Truth: The NBN’s two satellites will be nowhere near enough


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  1. I have to agree, for the last few years I have been on a 150GB plan (incidentally the hard cap data limit on a satellite plan). Two years ago I only used about 60GB, last year 120GB, now I’ve migrated to a 1TB plan because I’m using 200GB+
    I don’t consider myself a big user, maybe an hour of IPTV a day, and there is only me using the connection. I don’t bit torrent. As far as I can tell it’s the quality of things like youtube videos going up, software sizes increasing, patch size increasing, more devices needing updates, etc. I am not surprised, it’s the way computer storage and program sizes has gone since the 70s, the growth is there without noticeably doing much different. I think a failure to accept this continual explosion is data size will be a problem. A problem limited to satellite, but now permeating all aspects of the NBN.

    • We don;t use any streaming services, or SKY (they are way too bandwidth hungry). And WOW, who is your ISP? There is no plan that large under the NBN from IPSTAR and their plans are a lot better than most of the other ISPs (and then have actual support). We have a 40GB plan (shaped) and it is expensive (well as pensioners it seems that way to us and we looked into pricing and quality of support over a lot of providers). The government stepped in last year and forced IPSTAR (I think everyone else too) to cap all their NBN SAT plans, not just shape them as before. So when we get shaped down to 128 (out here in rural Australia) we are in danger of losing all internet access (that happens at 50GB and they can’t legally do a thing about it). They (legally) can’t let us buy more than a few extra data blocks.

  2. Well they have no-one to blame but themselves. If you double the number of premises to 400k something is going to have to give somewhere. MTM just thought they could be sneaky and get an extra 200k ‘connected’ sooner. Good luck funding a third satellite too given the lack lustre returns from Cu network projections.

  3. It always amuses me the poor memories people have when it comes to politics. Take the satellite issue for example. When the NBN was announced or soon after it was revealed satellite would be for 3% of premises. Labor then said the satellites were going to service 200 000 odd premises.

    Back then no one seemed to care that 3% of 12 million premises is 360 000 not the 200 000 labor were spruiking. No one seemed to be worried that labor were telling porkies about the NBN satellite coverage. Back then labor had an army of keyboard warriors that would defend their NBN to the death.

    Now fast forward to now. Different government but the satellite solution is unchanged from what labor promised and ordered. Two satellites servicing 3% of premises. Now do we see condemnation of labor and the old NBN management. Of course not, we instead see condemnation for the liberal federal government even though they have only implemented what labor wanted. It is still two satellites servicing 3% of premises.

    • Any percentage figure is subject to some bias, and should only be used for reporting purposes, not for actual planning purposes. In other words, they should give the number of premises that they plan to cover with the given service (here, satellite). At the end of the day, the goal is to provide Internet coverage to everyone. I’d think a better statistic would be a percentage of the number of people over 14 with access at both business and at home, but this figure is difficult to determine and how would you count people who work in multiple locations, some of which are in blackspots?

    • It always amuses me the poor memories people have when it comes to politics.

      So I assume you remember the coalition clowns opposing the launch of the two satellites, Turnbull claiming: There is enough capacity on private satellites already in orbit or scheduled for launch for the NBN to deliver broadband to the 200,000 or so premises in remote Australia without building its own

      Of course not, we instead see condemnation for the liberal federal government even though they have only implemented what labor wanted.

      We see commendation (rightly so) because if they had it their way they never would have been built and those “200,000 or so premises in remote Australia” would be screwed period.

      So there’s two satellites now. That’s two satellites closer to the number needed than the alternative of ZERO had these insufferable imbeciles been in charge at the time.

    • It depends on if they were talking takeup or not. Given that only 60 odd percent of households takeup broadband all 360k premises wont be connected

      • I vaguely recall that too Rizz, on Zdnet right? Wasn’t it a Fred though?

      • If the plan had stuck with FttP then that probably would have happened (well not 100% but maybe 99%) over the next 20 odd years as the NBN reaped in the revenue and invested that in extending the footprint.

        Now they have to start at 22% and fill in the rest up to 97% before considering those stuck out bush.

    • Bullshit Frank, it was 230k and NBN Co extended there fixed wireless to cover an extra 30k which reduced the number serviced by satellite to 200k.

  4. So wasn’t NBNCo looking at a third satellite? “…built and launched some time in the next decade.”

    I know, it is the AFR, but they must get some things right occasionally!

    OTOH, Malcolm 2X will need to find a lot of money very soon: “The cost of Australia’s immigration detention system has blown out by more than $1 billion as the Turnbull government forks out for charter flights, accommodating asylum seekers and funding the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.”

    How do you tell when a politician is telling the truth?

  5. I was just comparing CP’s for a sceptical friend of a friend and came up with the following to confirm that the Libs have in fact doubled the number of premises to be covered by the LTSS and reduced the number of Fixed Wireless premises.

    So page 71 of the 2010 Corp Plan has “up to 200k users” for LTSS and page 16 of the 2016 Corp Plan has “more than 400k” for LTSS.



    The CP2016 also now says “~590k Fixed Wireless” vs 800,000 FW for the CP2010 plan (1mil -200k for LTSS page 77)

    • Check out Franks comment above.

      I bet you they saw the opportunity to save costs on the fixed wireless, all whilst keeping the %’age of houses covered by the satellite the same. Certainly seems to convince some patisan commenters.

      Pity no one bothered to compare it to available bandwidth on the satellites.

      • That was pretty much my thoughts too, this is very typical of “Corporate short term thinking” vs the previous NBN management who used “Building National Infrastructure” thinking – ie, do it properly the 1st time!

        • “Corporate short term thinking” vs “Building National Infrastructure”..

          I like it, may I use that in future, please?


      • yeah they’re cutting corners now to save costs (fixed wireless towers are very expensive … not as bad as satellite but since the 2 are bought and paid for and there’s unlikely to be a third anytime soon ….).

        MTM an example of how to take a somewhat reasonable plan and completely ruin it!

        • it’s what happens when you apply neo-liberal ideology to national infrastructure and entirely predictable. :-(

          These crooks need to be jailed!

      • Richard, All I see in that review are a lot of excuses – NBN Co could easily purchase more spectrum and the review freely admits that they haven’t bothered.

        • @do maybe it is the way you interrupt it. Pretty comprehensive document (addressing your issues with the numbers).

          Spectrum costs money (supply restricted), premises not previously identified must be connected. MTM opens up more options (but all costs). Continuation of the policy folly that is the NBN.

          • The policy folly of replacing a future proof telecommunications system with stop gap bandaid solutions designed to last 5-10 years…

          • @hotc and I thought FW & LTS were part of the original management’s plan.

            Sorry for providing the actual background. Better we listen to Derek’s explanation. After all he’s processed the numbers;-)

          • Ah yes the trusty SR and CP16 *sigh*

            Brought to you by the same anti-FttP govt and complete minions who also said, we don’t need satellites?

            The folly is actually believing this MTM isn’t the folly.

  6. To my understanding some fixed wireless service will still go over satellite uplink. Because fibre cost of deploying fibre backbone into a regional area is probably cheaper then launching a satellite

    • They still need the fiber back bone for wireless.

      That’s why in western tas some town was going to get FTTN but NBN doesn’t want to build a second fiber link so the NBN are switch 4 towns to sat

  7. Poor network planning… The average user is downloading around 73GB per month now, and at 22% average annual growth, this will mean 1440 GB per month in 15 years time!!!
    New satellite plans are offering a retail maximum of 60GB peak time data, or 35 – 40GB at affordable prices. Hardly satisfactory…
    There is no way these satellites can support that many users.
    Besides, in 10-15 years time, 25Mbps peak speeds will be a laughing stock.
    Sure, these new satellites are an improvement over the current interim satellite service, but really, this so-called ‘long term satellite solution’ is what the interim satellite service should of been 5-6 years ago!
    It’s now looking obsolete and nearly passed it’s useful life, before it’s even come into service!
    It ‘could’ provide a decent service, albeit it on the slow side, if they were to limit the number of sat subscribers to 10 – 20000.
    Satellite is only viable for truly remote properties. Everyone else in rural areas should be FTTP where current copper phone lines already exist, or fixed wireless for those outside the copper boundary but currently within mobile broadband coverage. The rest, the very remote properties, get satellite.
    Ultimately though, I don’t think satellite so-called ‘broadband’ has any place or future in a true broadband network, unless they are low earth orbit, and data capacities increase immensely!

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