Analysts expect ‘unchained’ Turnbull to return NBN to FTTP model


news Several of Australia’s telecommunications analysts have published statements noting they expect Malcolm Turnbull to reveal his ‘real’ views about the National Broadband Network project after taking the Prime Ministership and perhaps even return the project to a footing more based on its previous Fibre to the Premises technology.

As Communications Minister, Turnbull radically shifted the NBN project away from Labor’s policy of providing the best possible fibre broadband to most Australians, instead opting for a highly criticised and controversial ‘Multi-Technology Mix’ which will see the NBN company upgrade the copper and HFC cable networks owned by Telstra and Optus.

Turnbull has also stated repeatedly that he did not believe Australians needed the full speeds of the NBN’s fibre, and that a better, more affordable result could be achieved by re-using the legacy infrastructure.

However, telecommunications industry sources have regularly claimed that Turnbull secretly admired the NBN project and its high-fibre basis and was merely doing former PM Tony Abbott’s bidding in seeking to radically overhaul it. In 2011, for example, a senior executive from national broadband provder Internode stated on radio in Adelaide that he believed Turnbull secretly “loves the NBN as a concept”, despite being given an order by then-Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to “demolish” the project.

In the wake of the Turnbull’s ascension to the Prime Ministership earlier this week, several notable telecommunications analysis have claimed they expect the Member for Wentworth to take a more favourable approach to the NBN.

Just several weeks ago, veteran telecommunications analyst Paul Budde accused Turnbull of having “no clue what he was doing” with the NBN project, in the wake of news that the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN had blown out in cost by up to $15 billion.

“It appears to me that the Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has totally under-estimated the consequences of changing the fundamentals of such a large national infrastructure building project midway through the process. In my opinion he simply didn’t have a clue what he was doing,” said Budde at the time.

However, this week Budde noted in a separate blog post that Turnbull had called the analyst regarding the article.

“While I was very critical of the minister in my article I at the same time am of course very well aware of his knowledge on ICT-related issues,” said Budde. “With Malcolm now in the top job, he will have far greater freedom to express his views on this issues, which most certainly will be far more liberal than conservative and that would be highly welcomed by most of the industry.”

“Under that previous regime, I fully understood the political situation that Malcolm was in, and I have also mentioned in previous blogs that I was grateful that he saved the NBN from the ‘kill at all cost’ campaign of his predecessor.”

Ovum analyst Al Blake wrote that it was a “political imperative” for Turnbull to trash the NBN at the time.

“Although he was following the party line there was always uncertainty as to how strongly Turnbull personally supported that approach and his elevation to the PM spot may allow for an NBN recalibration,” the analyst noted.

“Given the political realities it would be impossible to go back to the original Labor plan – but we may see the proportion technologies slide further towards FTTP which would mean world-call broadband performance for a greater percentage of Australians. Having someone with an understanding of technology at the highest position in government cannot be underestimated.”

University of Melbourne academic Rod Tucker — who has highly criticsed the Coalition’s approach to the NBN — noted that he believed Turnbull needed to step away from the “ideologically-driven focus on [Fibre to the Node] that Turnbull used to differentiate his network from Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.”

“The minister needs to formulate a long-term vision for Australia’s broadband needs and ensure that the NBN is not just a quick fix for our current needs,” he wrote.

Opinion/analysis to follow separately.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. What tosh. Despite Renai’s incorrect claim yesterday, Turnbull is on the record as acknowledging the superiority of FTTH but also its unaffordable costs.

    Such (obvious) position has been confirmed by the cost per premises of alternate technologies in the CP16 p67:

    FTTH Brown 3700 + 700 = 4400
    FTTH Green 2100
    FTTN 1600 + 700 = 2300
    HFC 1100 + 700 = 1800
    Fixed Wireless 4100 + 800 = 4900
    Satellite 7900

    Studies continue to show the majority of benefits from broadband are captured by penetration, not speed.

    Turnbull didn’t set out to destroy Labor’s NBN, they did it themsleves. The “analysts” quoted refuse to accept the previous costings were destroyed by actual realworld performance, never queried as to their alternate costings.

    To ignore known delivery failures and costs and to return to FTTH for the 30% FTTN is unlikely, a test of Turnbull’s financial competency.

    • Can you provide a link to any study? Make sure the study is independent…

      To cancel the FTTN and MTM is a test of sanity and long term financial sense.

      • @Wt

        Impacts on GDP have been quantified.

        World Bank (2009) high-income countries 10% increase in broadband penetration +1.21% to GDP, low-middle +1.38%. Little & Chamlers (2011) doubling of speed +0.3% GDP.

        Perfectly reasonable position if you think about the economics. Most value can be captured under 50mbps (why most NBNCo customers choose such a plan, even with awful contention).

        A good places to start:

        Still no figures from the fanboys?

        • You keep talking about awful contention, each GPON pole has 2.5 Gbps backhaul to it, being split to 32 connections.

          If “most” customers are selecting 50Mbit or less, they will not experience contention due to the infrastructure. If people are experiencing contention, it is due to their RSP not purchasing enough backhaul to service their customers, which is NOT an NBN issue.

          • @R0

            Contention is an end user issue, their experience by which the competing technologies are measured. Sync speed to the DSLAM not the only measure.

            We know from the demanded NBNCo plans and ARPU (AVC + CVC) contention appears to be 30:1.

            Even at 12mbps end user experience can be greatly improved by reducing contention. A 8/8mbps business connection with 1:1 contention and QoS a much better end user experience.

          • I’d argue that RSPs not provisioning enough backhaul is an NBN issue given 120 POIs + $17.50/mbit CVC.

          • So Richard the current FTTN design offering a contention of 400 on a 2Gbps pipe for an average speed of 5Mbps is better than the 26 on a 2.5Gbps pipe

          • @Adam, I’d have to argue the point of the POI’s at least, it was the ACCC that pushed that. Not NBN Co.

            The CVC? Sure, you have a point there, but NBN Co cannot be held accountable for the POI model, you can go ahead and blame Labor for not pushing back against the ACCC, I wont fault you for that, but thats just another story all together.

            I do not think the previous model was perfect, and I do not think it couldn’t have been improved on, I just disagree that the final 30% of the network is best served by being FTTN with as of yet, unknown cable lengths from nodes to customers.

            I personally wish the majority of the network was FTTP, but I am okay with HFC being used and upgraded for the short-medium term, FTTP in Greenfields, and at a stretch, FTTdp in Brownfields, which would give the best possible copper speeds for those not wishing/needing FTTP but also give a short enough run for those who would pay for FOD.

          • @Jason contention to the AAS (FAN) won’t be an issue, 7330 NANT-E cards today capable of 4 x 10Gbps. Transit will need an upgrade if anywhere near that capacity.

            Worry about your RSP contention and less about peak theoretical sync speed. We’re not the first to deploy these solutions.

          • @R0ninX3ph Yeah, I really wish the ACCC had released more info on their thinking for the POI decision, it always made me wonder if there was more to it than it seemed. As things stand, they seem to have shafted the little guys for pretty well no reason.

          • @TinMan

            I always thought the logic behind the POI decision was quite clear, the ACCC simply failed to understand that FTTP is not like PSTN and doesnt need more than 2 POI’s per state (1 for redundancy) and thought that they needed to protect existing investments in Backhaul to Telstra exchanges by the likes of Telstra, Optus, NextGen, Amcom, Agile et al.

            What I dont understand is how they can justify protecting corporate investments at the expense of the Consumers they are supposed to be looking out for.

          • @Derek It might be clear, but it didn’t really make sense (for a competition regulator to lock smaller RSP’s into the big three). That’s more along the lines of what I was thinking.

        • Err…this is from your own link, Richard…

          “A new report, conducted jointly by Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology in 33 OECD countries, quantifies the isolated impact of broadband speed, showing that doubling the broadband speed for an economy increases GDP by 0.3%.

          A 0.3 percent GDP growth in the OECD region is equivalent to USD 126 billion. This corresponds to more than one seventh of the average annual OECD growth rate in the last decade.

          The study also shows that additional doublings of speed can yield growth in excess of 0.3 percent (e.g. quadrupling of speed equals 0.6 percent GDP growth stimulus)”

          So doubling speeds will increase growth by 0.3% – US$126B. Quadrupling will increase by 0.6% – US$252B. And note the mention of “additional doublings of speed”…

          Seems you just demonstrated the huge benefits of increased speeds/FttP, nice work.

          One for the next CBA, eh?

          • inb4 “but penetration gives a bigger percentage increase” so why do speed and penetration when we can just do one of them!

          • @Richard

            What is the cost to our economy when potential investors choose to go elsewhere? We could, and should, be a data hub for the entire Australasian region, instead we’re considered the laughing stock of tech development.

            Cost should be a consideration, but not the driving focus of infrastructure, and right now, the difference in cost between the superior all fibre build, and the inferior copper inclusive build is so small that its irelevant. So why is it STILL the driving factor?

            We’re arguing about whether 25 Mbps is good enough when all our competing countries are installing 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps services. Which, if the MTM proceeds to a full rollout, is 10 years away.

            And you consider that a good result?

          • @Gongav, even more so, we are arguing over downstream speeds whilst ignoring upstream.

            The FTTN crowd don’t want us talking about upstream, because they know they cannot possibly win when talking about it, so they keep focusing on family uses and downstream speeds.

        • @Richard
          Numerous mistakes and misleading comments in that post…

          1. The world bank report does indeed show a 1.21% increase in GDP for every 10% increase in broadband penetration. However, the MTM version of nbn does very little to increase penetration of broadband, and in many cases will only just barely qualify as broadband according to the US FCC (and in some cases, it won’t even do that).
          2. The Little/Chalmers/Ericson report does indeed show that doubling the speed of broadband adds .3% to the GDP, however if you keep doubling (i.e. FTTP) you keep increasing the GDP. The MTM won’t be able to do that very much if at all.

        • 0.3% of Australia’s GDP is around $4.5 Billion per year. Easily enough to justify an additional one off investment of $20 Billion.

          Various figures from NBN co over the years have operating and maintenance costs at about $100 per year more per premise for FTTN than for FTTP. At 5% interest rates, that is enough to justify an additional $2000 per premise of initial investment (which is why the internal rate of return figures in the strategic review were about the same for fiber and MTM rollouts).

          Every time we get slightly heavier than usual rain, tens of thousands of people loose their phone line/broadband connection for days or weeks, because the copper hasn’t been properly maintained for 15 years. Fixing it properly with fiber will increase effective “penetration”.

          The copper network is in a continual state of being replaced. Under Malcolms contorted logic, in spite of fiber being better in every possible way, it will somehow never make economic sense to replace the copper with fiber.

          The fact is that the whole world is moving to fiber because it has a fraction of the costs and orders of magnitude better performance. Verizon reckons it’s worth doing on operating costs alone.

          Any way you look at it, on your and NBN’s own numbers a predominantly fiber rollout makes financial sense. So please drop the “fanboy” nonsense.

          • Great post David.

            For special mention: –

            “Any way you look at it, on your and NBN’s own numbers a predominantly fiber rollout makes financial sense. So please drop the “fanboy” nonsense.”

            Any way – apart from blind politically ideological stupidity…

            …which is the only reason I can see Aussies talking up a retrograde, obsolete, costly mess… and doing it with a straight face, like they actually believe it.

          • Am I the only one that enjoys the back and forth, using sources, that ultimately improves the understanding around the NBN.

            I would never have found that evidence of massive economic benefits from the NBN if Richard hadn’t tried to spin it for an alternate point.

          • Unfortunately Fred, if the past is any indicator, give it a few days and that link to Ericsson will be denied or even argued, by the very person who posted it here. It will definitely be denied in weeks/months when this article has come and gone.

            Difference is, you appear to want to know the advantages and disadvantages of FttP vs. FttN. Rather than having a preconceived (bean counter/far right ideologist) viewpoint which, even in the face of facts, must still be argued for come what may.

          • @Rizz i admit to a level of mischievousness with my original post. The post was to demonstrate benefits from penetration vs speed from historical statistical analysis, the studies explicitly warn against using the figures as a measure of expected future gain. Even with links provided it appears theyr’re not read or comprehended.

            Previously discussed here:


            You could use the figures from the CBA14;-)

        • I think the numbers are flawed and not comparable to the types of broadband we are getting versus the broadband we would have got with FTTH. Latency is the primary difference between the 2 networks. I know from the business I work at that if we had better latency our deployment costs would be much lower. We could triple bandwidth and still have issues because the latency is not improving. Business need a more reliable network with more consistent latency.

          • “Opportunity Cost” is something the Liberal Party only consider when analysing the profits for their big business foreign investor mates from planet accountant.

        • Tinman, they’re just fibre zealots, how can you trust those figures? When obviously the figures in the reports by the hand-picked Turnbull cronies are far more accurate and couldn’t possibly be twisted to show a predetermined outcome.

          • yeah it’s not like Turnbull’s cronies cherry picked their figures or ignored an entire user base with much higher requirements than average residential customers is it?


          • @Derek, they would never do anything of the sort! They’re all good natured, honest working men, earning a hard days pay check implementing Government policy as best they can!

            You’re being so mean to those poor, poor public servants.

          • Fibre zealots or not, I usually try to fact check them my self, probably not extensively, or to the degree needed to run the company, but enough so I feel comfortable saying what I do.

            I usually try an post the links I research from to show why I think that way too (hopefully other folks find them interesting too).

        • @Tin

          Neither of your linked to articles are by experts, and they don’t even show what you claim.

          I provided costs with lease seperated.

          But I’m beginning to see now why the fanboys are so deluded; you’ve no figures at all to work with therefore can claim FTTH doesn’t cost more. Magic world of fairies.

          FTTH costs are known (1m connected).

          • @Tin

            Neither of your linked to articles are by experts, and they don’t even show what you claim.

            I provided costs with lease separated.

            But I’m beginning to see now why the fanboys are so deluded; you’ve no figures at all to work with therefore can claim FTTH doesn’t cost more. Magic world of fairies.

            FTTH costs are known (1m connected).
            Seems the quoting tags are broken :/

            I’d say they are a lot more expert than you or I mate :o)

            One has spent his life researching it (and done so well he has accolades for his work), for the other, the field is his bread and butter (and highly recognised as such).

            The figures you have listed are so rubbery, and changed so many times to suit the Liberals agenda at the time, I have no faith in them what so ever.

            I get where you are coming from Richard (most likely a company accountant? I hope it’s a tech company at least :o)), but I don’t get how you can stand by the figures changing so much, and not actually matching international standards for similar works.

            It makes me sad that someone so obviously intelligent and passionate as you are, lowers himself to partisan bullshit, especially when the numbers for each plan are actually so close.

            And just so it’s clear, I like having a “robust discussion” on things, and don’t hold anything against you personally ;o) I almost always “fact check” what you post, it’s just there’s so much out there on the Internet that doesn’t really marry up with the specifics of your posts I usually cant agree with you.

            Please don’t stop though, it’s a poorer world where differing opinions can’t actually discuss stuff like this!

          • @tin

            Thanks for your kind words. Time in Kazakhstan to kill before flying to UAE. I’ll continue to drop in. Express and support your opinion, its not life and death.

            One ‘expert’ was on the panel who’s cost have been shown to be wrong by a factor of 3 (ignores in his posts), the other I’ve argued over lack of understanding of layer 2 and his dimissing of all figures as rubbish (never offering his own). They rant, that’s all. Those that can do, those that can’t teach.

            I’m not happy with the rubbery figures either (incensed at the lack of detail; hopefully Jason Clare gets access to the cost modelling and shares it), predicting from the very announcement the monumental stuff up it has become.

            The problem with most posters is they imagine a Liberal connection, I have none (now or ever).

            I deal with numbers and technology all the time. The benefits of a greater understanding of both informs the discussion (for those that want to). Most investment decisions (public & private) are evaluated using the methods discussed.

          • @Richard I’d be interested to see where, and/or why, you think Rod is out by a factor of 3, the articles I’ve seen from him draw from “official” figures (such as they are).

          • @Richard

            Best of luck in UAE, whatever you’re up to :)

            Just out of curiosity, why do you assume people have any less relevant background to you? My own experience is with tech and numbers as well (broadly, 2 decades), and more specifically accounting in more recent years. Basically, an auditor and analyst since the mid 90’s.

            I also have a sibling that is pretty well respected in the comms industry (well, these days more in their specific subfield, but…), and did plenty of research in the 90’s into tech stuff we take for granted today. And no, I wont name them, this isnt their debate.

            Just remember that not everyone is voicing opinions without experience or understanding. Plenty here have perfectly valid evidence for their opinions.

          • FTTH opportunity costs are unknown and that is where the political rubber hits the political road for all you lib voters !!

          • @Richard That’s the problem though, isn’t it Richard. Depending on what SRxx, CPxx, etc you can “prove” pretty well anything…

            It doesn’t bode well that the current CP is showing a blow out of $15b and they haven’t even started building with FttN yet, I expect it will go higher yet once they start finding out what the condition of the CAN actually is.

      • Having spent the past 2 years first cracking then scrambling the NBN egg into an expensive putrid mess there’s no way he’ll admit to his bastardy or tell the truth for once & put it back on track.

    • penetration
      So only required to deliver 1Mbps faster than ADSL2 good penetration right there.

      Don’t forget Trunbull previous costing have been destroyed as well and they still haven’t even started yet. I expect to see even more cost blowouts to come when they find out the tyre condition of the networks.

      But you also have Simmon Havket saying the average cost of FOD is more than FTTP but that can’t be right it’s only covering the last mile and not going back the the dslam that the added cost of FTTP is costing now. No wonder they don’t want to release the costing on FOD

    • You do love quoting those statistics don’t you, the ones that conveniently don’t include the costs for remediation of bad copper because they don’t know the state of the copper.

      How much remediation in your mind is enough to warrant just swapping to FTTP for an area knowing full well that FTTP is the end game for the NBN anyway?

      • @R0

        Cost of remediation is included in their estimates. The risk is they’ve estimated incorrectly. We’ll know on deployment, as we know the cost of FTTH.

        • They don’t explicitly include the cost of remediation, as they don’t know how much it will cost, as they admit themselves in the risks section of the CP 16.

          “Costs: capex estimated might
          prove inaccurate (e.g. FTTN copper
          rehabilitation, HFC lead-in cost); opex
          costs might be higher due to higher
          requirement for manual processes, or
          more headcount on critical areas (e.g.
          call centres) to manage volume of work”

          So, I ask again, how much would the ESTIMATE have to be out, before you will admit it is a waste of money to put in FTTN when FTTP is the end game? Would it have to equal the cost of FTTP? Knowing full well at some point in the future we will have to upgrade to FTTP?

          Since NBN Co won’t even say what they will do in the event the copper is too far gone to remediate in a cost effective manner, would you have them put in FTTP? Or start building wireless towers in suburban areas? (They leave that clause wide open, they will not even commit to what connection type they will use within the FTTN footprint if FTTN is not an option).

          • @R0

            Your claim re cost of remediation is incorrect. An estimate has been included. Sensibly the new management outlines the risk.

            NBNCo has been instructed to use appropriate techology. If the costs of copper remediation are unacceptible they’ll use an alternative. Given the costs of the alternatives provided I’d expect FTTH over LTE.

          • @Richard, thank you for proving my point.

            An estimate has been included. Key word there, is estimate.

            So, I ask again, how much do you think the estimate needs to be out by before FTTP should be installed instead, knowing full well FTTP is the end game?

            Note: I am asking YOUR opinion, I am not wanting parroted responses quoting the CP 16 about “use of appropriate technology”. I want to know how much you think the costs would need to increase before it is a waste of funds.

          • @R0

            FTTH isn’t the end game, universal high-speed internet is.

            Your question re accpetible remediation costs is difficult. We don’t know the current included estimate, however assuming less than a third of quoted capex (say $500 per premises) even an blowout of 200% would still make FTTN more cost effective. Such is the cost and rollout disadvantage of FTTH.

          • “Your question re acceptible [sic] remediation costs is difficult. We don’t know the current included estimate, however assuming less than a third of quoted capex (say $500 per premises) even an blowout of 200% would still make FTTN more cost effective.”

            Seriously Richard, more cost effective…? FFS “again” where’s the B in cBa you forever ignore?

            I think the analogy is, although it’s arguably cheaper… how long can we, and what are the benefits (the B in cBa) of continually having to carry around 2 litres of oil and 1 litre of water to keep the old Kingswood on the road each week, as well as having to have it forever maintained and pay for it’s thirsty V8… before common sense actually kicks in and we say… FFS lets just get a new Commodore and enjoy the benefits (the B in cBa) of an as powerful but less thirsty V6, as well as the long term saving of not having to keep purchasing oil or paying for the never ending maintenance.

            Do you ever upgrade and buy new stuff at your place, or just keep patching and patching the old shit, because in the short term it “may” be cheaper. If you keep patching (as you must going by you comments) I really do feel for poor Mrs F**** (I won’t say you name, that’s not cricket :)

          • FTTH isn’t the end game.

            Apparently only a few would believe this line…

            FTTH isn’t the end game, universal high-speed internet is.

            Define “high-speed” for 2015.

            Define “high-speed” for 2030.

          • FTTH isn’t the end game, universal high-speed internet is.

            Thats like saying “Red isn’t the end game, Red is”.

            Unless you know something faster/more upgradeable than fibre? If you do, please tell!

          • @HC today 80% nbn users are happy with under 25/2, universally I’d go 12/1 with lower contention.

            2030 to far out to say, but 7 years I can’t see anything on the horizon that’ll take it above 50/4.

            Apart from 4k & 8k video (which I don’t consider essential services) I don’t see the applications requiring huge bandwidth.

            Yes there are specific users that will require more, today we run fibre to them. Data centres continue to be the deployment option for high bandwidth applications I’ve architected, I can’t see that changing given advantages of (public or (me) private) cloud computing. your estimate?

          • I didn’t ask what speeds users are using. That amounts to an appeal to popularity.

            I didn’t ask about applications.

            I didn’t ask for your opinion on what you think is an essential service.

            I asked you to define “high-speed”

            A number.

            If you are going to define “high-speed” as 12/1mbps then I don’t think we need to discuss this any further. Sorry, but anyone who thinks half the ADSL2+maximum is “high-speed” cannot be taken seriously in this debate.

          • @Richard

            “today 80% nbn users are happy with under 25/2”

            Say what? Please site your source for that because it seems quite odoriferous to me…

          • @Richard,
            “@HC today 80% nbn users are happy with under 25/2, universally I’d go 12/1 with lower contention.”

            Well, those on FTTN will pretty much HAVE to be happy with under 25/2 as they won’t have much of a choice about their speed unless they live within spitting distance of the node.

          • @ Richard re: “2030 to far out to say, but 7 years I can’t see anything on the horizon that’ll take it above 50/4.”

            What gives you more than one vote?

        • Cost of remediation is included in their estimates.

          Indeed, they had to work that out so they could add also add that to the inflated figures for FttP…

        • Well only 3 weeks ago NBN didn’t even know the condition of the copper… although we all did/do – it was 5 mins to midnight in 2003 (iirc) according to the copper’s owners, reporting to a Senate committee. As such it has simply been patched up to bare minimum requirements, ever since.

          So any estimations, planning etc that you use as your “factual evidence” err, ‘isn’t”… as the planning and estimations have all been done completely, blindly.

          In layman’s terms it’s all BS… and it shows.

          Only the faithful, gullible or flat-earth society would argue otherwise.

        • to give u a further example, i bought a nice 4k tv for my room, my brother who lives with me also has one, my other housemates have HD tvs, we all have Netflix – 4k bandwidth requirements for streaming this content to ONE device, as stated by Netflix is; a ‘stable’ connection of at least 25Mbps………… so……. two people can (maybe) enjoy it on a 50Mpbs connection? screw anything else that may actually happen with the internet in the house? we dont need it right? rest of the world gets it, but good old Oz is far beyond (behind?) needing/wanting that. and if u do, too bad, you dont have a right to it anyway, you should ‘move to a place where it is available’ according to Turnbull (ps i heard he had a further ‘last’ name – ‘shit’). i just think that the policy lacks foresight, it is beyond refutation that it will be a problem (even in the short term future), will cost the economy and the people, and stems from a comedy of errors within the government. long term it greatly hinders my prospects, and those of my family…… and a failure to see this as such is akin to denial of the data on par with those who refuse to accept climate change as an issue……… go science bro……

    • Wow, keep on banging that drum Richard.

      But just what is the motivation for all this hatred and insistence that we accept a sub-standard, “obsolete”, network for Australia and as such I ask again … “why weren’t the iron wires good enough? *sigh*

      Got an answer?

      Yesterday you were disgracefully cherry-picking picking figures from the early RFP and then recent figures from those opposed to FttP, to bag FttP. Now you use CP16 figures alone, as though gospel (regardless of a recent $15B blow out – shh) and ignore the original FttP estimates entirely?

      It’s a bit like a few weeks back at another blog, when you were telling us all about the wondrous CBA and how it proved MTM the most financially sound choice…. in normal bean counter mode of course, with the B in CBA typically ignored.

      But regardless, when I copy pasted the actual clauses from the CBA that demonstrated Quigley’s FttP costs were pretty well spot on according to even these obvious critics, what did you say?

      Those figures (yes figures of comparisons contained within your heralded CBA) are of no importance because they were sourced from NBN. So the CBA is the be all and end all, apart from the clauses which don’t suit your crusade… seriously WTF?

      Anyway, back on topic, it will be embarrassing for one person in particular, if Turnbull does as the “analysts” suggest and reverts back to FttP. .. and that person won’t be Malcolm Turnbull, it will be the bloke who is here daily lauding the current retrograde plan, because he claimed he could have written it.

    • Studies continue to show the majority of benefits from broadband are captured by penetration, not speed

      Really. So let’s go with that false dilemma for a moment. When will we see one of those new fancy nodes I’ve been hearing so much about for so long penetrate MY region? It’s 2015 ffs, stuck on less than 1mbps upload for near ten fucking years due to coalition clown incompetence, their diarrhea class stream of backwards broadband policies to nowhere and stopping the one broadband plan THAT EVERYONE WITH A CLUE ADMITS IS THE END GOAL simply for egotistical agenda driven political reasons.

      471 days to go. We are still waiting…

      • It pretty funny that he calls us out for the Internet/NBN just being about movies/porn, and then he bangs on about penetration :oD

    • No problem Richard. On tonight’s Channel 10 news there’s mention of Hockey taking over the communications portfolio.
      Could you ask for anything more to suit your agenda?

    • @Richard, I had to correct your figures, in brackets.
      FTTH Brown 3700 + 700 = 4400
      FTTH Green 2100

      FTTN 1600 + 700 = 2300 (plus extra cost to upgrade to FTTH)
      HFC 1100 + 700 = 1800 (plus extra cost to upgrade to FTTH)

      Fixed Wireless 4100 + 800 = 4900
      Satellite 7900
      Malcolm is right, FTTH is superior but he also said fibre is the end game

      • Richard has told me above that even though our new PM has said that FTTH is the end game, it isnt the end game… Universal high speed internet access is the end game, and apparently we are going to get that with copper wires and pixie dust.

        We just have to wish and hope that the limitations of copper just disappear and suddenly we dont need to keep moving the fibre closer and closer to the end point (AKA the premises). So that way we don’t need to pay to upgrade to FTTH! The magic of belief and ignoring the laws of physics will keep us ahead of those pesky internet speed goblins!

      • One minor point.
        Considering we are being told how wondrous HFC is and as it is so much cheaper to install.
        Why have Greenfields operators even prior to the NBN been installing the more expensive FTTP option. ? Are they dumb idiots or maybe there is more to it ?

    • FTTN rollout costs are not final, as they have yet to begin rolling out FTTN under a contractor.

      And you fail to mention ongoing maintenance costs of the infrastructure.

      Citing figures to install is as amusing as someone claiming they got their V8 at a cheaper price than a hybrid, but failing to mention the ongoing cost of keeping it running.

      • You make it sound like there will be a tender process for FTTN and it wont just go to Telstra because “they built the network and know the most about it, so it makes sense to use them” regardless of how much they will charge to build it.

    • Richard
      FTTH Brown 3700 + 700 = 4400
      But the SR had FTTP at 4097. So it come down to 3700 in price while MTM increased in cost.
      But if FTTP has come down in price why has it price increase the same amount as MTM.

    • the major issue that you fail to consider here is the exponential growth of connected devices that will be saturating the market, the need for more of these devices, tech savvy generations being more dominant in the sector, where increase demands and speeds will be required (as opposed to the majority of the houses being ‘owned’ by people who do not, as of yet see this as an imperative), the move that will take place within the next decade to the online/virtual world will be far greater than anything we have witnessed so far, and the long term ‘upgradability’. look at all the studies done elsewhere, and the consequent implementation of this, and more advanced technology. it is getting to the point where the exponential growth of technology and outmoded infrastructure will have an exceedingly high impact both economically and socially for Australia in the long term. to frame this in terms of ‘current’ costs and ‘predicted’ costs which are, for the most part limited in scope (the internet of things alone is estimated to contribute 26 BILLION more connected devices by 2020 alone) this is not considering the fact that Australia does NOT have/NOR has it, implemented much technology in this field due to the inherent limitations in infrastructure and the hesitancy of many consumers/businesses to adopt it as a result, has shown (all u need to look at this is the impact ONE service has had on the sector – Netflix – and the ‘drama’ this has caused, and highlighted with the current infrastructure). The studies mentioned also fail to adress Australia more specifically, this is important as the other countries in comparison ALREADY have speeds far exceeding ours and so the gains are even less significant than they would be here, these studies also are very conservative in regards to the aforementioned proliferation in technology dependent on inter-connectivity (as everyone has been since the 60s where they were predicting AI and robots for 2000).

      To frame this question in such a manner (just short term economic implications Vs outright cost) is due to the political climate (length of policy life cycle/political parties is a disincentive for such ‘risk’ taking), lack of long term foresight where the industry is more and more moving towards higher bandwidth demands and applications whereby an increase in bandwidth is needed, the economics of the ‘streamlining’ of businesses into the cloud is a prime example of the need for higher bandwidth and as we all know (and can currently see the trend) this ‘trickles’ to the consumer….. sure, i admit, there may be a technology that can be implemented at far less cost in the not to foreseeable future, however it just lets Australia languish further behind the rest of the world in what will be the future. programs become more complex, require more data, bandwidth, power, connectivity, space, and are of national and individual interest and that is in and of itself a form of risk taking…… one where i would prefer to not pander to the ‘if’ and have a more realistic approach to a larger problem than ‘well we don’t need the extra speed at the moment its all good’ (which is essentially what you are saying) and afterall, if this was true, why is the rest of the developed world (including governments who are investing in this tech not just companies who can and do do it for profit too) making this transition? furthermore, this question should be more addressed towards the dire straights that the Australian Telecoms industry is in, insofar as a monopolistoc monolith who benefit from (in the short term) gaining from not spending big and increasing overheads? bigger companies like those in the US, UK, and in Germany are implementing this technology due to competition in the sector and the financial benefit gained in the cost of operations of copper infrastructure, yet in Australia, whats the incentive? no need, make a killing off the shit network, with little to no upfront costs, even though the long term degradation IS evident and will continue…. just an attempt to get every last drop out of it until they ‘have to upgrade’….

      the framing of this as purely economic and social, in the way that you have framed it, is limited in scope and foresight. there are many projects throughout Australian history, which were seen as economically detrimental but the long term benefits from this have paid off (think of the Opera house, or Sydney Harbour Bridge as two quickly identifiable examples). in short, its not short term bang for buck, and political point scoring, but the longevity of such an investment, and when these are factored in, the current Liberal model is VERY, unequivocally lacking, and in the long term will (most likely) only harm Australias prospects in the sector (we need only be reminded with automation becoming a key focus of industry and the 70-75% estimated loss of ‘middle class’ jobs that are being estimated in OECD countries to shiver at the lack and limitations of further opportunities to expand our avenues of income in the global market – ie if jobs transition to the virtual worl – like the liberals ‘plan’ – then the requirements and demand for connectivity would only need to be increased due to the influx of proposed jobs online – lol btw – ie ONE facet of what i was implying by the limitation of scope of the studies you mentioned)…..

      • Just an ‘edit’ when i was mentioning these studies needing to be applied more to australia, i meant they are comparing apples to apples, and employing assumptions that are not true in regards to the australian climate of the situation – in that they are assuming the same ‘start point’ for implementation here as was in the other countries – which is untrue, we are far behind other countries current infrastructure, and as a result the gains achieved would not be as insignificant as even those studies point out. penetration will be higher, along with ‘other’ benefits seemingly dismissed and also associated with its upgrade.

        • all you need do is read the methodology of the studies u referenced ie:

          “The model measuring consumer surplus originated from broadband services presumes a stable demand, since core factors shaping demand do not change substantially. In that sense, results are quite valid for the short run. On the other hand, the analysis can yield conservative estimates. These might exclude gains to early adopters, shifts in demand linked to GDP growth, falling prices of PCs, greater capability of online system, and changing user willingness to pay. Furthermore, the methodology excludes indirect benefits. Having said that, the authors argue that given data availability internationally, there does not really exist an alternative approach for comparing countries. ”

          ie – they do not take into consideration so many OTHER well researched articles on the future implications of increased bandwidth and speed and fail to compare WELL to other countries as they cannot find a yard stick to compare against others accurately….. and as stted above, fails to contextualize the situation accurately as a result to the times….and Australia in a meaningful way…. i just suggest at looking at what IS and ISN’T considered in a ‘study’ and look at some broader sources….. as the ones you have mentioned are flawed, yet they do of course show some insight… but are limited nonetheless….
          i mean LOL as the ‘demand being stable’ LOL

      • Great post, just in my own house we have a number of IoT devices now and all are available from retailers like HN, Amazon and Bunnings.

        We have 2x nest thermostats, 2 WeMo lights and a WeMo maker controlling the garage door and I know I’m not the only one add I got the idea from others on the net.

        • yes, agree, the framing of the questions in politics is what i have an issue with, particularly the lack of foresight (or more significantly the dismissal of it at the expense of voters, for political short term scoring), the rhetoric and blatant misinformation (propaganda) spread and the way in which the real issues are consequently ignored. economics of the situation are far more significant than people in Australia realize, and that is partially a result of being so far behind now…. it is only going to explode more and more….. and its scary how unprepared Australia is and will be…. and when we realise its going to cost 10 X more to implement on the levels that will be needed very quickly to catch up lol

          i have a few IoTs too :P just built some servers, mail servers (instead of using google et al) and have about 48 things connected to the home network at ay one time…. and i do not even work in IT…. mind you it is not just me in the household either lol….. but this is now…. a lot of these things have connections, a lot of these will increase bandwidth demands over time and ergo extrapolate that to an increasing population, increasing amount of devices and it is evident upon this basis alone that the demand is far greater than estimated (not even considering the streamlining of gaming as an eg into the cloud as Nvidia plans – imagine the bandwidth required to run games off the cloud into your living room, whilst another two members of the “traditional” family model, stream netflix in HD whilst downloading a new update/movie, parents working at home and requiring internet connectivity to their business VPN overseas to run applications off the work server – think processing of media as an intensive example – trans-coding etc and doing this or even running Microsoft applications et al – i literally laughed when the comment was made above saying that ‘even if the connection is bad’ seriously….. can u imagine ANYONE being able to do this with the peaks and troughs seen in connectivity and over saturated networks – whether DSLAM or bottlenecks it is irrelevant)……. it is just INSANITY to assume that this is by any means enough to satisfy the demand even 3 years from now….

  2. I am highly sceptical That Turnbull would return us to a FTTP rollout. I’d dearly love it to happen, but Turnbull has been so virulently supportive of FTTN that it seems to be a backflip too far.

  3. He won’t change. He was too enthusiastic about the demolishing of the nbn and lied constantly. He certainly won’t avoid a Royal Commission.

    • Exactly he has towed that party line into the very deep trenches. Back flipping now will lose him PM, changing tact before the election likely have similar effect. I mean common folks you’re asking a politician to admit that he has been wrong and his party has been wrong for the last 5+ years.

      After the election would be the only time anything might change but even Labour is saying that the MTM is essentially here to stay so I wouldn’t be holding much hope there either. (I guess in labour case it’ll probably be there’ll be a plan for the upgrade vs just thinking MTM is OK for future usage).

  4. The last round of test sites for FTTH (the one where the new board basically tried to bury/lose the results) had the per premise cost down to $2300 with the expectation it would further reduce to a flat $2k.

    Turnbull’s financial competency … is starting out $15 billion in the red! He has purchased two over built networks, purchased obsolete technology with exactly zero idea/indication of what condition it is in whilst giving the contract to fix any issues with the asset to the very company it was bought from.

    A change of heart on Turnbull’s part (at least prior to the next election) would require him to admit he was deliberately misleading both the parliament and Australian public. Its just not going to happen.

    The appointment of Hockey (if the rumours are true) as communications minister is yet another indication that the political status quo will be maintained. Turnbull can sing a pretty tune but there needs to be some real evidence and action to contrary to indicate he’s changed his spots lest we forget he has already fooled ‘us’ once before (faster, sooner, cheaper).

  5. I’d love to see it, even if it is just the FTTN portion, with a later goal of replacing the HFC component after completion.

    But yeah it won’t happen. It can’t change without it being seen as a black mark against Turnbull himself, and he is still walking a tightrope he still has to appease/contend with the same internal party politics that decided to “demolish” the NBN in the first place.

  6. Joe Hockey is being rumoured as the new communications minister so it may not be all smooth sailing as he was a true Tony supporter although miracles may happen

  7. It’s never been about the tech (which is why so many have been successful at lobbying Turnbull for their slice of the cake) – it’s always been the cost, and politics.

    I do not believe there will be an about face; Turnbull has to solidify his position, and having a Comms Minister reversing all manner of decisions, sends absolutely the wrong message. As would reversing climate change policy or any other signal that would send the far right into a tail-spin, causing crippling damage.

    Turnbull may be a moderate, but he is still a liberal, and policy is still policy. He has strongly supported any number of policy changes and decisions. He’s not suddenly going to change his spots.

    Comms pundits are living in fantasy land, and aren’t making any more sense than the far right post-spill screeching has. Might sound a bit harsh, but sadly it’s true. ;)

    But Folks need to get a grip. Turnbull isn’t the messiah. Perhaps after an election, Turnbull has the ability to shift the party direction due to public reaction, but does anyone believe anyone has the stomach to go back to Telstra for a third time to renegotiate?

    Nah. Ship has sailed. Mission Accomplished.

    • It hasn’t been about cost even Turnbull hand picked reviews show that any saving to be made on capex is lost to the increase in opex.

      • Cost of MTM isn’t the same as long term cost of MTM + FTTH.

        People (including Richard) can argue costs all they like. Point at reports all they like. FTTH is the end game here, just as it is and has been virtually everywhere else. The point of MTM isn’t penetration and whilst it might be portrayed as living within ones means, it’s nothing of the sort.

        It’s the outcome of a now entirely ideology and political driven choice. Cost and technology have absolutely zero input. It’s really just as simple as that.

        This simple expedient of cheaper now, pay more later (when someone else is almost certainly to be in charge) is why we’ve gotten to where we are today. Short term gain, long term pain.

        FTTN will eventually still make money as it leverages an asset that has recouped it’s cost multiple times over, and apart from remediation and re-termination, there’s no more spend required. And it will continue to generate income for years to come (mostly now to rent seekers).

        People who believe the current NBN is all about penetration and technology choice, haven’t been paying attention.

        • FTTN will eventually still make money as it leverages an asset that has recouped it’s cost multiple times over, and apart from remediation and re-termination, there’s no more spend required. And it will continue to generate income for years to come (mostly now to rent seekers).

          Well….that remains to be seen really.

          The fact that the FttN has already blown out 15b, before even commencing the build makes me wonder what might happen from here. A lot smarter network folks than me have said the CAN will need a “lot” of remediation makes me wonder how much further the MTM costs might blow out yet.

          “Reusing the old network” sounds great on paper, but I guess time will tell if that is reality or not. Ever tried doing up an old model car? ;o)

          • The assumption that FTTN would be rapidly replaced by FTTH is a flawed one. It’s likely to be there for well over a decade, probably more.

        • “FTTN will eventually still make money as it leverages an asset that has recouped it’s cost multiple times over, and apart from remediation and re-termination, there’s no more spend required. And it will continue to generate income for years to come (mostly now to rent seekers).”

          Sorry but I must have missed it … NBN has been making a profit of the CAN for how long now?

          Sure Telstra have made buckets of money of copper over the last (50?) years and more than covered their investment and lack of maintenance budgets.

          NBN just paid 11 Billion for a bunch of copper. Thats a pretty big number to put in red ink that needs to be recovered before any profit is seen. Then note the minute its ‘finished’ its obsolete and will require and upgrade. It won’t be generating profits for ‘free’ for the next 50 years it’ll written off (one hopes not before the break even point is reached).

          • You say:

            Sorry but I must have missed it … NBN has been making a profit of the CAN for how long now?

            And then follow it with a self-referential answer:

            Sure Telstra have made buckets of money of copper over the last (50?) years and more than covered their investment and lack of maintenance budgets.

            That is it, in a nut-shell. I’ll repeat the point. The assumption that a FTTH rollout would be book-ended on to the FTTN deployment, is flawed.

            Without future funding, FTTH simply won’t happen at all. So, as I have said; ya’ll better like copper because you’ll have to like it for a long time.

            Investing in FTTN will almost certainly delay any final push to FTTH for at least a decade or more. To assume they simply must upgrade at the end, ignores the reality of the situation.

            MTM policy enshrines the notion of effectively preferring any existing HFC asset first, then FTTN, then finally FTTH (such as new housing) and for more regional areas it’ll be wireless and or satellite.

            Then note the minute its ‘finished’ its obsolete and will require and upgrade.

            Being obsolete and requiring an upgrade, is not the same as being obsolete and getting one. I don’t believe there will be a strong push to do so, unless funding is on the table.

            Given the incumbent Government refuses to even discuss such a thing, beyond vague ‘next question’ statements, I would not presume an upgrade is intended, once the vast majority of the network is built.

            Rent-seekers will lobby to retain the status quo for as long as possible. Which is where much of the profit will go. None of this is new, we’ve seen it all before.

            Want to know the future? Look at the past. It tells you all you need to know.

    • Comms pundits are living in fantasy land, and aren’t making any more sense than the far right post-spill screeching has. Might sound a bit harsh, but sadly it’s true. ;)

      agreed, Turnbull has proven he is totally unwilling and unable to admit he is ever wrong.

  8. We are not going to see yet another change to the NBN.

    It has been shown (twice now) that any contractual arrangements with Telstra take a minimum of 18 months before any real work begins.

    If they change the NBN again no construction will begin until late 2017. I would prefer they go back to fttp as much as the next informed voter, but people, it just isn’t going to happen. (Hope I’m wrong!)

    • This.

      Comms pundits are in a honeymoon period. A post leadership-spill euphoric glow, if you will.

      The entire question of “do you change policy that, broadly speaking, isn’t likely to have (significant) input into voter choices, after just changing leadership, much to the chagrin of the far-right?” – is just as rhetorical as it sounds.

      Yes of course it would be great to sort this out properly. But we won’t get that opportunity. Not for many years. Too much is invested in the current outcome.

      • Morrow’s Q&A to the press club pretty well illustrates that its going to be (bad) business as usual.

    • It has been shown (twice now) that any contractual arrangements with Telstra take a minimum of 18 months before any real work begins.

      But what else would there be to negotiate for? Malcolm’s last deal was for pretty well everything…

      • Exactly this, if FTTP is off the table for that remaining 30% to get FTTN in the MTM, then what I would like to see is the figures for FTTdp compared to FTTN.

        FTTdp would still be technically possible with the current Telstra agreement, if they can use 400-800m of copper for FTTN, they can use the copper from the house to the distribution point for FTTdp.

        It would also allow people to pay for their own upgrade to FTTP if they wished, at a fraction of the cost of upgrading from FTTN at max line distance. Though, FTTdp would probably suit the absolute vast majority of users for some time, and would be able to guarantee far higher speeds with whichever xDSL format they intended to use.

        • Wouldn’t get too excited.

          There is still no official statement as to the line length for FTTN. We’ve got the green light to deploy a technology and the government has not once identified or specified any binding terms.

          I’ll have 1x ($random) length please for my copper based internets.

        • @R0 agreed, it would most certainly provide the most affordable possible FTTP upgrade path, best possible VDSL2+ speeds (or G.Fast) and also remove the need for hundreds of thousands of FUgly powered nodes.

          FTTdp would also be fully reverse powered by the customers modem (eg PoE) removing the need to go cap in hand to the power companies for connection and with the bonus of massively reduced OPEX.

          and as pointed out by many ppl many times, it makes FoD realistic to deliver – customers with reusable lead-in conduits would be up for about $600-$800 instead of 10’s of thousands of dollars to provide FoD from FTTN infrastructure.

          Turnbull can even claim it’s “Fibre to the Micro-node” saving face.

          • You’d think that the Liberal echo-chamber posters (Richard et al) would jump on FTTdp as the perfect solution to shut up all the so called “Fibre zealots”. Perhaps its because many people who support FTTH would be perfectly okay with FTTdp so, they can’t possibly support it because that would appear to be “backing down”.

          • @R0 I’m on record supporting future technologies and upgrades as required. The future is inherently unpredictable, especially technology.

            Don’t put words in my mouth, read what’s written.

          • “The future is inherently unpredictable, especially technology.”

            @Richard We have heard the same point made by Turnbull. So we are to base very large government projects on imagined future technologies and have $49 billion interim measures (there’s nothing interim about $49 billion just a few years earlier)? Should we throw the idea of sticking to proven, solid platforms out the window? FTTN at scale in the Australian situation is neither proven nor solid. There is only one technology known and demonstrated to provide capacity and reliability into the future. Speed is just a bonus these days (shock horror) (all-fibre just happens to have terabits, but anyway). Capacity and reliability must be the priorities, especially in Australia.

          • @Marty

            Turnbull and I are not the only two, generally accepted.

            The plan to reuse exisitng infrastructure is not based on future unknown technologies. It brings fibre closer to the home using known technologies commonly deployed around the world to deliver speeds demanded by consumers quicker with cost recovered in as little a 7 years (lower cost / earlier revenue).

            Fibre rolled out to the node supports future upgrade to FTTH if required or say FTTdp (or other yet to be announced technology).

            If Conroy had negotiated such an upgrade (likely required the removal of the three amigos) many more of us would be using high speed broadband today.

            FTTH predicted completion CP16 FY26-28! By the time his party left govt they still hadn’t a strategy to connect MDUs, killing NBNCos plea for FTTB. It was a disaster.

          • @Richard The problem is that is doesn’t move fibre closer to the premises efficiently, the density required for FttN at a decent level (lets say 50Mbps+) means you need waaaay more nodes than FttP requires. So building FttN first (with nodes that can support FttP) means your spending a lot more than you should.

            Instead of a fibre “node” covering 15Km, you’ll have a fibre/copper node every 1-3Km. That’s a fuckton of expensive redundancy.

          • @Richard
            “It brings fibre closer to the home using known technologies commonly deployed around the world to deliver speeds demanded by consumers quicker with cost recovered in as little a 7 years”

            Let’s look at that statement…

            1. With fibre, having it slightly closer to the home has very little consequence. The key is how it is done…you can’t just splice into a fibre line like you can with a powered solution like copper. For fibre to be properly done, it must be designed and implemented as an all fibre solution.
            2. Your “commonly deployed” line is quite misleading…the FTTN deployments in the rest of the world are a result of rollouts that began many years ago, not all new decisions but extensions of old decisions (when it made far more sense to do so).
            3. Apparently it isn’t much quicker either…according to even the most optimistic bit of guesswork by the LNP, it will be within 10% of the time that FTTP would have been deployed.
            4. I doubt that the costs for MTM will ever be recovered as it will need replacing before it’s even finished.

          • “The plan to reuse exisitng infrastructure is not based on future unknown technologies.”

            I never said it was. You seemingly deliberately misinterpreted what I said to suit your own point. This government’s plan is to reuse existing infrastructure supposedly cheaply to *make the money available* for imagined future technologies like 5G and other vapourware so that we can take advantage of them if they ever eventuate and so are not too heavily invested into the future in one technology like fibre. For any large government project, this is silly at best and sociopathic at worst.

        • Exactly this, if FTTP is off the table for that remaining 30% to get FTTN in the MTM, then what I would like to see is the figures for FTTdp compared to FTTN.

          FTTdp would still be technically possible with the current Telstra agreement, if they can use 400-800m of copper for FTTN, they can use the copper from the house to the distribution point for FTTdp.
          What the hecks going on with the tags :/

          Yep, I consider Fttdp and FttB as “doable” for the NBN. I also think HFC has enough legs to be a medium term solution (and I’m on HFC, so there is no personal gain in this for me).

          FttN is, IMHO, a total waste of time/money for Australian society. Where FttB and HFC can’t be reused/installed, FttP is the only sensible option.

          • What I’d be really happy to see is the HFC Network filled in and upgraded, FTTP in Greenfields, FTTB in MDUs, FTTdp in Brownfields and Wireless/Satellite for the remainder.

            The fact that FTTdp hasn’t been explored and costed in comparison to FTTN shows that the MTM is not “technology agnostic” as its backers claim. If it were, we would see the costings comparing FTTN and FTTdp, and I highly doubt those costings would be far enough apart to favour FTTN.

          • The fact that FTTdp hasn’t been explored and costed in comparison to FTTN shows that the MTM is not “technology agnostic” as its backers claim.

            Yep, and the other thing about it is that it means Malcolm slacked off on his “fact finding” mission when he toured other countries looking at how they did it. He should have noticed that that is how BT do it, and why they can now offer 1Gbps service over G.Fast.

          • What is the upload capability for HFC? Even with DOCIS 3.1 etc?

            Currently a 100/2 plan isn’t very useful as you will saturate your UL simply attempting to DL close your supposed peak speed (check the delimiter forum speed test thread … the cable folk can sync that fast but not fully utilise that speed on a consistent basis).

            That is why the UL speeds had to be tweaked from the initial NBN offerings as it was feared that the UL being so low would simply hamstring the real world DL and thus make those higher tier plans superfluous.

          • @Simon You might find this an interesting read (especially the comments):


            Malcolm does avoid certain things in the actual FAQ section (like the DL speed is 10Gbps…though it probably will not be quite that fast “real world”), but is still pretty factual (for him :))

            Oh, and the answer to your question is that it’s rated up to 1Gbps UL

  9. It was turnbull whom went on global fact finding mission back in 2012

    He researched various technologies and eventuated on using FTTN model being the most cost effective. Atleast in his own opinions that was the best options

    This wasnt captain tonys call

    • Ironically those who seemed to believe it was the most cost effective (and were shouting it the loudest) were also quietly already planning fibre and had already seen the writing on the wall.

      The only people interested in FTTN, were those who intended to milk the very last cent from ancient copper investment. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree here, either.

      • Well, he did do a “global fact finding mission back in 2012”. I wonder what he found out? ;)

        • As he put his money with FttP, he must have found out that Conroy actually got it right.

          But sadly, because the mantra of the then Abbott opposition was oppose at all costs and especially to always mention the government can’t do anything right, the positive FttP conclusions, again where Mal put his personal money… and what was/is actually the best path for Australia, meant (and having dug such a deep hole, probably still means) absolutely SFA.

    • It was the most cost effective…. For those incumbents who owned their own copper networks, and knew the quality of their own network.

      Australia had neither of those, NBN Co now “owns” the copper for the most part, they do not however know the quality of it.

        • That and two overbuilt HFC Networks.

          Why does a GBE have to be ‘fair’ to all private companies and buy their stuff. Why can’t it operate in the real world and buy the cheapest on offer instead.

  10. I would joke with:

    NBN will remain FTTN
    This fact has been brought to you by the Kirito is always right foundation.

    … Except knowing me it would instantly switch back to Labor’s majority FTTP a second after I made it.

  11. I just can’t see it happening – unless there is some kind of out-clause in the Telstra and Optus deals, they’ve just purchased a shed load of copper network for a shed load of dollars, so to not use it would be a terrible look for a man espousing that he has come to the prime ministership as a “responsible economist”…

    …I’d love to see it, but I seriously doubt it…

    • yeah, I personally don’t see it happening either. Turnbull has invested way to much of his fat ego into the patchwork plan for him to change it now without looking even more foolish. I’d love to proven wrong but the reality is we are not dealing with politicians that think about what is best for the country. They need mediocrity in the world to make themselves look better. Such pathology is what led them to the highly flawed MTM model.

      • Yeah, but the CAN is a bit of a Curate’s egg, I’m fairly confident in saying I doubt they’ll get the full 38% FttN out that they state in CP16, due to only certain parts of the CAN being excellent, the rest of it’s a bad egg.

    • Yeah, but the flip side is that as they now can access/own the whole thing, that opens up a lot of possibilities…

      And at a really interesting time for those possibilities to open…

  12. Those analysts are delusional. Malcolm drank his own Kool-Aid. Otherwise he would have retained the team, renegotiated the FTTP construction contracts for the longer term, brought in FTTB to deal with the multi-dwelling model issues and blamed labour for any cost blowout. There is a slim possibility that he knows something we don’t – notably that the trial rollouts are a even more of a disaster than just being slower and more costly to deliver.

    The cost benefit analysis, and the shifting goalposts of the business plan did us all a favour by demonstrating so quickly how real world figures make a mockery of academic models and business plans, so all the cost comparisons are pretty pointless until we’re half way there, and even then it’ll be hard to compare if they mix in the operating costs and overheads for the different technologies to obfuscate the actual costs Telstra style.

    All we know for sure is that the original FTTP would have made a profit and provided X economic benefit to the economy, some of it immediately in the form of capital expenditure in the weak economy. We also know that the coalition and their pet economists hopelessly underestimated the difficulty and risks of shifting to the MTM, just as the original FTTP planners underestimated the difficulty of the original plan. Given the immediate impact of streaming services we also know that the extreme ‘white elephant’ predictions can only now be based on a faulty understanding of wireless technology, though within that there is scope for the NBN to provide a wired envelope for localised wireless services.

    • @brett

      “All we know for sure is that the original FTTP would have made a profit…”

      We do? Even the lower cost MTM won’t make a profit, the lower costs in the SR IRR under 3%. Costs have since blown out, revenue underperforming.

      Billions of taxpayer money will have to be written off for this policy folly. Only question remains how many.

      • You ever considered how much it could increase GDP by Richard? Yeah, didn’t think so…

        Last I checked it was around 1.2% (of $1.376 trillion)

        • @Tin

          We’ve had this discussion in these forums (it has been considered). What if most of the benefit can be captured at much less cost? Where’s the benefit in 1Gbps to every household?

          • @ Richard

            “Where’s the benefit in 1Gbps to every household?”

            You should read your own posts…you quoted the Chalmers study above. An increase to GDP for every doubling of broadband speed. That increase can be $10s of Billions in annual GDP.

        • Yes, we have had these discussions, and it’s pretty obvious that broadband does impact GDP in a positive way ( The really interesting thing though, is broadband speed doubling, increases GDP by 0.3% (

          So. From a government perspective, and irregardless of “cost” (that the users will pay back, regardless of how long) and social benefits (so were just looking at purely economic benefit to production), why is the difference between FttN and FttP so stark for you when it is obviously “a good thing”?

          And to keep it in context/limits, I agree with you on Fttb/HFC as being the right way for a short to medium term thing.

      • Lets just say broadband penetration would be the same in either the initial NBN vs MTM case for argument’s sake. Also assume satellite and wireless would be unchanged between plans.

        The average internet speed in Australia is 7.6Mbps, as per Akamai’s Q1 2015 state of the internet report.

        Lets assume an average ~60Mbps for the combination of vectored VDSL2 and HFC vs 1Gbps for full FTTP NBN, simply going off max attainable speed to begin with (again for argument’s sake with the assumption of an end case much like ADSL and ADSL2+ after a few years of max speed being a given and quota being the main determinant of cost).

        800m average line distance to node was the figure bandied about by NBNCo during committees, for reference. ~60Mbps is the maximum theoretical speed at 800m with perfect copper. In reality this would be a fair amount lower. The difference should be accounted for in the higher attainable speeds via HFC.

        That’s three doublings to reach 60Mbps. $1.376 trillion + 0.9% = $12.4 Billion GDP increase.
        Seven doublings to almost reach 1Gbps. $1.376 trillion + 2.1% = $28.9 Billion GDP increase.
        In other words, roughly ~$16.5 Billion to be had simply for going FTTP instead of MTM.

        Some sidenotes;
        DOCSIS 3.1 will likely be used for HFC, however mostly for the purposes of not having to split lines as originally intended. The end user speeds will still remain roughly 100Mbps because of these changed plans instead of getting any benefit from the updated technology.
        For FTTN, given the average 800m line distance could increase short line speeds, but not the ones near or past the average to any material extent, making the average slightly higher but still below 100Mbps.
        FTTP – current 2.4Gbps passive equipment can easily be swapped out with 10Gbps today, costs less than swapping in a card into current nodes. With 40Gbps or 100Gbps as a future upgrade path.
        Consider it equivalent for argument’s sake to take those potential upgrades out of the argument, it heavily favours FTTP in terms of far more speed doublings, but lets put that aside for more current terms.

        It gets fairly simple from here, how much is a ~$16.5 Billion GDP difference worth in terms of choosing plans?

      • Same arguments were made for the original overland telegraph service.

        Telstra has since gone on to make a considerable sum. Arguments about ROI over short periods ignore the longer term gains. If NBNco loses money it will be due to the endless reviews, endless lobbying and endless delays that switching rollout technologies mid stream, that has lead to the outcome.

        People keep acting as though the FTTN would have a 5-7 year life span, and be replaced almost over-night. Which would be an incorrect assessment. Y’all better like copper. Because you are going to be liking it for quite some time.

        Even if a push to all-fibre occurred roughly 10 years down the line, it still would not see every FTTN service affected, meaning many pockets could remain for at least a further decade or more, and any such upgrade would still take years to accomplish.

        Equally, arguing that there is a blanket statement of “no-one needs speeds of x because y reason” is ignoring the global trend that has already disproved it several times over.

        The global consumer market has shifted rapidly to embrace the virtual. This trend shows no signs of slowing. Fibre is always the end game, because it’s the logical successor to copper.

        When you consider how much of a good run, the POTS has had, to deny the returns in Fibre, is to not have learned a thing from history.

    • And your right Brett, the things that make sense in the MTM are:

      HFC, upgraded/updated.
      Greenfield FttP.
      Brownfield FttP where the copper is crap.
      FttN in the short term and where the run to the node is short.

      Everything else besides FttP is a waste of taxpayer/government investment dollars.

  13. Damn, Malcolm’s charm is potent stuff. People listen to a few words about inclusion, listening and puppy dogs and their hearts are set afire with the possibilities of life.

    I’m so glad that Abbott has gone. Leadership does not speak in slogans unless you take it like come again victims of a fascist despot. At least Turnbull can speak eloquently and has enough nous to know what issues are important. The only problem is you can’t trust a word he says, but hey, I’ll take that for today.

    So let the dreams continue about FTTP but the track record suggests it will only come about when Telstra has the ability to rape the unwitting Australian public over and over and over for it. Malcolm has made sure of that point, intentional or otherwise.

  14. Paul Budde writes: “…he will have far greater freedom to express his views on these issues” Say whatever it takes to get and keep your position. Is this a sound basis for running a mature democracy? Should everything our shiny new prime minister say be viewed through this prism? Does it apply to all our representatives? Are we condemned to putting up wit this state of affairs, no questions being asked?

    And again: “My key issue has been that I am still unclear about the government’s vision on the NBN.” And having heard from the great man, we still don’t know?

    • TBH, I’m pretty unclear about the official Opposition stance on it too at the moment. I guess we’ll need to wait till Bill gets the focus group feedback…

  15. It was part of the renegotiations that any technology can be used for any area, one of the key points of the MTM – No further negotiations of any kind need to be done with Telstra.
    Also one of the talking points mentioned at the time of the negotiations was that in the case of any new FTTP areas they would simply continue under the previous original terms, no material changes in the new terms for FTTP areas in particular.
    It may or may not have eventuated that way, but that was stated by all parties at the time and nothing has been stated to indicate otherwise since.

    The best thing to do would be to continue with what FTTN is currently being rolled out, while *immediately* offering up build contracts for new FTTP areas. No fooling about, straight into design for areas which have not had that tendered out for FTTN yet, whether inhouse or via contractors as originally, or potentially in the best case scenario both in and out at the same time with different areas to speed the process up further to get new build areas out ASAP.

    The current FTTN rollout won’t be stopped, that would be as foolish as the halting of the FTTP rollout was initially. It happened, it’s too late to change. However the uncontracted areas and much of the ones without technology set yet could easily be set as FTTP if that was what the government wanted, there’s nothing contractually stopping it.

    • Lars
      The problem with the new contract is that as soon as they start using the HFC they will have to maintaine all of it for Foxtel even if they stop using HFC NBN will have to keep it until Foxtel decides to stop using it.

    • And from that Article
      “In other words, if Australians want better broadband, they need to not only look across the Tasman for inspiration, but also move over here.”

      I understand there is some of that happening already, along with other places in the World, it is a Global Economy

      White ant the foundations and watch the structure crumble

  16. @ Richard

    “Apart from 4k & 8k video (which I don’t consider essential services) I don’t see the applications requiring huge bandwidth.”

    You are right , they are not essential services , but what if I decide I want these services ? Should I not have the right to spend my money & choose what speed I want & what services I want ?

    Just STFU with all the BS comments & install FTTP , stop wasting money on BS FTTN which is only gonna need to be upgraded in the very near future , do it once & do it right …..
    FTTP & get you arse into gear & get it done , stop wasting time and money on other crap FraudBand .

    • He’s a corporate bean counter who thinks he know’s better than everyone else.

      It’s little wonder so many companies are failing to do anything new and interesting with folk like him holding the purse strings!

    • Without being overly personal (and let’s please be decent towards Richard)… Renai please delete this if need be (especially if Richard is offended, as this is not my intention)…

      He is a L/libertarian, highly credential Accountant and the CIO of a company.

      This is what he told me (and Hubert) many moons ago at ZDNet, when he was, you guessed it, bagging the then FttP rollout and telling us he could have written Mal’s brand new FttN wonder plan. Which I guess explains why he must now follow through, at all costs.

      Although I disagree with Richard’s views (pretty much all of the time) I had and still have no reason to doubt his credentials and as such have genuine respect for what he has achieved.

      Sadly however, I think he’s let strict adherence to blind political ideology and pompousness/coming across as somewhat narcissistic (due to his credentials) hamper reality, common sense and has left him thinking that no one else knows anything, therefore all other views are of no consequence.

      Which I find sad.

      • That actually explains a lot. No offence to accountants, but unless every factor is quantified to a dollar amount they don’t always make the best decisions.

        However, I don’t believe that is the only factor. Richard has repeatedly relied on questionable sources, whilst decrying other questionable sources, based purely on the “political” base of the source. It is unfortunate as his passion and dedication is admirable. If only it were balanced.

        • Gee I have no respect for the guy he’s just a shrill for the Coalition NBN, Richard (Dicky) has done one to many Reconciliation Statements. And don’t give me this crap just because he is an accountant, shit it doesn’t take that much brains to work out that if you do something twice it will cost more than doing it once.

          • Depends upon which side of the fence you’re on.
            From a consumer’s perspective FTTH provides the best value outcome in both cost & performance options.
            But for the bean counters, Telstra, Foxtel & other LNP suppliers & sponsors get to skim far more cream off the top of their current ‘Malcolm Special’ multi-layered dessert before we eventually get to lick the bowl & settle for the crumbs.

  17. The only way to get anywhere near the truth is to vote Labor back into government at the next election and let them review the current NBN to find out which way to move forward and try to recoup as much of the original NBNCo plan. There will be contacts and commitments made that can’t be revoked but add least we will know where we stand. It appears that the vast majority of posters here don’t trust the Coalition government to execute the best NBN comms system so let Labor have another go. They were on the right path last time all they have to do is pick up the pace which shouldn’t be to hard to do compared to the Coalition.

      • Not necessary, if you read what I said that all contractual and legal obligations would still have to be fulfilled and FTTH would still continue to be rolled out as well as fixed wireless. All the components are there it’s just changing the percentages. FTTH %, FTTN %, HCF % etc.

  18. All before the last election, big business groups, small business groups – everyone – said the exact same thing. Didn’t happen.

    Mind you, he could easily do this and who would care about all the previous statements? Delimiter and… ?

  19. Not according to The Age:

    “There’s a temptation to hope that his support of the new-look “Multi-Technology Mix” NBN was all a ruse and now Turnbull will steer us back towards a nationwide fibre to the premises rollout, rather than retaining the copper and cable networks in the mix. Don’t kid yourself, it’s not going to happen.”

    • Good article, I agree with pretty well everything he says, though I’m still not sure Paul Fletcher is the best guy for that job. Sure he understands of the industry works, but it seems a little cozy to my mind…almost like putting a fox in charge of the hen house.

  20. Apart from the idiocy of suggesting Turnbull, of all people, would kick off his Prime Ministership with a complete backflip on everything he’s said and done over the past five years, Turnbull’s statements themselves demonstrate he is not minded to do any such thing – he has spent his life trying to convince people he is a man of logic and reason, which is a vital negotiating tactic of his. If he backflips on this, no one will believe another word he ever says (instead of it just being limited to the proportionately small number of educated, knowledgeable people, usually in ICT/IT/Science fields). Remember this?

    “The Labor Government has not been honest with the public about the NBN. They never conducted a cost benefit analysis, they have sought at every turn to conceal the fact that the project has been failing to meet its targets.

    We will bring the public into our confidence. We will open the books of the NBN.” And then we will close them again!

    “The NBN debate is not over – but I am determined to ensure that from now on it is at least fully informed.”

    “Democracy? I don’t think so.”

    So, according to Turnbull, he has opened up the NBN to provide complete transparency, to ensure the debate is fully informed. What possible logic could he apply that then says ‘New NBN modelling has demonstrated that a full FTTP rollout will be at least slightly cheaper than FTTN for 70% of Australians.’?? Who would he have to throw under the bus for that one? The NBN Co management team, which he appointed? The Strategic Review and his appointees that conducted it? How could he possibly manage such a change of direction without getting egg on his face?

    No, the only way the NBN could drop FTTN and shift back to FTTP on the LNP’s watch would be to throw Malcolm and every one of his appointees under the bus, find them criminally negligent, and then use that as an excuse to drop the policy. Any other move would damage the party too much.

    Remember Australia, you voted for this. You have the NBN you asked for. Strap in and enjoy the ride – you’re sure to get your money’s worth on this one.

    • I don’t see a back-flip from him on FttN either, but I just can’t see how it’ll be the full 38% CP16 plan says.

      The only way it’d be the full 38% is if all the copper is in perfect condition, and Telstra’s actions during the sale (basically forcing it through as a “caveat emptor” sale), and all the anecdotal evidence over the years….well….I just don’t see it being the full 38%…

      • Has it occurred to you, that the quality of copper for VDSL, when the target is so atrociously low, means you could almost use a (granted very long) wet noodle and almost get that speed, over a few hundred meters.

        People assume the network will have to have “heaps good” copper to function. It’s doesn’t. It needs good copper to work well – and VDSL2 only functions reasonably with vectoring, due to the pretty horrific crosstalk – however it doesn’t need good copper to work at all.

        Shooting for ~25mbit/sec on a VDSL2 tail, at up to a kilometre from a node is doable. We don’t know the line limits so who knows, however.

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