news Independent telecommunications consultant Paul Budde has called for Australians to do more to ensure the rollout a “future-proof” NBN that includes a full-fibre network (including FTTdp) rather than the fibre and copper mix that is currently being promoted by government.
Writing on the BuddeComm blog, Budde said that, going by statements made by Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare over the last year, it is likely that Labor will push for an NBN that will maximise the fibre to the home (FTTH) option as the election approaches.
However, in reality, he added, this will also mean deploying fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp) in combination with ‘skinny fibre; which relies on using the existing copper cable to provide the last few metres of connectivity, and may cause problems for those premises already linked to a fibre to the node (FTTN) system.
There are also issues with the existing hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network meaning it will be more difficult to deploy FTTdp in those places if the NBN starts to upgrade the HFC network.
Regarding the Coalition government’s stance, “As [NBN CEO] Bill Morrow has clearly indicated, he likes the FTTdp network, and he also indicated that the ball is in the court of the Prime Minister to decide how to proceed with the NBN,” Budde said.
“Reading between the lines, looking at the body language of the CEO, and taking into account the ongoing stream of leaks that are coming out of the NBN company, it is clear to me that there is a significant force at play in the company, trying to nudge the NBN more and more in the direction of a full-fibre network,” he added.
Budde further said that “these good people” within the NBN will need the support of people who can “influence the political situation”.
However, a “major stumbling block” will be the Prime Minister himself, he suggested. Malcolm Turnbull is pushing for the “second-rate” multi-technology mix as it is being rolled out at the moment.
In his “already vulnerable” political position, it will be “very hard for him to backflip on the issue”, Budde said.
As a potential solution to all of this, Budde suggested that FTTdp could be used and still be classified as a ‘multi-mix technology’.
However, “I am not sure is that is enough to persuade the PM to open the door to using FTTdp rather than FttN,” he said.
How the issue plays out will depend on how hard the opposition is going to push on the NBN in its election campaign. “If it stays soft on the issue, it becomes more difficult for the NBN company to push its FTTdp deployment further into the market,” Budde said.
Rounding off he called for “anybody in favour of a better NBN” to assist using the political cycle to promote the use of a full-fibre network through their connections in communities, industry, politics or media.
“There is now a chance for us to ensure that Australia will get a much more future-proof NBN and we should not miss the opportunity to at least try and make this happen,” Budde concluded.
Image credit: Paul Budde