Labor will dump FTTP NBN policy, says Fifield


news Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield has hit out at Labor’s stance on the NBN’s underlying technology, saying the opposition party could to be preparing to abandon its position on fibre to the premises (FTTP).

In a statement, Fifield said that, while Labor has been advocating for FTTP, recent public comments by Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare seem to be an attempt to “soften up” the public for a change in policy and a shift to using copper.

“Since its time in Opposition, Labor have consistently campaigned against anything other than fibre to the premise, and continually criticised any use of copper,” he said.

However, the minister cited comments aired on Sky News’ AM Agenda programme on 16 March that he suggested signal Labor’s support for fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp), which requires the use of the existing copper network to enter premises.

On the show, Sky’s Chief Political Reporter Kieran Gilbert said: “It seems a no brainer to me, listening to your argument this morning that you would adopt Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point.”

To which Clare replied: “I have said that Labor will rollout more fibre. We’ll announce our policy closer to the election.”

Labor’s position now appears more like a “backflip” and in favour of the Coalition’s NBN multi-technology policy, which allows the use of FTTdp and ‘skinny fibre’, Fifield said.

Calling Labor “lazy on NBN policy, and careless with the facts”, he added that, since the Coalition took over the project in late 2013, it has connected almost 900,000 users and made the NBN available to over 1.9 million homes and businesses.

Malcolm Turnbull, when still Communications Minister, originally directed the NBN to use a Coalition specified mixed of technologies in April 2014, although a cost-benefit analysis of the model had not yet been completed.

The move followed a 2013 strategic review of the NBN, commissioned by the Abbott government, which had recommended that Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises delivery model be abandoned in favour of a mix of technologies, which can be used selectively to achieve better cost benefits in different areas.

Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting


  1. Well considering they have already shown to double to cost of FTTP from $44B to now $84B and time to complete from 2021 to 2028 thanks to going backwards in tech and cost blowouts and completion blowouts if the MTM. They don’t have much of a choice from the glacial rollout if the MTM to even try and catch up to the rest of the world.

  2. His bullshit will probably fool some.

    A move to FTTdp is not an admission that the MTM is correct, it’s eliminating FTTN from the mix using a technology not available when FTTP was rolling out. It achieves what FTTN misses, the ability for customers to cheaply and quickly upgrade to gigabit and beyond speeds. With FTTN upgrading beyond the sub 100Mb speeds requires a complete new rollout.

    • According to Reality, saying what you just said, makes you a FTTP downgrade to FTTdp Fanboy. Apparently embracing new technologies in the fact of a complete clusterfuck and knowing how screwed up the situation currently is, trying to make the most of it, means you no longer support FTTP…. or something…

      His “logic” never makes much sense.

      • Well, he would wouldn’t he. Everything must be spun to meet his twisted world view. People like that go pop one day.

        I actually think FTTdp is now a better solution. It wasn’t initially as it cost about the same as FTTH. Now it allows for current needs with quick and cheap upgrade on an ad hoc basis as needed. It would also allow small business to develop around providing the upgrades, introducing competition to drive down upgrade costs.

      • Daren is totally an FTTPdtFTTdp Fanboy.. you can see it when he drives in the middle lane of a three-lane highway on Saturdays when his 15 chickens have laid 3 light-brown eggs…. everybody knows that.

      • They could still go for FTTP, but the expense would be greater than originally estimated considering the Coalition have already spent a lot on the MTM crap.
        There would have to be a lot of work just to replace the existing MTM and de-do it with FTTP.
        The most cost effective now is to modify the FTTN to FTTdp.
        Yes its going from C grade option to B grade.
        We can still wish for A Grade FTTP now, but how much expense can be pulled out at this point.
        The Coalition literally fucked things up back this round, they won’t be forgiven for that.

  3. Why doesn’t Mitch at least try to improve his own mish-mash retrograde network, instead of simply fluffing up/ignoring all the bad news and then worrying about what the others may or may not do if elected?

    Once again it shows the left over mentality from the Abbott era/government, where they seem more at home and comfortable being in opposition and simply opposing/pointing the finger at the others.

    Agree Darren, if the government do actually try to improve the current debacle by switching to FttDp, although a positive move in many ways, it’s nonetheless a clear admission that FttN simply isn’t good enough, gee exactly as we said.

    • if the government do actually try to improve the current debacle by switching to FttDp, although a positive move in many ways, it’s nonetheless a clear admission that FttN simply isn’t good enough, gee exactly as we said.

      Nailed it +1

      To add to this the coalition clowns intentionally made it as difficult as possible to return to the correct FttP roll out for political reasons so the only thing we can safely assume at this stage is that a 93% FttP build wont be possible. Repairing the damage these juvenile vandals have caused will be difficult regardless of the path a future adult government takes.

  4. Its a nice big pile of ironic horsecrap that Fifield makes the claim that Labor is “lazy on NBN policy, and careless with the facts”;

    Hows that 25Mbit to all by the end of 2016, sooner, faster, quicker, more affordably going there Mitchy boy? Oh right, it was a lazy policy that was completely made up.

    Those in glass houses… those in glass houses.

    • Hows that 25Mbit to all by the end of 2016, sooner, faster, quicker, more affordably going there Mitchy boy?

      269 days left btw (tick tock)

  5. Labor is lazy on NBN policy. Hmm… it’s truly refreshing to be old enough to recall that until such time as they actually came up with a policy the Liberal policy was “yeah.. umm.. ahh.. erm… look over there!”

    The political bastardisation of the NBN has me never wanting to vote for this mob of wankers ever again.

    • And their environment policy, and their marriage equality (lack of) policy, and their desire to de-regulate the financial advice industry, and their immigration policy, and the way they deal with the ABC, and their hypocrisy about transparency, and numerous other things both boring and plentiful.

      Did you not stop voting for them after the Telstra privatisation-without-structural-separation?

    • “the Liberal policy was “yeah.. umm.. ahh.. erm… look over there!””
      Absolute tosh. The Liberals instated no less than three wireless policies during the Howard years, each designed to give millions upon millions to SingTel in exchange for literally nothing, thanks to contractual loopholes.

      • Are you deliberately ignoring the fact that the OPEL project was rural only?

        Absolute tosh? Sure mate. You might be confused with the idea that Telstra build a FTTN network (2005) which resulted in a stoush with the ACCC over third party access provisions. Even then Graeme Samuel rejected the idea as a joke; we have a lot to thank him for.

        The Liberal party didn’t get it in 2005. Labor almost made the same mistake a few years later. They at least learnt but for some reason the Liberal party are still banging the same old drum over a decade later. It sounded bad then and it sounds worse now.

        @DevMac I haven’t voted Liberal at either level in a long, long time. Once you take notice of the policies over the politics you soon realise there’s not much value in voting Liberal. The NBN was simply the last straw.

        • FTTN 10 years ago may have been acceptable. Now days, it is lacking for current and future needs.

  6. Once upon a time politicians were elected by the people to work for the people. Now we have the Abbott Turnbull governments elected by the retards to lie, cheat and connive their way to a win at the next election, to keep everything as secretive as possible and “who cares about the people”?
    What MoFo fails to mention is that his government have made sure there is no way the ALP can return to a full FTTP rollout. They have bought all the HFC with locked in contracts with Foxtel, they bought all the copper and given us the massive remediation bill, many contracts have been locked in that would cost megabucks to get out of, etc, etc. There is nothing the ALP can do even if they wanted unless they are willing to throwing away billions.
    They used to call him short term Tony because he could not conceive anything further than 3 years in the future. Then he actually ended up being short term Tony so let us hope we will also see a short term Malcolm.

  7. since the Coalition took over the project in late 2013, it has connected almost 900,000 users and made the NBN available to over 1.9 million homes and businesses.

    And every single one connected via Labors plan (apart from a handful on FttN from the “trials”…)

    • Never ceases to amaze me how many people think otherwise. Its like their boat policy apparently being so successful, when 90% of the drop off (or more) came from policies Labor implemented in July 2013. Which was kinda before the 2013 election.

      We Claim Credit should be one of their 3 word slogans.

  8. Senator Fifield interpreting the Labor policy on the NBN.

    Yawns. Just more politicking – which was responsible for the disaster his Party has created. No Senator, I won’t look over there. My focus is resolutely on LNP’s stuff up.

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