Insight: FTTdp is probably Turnbull’s election NBN policy


This article was originally published for Delimiter Members only. In late September 2016, Delimiter ceased publishing new articles. Because of a number of operational and other factors associated with this decision, we subsequently withdrew membership articles from publication. If you would like to see a copy of this article, please contact Delimiter directly with your request. Requests by Delimiter Members will be granted. We will consider all other requests on their merits.


  1. Personally, I wont be surprised to see both parties with some sort of FTTdp policy. Labor leaning towards FttP in some areas, Lib’s leaning to MTM in some areas being the difference, but the core of the build for both changing to FTTdp.

    And I for one will be happy for them to do that. My mind has come about with FTTdp over the past couple of years as I’ve looked deeper at it, and for both its a happy middle ground to where we are at.

    I get there are savings to be made in the short term with FttN, but whats the cost over the time it takes to get to a 100/40 build? Those temporary FttN builds need to be overbuilt at some point, with everything pointing to that happening sooner rather than later, so add that cost onto FttN, and where does it leave you?

    You dont have quite as bad a problem with FTTdp, and when that extra speed beyond what it can deliver is needed, for most people its a small build from the brick sized node to the property. The upgrade path is simple, and personalised, which you cant readily say about FttN or HFC.

    Bring it on, let us get on with getting 1 Gbps connections started, so we can compete globally.

    • In my opinion demand for 100/40 & upgrade path 1 Gbps are not the right discussions to be having now. nbn today do sell a 250/100, 500/200 & 1000/400 service (check the WBAv2 price list). Which consumer ISP are offering those ?

      Better discussions to be having now are around Australian backhaul pricing & the privatization of nbn. Back haul pricing in Australia is still expensive (look at the current Basslink / TPG articles) – for an ISP to offer & deliver faster speeds they need access to better backhaul. Likewise the plan to privatize the nbn is now getting discussed – once that is in private hands where is the incentive to keep bringing prices down? (people assume pricing will get cheaper over time, what is in place to force that to happen?)

      • Fair points. I’m more thinking about the future point when those speeds start being desired. We’re not there yet, but we’ll be there sooner than some people think.

        You can go back to the last century, and you see a pattern where our speed needs double every 2 years. Even when people thought the next phase was going to be enough, something came along to fill the bandwidth.

        And in short, thats my issue with FttN and to a lesser degree HFC. Their speed capabilities are nearing the maximum, so any money invested in them is only giving a handful of years of extended life. To me, that means its wasted.

        That pattern puts 100 Mbps needs as somewhere early next decade. And 2ish years after that, we’re wanting 200 Mbps, then 400 Mbps, and so on. FttN simply wont be able to deliver those speeds unless they can break the laws of physics.

        So bypass that layer, and go straight to the next tier that minimises copper use. FTTdp gets far along that path that removing the rest is no more than putting a new phone line in.

        Backhaul costs come along with that, as a uniform build also makes backhaul consistent. Instead, there are 4 or 5 builds in play messing everything up. Including dialup…

    • I don’t mind FTTdp if someone could came up a with a self install kit from the curb to the house a reasonable price.

      • Pretty sure nbn™ would do that at no cost…that’s what they were created to do after all…unless you have a kilometre long driveway for something?

  2. Just pity the poor people who think they were blessed with the arrival of the NBN delivered via copper. Wait a couple of years until they see households with fibre receiving speeds hundreds of times better than they have.

  3. Emma Alberichi: “And there are claims we could soon see the end of the Government’s much-lauded fibre-to-the-node plans”

    Much-lauded by who?

  4. Personally I’m not sold on the concept of FTTPdp.

    Active electronics need management, maintenance & power. Due to that, the more you deploy the greater (and more complex) the overheads become. FTTN & FTTB I think provide a reasonable middle ground (each node supporting a few hundred customers & limited break-in points to the copper network). FTTPdp will scale up the electronics requirements by a factor of 20-30.

    If you are going to go to all those problems, why not just fun fibre directly to the house?

  5. One of the benefits apparently offered by FTTdp is the ability to use reverse power feeding from the customers modem to power the distribution point. How much power are we talking? What would be the additional cost to the user? I don’t imagine it would be terribly high, but it’s just a question I’ve not been able to find an answer to.

    • The customer modem reverse powers only that customers portion of the active micro node electronics, the designs are actually quite clever and very low power.

  6. Just over at the ITNews article and this gem popped out: “Each year, we brainstorm strategic alternatives. That’s where we said ‘let’s look at [FTTdp] in lieu of FTTN. It didn’t meet the criteria the first time, and it might not this time, but if it did in the future the board would be very supportive,” Morrow said.

    It fills me with great angst that the brains trust come together once a year to discuss innovation and new technologies.

  7. FTTdp is just a middle point designed to give copper apologists an opportunity to ultimately accept the reality that we’ll all need fibre without having to be singled out for ongoing embassment and ridicule. #FibreToTheFuture

  8. If it came to a choice I would go FTTDp over FTTN anyday – I’m happy to pay for the fibre lead in to my house and if my neighbour prefers not to, then that is up to them.

    • I’d actually be ok with that, I’d use my PSTN lead-in to pull the fibre thru! :-D

  9. That’s a good point Chip. One option is to adopt a practice of letting people not only determine if they want fibre or not but also then let them have a third party do the installation from the front fence to the house. No different to getting an electrician to string a second phone line in your house.

  10. By the way, expect FTTdp to be Labor’s NBN election policy as well — this is a model which fits both sides, and Senator Conroy certainly appeared highly keen on it in yesterday’s Senate Committee hearings. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Exactly Renai, a switch to Fttdp would take a lot of the heat out the debate around what the NBN has become too.

    I guess we’ll have to wait an see if there is some political motivation for them to keep it FttN, otherwise I can’t see/understand the reasoning if MT decides to stick with it.

    • If Labor call FTTdp as their policy first, it’ll get real interesting, real fast in seeing how the opposition in government respond. Because of the RWNJ’s, MT might not have a choice but attack it and kill it.

      I took from the Senate and Lateline interview that even Morrow wants out of this political pinch.

  11. RENAI – You mean, after wasting untold billions on FTTN, our brilliant, innovative, agile PM is going to say: hell, I didn’t have a clue – let’s do something different. How does he do that without signalling that he’s been running up a cul de sac for the last three or four years and taking us with him. The electorate will smell bullshit.

    • If it’s packaged as an improvement only made possible by recent advances, it would get through.

      • I’m sure that’s how it will be sold. But I’ve got my doubts about how many will buy that. Malcolm might well decide that it’s better not to rip the bandage off the NBN wound and try to skate through at the election. On his form so far, that’s my prediction.

      • If it’s packaged as an improvement only made possible by recent advances, it would get through.

        Yep, and it’s still using the copper which ticks that box for him…

  12. This is all about what we can realistically get under the influence of the coalition. So I very, very much hope the scenario in the article plays out. Australian households will finally be winners out of the NBN (except the many that are locked in for FTTN). Sadly, never mind what we might have had from Labor’s original NBN. FTTdp is a very, very good middle path and the best we can hope for at the moment.

  13. FTTdp under Turnbull, I reckon your dreaming, I just can’t see it happening, this government under Turnbull is as stiff and unyielding as the face on a Botox model.

Comments are closed.