Truth: Labor’s new NBN plan is pitch perfect


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  1. Let’s see how Turnbull and Fifield try to spin their way out of this one over the next 3 weeks, on a pitch perfect for more fibre bouncers

      • I doubt they will. To do so would be to admit there were failings in the original policy.
        And that is something the LNP are not prepared to do, at any cost.
        More fool them. And the more the consumer will suffer.

  2. Just a thought, but does FTTP also include FTTdp as part of the technological mix?

    I guess FTTdp is the logical progression for FTTN but what about new FTTP?

      • Seeing as the ALP have committed to full fibre, I’m not sure what the use case would be for Fttdp though?

          • Maybe…it sounds like Fttdp is much easier to upgrade to FttP….but why not skip that extra cost/step and go full fibre?

          • Agreed, i’d be surprised if they bother with FTTdp for anything other than some edge-cases.

          • I’d argue that FTTdp is sufficiently close enough to full fibre to qualify as part of that plan. The biggest gripe with MTM is the amount of copper in the build, which FTTdp largely does away with, but FttP still has copper from the NTD to the router and/or PC.

            FTTdp is small enough that its a single step, from a very small node, to get to FttP in the future. A node that can stay in the pit as long as it needs to and isnt an eyesore on the environment. And at a cost that is acceptable to the end user, and (importantly to me) isolated to the user.

            I still think FTTdp has a place in the NBN; it does deliver a reasonable amount of cost savings, without a commensurate dropoff in maximum speed.

          • True Gav.

            And as Renai pointed out, it gives them some flexibility in HFC and FTTN area’s.

          • That too Tim. FTTdp ticks so many boxes, for both parties, that the ignoring of it seems to be for political reasons.

            With FttN the cost of upgrading is massive, and something every user will need to pay to get fibre from the node to their property. FTTdp reduces the cost by potentially 90% or more, and puts it into the appropriate range for the end user to pay.

            Economies of scale work to get the node to the property line (or near enough), but not from there to the home. And in this case the EoS savings are massive.

            There are just so many benefits to FTTdp it astounds me that both parties have effectively ignored it to date. Even Labor, saying it will be part of their considerations, are politely saying its the last case option, and hence dont bank on it.

            @Tinny, the big cost with FttP is to get from the street pit (where FTTdp terminates) and in to the property. Economies of scale fail at that point (cant keep up with demand unless a premium is paid), and its going to be cheaper to do that individually as needed.

            The On Demand side of FTTdp to FttP is yet another benefit, but that cost to get from the pit to the wall is why skipping that extra cost/step is a real consideration. I have no problems putting that last part from the pit to the home onto the owner.

          • Also for those people stuck outside a nodes range and quoted 150k for FoD or suffer on satellite (in a metro suburb). FttdP might allow then to run a less resource intense extension out to them (as fibre doesn’t suffer the distance issue).

          • Technically fibre does suffer the distance issue Simon, its just a lot longer before it becomes an issue. The general view for the tech being used at the retail end is that its around 10 miles, give or take, before data integrity falls off its cliff, which is a tad longer than the several hundred meters FttN has before it starts to degrade.

  3. Labor’s new National Broadband Network policy is pitch perfect.

    Agreed, it’s a very sensible policy.

      • ‘Pitch Perfect’ Yes but the question remains, is the Labor policy good enough to get Renai to jump the Greens ship and vote Labor…….to be continued

        • Why not vote Greens 1, Labor 2? That’s the benefit of a preference based voting system, vote for your number 1 choice, but if they aren’t in the top two for the seat, your vote goes to the next preference and so on.

          Greens support FTTP anyway, and I don’t see them blocking this if Labor gets in!

          • Exactly right, that’s what makes our preference system so good, even if your preferred party has no chance in hell, your vote isnt wasted!

            Btw, apart from ~3 seats where the ALP have agreed to help the Libs beat the Nationals (lol *), in all other seats they are putting the Greens ahead of the Libs.

            *and in return the Libs are putting ALP 1st in 3 seats under attack from the Greens.

  4. Given Labor’s belief in FTTP, what is their policy on FTTN to FTTP upgrades on demand?

    Surely they are not going to continue with $10,000+ FoD installs?

    • There’s likely no option for FoD, it’s too impractical and expensive. I’m guessing ppl will just have to wait for NBN phase 2 if they have FTTN.

      • Maybe Fttdp has a use case where they could shift some of the on going FttN rollout to that?

    • They haven’t said anything about it.

      However, given the spectacular failure of the FoD plan so far, I’m betting that labor will give it a very low priority, and focus on instead getting FTTN, FTTP or HFC to as many people as possible, telling discontented people that the Infrastructure Australia review will solve the issue in the long-term.

      This is what I would do. Get better broadband to as many people as possible, with a remediation plan for FTTN especially later on.

      FoD is just a pain in the ass and a distraction from the big picture, as much as we would all like it to work.

      • I see your point Renai, but it does limit the economic reform impact of their policy, it also puts much more pressure on the FTTN -> FTTP upgrade.

        I think the ALP would need to issue an updated SoE that required NBN Co to take into account the Total Cost of Owership (TCO) including upgrade costs (as well as disruption) for future FTTN -> FTTP upgrades.

        Once NBN Co are required to consider this, I expect the design of FTTN may change somewhat and that might make FoD more accessible.

        • Yeah basically atm there’s 0 room or capacity in a node for FoD or dP so its brand new fibre which needs to be run from deeper in the network which really blows the costs out.

  5. How to undo the massive amount of misinformation on the NBN by the main stream media? Put the counter argument and analysis behind a paywall….

    • Sorry about that!

      But I now have a large amount of subscribers paying for Delimiter premium content, and I need to ensure their needs are met :) The general public’s not paying me anything!

      • So you don’t make any money from advertising then? Didnt you say last week that you’ve spent a lot of time over the past year getting your advertising model to work?

        End of the day it’s only your decision – you’ve always said that indepth articles will be reserved for your membership. And the big news is the policy – we now have that in full detail. Your analysis is for your membership IMO.

        So not being critical of your decision, just your statement that you don’t make anything from non-paying readers. Because their traffic does make you money, it’s just less… And now harder than ever to capture. But it is there.

        • This is a good point, Renai. This article is of exceptional importance at this stage of the game. Labor MUST HAVE a solid plan now and it looks like they have it. And people should know.

  6. not being a troll but how is this classed as “premium” content…… it’s as public as it gets. I get nothing is free in this world, but you’re just going to turn away casual readers by making such stories subscription based.

  7. I worked in the Telecom Gold Coast Design and Construction office in the late 80’s early 90’s, just before 12,000 Queensland Telecom Network Construction workers (including myself) were made redundant by the then federal government, and there was a plan to trial fiber to the node at Hardys Rd Mudgeeraba that was canned and moved to a suburb in Melbourne. While the cost of fibre cable and the switching equipment has dropped massively in the past 26 years the task of actually installing the cable to the node (i.e. the pillar that is the border between the exchange cable in manholes and local distribution cable in smaller pits and pipes) and cutting over to the new system with minimal interruption has remained the most time consuming task both now and then. Considering that both direct fiber and fiber to the node require fiber cable to be laid from the exchange to the node at similar expense, the older pit and pipe network has not been maintained very well and only new developments in the past 5 years have new infrastructure (and NBN in a few cases), I don’t think that full fiber can be distributed from the existing nodes to the subscriber for a couple of billion dollars extra. Also, using the existing copper from the node can be fraught with extra problems due to the use of pair gain and line sharing systems over the past 20 years that also prevent the effective use of ADSL in older areas. Either way I see the total cost of delivering the existing promises of both parties being more like a minimum of 100 billion dollars with the full fiber option costing more than the fiber to the node option. BTW, I worked in conduit gangs, cable hauling gangs, as a lineserviceman on major and minor cable works, as an estimator for large cable works and also worked on special projects developing working report, project management and development forecasting software in close conjunction with the Telecom district engineer/engineering manager and the construction manager and was a part of the team that designed and developed Australia’s first cable tv network at sanctuary cove, before I became one of the first B.App.Science (Computing) graduates from Griffith university (Gold Coast) in the early 90’s. The software I developed was used in south east Queensland to project manage the Gold Coast, Brisbane South and Brisbane Norths 5 year plans for major and minor works programs. Somehow I don’t thing either of the major political parties would want to employ someone with my experience as they both only employ people who tell them what they want to hear, or don’t know any better.

    • The real question, is do you believe that 100 billion dollars is too much money for a 10 year project that directly benefits all Australians?

      (Keep in mind that we are spending $25 billion dollars on some F35’s and $50 billion dollars on new submarines)

      Whilst I believe in Australia maintaining an airforce and a navy, I’m not certain shaving a few dollars off the budget so that we can have an Australia-wide fibre network that powers every home and small business (and medium/large enterprise) internet connection.

      Just sayin’

      • Peter, for a start we’re not getting a full optic fiber network and we never were getting one in the first place under the original plans. I looked at the original NBN rollout plans on their website in 2011 and the original plan for the Gold Coast included wifi for 1/3, NBN fiber for new estates, upgrades for wealthy high density suburbs and nothing was planned for the remaining 50% or so (until after 2015 and that didn’t happen). Wifi and satellite were always going to be used for most areas where it would be prohibitively expensive to run fiber. Even the plan referred to in this article is massively reduced when compared with the original plans. While they may get close to their budgets by running new cable in all older areas on the poles like the cable tv coax, the cost to provide full fiber to the premises as originally promised would be closer to 1/4 of a trillion dollars if run underground.

        Also, I wrote capital expenditure evaluation software for different major project options based on the then federal government accounting standards and the only real difference these days is that depreciation is a part of the mix, now usually hidden in commercial in confidence agreements. This means that the actual material cost of the plant and equipment is irrelevant (to the NBN co) over the long term as the taxation system pays for depreciation, i.e. compensation for loss of value of an asset over time, and this is removed from profits before tax is calculated, where previously no depreciation was claimed by Telecom from the govt (this really puts NPV vs IRR in a brand new light).

        Seriously, if you pay twice as much to get half of what was promised one third of the way through how much will the entire project cost and how long will it actually take?

  8. Irony. Labor gets my vote because I’m having trouble reading your articles (ok, seeing the Nodes Behaving Badly phots) due to my cracking 1.3Mbit/s download speed. Think I’ll give 4G a go…

  9. I see Lynch is going to do an “analysis” on the new Labor plan. May as well just report on it now, you know what the sock puppet is going to write.

    • Ahh, just as expected, even drops the occasional “fibre zealots” line.

      Now to see how long before Karina links to it. Can’t link it too fast, must seem to not be planned.

      • Reading his “analysis”, he wonders why the “fibre zealots” on Whirlpool and Delimiter are in favor of the Labor plan, that there isn’t much difference.

        FFS, if he stopped name calling and attacking everyone and actually looked outside his little circle jerk of tech illiteracy he might know why.

  10. Not quite perfect. There’s still zero transparency in the policy. First time around, Conroy deliberately withheld information from the public, especially if it wasn’t “good for the party”.

    We’ve been shown that NBN needs greater autonomy from government so that it’s not influenced for political gains. Both parties keep attacking each other about transparency but neither have the courage to enforce it for themselves.

    If Labor solve the transparency by mandating the public release of all information (excluding parts pertaining to security and commercial in confidence info), then it’ll be perfect.

    • Not quite perfect. There’s still zero transparency in the policy. First time around, Conroy deliberately withheld information from the public, especially if it wasn’t “good for the party”.

      Did he Tim? Really? What information did he withhold from the public?

      Do you think that basic info like “take up” should be CiC like Malcolm seems to think??

      • I did. Can you please let me know what page they talked about mandated transparency of NBN information?

        • Can you show where Labor/Conroy didn’t offer transparency?

          I’me sure many here can offer examples where the nbn™ has withdrawn transparency, just ask which facet of the business you think is now “more” transparent.

    • Labor hid stuff did they? What exactly did they hide? Turnbull kept claiming this, but beside Turnbull himself continuing to claim blow outs, etc, the reviews turned up nothing.
      Was the IPA treat they give you for posting tasty? Godd boy Timmy, good boy, now go back to The Australian

      • How quickly people seem to forget. Labor were originally asking for the senate to pass NBN legislation without having access to the implementation plan (which they were eventually forced to release):

        And then again:

        Labor’s new plan is good, but we need complete transparency. None of the political parties should be withholding information, especially when it comes to major infrastructure. The more open they are, the less they have to hide. If it’s legislated, then no party can ignore this and therefore it’s a win/win for taxpayers.

        PS: Not quite an IPA, but was delicious and paid out of my own money :)

        • We forced Conroy to release the implementation plan.

          We’ll force the Coalition to come clean on the entire NBN history as well.

          It’s only a matter of time.

          • The whole point is that we shouldn’t have to force the release of information, it should be a mandated policy for a government run company (especially one of such importance and influence).

            So far nobody has forced the information from the coalition plan yet, so they’ve been able to get away with it for years. What’s more, they’re nearly a certainty to get back in so it’ll continue for at least another 3 years.

            Originally it was one of the core parts of the plan:

            “CEO Mike Quigley, who told attendees at the launch that NBN Co aimed to operate in an open and transparent manner.”

            Both Mike and his successor have failed badly at being open and transparent.

            We need to change this in order of having a hope of ensuring the NBN gets back on track.

          • So far nobody has forced the information from the coalition plan yet

            Remember that comment this election Tim….it’s up to the voters to get the answers, no one else. It’s up to us to put politicians in that will answer to the people.

            So far the LPA have been much worse that the ALP were (who were better, but not perfect), they are both so bad I’m looking at giving up on the “two party” bullshit system this election, still looking at who that’ll be. ( shame Renai doesn’t start his own party, it’d be a shoo in for me then ;o))

        • How quickly people seem to forget. Labor were originally asking for the senate to pass NBN legislation without having access to the implementation plan

          Is that the same plan that people now complain that Labor just jumped on in on while also complaining that they took too long to start due to waiting on reports, studies, negotiation, etc, and also complaining they were too slow to get the project started?

          Seriously, wtf?

          • No. They wouldn’t even release the implementation plan that the senators had to vote on. It sheer arrogance rather than trying to move swiftly, and rushing a project the size of the NBN cause plenty of cost blowouts.

            As per your comment above, we (the voters) most certainly need to hold all forms of government accountable. Hence, I want to see mandated transparency within the NBN with little room to hide politics.

  11. “However, a close reading of Labor’s figures reveals them to be solidly based in the current evidence coming from the NBN company and other sources about the project’s finances. In addition, Labor has also received ticks from a private accounting firm and the Parliamentary Budget Office for the finances of its new policy. It’s not going in to this model blind.”

    Renai, lets read (closely) the ALP policy document:

    “Labor’s policy assumes that fibre-to-the-premises in 2016 will cost $3,700 a home (as identified in the Corporate Plan 2016), but cost efficiencies of approximately 19 per cent will be gained over the build period.”

    Figure from CPP by technology CP16p67. Read note “e) The CPP excludes… contingency.”

    19% x 3700 = 703. So $3,700 failing to $3,000. Appearently no reduction is possible with alternatives.

    “Capital expenditure is expected to be approximately $3.4 billion higher under Labor’s Plan than the Turnbull Liberal Government’s plan. This includes a contingency in line with current NBN Co assumptions.”

    NBNCo contingency is 10% of peak funding (CP16p73), not capex. However, let’s use the theoretical skinny fibre CPP:
    2m x (3250 – 1600) x 110% = $3.63b. (oops)

    “As can be seen, the number of premises that achieved ready for service in the quarter ending June 2015 was approximately 175,000, of which brownfields FTTP/B made up approximately 154,000, or about 11,000 homes per week.”

    Weekly progress numbers (b) show serviceable brownfields:
    656,384 (2-Jul-15) – 493,901 (2-Apr-15) = 162,483 / 13 weeks = 12,498 / week (oops)

    Their accompanying “Fibre-to-the-premises – Quarterly Progress” chart (P22) shows 140,000-175,000 “Homes connected per week” in that same quarter (oops).

    “NBN Co assumes that approximately 30,000 nodes will be required to complete the FTTN rollout under current policy settings.”
    Evidence superseded by leaked IOP2.0:

    24,544 nodes including FTTB (oops).

    “NBN Co also estimates a cost of approximately $2,000 per year to power each node, leading to ongoing costs of about $60 million a year just to operate the nodes.”

    Leaked IOS2.0 Node Power $31m / 24,544 = $1,263 (oops).
    The footnote (73) doesn’t provide evidence of the $60m claim (oops).

    “Operating expenditure is expected to be approximately $1.2 billion lower under Labor’s plan than the Liberal plan (to build completion). This partly reflects the timing of payments to Telstra under the Definitive Agreements.”

    Telstra payment timing irrelevant if timeline is “to build completion” (oops).
    $1.2b entirely unsubstantiated, half the FTTN network is to be retained so only half node direct opex can be saved (half again used for FTTH) (oops).

    “NBN Co’s take up on fibre-to-the-node as at the end of March 2016 is approximately 14 per cent (noting that no fibre-to-the-node serving area has undergone migration yet)…”

    So 14% comparison with post cut-over rates 73% is irrelevant (oops).

    “NBN Co is currently tracking well behind its 2015-16 financial year forecasts for homes signing up to the higher speed tiers on fibre-to-the-node.”

    All technologies tracking tracking well behind forecasts (oops):

    “Revenues under Labor’s plan will be roughly the same as under the Turnbull Liberal Government’s plan until build completion, but will increase substantially after network completion due to the opportunity to o er higher speed tiers and migration paths, with resulting CVC revenues, particularly from business services.”

    Substantial increase is not supported by any available evidence. Average provisioned AVC across the network continues to fall (oops), as it did under Quigley.

    “Labor’s plan will result in a higher return on taxpayer equity than the Liberals’ second-rate NBN (a minimum of 3.9 per cent compared to as low as 2.7 per cent for the Liberals’ second-rate NBN). This is largely the result of higher revenues, but is also due in part to lower operating expenditure.”

    Entirely undemonstrated. Like their 7.1%, pure tosh.

    • This comment may safely be ignored if you pay attention to the word “Approximately” in basically every statement Labor makes, and look at the “exact” nature of every statement Richard makes.

      Well, the first 2 pages at least. If there was anything super important in the second half surely Richard wouldn’t have buried it under a bunch of “Approximately 5 isn’t 4.76!! AHA” comments. Surely?

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