Truth: Fibre to the Node is dead


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  1. Bilbo Baggins and Same Gangewise travel to Middle Earth and discover some archaic telecommunications infrastructure. Thoughts of ‘precious’ come to them both.

    • Ha.

      One Copper to Rule them All, One Copper to bring them all, and in the darkness Australia Telecommunication System stays.

    • It’s actually Samwise Gamgee. Anyway, the “precious” bit really did apply to Abbott (he did look remarkably like Gollum), and his fascination with the “shiny copper”…

      Now if only Morrow could grow a pair, stand up to Talkbull, and point out that FTTdp would be the best compromise going forward. Talkbull still gets something other than FTTP (and also a better policy…), and it would give us a better network.

      • Now if only Morrow could grow a pair, stand up to Talkbull, and point out that FTTdp would be the best compromise going forward.

        I get the vibe from what he’s been saying, that if the Statement of Expectations had a bit more wriggle room in it, nbn™ would be using Fttdp already…maybe not everywhere, but in a lot more areas.

        So basically Malcolm would need to adjust the SoE to allow that to happen (Bill can just “do it”, he’d get sacked).

  2. I don’t agree that FTTN was “…an unworkable model for the NBN…” – but it was always going to be stop-gap measure until someone wised up and decided to go to some form of fibre – (FTTP,FTTdp/FTTK) – solution. Agree however that the end appears to be on the horizon.

    • It was in the sense that we didn’t own any copper so had to buy it and therefore need to get a return on that investment with a shortened timeline due to fact Cu is obsolete already.

      Only having to make a return on the upgrade cost then fair enough (ie like say if Telstra did FttN being they owned the CAN and it paid itself off already many times over).

      Also the issues with distances we’ve seen already with it in metro area’s and pockets unable to be connected due to short excess distances.

  3. “And, of course, it also makes the NBN much more easily upgradable to FTTP in the future. One assumes that all it would take to switch from FTTdp to FTTP would be to connect the last 10 metres or so between the ‘pits’ used under FTTdp and housing or business premises. Certainly the cables looked pretty ‘plug and play’ when demonstrated by Corning in the NBN Senate hearings yesterday.”

    Is this so? I know the Fttdp hardware is powered from each premises via peoples routers. If that is then simply a switch over to passive split and extra fibre all well and good but I was under the impression it was active fibre vs passive there so no compatible?

  4. I wouldn’t be breaking out the champagne. They haven’t said they’re abandoning FTTN just yet or have any solid plans to do so. Those of us with or getting FTTN get a glimpse of what we’ll might get upgraded to starting after the nbn build is “finished” after 2020 or so, and that’s all.

    • just have to hark back to the 2013 election when Australia was promised “faster, sooner, cheaper” and its not like MT or MF have been at all honest about anything MTM either.

    • A pessimistic view, but it is certainly possible that you’re right.

      I think Turnbull won’t want to make things hard on himself by continuing to pursue FTTN, but I guess we’ll see.

      • I’d say Gavin is spot on, even if they decide to roll out FTTdp ASAP there are still going to be thousands of people stuck on FTTN. There is no way they’ll come back and replace it with FTTdp any time soon.

        • You would think they’d just get overbuilt with FTTP as part of phase 2….. but if the LNP is in charge it is entirely possible FTTN premises will be completely shafted as NBN Co would be sold off asap once “complete”. They would then be ignored by new owner Telstra as being “adequately served”.

          • I’d say it’s on the cards, areas with FTTN will be considered complete and NBN Co will be sold. The new buyers will want to get their dollar’s worth out of their new asset before having to spend on major upgrades.

      • I’ve seen enough from Abbott and Turnbull to be totally pessimistic about this until demonstrably proven otherwise.

        FttN is still in the argument until its totally stricken from NBN Co’s current AND future build instructions, simply because of this insane fascination with MTM. The Liberal thinking will be that while MTM is the base principal, everything from dialup to atomic banana’s are still a possibility.

        Rural areas may get FttN for example, where they are clustered enough that FttN covers an entire core of a township. There are enough out there that someone will still think a single FttN node is a better option.

        • simply because of this insane fascination with MTM.

          It’s not the fascination with MTM that’s the problem, it’s the fascination with FttN :o)

          Even Labor were effectively using an MTM solution (wireless, sat, Fibre).

  5. FTTN was always stillborn. Why ANYONE with half a brain would duplicated the existing ADSL2 network at a cost of $51b is beyond belief.

      • funny, I thought I the taxpayer was funding it?

        I know what I would have spent MY money on.

        • The taxpayer put up a capital investment to build the NBN. Then, over time, the NBN’s revenues would gradually repay that investment, as well as making a return over and above the initial investment.

          From memory it was up to five percent ROI.

          Plus, then the Govt actually owns a massive national fibre network which it can privatise for ~ $1 squillion.

          And we get fibre broadband.

          Everyone wins.

        • “I know what I would have spent MY money on.”
          An inferior network rollout that’s more expensive AND requires upgrading before completion? Say it ain’t so.

    • The one thing I never underestimate about Malcolm Turnbull is his sheer will to pursue policies that will see him gain and retain power.

      Taking FTTN to another election is a bad move and I think he will realise that. He won’t want to receive constant pressure about the FTTdp replacement option.

      • “Taking FTTN to another election is a bad move and I think he will realise that. He won’t want to receive constant pressure about the FTTdp replacement option.”

        Especially if it means that Labor could take all these figures from NBN themselves and take FTTdp to the election spruiking a better product for equivalent spend.

      • Renai, the thing is he seems as tho he’s preparing to take other “bad” polices that arent broadly supported by the electorate to an election so I wonder if the right wingers will force him to keep this one too?

      • Renai,

        Taking FTTN to another election is a bad move and I think he will realise that.

        I wouldn’t count on the Coalition thinking it is a bad move, they took FTTN to the last election and I wouldn’t classify that necessarily as a bad move.

        Let’s say Turnbull calls a election for September /October, that’s a shit load of FTTN connections they have on board to compare with what Labor did 2010-2013.

        He won’t want to receive constant pressure about the FTTdp replacement option

        Depends on what you perceive as ‘ constant pressure’ and where it is coming from, Labor and the Coalition may be toying with the idea of making some sort of formal FTTdp policy announcement but I don’t think they are prepared to say it will be a total replacement for FTTN.

        It’s more likely to be along the lines of we will review it after the election and if feasible for certain areas etc etc …..

        • It’s (todays) contradiction corner time, with alain.

          So alain, you told us just a couple of days ago (and many times up to that point) that the Coalition had a clear cut comms policy they would be taking to the election, didn’t you?

          You also derided Labor constantly for not (according to you) having, as you called it, a “solution”… didn’t you?

          Yet now, because it has become unclear which policy (if any) the Coalition will actually (read: actually) be taking to the election… being policy free has suddenly become quite ok…ROFL

          Q. Can you ever have a clear, solid position which will not flip-flop to and fro, to suit your cyclopic, mindless politics?

          A. No

          You’re welcome

          • He loves FttN sooooo much I think he’s wedded to it!

            Seriously Alain, why the “die in a ditch” attitude to FttN?

  6. Until it is not only dead, but “buried and cremated” also, we cannot realistically celebrate the end of this horrendous policy.

    I’m not holding my breath for MT to change plans until there is serious polling and media backlash to the current plan. Unfortunately, most of the population is not particularly technically savvy, and the nuances are obfuscated beyond belief- reduced to a total CapEx cost and speed of rollout formula.

  7. Nice to see Mitch out taking his node for a walk!

    But seriously, great article Renai, it’s an accurate summation of “Previously, on NBN”, and where they can go from here.

    I’m leaning to Malcolm changing to Fttdp (for the same reasons you’ve put in the article and comments). Now, we just need to hear from Labor as to whether they’d back it as a bipartisan policy and the NBN may actually be worth a damn…

  8. It’s too late for about a third of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. A giant chunk of the urban coastal strip from Mooloolaba to Currimundi has FTTN cabinets in already. *Sigh*

    I just see it as a minor upgrade with the price tag of a massive one.

  9. Was always being set up to fail to devalue it and sell it back to Telstra. Telstra just wanted all that money which they got anyway. A money laundering scheme.

  10. Monkey See, Monkey Do!

    BT did not invent the Internet …… meantime, back in the real world of broadband technologies……..

    2010: Alcatel-Lucent announced that the first gigabit (symmetrical) broadband service in United States is available in Chattanooga TN.
    At this time, Alcatel-Lucent was involved in more than 100 fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) projects worldwide, more than 85 of which are based on GPON technology
    This project was financed by Obama government economic stimulus to develop Smart Grid technology which was awarded to EPB a public energy utility.

    Someone had probably not read or understood the FCC’s “Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan” which was unveiled March 2010.

    Right now BT is in the proverbial street with government MPs because millions of poms are receiving sub-standard broadband

  11. I have zero faith in this government doing anything sensible with the MTM. They won’t abandon a position simply because it has been proven to be wrong. They won’t make a change simply because it is demonstrably sensible to do so.
    Malcolm Turnbull loves power, but even more than power, he loves Malcolm Turnbull. He believes his own lies, and has sufficient ego to assume that everyone else does too. We won’t see any change. FTTN is here to stay – at least until this current government is a long distant, foul memory.

    • but even more than power, he loves Malcolm Turnbull. He believes his own lies, and has sufficient ego to assume that everyone else does too.

      If you were right, he wouldn’t be kowtowing to his parties hard right currently.

      • One of his lies is that he is a moderate. He is fine and dandy with the conservative core of his party. He isn’t kowtowing. Anything which gives the appearance of him being in conflict with them is just for show.
        I recall Renai having a very, very difficult time coming to terms with what Turnbull is actually about. It took him years. The problem is when people don’t look at his actions, but instead listen to his speeches and then bounce around the echo-chamber of media or pundits who also ignore his actions and instead listen to his speeches. Perhaps if less people went down that path, we wouldn’t have this MTM mess.

        • Sure you’re not being a bit one-eyed there Paul?

          If he was “fine and dandy with the conservative core of his party”, then Safe Schools would have be dead, buried, cremated last week. His action’s supporting climate change action caused the “conservative core” to ditch him and put Abbott in charge. The “conservative core” would like nothing better than him to bugger off so they can put Abbott back in charge…

          • Yes I am sure, thanks for asking.
            You can continue to buy into whatever delusions you want. Turnbull is very, very good at this sort of thing. When I come across people who have failed to notice his true nature I’ll just point at the MTM and say: ‘you might want to rethink what your beliefs about Turnbull are’. It is time for you to have a rethink. Start afresh and just look at evidence – not red herrings which reinforce an already entrenched position. Safe Schools? Whatever. If you really buy into that kind of politicking and sleight of hand, then you are part of the problem.

  12. Ok so now assume this is in fact true and no more FttN.

    WTF did we just pay Telstra for all that copper if we’re only going to end up using the last 10m of it …. aaarrggghh!!

    MTM going to start up a scrap metal business on the side?

    • WTF did we just pay Telstra for all that copper if we’re only going to end up using the last 10m of it …. aaarrggghh!!

      Because of section 51 of the Australian Constitution. From Wikipedia:

      Right to just compensation – Section 51(xxxi) creates a right to compensation “on just terms” for “acquisition of property” by the Commonwealth from any state or person. The “acquisition of property”, itself, is not restricted, but the High Court has understood the expression broadly so as to give a broad entitlement to compensation.

      If they hadn’t paid Telstra for it, they’d have ended up in the High Court.

      • Yet labor managed to avoid doing so and just bought/compensated for customers.

        I guess the side benefit here is that most of the copper won’t need maintaining as they’ll only be using a shortened length so hopefully reduces the amount MTM pay T$.

    • You all left out one key point, the Coalition paid the same amount of money to Telstra for getting the copper asset that Labor were paying them to overbuild it and switch it off, same for Optus and Telstra HFC.

      The massive payouts to Telstra and Optus were contractually put in place by Conroy and Labor.

      • Shh alain – speaking of key point omissions…

        Don’t mention the huge maintenance costs ON TOP, for the 5 mins to midnight “copper asset” and “failed (your word) HFC asset”.

        The huge remediation costs ON TOP for the 5 mins to midnight “copper asset” and “failed (your word) HFC asset”.

        The extra power costs ON TOP for the 5 mins to midnight “copper asset” and “failed (your word) HFC asset”.

        The cost of improvements ON TOP to increase speeds – that you said we don’t/won’t need (which still leaves it vastly inferior to FTTP anyway)… to the 5 mins to midnight “copper asset” and “failed (your word) HFC asset”.

        Oh that’s right you didn’t mention those FACTS did you? You never do…

        You’re welcome.

  13. Someone needs to sit Turnbull down and tell him he is a tool and is always going to be regarded as a tool so just go and build the real NBN already.
    If Turnbull continues down the FTTN path everyone will call him a tool as they are already.
    If Turnbull changes to the FTTP/FTTPdp path it will be an admission of guilt and everyone will call him a tool.
    So either way he is a tool and can just go out and lay some fibre.

  14. Sorry I missed one important and key announcement.

    ‘The Coalition NBN Co announces it is stopping the FTTN rollout.’

    Perhaps it is in this latest announcement from them on FTTN?

    “At present FTTN remains the fastest and most cost effective end-user way for nbn to connect end-users,” the company said. FTTN cost per premises is $2,300 as stated in our corporate plan and financial results.”

    “We are looking to make fast broadband available to 2 million more homes in the next Financial Year alone with FTTN. By June 2017 we will have more FTTN premises Ready for Service than FTTP.”

    Must be in there somewhere. :)

    • Lets see what happens after the announced “trial” of Fttdp in Sydney and Melbourne where over 300k will have it ;o)

  15. “By June 2017 we will have more FTTN premises Ready for Service than FTTP.”

    Just like they will have 25mbps-50mbps to all Aussies by 2016?

    Regardless of broken promises and/or lies. It will take some 4 years from when they were elected with their …

    “FASTER – ready to roll out” plan…just to surpass FTTP?

    Proving once again what a fuck-up, the retrograde MTM/FTTN FRAUDBAND is.

    You’re welcome

  16. 7% ROI,… wish I was a member of the business acumen club of Australia and then I would take that deal: wait,… no I wouldn’t would I!!!!

  17. The house in the background of this photo has a very poignant significance. The house is built of asbestos, a material in whose time the masses were told that it was the future of the nation providing cheap low cost housing. 50 years on we now all know those who were promoting the building material were lying and they didn’t give a rats about the people who would be impacted by the material. Karen and Mitch are much the same and would fit in well at Hardies, quite happy to sell those dependent on them a pup of the worst sorts. The MTM NBN is Australia’s biggest rort that is killing any possibility of this nation transitioning to a new innovation economy.

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