blog Those who have been following the National Broadband Network debate this week will recall that the ABC’s Technology & Games site has been questioning whether the fibre to the node technology being proposed by the Coalition as an alternative to Labor’s fibre to the home-based rollout could actually be deployed in Australia, given claimed fault rates and degradation on Telstra’s copper network. Well, he was pretty sparse on the details, but now we have an updated comment from NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley himself noting that such a deployment would indeed be possible in Australia. The Australian Financial Review reports this morning (we recommend you click here for the full article) from an event in Perth:
“Mr Quigley conceded the “fibre to the node” method being championed by Mr Turnbull was a “viable technology” but questioned the ability to achieve major cost savings by scaling back the rollout.”
Now, obviously this isn’t the silver bullet that justifies the Coalition’s approach to this issue; and as we’ve mentioned many times, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull continues to decline to answer fundamental questions about the Coalition’s rival NBN policy. Personally, I still remain staunchly of the opinion that Labor’s FTTH vision is the far better policy for Australia’s future telecommunications needs. But Quigley’s may inject some rationality into a debate which has at times seemed a little irrational this week. As many cool heads have been saying for some time, a FTTN rollout in Australia is indeed “viable”.
And after all, Quigley has many reasons to have detailed knowledge about the potential rollout of fibre to the node technology in Australia, ranging from his current position as the leader of NBN Co, to his previous position at Alcatel-Lucent, which saw the company win a major FTTN contract with Telstra during his tenure (obviously Telstra eventually cancelled the deal as its FTTN plans were put on ice). Back in 2006 I attended a lunch briefing held by consulting firm KPMG in Sydney, where Quigley, at that stage an Alcatel-Lucent executive was seen as advocating a deal between Telstra and the Government which would have seen Telstra upgrade its copper network to FTTN (and Alcatel-Lucent keep its Telstra contract). How things have changed.