news The chief executive of the NBN company this week reportedly said briefings with the team behind the Google Fiber project showed broadband users didn’t want Fibre to the Premise infrastructure or the gigabit speeds behind it, and that the NBN company was built to make money, not as a public service.
Google Fiber is a project launched by the US technology giant in February 2010. It is seeing Fibre to the Premises infrastructure to a number of locations around the United States, including Kansas City, and expansion areas such as Austin, Provo, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Nashville, Salt Lake City and San Antonio.
The Google Fiber platform provides customers with Internet needs of up to 1Gbps for both upload and download. As at October last year, Google had some 120,000 customers on the service. In future, Google plans to offer 10Gbps speeds over the platform.
The Google Fiber model is very similar to the original Labor Fibre to the Premises model for the NBN. However, the Coalition Abbott and Turnbull Governments have substantially moved away from that model to technically inferior Fibre to the Node and HFC cable options for the NBN.
The Financial Review newspaper yesterday reported that NBN chief executive Bill Morrow had recently travelled to the US to meet with the team behind Google Fiber, as well as a large number of other key technology companies. Delimiter recommends readers click here to read the full article.
However, Morrow reportedly told the AFR that Google had told the NBN company with respect to its gigabit speeds that “customers did not use it yet” and that the FTTP rollout was only done to force other telcos to conduct similar broadband upgrades. Morrow added that people should remember the NBN was set up as an enterprise required to make money, ‘rather than as a public service’.
The NBN chief executive’s comments represent only the latest time that Morrow has publicly stated that consumers did not currently want the high-speed broadband services which the FTTP platform unlocks.
For example, in November last year, In a little-reported interview with TelecomTV published a month ago (we recommend you click here for the full article), NBN company chief Bill Morrow said it was more important to get entry-level high-speed broadband speeds to as many Australians as possible, rather than proceeding with a long-term FTTP build.
“So you want that as quick as you can get it, right? If you can say fibre-to-the-node can deliver up to 50Mbit/s for most everybody, isn’t that enough for the next 10 years to get this thing going and then, if there is more demand, then you just push fibre further down the street using the company’s profits rather than adding in more taxpayer money?” he said.
And in a separate article published in the Herald Sun newspaper earlier this week (we recommend you click here for the full article), Morrow again argued that it would be better to get better broadband to more people faster, rather than deploying FTTP.
“NBN’s current model provides the capacity we need into the foreseeable future,” he wrote.
So far, most of the NBN’s end user retail customers have taken up slower speeds (for example 25Mbps), rather than the top-end speeds available on the new infrastructure.
However, many in the technology sector dispute the claims made by Morrow and other NBN executives, as well as the Federal Government, about speed on the NBN network.
Many experts have repeatedly stated that it is a waste of resources to deploy technically inferior infrastructure as part of the NBN, arguing that it would need to be upgraded in future as broadband needs increased.
For example, Rod Tucker, Laureate Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne, recently told a hearing of the NBN Senate Select Committee in Parliament House in Canberra: “Exponential growth [in bandwidth] will continue … Australia’s broadband capabilities are currently about 49th in the world and by [my] projections we could hit 100th in the world, even with the NBN coming on-stream. We need to be thinking about the future.”