Telstra top hat fixing NBN failures, says Vic IT minister


news Victoria’s Liberal IT minister has praised Telstra for deploying so-called ‘top hat’ upgrades to its ADSL2+ infrastructure in the Victorian region of Narre Warren in his electorate, stating that the rollout would provide high-speed broadband in areas where the National Broadband Network had so far failed to deliver on its promises.

The Telstra ‘top hat’ project is an initiative which the telco started rolling out in November last year, which will see ADSL2+ infrastructure deployed on top of some of Telstra’s 5,000 street side cabinets around Australia, with the idea of upgrading the cabinets so that they can support high-speed broadband, where previously they could not. The telco plans for the rollout to hits some 2.000 cabinets within the 18 months from November last year.

In a statement issued last month, Victoria’s Liberal IT Minister, Gordon Rich-Phillips, said he welcomed news that the deployment would affect the Melbourne suburb of Narre Warren, an area in his electorate of the South Eastern Metropolitan Region which was previously seen as semi-rural, but has rapidly developed over the past years to become a growth centre in Melbourne. Rich-Phillips said the infrastructure upgrade would have the impact of providing local residents with access to faster fixed-line broadband services in absence of effective NBN rollout in the area in the coming years.

“It is appalling the Gillard Government has not focused their efforts on servicing areas with inadequate levels of broadband, instead favouring areas like Melbourne’s CBD which already has the most competitive market for high-speed broadband in the state,” he added. “Under the NBN’s three year rollout plan, many Victorians in outer metropolitan areas like Narre Warren would have continued to miss out on the economic and social benefits of broadband, despite high demand for these services.

“Telstra’s announcement of upgrades to provide faster broadband to Narre Warren residents and businesses will help connect those who continue to feel disconnected by NBN’s refusal to roll out broadband infrastructure into local black spot areas. This upgrade of fast fixed-line broadband is yet another example of the private sector picking up the slack where the Gillard Government’s NBN plan is failing to deliver outcomes for locals,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

In late March, NBN Co released a detailed plan of the locations and schedule where it plans to deploy fibre and wireless broadband infrastructure over the next three years, noting that the rollout was slated to hit some 3.5 million premises in 1500 communities in every state and territory in Australia. The locations were chosen, according to NBN Co, firstly on the basis of meeting a number of policy objectives, namely that construction should take place across both rural and metropolitan areas; that construction should be across all states and territories; that the rollout in Tasmania should be finished by 2016 and that all new developments with over 100 premises should be covered.

In addition, NBN Co added a number of its own guidelines to help determine the schedule, ranging from the idea that the fixed wireless rollout should be completed in 2015 (it will target a small percentage of areas which won’t receive fibre); that satellite broadband via NBN Co’s own satellites should be available by 2015, and that areas where there were a large number of new developments should be prioritised, to avoid old technologies having to be installed — only to be replaced with the NBN later on.

Some well-known blackspot areas, such as Canberra’s Gungahlin suburb, have been targeted as part of NBN Co’s plans in its first few years. It is not clear what level of infrastructure currently exists in Narre Warren. The area’s centre is not due to receive NBN infrastructure as part of NBN Co’s three year, plan , but several areas around it, such as Hallam, Dandenong South, Doveton and Cranbourne North, are.

In August 2010, some 400 Narre Warren South residents signed a petition put forward by a group describing itself as the Narre Warren ADSL Action Group, in an effort to get high-speed broadband connected to the area. The group’s website reportedly stated that the area was “one of the last to receive ADSL in metropolitan Melbourne”.

Rich-Phillips has been slammed by the Victorian Labor Party previously for perceived conflict of interest issues with respect to a property in Narre Warren, which was reportedly owned by the Minister’s parents and was listed for sale in April 2010 for $2.2 million. At the time, then-Labor Deputy Premier Rob Hulls said Rich-Phillips should have disclosed his parents’ property when voting on the expansion of a growth boundary in the area, claiming Rich-Phillips lived at the property.

It’s not the first time that the Victorian Coalition Government has expressed dissatisfaction with Federal Labor’s NBN project.

In January, the Government said it was ‘disappointing’ that the early stage rollouts revealed by NBN Co so had had not prioritised the regions in Victoria which had “the greatest unmet demand for broadband”. “The Victorian Government is concerned that disparities between regional and metropolitan Victoria may persist during this next phase of broadband development,” the state wrote in its submission to a Federal Government review at the time, “and could potentially magnify the disadvantages of regional communities as their metropolitan counterparts enjoy accelerated benefits of broadband as the NBN is rolled out.”

In October 2011, Rich-Phillips called for Victoria to receive its “fair share” of NBN coverage, saying: “The rollout plan shows that Victoria is being disadvantaged in the important early stages of the NBN rollout. According to the rollout schedule Victoria’s share of NBN construction activity as a proportion of its population will be the lowest of any State or Territory. Victoria has a 12 per cent share of national premises to be covered in the next 12 months, less than half our approximate 25 per cent share of the national population.”

In December 2010, Rich-Phillips confirmed the state’s then-fledgling Coalition Government did not support the introduction of Labor’s preferred ‘opt-out’ model for the National Broadband Network, in a move that could force residents to actively choose to receive fibre infrastructure when the rollout hits their neighbourhood.

In some senses, Rich-Phillips is right here. The NBN won’t hit the core of Narre Warren in the next three years, while Telstra’s top hat program will. These are objective facts which can’t be disputed, and it seems to be the case, unfortunately, that residents of the area have been calling for better broadband access for some years now.

However, NBN Co also doesn’t have the responsibility or a mandate to fix all of Australia’s broadband blackspots within the first few years of its life. It does have a responsibility to deploy its infrastructure in a variety of locations nationwide, as to avoid claims of favouritism. There are many factors which went into the NBN’s three-year rollout schedule, and it would have been unreasonable for the company to simply deploy all of its early locations on the basis that there was a blackspot in this or that specific area.

Despite, this, as Rich-Phillips knows, all of these blackspots will eventually be addressed by the NBN in the long-term; a fact which the Federal Coalition’s own more limited plan can’t yet match, as we don’t have enough detail to know precisely what would occur under a Coalition Government.

In general, the Victorian Coalition Government can’t seem to make up its mind on the NBN. Does it think the project is a waste of time by the Federal Government, or does it want the rollout to proceed faster, in more areas, in Victoria? Over time, the State has issued conflicting media releases in this area, and it’s a bit hard to tell what its policy actually is regarding the NBN. Under the headline “Blatant hypocrisy: Victoria demands NBN “fair share”, in October last year I wrote:

“… the approach of the Victorian State Government to the NBN is nothing short of embarrassing.

I am appalled by the incredible hypocrisy demonstrated by Technology Minister Rich-Phillips to the NBN. It is simply not acceptable for Victoria to severely criticise the NBN on one hand, and then turn around and demand a greater share of the project’s spoils on the other. Either the state agrees that the NBN is a good policy — in which it is entitled to demand its portion of the spoils — or it should stick to its guns and continue to argue that Federal Labor’s pet telco project would create a “dysfunctional telecommunications market structure” in the state.

To do anything else is to fall victim to the pernicious idea that all politics is purely tactical — that no ideal or vision should survive beyond the limits of its political expediency. And that, for Western democracies … is a very dangerous idea indeed.”

These comments still stand. Victoria needs to make up its mind on the NBN and stop attempting to play both sides. It’s hypocritical for the Victorian Coalition to slam a Federal Labor project for not targeting a specific area within a Liberal MP’s electorate in the first three years of the NBN’s rollout schedule, while not acknowledging that the NBN will eventually reach that area; a promise which the Coalition’s own NBN policy can’t yet make. But then, that’s politics.

Image credit: Screenshot of NBN Co rollout map


  1. Rich-Phillips is an excellent politician…he’s says the right things to the right people at the right time…

    …even if those things are different things to different people at different times…

    • And that right there is both the truth and problem with Australian politics.

      I still fail to understand why Parliamentary Privilege extends outside the Chambers. These (conflicting) public statements are designed for one thing: political collateral.

      If our Parliamentarians spent as much time building bridges as they do throwing stones, I wonder what we could achieve?

      • I’m always appalled at the advertising the various parties put on the tv as part of their election campaigns.
        They find the most controversial stone to throw they can find whether or not its truth

  2. “It is appalling the Gillard Government has not focused their efforts on servicing areas with inadequate levels of broadband, instead favouring areas like Melbourne’s CBD which already has the most competitive market for high-speed broadband in the state”

    As I cant be bothered to look up where he means, I’ll take this as written. Easily proven right or wrong anyhow. But if it WASNT rolled out in Melbourne’s CBD, why does he think Narre Warren would get it instead?

    A basic fundamental of any national rollout is that most areas can provide a perfectly good reason why they should get it first. So if everyone has a claim, its inevitable that most will miss out on an early rollout.

    Even here. If the CBD didnt get it, there’s a perfectly good whinge ready to happen that the rural areas are being bribed. Its allready been used during the trial rollouts.

    @Rich-Phillips – suck it up princess, someone has to miss out. Be thankful that your major businesses can get early access to the technology, and show what big business can do with the capability.

  3. I have to say I was surprised when they didn’t prioritise these areas. They have been screaming out for better broadband for many years and due to allmost the entire area being on RIMs Telstra has been the only one that could have done anything. I do find it suspicous they are doing it now. There have been years of trying to get them to do something in that area, why now? It does smack of a politically motivated rollout. But maybe it’s just business, get the customers you have ignored so many years happy so when there is a rollout to those areas they won’t hate you and go to anyone else.

    • Its purely from one thing: Money.

      The government is paying Telstra to turn over its customer base in favor of cash payments for premises it has connected at time the NBN goes live. If the NBN enters those areas and those areas have ADSL and convert via Telstra to the NBN, then Telstra is paid more.

      • @Master_T

        That doesn’t make any sense, a Telstra customer is still a Telstra customer whether they are on top hat or not as they were a Telstra customer customer BEFORE the top hat upgrade, it’s not as if the customer can sign up with anyone else if they don’t get a top hat upgrade!

        • They may not have been with anyone before these areas are notorious for not having ports available. Wan’t to bet their won’t be guys going around knocking on doors telling people they can get ADSL2 but only through Telstra? (technically true since it’s their equipment)

    • “I have to say I was surprised when they didn’t prioritise these areas”.

      The problem is Noddy that the NBN infrastructure is poorly suited to targeting black spots.

      The design is optimised to start at a POI and stream-roller outwards with the backhaul. And, at each Fibre service area (FSA) they have to pull all the fibre for all the homes before moving on.

      If they picked black spots to fix, they’d have to go back and re-work the missing areas and in the long run that makes the rollout more expensive and slower for the whole country.

      Politically, sure it’s smart to target the black spots, technically and cost-efficiency wise, not so smart.

  4. I think the Melbourne CBD comment is disingenuous to be honest.
    I don’t know if they were badly served by broadband before, but most of the NBN rollouts ARE in regional areas, Tasmania, Willunga/McLaren Vale, Armidale, Coffs Harbour/Sawtell.
    Ironically, Telstra insisted they couldn’t even offer me broadband at my home, even though both Optus and iiNet could using Telstra infrastructure!

  5. “Some well-known blackspot areas, such as Canberra’s Gungahlin suburb, have been targeted as part of NBN Co’s plans in its first few years.”

    Although bizarrely some areas near Gungahlin have FTTH already deployed by TransACT – now owned by iiNet. I can’t say I’m surprised that my suburb isn’t on the three year rollout because we already have fibre.

  6. “Telstra top hat fixing NBN failures”

    I didn’t realise ‘top hat’ was part of a FttH rollout. It fixes nothing. You lose Gordon.

    • To be fair, its a smart move by Telstra. Roll out ‘fixes’ in areas not getting NBN for years, and tie them in as customers early. Most people tend to stick with a service they like, so if suddenly, 5 years from now, they get a free speed increase then they will stick with Telstra.

      And lets face it, under NBN theres a solid chance that once you pick a provider you’re going to stick with them a good while.

      It also lets the Lib’s take a free shot at NBN.

      • This is quite true.

        Many ISPs have been pushing to get people locked into contracts to cover the crossover points between no NBN coverage, and NBN coverage being available. It’s easier to keep a customer once you have them.

        You can offer “zero cost changeover” for existing customers, let them keep their email addresses – (attractive for (most) people who don’t do their own mail) – and other sweeteners.

        Telstra is just being clever here.

      • It’s clever hedging on Telstra’s behalf.

        If the NBN proceeds: They gain customers and payment.

        If the NBN gets cancelled: They get to claim FTTN is partially complete already.

        In both scenarios, the equipment is going to be substantially depreciated by the time they are paid for the customers or the roll out of the equipment.

        They’re double dipping in the finest spirit of Generally Accepted Accounting Practice and politics..

        It’s very impressive. Telstra have always had a bunch of smart cookies working there. You might not think so, but they did.

      • The thing being missed here though is that its Telstras failure that has caused the Narre Warren area (and many others) to suffer through years of poor service. The NBN has forced Telstras hand. There is absolutely no reason Telstra couldnt have been doing the top hat rollout years ago.
        The NBN is still meeting its promised outcome. It has to provide 100% coverage in 10 years. This Liberal minister seems to be upset that he wasnt first in line. More Liberal hyporcrisy. Criticising the NBN, and then saying they should be first to get it. Why isnt he saying “OH well, it doesnt matter, when we get into power, you will have a better solution anyway!” It would be the perfect opportunity to sell Turnbulls FTTN “plan” – if they really did believe it was better than the NBN.

    • “didn’t realise ‘top hat’ was part of a FttH rollout.”

      If you knew what you were talking about NBN is offering a “FTTP” solution, ie it’s inclusive of all premises, not just domestic homes>

      • “If you knew what you were talking about NBN is offering a “FTTP” solution, ie it’s inclusive of all premises, not just domestic homes”

        LOL…Hubert is VERY knowledgeable…certainly more than you appear to be mate.
        Top Hats are for more like FTTN…not FTTP or FTTH.

      • “If you knew what you were talking about NBN is offering a “FTTP” solution”

        yeah, thanks for the tip, I’ll use a “P” from now on, “P” is for “premises”… “P” is also for “pedantic”.

        • Mmmm, we need to be careful though HC.

          FTTP is the equivalent of fibre to just outside each premises, apartment or house. FTTH is fibre ALL the way TO the premises, apartment or house. In our case, I believe Quigley has stated he intends to do FTTH EVEN in apartments….although we’ll have to see how that goes. There will likely be alot of cabling on the external walls if that’s the case.

          So essentially, we have a FTTH to detached dwellings and PLANNED FTTH to apartments, but it may end up FTTP (or FTTBuilding if you like) in some complex cases, meaning VDSL will be used for the individual apartments. I think it’ll definitely be a case by case basis for apartments.

  7. Top Hat or Top Prat ?

    IN QLD – I am not able to get Top Hat and Not able to get NBN.

    My friend a few hours drive, Cannot get Wireless by anyone, He has no Copper thus no ADSL.

    Copper ends at the block of apartments getting built.


    The Liberals in VIC are failing thus the reason this quick shot at NBN.

    • if i read your comments correctly, telstra arent required to install copper INSIDE the building. thats the building builders/managements whatever job. Telstra dont do any internal cabling for any apartment buildings that iv heard of.
      i dont understand how you can blame the liberals for that. you say cant get adsl, cant get nbn. neither of which is the fault of liberal party.

  8. Hypocrisy is what the liberal party does best….

    Criticise the NBN and pledge to kill it only to later demand that more of it is rolled out quicker to a now liberally held state! I’m not sure who the biggest stooges are, these liberal party politicians or the fools that are even contemplating voting them in based on policies that they themselves don’t even know where they stand….

    And let’s not forget the reason WHY telstra ignored these suburbs for a decade was because the liberals sold of the infrastructure along with privatising Telstra, a company that couldn’t justify the upgrades to its shareholders!

    And why is Telstra now installing Top Hats? What’s suddenly changed to make it viable????
    —>NBNco Agreement
    They will now receive a payment for every customer on fixed broadband that will be migrated to NBN so all of a sudden Telstra is scrambling to install Top Hats around the country….

    So despite these guy’s assertion, it IS the NBN that is actually improving their broadband….they just don’t know it yet…

  9. I’d agree with the general consensus.

    Telstra are cleverly rolling out Top-hat upgrades wherever it isn’t SUBSTANTIALLY expensive, to ensure they keep those customers once the NBN rolls through. And they get paid to swap them to boot.

    The fact that the NBN hasn’t rolled out to these “prioritised black spots” is neither here nor there. I could complain down here. We have ADSL2+, but we have so many people on it, no one in my street gets above 6Mbps, which is ADSL1 speed. A least we GET broadband, unlike Narre Warren has on RIM. But the fact of the matter is 2 things:

    1- It is TELSTRA’s fault they’re ON RIM. They’re simply “fixing” their mistake (just in time to get a wad of money out of it)

    2- If fibre ISN’T running through the area already for NBN (perhaps a backhaul or connecting to a different area) then HOW do these people expect to get FTTH, without a fibre link there?? And regardless, as Renai has quite rightly stated, it is physically impossible to rollout the network simultaneously to ALL parts of the country. They’re not Huawei….

  10. Remind me… who rolled these RIM’s smack dab in the middle of a major growth corridor? And why were they under provisioned for so long?

    Any takers?

  11. The top hat program is very limited: my place of work is stuck on congested ADSL and is not part of the top hat roll out. Unfortunately it’s also not part of the NBN 3 year plan, but premises less than 2km away are on the 1 year plan! This is on the Gold Coast which is growing very fast, probably even fastest in the country!

      • He’s not necessarily on pair gain, that’s where you share your bonded pair with another premises. It’s down to the contention ratio at the exchange.

        If its high, which it seems it would be, low average bandwidth all around! Yay!

        Hope im not telling you to suck eggs….

        • So the contention ratio at the exchange as you describe it, could easily be improved without touching a single strand of copper, merely by upgrading equipment in the exchange.

          And indeed, the bandwidth of the ADSL itself is irrelevant if the problem is at the exchange.

          • I’m sorry I’m a little confused what you’re indicating Tel. He is indicating that his workplace is not covered by the top hat program. The top hat program is upgrade of exchanges. We’re not talking about copper, although the copper may have issues as well regardless of the top hat upgrade.

          • Yes if there is already ADSL1 FTTN node making an upgrade to ADSL2 is quick.

            Putting in new FTTN cabinets, running fibre to them, running power to them, cutting telephone cables while a tech at the houses checks to make sure of each one. FTTN introduces other problems that the FTTH rollout doesn’t have. Once it is in you have zero time to change over your PSTN connection as the copper no longer runs to the exchange. Your ISP needs to change you over to whoever is wholesaling the VDSL2 in the cabinet as you have to connection to the exchange for ADSL2.

            FTTN where there isn’t already a RIM is a logistical problem.

  12. >This upgrade of fast fixed-line broadband is yet another example of the private sector picking up the slack where the Gillard Government’s NBN plan is failing to deliver outcomes for locals,

    His ignorance is hilarious.

    It’s the private sector that failed to provide broadband in the first place.

    • i have to say i agree.

      Query: what is the actual benchmark for ‘High speed’ broadband in Oz?

      personally i would have to say that that does NOT include DSL or DSL2+. on the basis that the highest domestic residential speed on offer seems to be either the 100mbit cable (minus neighbourhood losses) or NBNcos product/s.

      anyone jumping about and capering over a DSL product (!) as a ‘high speed’ service has to be kidding themselves. this is a patch fix item, slapped on in areas where there have been difficulties… dont get me wrong; it is a valid and extremely useful product for those who have been dudded by previous services, for whatever reason.

      but it does not warrant the (apparent) excitement from Rich-Phillips. if he had swung 100mbit cable for the region i might accept the claim but as it is im not seeing it. it really does smack of (anti NBNco?) propaganda to me.

      1Gbps fibre is high speed. 300 Mbit Fios is high speed. 100/40 as under NBNco is high speed. 100mbit cable, if noone local is dragging the local node down, id say qualifies. 24mbit max DSL2+? sure if youve lived on dialup its ‘high speed’ but i think we are a bit past the days where it qualifies for that moniker. Fast BB, i grant you, but not High Speed. now, let alone down the track when NBNco *does* make it to NW.

      (im not even going into the line length effects on that ‘high speed’ – i mean, fast – offering. i have NFI about the quality of lines in NW but undoubtedly, that ‘high speed’ fast service will realistically only be available to a small subset of NW residents close enough to the Top Hat to make it worthwhile).

      • That’s the problem nonny there is no real definition for high speed broadband. That’s how the Coalition can get away with saying that they will provide it without the NBN as it stands now.

        • So why is the definition of ‘high speed broadband’ defined only by what speeds the NBN Co is making available just because that’s what YOU want it to be?

          • alain he said nothing of the sort. He said there is no fixed definition of what high speed is, that is all. He never said NBN Co defined what it is. He just stated that because there is no definition the Coalition say they will install high speed broadband could be any speed at all.

          • Because unlike the LNP “plan” they have actually defined what speed they are going to deliver.

          • Actually what defines high speed has very little to do with what NBNco is offering. 100/40 isn’t even high speed by my standards but let me tell you what isn’t high speed either; 2mbps is not high speed and 5-10mbps is not high speed, someone else may find these acceptable and call them “high speed” but that is the undeniable benefit of the NBN, you can get whatever slow speed you want and call it high speed if you like. Other solutions (such as a coalition patchwork plan) do not have this benefit. Hope that helps.

  13. “stating that the rollout would provide high-speed broadband in areas where the National Broadband Network had so far failed to deliver on its promises.”

    More Liberal FUD….it seems like there is a mandate for each Liberal (State or Federal) to get into every publication, large or small, and put the boot in, usually with a one liner that is not substantiated.

    I read the entire article looking for the promise he refers to that NBN made. Nothing……I am pretty sure that they made no promises that Narre Warren was going to be in place this year…..I don’t recall the NBN making promises that they would start in the areas affected by Telstra’s implementation of RIM’s.

    RIM’s have been an issue since ADSL went live. Why did Telstra wait until a serious competitor come in, until they finally did something about their poor infrastructure….

    As for making them out to be the “good guys” for putting top-hats in, come on….give it a break…..

    If the Coalition is serious, detail your policy now. If it is that good, then the supporters will champion your cause. It will make your run to the Election a whole lot easier….

    Time to put up or shut up!!



  14. Hello Renai,

    Reading your article did make me smile, as a founding member of the Narre Warren ADSL Action Group (or NAAG for short), and boy doesn’t time fly by!
    Our original campaign launched in April of 2004 when a group of residents who met on Whirlpool, banded together to form NAAG

    12 months of campaigning and finally Telstra flicked the switch on the Narre Warren sub exchange. This resulted in ADSL enablement to the areas that had been supplied some of the 1200 pairs of copper lines that had been drawn out, like a net, to surrounding RIM cabinets.
    Prior to the go live of the then newly built sub exchange around 20 or so other RIM cabinets had been enabled with ADSL enabling Minimux add-ons, in Narre Warren South and surrounds. A precursor to the Top Hat devices of today.

    Overall the campaign and the enablement was a very exciting time and felt as if we were helping the future growth and development in Narre South – a suburb that had been missing out on ADSL-based broadband services for so long.
    In 2010 – we thought we would try raising attention that we were still only serviced by ADSL, not ADSL2+. A fact that still exists today is that only Telstra equipment has been placed in the Sub exchange – or put another way, Telstra were the only company to invest in the infrastructure.

    Unfortunately, a legacy of our campaign was also in bringing copper-based ADSL services to Narre Warren South – and only to developed properties of the time in 2004. Land that was yet to be sub divided missed out on the broadband benefits – until specific plans to enable cabinet-based services were made by Telstra at much later dates.
    There is also a distinct difference between Narre Warren and Narre Warren South. Narre Warren having a number of providers and ADSL2+ services based in the Narre Warren Exchange.
    Narre Warren South is again the poor cousin and out of reach of these services.
    I’ve wondered since our campaign and the ADSL enablement that it brought, whether in light of the NBN, that we actually might have done a dis-service to the area in the longer term?
    What if we hadn’t had a limited sub exchange built and activated – would Narre Warren South have then not made it to at least be place marked for NBN deployment?

    I’m all for finding short-term solutions to our broadband blackspots, but ultimately, this should not be at the expense of inclusion in the NBN.

    Peter L

  15. It’s funny.

    Victoria says it’s a waste, so it enacted opt-in legislation, effectively slowing the uptake rate.

    Victoria complains that it’s not getting as much of the network.

    I bet if it wasn’t for half the staff living in… you guessed it, Victoria, and the government insisting it be national, they would have cracked it and renamed themselves to the QLDNSWTASACTSANTWABNCo.

      • There will be a certain percentage of people who just wont do anything when the rollout happens. In other states they would be connected to the NBN in Victoria they will not.

          • OK, in case the obvious somehow really slipped past you. Those people who don’t do anything when the NBN is roll out and therefore aren’t connected to it can’t be migrated to it or take up NBN plans.

  16. Oh what a whole load of bollocks! There I’ve said it

    First of all and the most damned obvious moot point is… NBN IS A NATIONAL ROLL OUT! That means unless some dimwitted pollie decides to CANCEL/ALTER/CHANGE the existing plans the NBN WILL and I cannot emphasise this enough WILL BE ROLLED OUT TO YOU AREA WHETHER BY FIBRE OR SATELLITE!

    Second. As a person who’s had to live in one of these “blackhole” areas in NSW putting up w/ RIM Hell and then the deteriorating state of ADSL connections due to congestion (which I might add was also due to Telstras own *forward planning*) I find that any polly “applauding” or “congratulating” Telstra on these ‘upgrades’ frankly insulting. These Top Hat upgrades aren’f “fixing the NBN problem” its Telstra playing catch up on essentially YEARS of neglect on the broadband market of AU. The irony here is had Telstra done these upgrades when they were required there wouldn’t even be a need for an NBN as we see it right now!

    Now excuse my while i finish my morning coffee to calm down!

  17. It’s good to see a Liberal politician supporting the NBN – complaining that the roll-out isn’t happening fast enough, rather than trying to stop it.

  18. > In late March, NBN Co released a detailed plan of the locations and schedule where it plans to deploy fibre and wireless broadband infrastructure over the next three years, noting that the rollout was slated to hit some 3.5 million premises in 1500 communities in every state and territory in Australia

    The rollout announced in late March is actually a 4.5 year plan if you consider the point of the roll out to be able to order a service at the premise being covered. Some example locations that can expect to have an active service in September 2016: Westen, ACT and
    Hoopers Crossing, VIC

    The NBNCo Corporate Plan predicts a peak rollout of 6000 premises a day with 250 working days in a year on page 77. This equates to 1.5M premises passed a year. The rollout contains every fibre premise for which work will start by June 2015 and at least some where work starts in Sep 2015. If we assume that NBNCo will reach the peak rollout speed by June 2015, then this equates to 1.5M premises currently in the plan being passed after June 2015. Only 2 million premises will be passed by June 2015. This is a much smaller number than the 3.5 million headline.

    > In some senses, Rich-Phillips is right here. The NBN won’t hit the core of Narre Warren in the next three years, while Telstra’s top hat program will.

    Looking at the rollout, it is unlikely that the planning won’t start until September 2015 at the earliest, which means September 2016 before it can be reasonably expected that people will be able to connect. That is over 4 years away in the best case scenario.

    • Matthew, your maths not withstanding, I do not have a problem with any current projections from NBNCo. You do. Can we move on now?

      The fact of the matter is, Narre Warren will receive partial NBN coverage by 2015 (satellite AND wireless) and FULL NBN coverage by 2021/2022. Just like every other person in the country.

      • Seven you should also note that he is wrong once again, if you have a look at the NBN rollout map on the NBN website it clearly says: “Work commences within three years” there is no trick here or anyone suggesting “Work will be completed in three years” at all, so despite what he is imagining it actually is a 3 year plan. No one except MM here is confused or expects those areas to be competed in 3 years because it clearly says “Work commences within three years” and not “Work will be completed in 4.5 years”

        • True HC.

          I just can’t be bothed pointing out the obvious to Matthew much anymore. :D

          But you are right, it should be noted that these areas will see the construction the NBN in 3 years, not necessarily have connection to the NBN in 3 years. That is NOT what the rollout plan states or ever has stated.

  19. In the article the author made the comment that the NBN doesn’t have a mandate or obligation to fill black spots and went on to say that this is fair enough.

    Why is this so? Shouldn’t areas which have no broadband get first dibs at it?

    As a disclaimer, I live in Gippsland, am on a quality ADSL2+ service with Aussie Broadband, so I’m not fussed about the NBN.

    • I agree with you that the NBN Co should target black spot and poorly serviced areas first, this is where a Coalition plan could grab that flaw and run with it.

      BTW that’s very brave of you to say you are ‘not fussed about the NBN’ in here.


      • With regards to being “brave” about commenting on the NBN like that, honestly, it doesn’t bother me. Sure, it’d be nice to have a 100 mbit connection, but DSL2+ is doing fine for us at the moment.

        In any case, I don’t know how I’d take advantage of it. I haven’t seen any cheap high data plans that would allow constant streaming of full hi def video, for example. And isn’t that what the NBN is looking to do?

        I remember when DSL was first introduced. It cost punters a fortune to connect to and data allowances were so miserly that you couldn’t make full use of it anyway, not without hitting a data limit early. I just hope that NBN isn’t going to be like that as well.

        • There’s nothing ‘brave’ about it anyway Martin. You clearly arent fussed about needing extra speed, and the beauty of the NBN is that you wont pay more for staying with what you want. If people want to look for themselves, there is plenty of evidence to show that you could actually be paying less on that lowest plan than you do now, depending on the ISP.

          Various people get caught up believing the pro-NBN group is all about the fastest plan only, when we’re not. The lowest plans also deliver for users like yourself, who dont need or want the faster plans. Because everything is on the same network, costs are down, and the net result is cheaper access for everyone. Not just those on the 100Mps plans.

          Nobody here will be negative about your needs being less, far from it. Its a good example of the NBN working for everyone.

  20. I need to chip in here. I live in Lynbrook (VIC), and I’m on a Top Hat (my connection went live about two weeks ago). Since the cabinet is so close to every house, I’ve not yet heard of anyone connected to it with a sync rate below 23Mb/s. Personally I’m no more than 200 metres from it.

    I’m interested to see what will happen when the libs win back federal government. The Top Hat cabinets use Alcatal-Lucent ISAM technology which supports VDSL2 blades in the ISAM chassis. This would mean anyone on a Top Hat which services small Distribution Areas (DAs) could receive reliable 100Mb/s speeds over copper. Since we’re not within the 3-year fibre rollout plan, I can see the libs offering Telstra some sweetener to enable VDSL2 in the Top Hat cabinets.

  21. hey Alex and Alain,

    apologies, for this, but I have warned you guys a few times, and you are hijacking the discussion with rudeness and circular discussions. I’ve read through quite a lot of posts from both of you over the past few days, and it is clear that you are not the sort of rational posters who I want on Delimiter. You are harming the conversation and you are hereby banned:

    I’ll review this in a few months. Drop me a line at if you wish to dispute the ban and I’ll hear your case. Alain, you in particular are a long-time offender. I am tired of getting emails from Delimiter readers complaining about your behaviour. You are no longer welcome on this forum.



    • Renai, you can kindly remove my post please as your response to alain is the appropriate course to take.
      That guy just irritates me so much beyond belief that I usually get onto the gaming computer and let off a lot of steam killing bad guys to calm down “so to speak”

  22. Renai’s characterisation of the hypocritical rhetoric of the Victorian Libs is accurate. They even passed legislation to slow the rollout. NBNCo has a mandate to work as quickly as possible, and the Victorian LIberal Party put its hand up as the State which wanted to be last. It still got onto the first release schedule despite this obstacle, because NBNCo engineers are targeting POI locations first, and radiating out from them.

    Narre Warren residents should applaud NBNCo for building next to them first, because it puts them next in line.

    In the meantime, the clarity of NBNco’s rollout schedule makes it possible for Telstra and others to identify places where it remains commercially attractive to build new ADSL services that will be profitable for them for a few years until the fibre arrives.

    Oh, and Ed, there is no justification for taxpayer dollars to be pumped into Telstra to build copper services in places where we are building universal fibre within a few years. This is correctly left to the market.

    • “Narre Warren residents should applaud NBNCo for building next to them first, because it puts them next in line.”
      +1, my regional centre (Whyalla) is due to start in March 2014 because Port Augusta (40kms away) is a POI, in fact the only regional POI I believe in South Australia.

      “Renai’s characterisation of the hypocritical rhetoric of the Victorian Libs is accurate.”
      The state Liberals in Victoria went down a course to try to slow down the rollout of NBNco fibre “opt in as opposed to opt out in the disguise of choice” and now are the most vocal state in Australia as regards not getting their share of early (3 year plan) NBN rollout there.

  23. The L/NP is, in Victoria, once again, attempting to score political points — regarding a deployment the constituency wants — by simultaneously stating (at a federal level) that the NBN is a cash-cow waste of money and (locally) it’s not delivering enough.

    Other than saying “No”, what does the L/NP have as it’s alternative? We don’t really know. It changes every other week of the month.

    Meanwhile, the NBNco plows on with action and getting the job done.

    Telstra has worked the numbers, given the on-boarding price it gets for each customer it connects to the NBN, there will be a net gain to improve broadband to increase their footprint; it’s also in-line with the (relatively speaking) recent push to aggressively re-enter the market.

    There is a scale advantage for the NBN, it’s been widely discussed. Telstra is simply being Telstra; working the environment to best capitalise for it’s shareholders.

    Of course, that competitive re-entry being timed around the point it became clear the NBN was ‘go’ I’m sure was entirely co-incidental, right? :)

  24. Actually, all you guys at Narre and the other areas that have had tophats installed over the last few years can thank the NBN. Without that competitive and financial incentive you would have been on rims for ever. At least it sounds like you have decent ADSL2+, wonder if iiNet can fit their gear and increase the upload to 2Meg.
    Once the Libs get in and we have Abbot pm, Hockey Treasurer, Fletcher in charge of Comms (No way keep Turnbull in that job , he is too intelligent. So of course anything that Turnbull may have intimated is just hot air. All that counts is written down detailed policy )
    The NBN will be cancelled and more than likely given over to Telstra as payment for the defaults. So all you Telstra shareholders hope they get as much installed as possible, it will be a bargain basement gift to Telstra and any hope of real competition gone with the wind, the 800lb Gorilla just gained 200lb, and Telstra will just bend us all over as usuall. The Good News for the TLS shareholders, the installation etc and all costs will be on the budget bottom line and paid for by cuts in health, education, roads etc. So a win for the Telstra shareholders.and Murdoch, Everyone else loses and the dream of National Broadband is just a blowing in the wind

  25. Just coming back to this quickly, its interesting to note the local rag here in Wollongong is talking about tophats today as well.

    Highlights: 4 suburbs mentioned, including Dapto, which I believe is due to start getting NBN in August or Septamber. Some time this year at least. Plus there’s mention of 2000 of these being rolled out across the country.

    Given the advanced rollout of the NBN throughout Wollongong, its interesting to see them prioritise the area. Then again, its more annecdotal evidence they are doing this partly to lock in customers pre-NBN.

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