FTTN or FTTH? It doesn’t matter, says Vodafone


news The chief executive of ailing national mobile player Vodafone stated over the weekend that it wasn’t “important” whether Australia’s National Broadband Network policy pursued a fibre to the home or fibre to the node approach, with only “minor nuances” between the two platforms proposed separately by the Government and the Opposition.

The Coalition is focusing on a rival NBN policy predominantly based on fibre to the node technology, which would see fibre rolled out to neighbourhood ‘nodes’ and the rest of the distance to premises covered by Telstra’s existing copper network, as opposed to the fibre to the home model preferred by the current Labor Federal Government. Debate over which of the two models is the better one for Australia has been raging for the majority of the past decade, after then-Telstra chief Sol Trujillo proposed a fibre to the node solution in late 2005.

Technically, there is a major difference between the two technologies, with FTTH being able to deliver dramatically faster and more reliable services than FTTN (including much better uplink speeds), and with likely better latency. FTTH speeds over the current NBN are planned to reach up to 1Gbps, while FTTN speeds are currently limited to around 80Mbps in the best case, given current technology – although technology in this area is changing gradually. Most in the telecommunications sector believe FTTH to be the best long-term solution for national telecommunications infrastructure, although FTTN is being deployed in countries such as the UK (by incumbent telco BT) to meet short to medium-term telecommunications needs.

Speaking on the ABC’s Inside Business program (the full video and transcript are available online here), Vodafone Australia chief executive Bill Morrow – who took his company’s reins in May — said he thought the NBN was “a fabulous thing” for Australia. “I have a long history in both fixed and wireless mobile and when I see what Australia’s doing with the NBN, I just think it is the perfect model to go forward,” said Morrow, particularly noting the fact that it was very difficult for several competing companies to invest the same level of capital as the Government was currently investing – around $37 billion – in the NBN project.

“… you can argue the nuances of whether it is to the home or the node, those things aren’t important,” he added. And questioned on the difference between the two further by host Alan Kohler: “I think either are going to still be good. You can argue some minor nuances between the two but doing it really important for Australia. It’ll help digitise the country, it’ll help bring a new economy to bear. It will help the mobile services, it’s going to help the consumer.”

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued that the Government’s FTTH NBN project is taking too long to deploy better broadband to the regions of Australia that need it most, and that a fibre to the node-style rollout would see better broadband deployed faster and at a cheaper price than would be possible under the current model.

In addition, some other local technology figures have backed the model. For example, in September, Vocus Communications chief executive James Spenceley told Computerworld that FTTN technology should make up part of the NBN, as it would better meet the needs of some residents and businesses located in regional areas.

However, there are also arguments on the other side of the fence. For example, NBN Co chairman Harrison Young gave a speech in early September claiming that the Coalition’s FTTN model could actually cost more than the more comprehensive FTTH model currently being pushed by the Labor Federal Government – meaning it would make sense in the long-term to pursue a FTTH build anyway.

“… the prospective cost savings of fibre to the node depend on what time frame you look at,” Young said. “Maintaining the copper that connects node to premise is expensive. Coping with legacy IT is expensive. The total system cost of fibre to the node is higher than its front-end cost. The same is true of fibre to the premise, but less so. The apparent cost advantage of fibre to the node decreases as you lengthen the time frame you look at. In the long run, as Keynes famously said, we are all dead. Estimating costs is an engineering problem. Deciding on the relevant time frame is a policy question.”

FTTN has also been criticised heavily in the UK by figures such as former BT chief technology officer Peter Cochrane. In April, Cochrane publicly stated that fibre to the node-style broadband was “one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made”, imposing huge bandwidth and unreliability problems on those who implement it. New Zealand has also backed fibre to the home as the preferred option.

I don’t agree at all with Vodafone chief executive Bill Morrow that it doesn’t matter whether Australia pursues a FTTH or FTTN-style National Broadband Network rollout. Of course it matters! It matters a great deal. There is a substantial technical difference between the two types of technologies, and FTTH is obviously dramatically technically superior than FTTN. In addition, even if Australia did pick a FTTN network for its NBN rollout, there is little doubt that that network would eventually be substantially upgraded to FTTH in the long-term. This is already happening on-demand in patches in the UK, where BT is currently deploying a FTTN-style network. And demand for faster speeds and greater network capacity will only grow over time. Are you going to build a six-lane highway, or only a four-lane highway? These things matter when we’re talking about infrastructure investment worth billions of dollars.

But perhaps Morrow is a little confused about the difference between the two technologies. We’re talking, after all, about Vodafone, the only national mobile telco in Australia which hasn’t launched 4G speeds. Perhaps Morrow doesn’t quite understand the step change in network capacity that comes from deploying a FTTH versus a FTTN-style network. Perhaps 18 months ago, the conversation at Vodafone HQ around 4G mobile broadband went something like: “4G or 3G? It’s not important — there are only minor nuances between the two.”

However, from a certain perspective, you can see where the Vodafone CEO is coming from. After all, Vodafone is a mobile telco. Its primary concern with respect to the NBN is, as Morrow also mentioned in the interview, whether it can boost fibre backhaul to its mobile towers (you know, the kind of fibre backhaul which Telstra and Optus have already built to most of theirs), and to a lesser extent, what commercial opportunities the network will offer Vodafone in terms of expanding into the fixed broadband market. From Morrow’s perspective, fixed broadband networks are so … passé. Pity how they’re still responsible for the vast majority of telecommunications traffic in Australia.

Image credit: Vodafone


    • This is RETARDED.

      If you watched Alan Kohler and his Guest panel, their comments pretty much summed it up immediately after the interview was aired.

      Vodafone, or any wholesale or retail telco or service provider see the “taxpayer paying for their fibre backhaul” , since FTTN and FTTP both run off fibre backhaul and will pass most mobile base stations or data centres and metro commerical districts, it means that any provider an get a free ride network upgrade paid for by taxpayer, whether the choice is FTTN/P is not relevant.

      This is all that needs to be said, /END THREAD.

  1. I saw the comment as more of an each way bet.

    Voda doesn’t want to pick a side, and buying from a government wholesale network, whether FTTN or FTTH, is better than current options of buying from a competitor or sinking capex into their own infrastructure.

    And as you point out, Voda is primarily in the mobile market – both FTTN and FTTH provide the backhaul they need to support their mobile network.

    • Same here, I saw it as an each way bet.

      Clearly he is speaking from the point of view of a non-technically focused person. To the vast majority of Australians the difference in speed between the two are irrelevant they compare it to their current access. The point I think he was trying to make is that irrespective of the technology used the NBN rollout is good for Australia.

      • @Toby

        Yes, but the point is, he is a substantial public figure in Australian communications. Saying that immediately makes people unfamiliar with the debate think “The Coalition are right then, why spend all this money of FTTH?”

        This was the wrong thing to say and said IN the wrong way.

        • +1

          While I can see what he’s trying to say from his business perspective in this kind of political muck throwing environment carelessly thrown out of context phrases are the last thing we need.

      • “To the vast majority of Australians the difference in speed between the two are irrelevant they compare it to their current access.”

        Not if they adjusted for ‘inflation’.

  2. As you say, backhaul was the first thing I thought of when I was watching the interview. FTTN gives them backhaul and keeps the gap between mobile and wired relatively small – it’s a win-win for a mobile-only telco!

  3. I read that yesterday and just shook my head.

    FTTH or FTTN ‘isn’t important’ hey Bill?

    Much like decent reception, speeds and reliability on Vodafone mobile then…..

    I agree with Matt above too- no one wants to come out in direct Opposition to….the Opposition. And frankly, I find it disgusting- cow tailing in the hope that if FTTH doesn’t go ahead they’ll get a business tax cut instead….

    • I think the problem is that he can’t see past Vodafone needs. They just need the backhaul and it doesn’t matter which plan is implemented they will still get it. The statement smacks of the attitude “We will be alright Jack and stuff you” Any wonder that they are commonly known as Vodafail?

  4. FTTN or FTTH ‘isn’t important’!?!?!

    WTF??? 80mbps vs 1000mbps……. Well I think it is. If we are spending this much money, lets do it correctly, so FTTH it is!

  5. Its quiet clear that Bill didnt have national interest when he made that comment. It was Vodafone’s interest. What he was saying is FTTn or FTTh. there are only minor nuances between the two for us connecting our towers to the fiber. With FTTn still needing fiber up to 800 meters from homes it wont make a difference to vodafone connecting their towers to fiber.

  6. If it takes 5 minutes to download a 1gig movie online FTTN compared to say a 1:20 on the FTTH, one could make the arguement that the difference is small. I am sure this is what the Liberals are likely to focus on and if they can work figures to show that they can do it for cheaper, well I am sure many lay people will be convinced.

    Heck, I currently would kill for 50 to 80 Mbps. In between the dropouts I am currently acheiving approx 5 to 7 Mb/s. But of course under FTTN those pesky dropouts will still remain.

    FTTH will at least allow for easy ‘plug and play’ update path for the foreseeable future. In light of recent events this sort of forward planning has not been Voda’s strong point. It is in their best interest to play down differences in data speeds and network performance. Perhaps this sort of statement is an exercices in PR and spin?

    • jasmcd (and Paul Greenfell below), this is my thinking as well. If FttH gives 500% of usage needs, how is it different to giving 400%? Either way its saturated beyond the needs of the day, or even the near future. It is a matter of nuance as he says.

      But thats not the full story. As you say, FttH gives a simple upgrade path, effectively plug and play, where FttN doesnt. This is what I keep telling people who say FttN is good enough and that the cost of Labor’s plan is a waste.

      I point out that right NOW what we know of the Liberals plan is that it will cost somewhere around $20b, give or take, with no plan to recoup that money. Labor on the other hand has a plan to get it back. FttN will have to be replaced, probably before its completed. Fully admit thats a guess, but get the point across – its short term.

      Normally thats enough to get them thinking. When stories like this come out, its great because it makes people talk about the situation. And that is an opportunity to fill in the blanks, or correct misassumptions..

    • If you are getting 5-7 now; don’t hold your breath for 50-80.
      5-7 means you are right at the edges of current copper networks.
      Dropouts mean you have bad copper somewhere between you and the exchange.

      Chances are you’ll be getting 15-25 on FTTN if you don’t luck out and get a node next door.

      Even if you DO get a node next door; with drop outs on your 5-7 maybe your damage to the copper is near your house (you know; where all the joins are) and you’ll be getting 25-50 instead of the 80-100 you would get if your copper was in good condition.

      Or we could fix that for you for the next 40+ years with a 1gigabit connection. Just sayin’

  7. jasmcd,
    Well i wouldnt be happy with an unknown “up to” speed for FTTN, – because there is no guarantee you will get 50-80mps, In fact it will probably be a lot less. Unless the intention is to double the number of Nodes to 140,000 to reduce the final lengths of copper tails. Even then , the upload speeds will be the killer..
    FTTH can give massive upload speeds as well as download speeds..All Guaranteed.. and it will be uploads that will be what businesses will be looking at. 1-2mbps just doesnt cut it..
    Without detailed costings, there is no way of knowing if FTTN will even be cheaper to rollout. Will Telstra “own” it , Will it be truly open access for competitors? Will it be cheaper for end user consumers? and so on.. There are a myriad of unanswered questions for FTTN, , so its a huge risk to abandon FTTH for an unknown outcome just for the sake of Political Ideology ..

    • For the meantime though, many will be believing the liberal speaking notes on the NBN alternative. The whole “FTTN is Faster, cheaper, better than FTTH”. Detailed costings aren’t released so they can’t be debated.

  8. “FTTN technology should make up part of the NBN, as it would better meet the needs of some residents and businesses located in regional areas.”

    I disagree. Regional areas are precisely the places where the copper network is in the worst state of repair.

    If the size of the regional center makes laying a backbone fiber uneconomical, it will be uneconomical whether the final mile is fiber or copper.

    The likely FTTN solution for regional areas is going to be that the “node” will be in the same place it has always been, inside the telephone exchange using whatever 20th (or 19th) century back-haul it has always used.

    • The state of disrepair in a regional area would only add to the economic argument against doing much to fix the problem.

      I think that for many regional areas the only factors making FTTP attractive are: 1) fairness vs metro areas, and 2) the ‘difficult to quantify’ benefits of the NBN like e-health, e-learning, and innovations that don’t exist yet or require high market penetration of FTTP.

      Smaller towns tend to have lower wages and fewer services because they lack scale and the mix of highly skilled individuals in close proximity (i.e. less innovation) – the NBN can only help with half of the problem, it won’t give the towns economies of scale or provide a local market for goods and services. By building FTTP in towns as small as 1000 premises we’re not exactly discouraging their existence.

      FTTN for those between say 70% and 93% would have quite an impact on the cost of the NBN and at least do something for those 23% of premises. In terms of fairness you can argue that they don’t have the scale to justify the investment. A point for FTTP here is that the Internet is becoming the essential utility that telephones, electricity, town water, and sewerage have long been; although, it should be noted that a lot of people still don’t have town water or sewerage, even relatively close to larger regional centres.

      FTTN takes the approach of trying to make small improvements to a decaying asset, rather than completely replacing it. The biggest problem with it is the service degredation with distance from the node, which isn’t a problem you usually have in a repair vs replace decision – you generally have a constant improvement across all asset users.

      Overall, I like the FTTP model because it helps solve the Telstra wholesale+retail problem, and utilises a cross-subsidy to replace the copper network, which would be uneconomic for large regions of the country in any other way. Any decision to add FTTN to the service mix should only apply to smaller towns, but the Coalition can’t do that because of the Nationals, so we may end up with FTTN even where FTTP makes sense. Politics will ultimately stop us from getting the optimal balance of investment, so we might as well give (almost) everyone something much better, rather than something only a little better.

      • You may have missed what I was aiming at.

        Having gone to the expense of taking the gear out there to install fiber for the nodes, you may as well finish the job and connect it all the way to the homes.
        My fear however is that since FTTN wont provide an improvement over degraded copper, that it will be used as an excuse to do nothing at all.

  9. Is this the same Vodafone that said “THE head of Vodafone in Australia has admitted that its network crashed two years ago because the company wasn’t keeping up with the surging demand from smart phones. “

  10. Hmmm, because Vodafone have managed their technology platform so well we should take his advice and all sign up for MT’s FTTN (after all we’ll get it faster and cheaper … right?) …. oh wait Vodafone have the worst network in the country and no 4G!

  11. I saw the interview and felt that the meaning of it doesn’t matter wasn’t an answer to a technical question but rather to a business one. i.e. To the Vodafone business it doesn’t mater if the NBN goes FTTN or FTTP, as both involve getting rid of telstra and dealing with a single wholesaler

  12. Obviously he is not looking at the technical differences, but then again this comes from the CEO whose company still lacks backhaul to serve its current customer base.

    Just because he’s at the top of Australias worst mobile operator doesnt mean his OPINION is actually valid. What does he know about the intricacies of FTTN or FTTH, he should just stick to what he knows best, and thats running vodafone into the ground

  13. Honestly can’t believe that a telco CEO would use the words “minor nuances” when referring to two polarising solutions. Minor differences? Really mate? Maybe that’s the line he tries to spin when comparing Vodafone to any other Telco in Australia.

    • I can’t believe a CEO of any Telco (apart from David Thodey) would think that FttP sans Telstra in total control and the FttN with Telstra back in total control, doesn’t matter… let alone the FttP/FttN argument :/

      • btw. FTTP = FTTH

        Home & Premises are roughly interchangeable. Not totally identical depending on the implementation but the terms are used interchangeably on a regular basis given the 95% overlap in designs. Both get fiber ‘all the way to the door’ so to speak, if its a FTTP setup where there is a common access node placed on the ground floor of a 6 story apartment building with 100 apartments. MDU & Commercial property is really the only place there seems to be any distinction between FTTP & FTTH based on the literature I read while studying network design.

  14. I took his comments to mean the important thing (in his view) is that both parties see a fast digital economy as being important to Australia’s future (something I think we can all agree on), and that the system used to achieve that future wasn’t quite as important as everyone seeing the need to “do something”.

    As far as that goes, I can agree with it. I would prefer we go with the more reliable, consistent and cheaper (in the long term) Labor NBN plan, as the Liberals version is just cutting too many corners in an effort to win cheap political points rather than being a system to base Australia’s future on.

  15. Vodafone doesn’t run wires, but wants to make sure they have friends in whomever wins power at the next election.

    Does this guy actually know anything about the technology, or is he just making sure his hat’s in the ring?

  16. Just as a question

    What is the actual use inside a residential premise that requires 100/12mbps speed?

    Universities / Schools / Hospitals / Business Offices I can easily see and understand, but what do you require from the house at that increased speed.

    I am not talking about no internet but the marginal difference between the two?
    30 vs 100+?

    Even when working out of the home how many would directly require those speeds?

    (I can understand allowing the need for a bandwidth allowance for the children to use torrents etc but really..)

    • @Michael

      What is the actual use inside a residential premise that requires 100/12mbps speed?

      You answered that yourself partially right off the bat:

      (I can understand allowing the need for a bandwidth allowance for the children to use torrents etc but really..)

      Multiple users. Imagine a teenage boy gaming a teenage girl Facebooking and streaming music videos on her TV. A mother talking to her mum HD and the dad working from home VPN into work. That’s over 50Mbps right there. And more importantly, the higher the speed, the FASTER you can do these things. Boy needs a steam update? Instead of taking 10 mins or 20 mins, it take 5 mins. It’s not just about application, but convenience and why shouldn’t people who want to pay more get that convenience, rather than get crap all or more money (as in on FTTN)?

      Universities / Schools / Hospitals / Business Offices I can easily see and understand, but what do you require from the house at that increased speed.

      For Schools, Universities, Hospitals and Business offices, half of their uses will be for patients/workers/students AT HOME. Without equivalent connections at home, half of the applications for these premises don’t work. That’s the point of the high level of FTTH- to try and ensure as many people as possible have the same level of connectivity and those that are simply not viable, LTE fixed wireless is a good substitute, with satellite getting the most remote. On FTTN, your connection may range from as low as 10Mbps or even less, depending on your distance from the node and your copper quality up to 80Mbps right next to the node. Maximum. After that, if you need more speed (and there are plenty of people in IT, Engineering, photography, video, music, software and dozens of other professions who do or will, then you only have one choice- pay for FTTH to be connected at a cost of several thousand dollars per premises. Instead, the government will do this with the NBN and we will pay it back over a long period, so we’re not all up for $3000 up front if we want FTTH (which, over the next 20 years, the majority of us will).

      The NBN isn’t just about sheer speed- it’s about the UBIQUITY of that speed and the RELIABILITY of that speed- neither of which FTTN will guarantee. EVER.

      • Steam is perhaps not what you’d want to bring into this argument.

        Speed limitations are usually because servers are slow rather than physical connections at the home. If I notice this from a 22mbps line, I imagine it’d be even more noticeable at 100.

        • @Nich

          Why not bring Steam into it?? I get full speed on Steam at my, albeit somewhat limited, 9Mbps top speed. I’ve seen some good friends with Telstra cable get 28Mbps out of it on 30Mbps cable.

          Of course it’s limited by the server busyness and quality, but something like Steam is constantly upgrading capacity. There are thousands of servers out there that can give 100Mbps. What most people think is there aren’t because their 22Mbps ADSL tops out on a particular server. More likely, the ISP’s backhaul has a contention limit. This is not the connection or the server, it’s the ISP.

          In an NBN, NBNCo. will be responsible for the backhaul, so it will be capable of 100Mbps for as many users as require it and in terms of contention ratios, well, have a read of this article:


          RSP’s now have precedent against them for advertising speeds they can’t provide to end-customers. This means CVC provisioning on the NBN will be MANDATED to a certain extent.

          It’s not the server speed on popular sites that will primarily lower possible download speeds, except during busy periods- it’s the contention ratio of your provider.

          • I’m in the construction and engineering business (industrial), we use Tekla for the models, these models can easily go past 300megs. Tekla has a neat feature with live sharing with models, we’ve tested in house and it works fine, but the internet is just to slow (on our end) to live model with Dubai, or even Sydney for that matter.
            The models are impossible to work on from home with adsl2+, it’s just too slow. I would definitely be using Fibre from my home for this reason.

    • “What is the actual use inside a residential premise that requires 100/12mbps speed? ”

      LOL, just pick any arbitrary number higher than today’s average ADSL speed, apply same logic…

      Then consider that ADSL average and try to convince those that were on dial-up 15 years they’ll need it:


      “etc but really..”


      • It’s somewhat amusing that the speed which Turnbull/Abbott thinks is sufficient just happens to be very close to the typical ADSL2+ speed.

        Think about it. What is more likely:

        a) The laws of physics just happen to be tuned such that the physical limits of the average phone line exactly match the average needs


        b) They picked a number like that because it’s easy to deliver

        • I too have always found that amusing James. It’s even more amusing when even though according to Turnbull and the rest of the clowns we don’t need anything faster but they are always ready to jump on any little thing such as HFC networks offering “250mbps” to tell us why we don’t need the NBN for those speeds either.

        • You actually go close to what I’ve been thinking regarding the Liberals plan lately, it’s basically “business as usual”.

    • The speed is hardly the only reason to go with FTTH, but the point is that it is meant to cater for future needs.

      People are always asking what requires 100Mbps *now*, but that is the wrong question. After all, neither FTTN nor FTTH can be built “now”. They both take years and years and years.

      Think 2020 and 2030 and 2040. If FTTN is inadequate at any point in the next 30 years, there is no point in building it.

    • Honestly? Truly? Right now? None. But we aren’t building a 100/12 network.
      We are building a network that doesn’t diminish your capacity based on your distance from the node.

      The Coalitions network is At Best. If we are lucky. going to proide 25/1 for everyone.

      Maybe. (They haven’t stated how much money they are going to spend, so it might even end up only a guaranteed 12 megabits).

      So, why is this different than a guaranteed 100/40 network? Now you can invent some wizzbang technological thing; that you can sell to 93% of the population, that uses upto 100/40. You can’t do that and count on everyone being able to use it unless everyone has the 100/40. there is no scale.

      Lowest common denominator is what people make products for. 100/40 = a pretty high lowest common denominator = a pretty high quality service that someone can invent.

      (hell… streaming TV is one obvious use, remember the 100/40 is being shared by Cable companies, Telephone Companies, AND internet companies – we are replacing cable TV here too! – they are decomissioning the HFC network too…)

      Don’t just look at current internet usage. It extends into everything. (TV and entertainment are obvious examples; but they aren’t the only example, remote working, (for everyone – not just people that type up the odd word document)

      • “<b>guaranteed 100/40<b />”

        I love how a small mistake, such an accidently empty b tag [instead of a closing b tag] can cause all text further on [both in the above comment and all following comments] to be bolded.


        I just placed a closing b tag to see if it’ll limit the damage.

        • Interesting, the closing b tag was stripped from the post. Maybe the comments check for matching pairs?

          • Again foiled – the system is smart enough to foil my attempts to fix the problem… but not smart enough to prevent it occurring.

            FYI latest chrome.

            FYI – check the HTML to understand these posts. I manually escaped what I was trying to do – so don’t be confused by that :P

    • Downloads obviously benefit – remembering that not all benefits are the ‘leave running overnight’ kind – there can be time constraints.

      The big technology I see coming is streaming video – we’re just scratching the surface of what that can deliver. Remember that video is just a medium – just like text. Limiting video to what you know and love today is like limiting text to a time where few could read and all books were hand crafted.

  17. What puzzles me is to why Vodafone believes a taxpayer funded system should be used for its backhaul. Hopefully it is a full commercial rates, not subsidised by the taxpayer. One would also hope NBN Co rolls out its FTTP and other installations before embarking on a rollout for Vodafone.

  18. @Michael.

    I think you’re looking at it wrong. You could of asked the same question 10 years ago, saying why would you need ADSL when 56K dial up is fine? Files fit on floppy drives, so why would I need ADSL? Games are only 30 MB, so who cares!? There was no youtube or video streaming, so don’t need that either. Why get HD video when I can watch TV at 480 res? Why have LCD monitors when your CRT works perfectly fine?

    Data is only ever growing. Speeds are only ever increasing. Both are required, and both will never stop growing. The greater the data, the longer it takes to get that data, and comes the need for greater speeds. By the time you realize it and want it, it will be too late, and we’ll still be stuck on a messy copper network filled with pair gains, rims, port limits, varying quality of connections, it goes on.

    Secondly, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people on 100 Mbps connections already on the Optus and Telstra cable networks. Do you think they would want to spend money on an nation wide network that operates up to 80Mbps that won’t be completed until early-mid 2020’s as a guess? Why would these people want to move off their current connection? FTTH will bring out 1000 Mbps by the time its fully complete. People will then have a choice of ISPs to get fast, good, stable connection speeds and not be limited by Telstra/Optus cable only connections.

    Thirdly, FTTN has a limit in terms of speed, if you agree that data will always be increasing ever year, then you’ll agree that greater speeds would also be wanted/preferred, and the most cost-effective solution in the long term is to install FTTH, and when required, simply change the equipment on the end points to get far greater speeds. With people trying to cut energy, say your current connection is 5Mbps, if you can get a 50Mbps connection, you can cut the time required to have your PC by 10 times, eg 10 hours will become 1 hour. A FTTH has far less power usage than FTTN network as well.

    • Unfortunately George, such obvious common sense is possibly in vain.

      I too have had such debates with naysayers (not Michael per se, so…not pointing the finger personally here) and their comeback is along the lines of… you prove my point because you tube etc were all invented while we are using ADSL without the need of FttP…

      They then have somehow talked themselves into believing the opposite of what you just said and the opposite to reality. Because your 10 year theory (as was mine) is sound and actual.

      Funny thing is, without a word of a lie, one of them I was corresponding with (who actually said 2 mbps would be enough for almost all Aussies) was trying to make a different point later on in the discussion about not needing the NBN… why this time?

      Because a lot of Aussies already have fast broadband, like his Telstra 100mbps cable, which is great, so FttP is a waste?

      Seriously. How can you discuss topics rationally with such irrationality?

  19. Sorry, but getting communications advice from Vodafone (considering their performance over the last few years) does not strike me as a prudent idea…maybe it’s just me.

  20. What most critics (and some supporters) of NBN ignore when questioning or justifying the need for high speeds is that internet is not just used for e-mail, browsing and home entertainment…

    Most Australian businesses (small and large) have their internal networks running at speeds of 1000Mbps. Today. And this is crucial for business operations, especially for those dealing with large databases and sizable sets of data of any type. But only very few of those businesses can afford to have better-than ADSL connections to the external internet, and the choice of those is very limited geographically anyway.

    So having those kinds of speeds available at almost every premise in Australia would be phenomenal for business opportunities; with NBN, any small business in almost any suburb or town in Australia will be able to have levels of internet connectivity which are currently only available to multinationals that can afford to be based in CBDs of our capital cities.

    Sure, NBN will bring great improvements to home entertainment and new consumer apps will shine with bandwidth-hungry high definition multimedia, but it is the improvement in the technology business opportunities that will truly leave the mark on Australia. Perhaps that explains the level of resistance to the NBN from the big end of town; the entrenched players don’t like anything that upsets the current status quo.

    • Most Australian businesses (small and large) have their internal networks running at speeds of 1000Mbps. Today.

      I’ve had my home networks running at these speeds since 2007!

  21. Because of the unanswered questions about the FTTN model, I can actually see Telstra being much better off under FTTN as opposed to FTTH; with greater control and profitability.

    I am not sure how that is in Vodafone’s best interest.

  22. Lot’s of bold comments. Awesome?

    As a side note, I find the acoustic-coupler quite fine for my weekly BBS needs.

    And my horse-drawn carriage. Ever so fond of “moxy” and “phil”; they do quite enjoy going out for a jaunt, though the unpaved roads are quite the bother.

    Mobile usage is increasing; Telstra wouldn’t be continuing to roll out ever faster, more capable Mobile based internet services.

    Folks who exclaim “people don’t need or want..” tend to be proven a little narrow-minded over time. Never underestimate the demand for high-speed services and capacity; it’s been a key driver for most all of the progress we have seen.

  23. Just adding my two cents, to agree with many others that Vodafone’s Bill Morrow was merely making a political statement that his company will work with a Labor or Coalition government to get faster broadband out there.

    But he is wrong.

    FTTH is obviously better, and is being rolled out as user-pays infrastructure. NBNCo borrows money that will be fully repaid by wholesale revenue from actual users.

    FTTN is dependent on copper that is widely incapable of delivering today’s ADSL speeds, and it shold be upgraded to fibre, not replaced with more copper. Besides which, the coalition plan to fund it from our taxes, or leave it to corporate boardrooms, and of course to compensate Telstra to get hold of the copper in the first place, all make it an inferior and more expensive project. Councils will simply not approve large fan-cooled cabinets every few hundred metres, either, when they really want fibre, so a full FTTN rollout will never, ever happen in Australia.

  24. Hey, Renai, can you please fix the missing closing bold tag in the post:

    Posted 15/10/2012 at 9:29 pm

    It has bolded the rest of the comments.


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