Rupert decreed for us and let those responsible be in power to handle it)

          The Cherry Pickers will have locked up at least 1Million, possibly up to 2 Million of the high value, cheap and easy to do subscribers into their own mini monopoly networks. NBNCo will be stuck with the rest, the lower value, more expensive to provide and maintain. Plus there will be a million or more on FTTN with the whole network redesigned with a lesser capacity and capability for a lesser service
          The egg will have been scrambled and realistically the NBN as we know it will be impossible along with all the fantastic potentiality for competition and innovation.
          That is why the Labor opposition is placing very little significance on Communications or IT, especially a high standard ubiquitous national communications infrastructure – That will now be the LNP’s heritage for the Nation

  11. Hey Renai have you contacted Turnballs office to find out what the delay is in the roll out, its his problem now, the buck stops with him. Cant get the FTTH sorted nor has he built one lousy FTTN node, useless.

    • Have some patience kiddies, the adults are now in charge. Ziegmund is now busy consulting with Oz’s foremost telco reg expert Dr Ergas on how to clean up Conroy’s mess and reverse Labor’s Stalinisation of the industry.

      • My god. I’m gonna godwin this one.

        Stalinisation has been cancelled, let the Hitlerisation of broadband begin!
        (Scapegoating, repeating of lies till they are true etc.)

        Oh it doesn’t quite fit reality? Funny that.
        edit: (should add; if you delete parent, PLEASE delete this – they are both deserving of it TBH)

  12. Dr Ergas is not a “telecommunications expert” he’s a third rate economist.

    • IMO Proof of the adage that an intelligent highly qualified individual can still be a fool

      • There is nothing more dangerous to society than an educated fool. But Dr Ergas is one those rare breed of academics that is able to apply blackboard theory to the real world in an intelligent manner. Malcolm should appoint him Chairman of the ACCC.

  13. Slow NBN rollout vs Slow broadband. I know which is best unfortunately with the coalition clowns we get the worst of both worlds. Still not a node in sight and only 1172 days to go. Amazing.

    • hey Hubert,

      I’ve warned you before about not repeating your “days to go” mantra, but I’ve seen you reference it several times in the past few days. In addition, a review of your recent comments reveals you are not contributing to the discussion. Consequently, I’m banning you from Delimiter for a period of two weeks.

      Take a bit of time off, mate. We want open-minded discussion on Delimiter — not single views about the evils of the Coalition.



  14. “We want open-minded discussion on Delimiter — not single views about the evils of the Coalition.”

    Make the last word “Labor” and the same comment could easily apply to Fibroid.

      • Thanks for the clarification.

        So, there is no problem if one has polite single views about the evils of either party..

        As for his comments being on the money, that’s obviously a question of perception.

        The main reason why Fibroid’s comments are unpopular, I feel, have more to do with his style of debating than its content.

  15. The NBN rollout is slow. The contractual situation is ridiculous. Neither are impossible to resolve.

    The board chose to not push for better outcomes when they perhaps should have. It’s easy to let 20-20 hindsight colour the outcome.

    We can only hope that Turnbull will respect the independent review findings, however given ongoing statements, I am expecting the bath water, bath and baby are about to go sailing out the window.

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