You’re wrong, critics tell Turnbull: Australia voted for NBN



news An analysis of Senate voting patterns put together by supporters of Labor’s all-fibre NBN policy has shown parties supporting the fibre to the premises model received more support in the Federal Election than the Coalition’s alternative, calling into question Malcolm Turnbull’s claim to have a mandate to change the NBN rollout to fibre to the node.

Since the Coalition won power several weeks ago, a vigorous online movement focused on getting the new Abbott administration to abandon its own National Broadband Network policy and support Labor’s existing vision has been gaining force. Supporters of Labor’s vision argue that it will serve Australia’s long-term interests much better, as it features an all-fibre NBN, delivering a more reliable network and faster speeds.

The Coalition’s version of the NBN policy will see part of Telstra’s existing copper network maintained, in what is termed a ‘fibre to the node’ deployment. The model has been extensively and successfully deployed in countries such as the UK, but Australian proponents of Labor’s policy have highlighted the fact that it offers limited speed boosts over currently available broadband in Australia (up to 100Mbps as a top-end limit), compared with Labor’s NBN, which will offer enhanced levels of reliability and speeds up to 1Gbps, coupled with significantly enhanced upload speeds.

Telecommunications industry experts have consistently stated that they believe Labor’s NBN policy to be highly technically superior to the Coalition’s more modest vision, and having the potential to deliver Australia superior long-term outcomes in terms of service delivery and boosting Australia’s economy through productivity gains.

In addition, questions have been raised about the extent to whether it’s possible to deploy the FTTN technology the Coalition is focused on in Australia and whether it will perform as the Coalition has claimed. There are also questions as to whether Telstra, which owns the copper network which would need to be used as part of the FTTN rollout, will consent to modify its existing $11 billion arrangement with the Labor Federal Government and NBN Co, along the lines the Coalition plans.

A petition placed on popular website on the issue following the election, demanding the Coalition reconsider the FTTN technology and focus on the superior FTTP option, has already garnered in excess of 250,000 signatures.

In addition, an online poll taken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last week showed Australians overwhelmingly believe focusing on the National Broadband Network should be Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott’s highest priority in his first 100 days in office, eclipsing issues such as education, the carbon tax, border protection and the environment.

However, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull — formally sworn in to the role this morning — has rejected the online sentiment, saying that it would not be “democracy” for the Coalition to walk away from its fibre to the node-based NBN policy.

In the wake of Turnbull’s comments on the issue last week, a number of online critics of the Coalition’s NBN policy have put together and are promoting a comprehensive, data-based analysis of actual Senate voting patterns. It is believed that Senate votes give a better overall picture of which political parties Australians support, given the fact that very few parties run candidates in seats for the lower house.

Despite the low primary vote of primary NBN supporter Labor, the analysis shows that parties supporting a FTTP-based NBN received about 49.4 percent of the total vote. The list of parties supporting a FTTP-based NBN includes Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Group, the Australian Sex Party, Family First, the Democratic Labor Party, the Wikileaks Party, the Rise up Australia Party, the Pirate Party, the Democrats, the Socialist Alliance and others.

In comparison, those parties which supported a FTTN-based NBN, including the Liberal and National parties (including the LNP variant in Queensland and the Country Liberals, received only 39.9 percent of the total vote.

The analysis also lists a number of parties, such as the No Carbon Tax Climate Skeptics, which said the issue was not the Government’s responsibility (4.5 percent), those that supported Labor’s NBN policy but questioned its projected benefits, including the Palmer United Party and Katter’s Australian Party (6.2 percent) and parties which had no known policies or statements on the NBN (5.9 percent).

“Yes, the Coalition won the election. Labor’s NBN won it too, with an even larger margin,” the original author of the analysis, ‘quink’, wrote. “The petition never asked anyone to ignore the election result. Instead, we think you should honour it. Democracy? I think so.”

A Reddit user named ‘Geronimouse’, who created a more sophisticated graphic based on quink’s analysis, wrote that if the election had been based purely on Internet policies, “the LNP would have lost in a landslide”. They added: “Do not let the LNP force us to pay for inferior technology that will be ultimately more expensive.”

The news comes several days after Turnbull savagely attacked a University of Queensland lecturer for a seemingly innocuous article analysing rising online dissent towards the Coalition’s NBN policy, inaccurately labelling the academic’s article as “false” and “misleading”, and claiming that it was “a disgrace”.

Turnbull said the election did not close down debate on the NBN, and that Australians were “perfectly entitled” to urge him to abandon the Coalition’s NBN policy and take up Labor’s. “… but they should not take offence when we point out that we did take a very detailed NBN policy to the election, that we won the election and that were we to abandon it a week after that election Australians would thing we had taken leave both of our senses and our integrity,” the Member for Wentworth wrote.

What legitimacy does quink’s analysis have? It’s really quite impossible to know. Australians typically don’t vote for one party based on a single issue, even one as powerful as the NBN. Statistically, I’d say that experienced pollsters such as the ABC’s Antony Green would pour cold water all over this one. We just can’t simply posit that the NBN was as big an issue in the election as many people seem to think it was, merely because of these Senate voting figures. And I’m sure Turnbull would come back with this kind of line, should he be asked about the issue.

(I would have asked him about it today, but I believe his office is a tad busy getting established in Conroy’s old digs ;) I didn’t get much of a reply yesterday when I asked about TPG’s fibre to the building rollout. Plus, Turnbull was only sworn in this morning.)

However, neither can we discount this analysis entirely. If you look at the pro-FTTP parties which garnered most of the Senate primary vote, what you’ll see is that they are often very progressive parties. Certainly the Greens, Nick Xenophon, Wikileaks, the Pirate Party, the Democrats, Bullet Train for Australia, Drug Law Reform and the Future Party all fall within this description, and I’m sure Labor and the Socialist Alliance would like to believe they were progressive.

What this indicates is that there is a very large portion of Australians who voted for progressive parties in the election; parties which are likely to have technology-positive policies like the NBN. Even the Palmer United Party, usually seen as conservative, is broadly in favour of Labor’s NBN, although it broadly questions its benefits.

Then too, we don’t just have to rely on the election data in analysing the NBN’s popularity. The Federal Election is only a poll, after all, if a very sophisticated and binding one. A long-running series of other polls have consistently shown that a proportion of the population as high as 75 percent supports Labor’s original FTTP-based NBN policy. To the extent that you believe the NBN was an election issue, this analysis really isn’t anything out of line for long-term NBN polling. The truth is that all the evidence has consistently shown that the Australian population overwhelmingly supports Labor’s version of the NBN and has rejected the Coalition’s.

Turnbull may insinuate that the Coalition has a mandate to deploy FTTN and reform NBN Co along its planned lines. But the truth is that the evidence shows that he does not. All the evidence shows that the Coalition won power several weeks ago despite its NBN policy, not because of it. The veracity of the online dissent which has arisen towards the Coalition’s policy in the wake of the election is just further indication of that rather obvious fact.

Image credit: Geronimouse


  1. We still need that moment, like happened with the Internet filter, where Turnbull is very publically, and very succinctly, shut down for not having the best policy.

    If we don’t get that, Turnbull will, as he seems to have an art for, weasel his way out of admitting that his policy isn’t widely supported.

    • I’m not sure there will be any one particular ‘moment’ that could shut it down, the issues are a lot more varied and complex than the filter was.

      I do believe, though, that Malcolm’s FTTN will be show in history as his “John Howard Whole Telstra Sale” moment that leaves Australia mired with a problematic ‘tech’ future…

    • @tinman

      Spot on. Exactly like Telstra. Hence why Ziggy is being touted as the “man” to head the (BN x 0.5).
      Isn’t he the one who got Telstra primed for Lord Howard’s sale?

  2. Also, if you make it a two horse race, FTTP vs. FTTN only, based on statements by the parties, the results are 52% propose FTTP, 6% prefer FTTP and 42% propose FTTN for the majority of the population.

  3. “Australians typically don’t vote for one party based on a single issue, even one as powerful as the NBN. Statistically, I’d say that experienced pollsters such as the ABC’s Antony Green would pour cold water all over this one. We just can’t simply posit that the NBN was as big an issue in the election as many people seem to think it was, merely because of these Senate voting figures. And I’m sure Turnbull would come back with this kind of line, should he be asked about the issue.”

    The same argument that we didn’t vote in favour of FTTP based on our senate votes can be used to discredit Turnbull’s assertion that we didn’t vote against FTTN either.

    He thinks they have a mandate to deploy FTTN because they won the election – but they only won a virtually un-losable election, there was no referendum which asked “FTTN or FTTP”.

    In the house of reps, I got the choice of voting for a political party, I didn’t get a choice to vote for an issue. I am a long time Liberal supporter, but I believe in FTTP. So how do I vote? Do I vote for the Libs because I believe Labor are doing a bad job managing the country? Or do I vote Labor because I want FTTP more than I care about the other things they are doing wrong?

    What’s more, in such a safe Liberal seat like I live in, the issues never get a look-in anyway – people seem to blindly vote for who they always vote for.

    I think Turnbull’s assertion that they won the election based on a platform of FTTN is arrogant and misses the point of exactly what happened in the election.

    Either way, I think we need to keep the pressure on Turnbull to deliver the best technology we can, for the future of this country.

  4. Do I vote for the Libs because I believe Labor are doing a bad job managing the country? Or do I vote Labor because I want FTTP more than I care about the other things they are doing wrong?

    You see if there is a minor party which better aligns with your world view than Labor or Liberal and vote for them.

    Australia does not have a two party system.

    • Yea there’s a fundamental problem with the phrase “I’m a long time {insert major party here} supporter”. To suggest you don’t evaluate current performance and policies of each party in turn to determine whether you can, in good conscience, support their direction and recent performance is tantamount to admitting you have switched your brain off and bump your way through life like some sort of barely sentient zombie. And we wonder why we’ve got a climate change denying homophobic misogynist luddite for a Prime Minister.

      He got rid of the Minister for Science, FFS!!

      • “Yea there’s a fundamental problem with the phrase “I’m a long time {insert major party here} supporter”. To suggest you don’t evaluate current performance and policies of each party in turn to determine whether you can, in good conscience, support their direction and recent performance is tantamount to admitting you have switched your brain off and bump your way through life like some sort of barely sentient zombie”

        That’s not what I suggested at all. I fundamentally agree with (most of) the ideals behind the Liberal party – which is why I typically vote for them.

        However I’m also the first to point out what I consider to be their weaknesses – don’t get me started on the mess the Howard government left the Telco sector after their time in power. Don’t get me started on my thoughts about the Liberal party’s love of Telstra. Or about their belief in surplus at the expense of everything else.

        And I made it perfectly clear that I’m not in favour of the Liberal’s approach to the NBN.

        I most certainly do weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each party before I vote – and voting Liberal does not imply that I haven’t.

        For the record, I did NOT vote Liberal for the house of reps this time – and I DID vote below the line in the Senate.

        • ” I fundamentally agree with (most of) the ideals behind the Liberal party – which is why I typically vote for them.”

          As TrevorX points out the consequences, considering just the “ideals” of the Liberal party if fundamentally wrong.

          The reality is totally different.
          – They are truly Conservative (don’t want change, to protect the ruling hierarchy) so the name Liberal is deceptive & dishonest (the terrorist call themselves liberators, so look deeper – not at the labels/rhetoric)
          – Australia is not even driven by politicians, but the big corporations, that’s why we still have symbolic subordinate relationship with the ex colonial power in the 1st quadrant of our flag.
          – due to a corrupted two party preferred system, minority always rules the majority – so majority doesn’t have to cooperate. Better to have multi party cooperative government.

          Just some thoughts with a good intention to be more cooperative & make a change

        • You know what I like about people like you? Nothing.

          Why? You can’t even stir, using you own words. You have to wait for your political heroes to come with something, so you can come on sites like this and spread the gospel.

          Thank you for coming by. Your job is done. Bye.

          • Obviously new here and used to the Australian mentality.

            As such, sibce you don’t know better… I’d friendlily suggest you ‘adult up’ yourself because this is an evidence based forum, where such stupidity and flame baiting (even admitted to) is frowned upon.

        • I love the fact that people like coconutdog ,whilst hiding behind dome stupid , illogical “name” are not afraid to reveal to the world just how ignorant they truly are. Not to mention how stupid….

    • 99% of seats go, via preferences, to LNP or Labor.

      Yes he could vote Green, PUP, or even Independant but ultimately … he has to preference a Coalition party or Labor, even if they are put last in the preferences – that is where his vote will go.

      There lies the conundrum and his statement is perfectly valid.

      • Vote below the line.

        You can’t sell out to preference deals if you control who you’re voting for.

        The Australian political system isn’t perfect, but if you don’t maximise the effectiveness of your vote it’s your own fault.

        • Yup, I voted below the line in the Senate.

          Then I watched the senate vote counting with great interest to see where my preferences came into effect.

          They didn’t.

          They process the “above the line” votes first (naturally, because it is much faster) – so quite quickly they had filled all 6 senate seats without processing a single below-the-line vote.

          It’s quite disheartening to see your vote not even get counted.

          I’m sure it will be counted in the end to give the final tally – but the decision had already been made well before they even bothered to look at the below-the-line votes.

          It’s no wonder almost nobody bothers to vote below the line :(

          • Well, that’s just the ABC’s prediction (or other random people with a spreadsheet and a penchant for jumping the gun). The official AEC results all say “not available” or, at most, “provisional”.

            Nobody is officially elected to the Senate until the AEC counts all the votes, above and below the line.

            Even in the Lower House, the AEC has officially declared just 7 of the 150 seats. The other 143 just have an educated guess based on various fractions of the vote counted.

      • That will only happen in too few people change their vote. Should the people who only decide to support a major party “because the other one will never make it” were to all vote for the minor party they prefer, the result might change. 35.4% of the primary votes in my electorate of Batman were not for the Liberal or Labor parties. In fact the Greens got more votes than the Liberals, showing change can happen long term.

    • “You see if there is a minor party which better aligns with your world view than Labor or Liberal and vote for them.
      Australia does not have a two party system.”

      Of course, and I did. But none of the minor parties running for the house of reps in my electorate fit better.

      • Below the line only really comes into effect in marginal seats, and the senate of course (which is how those micro parties got their place).

  5. A probable response from Turnbull ~ “While online technology journalists inaccurately report public sentiment we will implement our policy as a mandate from the people.” and he will continue to ignore the people as he is hell bent on handing all of it lock stock and smoking barrel to the private sector and public interest be dammed.

  6. Malcom does not care who supports what. Why do you think the $90B appeared a few days before they released their FTTN wishlist? To keep the offline community thinking $90B could be spent on roads, hospitals & whatever else the libs promised.

    Next thing you know Malcom will justify FTTN user pricing by saying ‘It’s cheaper than was forecast in FTTP NBN’s future ARPU.’ He’ll say prices would have gone up to $130/month.

    Why take a hit when you can lie and get away with it.
    Anyone else see the pattern here?

    • Yea I’ve seen so many people very angry at the perception their Internet connection was going to cost them 9% more in real terms per annum under the NBN because a bunch of morons can’t comprehend ARPU and a second group of morons take what the first group has written and perpetuate their stupidity.

  7. Talk about flogging a dead horse.

    Wait for the 60 day review at least. Patience……..

    • > “Never hold an inquiry unless you know what the outcome will be.” — Russ Hinze.

      • It’s not an inquiry. It’s a straightforward costing exercise by NBNco executives themselves — how much $$$ and how long to implement FTTN and FTTH comparatively. Implications for wholesale pricing and/or taxpayer subsidies. No politics, no ideology, no FUD. Can’t wait to see how the FTTH zealots react to the results!!!!

        60 days to go!

        • It’s not an inquiry. It’s a straightforward costing exercise by NBNco executives themselves — how much $$$ and how long to implement FTTN and FTTH comparatively. Implications for wholesale pricing and/or taxpayer subsidies. No politics, no ideology, no FUD. Can’t wait to see how the FTTH zealots react to the results!!!!
          60 days to go!

          Firstly properly costing a fibre to the node network for Australia is anything but straightforward, it is a huge undertaking not something that can be done within “60 days”. Secondly, the NBNco corporate plan details the cost of the current FTTP NBN and is audited by KPMG, an independent firm.

          Finally, I expect whatever the results are from these reviews will focus purely on the immediate cost rather than the benefits and long term implications. This is my opinion anyway, but time will tell if I am right or not.

        • > how much $$$ and how long to implement FTTN and FTTH comparatively. Implications for wholesale pricing and/or taxpayer subsidies

          If you list those as the only criteria, then I have a rock to sell you. It’s granite, it’s priced cheaply, it requires few taxpayer subsidies and you can have it tomorrow. Buy now or miss out!

        • Supporting FTTH has little to do with Zealotry, it is to try and save a large wad of cash being blow on a short term fix. Of course FTTN will come out cheaper to implement than FTTH, whether it is a cheaper in the long term, I very much doubt it. Suitable terms of reference will make sure the outcome is as Turnbull wishes it however, terms that are best for him, not the public.

          • Indeed, the largest amount of Zealotry I see is the anti-FTTP crowd. Which is a clear indication the FTTP is more popular IMO.

            When you put correct information down and rebut what they say, and then they disappear, only to reappear later, saying a very slight variation on what they said previously. It becomes obvious who are the zealots.

            If they were offering arguments that held water or if their arguments couldn’t be answered then I wouldn’t think so, but all they do is blindly follow the party line. Which is either zealotry, or mercenary. One of the two.

            I somewhat prefer to believe it is actually a mercenary action paid for by a special interest, because the idea of any zealotry frankly disgusts me.

          • + umpteen…

            Sadly this is exactly the disingenuousness displayed here, regularly by some who vehemently opposed the FttP/NBN…

            No rhyme or reason just bag and FUD-up everything about it 24/7. They even practiced complete contradictions in relation to their comments, as long as the end goal was reached.

            And when disproved… water off a ducks back, move on and say the exact same (or as you say, slightly tweaked) comment elsewhere or even at the same article but with a different opponent…

            and yes I meant opponent – as they come here to argue their agenda, not rationally discuss the issues cordially…

        • It’s not an inquiry. It’s a straightforward costing exercise by NBNco executives themselves

          Didn’t the senate committee already cover that?

        • You need total cost of ownership. Time and Money … now and later.

          If NBN needs to integrate with Telstra systesm for copper records, you may as well triple the IT budget. Telstra spent billions and years on transformation and never got the copper information out of those systems. Getting this infomation will make the 2 year Telstra contract negotiations look like holiday camp.

          If the copper requires massive remediations – are they going to replace it with copper or fibre, because large sections will be broken. Having this patchwork quilt may seem ok from a ideology point of view, but it will mean massive maintence cost increases – you will need more and more variaties in spares/training, there are more points of failure and lower reliability = rebates. IT you go from having a simple product based to a complex one. Can you get multi-cast over VDSL? Can I get fibre? Will there be ports available?

          FTTN nodes (every 500m) are not designed for 100% cut over, because they are large and inefficient, once you get above x% you’d want to force everyone accross because the cost of running those boxes will be so high as to negate any installation savings. FTTP nodes are 2.5 km away and there are much less of them (and a fraction of the size).

          What happens, if, on analsyis (and at the moment Telstra have no way of testing 10 Million Coper lines), the copper will stay above the cost to FTTN<FTTP … but is expected to degrade to below that amount within 5 years. What do you do?

          Being from IT … theres never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it again.

          If FTTN creeps in, the cost blowouts will be massive (note any cost blowouts to FTTP will likely ALSO be worn by FTTN), and they will need to build it twice, strand the old nodes and waste years.

      • Sure, but we don’t necessarily know what Turnbull’s preferred outcome is right now. The inquiry could be a face-saving exercise for either option.

        So let’s keep up the pressure.

        • I still hope, rather cynically, that their stance on the NBN was a tactical move and little else. These politicians have an obsession with the idea of creating a story and sticking with it. That’s how they win elections. This time the Libs have spent the last three years trying to convince the country that the ALP were incompetent money wasting crooks only interested in holding power. How would supporting their biggest headline promise help with that argument?

          The worst they got for their policy was critics loudly complaining that it wasn’t good enough to be cheaper because “upto 100Mbps” wasn’t as good as “upto 100Mbps”. That’s what it looked like to the average voter. Now they’ve won the larger argument don’t need to keep it going, they got the power they wanted. So now if they want to they can do what they did about the Budget Emergency with the NBN. Do what Labor was going to do because nobody is watching anymore.

        • Sure, but we don’t necessarily know what Turnbull’s preferred outcome is right now. The inquiry could be a face-saving exercise for either option.


          It’s basically a waiting game currently…

    • “The CBA shows that in the short term the FTTN will be the much more worthwhile endeavour for our government to undertake. It will show immediate results, which is what Australia wants!” – Malcom Turnbull in 2 months time.

      Regardless of the outcome, Turnbull will twist the results to the LNP’s agenda, just wait and see.

  8. Noone can deny that MT is a smart cookie. The real issue he will have is handling Telstra and not creating a huge mess of the telco sector, something Liberal comms ministers have had a talent for during the Howard years. If does create a mess, then TA will have the perfect opportunity to shaft him before the next election, step up Mr Fletcher, Alston’s ex chief of staff….

    • A smart business cookie. No idea of the technology or the impact it can have on our every day lives. Proved in the VDSL demo in Sydney the other day that he had no real comprehension of the systems involved.

  9. “Telecommunications industry experts have consistently stated that they believe Labor’s NBN policy to be highly technically superior to the Coalition’s more modest vision”

    In fact, Turnbul, himself, also believes that FTTP is the best technology. The problem is he thinks it’s too good for most of us, and too expensive.

    • Of course FTTP is superior. However It doesn’t make it a better solution. Anyone that really wants fibre can probably have it installed now. It’s just that they don’t want to pay for it, or that they feel it wouldn’t present value too them. For most people FTTN will suffice for the short/medium term.

      • So, I take it you don’t think that when you spend around $30b, the longer term is not worthy of consideration?

      • Because the cost as an individual is exhorbitant. However by performing a mass rollout across the country, you spread that cost over the entire base. Providing a net gain with long term benefits.

        Its an issue of economies of scale.

        By doing the big bang approach you make it cheaper across the board.

        By doing it piecemeal, the early adopters pay high, and eventually the price drops to lower levels, but the overall cost of doing it is much higher. The only difference is the cost isn’t applied to the government. Although as an investment, it is not a cost anyway.

        Plus by doing it across the board, you have a level playing field, allowing those who would make use of the technology for trade purposes better access to a larger market.

        Technically it is the best plan
        Financially it is the best plan
        Economically it is the best plan

        • You also have network effects — a fast network is most useful when everyone else also has it.

          For most applications, you need both ends to have good speed.

    • fttn will not even suffice for the near future. Mongolia will pass us in terms of download speeds in a flash. Australia will remain in the back water.

  10. Gees, you lot, this isn’t Egypt, you lost, get over it and move on.

    Labor’s NBN was the Rolls Royce solution. It was designed and being built by the people who are responsible for big business paying twice as much for everything as the rest of us are willing to pay. More expensive cars. More expensive phones. More expensive everything.

    Instead of criticising Turnbull look for a way to help him. You don’t think he really wants fibre as much as you do? He’s smart. He’s technologically savvy. Of course he does. His party just doesn’t think its worth what it was going to cost with Labor and Alcatel Lucent in charge of building it. Help him find a way to sell it, or preferably make it, as cheap as copper so Turnbull can go back to his party and sell fibre as win-win: a better product at a better price.

    • > Labor’s NBN was the Rolls Royce solution.

      Please stop saying it. The current thing we’ve got in the ground is the Fabergé egg solution. It’s just that it’s in the ground already, that’s its only advantage.

      > Alcatel Lucent in charge of building it

      In an FTTN rollout, the reliance on Alcatel Lucent is going to be substantially greater. VDSL2, from a technological perspective, is so very much more complex than GPON. With GPON you can pick from dozens of vendors to go with. If they don’t already offer, for example, an ONT with that specification, then they can just go to another vendor. In fact, Hackett has already proposed a plan where the RSP would provide the ONT.

      > as cheap as copper

      It already is as cheap as copper, never mind all the benefits of FTTP. It’s just that the coalition does not have the psychological capacity to look beyond a three year cycle. They have no concept of it. They are unable to recognise that this is infrastructure that will last decades and for them that is irrelevant. The problem isn’t getting Turnbull or the coalition to recognise that FTTP is better, the problem is getting them to conduct policy based on solid statistics, science and a long-term view for the best of the country. Good luck with that.

      • > Fabergé egg

        And just in case anyone is going to complain, I’m using this sarcastically in response to those calling the NBN the Rolls Royce solution. The sensibility of copper over low-bandwidth high distance communications is, because its attenuation in the lower parts of the spectrum is minimal, quite sensible, especially as the utility of bandwidth does in no way increase linearly. Not least of all, copper carries power. But for the purpose of high bandwidth near-symmetric communication over distances greater than a few dozen metres than 0.40mm copper is the wrong horse to bet on and an expensive square peg for a round hole. It’ll fit, for a while, but it’s more the white elephant than the metre-by-metre much cheaper fibre.

    • I’ve got an alternative for him – FttP and FttB. Build the fiber all the way to the property line, and let the individual cover the cost from there.

      The significant cost difference between the two plans comes down to around the last 10m of the build – getting from the fenceline/basement to the phone jack, so work to that point.

      Its better than FttN, and cheaper than FttH, and is an acceptable upgrade cost to the consumer. You dont have that pesky 500m of copper to replace.

      There, solution found. But try convincing Turnbull of that.

      It also has the advantage of making a system that lasts a little longer, getting more time out of an infrastructure that inevitably will need to be replaced. If you can extend the lifespan of the Liberal build, a lot of the arguments go away.

      • Gav, if you terminate/join at the boundary you introduce numerous unnecessary problems. From a technical perspective termination within the premises is by far the best solution.

        Particularly when the design of the plan means the additional cost is essentially irrelevant – NBN Co are so far ahead on ARPU they will repay the debt and interest two years earlier that scheduled, saving billions. And that’s before they turn on the gigabit capable plans – ARPU on 100/40 is $38, on 1000/400 it’s $170. Business customers picking up these plans will blow all the conservative revenue projections out of the water. Well, they would have if the LNP hadn’t come along to cock things up ;-)

        • I’m looking at how FttN can be improved to be closer to FttH, without significantly adding what the Liberals see as too much cost, and with that in mind my thought is about extending the fiber as far as possible beyond what would be the node under their current plan, without getting into the most costly part of the FttH rollout.

          And yes, it isnt the best solution – thats still FttH, and what I prefer – but its a better solution than FttN. You remove the fridgenodes, you lengthen the lifespan of the rollout, you reduce the reliance on copper, and you cheapen the cost to the consumer when they choose to upgrade to FttH. All with only minimal extra cost on what FttN is going to cost anyway.

          You are removing the cost of the nodes (both installation and upkeep), so it might end up being noticably cheaper as well.

          To me, its a happy (enough) medium between FttN and FttH that MAY be acceptable to the blinkered view of The Turnbull. He’s obviously not going to change to a FttH rollout without a lot of pushing, but something like this may be digestible.

          It also has the added effect of cutting Telstras wholesale monopoly to negligible levels, which cant be a bad thing. Can it?

          • Good idea Gav, but the issue then becomes even worse, as more of the FTTN transfer boxes would need to be installed (at each premises in the street) and there would still be a speed reduction. Fibre all the way into the home would actually be cheaper than your compromise solution.

            It was mentioned somewhere that the two technologies are completely incompatible and that the FTTN solution could not be extended to FTTP at a later date. I cannot verify whether this is the case but it would suggest that the FTTP option is an all or nothing decision.

            When we consider metropolitan housing developments today, we assume the property has electricity, gas, water mains and telephone utilities available. Internet and optical fibre communications may be the next essential utility service connection. If the FTTN option is rolled out alongside, will we see an impact on property values for FTTN with FTTP in the next suburb?

            If it is a deal breaker for young families, then uniform services would keep a level playing field in regard to essential utility services.

          • Theres a lot of debate on whether FttN can be upgraded or not, it depends on the node used. Personally, I hope they use ones that cant, becasues if they can it means we’re stuck with the nodes for the next 60 years or so. Urban polution at its worst, and costly to replace/maintain.

            And I fully agree with your haves/havenots scenario, it IS going to create a price gap. I actually live in a suburb getting FttH, and for one am glad of it for that reason. My thoughts re: FttP versus FttH are that it minimises that impact for at least the next 15 to 20 years when hopefully more rational infrastructure is in play.

            My post was for Gordon who suggested we look for ways to help him. If FttP removed the need for expensive nodes, and replaced the cost with relatively cheap termination units, then upkeep is no longer as big an issue, graffiti and urban polution disappear, and the upgrade path to FttH becomes very clear.

            Ways to help Abbott.

            I prefer FttH, I’ll keep saying that. But that doesnt mean I cant see that FttN is still a step forwards from ADSL. There are ways a FttN style rollout can work, particularly where there is a CHEAP upgrade path for the consumer. Nobody in their right mind should ever think its good to pay $2000 to $5000 for what becomes public infrastructure, and right now thats the range people will pay.

            There you go, another benefit – lower future costs to upgrade to the inevitable FttH build. One of the biggest bugbears the pro-fiber group has with FttN.

        • I am in a camp that says “you got what you voted for”. I don’t like it, but I accept, as did dear old Mal, that ‘democracy has spoken’ or words to that effect – (disgraceful) :).

          Now, those of us with an interest, should sit back and say “oh no, we have to spend the same amount again, because, by definition, Liberals have no scientific or technical ability, and most certainly, don’t display any visible ability to see the future.

          Those of us, with that capacity, can see the problems now.

          As I have noted earlier, Labor built thew Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Liberals put the Punt in Putney.

          Short term views become long term problems. Long term views provide generational answers.

    • Instead of criticising Turnbull look for a way to help him. You don’t think he really wants fibre as much as you do?

      Why half-fibre the place like Malcolm wants to do? Might as well fix it and do a full run the first time. And save money by skipping all the equipment needed to get the copper to work with the fibre.

      There, I helped him…

    • “Labor’s NBN was the Rolls Royce solution”

      I abhor this saying.
      FTTP is the commodore/falcom/camry solution, and FttN is the HQ Kingswood.

      Some examples of countries that are planning or have already starting implementing that ‘Rolls Royce solution’:

      * = 10+Mbit
      ** = 100+ Mbit
      *** = 1+Gbit

      China & ***Hong Kong
      **Czech Republic
      **South Africa
      **South Korea

      Whew, I got tired of typing these out. Basically if you look at pretty much any relatively stable country in the world, FTTP is largely being implemented, with FttN a miniscule % and being replaced with FttP.

    • You know Gordon, if you and squint – ignore the first half of your comment – this is actually the first positive thing I have ever seen you say about the labor NBN plan without negatively qualifying the statement.

      You do unfortunately get to roll out your catch-phrases like “Rolls Royce” and make some weird jab about Egypt.

      I would like to point out; if this WAS Egypt the coalition would be sending the troops down to shoot us right about now, trying to “shut us up” and let them govern the country. Precisely because this isn’t Egypt we feel very safe and comfortable complaining about the plans our newly elected officials are planning to implement.

      Precisely because this isn’t Egypt fear and bullying doesn’t stop us from making our voices heard. The “shut up: democracy” slogan that you and MT are pushing is an insult to everyone. In fact, it is grossly hypocritical of you to come here and say this given your comments history.

      I may not have agreed with your anti-fibre stance; but I absolutely and resolutely supported your right to put it forward.

    • Gee a Rolls Royce government solution for $30.4b vs. the old Commodore with a new donk solution for $29.5B…

      And the common sense winner is?

      • Actually that’s the new Rolls Royce for $30Billion or the 30year old tarago which will cost $29Billion upfront and $1Billion a year upkeep (for 10 years until it collapses) …

        The Copper will never repay the debt … so if they go with FTTN, they damn well better drag it back on book, because its no longer and investment, its $29Billion milestone.

    • Too ‘ight brah!

      Straya din’t deserv to get dem rolls.

      Day deserv to walk!

      Cup’n’strangs for all!

  11. I hate the way politicians say they have a “mandate” for any or all of their policies. It doesn’t mean the constituents agree 100% with all their policies just because they won an election; the winning party simply might have been the lesser of two evils.

  12. turnbull will ignore the masses whose tax money he is spending to get his way. what a stubborn little man he is working for the corporation ‘commonwealth of australia’.

  13. I’m no expert but….a mandate entitles the party with the numbers to introduce legislation into the house. It doesn’t mean whatever they say goes.

  14. You summed it up perfectly with All the evidence shows that the Coalition won power several weeks ago despite its NBN policy, not because of it.

    Primarily what quink’s analysis does is tear apart Malcolm Turnbull’s claim to a “mandate” for FTTN. While it is clearly a stretch to say that the election results indicate a mandate for FTTP, as not everyone voted around this one issue, at least that claim has much more basis in reality than Malcolm Turnbull’s, as unlike Malcolm Turnbull’s claim the actual numbers don’t immediately dispute it.

  15. “What legitimacy does quink’s analysis have? It’s really quite impossible to know. Australians typically don’t vote for one party based on a single issue, even one as powerful as the NBN. Statistically, I’d say that experienced pollsters such as the ABC’s Antony Green would pour cold water all over this one. We just can’t simply posit that the NBN was as big an issue in the election as many people seem to think it was, merely because of these Senate voting figures. And I’m sure Turnbull would come back with this kind of line, should he be asked about the issue.”
    He can’t come back with that line. He has already insisted that votes at the election were votes for NBN rollout methodology. He made the bed, now it’s biting his ass.

  16. Didn’t the libs make it clear that fttp was not going to happen?

    So why start a petition after the fact?

    Mandate, oh come on, seriously I am pissed the libs won and my fttp is gone, but nbn was not even an issue of significance in the election.

  17. You have to feel sorry for Malcolm.
    Think about how history will remember him.

    Lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott
    Watched Tony Abbott become prime minister.

    Malcolm is then placed in government to destroy the greatest infrastructure project in Australia for almost a century that would provide Australia with a fantastic long term benefits.
    In its place Malcolm will implement FTTN, a technically inferior piece of garbage with NO long term benefits, only short term liberal policy.

    You cannot help feeling sorry for the man that will go down in history as providing a second rate telecommunications and internet infrastructure that will ultimately cost more in the long run.

    You also need to feel sorry for a “man” that deep down he truly knows FTTN is an inferior technology.
    This “man” has not had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the Liberal party and fight for the best solution for the benefit of Australia.

    How would you feel going down in history as the man who spent billions of taxpayers dollars and set Australia back decades in communications infrastructure, leaving Australia to slip behind third world countries in internet speeds.

  18. Didn’t the media already do its job weeks in advance, ever since Rudd announced the election date. The message was loud and clear was it not.. people voted to have a change of government, nothing to do with the NBN. On the other hand it was everything to do with the NBN, behind closed doors.

  19. WE have an opportunity to “guide the LNP back towards solid and forward-looking broadband policy.

    It’s the responsibility of the author of this article to ensure that the pressure is kept upon the LNP to accept the fact that if we are to have a world-beating quality piece of networking infrastructure that will be with us in perhaps another 100 years that we do it right the first time.

    That can only involve FTTP.

    Sure, it may take a little longer, but over a 100-year period, 1-3 years is nothing. Compared to the mind-boggling waste that could occur if we get shunted down a siding with FTTN, or the LNP modify legislation that allows cherry-picking infrastructure – which would forever cruel the ability of the country to develop a ubiquitous broadband network – we should ensure that the LNP see the technological light.

    It’s in your hands Renai. FTTP makes sense, you know it, you need to convince the new mob that this is the case. keep the petition newsworthy and alive, and it can happen.

    • “It’s in your hands Renai.”

      Don’t fool yourself. It’s not only in my hands. I have influence and ‘push’, but not control. I do my best, but I am not the controlling force. Delimiter’s main strength is that I can use it to show the powers that be that we are watching them. This is enough to stop things going catastrophically off the rails, sometimes, but it’s not enough to tell people what to do. That kind of thing is ultimately in the hands of voters during elections, courts when there are legal angles, and auditor-generals in between both.

      • It needs us to support the work of the EFA and others in bringing the views of the current crop of technology users as opposed to the technology deniers to the fore and keeping them there. The views need to be aired and constantly brought into the light, not allowed to sit on a shelf in the dark.

  20. Now that the election is over lets just see what happens. Before we had pre-election mode Turnbull and soon we will hear from communications minister Turnbull. The NBN rollout has been slow and ICT investment has stagnated waiting for the NBN. Something needs to be done to restructure the project and get private companies involved. It seems Turnbull has been communicating with the industry on the best way to move forward. TPG are already jumping up and down to take on FTTB.

    • And you can’t see how potentially damaging such a proposal from TPG is to the future of fast ubiquitous communications access for the vast majority of Australia?

      The untold side of the NBN is that as well as high speeds and long term benifits, it is one network, one wholesaler with common access price points for consumers regardless of location.

      • The TPG FTTB play will make this most interesting. I think MT knew that there would be cherry picking – but I think he figured T$ would be the pickers not the smaller players.

        MT will have to move to protect T$ in one form or another. Allowing the smaller more agile players a head start isn’t in the rules. I’d suggest a freeze will be announced on all non-NBN activities until the 60 day review is complete.

        Getting the popcorn ready.

  21. Turnbull is simply going to call this new debate “unprofessional”, “misguided”, “Immature”, “inaccurate” or similar belittling argument/s.
    He invented the internet and is well aware that all Australian needs is 25 Mbps using a hodgepodge of more complex, less reliable, house of cards with very little increase in speeds. Oh, and he had better start building because he needs to average almost 60 nodes per day to meet his 2016 deadline. We wouldn’t want it to take 80 years now would we?
    I hope he doesn’t become transport minister: “all we need is a single lane dirt road from Sydney to Melbourne” 25 km/h is all anyone would ever want to travel at”
    “steam trains…”
    “Propeller planes…”
    “candle light…”
    “bread and water…”

      • ” which they blamed their loss ON the NBN (and lack of a decent policy) which is why they came up with this discredited FTTN.”

        That is fundamental reason why there what I consider bad decisions in the LNP policy. It is because they formed their policy on a need to have one that was different to labor without addressing the issue why something needed to be done in the first place.

        Its like party A) we are going to spends 20 million build road 1 and the other party saying we are going to 20 milling to build road 1 and 5 million to upgrade road 2 when the congestion problem could have been fixed by adding a bypass on road 3.

        I think there is a fundamental problem with the LNP and how they form policy it seems to be summed up in short catch phases and what can be done in 3 years. How does a policy of “buy all the boats” event get past the first stage, when it does nothing to address the issue. Both parties do have a major issue around admitting errors and leaders. There are faults with the labor NBN but they can’t change them because that would admitting a mistake, likewise the major faults with the liberal NBN, you can’t reach good outcome and policy by assuming your farts smell of roses and everything you do is right or that everything the other guy does is wrong. This come from the problem with leaders, the whole policy direction seems to be tied to the leader of the party and they can’t change without dumping the leader. This lets the ego of the party leader be more important than good policy from the party, and you can’t argue because you don’t want to show disunity to press and if the leader has to change a policy they clearly don’t have support of the caucus. This is what cause the whole issue with Gillard and Rudd the direction of the party was being lead by egos and not by forming good policy. The LNP have the same issue but seem to have a better reign on their members for fear of having the same mud slung at them they have be slinging at Labor, the cracks are there but it will depend on how much pressure they get put under by media as to if anything will come of it.

  22. “That kind of thing is ultimately in the hands of voters during elections, courts when there are legal angles, and auditor-generals in between both.”

    Yes Renai, but Politicians are keenly aware of public opinion, and the LNP never more so than with the NBN. They realised that after the previous election, which they blamed their loss ON the NBN (and lack of a decent policy) which is why they came up with this discredited FTTN.

    With the MSM so obviously “in bed” with the LNP for their own reasons, it’s going to take the “not so mainstream” media to keep the flames of public opinion going – until the first marginal electorate members start knocking on Abbott’s door.

    We only get one chance to do this thing right.

  23. I’m imagining MT in his office with his hands over his ears repeating “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you…”

  24. Fat Pat, If you look at the rate and pace of comms technology advanacement over the past 30 years you will see that nothing is forever. Today’s solid core fibre will be replaced by hollow core fibre inside the decade…and the laser technology deployed in today’s NBN will be out of date well inside 5 years. So it’s not a case of ‘one chance to get this thing right’. It’s about assessing all the options and developing a technology migration path.

    Renai, your ‘Labor’s all-fibre NBN policy’ is simply misleading. I recognise you have right to have a firm opinion on the subject, but the truth is that the Labor NBN was not ‘all fibre’. The bulk of the Australian land-mass did not receive FTTN, and was to retain copper access to complement wireless technologies. So even those in the Labor paper napkin camp recognised there was clearly some limit to rolling out FTTH; and some merits to continuing to exploit copper networks. (Once you get out of the NTD – whether it be sited in the basement, the garage, or under your desk in the study – you are back into copper media.)

    The question of how to best establish a national telco broadband infrastructure is probably a more nuanced argument than the fibre fanboi club wants to listen to; however I don’t think that the number of votes gain by the Sex Party et al removes to need to maturely assess the benefits and costs of the competing options.

    • @ John, err right, so once again we should “do nothing” until the next technology comes along.

      Now we should wait for bleeding edge “hollow core bandgap optic fibre” to become commercially viable, and in the meantime continue to use the degrading copper network – and be required to pay Telstra a premiumto buy it AND get stuck with the onerous maintenance requirements to boot. All while destroying the ubiquitous nature of the NBN footprint.

      I think that you are the fanboi here, of the “Conservative Club”, sometimes known as the “Do Nothing Society”.

      Optic Fibre will be a valid technology for centuries until “Star Trek” warp drive comes along (if ever) and to keep our heads in the sand will just hold Australia back – even MT acknowledges the fact that fibre is far superior.

      Enough of the FUD thanks!

    • Funny kinda argument you have there…”it’s not a fibre network because you use a copper Ethernet cable to plug your PC in”…did you miss the short bus this morning and had some time to kill posting on the internetz?

  25. John, yes, fibre will improve. Corning demonstrated incredibly robust fibre for inside buildings that can turn sharp corners and even cope with being stapled to joists.

    But the fibre being laid in the ground right now is already capable of all future speed demands we make of it, and has a useful life of at least 60 years.

    No solution will ever be perfect, but if the newly elected government plans to spend $29 billion, it should be building fibre to premises, not nodes and remediating Telstra’s privately owned copper.

  26. Fat Pat, a technology migration path is not ‘do nothing’. And labling comments as FUD does not substitute for considered analysis. Are you suggesting we should rush off a reticulate fibre to every home in Australia?

    Francis, I think you have made my point. By way of example, if you knew that lower cost zero radius fibre would be available next year, would you delay your roll out to ride the lower technology cost curve if that translated into a $5/month reduction in end user prices?

    If you look at the tech specs of the current NTDs you will see that we’re buying some pretty old technology. That’s the price of rushing a roll out.

    And you haven’t made an argument for fibre to the home. Given it’s a copper UNI that the customer uses, does it have to be fibre to the loungeroom; or can the fibre stop at the curb, or the basement?

    • @ John.

      The fibre will last for 60 years (very likely far longer) Telstra indicated that the copper is “at 5 minutes to midnight” a decade or more ago. Sure we can maintain it (the CAN) to deliver what the LNP want, but that maintenance money will come at a cost to the network – whereas if we install fibre now, we eliminate that cost – for effectively the same initial cost as going FTTN

      Which makes more economic sense?

      Fibre bend radius is irrelevant, as it is mandated at 100mm which is more than adequate for any domestic situation. Most industrial applications I design for currently never require a cable to run at right-angles now (copper OR fibre) why should it suddenly change in the future? It’s irrelevant, just a diversion (FUD-style)

      As for the NTD’s or the UNI, far from it. Over the domestic distances involved (circa 30 metres) copper can deliver 10GE, even 40GE according to the latest specs – but get it : 30-50 METRES, you will still need optic fibre to deliver it to the customer. Your UNI comment is more FUD, trying to cloud the argument. No doubt you will keep trying though :/

  27. FTTP, FTTN via NBNco will become irrelevant depending on the changes Turnbull allows relating to the ‘cherry-picking’ legislation.

    It will die of a thousand cuts, both figuratively and literally.

    Telstra’s deal is almost certainly hinged on having these relaxed. It will argue it has already separated sufficiently, never mind that TPG has already thrown its hat in the ring, presumably either as a bluff, or as a genuine attempt to sway the new Minister for Internets.

    Religious wars over which is better are really childish. As is the notion that FTTB, or FTTC is entirely viable in all instances.

    Several years of review have lead to a recommendation to deploy a new fibre network. Malcolm will be advised the same thing. However by the time this is actually completed, if the legislation is relaxed, then it’ll be irrelevant, as any business case will be framed by every ISP with infrastructure attempting to annex great swathes of consumers.

    The important thing, right now, isn’t actually the technology, remarkably. It is whether Turnbull will crack.

    • “The important thing, right now, isn’t actually the technology, remarkably. It is whether Turnbull will crack.”

      Indeed, this is the crux of the matter. The Guy is made of stern stuff though – it will require a Sterling Effort, over many months or years. It’s a pity we need to go down this path for a policy that the LNP fully endorsed not too long ago – Fiona Nash anyone?

  28. Fat Pat,

    Nice try…. But do you really believe that copper is ‘5 minutes to midnight’ – or simply that Telstra wanted to motivate the Government of the day to do a deal on some pesky ACCC regulations. You’ve acknowledged that the claim was made ‘a decade or more ago’ yet you troll it out as if it was fact that copper is unusable.

    Fat Pat, you probably need to get out to the field before you form an opinion that fibre radius is irrelevant. We are fitting a 5 pit at the moment, and we all fell about laughing at the irony of your comment. In a PON the fibre burden is very large, and consequently the pit upgrade costs (to accommodate the bend radii) is material.

    By the way, the highest costs, and the greatest delays are in the last ’30 to 50metres’. Get it? That’s why options have to be considered if you want broadband blackspots eliminated within 5 or even 10 years.

    • @ John,

      5 Minutes to Midnight, absolutely. The copper network is rooted and unsuitable for mult-megabit services and distances that we use in Australia with the size of wire we use. Yes you can run fast services but at short distance and you need to remediate it AND maintain it to allow it to continue to carry the services reliably.

      Considering the VERY simliar costs, it makes economic sense alone to migrate to FTTP.

      I go in the field (from time to time) and I have organised large fibre runs for commercial designs (over 5 km at a time in some cases), never once had a liney comment on the need to mount any special requirments – and if IT WAS an isse, the LNP “FanBois” (to use your language) would have been al over it by now – irrelevant.

      The “last 50 metres” was referring to your comment about the supposed inadequacies of the NTD, you know that, stop FUDDing about! You do know that UNI is the “User network Interface” don’t you? Nothing to do with the CAN, so irrelevant – my workmates were laughing at the ignorance of your comments.

      Face it, the CAN is rooted, look here
      if you really need confirmation.

      We MAY end up with FTTN, but it will be a disaster for future generations to clean up, all for the sake of political face-saving.

      We will talk of this folly for decades if it goes ahead!

      I do support the idea of FTTB for MDU’s though, where FTTB is provided ubiquitously by NBN Co, that makes perfect sense as you can guarantee 100 Mb/s or 1GE over copper.

      • Fat Pat,

        You don’t get it. The end point for all network design is the consumer’s CPE, and delivering the right user experience/grade of service to that customer. The end of the CAN, and the UNI are merely waypoints. It seems strange that you’d contemplate servicing a resident of a 20 story high rise with fibre stopping at the basement and a copper riser, yet you won’t contemplate anything less than an NTD hanging off the customer’s inside wall when it comes to a suburban street. Where’s the logic in that?

        I checked the ABC source you cited, but it’s hardly an unbiased assessment. (It reads like the writer has a very big chip on his shoulder.) It’s clear that Telstra, in trying to argue that they shouldn’t have to provide ULL capability and DSLAM accommodation to the industry, would have tried to argue that copper was about to be replaced by ADSL blocking fibre sections so that the ACCC should put these notions out of its head. I think we all can see now that this was just a piece of argument.

        If you think fibre is maintenance free, I think you’re quite wrong. Especially when the fibre comes out of the highly protected IEN and enters the world of the customer premises. Incidentally, looking at the splicing failure rates and power budget results, I can assure you that a copper jointer would be sacked on the spot if they had such high failure rates.

        As to the ‘very similar costs’ you claim between the technologies this is the very matter that Turnbull, quite properly, wants to be convinced about. I recall Telstra offering to build an FTTN for $4.7billion at one stage, so while I suspect the price will have moved since then, there’s actually a risk of saving some money in a program that is currently estimated at tens of billions. I call that being responsible with taxpayer money. What are you afraid of?

        • the logic is where you run into access issues with body corps and strata. instead of one owner to satisfy, you have a group and unsurprisingly they have been and remain the hardest to do new runs into – HFC or fibre. in a pure network design sense it would be great if every last port was fibre but in reality theres a breakpoint, the last 7% is one and the MDU tends to be another. theres no technical reason for stating that copper from the basement is valid and to individual houses its not, its the politics and bureaucracy inherent to body corps that make FTTB a pragmatic solution there. those issues dont apply to individual residential plots so theres not the need for such a compromise solution.

          neither are we suggesting Fibre is maintenance free. but it arguably carries significant savings to other maintenance regimes.

          on the splice fail rates, its one thing when you are doing a wire wrap where you are counting on the physical action to work for you and create at least one good mating surface to conduct out of the many laid down, the care in making the connection isnt quite the same as for optical where the bar to complete or fail is a lot higher – the fibre is one connection and takes a lot more care to lay down than a wirewrap or punchdown connect. if you cock it you have to cut and do over – id be concerned if the fail rates are bad for fibre jobs but if you are looking at them and comparing to copper i think the term is, you are comparing apples to oranges.

          the Telstra FTTN pitch: was for $4.7bn Telstra + 4.7 Govt joint venture.. it would only have hit the most profitable areas of the 5 major cities – and the government would have had to write very favourable operating legislation for Telstra (a ‘regulatory holiday’ i think they euphemistically called it, as it would really have been permanent). the price again hasnt just moved since then, but you are again comparing apples and oranges.

          im afraid of the fact that accessing a given copper pair from a given household isnt going to be as cheap or easy to do as anticipated. thats not just buying the copper off Telstra – which still the Coalition hopes to get for free – but the labour and tech time it is to test a bunch of untagged copper, find out what pair goes to which house, get in the power company guy, get the node/pillar built, hook up the copper and test that its actually the right service to the right address. theres a lot more work a lot more complexity and a bunch of processes to be developed. contracts to be rejigged etc etc etc. What MT claims is hes designing it to be cheaper, but in actuality hes designing it to be more complex.

          upping the complexity level of a national rollout is not generally associated with savings generated. i just dont see it in the plant and stock, the initial labour to get a given house connected, maintenance, the design – and it’ll have to be overbuilt well within my lifetime anyway. what am i afraid of? that the coalition have sold you a pig in a poke, and that they will get away with the swindle.

          • In real life we do have to compare ‘apples with oranges’. If the customer wants fruit, or fruit juice, we should look at both apples and oranges. It is foolish to start with a premise that it’s FTTH or nothing. Especially when you acknowledge that MDUs may be an exception. And that ‘7%’ of premises (i.e being the bulk gof the Australian land mass) are also an exception.

            For those households and businesses starving for broadband access, I suspect they’ll be just as happy to find a sheep in the poke as a ‘pig’ in the poke.

            I can’t recall the precise number, but Turnbull’s discussion paper also contained FTTH. So it’s not as if he is anti-fibre or FTTH. He is simply checking to see whether the correct answer is 93%. If we take out all the high rise buildings as you appear to support, we are already down say 25 percentage points.

            Now I suspect if a fibre company offered to roll it supply and fit FTTH to 100% of Australia for $1,000 a home he’d sign them up in a flash and we’d have a 100% FTTH network. But failing that he has promised that he will be looking for the best option for the taxpayers and the end subscribers that will have to pick up the cost.

          • John,
            I wish you were right but I think MT was more interested in saying “wrong, expensive and wrong” to the NBN fibre solution. MT has a thought process proposing that FTTN will pacify Australia into thinking he has created generation change to Australian communications. In fact, FTTN is an outdated technology used as a stop gap to fibre. It gives incremental sped increases for a bucket load of money. It was superseded years ago and he wants to introduce it when the fact is, the planet has moved on. He just does not want to admit that due to own political persuasion… Can’t he just admit he is not an expert???
            However, a variant of FTTN has a use in MDU’s. If MDU’s have fibre to the basement, they will have approximately the same service as FTTH can provide to every citizen in Australia and this MDU picture can only improve as faster speeds develop for these short-distance situations where fibre is impractical.

        • @John,

          industry standard FTTB is already here. I Design about 15 services a week that deliver Gb/s to a basement switch and can deliver GigE over copper up to 100m or so – so yes, FTTB is a workable solution for MDU’s. The copper in this solution is Cat6 UTP- FAR DIFFERENT from the Cat3-ish that we find in our streets. Fundamentally, the copper is different beasts, and it is quite obvious that you have no idea as to this -else you wouldn’t have mentioned it in the way you did!

          The UNI merely a “waypoint”? It’s integral to the design, without it – and the reliable & noise-free delivery to it, any sort of broadband will be sub-standard at best. Mate, I suggest you stop now, you’re making yourself look silly. I can easily contemplate FTTP and FTTB, they are different mechanisms for different applications. They will both deliver at least 100Mb/s to the user – FTTN can’t and ultimately can’t even guarantee 25Mb/s to ALL users, just ask BT for that evidence!

          FYI, a Cisco ME3400 (one of many basement switches currently on the market) can also deliver its service as Fibre (i.e. customer side of the switch) , so if you have an optic NIC you could have fibre all the way to the home – or maybe an NBN NTD – though I don’t know if they will interface properly – ask NBN Co. Doesn’t matter, but because FTTB CAN deliver GigE to the consumer it isn’t require IMHO. Comparing 100 metres of structured cabling (i.e. Cat5/5e/6/6A/7A) to old street cable is like saying a Model T ford can do the same job, and at the same ability, as a modern day well engineered small family car. As a bones, the Model T cost a not more (in early1900’s dollars) than almost any family car now, and the current car is far better, safer, faster and cheaper to run.

          As for your “ABC critique” it’s painfully obvious that you have no relevant experience with the copper CAN. It’s borked, fundamentally, and will require $Billions to be remediated and then $1Billion PA in on-going maintenance. Is this what you wish on future generations? I’ve seen the pit’s I’ve had to fix faults on it, and had to perform rearrangements to get around faulty sections. The problems are endemic, due to poor Telstra maintenance for at least 15 years. It will cost Billions to repair, end of story!

          Industry standard KNOWS that fibre is far less maintenance intensive, as it doesn’t corrode or degrade in the environment. The evidence you raise by pointing out “the highly protected IEN” is laughable. For a start, it’s the CAN, and either network is susceptible to mechanical damage – the fact that fibre won’t corrode and copper does should be enough of a difference to matter – obviously you can’t see that.

          Telstra offerd up circa $4.7 Billion, but it was conditional on them having complete control over it – something which the ACCC disagreed – and resulted in the ALP starting NBN Co. The reason that FTTN is now $30 Billion is that Telstra is out of the equation, not a function of time/inflation.

          What am I afraid of?

          FTTN being delivered, and then being found to offer no equity of access, require us to pay a huge anount for maintenance every year for further degrading infrastructure and then get some LNP brightspark suggest we go to FTTP in 10 years, wasting that time and money on an interim solution, when for the same cost as FTTN we could get there now.

          Crazy, just economically crazy!

          We’ll talk of this folly for years!

          • Correction, I design 5 FTTB services per week, not 15 – a typo on my behalf. If I did 15 I should bget an awesome payrise! :P

          • Fat Pat, your arrogance knows no limits. I suspect I’ve seen far more CAN than you can guess. I’m also old enough to know that it’s those that know very little that are so confident that there is one and only one answer to any problem. Those with many more years experience know that there are always options. Perhaps you should set yourself the mental stretch to ‘contemplate’ FTTN. Funnily enough, 20 years ago people were telling me emphatically you couldn’t possibly run 2Mbps PCM over the CAN. How wrong they were……
            A network is never static; and rarely homogenous. The focus should be on the end user experience and cost; not religious affiliation to a medium. Just looking at how the next generation uses comms,I suspect a fibre/ outdoor wireless design may be the better return. Certainly that seems to be where Telstra has diverted its capital.

          • 2Mbps PCM

            And with two little abbev. you suddenly remove all faith I have in your authority in Telecoms.

            1) It’s PPM.
            2) They were right, higher bandwidth uses other modulation like OFDM and QAM.

          • John, and constantly asserting that you “know more than everyone else” shows that you ar a blowhard.

            I refuse to contemplate FTTN because it is OLD TECHNOLOGY that – in the case of Australia – will used a failing and decrepit copper network that has been neglected for more than a decade.


            IF FTTN was perhaps $5Billion, then maybe you’d have a case, but you’re insisting we go with FTTN for the SAME COST as FTTH, yet we can only experience 1/40 of the speed, and FTTH speed/bandwidth is guaranteed.

            That’s just madness. It is YOU who is failing to grasp the significance of what the LNP are tring to do to our comms infrastructure

            You can’t guarantee bandwidth on FTTN, everyone will be different – should we then expect 12 million different NBN “Plans”?

            The only thing you get right is that we should be looking at the end user experience, and not caring about how access arrangements are made. Unfortunately, we would be relegated to a sub-standard and non-upgradeable access medium if we stay with FTTN.

            FTTH allows us to basically not have to worry about access – it will be ubiquitous for decades, unlike FTTN which will need attention in perhaps 10 years.

            Since the two delivery mechanisms will cost the same, it is illogical to go with the mechanism that will replacement in a short while – as Turnbull himself has acknowledged.

            So, it’s you who is tied to the wrong medium – probably due to your “years of experience” being stuck in the wrong game. PCM, ha ha ha.

            We’re done here, nothing to see, just another wind-bag!

          • I suspect I’ve seen far more CAN than you can guess.

            I suspect in other circles you’d be called a ‘vested interest party’, while that doesn’t make your opinion invalid, it certainly makes it biased ;o)

  29. The LNP and its members will be held accountable, especially given what they know and have chosen to look the other way. Using an ancient copper network that will cost more !, be slower and not reliable compared to the FTTP is not serving the Australian people, is not serving this country or the tax payers. It’s not serving future Australians who will depend on such things to be in place.

    Oh yes to get to the heart of the matter, the true nature of the foul things at work.. there you’ll find the truth.

    Greed, Corruption, Lies, Power, Discrimination, Pride & pure Stupidity… take your pick.

    • Greed, Corruption, Lies, Power, Discrimination, Pride & pure Stupidity</em

      Sounds like a great TV show ;o)

  30. The first line of the article tells me that most people who are signing petitions and such like really don´t know what they are doing. As long as you are presenting, something, anything, as ¨Labor’s all-fibre NBN policy¨ you are not going to get any member of an Abbott led liberal Party to touch it with a barge-pole.

    In my opinion critics need to realise that Turnbull is talking politics whilst they are talking technical specs. And, any policy which has Labor´s stank on it will never get up, in my opinion time spent on petitions would be better spent on creating new sources for policy, preferably sources favoured by Abbott/Murdoch.

    • Exactly, the entire Coalition election campaign was based on “Liberal Good/Labor Bad”.

      While people like Fibroid like to keep dragging the argument into ideological deep waters, it is, at the end of the day, a debate on technologies…either ideology could use either technology…they’d just have different ideological outcomes on things like “competition”, “free markets” and suchlike.

  31. No, Malcolm. You are not allowed to waste $30 billion of our tax money. Build the real thing.

  32. I had a conversation on Sunday with someone who lives in one of the NBN rollout areas and they were saying how thrilled they were with the NBN, the speed, the cost, the entire package. They were stunned when I told them the Liberal party does not support the NBN. They voted Liberal at the election.

  33. I have said to a number of people, and I wish I could say it directly to Turnbull’s face:

    You (as in the Coalition) did not win the election; Labor lost it.
    You were not voted in; We simply voted Labor, a party riddled with kindergarten grade infighting, out.
    We did not vote FOR your FTTN. But in a 2 party system, it can be hard to tell the difference.

    Don’t think for one moment that ‘you won’, because you didn’t. You’re simply there by default, not because we had a choice. If we had a REAL choice, trust me, you wouldn’t be there.

    Remember that when you’re voted out next election and wonder why everyone turned against you; No one turned against you, they never were on your side to begin with.

    So sick of ‘Alien vs Predator’ elections… ‘No matter who wins, we lose’.

    • Seriously Shirakani, that is the most structured and accurate overview of the “now” I have heard.

      I hope it’s OK to quote you (with double inverted commas).

      Well done.

    • I’ll fix that for you.

      The Coalition won and Labor lost.
      The Coalition was voted in and Labor was not.
      Being a representative democracy, you voted for whomever you voted for and their policies.

      The Coalition did win and they know it. That’s why they are in government.
      There was choice, I believe there was a little over 50 parties to choose from. It was a real choice. You really had to choose between them.

      Remember, you aren’t prescient and can’t see the future, so you don’t know what will happen at the next election.

      Your anecdotes are not the reality of the situation.

      • Wow for the first time I actually have to agree with you Frank…simply because for once you are speaking factually …

        “The Coalition won and Labor lost. The Coalition was voted in and Labor was not.”

        This is indeed the case…

        Two things are funny though…

        1) When the previous government formed a coalition with the independents, they also won (but people such as Fibroid, dunno about you, wanted to suggest the government was somehow not bona fide)..

        2) When you used to come here suggesting your comments always bagging and opposing the NBN weren’t political.

        • 1) When the previous government formed a coalition with the independents, they also won (but people such as Fibroid, dunno about you, wanted to suggest the government was somehow not bona fide)..

          Thats the one that cracks me up, the Liberals always form government in a Coalition with the Nationals, which is apparently “OK” with those that were complaining about the Labor/Green coalition, even though the Nationals and Liberals views are almost always out of sync on rural/farming issues. When you look at the details, Labor/Green is much more aligned than Liberal/National…

        • “When the previous government formed a coalition with the independents, they also won (but people such as Fibroid, dunno about you, wanted to suggest the government was somehow not bona fide)..”

          They didn’t win outright, they didn’t have a preformed coalition, but they did indeed win, they made a coalition post election (i.e. they only won after they had formed a coalition). But that hardly matters, they were winners and they made government.

          If you go back over all the posts under the name Frank, you’ll see that at least on of them (me) thinks the NBN (FTTH) is the best technical solution by far, but doesn’t swallow everything spat out about the solution as true or positive. I also believe that FTTN is a reasonably good solution.

          I think most Australians vastly overestimate their future bandwidth (as in amount of data per second) needs, and underestimate their total data delivered needs (the second can be a function of the first). I think people think it will increase work place productivity, while I believe it will decrease work place productivity.

          Several peer reviewed studies show that on an individual level, the more connected you are, the less productive you are since you have the world’s biggest distraction (that’s during work). On the other hand, using the internet during breaks from work is shown to increase productivity, excluding email which can negate the positive effects.

          I think the largest gains of FTTN or FTTH will be better access larger data streams, e.g. movies, music and games. I want FTTN/FTTH, I’m just not deluded into thinking it’s something it is not.

          I’ve always tried to make my comments neutral and objective. As above, I’d love to have FTTN/FTTH, but that doesn’t mean one should not be critical of them. Note, by critical I mean judging merits and demerits. I believe both plans have merits and demerits.

          Other Franks have the opposite views, making it confusing.

          • I think you’re wrong in your assessment of data usage Frank, it increases each six months at a considerable pace (

            It will only accelerate even faster as vendors like Adobe move their mainstream apps into things like Adobe Creative Cloud ( and more devices like become more common, and that’s not even including the growth in bandwidth required for the ones you mentioned (music, movies and games) or other cases (like Smart Grids)…

          • We agree actually, I’ve written the same thing as you!

            I wrote people “underestimate their total data delivered needs” in regards to future needs. Perhaps it’s not worded the best. I mean that people will need more data delivered than they think.

            So we totally agree that data usage will explode.

            The rate at which it’s delivered (i.e. the bandwidth) is a different beast which as above, I think people overestimate their needs.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love fast internet. When ADSL was first made available in Aus, I had it installed in my house in the first week it was available (read another way, I jumped on the broadband bandwagon quicker than 99.9% of Australia and I’ve never looked back).

            Consider this though, a 100mbit connection running 24/7 can deliver 100/8 * 3600 *24 *30 = 32.4 TBytes per month. Data usage is unlikely to reach those levels for a long time (most people don’t even have 1/3 of that in total data storage at home, let alone the ability to store 388.8 TBytes per year).

            I think data usage will increase dramatically and then taper off as a function of people’s needs being saturated. I think bandwidth needs will need to meet a multi-user household (average is 2 people per house in Australia) trying to stream and discard while simultaneously streaming and storing multiple large data streams (e.g. HD movies). I think that will be achievable for most households with 50 to 100mbit. So if you graph one against the other there will be a cross over point where there are rapidly diminishing returns from extra bandwidth (i.e. giving me a terabit connection will not benefit me anymore than giving me a gigabit connection).

            That doesn’t cover my house though. Way more than 2 people in my house. I’ll be out of luck. :(

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