Sydney MDU VDSL rollout delivers 100Mbps


news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this afternoon said a rollout of VDSL technology in a housing estate in Sydney and already delivering 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload speeds demonstrated the strengths of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy, which will use a similar rollout style.

Under Labor’s NBN policy, some 93 percent of Australian premises will receive fibre directly to the premise, delivering maximum download speeds of up to 1Gbps and maximum upload speeds of 400Mbps. The remainder of the population will be served by a combination of satellite and wireless broadband, delivering speeds of up to 25Mbps.

The Coalition’s policy will see fibre to the premises deployed to a significantly lesser proportion of the population — 22 percent — with 71 percent covered by fibre to the node technology, where fibre is extended to neighbourhood ‘nodes’ and the remainder of the distance to premises covered by Telstra’s existing copper network. The Coalition’s policy will also continue to use the HFC cable network operated by Telstra and will also target the remaining 7 percent of premises with satellite and wireless.

According to the Coalition’s media release issued in April upon the policy’s launch, the Coalition’s policy is based on the core pledge that the group will deliver download speeds of between 25Mbps and 100Mbps by the end of 2016 — effectively the end of its first term in power — and 50Mbps to 100Mbps by the end of 2019, effectively the end of its second term. According to the Coalition’s statement, the 25Mbps to 100Mbps pledge applies to “all premises”, while the higher pledge by 2019 applies to “90 percent of fixed line users”. The Coalition has not specified certain upload speeds for its network. It plans to use next-generation technologies such as VDSL to deploy some of its NBN infrastructure.

This afternoon, Turnbull held a press conference at the Sydney Park Village complex in the Sydney suburb of Erskineville — just a short distance away from the Grayndler electorate of Communications Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese — to highlight the strengths of a recent VDSL deployment to the facility, which houses some 810 apartments.

“Under the NBN, construction of the fibre to the premises network in Erskineville is not even slated to begin until sometime between 2015 and 2017,” said Turnbull, “and the NBN’s forecasts simply can’t be believed given the woeful progress of the rollout to date.”

”The OPENetworks fibre to the node deployment is an example of how existing copper can be leveraged to deliver speeds of 100mbps downloads and 40mbps uploads. The VDSL2 technology used by OPENetworks is vectored as it would be in a Coalition version of an NBN. Vectoring will typically increase speeds by between 50% and 100% – in other words were Sydney Park vectored VDSL2 the speeds would be between 150 and 200 mbps down, 60 to 80 mbps up.”

According to Turnbull, the Sydney Park deployment was done at a cost of $200 per premise, which is around 10 percent or less of the NBN’s cost per premise.

“It shows Labor’s claims that a fibre-to-the-premise network can be delivered at almost the same cost as the Coalition’s policy are plainly wrong,” said Turnbull in his statement. “There is no way the NBN can be delivered for $44 billion as Labor claims.”

“Our analysis shows it is more likely to cost $94 billion and take decades to complete.”

“This deployment is only a few hundred metres away from Anthony Albanese’s electorate office. Until he visits this development and sees this technology in use, he should not lecture the Coalition about upload speeds or claim that VDSL is somehow or other 19th century technology. Latest global deployment statistics from Point Topic show there were 12 FTTx deployments worldwide for each new additional FTTP deployment, showing that technologies like VDSL are leading the way among international telcos.”

Turnbull’s right — the Sydney Park Village deployment does indeed show the potential of using alternative technologies such as VDSL in multi-dwelling unit facilities such as Sydney Park Village estate. It would have taken NBN Co quite a few years to get to this estate … in the meantime, residents will be able to get some of the fastest broadband speeds in Australia without having to wait.

However, one does also have to question whether it would have truly been that hard to get a better grade of cable into Sydney Park Village instead of just using the facility’s copper. I’m not quite sure of the specifics, but it seems likely there’s already fibre of some variety going into the facility somewhere, due to the fact that it has 810 apartments. All of those copper connections have to end up somewhere.

It doesn’t seem beyond the realms of the possible or prohibitively expensive that that fibre could have been deployed within the facility, or that even high-speed Ethernet cable could have been rolled out to all of the apartments, providing access to broadband and VoIP-based telephony.

When you have a facility that large, after all, there’s a lot you can do. With Ethernet between all the residents, local area networking becomes quite useful between apartments, and you could provide in-facility video entertainment facilities as well etc, centrally served. You see this kind of networking deployed on mine sites, for example, as well as within universities and of course corporate offices.

Re-using the copper within Sydney Park Village looks like the cheapest and quickest way to get a very solid broadband upgrade for its residents, and I’m not saying it wasn’t a great option. However, it’s also apparent that more future-proof options also exist out there.

Image credit: Sydney Park Village


  1. Exactly how old is Sydney Park Village?

    How old is the copper that it has?

    I would imagine most people aren’t that far from wherever the node is too.

    Turnbull can go on and on all he likes about how VDSL is working in Australia in places like this, but the underlying question has always and will always remain the same, is our copper up to scratch, how much of it will have to be replaced, etc…?

    I would much rather the Labor FTTH, but if we have to have a Liberal FTTN then i would want to know all those questions, granted Turnbull might not be able to answer them until after the election.

    Another thing Turnbull hasn’t really said anything about, is a back up plan. What happens, when Liberals get into government, and it turns out Telstra knows nothing about the quality of its copper, and it ends up being way more expensive doing FTTN, will he instead do FTTH or will nothing happen at all.

    It is nice to see that some places will do just fine with VDSL, and I think it is great Turnbull is showing that it can potentially work in Australia without relying on BT in the UK to use as proof, it would just be nice if he actually answered some simple straight forward questions.

  2. Turnbull’s Wrong..
    a) Shepherd was only able to get a peak download speed of 49Mbps and a peak upload speed of 38Mbps. Half the plan..
    b) Turnbull claimed the speed had been affected by contention really? who would have thought..
    c) poor results for 500 metres on brand spanking new copper.

    I would call that a massive fail for Fraudband..

    • Very interesting. That sounds far more realistic for VDSL. So given Turnbull understands contention ratios – he basically just outright lied about the speeds residents can realistically achieve there? And if the copper is indeed new, then the whole thing is a total sham anyway, given that isn’t at all representative of the vast majority of old “last mile” copper that will be used around the country.

      Is theres an article/forum you can link me to, regarding the info you quoted?

    • iiNet have said he is only on a 50/20Mbps plan (not 100Mbps), so he’s actually doing pretty well.

      • I think they are mistaken. There is only a handful of residents that are connected and based on the pictures I’ve seen for this article, I am sure the resident in question is on 100/40.

    • Paul and other Delimiter readers

      As the Managing Director of OPENetworks, I would like to provide some facts to your discussions about the VDSL networks, particularly those of OPENetworks at Sydney Park Village, at Eskinville, NSW.

      The plan that Paul Shepherd at Sydney Park Village had at the time of the public launch of our network by Malcolm Turnbull is the Internode 50/20Mbps (Upload/Download) plan. When Malcolm Turnbull spoke to the press at Sydney Park Village he said that the discrepancy in results may have been a contention issue, but it was really only the limits of the Internode plan and normal service conditions for any network that caused the result of 49Mbps download and 38Mbps upload. Still those results against the plan are excellent.

      What you should also know is that when Paul Shepherd first connected to OPENetworks’ VDSL network his initial service was a 100/40 Mbps plan. Paul Shepherd tested and recorded on his Facebook page that the results were 92/39 Mbps. These are excellent results and accord with what should and can normally be expected of the ISP broadband plans and VDSL technology with appropriate backhaul service.

      Another speed test in the Sydney Park Village apartment of Chris Griffith, who is on an Internode 100/40 Mbps plan, achieved speeds of 86 Mbps download and 32 Mbps upload. This test was also reported in the Australian Newspaper.

      Other residents on the OPENetworks VDSL2 networks are achieving speeds in line with the plans that the ISPs are offering which at present are up to 100/40 Mbps (the same as the top plans offered by ISPs on NBN Co’s FTTP networks).

      The Cat 3, copper cables in the 853 apartments over 18 buildings at Sydney Park Village is between 11 and 14 years old, as those buildings were erected in stages. OPENetworks VDSL 2 service relies on the existing copper lines in the buildings and a single fibre line from the street pit which is about 100 metres from the room where the primary VDSL 2 DSLAM (Node) equipment is located. A 500 metre single fibre line also joins the Node DSLAM equipment to a secondary VDLS 2 DSLAM in the basement of Building 14 to ensure that all apartments in all buildings that are spread over the SPV campus can get the same speeds up and down. Copper cables from the DSLAMs to the apartments at SPV now vary between 50 metres to 300 metres in length.

      As OPENetworks also builds and operates both FTTP and FTTB (with VDSL 2) networks on an open access wholesale only basis, we have no bias for or against FTTP or FTTB access solutions if they deliver the broadband plans that the ISPs offer. VDSL 2 access solutions are sensible, affordable and appropriate for most existing copper cabled buildings. The speeds of the equipment can be increased with vectoring, bonding and other improving technologies at reasonable prices. We do not consider the debate about the state of the copper to be a significant issue for the vast majority of buildings where VDSL 2 is the likely access solution.

      For more information about OPENetworks please visit .

      Michael Sparksman

  3. small side note. Malcolm used the 5 grand figure for fttp on pm agenda as in per premise by nbn.

  4. This is great. We now have a benchmark of what speeds to expect from the coalitions clowns FttN plan. If they can use this as an example before the election there is no reason why we cant use it as an example after the election :-)

  5. Clever campaign move by Tunrbull. By focussing on a multi-dwelling units it makes it look like 100mbps is an easily achievable and consitent speed over copper (for many people in the one area) when in reality thats only a best case scenario situation.

    As per usual its also highly misleading of Turnbull to suggest that “VDSL is leading the way among international telcos”. By using such language he makes it sounds like vectored DSL is the future of broadband technology worldwide, which we know is a load of crap. We also know VDSL is highly dependant on copper quality and distance to the node, and 150/80mbps will simply not be possible for most customers.

  6. From the ZDNet article, the user was only able to achieve a download of 49Mbps and a upload speed of 38Mbps – it’s also reported there is only 40 people on this new network. That’s horrendous! He’s only getting 50% of what he’s paying for – not boding well for the FTTN policy.

    Wonder how it’ll stand up when all 850 premises connect and are using their services at once in peak times.

  7. And how far away from the exchange or street cabinet were they?

    Those speeds are already outdated anyway., in the next few months NBN is releasing 1Gb/s download and 400Mb/s upload.

    • Not that far at all. From what I read it appears that the cabinet maybe as close as the basement of each building (a little supposition there but the photo in the News Article with the T# cabinet gives it away – with the byline: Paul Fleming, left, and Peter Hanley install fibre-copper broadband internet in the Sydney Park Apartments in Erskineville, in Sydney’s inner west, yesterday. Picture: James Croucher

      Read more:

      If this is the case, then was their a cost to bring the fibre into the basements? Also, if that is what happened, isn’t that the NBN plan anyway, get fibre to the basement of multi-dwelling apartments and then a mix of technologies from there? In saying that, I assumed Cat6 at 100mb but VDSL works I guess.

  8. Hey everyone,

    to be honest I’m not sure that we sure should be inferring that everyone on the Sydney Park Village network is limited to something like 49Mbps. OPENetworks is advertising this as a 100Mbps/40Mbps service — not “up to” 100Mbps/40Mbps, but actually at that speed.

    This is backed up by these comments by iiNet’s Steve Dalby. iiNet’s Internode brand is supplying this particular service, and Dalby says it was actually a 50Mbps service, not 100Mbps:

    This would be consistent with the download speed the user was receiving. Let’s call off the witch-hunt, OK? ;)



  9. Worth Noting a couple of other articles re this matter.

    Quoting last couple of lines.
    “Mr Albanese’s office did not comment, but a US-based broadband publication, Broadband Communities,
    said competing operators in Australia could build networks that undermined the NBN, giving customers
    inferior technology.
    “In countries around the world, these so-called competitive overbuilders are always ready to pounce.
    “They profit from an incumbent’s second-rate performance,” said the publication.”

    Worth noting also some of the comments about Telstra Velocity fibre and Existing VDSL2 customers.
    Real World.


    He said private carriers had been hampered by NBN Co not publicly releasing detailed maps of its
    He said Labor’s rollout of the NBN could have been faster if private carriers could link their last-mile
    solutions to the NBN.

    The plan is to flog or wholesale these networks off to NBN, who then has to maintain and be responsible for an absolute dogsbreakfast of a network with multiple equipment brands and types. The private builders avoid the maintenance obligations instead have lucrative maintenance contracts as they carry the spares and have the expertise with those brands
    Privatise the profits nationalise the costs and losses

    Also another curve ball

  10. Probably using fibre to the doorstep with VDSL equipment terminating into CAT 5 or Cat 6 cable and then into the multi-unit dwellings, hardly typical of the average suburban or city street.
    Good way of misleading the nation.

    • This was exactly my concern – what kinda of copper lengths were involved? At a glance, this appears to be an example of a Fibre to the Basement deployment, which (unless I’m mistaken) is what will be necessary for MDUs regardless of which policy gets implemented. I highly doubt that this deployment will be representative of what the typical FTTN user experience will be for most households, and is hardly a vindication of the Coalition’s policy. It’s also annoying that Turnbull is still trotting out that highly dubious $94 billion figure.

  11. “Turnbull’s right — the Sydney Park Village deployment does indeed show the potential of using alternative technologies such as VDSL in multi-dwelling unit facilities such as Sydney Park Village estate.”

    Which would be great if Turnbull’s policy is that alternative technologies can be deployed in various facilities to give them better outcomes – especially short term.

    However this is *not* his policy – his policy is much broader than that – hence the lie. For example:

    “According to Turnbull, the Sydney Park deployment was done at a cost of $200 per premise, which is around 10 percent or less of the NBN’s cost per premise.


    Is a classic example of the kind of misinformation Turnbull is great at. He’s found one facility that has FTTN done cheaply and effectively, and then compared it to the FTTH rollout average cost. From there he make’s grand statements that sound great, but have no foundation in reality

  12. Has anyone found information on typical latency and packet loss % that those connections have?

    It seems like the debate is almost always focused on speeds when I think there should be more focus put on those two factors, especially as speed go up (inherent to how TCP works). Also, it is becoming more and more clear that the future of IT will be based on cloud services, with clients only displaying information processed remotely which require low latencies to be usable.

    There is a nice website that compares French ISPs: (grenouille means frog!). Here is example of a typical French ADSL 2+ connection: 35ms average

    Now FTTP from the same ISP: 4ms average

    Unfortunately there is no FTTN in France to compare with (Renai could you provide your source to claiming that FTTN is being rolled out by France Telecom such as mentioned yesterday France has chosen FTTP as you previously wrote about and FTTN isn’t deployed in France as far as I know), but we have one ISP who has some FTTLA: 25ms average

    This clearly highlights the differences in quality between the two technologies (again, FTTP vs FTTLA not FTTN).

    The last factor also that isn’t much debated is upload speeds. Again, moving to cloud based services this will become critical…

    For those interested in speed:
    FTTP 100/50mbs: 11.3 mo/sec on average (which is actually 100mbs if you include overhead)
    FTTLA 100/5mbs: 6.4 mo/sec on average

    These are two different ISP so it might not be the best comparison but luckily another ISP uses the same FTTLA infrastructure and has more or less the same results for their 100/5mbs offer:

    Sorry for all those links, I hope it doesn’t go against any comment rules.

  13. I think it’s awesome that private companies can cherry pick low cost upgrades, then charge the same or higher then the NBN with only 10% of the cost.

    Since the end user in this case is paying the same or higher, does it really matter how much it costs?

  14. I’m a SPV resident that’s signed up on an Internode 50/20Mb plan.

    The setup consists of two DSLAMs, one was initially installed at the front of the complex and another only recently at the rear. The cable run from the front to apartments at the rear of the complex was around ~480m until they added the second DSLAM, now it’s ~140m.
    This is all running over the existing copper phone network from the DSLAM to the NTD, there is no CAT 5/6 cabling from the DSLAM to the units. The buildings range from 7-10 years old and the original developer never planned for any thing like this, so the infrastructure is rather lacking.

    The first day I was getting the full speeds but since then I’ve noticed I’m only getting 40/15 (via and I’m expecting this to drop further as contention rises.

    • Interesting. I lived there in 1999 (side note: first stage opened in 97, so its about 16 years old for the oldest units – not arguing, just clarifying) and always thought the infrastructure access was modern enough to cater to this sort of development.

      As its really a fiber to the curb rollout, the infrastructure shouldnt be an issue anyhow. All the cables run as copper from the tricky internals (always the key issue for MDU’s of this size and FttH) out to the daleks and pits outside, with that bulk cabling now being intercepted and hooked into the nodefridge.

      The interesting part is that you’re already suffering from congestion. To me this doesnt bode well for FttN at all, especially when SPV is a best case scenario for the technology. You’re really not going to see a better test case for how MDU’s on a large scale get rolled out, and the various impacts of that.

      What happens with congestion when the whole 810 units are hooked into those 2 nodes? If you’re losing 20% already, how’s it going to be in 6 months or a year? Or 5 years?

      • My mistake, I didn’t realise the original buildings were so old!

        According to building management the options available are to keep things as they are with just a few core DSLAMs, or run fibre to each floor and then patch it to the copper (ie a DLSAM on each floor). In the building I’m in there is pretty much no capability to easily run fibre into the unit as there is no fake ceiling, it’s concrete roof and floor and no wall space.

        • Its all good, wasnt having a shot at you – the buildings do feel like they are no more than 10 years old, and for 2 of them at least thats true. Easy to consider the original stage 1 build as being the same age. Its good to see a current interpretation of the site though as I always felt it was a good build for this very sort of thing.

          Interesting to see the different perspective, and its more than likely my viewpoint is tainted by time – we tend to remember things in a better light than they really were :) So I remember the ducting as being pretty good standard, and hence should be more than capable of whats needed for even a FttH rollout.

          This sort of rollout was always a no brainer though, and how I expect most large MDU’s will be dealt with – nodefrige or 2 on the fringe, copper from there. Or mininodes on each floor, leaving the short distance capability to upgrade to FttH. That might be a fair comprimise in terms of overall cost to the owner versus body corporate, and I suspect how it will play out.

          Right now the fridgenode doesnt infringe on any strata rights, and there really is little issue with the technology being a strata responsibility, but what happens with FttH is rolled out? Nodes on each floor raises upkeep concerns and so forth.

    • It would be interesting to know the cause of the slow down. Contention shouldn’t be a problem, unless they are underprovisioning backhaul. Since the uptake is currently small they couldn’t possibly be reaching the capacity if the fibre lead in.

      If it isn’t underprovioning it could be the other bain of VDSL, crosstalk. As more and more people take up VDSL there is more crosstalk between lines, this limits the speed. Vectoring is meant to reduce this.
      I’d love to know how much the service degrades as more and more people use it.
      So far the FTTN rollouts have had very low uptake, I think UK was under 10%. I’d love to see what a 70% uptake, which is likely what a lot of areas of Australia will have, does to the speed and stability.

      • Surely the crosstalk would reduce his sync speed, and thus be an obvious cause for the slowdown. Where-as the slow down is being tested via, which implies to me it is a back-haul contention issue.

        With more people; presumably the back-haul will be upgraded.

    • Hi Mark,

      I am assuming you can only buy services from a single provider right?
      This isn’t anything like the fibre-NBN that provides the capability to buy services from 4 service providers?

      A longer-term problem I have with FTTN is the reduction of possible services. You must buy one internet connection, and then run your services over that (contention and network routes be damned). Wheras with the NBN NTU providing upto 4 ethernet service ports, it allows you to buy an internet connection, alongside (perhaps) an IPTV connection (or multiple!). In addition to other services I can’t even imagine right now.

      In the short term it is bandwidth, but the long term of this infrastructure isn’t just IP-bandwidth, it’s also service diversity.

  15. FTTB should be seriously considered in the NBN debate. It is sensible, cost effective, works well and is a good compromise.

    There is no way it should be considered as an indicator of Malcolm’s FTTN plan being viable.

  16. This is exactly why FTTB should be considered for MDU’s.

    The guy is 100m from his node, of course he is going to get good line speeds.

    And the reason it was put in so cheap, is because they tapped in to an Optus fibre that runs next to Sydney Park Village, so I’m not sure Malcolm can really infer his FTTN will be as cheap to install, considering they didn’t need to have fibre run to the block at all.

    This is actually a great example of why the NBN should be FTTP with FTTB to MDU’s.

    • +1

      I’ve said the same things (here, elsewhere, and in meatspace) about FttB and MDU’s – its a good compromise for MDU’s. Here though, I’m not sure whether its FttN or FttB. One story says its connected through 2 nodefridges at either end of the estate, while another says its in the basement of one of the buildings.

      So is it FttB or FttN? If the nodefridge is in just ONE of the basements, its both – FttB for that building, FttN for the other 2. So a good sample of how FttB and FttN both would work for MDU’s.

      One of the things thats a positive about The Turnbulls plan though is the very fact that fiber trunks run down most main roads, and plenty of secondary ones, so the link from them to the nodefridge should be reasonably short and cheap – in other words, what makes this cheap is going to be repeated a lot.

      And that IS a positive.

      • I’m not sure the LBN will be tapping into everyone else’s fibre, I though his plan was to use their own to the node?

  17. The way I see it, it is FTTB.

    The Node is purposely constructed for and on the site of the development. Plus I’d imagine it uses mostly or wholly the internal copper cabling. I’d probably expect it to be in the MDF room.

    I think its a good solution (even if interim) for MDU’s. Would allow NBNCo to quickly and cheaply connect a lot of customers boosting revenue and take up. Being so close to site, they are likely to get good speeds and have less chance of reliability issues.

    The reality is though, big MDU’s and big Apartment buildings like this should have planned for these facilities in the first place.

  18. I love how Turnbull goes on and is completely delusional to the fact that Fibre has and always was about FUTURE proofing. I’d like to see the stuff he is putting in place match Fibres unlimited speed throughput potential, it already has been tested to support 14 TERRABITS per second, I would seriously like to see Turnbulls infrasture support even close to that.

    Again he is just going to be doubling up the work for either Liberal or Labor (whoever gets in when the work needs done at the time) instead of doing it once and doing it right the first time and bragging about the wrong things taking people for fools.

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