news Heavy rain appears to have flooded Fibre to the Node infrastructure in the rural New South Wales town of Bowral, potentially causing a dangerous situation for local residents and causing outages with the local National Broadband Network.
The original version of the NBN as envisioned by the previous Labor Government called for most Australian premises to be covered by a full Fibre to the Premises rollout, with the remainder to be covered by satellite and fixed wireless technology.
However, the Coalition’s controversial Multi-Technology Mix instituted by Malcolm Turnbull as Communications Minister has seen the company switch to a technically inferior model re-using and upgrading the legacy copper (Fibre to the Node) and HFC cable networks owned by Telstra and Optus.
Most of the FTTP infrastructure being deployed by Labor is what is known as “passive” infrastructure. This infrastructure does not require electricity and can even survive being wet.
However, most of the FTTN infrastructure being deployed under the Coalition, in particular, is “active” infrastructure. It requires an active electrical power connection. The 30,000 FTTN cabinets, or ‘nodes’ currently being deployed around Australia also come with battery backup capability within the cabinet.
Such infrastructure is easily disabled by water ingress.
Delimiter has been sent the above photo by a local resident. It shows a street in the rural NSW town of Bowral, where the NBN company has been deploying FTTN infrastructure since at least November 2015.
The photo shows that the node appears to be at least several centimeters under water.
The resident who sent Delimiter this photo stated that the area had received 285mm of rain in 36 hours. The situation has caused havoc with local roads. However, Bowral is known to be a relatively ‘wet’ area in the Southern Highlands of NSW and often does receive substantial rainfall.
The resident also forwarded the following map which they have plotted of other similar FTTN ‘nodes’ throughout the Bowral area. It is not clear whether they, too, would be under water at this point.
It is not clear whether the power to this FTTN infrastructure has been disabled, or whether the water situation has created a potential risk whereby the power from the node could be passing into the water around it.
The situation in Bowral mimics a similar situation seen in Tasmania earlier this month. At the time, it was revealed that the NBN company had deployed a FTTN cabinet on the banks of the Tamar River in Tasmania, ignoring advice from local residents that the infrastructure would be sure to be breached by water during periods of excess rain.
As at the time of publication, the node was embedded in wet mud just centimeters from the water of the river.
The news comes as Delimiter has recently published a gallery of questionable locations for NBN nodes. The NBN company is currently deploying about 30,000 of the cabinets all around Australia.
One does rather wonder if this node is still powered and functioning. If so, the NBN company might want to turn it off, before it electrocutes people walking through the water around it? Or is that not a problem with FTTN nodes? We’ll be contacting the NBN company this morning to ask.
Image credit: Supplied by reader