Could industrial pipe cleaning speed up the CBN?



in brief A technique for more rapidly cleaning up Telstra’s clogged pits and pipes infrastructure reportedly could offer the National Broadband Network Company a significantly faster deployment mechanism with respect to the fibre components of its network rollout. The technology is reportedly being trialled in the fibre portions of the Coalition’s Broadband Network rollout already, according to The site reports (we recommend you click here for the full article, including photos):

“A simple hose and the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner may save the National Broadband Network’s fibre-to-the-premise rollout model. If implemented nationally, it has the potential to deliver fibre to the home at half the cost of Labor’s original costing of $37.4 billion and in just five years, thereby giving fibre a serious advantage on the $41 billion multi-technology rollout model proposed in the NBN strategic review. The pipe-cleaning technology, originally used in the sewerage and water industries, is proving miracles on the NBN rollout, enabling NBN Co to pass about 2500 premises in six to eight weeks as opposed to six months.”

It is not clear whether the more rapid clean-up mechanism has been fully considered as part of the option of “radically redesigning” Labor’s version of the NBN rollout. The Strategic Review published by NBN Co several months ago does mention what it describes as “cost-efficient construction techniques”, but some sentences are blacked out, and it is unclear whether NBN Co has considered the pipe clean-up mechanism as part of this option in the Strategic Review.

The technology has reportedly been demonstrated in Western Australia to the NBN Senate Select Committee of politicians taking submissions examining the CBN, but not much information about the system is available online.

Image credit: NBN Co


  1. Nice. I have spoken to people whom have seen this in action, it makes perfect sense – pity it didn’t get much exposure 2 years ago…but it it will never happen. Turnbull has his instructions to “Destroy the NBN”, by this I take it to mean the destruction of ubiquitous FTTP.

    Entrenching Telstra as the copper owner and carrier for the nobbled FTTN is their only goal.

    We will look back upon these time with horror in the future! I fully expect to see the LNP start to spread the blame for the pending debacle over the next few years, else they be identified as the party of destruction!

    • “else they be identified as the party of destruction!”

      I’m already identifying them as that Pat.

      Instead of taking the good ideas Labor had and fixing them up (or making them better), they seem bent on returning us to some weird Tony Abbott run “John Howard Era” alternate timeline. I have this horrible feeling were screwed for the next few years…

  2. The possible saviour of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure ….

    A giant vacuum cleaner.

    Not long term planning
    Not effective commercial competition.
    Not effective government.

    • In Australia? Surely you jest?

      Not trying to be an arse about it but Malcolm and Tony have made it pretty clear that they don’t care to spend money on fibre for entertainment purposes, particularly when uncle Rupert has everything to lose.

  3. Anybody else just not care anymore? I’ve completely given up all hope and now work on the assumption that I’ll be on adsl2+ until I die or leave the country. It’s a much simpler life.

    • well i’ll be honest.
      my care factor took a massive nose dive as soon as i got my NBN FTTP connection late last year.

  4. Hi Renai,

    I first saw this here i spotted this link in a whirlpool thread several days ago.

    If you read that particular story, it says that NBNCo and the Offfice of TUrnbull were both approached about this and neither had heard anything about this before (or something like that).

    So it doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t make it into the Strategic Review.


  5. I was using the same “Water Jet” set-up in Tom Price at the time of the Falklands War,If I had of connected the dots between it,Telstra and the NBN I could of been on a right little earner…bugger!!!

  6. I suspect it’s something they’re already doing (for whatever reason) : I saw two telstra logo’ed vehicles and a “giant vacuum cleaner” truck hanging out around an open pit the other day.

  7. You know if you really wanted to you could increase the speed a bit more if you added a rope to this doohickey.
    IE as it blows its way through have it drag a rope through, blam skip a whole rodding and roping step and truck roll.

    • I don’t think you’d need a rope if the pipes are clean. The fibre should go straight through.

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