• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Featured, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 15:18 - 59 Comments

    NBN Co internal FTTN analysis: Turnbull refuses to retract inaccurate claim


    news Malcolm Turnbull has flatly ignored a request to retract a highly inaccurate claim the Communications Minister made on national television last week in an attempt to discredit an important internal NBN Co analysis casting doubt on viability of the Coalition’s NBN policy.

    In a series of articles published late last week and early this week through the Sydney Morning Herald and ZDNet Australia, freelance journalist David Braue has detailed the contents of an internal document produced by NBN Co for the Department of Communications during the Caretaker Period immediately prior to the Federal Election in September.

    The document analyses the Coalition’s NBN policy in detail and raises significant concerns about its viability in a number of areas, highlighting numerous legislative, construction and technical challenges which NBN Co believes are likely to blow out the Coalition’s 2016 and 2019 delivery deadlines.

    The NBN Co analysis details NBN Co’s belief that the Fibre to the Node technology preferred by the Coalition will require a significantly higher degree of skills to deploy than Labor’s preferred Fibre to the Premises model, that the associated IT systems are considered “high risk”, that NBN Co cannot guarantee FTTN can deliver the Coalition’s planned 50Mbps minimum speeds, amid other concerns.

    Most informed commentators do not consider such obstacles insurmountable. Comparable FTTN rollouts have successfully been conducted in a number of other major countries, including the UK, Germany, France, the Unites States and more. The rollout approach has proven particularly successful in the UK, where incumbent British telco BT revealed in July that it had passed some 16 million premises with its FTTN implementation, delivering speeds up to 76Mbps, and with 1.7 million customers already connected.

    In addition, most of the concerns outlined in Braue’s articles have previously been outlined by various commentators and technical experts in the telecommunications sector over the past half-decade that various NBN rollout technologies have been debated in Australia.

    However, the document represents the first time NBN Co itself is known to have taken a position on the Coalition’s NBN policy, displaying for the first time how deeply the company which is tasked with implementing that policy is concerned that it will not be able to deliver on the Coalition’s agenda.

    Speaking on the Today Show on Friday morning, Turnbull attempted to discredit the document. The Minister claimed (video available online) that the document had not, in fact, been prepared for the incoming Coalition Government as Braue had initially stated. Turnbull claimed that the document had actually been prepared “more than six months ago” by NBN Co’s previous management for the then-Labor administration. This would have meant the document had been presented to then-Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

    “This document is A. Out of date and B. Defending a failed project,” Turnbull said on Friday. “It has no credibility, absolutely none. Fairfax should have actually made it quite clear what the problems of that document were, and the truth is, that we will know what is actually going on with the NBN very soon, because there is a big strategic review under way at the moment, being overseen by the board of the NBN Co.”

    “We’ve got Korda Mentha, the Boston Consulting Group, Deloittes, a big team in there to find out what the real state of the project is at the moment, where it’s heading under the old plans, what our options are for doing it sooner, cheaper and more affordably. It’s a very objective study, and that will be produced shortly. And what Labor’s trying to do, they’re trying to muddy the waters because they’re afraid of the truth.”

    Turnbull’s statement that Labor’s NBN project failed is accurate. Former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has publicly acknowledged that the contractor construction model which Labor initiated for the NBN had failed, as NBN Co has repeatedly failed to meet its targets over the past six months and its relationship with a number of its contractors has collapsed.

    However, Braue has since provided evidence in the form of limited screenshots of the leaked document that it was prepared during the “Caretaker Period” at the request of the Department of Communications and not six months ago as Turnbull claimed.

    It does not appear that Conroy, who was the Minister at the time Turnbull claimed the document was created, is aware of the document.

    Based on Braue’s evidence that NBN Co’s analysis was created during the Caretaker Period immediately prior to the September election, 24 hours ago, Delimiter invited Turnbull to retract his comment on national television that the document had been created six months ago for Labor.

    Turnbull’s spokesperson has not responded to a request for the Minister to retract the comment.

    The importance of NBN Co’s internal analysis of the Coalition’s NBN policy is up for debate. Personally, I do not believe that some of the claims in the document are actually that accurate — or at least that they are presented devoid of context.

    Take the document’s claim that NBN Co cannot offer a guaranteed 50Mbps broadband service using a FTTN rollout. Braue painted this as a bit of a killer for the Coalition’s NBN policy in a specific article on the subject.

    While it is true that many households will not be able to receive these speeds, it is also clear from statements made by NBN Co chief technology officer Gary McLaren, as well as Telstra and network equipment supplier Alcatel-Lucent, in addition to the evidence of several international FTTN deployments and the local FTTN TransACT deployment in Canberra, that very high speeds are not out of the ordinary at all on FTTN networks, including in Australian trials.

    And most Australians would welcome any decent speed improvement on their broadband service, even if it was not a “guaranteed” 50Mbps connection. As ex-NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said this week: “Even though I live in the middle of Sydney, my current peak speed on my ADSL2+ service is about 8Mbps. An increase to 25Mbps by 2016 and to 50 Mbps by 2019 would be an improvement. So, like many other Australians, I do hope that NBN Co, under its new management, can make that happen for me.”

    There is also the fact that the Coalition’s NBN policy is very much up in the air at the moment, pending NBN Co’s Strategic Review, and that it has changed (for example, incorporating Fibre to the Basement options) since it was first outlined in April this year.

    However, what is not up for debate any more is the provenance of the document Braue has gained access to. Braue has provided conclusive evidence that this document was created by NBN Co during immediately prior to the September election.

    There is no doubt that Turnbull, the Department of Communications and NBN Co are able to determine the truth of this statement. Each party involved here — the Minister, the department and NBN Co itself — is able to access and read this document created by NBN Co. Each is able to determine its date of creation. In this context, it is simply extraordinary that Turnbull will not retract his claim on national television last week that the document was six months old.

    I do not accuse the Minister of consciously lying. There is no direct evidence that Turnbull knew of the date of creation of the document when he made that statement on the Today Show. However, what is very clear is that Turnbull has not since corrected his statement. Neither has the Department of Communications or NBN Co clarified the date of creation of the document. All of these parties have an obvious responsibility to do so.

    It is part of any journalists’ role to ensure that politicians, especially Ministers, are not allowed to make demonstrably false statements without being fact-checked.

    Minister, last week you made a highly inaccurate statement on national television regarding the date of creation of a highly important and sensitive document relating to the NBN rollout and the Coalition’s NBN policy. You, your department and NBN Co itself are all aware that statement was false. I invite you again to retract your inaccurate statement and correct the record. And I invite the Department of Communications and NBN Co to consider the implications of allowing the Minister’s inaccurate comment on this matter to sit in the public domain uncorrected.

    Minister, I would invite you also to release the document in question for public analysis. But then, we have learnt not to expect the level of transparency from the Coalition in the Communications portfolio that you have previously promised.

    Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull

    submit to reddit


    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Sathias
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink |

      To me, apart from Turnbull’s honesty, whether the document is 6 months old or not is immaterial. His policy hasn’t changed in the last 6 months, and neither has the technology used to build a FTTN in a significant way. The only way it would be material is if you assert that NBNCo writes its documents to the specification and expectations of the current minister, rather than give frank and reliable advise. And that would be a pretty serious allegation in itself.

      • Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink |

        It is not immaterial whether a Minister’s nationally televised comments are flagrantly inaccurate or not.

        • Sathias
          Posted 04/12/2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink |

          Yes I certainly agree with that. I’m just not sure why he thought saying it was 6 months old somehow invalidated it in the first place.

          • Brendan
            Posted 04/12/2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

            Turnbull is basically attempting to suggest it’s suspect, because it was created at the time Labor was responsible for policy – and thus biased.

            Given the technology and deployment methodology hasn’t demonstrably changed in the six months between when it (report) was created, and when the then Opposition Minister initially announced Liberal policy – I don’t see how he can really discredit.

            He forgets that NBNco exists to execute a policy, not define it. The internal report exists because it has to answer the question of policy execution – and any risks.

            Indeed – this is precisely why there’s an “independent review” – the Minister and advisors design policy, NBNco builds it.

            The buck stops with Malcolm.

            And yet, Turnbull is still operating from Opposition. He’s aware that he is actually responsible for doing something now, right??

            • Mic
              Posted 05/12/2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink |

              If Turnbull is suggesting the document having been produced during Labor’s tenure somehow makes it less reputable or even invalid, why exactly should we treat the report being produced at the moment as any more reliable?

              • Observer
                Posted 05/12/2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink |

                Totally agree.

                Turnbull should be reminded of his statement whenever he releases his edited version of the current review.

    2. Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink |

      Note: I will not tolerate the comments under this article turning into yet another debate about the merits of FTTP versus FTTN. That would be off-topic for this article, and it’s a debate we’ve already had 50,000 times before in the past. If you want to have that debate yet again, have it somewhere else.

      • Rich
        Posted 04/12/2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink |

        Not to argue the merits of FTTN or otherwise, but TransACT’s VDSL uses shielded cat5 from the node – which is at most 300m away from the subscriber.

        VDSL2 is connected onwards from the node cabinet to a “supernode” via regular voice cabling, so whilst users probably fall into the LBN model of 50mbps+ to 90% this is via cabling that part of which is of a much higher grade than Telstra copper. Also, the whole network is no more than a dozen years old, so the remaining part is also better.

        Personally, I’m getting almost 60/15mbit on ~850m of cable. Allegedly, TransACT are looking at putting VDSL2 into all the nodes meaning all users will be on less than 300m of cable – and are hinting at removing the 60/15 speed cap so users would see closer to 100/100.

        LBN could definitely acheive the 50mbps for 90% quota – by putting in nodes such that everyone was on maybe 600m of cable. Though, the smaller the area covered by the node, the more nodes you need and the higher the cost to build the network..

        • Brendan
          Posted 05/12/2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink |

          This doesn’t translate as well to an older network, using thiner copper pairs.

          In order to hit the mooted speeds, it would require maximum 500 meter runs with vectoring, to even get close. The node count, thus will be considerably higher.

          Telstra initially suggested ~1.2-1.4 km if I recall when first pitching FTTN to the government; this has slowly shrunk down to towards ~500 meters as actual deployments are showing this is about the longest you can go before line attenuation and so forth have major effects.

          Vectoring improves speeds over those shorter runs, but length and copper quality remain a deterministic point of contention.

          The node count is, at present, based on ~800 meters of length (though happy to be corrected). If that’s the same length the NBNco is basing their report and numbers on, then I can understand why there may be concerns.

          And before Renai sin-bins me – this isn’t a for/ against. It’s simply my understanding of where we are at and I’m happy to be corrected if I’ve missed something.

    3. Tailgator
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink |

      Turnbull is engaging in a campaign to destroy the credibility of NBNCo and it’s management prior to the election of the new Govt. The above is but one example.
      Another is his attack on Mr Quigley in the House of Reps today wherein he ridiculed Quigley’s statement that NBNCo had been ready to put in place measures to improve conditions for contractors at no additional cost, and also that he wasn’t expecting problems with digging holes in the ground.
      In an extraordinary attack, Mr Turnbull likened the latter comment with statements such as the captain of the Titanic not expecting problems with icebergs or Napoleon expecting problems with frostbite.

      It is clearly apparent that Mr Turnbull is attempting to destroy the reputations and credibility of the previous management and any opposition to his new policy without any regard for decorum or facts.
      A course of action which does not lend credence to his claims that the review will be unbiased and a true account of the state of NBNCo and the project itself.

    4. Bpat
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink |

      Turnbull has made his bed and now he has to sleep in it. This is the only defense he has.

    5. Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

      I have a feeling that all these dubious claims by minister Turnbull are going to come back to bite, and bite hard. Now that the main stream media is not focused on a Liberal vs Labor NBN they are starting to actually look at the details of what Turnbull said. I think that should prove to be interesting.

    6. Coaloid
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink |

      I see the Ministry of Information has been busy on http://delimiter.com.au/2013/11/29/smh-fttn-revelations-create-nbn-political-circus/

      I hope what Malcolm has to say is verified before assumed to be correct from now on.

    7. Coaloid
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink |

      I think Malcolm finds it very hard to admit when he is wrong. I think that is one of the main reasons he is stacking the board and review panels the way he is. It is more important for him to be shown to be right, even if everyone can see through what he is doing, than actually getting on with the job.

    8. Soth
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

      Love the last paragraph in your opinion/analysis :)

    9. Coaloid
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink |

      On the 50Mb speeds. I do not think they will get the 90% that they are saying they will.

      The reasons being:

      1) The statements from vested interests I’d take only with further evidence.
      2) ACT FTTN ran their own copper to make sure of quality connections.
      3) Less than 30% of BT customers can get 50Mb (http://www.thinkbroadband.com/guide/fibre-broadband.html)

      I am not saying they can’t get faster than 25Mb, but really 50Mb is a bit too optimistic a claim for 90%

    10. Brendan
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink |

      Turnbull has refused to release the latest review, until late this year. The last time he said he’d release something, it turned into a “I’ll show you mine..” farce.

      Another day, another report – Turnbull continues to claim it’s all scurrilous lies. They are not on the same page. That’s a bit concerning.

      Dismissing the internal report as probably not that important or accurate, misses the fact that those sorts of warnings are precisely designed to help an incoming minister understand the risks as well as any rewards.

      It’s not a case of what technology it’s discussing, but whether the concerns are genuine. Of course we’d have context if the Minister released the Blue Book. Right? ;)

    11. Andrew
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink |

      I am not sure if Malcolm has ever retracted anything in his life other than the sail on his yacht.
      He is still in opposition mode of making outrageous statements.
      If you disagree, he discredits you and belittles your credentials. He can’t help but be better than the people he undermines. Right? He must be right with his smooth speaking voice.
      I don’t know why he has the title of honourable because he and a lot of his colleagues are anything but…

    12. Francis Young
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink |

      It is laughable to use the UK’s FTTN to advocate for FTTN, where only 10.6% of premises have paid the exorbitant monopoly pricing being gouged by BT!

      That’s right, only 1.7 million premises have connected to FTTN out of the 16 million to which it is offered.

      By contrast, takeup rates on NBN fibre have been very high in the first 6-12 months, despite the fact that many are on 24-month ADSL plans and that the copper service will not be withdrawn for 18 months.

      Turnbull’s biggest problem with FTTN is economic, however. Like Labor, he promises an NBN that will be cost-recovered from wholesale revenue. Only FTTP will produce enough revenue to cost recover, and he knows it. Let’s see which of these facts are redacted out….

    13. Steven
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

      Maybe Malcolm can also explain how their NBN plan will deliver faster and cheaper brodaband!!!

      Because yesterday during parliament our finance minister Mathias Cormann stated in no uncertain terms, over and over again that their NBN solution will deliver faster and cheaper brodaband.

      So exactly how much faster than 100Mbps will it be ?

      • quink
        Posted 04/12/2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink |


        > We are focused and we will deliver faster, better broadband sooner than Labor would have

        It just scrapes the bottom of the barrel. It’s faster and it’s better than current broadband. About as dishonest and misleading as one could make that statement while still being factually correct.

        Anyway, “I will not tolerate the comments under this article turning into yet another debate about the merits of FTTP versus FTTN”.

      • steve
        Posted 06/12/2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink |

        Perhaps he meant faster deployment? For many people (including me) stuck on sub-4Mbps who’ve been waiting 6 years for something to happen, I think faster deployment is a lot more important than peak bandwidth. In any case NBN’s estimates of demand had 80% of subscribers on plans 25Mbps and below, which on its assumed 70% take-up rate equates to .86% of the population.

        I’d expect the new NBN to be a lot cheaper since the average capex per premise for FTTN should be 3-4 times less than the previous $2800, plus the use of FTTB in MDU’s (34% of premises) and possible reuse of HFC….

        • Brendan
          Posted 06/12/2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink |

          The problem with this, is that the review isn’t set to be released until December.

          Or not at all, if the Government, once again decides it’s not in it’s best interests to do so. Turnbull is continuing to miss targets. Delays are ongoing at this point.

          If you were to have believed Turnbull, his report would be a damning indictment of NBNco, and a touch-paper for radical change of the NBN. Instead?


          • Alex (NBN)
            Posted 06/12/2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink |


            If the report was damning in relation to the former FttP/NBN and glowing in relation to FttN, surely it would have been well and truly on time and out there for all to see…

          • steve
            Posted 06/12/2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink |

            “Turnbull is continuing to miss targets. Delays are ongoing at this point.”

            Brendan, in the context of the 2007 election promise that was delayed 8 years from 2013 to 2021 and blown out from from $4.7bn to $44.5bn, can you specify with citations
            1. what targets is Turnbull continuing to miss
            2. what delays are ongoing at this point and
            3. how many years have the delays been thus far?

            My understanding is that the only commitment thus far was for the Strategic Review to be delivered to the minister early this week, which was met. Please enlighten us on the continuing missed targets and ongoing delays.

            It would also be helpful to link to your no doubt numerous daily comments over the past 6 years complaining about the previous government and the NBN continuing to miss targets and the ongoing delays.

            • Alex (NBN)
              Posted 06/12/2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink |

              @ steve

              To claim 8 year delay and $4.7B to $44.5B as a blow out is complete perfidiousness, knowing the circumstances and reasoning.

              Iirc, the then opposition Coalition’s policy some years back was to fund some $7B in broadband upgrades… it is now $29.5B, is this also a blow out?

              Personally I’d say no, it’s simply an alteration for the better to their original policy and congratulate them for getting serious. But using your logic…?

              Also if Malcolm’s review suggests he alter his plan and he does so, I look forward to you criticising him for doing so, too?

              And I see you are demanding of others the very citations you yourself are unwilling/unable to provide :/

          • steve
            Posted 06/12/2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink |

            So far the following have been identified:
            1. targets Turnbull is continuing to miss. None
            2. delays ongoing at this point. None
            3. years of delays by this 2-month old government? None

            Links to numerous daily comments over the past 6 years complaining about the previous government and the NBN continuing to miss targets and the ongoing delays. None.

            So possibly the “Turnbull is continuing to miss targets. Delays are ongoing at this point.” meme is in fact false. Q.E.D.

            • Alex (NBN)
              Posted 06/12/2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink |

              So far the following have been identified:
              1. Promised reviews completed on time: none
              2. Number of successful FttN connections: none
              3. Years of delay: 6 – now fully supporting the very FttN/fraudband topology they opposed in 2007

              Links to even one intelligent, apolitical comment from a FttP detractor in 6 years: none

              So the possibility with the detractors favourites now in government their adolescent FUD will stop: none.

            • steve
              Posted 08/12/2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink |

              Update on Brendan: “Turnbull is continuing to miss targets. Delays are ongoing at this point.”:
              Identifed so far:
              1. targets Turnbull is continuing to miss. None
              2. delays ongoing at this point. None
              3. years of delays by this 2-month old government? None

              Links to numerous daily comments over the past 6 years complaining about the previous government and the NBN continuing to miss targets and the ongoing delays. None.

        • Alex (NBN)
          Posted 06/12/2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink |

          It couldn’t have “also” possibly been private enterprise (Telstra) and/or previous governments (pre- Rudd) who ignored your comms plight prior to the NBN, too steve?

          Comms networks were around prior to the 2007 election and the 2009 NBN announcement.

    14. Tinman_au
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink |

      I don’t think this government could lie straight in bed.

      I think Malcolm with refuse to correct it, as he will rely on the “Well I didn’t know it was at the time” defence, and then spin it anyway. Thats if he even decides to talk about it, going of their record it’s become a “National Security” issue and it will be inappropriate for him to comment….

    15. SMEMatt
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink |

      At what point does Malcolm Turnbull stop being inaccurate and start being a liar?

      If he corrects a statement or admit he made a mistake he is simply wrong which fine everyone is wrong from time to time, but to fail to correct mistake or even repeat them makes him a liar and deserving of a public whipping by the press.

      • Brendan
        Posted 04/12/2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink |

        Malcom doesn’t lie. Smart politicians never do.

        Misrepresent facts? Now that’s an entirely different story..

      • Sean
        Posted 04/12/2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink |

        “At what point does Malcolm Turnbull stop being inaccurate and start being a liar?”

        When Renai’s soft spot for the Earl finally scabs over…Give him a few more months to realise that MT has an ideological job to do, not one that involves any common sense, engineering or even fiscal sense.

      • Posted 04/12/2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink |

        To say someone is a liar you have to show conscious intent to deceive. That’s not easy.

        • Harimau
          Posted 05/12/2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink |

          “I do not accuse the Minister of consciously lying. There is no direct evidence that Turnbull knew of the date of creation of the document when he made that statement on the Today Show.”

          So either
          A) He knew the date of creation and claimed that it was other than what it was (“six months ago”). He lied.
          B) He did not know the date of creation and claimed that he did (“six months ago”). He lied.

          The two lies are different, but they are both still lies, and the objective is the same, to wilfully deceive the Australian public.

        • Brendan
          Posted 05/12/2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink |

          Exactly Renai.

          Turnbull is quite creative with the english language. I doubt the good Member for Wentworth will ever be caught (outright) lying.

          I believe he find being creative with the truth, a lot more entertaining.

        • SMEMatt
          Posted 05/12/2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink |

          When you fail to correct after having the errors pointed out to you that is a conscious effort to deceive. When you continue to repeat after having the errors pointed out that is a conscious effort to deceive.

    16. Sean
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink |

      And noone remembers the glorious political lessons contained in “Yes, Minister”? It wasn’t so much satire as documentary, and is now the rulebook that all politicians follow. Shame on you all.

      • Posted 04/12/2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink |

        That series is 100 percent documentary.

        • Duke
          Posted 04/12/2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink |

          Indeed it was, as opposed to the Federal Parliamentary broadcasts which are 50% farce and 50% cheap reality dross…

          • Mike
            Posted 05/12/2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink |

            At least “Yes, Minister” was enjoyable. The sorry state of politics today only proves that our worst fears have come true and well, it’s unjust that voters can only choose from mostly unfunny and untalented clowns (be they left, right, or green).

            The worst part in all this is that ultimately we’re the losers.

    17. Observer
      Posted 04/12/2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink |

      Given that the information in the leaked report because part of the ‘blue book”, it hard to believe that he really thought the information was 6 month old. This would not be the first time Malcolm was cavalier with the truth.

    18. Harimau
      Posted 05/12/2013 at 4:06 am | Permalink |

      lol, I heard echoes of Wikipedia when I read this part:
      “Most informed commentators [who?] do not consider such obstacles insurmountable [citation needed].”

      I think personally, uninformed though I may be, that you can surmount any obstacle with enough time and money (e.g. reduce node-to-premises distance to guarantee the 50Mbps minimum). But then it becomes cost- and time-prohibitive and you have to ask the question, why FTTN at all?

      • Fibroid
        Posted 05/12/2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink |

        To answer that question you have to present a well researched argument that it is in fact cost prohibitive, it is easy just asserting it is, I could assert that rolling out FTTP to 93% of residences is cost prohibitive.

        • Harimau
          Posted 05/12/2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink |

          No well-researched argument has yet been presented that FTTN is cost-effective today. Most informed commentators do not consider FTTN cost-effective in the long-run (due to the inevitable upgrade to FTTP required relatively soon).

          Rolling out FTTP to 93% of residences has a publicly available business plan that you can view at your leisure. There is a well-researched argument available. However, remember Fibroid, this is not a discussion about FTTN vs FTTP, this is about the difficulties and viability of an FTTN network. Don’t get off-topic.

          I’m not claiming that FTTN is inherently cost-prohibitive. However, the NBN Co internal FTTN analysis indicates that with the existing Coalition policy, the stated objective of minimum 50Mbps will be unable to be delivered. One solution therefore is to reduce the distance to premises, increasing the number of nodes therefore increasing the overall cost and increasing the cost per premises, while also increasing the cost per premises to later upgrade to 50Mbps-capable as each node services less premises. It’s obvious that at some point (some distance or some number of nodes), it becomes cost- and time-prohibitive to install an FTTN network that will be 50Mbps-capable in the near future, particularly when a well-understood alternative that is well-researched and costed exists that is capable of delivering 50Mbps and much more.

          I wish it were feasible to have a clear and easy upgrade path from active FTTN to passive FTTP, for example, the nodes placed where the existing passive optical splitters would be, being about the same size, and servicing the same number of premises, and in which the electronics can be discarded and the fibre backhaul spliced to individual fibre lines to premises, so as to have a network that is capable of being passive in the future. That way we could have 25Mbps in 2016 (VDSL2), 50Mbps in 2019 (vectored VDSL2 and/or vectored G.Fast at sufficiently short copper lengths), 100Mbps in 2022 (FTTP), and so on (continued upgrades of equipment at each end of the fibre). However, the cost- and time-savings per premises would have to be very significant to justify such a thing over simply rolling out a passive FTTP network now, and it may not even be technically possible to have such an upgrade path.

          • Posted 05/12/2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink |

            “Note: I will not tolerate the comments under this article turning into yet another debate about the merits of FTTP versus FTTN. That would be off-topic for this article, and it’s a debate we’ve already had 50,000 times before in the past. If you want to have that debate yet again, have it somewhere else.”

            hey Harimau,

            FYI you have been banned from Delimiter for a month. There’s a few issues here.

            1. You flagrantly ignored my comment stating that this thread should not turn into a FTTP versus FTTN thread.

            2. You are posting a *lot* of comments compared to other comments. I’ve seen up to a dozen or more comments from you appear in a very brief period. You are flooding us.

            3. Your comments are universally pro-FTTP and you are pushing that argument very hard. There’s nothing wrong with being pro-FTTP. I am pro-FTTP myself. But if you post a stack of comments all along one line, it leads me to believe that you are not interested in sincerely debating the issues and have a fixed point of view. That’s not what Delimiter is for — Delimiter is for open-minded discussion.

            As you know, this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m sorry, but I’m tired of this. We need a break.


    19. zeebie
      Posted 05/12/2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink |

      In the end of things, the consumers just need to sit back and wait to see what happens, i am sure we would all love FTTP, how ever if its FTTP or FTTN at this stage i couldnt care. It would be faster than the 0.52mbits i get off my congested rim.

      My only wish would be that the guys would all stop standing around playing with their …. comparing the size of their egos. Just start working and get it done.

    20. Alex (NBN)
      Posted 05/12/2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink |

      It just proves once again, as I have said all along, politicians are politicians, regardless of their ideologies or pay masters…?

      Once in power they will use weasel words to avoid scrutiny and of course when in oppositiuon they tell us how much better things would be if only they had the reins.

      But alas, they are all the same, well at least the main players obviously are… perhaps the smaller players in minor parties an/or independents have more honour?

      I guess this is why the main two find them more of a threat than each other…!

    21. Stephen
      Posted 05/12/2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

      It’s a sad reflection on the reality of our political system that behaviour, if exhibited by an individual or organisation, would be criminal fraud. Yet when practiced by those trusted to lead us (of any of the current parties) is treated as acceptable.

      We need to reform Australian politics seriously, it is broken and becoming more so.

      • Alex (NBN)
        Posted 05/12/2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink |


    22. Woolfe
      Posted 05/12/2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink |

      I am consistently frustrated by the lack of integrity in politics and in media of late. Both sides use mistruth and weasel words to paint often demeaning pictures of their opponents.

      Thank you Renai for consistently calling them on this sort of thing.

    23. Mathew
      Posted 06/12/2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink |

      It is entirely possible that the document was prepared six months prior to the election at the request of Conroy and simply updated during the caretaker period.

      It is not unreasonable to claim that NBNCo was biased against FTTN.

      • Alex (NBN)
        Posted 07/12/2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink |

        Evidence ?

      • Alex (NBN)
        Posted 07/12/2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink |

        Is it therefore using that logic, also not unreasonable (reasonable) to claim that the new NBNCo will be/are biased against FttP?

        One would have to assume by your guidelines yes (but I’ve witnessed many such double standards previously from most who baselessly oppose FttP :/ ).

        But we’ll keep it in mind.


    24. Paul Krueger
      Posted 07/12/2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink |

      The argument is not that FTTN can not provide high speeds, just that it can never provide the same high speed for all. Where distance is a factor, there are three times as many people outside of the 50% of a circles diameter as there are in the inside 50%.

      A=pi R^2

    25. Grail
      Posted 10/12/2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink |

      Good grief. Anyone using TransACT’s and BT’s FTTN deployments as a model of what is possible hasn’t paid much attention to the issues regarding ownership & demarcation of the existing copper network.

      BT owned the entire network. Thus the process of upgrading to FTTN was relatively painless for them since they didn’t have to continually see-saw with a hostile supplier trying to get maximum return on the value of their asset. So here we have the Libs realising that they can’t stand on two legs because they privatised the infrastructure which their current project is going to rely on.

      TransACT owns their entire network. Thus the process of upgrading from VDSL to VDSL2+ (the technology required to deliver on Malcom’s promise of 25/7 Mbps minimum speeds) is relatively painless because they don’t have to fight for access to the cables and the hubs & cabinets where the equipment is located. The major problems that TransACT had in the past were the cost of installing the infrastructure, which is why in some suburbs you can see the local TransACT hub building but you can’t get their service: the investors got nervous and barred further rollout because infrastructure is too expensive.

      NBNCo doesn’t own the entire FTTN network.

      The problems that Malcolm Turnbull is, in the future, going to report that he’d never expected to have will be:
      – digging holes in the ground
      – putting stuff in the holes
      – renting other stuff in other holes from Telstra
      – putting up buildings full of stuff for connecting this stuff in the ground together
      – connecting the stuff in the holes to stuff buildings
      – having all this stuff work
      – supporting end users who have problems due to issues in the network (i.e.: where the glass stuff connects to the copper stuff, where there will be endless finger-pointing exercises between Telstra and NBNCo about “it’s your problem”)
      – the copper remediation work required for upgrading from VDSL2 to vectored VDSL2
      – the inability to allow ULL services in a vectored VDSL2 environment

      At least Quigley only had one problem: he didn’t realise just how painful it would be to put holes in the ground.

    26. Johny Bizaro
      Posted 29/01/2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink |

      Turnbull Turncoat is a traitor to australia.

      The digital economy is what is holding australia back and a drag on the economy and he aims to put us in a recession and he wants austerity and a resulting 3rd world australia. Rich folk love austerity.

      Then he gets what he wants, that is the boat people will stay in indonesia because they won’t want to come to a sh+t hole.

    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT

    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications

    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry

    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights