Yes, Labor still wants to upgrade HFC to FTTP


news Labor still has an interest in upgrading the NBN company’s HFC cable networks to full Fibre to the Premises technology, Delimiter can confirm, with this issue to be considered as part of the Infrastructure Review outlined as part of Labor’s new NBN policy today.

This morning, the Australian Labor Party revealed its new National Broadband Network policy for this year’s Federal Election.

The policy will see Labor abandon the Coalition’s preferred Fibre to the Node technology in favour of Labor’s original Fibre to the Premises model. However, it will see Labor retain the HFC cable, satellite and fixed wireless components of the Coalition’s Multi-Technology Mix model.

In its policy announcement, Labor noted that the party’s platform would see a Labor Government commission Infrastructure Australia and to conduct a review of those premises, to “manage the development of a plan that outlines how and when the parts of Australia left with Mr Turnbull’s second- rate NBN should be transitioned to fibre-to-the-premises.”

However, the policy document did not make clear whether this Infrastructure Australia review would consider the future of the HFC cable networks rolled out by the NBN company, or merely the Fibre to the Node networks.

Speaking in Sydney this morning at a press conference broadcast live by the ABC, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Jason Clare emphasised that Labor’s model would “repair the mess” that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had made of the NBN.

At the press conference, Clare stated that Labor’s plan would see the NBN shift from Turnbull’s “fraudband” back to “super-fast broadband”, and from “copper” to fibre”.

But again, the pair did not stipulate the future of the HFC cable networks, which will cover up to a third of Australian premises.

However, Delimiter believes that the future of the HFC cable networks will also be considered as part of the Infrastructure Australia review.

It is believed that Labor’s view of the MTM technologies that the Abbott and Turnbull administrations have enforced on the NBN project is that the most urgent issue is to deal with the Fibre to the Node networks based on Telstra’s copper network.

In this sense, dealing with the long-term future of the HFC cable networks based on Telstra and Optus infrastructure is less of a priority, as they will offer stronger speeds and enhanced reliability compared to FTTN infrastructure.

However, Delimiter believes that Labor is still aware of the long-term issues associated with the HFC cable networks, and that the Infrastructure Australia review will broadly examine the future of broadband infrastructure in Australia for every premise that is not immediately slated to be served by FTTP infrastructure.

This will exclude the satellite and wireless components of the NBN network, but will focus on those served under the NBN with fixed broadband infrastructure, including FTTN and HFC cable.

HFC cable networks can be upgraded to FTTP in a similar mechanism to FTTN networks. In terms of the HFC cable, this is known as a “fibre extension” process. It is currently being investigated especially in the US by a number of US-based cable telcos, who after often competing with FTTP networks in that country.

Image credit: Screenshot of ABC coverage of Labor press conference, believed to be covered under fair dealing


  1. It’s a very good policy, moving away from the HFC in the medium term mirrors the actions of most international HFC owners right now. DOCSIS 3.1 just doesn’t justify the expense and comes with dramatically higher opex due to all the OSP.

    • keeping HFC is a very good idea. good. there’s high speed infrastructure in the ground, leverage it. build fibre elsewhere where the infrastructure is worse first. come back and look at HFC last, and then only when demand warrants it (which it currently does not).

      • Broadband is one of those few areas where better supply creates a greater demand. A lot of the services that exist now only exist for the fact that we have infrastructure capable of supporting it.

        We’re way past the point of demand warranting upgrades. HFC technology is good for now, and both sides need to have a roadmap to ensure that it stays that way.

        Remediation of the FTTN disaster and getting the brownfields FTTP build going again should be the highest priority but we don’t need HFC becoming the new copper.

        The only problem I have is that whole saga is playing out like an episode of Utopia. So much bluster, so little action or as my dad would say; all fart, no shit.

        • There are plenty of greenfields that are getting FTTN as well. Which is stupid as hell. They should be switched back to FTTP.

    • The biggest problem with HFCS is that a large percentage of premises within the HFC footprint are not connected to the HFC network. That means constructing new coax leadins, which means digging up everyone’s garden, precisely what MTM was meant to avoid.

  2. Delimiter believes? come on that’s a little weak. I don’t claim to know their intents, but the word believes could be replaced with guesses, assumes or wants.

    If you’re going to purport to be presenting the news that is not as limited as other outlets you have to reach a better standard than this.

    People believe in fairies, it doesn’t make hem real. Stick to know facts or supposition based on fact.

      • appreciated, it wasn’t clear to me if you had sources, if so then that would be supposition based on fact and I withdraw my comment.


        • No worries.

          FYI whenever I write “Delimiter believes” or “Delimiter understands”, that means it’s based on what sources tell me.

          “Delimiter believes” also means I know who those sources are and trust that they know what they are talking about.

          If I write “inverified sources”, it is more what people are claiming, but I don’t necessarily believe what they are claiming until I get more evidence.

          • I’m guessing you mean “unverified sources”, but you’re probably as drunk as me, so I think we know what we mean…or something…. 8o)

            Still, I appreciate the “insider coding”, I think a lot of folk that aren’t “in the loop” do to ;o)

          • I feel for Renai. I’ve mentioned a few times I have relatives that lecture, work, and research in the comms field, but I’m sure as hell not going to give enough details to identify them.

            Which means various dicks around here feel obligated to imply I’m lieing. Somehow it makes them feel better. I kind of feel sorry for them actually.

  3. So when will this come to fruition? We’re gonna get HFC NBN Q1 2017 (previously late 2015 FTTP), will we get that first then a possible future proof FTTP extension ? Or delayed again, which would suck heaps. Of course if ALP gets in government.

    • that close in – whatever is currently planned is what you’re going to get. any variation due to policy change would be at least 18 months out from when a new government takes power.

      vote 1 fibre.

    • I’m pretty sure what Scott said, If you’re currently slated for FttN, that’s probably what you’ll get (but I’m not a Labor Spokesperson, so YMMV), unless Labor get in and your FttN is a ways off (giving them a chance to change things).

      Otherwise, you’re probably rooted like the rest of us…

    • Also note that much of the previous plans made for FTTP rollouts need not be changed (assuming the Turnbull-led mob haven’t shredded all the previous data), so if a technology choice hasn’t been locked in in any given area then any original FTTP rollout plans can easily be reinstated, saving the need for another 2.5 year period of doom.

  4. Interested in the opinion of the technology literate or well versed, with HFC was the real problem it’s purchase, this,now that it has been acquired and those funds can’t be recouped, is it worth upgrading and utilising HFC ? can anyone give an example of a location where HFC was well provisioned and the full speeds of DOCSIS 3 (that’s the spec prior to 3.1 yes ?, What Telstra and optus were using?) Are there locales where people get ~100 megabits down even during peak hours ?

    • If it’s built well enough, there is enough backhaul and services are provisioned then it could hit 100mbps.

      Iinet’s own network hits 100/40 so it is possible.

      What I’m not sure about is how much this will cost.

      Docsis 3.1 can do 1gbs, however it is not commercially available and I’m not sure how much it would cost.

      Hopefully more information is released.

    • I’m in the petrie electorate (Redcliffe QLD) and on optus cable, this is my speed result via my wifi about 5 mins ago during peak times. Upload speed sucks but download is pretty good but it might have something to do with this area being the 1st to go on HFC NBN a few days before the election.

      Will also be interested how it holds up after every bugger jumps on it after going to NBN and lucky i will be able to churn to another RSP as they come onboard.

    • I had HFC on DOCSIS 3.0 for a few years in the UK with Virgin.

      120mbit down, 12mbit up. It’s capable of much more than that.

      I’d been able to hit a solid 15MB/s download at any time of day, assuming I was using a protocol that took advantage of it.

      I’m on 30mbit Optus. I’ll get a solid 3.5MB/s at any time of day. I haven’t seen the point in upgrading.

      DOCSIS 3.1 is something like 10x the speed. Yes, people will start downloading more, but it’s unlikely that their usage will increase in line with the additional speed. You get to a point where there’s only so much you can consume.

      • For the upstream, that was also solid.

        I used to stream high def video from my home network to my work computer (night shifts were long and boring) without any problems

      • “120mbit down, 12mbit up. It’s capable of much more than that.”
        Keep in mind Australian HFC is limited in bandwidth by channels being allocated exclusively for Foxtel.

        • That’s not the reason.

          Particularly not on Optus.

          They had cableTV channels there (probably more than here)

          Those limitations are artificial. Not technology-related

    • The real problem is not the purchase of the HFC network – given that the same amount was going to be supplied to migrate the customers from HFC to FTTP.

      The issue is that part of the HFC agreement is that nbn have to maintain the network for Foxtel. As it needs to maintain the HFC for payTV it effectively means it would need to support two networks if they overbuild with FTTP.

  5. “Are there locales where people get ~100 megabits down even during peak hours ?”

    I always got very good speeds on Telstra HFC. But I hear from people on Optus that it’s a whole ‘nother story.

    • Same, I got 110/2.5 mbps on Telstra HFC rain hail or shine – area power outages where the only bug bear in an otherwise excellent experience for me.

      Putting up with 12/1 mbps ADSL2 now just highlights to me the massive productivity gains there are to be had in moving to Fibre.

    • On Optus 100/2 plan, I was getting down to 5/2 on Optus HFC late last year during peak hours, after performance started taking a big hit during peak hours after Netflix Oz was launched.

      However early in the New Year Optus must have upgraded Riverwood8 NSW, as speeds rarely drop below 40/2 during peak hours. Which I attribute to Optus upgrading the areas NBN Co scheduled for 2016 HFC builds, of which mine was scheduled for H2 2016, and which was verified by someone at NBN Co in the mysterious article earlier this year in IT Wire which was never followed up by either a press release, or any of the other media MSM or tech. And which I think was the result of IT News reading of the list a few whirlpool posters put together of NBN HFC trial areas which were a 100% match with the list of 17 HFC trial suburbs that the rogue IT News article came up with. (18 Jan 2016)
      “There are also some network upgrades underway in the construction trial areas, in the expectation that this will help accelerate the rollout of the NBN following the launch of HFC services.”
      “The trials are currently underway in parts of Arncliffe, Bexley North, Rockdale, Kingsgrove, Carramar, Panania, Padstow and Emu Plains in NSW………”
      “These are the areas either announced by nbn or by whirlpool users reporting receipt of the HFC Construction trial letter:”

      Maybe Renai missed both this whirlpool post and the IT news article?

    • I was on Optus HFC in western sydney, I’d often hit 100mbps down, but the 1mbps upload killed me. I never noticed any speed issues as a rule. That said it’d dropout 4 or 5 times a day with the modem resyncing, 2 different modems did it so I presume its related to the shared network, somebody down the road turns their compressor on and it kills every bodies network or something.
      Skymesh 100/40 now on FTTP, its like having water in a tap, you just don’t think about it any more. The internet is just there, and its always fast enough to do whatever you want. Download some linux ISO’s whilst uploading 1080P robot videos to youtube? done in before the kettle even boils. I no longer schedule my day around uploads and downloads, you just do them and stuff keeps working its brilliant!

      • Recently upgraded to 100/40 on SkyMesh here, also. 1080p YouTube uploads are quicker than 360p downloads used to be on ADSL2. 4 hour videos loaded in minutes. I can definitely see cloud-based applications being useful for the first time in Australian history.

    • I always got very good speeds on Telstra HFC. But I hear from people on Optus that it’s a whole ‘nother story.

      I used to get 115Mbps from them, but lately it’s around 70Mbps. No change my end. Missing David Theody…

    • They have no choice – thanks to Malcolm and co.

      They’ve made it abundantly clear that this is his fault!

    • Hard to say, my guess is it would be cheaper and easier to go straight to FTTP. eg the estate I live in is all underground Power and PSTN but the rest of the suburb is Aerial Power etc with Optus HFC (almost no Telstra HFC) – there must be a good 200 homes in our section and it’d have to be cheaper to in-fill that number with FTTP imo.

    • 10 years worth of contracts locked in to service Foxtel so its going to be hard to not to do HFC.

      If nothing else they’ll need soem return from buying both those networks and the expense to upgrade and fix them.

      • So the Labor NBN Co were going to keep Telstra HFC for FOXTEL only beyond 2013 anyway?

        • You need to be more specific there Reality.

          Are you talking original NBN co plan, or the new plan?

        • Nope. Only the Malcom Turnbull Party contracts required maintaining the HFC for Foxtel.

    • Alain seemed to think rather than infilling HFC areas, they will be overbuilt with FTTN. To that end, overbuilding HFC with FTTP instead only makes sense financially.

  6. The Redcliffe trials were promising however it’s worth noting that they didn’t sign up everyone in the street to the Optus provided hfc nbn trial. On HFC, real world speeds depend on how congested your fibre optic node is. I have both Optus and Telstra HFC at my house. Optus used to be appalling until they split the node. Now Telstra is appalling due to the data increases they’ve been offering. HFC by it’s very design is not a future proofed network, only full fibre networks are (FTTP, FTTdp).

    • The passive FTTP network isn’t future proof either, despite what seemingly millions of smart people say. It all depends on the size of the node and the backhaul. NBN FTTP is GPON and shared between 32 homes – so that’s 2Gbps / 32. Not so great when you line it up against HFC which has done that for over a decade. The new spec for the WDM versions of PON can share with up to 128 homes and the upgrade path isn’t nearly as easy as many claim.

      It’s a packet switching network after all … everything is shared! If you can get proper trunk fibre to the distribution point I’d say that’s ideal, but the PON networks rolling out over the world are stupid. Massively MIMO millimetre wave wireless with electronically steerable, phased antenna arrays is going to be a huge hit, and will also offer mobility.

      The biggest issue EVERYONE is missing, is that the telcos are aiming to quietly bypass the NBN completely in many urban areas. Instead they’re encouraging people directly onto their own networks, saving the substantial NBN interconnect fees and destroying the NBN’s business case.

      4G LTE is now easily 110Mbps down and 30Mbps up – substantially more if you can aggregate multiple channels, and the nodes are getting closer and closer together, statistically that means far higher maximum speeds and at the same time minimising contention.

      Whether it’s Telstra Air, or unlimited data/10Mbps LTE plans like Vivid Wireless, or these new 25Gbps/50Gbps full speed LTE-A plans creeping onto the market, the NBN is in dire trouble. The model always was the city would subsidise the bush. It’s taken far, far too long, cost ten times too much and now with the Telcos doing all they can to bypass it completely, it will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in Australian government history.

      • You really have no idea what you are talking about, NG-PON2 is commercially available now which are using the exact same fibre and passive splitters as nbn have used. The only difference is the optical line cards in the poi and the NTD in your house. Oh and any new FTTP built with NG-PON2 can take advantage of its range doubling from up to 17 kms for GPON to up to 40 kms for NG-PON2.

        In case you are wondering how fast NG-PON2 is, 80/80 gbps symmetrical split between 32 ports! That’s a CIR of 2.5 gbps symmetrical aka guaranteed bandwidth! It’s actually 8x 10 gbps wavelengths so you could offer 10 gbps symmetrical links to business over it using 8 way splitters or 10 gbps contended services over normal 32 way splitters.

        In the lab they are already playing with upgrades to NG-PON2 that double this to 160 gbps!

        Fibre is the future, wireless is great but it’s complimentary to fixed line.

        • Actually I know exactly what I’m talking about, being an engineer who has specialised in microwave networking for years with an obvious crossover into optical networking.

          NG-PON2 is NOT commercially available. Yes it’s been standardised for a matter a few months and there have been some trials by Verizon in the US but I have yet to see the results of those. As far as I’ve heard even 40Gbps was a stretch and it’s not 80Gbps unless there is a new annex to G.989 I haven’t yet seen. You may be referring to an all NG-PON2 network using multiple additional frequency pairs – ie WDM – which means incompatibility with the current G-PON system as there has to be guard bands between them.

          What is able to be accomplished in the lab and what is possible in the field are two wildly different things. The upgrade path ISN’T as easy as switching out some line cards as you and many others claim. The tolerances of the splitters and losses incurred in everything from the fibre itself to the splitters, connectors, efficiency of the optical multiplexers and so on all add up and are non-trivial in the real world where heaven knows how well the thing’s been installed the first time round when 2.488 Gbps was the target bitrate.

          I can give you the mathematics if you like, but like all things in physics, if you increase the symbol rate and/or use a higher-order modulation technique our good mate Shannon tells us the complexity, noise and bit error rate increases non-linearly. That requires ever more complex and expensive FPGAs or ASICs to deal with that – and that’s OK in a regular regenerative network, but it’s an issue in a passive optical system as the losses are cumulative and purely optical amplifiers introduce other issues which I won’t go into here as it’s way beyond the scope of the piece.

          Of course fibre is the future, but how it gets the last 100 metres makes bugger-all difference to 99.9% of people, and most people want their data everywhere now – not just in their homes. The evidence is clear. Most FTTP sign ups aren’t even taking the 100Mbps plans, let alone the mythical 1Gbps plans which would theoretically leave nothing for the other 30 people after overhead on a 32 way split.

          It’s all academic anyway as the capital cost of rolling out fibre to every brownfield house is absurdly expensive when fibre could easily be provisioned into the street and then wirelessly distributed to homes using the ISM band in a picocell type system.

          The fact is when G.989 or G.987 or whatever the powers that be deem to be the next level of NBN fibre access, we are talking about yet another significant expense on top of an astounding bill so far, one that will never be economically viable because the telcos already have their plans for most punters to bypass the NBN as much as they can. They’re attempting to get around the legislation, skip the NBN interconnect and go directly into their network, which will kill the business model. If you can’t see that you aren’t looking.

      • 4G LTE is now easily 110Mbps down and 30Mbps up – substantially more if you can aggregate multiple channels, and the nodes are getting closer and closer together, statistically that means far higher maximum speeds and at the same time minimising contention.

        Unless you’re on a Telstra (arguably the best mobile network in Australia) “Free Data Day” due to their latest stuff up, then your lucky to get 4.8Mbps:

        Imagine adding a few more million users to that…

        • Irrelevant. That just shows how under-provisioned the backhaul is for a one off event which was designed to test the capacity of the network in stealth mode while pretending to do something good for the customer.

          • Irrelevant? For the best mobile company in Australia? Hokay…

            As a microwave engineer, in your professional opinion, how would any of the wireless systems work with 23+ million users using it? How much spectrum would be required?

          • Backhaul is provisioned on an ongoing needs basis. Artifically stressing the network for a one off event like the Free Day will always overload the network. Telstra tried to spin some good PR but obviously used the opportunity to get some fantastic data about the future provisioning of their network. That’s something that was worth a fortune to them – far more than the minimal cost – as the data gained from the pattern of use in every node in the network would be invaluable.

            On wireless, the spectrum required would be almost exactly the same as today. What hardly anyone gets is that’s the whole point of a cellular system. When capacity is constrained, you add another tower or nanocell or picocell, lower the output radiated power and perhaps modify the pattern of the antenna. Active antennas are now programmable and the provisioning of cells is becoming automated with new software tools. Then you have statistically less contention on the network hence significantly higher bitrates for the user.

            5G is kind of the endgame, where almost everything is an ultra-low power node connected to fibre and using a significantly better modulation system than the best we can do today, which is 256 QAM COFDM with LTE-A. The exact technique is still up in the air but WAM is looking like the best choice and is massively better and backwards compatible.

            There will also be a release of frequencies in the 6GHz+ bands to add to 3.5GHz which is just opening up and being used by NBN, plus 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz bands. Additional narrow bands may be used for IoT devices…. and then there’s LoRa and a bunch of other long range, slow-medium bitrate standards for IoT leaving the wideband stuff to ultra fast access.

          • Lol, Andrew you must be the only wireless engineer on earth who thinks the current mobile spectrum allocations could provide high speed data services to 23 million ppl.

            Seriously, your credibility is now ZERO!!!

          • You failed to mention some of the downsides, like Australia will need a lot more base stations (due to the shorter range of the higher frequencies) and, according to Nokia, way, way more fibre.

          • You are correct tinman, I was being lazy. :-D

            Besides, it’s very hard to take someone seriously who claims to be a wireless network engineer and yet cant seem to grasp the basics of scarce spectrum allocation.

  7. I have grave concerns about Labor’s position here. If you read the statement that they have released, its essentially “we’re going to get IA to do a review to figure out where we might deploy fiber over another tech”. Problem is, if NBN has done due diligence (which I believe they are genuinely trying to do) this has already been done and assessed. The net result being Labor kicks the ball to IA who takes time and money to do a review that ultimately adds nothing more to the story; at which point Labor is free to justify another delay in progress (‘the review took time’) and then makes a decision that might be at odds with IA anyway.
    Seems a bit of a cop out really, make a call if you’re going to pitch an alternative plan Labor, don’t try to put us on ice till after we have to make our vote count.

    • “The net result being Labor kicks the ball to IA”

      I don’t see how Labor can do anything else. They were pilloried for going with expert advice last time, this time if Mal and his Murdoch maniacs complain about the process, they can complain to the IA.

      Incidentally, IA was the mob the Mal promised would provide the expertise to assess his MTM abortion. Instead he got his hand picked mates to do so.

      • Actually its easy to change the result of what an independent body will tell you by rephrasing the question. Liberals told nbnco to do the “cheapest way of getting 25mbps to everybody now” which is FTTN. If you change the question to “the cheapest way of providing adequate broadband speeds over the next 60 years” you will be told to migrate to fibre in a cost effective manner.

      • They were pilloried for much the same as Turnbull is being pilloried. Budget blowouts and missed targets.

        What they weren’t pilloried for (but should have been) was what got this started in the first place, which was Rudd deciding to scrap OPEL (which he’d promised to keep) screwing up the tender, then presenting the country with a big number.

        • Rudd dumped Opel when the expert advice rightly told him it couldn’t deliver what was claimed. I’ve worked for an ISP with a large WiMax network and we thought Opel was hilarious, the WiMax design couldnt have delivered even half of what it was claimed it would.

          • OPEL was there to fill in broadband black spots. To get something to places that were on dialup ASAP. This was a pretty easy target to beat. It was never about getting a world-class network out there, it was about getting something that was better than dialup.

            As a result of its scrapping, the place I lived in only managed to get broadband in about 2014 or 2015 (Long after I’d moved out, but amongst other things, I’d been in charge of ADSL connections at an ISP called Hypermax and continued to take an interest in the area)

          • The WiMax design Opel put forward would have been lucky to deliver 2 mbps to each premises it was that badly compromised!

            They were talking of delivering services up to 20 kms from each tower, with WiMax if you want to deliver eg 12/1 mbps you need to keep the number of premises per Cell to under 80 (opel would have been close to twice that)and the max distance to 7kms. You typically have 3 or 4 cells per tower.

            Had it been built it would have been a colossal white elephant.

          • Up until the point Telstra made it unaffordable (ISDN went to something like $700 a month for a full two connections), I was on 128kbps.

            That was the best I had available to me. Besides that, it was dialup, with a realistic throughput of about 30kbps if I was lucky.

            2mbps would have represented a 16 fold increase on the now-unaffordable ISDN and a 70 fold increase on dialup. It would have been utterly fantastic.

            You need to remember the difference between an improvement on nothing and completely equivalent to city services. We were comparing whatever was available with dialup.

          • The reason OPEL didn’t get the contract is because the government wouldn’t have gotten what it paid for (which was 90% coverage):

            However, analysis performed by Conroy’s ministerial Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), found that the OPEL network would cover only 72 percent of identified under-served premises. The Government was also concerned that the OPEL network would create an overbuild with its own planned fibre-to-the-node broadband plan.

          • Yes…… Sorry if I’m not inclined to take Conroy at his word…

            There was something about his campaign for internet censorship that said honesty wasn’t his best trait.

          • Camaban, the gov department did the analysis, not Conroy’s own staff.

            Stupid Net Censorship stuff aside (everyone makes mistakes), Conroy has easily been the best Australian Comms minster ever, without him driving it hard the NBN would never have gotten as far as it did.

            PS, re ISDN, there was a little known product from Telstra called Bigpond Home ISDN, iirc it was about $70 per month and included 2x 64/64 kbps ISDN lines, phone rental and all the data you could eat.

            It was pretty fantastic, I had it from about 2002-2005 as I was on a micro-RIM and couldnt get ADSL. I ditched the Telstra supplied ANT and used a really nice Cisco ISDN modem/router that I was able to score cheap via work at the time. Due to the Telstra deal I could leave it on all day just like an ADSL Connection. I had the Cisco configured to automatically drop one data connection whenever the phone was picked up or whenever the Alarm system needed to dial out on the other line.

            It was a pretty good example of how no one could compete with a vertically integrated Telstra – to get the same services from any other ISP would have been $100’s per month, as they all billed by connection time + the ISDN “phone calls” etc.

          • Yes, I’d have to wonder how he asked the question. I seem to remember the various departments giving the thumbs up to a range of disasters over those six years.

            Regarding the censorship, that wasn’t a minor mistake. It also wasn’t an appropriate price to pay for FTTP. The NBN was a great idea, that came about for the wrong reasons, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make a comms minister who advocated censorship anything more than a disaster. I’d spent enough time in China that that genuinely scares me.

            And they had a similar thing that was for the ISDN only at a capped price. I was on that for years. For the rest, I basically hopped onto the DB server and modified my account to allow for two connections and no disconnections, before doing the same thing at the next ISP I worked for after Hypermax shut down.

            However, all that was scrapped when Telstra decided to start pushing its own wireless services.

          • Camaban pay attention, the Opel WiMax design would not have delivered half of what was promised!

            I worked for Adam Internet for a few years as Biz Customer Delivery Manger and Data Center manager and I can assure you the WiMax design was a farce. It literally could not have delivered half of what was promised. The network team at Adam who managed a metro WiMax network in Adelaide with more than 50 towers and knew their stuff analysed the proposal for fun, and they confirmed the Gov Depts analysis.

            Opel didn’t have enough spectrum, they where going to put too many premises on each cell and they where going to service customers at more than double WiMax’s useful range for the available spectrum.

            TL;DR Opel was a complete farce, end of story!

          • As far as speeds go, I wouldn’t have cared if it only delivered 1/10th of what was promised.

            It was meant to deliver something better than dialup. 1/10th of what was promised comes to about 1.2Mb/s. Give me a bottle of oil and I’d have done unspeakable things for a person who could have provided me with that much connectivity.

            I went and built a wireless mesh in my neighbourhood to try and get it to a point where I had some connectivity to a place that could deliver 1.5mbit to all of us. Unfortunately the one person who was interested in being a source (Other side of the Brisbane river, which had DSL) was also a school principal and mindful of the effects of having one pedophile using anything that was even remotely associated with him.

            TL;DR that region was on dialup for another five years thanks to Rudd/Conroy forgetting the original point of OPEL.

            Worst case, they should have found someone else who was capable of doing the same thing rather than scrapping it and wowing everyone with a big number.

          • Worst case, they should have found someone else who was capable of doing the same thing rather than scrapping it and wowing everyone with a big number.

            The only company in Australia that could have managed it was Telstra, and Sol wasn’t interested…

          • “It also wasn’t an appropriate price to pay for FTTP.”
            I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are now government-owned consumer FTTP services available without any Labor censorship scheme. There are however Liberal censorship and monitoring schemes.

          • Camaban, surely the point of Opel was to get people internet access, and it sounds like it wouldn’t have done that at all for ~20% of the people it was intended to serve.

            So that 20% would get letters saying: “We spent money on your internet!” and gotten nothing.

            Sure the 70% would have been happier with the “something”, but if someone says: “We are spending heaps of money on you for your internet access! You’ll get 10 megabits!” (or whatever) and then they showed up and gave you 2 megabits, but only when it wasn’t raining and only if you weren’t in that 20% zone..

            You’d be pissing and moaning all day long.

            If Opel couldn’t achieve what we were going to pay them for, why would we pay them for it?

            How about this: I’ll sell you an electric car that can go 100km per charge. Then on delivery I’ll tack on a note saying: “Actual range 80km”.

            Sure; you still get an electric car that can go 80km, and its better than your electric pushbike that takes you 10km per charge, but are you glad you paid full price for it?

          • And if the alternative is to simply spend the best part of an extra decade on dialup?

            When was the last time you had dialup?

            If you had a choice between a car with an advertised range of 100km, an actual range of 80km and walking, what would you choose?

            Would I have been as happy as I could have been? No.
            Would I have been pissed that they even bothered? Absolutely not. The difference between that and dialup would have still been immense.

            >>I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are now government-owned consumer FTTP services available without any Labor censorship scheme. There are however Liberal censorship and monitoring schemes<<

            The Labor censorship scheme only disappeared when they went out of power.

            The LNP ones haven't come to pass.

            The reason we don't have the Labor one is because the LNP sided with non-Labor parties to block it.

            To repeat that:
            The reason we don't have censorship at this very moment is because the Liberals and independents blocked it. If they hadn't, you wouldn't have been talking about LNP schemes, because we'd have already had the Labor one.

            Do I trust Labor to not bring it back? Not at all.

          • “The Labor censorship scheme only disappeared when they went out of power.”
            Absolutely false. The scheme disappeared during the term of hung parliament (as you admit via contradiction later in your same post) – the most prosperous time Australia has seen in 20 years.

            “The LNP ones haven’t come to pass.”
            ASIO would love you to think that. The ISPs that still don’t know how the government wants them to implement things on their end would love to believe that.

    • Note that much of the previous plans made for FTTP rollouts need not be changed (assuming the Turnbull-led mob haven’t shredded all the previous data), so if a technology choice hasn’t been locked in in any given area then any original FTTP rollout plans can easily be reinstated, saving the need for another 2.5 year period of doom.

  8. By having a review by IA may give NBN enough time to finish their FTTdp trials and allow Labor to include it in the deployment, which should keep costs down. The advantages of FTTdp are just to good to over look.

  9. Looks like they have added a few FTTP customers to bargain with the Independents and do some pork barrelling.
    Suggest you vote for an Independent if you want to get any FTTP connection in your area.

    • By voting for an independent won’t guarantee you anything, if the LNP aren’t voted out, you will only get FTTP in greenfields.

      • Believe it or not, there are greenfields that are getting FTTN as well. So yeah, screw the LNP.

    • Sorry, as much as I like the democratic ideal of independent representation, the reality is that without a party to develop and enforce policy you would have nothing but squabbling and infighting. A few independents is good for democracy, as they can swing towards the most sensible and beneficial outcomes for the country (assuming they’re actually intelligent and ethical, which probably rules out 90% of independents :-/), but if you have nothing but independents they would have to do the mother of all deals to be able to form Government… I hate to think how long that would take!

      • A couple of examples where the cross-benchers failed the country:
        1. Brian Harradine (Tasmanian Senator) who directed barrels of Federal money to Tasmania
        2. Democrats who increased GST compliance costs by adding numerous exclusions
        3. Independents who supported Gillard and delivered us a comprised NBN where the rollout failed to prioritise those in most need and resulted in 79% connecting on fibre at 25Mbps or slower.

        • Yeah Mathew, but don’t 79% connecting on fibre at 25Mbps or slower want to connect at 25Mbps or slower? Why should we even bother trying to compete with the rest of the world? It just doesn’t make sense, right?

          • but don’t 79% connecting on fibre at 25Mbps or slower want to connect at 25Mbps or slower?


          • So you agree we shouldn’t bother trying to keep up with the rest of the world Reality?

        • 1 – Harradine has done right by his electorates. Can’t see a real issue there, perhaps the problem is the parties pandering to him.
          2 – The exclusions are a good thing.
          3 – 79% on fibre connecting at 25mbs or slower. But at the same cost to provide a greater service that will allow for future growth. A cost that at the 79% 25 mb and under would be able to pay for the rollout with the usage, and thus not cost the Australian Taxpayers anything, unless they were using it.

        • 3. Largely irrelevant, as the original forecast was 50% on 25 or faster, and that turned out to be 65% and on the rise. The higher end plans provide more revenue, so this percentage being higher than forecast renders your point meaningless.

      • I don’t think that is what would occur, what is more likely is that you will start getting more of the European behaviour where several smaller parties will emerge based on certain topics, they will then work in “coalition” and actually govern from parliament, instead of the party rooms.

        Sure its not perfect either, but it is a damn site more representative than this 2 party shit we have going.

    • Yep Vote an independent, or minor, and then preference the major that you would prefer.

      Don’t let them steal your vote via preference, and don’t believe the crap that voting for the independents/minors has no effect.

      I can guarantee you that every electorate that is marginal or in independent hands every vote and preference is looked at with a fine tooth comb.

  10. “… and that the Infrastructure Australia review will broadly examine the future of broadband infrastructure in Australia for every premise that is not immediately slated to be served by FTTP infrastructure.

    This will exclude the satellite and wireless components of the NBN network, but will focus on those served under the NBN with fixed broadband infrastructure, including FTTN and HFC cable.”

    These words bother me … It remains to be seen if there are going to be significant numbers of people who are slated for FTTN but because of their distance from the nodes, won’t make the 25 Mbs threshold and get tossed off the fixed line system onto FW or Sat. (A distinct possibility for myself at 1.4 km from my node installed earlier this year and no sign of a “micro-node’ or anything else yet). Does this mean that the IA process will NOT look at getting us back onto the fixed line system?

    • You may get lucky and they’ll try Fttdp. nbn have said they were thinking of using that for edge cases like yours.

  11. “In this sense, dealing with the long-term future of the HFC cable networks based on Telstra and Optus infrastructure is less of a priority, as they will offer stronger speeds and enhanced reliability compared to FTTN infrastructure.”

    This is bullshit. We only may get consistent speed because nobody is on it get it ? It falls over when it pleases like for days also. It’s just as faulty and unstable as ADSL.

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