blog Over at the ABC, technology + games editor Nick Ross (he of previous 11,000 word articles on the subject and of the Media Watch coverage) has continued his deep investigation into the dynamics of the National Broadband Network under the Coalition, with a pair of articles published this week into the question of whether Telstra’s copper network can actually be used for fibre to the node, as the Coalition is planning to use it. One of the more interesting paragraphs on the issue:
“There are unquestionably sections of the network that are not suited to upgrades and the Coalition acknowledges this – the worst-affected areas will get FTTP “Where it makes economic sense.” But with every single home having a different set of conditions compared to its neighbour, having a few houses on a street with copper that can’t handle FTTN is unlikely to be enough to warrant a whole neighbourhood getting FTTP. At some point a threshold will need to be established whereby a neighbourhood will only receive FTTP when a certain proportion of bad homes versus good homes is reached.”
And there’s also a separate article which has collected experiences from various people with the copper network.
All in all, it’s hard to say just what the quality of Telstra’s copper network is at this point. It’s obviously a very heterogenuous piece of infrastructure, and the quality of the copper will vary dramatically from area to area. This has always been one of the real strengths of Labor’s all-fibre NBN model, in that it will replace virtually all of the copper. It will be interesting to see how the Coalition deals with the varying quality issue in a real-world rollout of fibre to the node.
Image credit: From Delimiter’s ‘worst of the worst’ Telstra copper photo gallery