NBN: slow, expensive and obsolete

Cross-posted from The Conversation:

The Abbott Coalition government came to power two years ago this week with a promise to change Labor’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) to one using less-expensive fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking its network with the three-word slogan: “Fast. Affordable. Sooner.”

But with the release in August of the 2016 nbn corporate plan and in the light of overseas developments, it is clear that the Coalition’s broadband network will not provide adequate bandwidth, will be no more affordable than Labor’s FTTP network and will take almost as long to roll out.

With the benefits of two year’s hindsight since 2013, let’s look at the Coalition’s performance against each of the three assertions in their 2013 slogan.

Affordable

The graph (below) shows funding estimates for the NBN from December 2010 to August 2015. Labor’s funding estimates for its FTTP NBN rose from A$40.9 billion in December 2010 to A$44.9 billion in September 2013, an increase of 10%. By comparison, the Coalition’s funding estimates, both for FTTP and the so-called multi-technology mix (MTM), have fluctuated wildly.

ScreenHunter_9316 Sep. 08 14.42

The estimated funding required for the Coalition’s NBN has almost doubled from A$28.5 billion before the 2013 election to between A$46 billion and A$56 billion in August. Before the 2013 election, the Coalition claimed that its proposed multi-technology-mix network would cost less than one-third (30%) of Labor’s FTTP-based NBN.

But in new estimates released in the 2016 corporate plan, the cost of the multi-technology mix favoured by the Coalition blew out and rose to two-thirds (66%) of the cost of a FTTP-based network.

Also, the cost of repairing and maintaining Telstra’s ageing copper network was likely underestimated, as was the cost of retraining and maintaining a workforce with the wider range of skills needed to install and maintain the multi-technology-mix network – costs that are unique to the MTM.

In the space of two years, the lower-cost deal the Coalition spruiked to Australian voters has turned out to be not so affordable after all.

Sooner

The Coalition probably underestimated the predictably lengthy delays in re-negotiating the agreement with Telstra as well as delays in re-designing the network the new IT systems needed to manage a more complicated network with multiple technologies.

The graph (below) shows the actual and planned number of premises passed (or in today’s parlance – ready for service) for the original FTTP network and the Coalition’s network.

ScreenHunter_9317 Sep. 08 14.43

The Coalition’s original target was to bring at least 25 Mbps to all 13 million Australian premises by 2016. That target has now been quietly dropped and replaced with a target of more than 50 Mbps to 90% of premises by 2020.

At the end of July 2015, almost two years after the 2013 election, only 67 premises had been served by multi-technology-mix technologies. In the meantime, as shown (in the graph above), the roll-out of FTTP has continued, albeit at a lower rate than Labor originally intended.

This lower roll-out rate has led to fewer connected customers and lower revenue. It will be interesting to see if the newly released targets for premises ready for service will be achieved (blue broken line in the graph above).

Labor certainly had its problems when it was in charge. For example, slow negotiations with Telstra and asbestos in Telstra’s infrastructure caused delays of around one year. The funding requirements for Labor’s FTTP network crept up by about 10% from 2010 to 2013.

But the delays and cost blowouts have been very much worse under the Coalition than under Labor.

Fast

Australia’s broadband capabilities are falling behind its international peers. According to internet companies Ookla and Akami, Australia’s broadband speed lags well behind other advanced and even emerging economies.

In 2009, Ookla ranked Australia’s average broadband download speed as 39th in the world. Since then, our international ranking has steadily declined and slipped to 59th place earlier this year.

What’s worse, my studies of trends in internet speed in Australia and in a range of developed and developing countries show that FTTN technology – a key part of the Coalition’s MTM – will not be enough to meet the needs of Australian broadband customers.

In short, FTTN technology will cement Australia’s place as an internet backwater. Our world ranking could fall as low as 100th by 2020.

In many forward-looking nations, fibre-to-the-node technology has never been entertained as an option. In some countries where it has been installed, network operators are planning to move away from FTTN in favour of more advanced broadband technologies like FTTP. In doing the opposite, Australia is moving backwards.

If FTTN magically appeared on our doorsteps by 2016, as originally promised by the Coalition, there would certainly be a short-term advantage. But the 2016 target has been missed and the FTTN component of the network will be obsolete by the time the roll-out is completed.

Of course, there is no point in speed just for speed’s sake. Studies in Europe and the United States have shown a strong correlation between GDP growth and internet speed.

In the US and elsewhere, increasing numbers of homes and businesses are receiving services at 1 Gbps and higher. A recent study presents evidence that communities served by 1 Gbps and more are faring better economically than communities with slow-speed broadband.

If in 2013 the Coalition had simply allowed NBN Co to get on with the job of rolling out its fibre-to-the-premises NBN, rather than changing it to an inferior multi-technology mix, it may well have ended up spending less money and delivered Australia a much better network.

The Coalition sold the Australian public a product that was supposed to be fast, one-third the cost and arrive sooner than what Labor was offering us. Instead the Coalition’s NBN will be so slow that it is obsolete by the time it’s in place, it will cost about the same as Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises NBN, and it won’t arrive on our doorsteps much sooner.

By my reckoning, we didn’t get a good deal.

Article by Rod Tucker, Laureate Emeritus Professor at University of Melbourne

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. And you want to trust these wankers to oversee the construction of a fleet of AIP submarines.
    By now it must be dawning on even the most sleepy we are in a technology backwater, and a desert of management – administration talent.
    Went looking for Leightons on the web the other day only to find they have changed their name to avoid the scandals surrounding the old Leighton. (business as usual in Oz) WW

    • I meant to add that as you all know Tesla and at least 1 other company is planning to launch 700 low earth orbit communication satellites, to communicate directly to your computer.
      At that time the NBN is obsolete and a liability.
      The satellites will probably be operational before the NBN is half completed.

      • Josh MoorreesMEMBER

        its always about bandwidth, there is simply no way sat will ever give the same bandwidth as fixed fibre. The volume of traffic is only increasing. The spaceX plan is great to give general browsing capability to everyone (and the number is more like 4000 I believe) but it will never replace the capacity that ubiquitous fibre will give. We could possibly get to a point where wireless is viable but we would need a bit infrastructure push to get it there. If all the network data went over 4G now it wouldn’t be able to cope with the congestion.

      • Realistically, this is probably the biggest White Elephant in Australia’s history. Rudd the dud… shame Labour didn’t chuck him earlier!

        He could go down as Australia’s worst PM, although Billy is a runner, as are a couple of the earlier ones too. Maybe Frazier – only because he didn’t do anything?

        its all too late now. We have to fix what we have. No point crying over split milk.

      • “We could possibly get to a point where wireless is viable but we would need a bit infrastructure push to get it there. ”

        Possibly, but at what point will the NIMBY crowd start getting testy with the towers needed to cope with the increasing data demand?

      • Bertrand Russell

        God that is such ignorant bullshit.

        You SERIOUSLY need to stop posting about shit you have absolutely no idea about – including the future of 3d printed plane parts – just utter ignorance.

        The PRIMARY purpose of fibre is upload – thats all there is too it. Nothing else matters – UPLOAD UPLOAD UPLOAD.

        Low earth orbit satellites, balloons or any other wireless mix can NEVER replace the upload requirements, and without that – its useless for a serious telecommunications network.

        Right now CHina has developed TERRA BYTE per second over distances approaching 2000km for Fibre.

        That is completely mind blowing.

        Give it a rest with your “Im just gunna go with what I reckon as stone cold fact – no matter how uninformed” – its risible shit for someone who has a great wealth of knowledge in many areas.

      • BR – mate take a deep breath. When you actually know something – then inform us. Abuse is not a substitute for fact. Some of your claims lately have destroyed your rep. Some bonkers in fact – especially on oil and transportation.

        We are just swapping ideas here. Thats all. Try and engage rather than revert to diatribe. We are all friends on this site. Its a site about ideas, not votes.

      • LEO Satellites will not replace NBN. That’s like saying that Uber will end the commercial ute market. If satellites accept uplink at all, it will be slow even by DSL standards if mass adopted. The satellites will not be capable of serving the amount of content that exists on the internet, which means datacentres on earth with backbones to the satellite relays. The one thing Sats have going for them, is data coverage of regions where the government wants to control the information its citizens receive, and coverage of areas where its not feasible to build infrastructure (due to geography or the short time span the access is needed)

      • Hmm good match to my uni degree. I wonder if they’ll have AU staff….might check the careers section of their site.

      • Terabyte. Not terra byte. Which sounds like a cereal.

        Researchtime, this is not Rudd’s fault.

        He wanted FTTP – that would not have been a white elephant.

        You could have swapped the Tx and Rx as technology advanced and hey presto more bandwidth per wavelength.

        I’m on NBN LTE and the degradation as more people have been activated is shocking.

      • Actually, it will be Terra Bit per second, not byte. A bit is a single zero or one. A byte is a ‘bunch’ (8, 16, 32, 64) of zeros and ones that make a number. All network traffic is given as bps – Bits Per Second. So it takes at least 8 terra bits per second to get terra byte per second.

        This is important – as if you are trying to UPLOAD a large 1G (Byte) document it normally means you need 8 G (bits) of network bandwidth to send it. So the 4G wireless/phone network is getting 4 Mbps of upload. So to upload the above document will take 34 minutes over 4G, it would take about 3 minutes over NBN FTTH.

    • Yes I do. Get the Japanese to manage the project – and even import key workers if you want. Australia has to be able to defend itself.

      In regards to the NBN – who knows how it would have worked if Labour were still in control, it was clearly in trouble at the last election. Costs could have been double what they are now? Higher Spec?

      In either case – its going to be an absolute shed load of money – for what????

      Amazing really, by the time you add in what has been given to TLS to put aside its copper network, the Government(s) [Liberal and Labour] would have spent the equivalent of two mining booms in revenue – and it was a one in one hundred year boom at that…

      In the long-run it doesn’t really matter I suppose??? Keeps a few people in a job for a while? Treble (at a minimum) the price of those submarines though…

      • Bertrand Russell

        We know the costs – they were falling and the project would have paid for itself with massive uptake.

        No one will uptake the MTM because its shit – costing even more.

        You have no idea on this topic, most actually, not sure why you post.

      • Bertrand Russell

        Researchtime I have not destroyed my reputation at all. My position on oil and energy is 100% supported by demand, cost, and the technology being produced by BMW, Tesla, and many others.

        You have supplied nothing outside of ignorance and spruik – nothing, not a single thing.

        You assertions on this issue specifically have been nothing less than absolute ignorance masquerading as feckless guesswork.

        Your CONSTANT assertions are almost always lies.

        So please – leave off the character judgements, assertions of validity etc – you have neither worthy character nor validity.

      • Bertrand Russell

        Researchtime – until you understand that the basic principle and requirement of the NBN is upload capabilities, which no wireless will ever supply, the you have absolutely no legitimacy on this issue – none.

        It is the NUMBER ONE requirement.

        You are trying to sell people a formula one race track where we are all spectators, unless we can drive on it – its totally fucking useless.

        We need an autobahn we can all get on. Not something that is simply transmitted to us as passive receivers – we MUST be able to transmit ourselves – ONLY cable offers this.

      • Duke_WellingtonMEMBER

        does anyone here actually read Reasearchtime’s posts? He seems like some sort of boomer/pensioner who has found the internet in the last 6 months and decided to blog.
        I am convinced it is a troll.

      • does anyone here actually read Reasearchtime’s posts?

        They’re good for a chuckle.

        Usually the best material comes after “trust me on this” or just before “I don’t have time to reply”.

      • Bertrand, on this: “basic principle and requirement of the NBN ” re upload.

        That’s not true for all cases. I haven’t seen NBN’s capacity planning around this but I suspect download is a rather important aspect (hence most services are asymmetric in profile).

        I am not saying upload speeds/BW are not important – they are, especially for SOHO, SME, Health, EDU, engineering etc.

        There are still a lot of consumers chewing BW up consuming teh YouTubez.

      • I know we have discussed this before – but next generation wireless could give it a run too…

      • Anything wireless can do fibre can do 1000x better and this is a fact that will never change.

        its a controlled vs uncontrolled medium and thats it.

      • FiftiesFibroShack

        I favour a mix. FTTP makes sense in certain areas – wireless could be put to good use in geographically appropriate areas.

      • MF – We are not arguing that point. This is the NBN we are talking about – which is entirely unrelated argument to cable speeds. What we are comparing is the finished NBN vs huge specturm wireless. The last wireless generation was proposed at $800m !!!!!! Once established, upgrades are easy and relatively cheap.

      • Bertrand Russell

        This country needs to be opened up – providing fibre does not. Wireless confines them to passive recipients with no engagement.

        Stupid.

      • I used to have satellite internet (my former place cannot get ADSL or cable, and I live in Sydney!!). It’s about 600ms to 1 second latency. It’s ok for download/streaming, but terrible for Skype/Gaming.

  2. Australia will always move backwards with a Liberal govt. In the 2 decades before Hawke and Keating came into power the Libs ran the place like they were a caretaker at a graveyard. No progress on the social or economic front. The Libs only reason to exist is this caretaker role, to step in when the largesse of Labor and the Unions get’s out of control and they need to wash out the pond scum.

    • I would add that they, the Libs, need to mess things up and then Labor (and increasingly the Greens) come back to fix it. Then Labor is voted out and the Libs take the the kudos for Labor’s fix-up.

    • An intelligent man I know often asks people to “Name one postive thing the Liberals have done for Australia apart from banning automatic weapons and the GST”

      No one has ever given him another suggestion.

  3. Can we do a MB straw poll of home terrestrial Broadband speeds?
    Bris – ADSL2+, Dnld-5-11 Mbps, Upld-0.8-1 Mbps

      • My part of Perth
        ADSL2+, Dnld- 4-5 max Mbps, Upld- 0.5 Mbps
        And 1 would like to point out
        1. The copper line outside my house was hit by lightning 10 years ago, and patched not replaced.
        2. My internet fails every time it rains or the next door turns on water sprinklers. But because the “phone” still works no one will do anything about it
        3. I have in the last 7 years called for a line repair an average of 3 times per year after complete line failure, but every time i call again to demand line replacement they insist there are no records of any previous call outs on my number so there is no problem.

    • Josh MoorreesMEMBER

      Last house – inner Adelaide no ADSL capability
      Current Newcastle 5-15 Mbps down (terrible congestion at night) 0.8-1Mbps up.
      NBN box attached to the outside just waiting to go live!

      • “…thats all that’s important right?…”

        Pretty much.

        I have a lousy ADSL link – <5 and <2 at night but it has rarely stopped my enjoying the fruits of the production houses of the world. Plus it is generally fine for logging into a terminal session at work when the need arises.

        Give me 10 Mbps and I would be happy as a pig in mud.

    • Brisbane, 200kb down, 800kb up.. Yes – count them! twooo, twooo hundred! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!
      Oh – and for the past 3 days it’s been 0/0 – as the dialtone seems to have gone fucking missing!

      • A very good friend of mine at the back of Ashby (NSW) is getting it installed this week! Fucking …. ASHBY!!… The part of Brisbane I’m in is not even on the map for that!

      • Hoax – friends moved into a new house about 2 years ago and it was wired with copper.

        Does anyone know whether FTTH is being installed in ALL new housing even now?

        Considering there are between 150,000 and 200,000 houses being built each year. That alone should be producing a faster rise in new FTTH connections.

      • Josh MoorreesMEMBER

        It has been rolled out in my suburb, is attached to the outside of my house but I have to wait until they switch on the suburb before I can get the ISP to come install the inside bit. That was about a month ago…

      • I have LTE with clear LOS to a tower, about 1km as the crow flies.

        Throughput generally good. Much better than Telstra HSDPA.

        New estates i.e greenfields > (I think) 75 – 100 places get fibre run.

        The problem is places built during period of uncertainty missed out so we have a case of haves / have nots.

        ie. estate Woodend I think around 40 blocks didn’t get fibre run (or connected into NBN core) whereas had it been built slightly earlierit would have been

        Very very silly

      • “Hoax – friends moved into a new house about 2 years ago and it was wired with copper”
        ” estate Woodend I think around 40 blocks didn’t get fibre run (or connected into NBN core) whereas had it been built slightly earlierit would have been”
        That is insane. It is a major failing if true.
        Turnbull has repeatedly said all greenfield sites get FTTP
        Can’t this be verified/checked?
        Is there data available on this?

    • I win. I am in Brunswick (Vic) and on the NBN 🙂

      100Mbps download
      40Mbps upload
      1ms ping latency

    • in Cairns
      at home TLS ADSL2 4-5mbps down 0.5-1mbps up
      at work on NBN 100mbps down 40mbps up
      at work the download is nice but the upload is essential as we run several branches off our servers

    • Brisbane, 20 mins from CBD. 100 mbit download, 2mbit upload.

      Very fortunate that Foxtel cable runs past my house and that Telstra offers the “Ultimate” plans here. Split three ways between the occupants of my apartment and it’s really affordable. I can’t imagine having to go back to shitty DSL.

      Still, I fully support a FTTP NBN.

      • Home: Adelaide CBD, ADSL2+ on TPG, 750 m from exchange and I average 16-18 mbps d/l during peak time.

        Work: Adelaide CBD, Australian Academic and Research Network, 535 mbps d/l, 315 mbps u/l, 1 ms ping.

      • We have the foxtel cable. Worked for 2 out of the last 4 weeks, 3 significant outages in the 1 year I’ve been living there. NBN cabling is now in the street, hopefully it will be more reliable. Seems a bit unfair to be putting in NBN in suburbs that already have fibre, when there are other areas that don’t even have adsl, but its good for me.

  4. The Coalition: Delivering Yesterday, Tomorrow.

    Turnbull appears to be executing the task set for him admirably.

  5. Tucker has held this position for a long time but his own analysis and that of his former team, which released a paper on economic effects due to NBN in the last month, have often been awry and implicity contrary to the arguments expressed here. Whether right or nearly right, often analysis has been to prove confirmation bias of a long held view. His paper is a damning indictment of policy/infrastructure from both sides and as UE has said pork too often determines decisions not brains.

  6. Another outstanding example of life under the Liberals;
    “In short FTTN technology will cement Australia’s place as an internet backwater.”
    “… will not be enough to meet the needs of Australian broad band consumers.”
    “…coalitions NBN will be so slow that it is obsolete by the time it’s in place.”
    Backward, not enough, obsolete, all we need to know about the LNP

    • Bertrand Russell

      They’ve done 3 cities in the US.

      Will get to Australia on that rate by 2450 – good ideas as always 3D1k

    • Yes, we’ll allow a US entity to establish an monopoly over our telecommunications. What a deal.
      Maybe we could even sign a trade agreement forgoing any company tax and allowing companies like Google to build their network here using underpaid American workers.

      Phew, I should a be politician. This is too easy.

  7. http://www.buddeblog.com.au/frompaulsdesk/some-fundamentals-of-dutch-fibre-success/

    “KPN is one of the few incumbents to pursue FttH through recognising that doing so is in its own interests, rather than as a result of regulatory or competitor pressure. Although KPN initially favoured upgrading its copper network (FttC with VDSL2 in the last mile) over investing more fully in FttH (on its belief that VDSL could compete effectively with DOCSIS3.0), by the end of 2009 the company announced that FttH was indubitably the superior technology, and that it would henceforward invest significantly in FttH alone. The company recognised that it could not compete in towns where it faced competition from cablecos, and having lost subscribers and market share to these operators in areas where they competed, KPN now finds itself regaining market share where it actively sells FttH.”

    Competition is a beautiful thing…

    In addition I would add that the Dutch people are generally very open to adopt new technology, which is why the Dutch market is often used as a testing ground by many tech companies. Recent developments in The Netherlands show people in more rural areas (if you could call them that) banding together to get fibre installed quicker…

    I will repeat what I said before. The fact that there even is a discussion around this highlights that Australians do not get the importance of this technology, i.e. how far behind OZ is. Also, consider that Oz spends an entire NBN on housing related tax breaks annually!

    • It’s all about the PLAN. The one where Australia’s place in the world economy is to serve as a Quarry & a Farm. No need for anything else, education , hi tech computing, manufacturing, science, renewable energy industry, out they go because they are not part of Abbott’s PLAN

  8. Think of the positive. When we’re in the next deep recession, we’ll have all that extra economic stimulus from rebuilding it.
    (Unfortunately it’ll be done by foreign workers here under the China FTA or 457s….lol)

  9. having in mind that everything in this country takes twice as long and twice the money to build, every plan has to aim to deliver twice the needed capacity and plan for cost to blow up – and this is not only for internet, but roads, trains, water supply, gas, electricity, parks, playgrounds, pedestrian crossings, milk supply, … you name it

  10. Bertrand Russell

    Just so we are all CLEAR – the MTM mix is still in testing and has not been rolled out anywhere yet.

    The ONLY thing which has been rolled out is existing cable – there is LITERALLY no MTM.

    Not sure what this article is even bothering with.

    By the way – once in place the NBN will offfer speeds well in excess of a GIG/SECOND – think about that.

    • 1Gb/s is only possible with labor’s fttp build. fttn, pretty much vdsl, have download speed of 15-70Mb/s, and upload of 5-10Mb/s, depending on the distance between the node and home.

      NBN actually hope to get a speed of UP TO 50Mb/s.

      • Bertrand Russell

        NBN FTTP will deliver well over 100MB and upto a GIG (or more) once the network is complete.

      • Bertrand Russell

        Sorry we are in agreement.

        GIG over a single strand has already been achieved in field. While China recently announced TB over 1000km PLUS in lab tests. Astonishing.

      • Just that NBN FTTP will be quite rare when LNP NBN gets implemented. To say NBN as a whole will be able able to handle 1gb/s is wildly off the mark, I was just adding qualifiers to your initial statement… It makes a huge difference.

      • Maybe to 1% of population

        LOLsec

        F$cking rural voters dudded AGAIN

        Why the F$CK they aren’t splicing in pizza box DSLAMS on existing fibre runs and running xDSL down regional roads is beyond me.

        Friends working at the NBN agree.

        Truly. Bizarre.

        Think about that.

        We could be splicing in DSLAMs on existing runs and using EXISTING copper (removing pair gain and rims where appropriate) to give RARA xDSL NOW.

        Oh and power them from mains, UPS and wait for it, SOLAR + batteries

        The mind boggles

    • Bertrand Russell

      It takes two days to send one of my files to Sydney via post – it would take all week to upload it.

      Get a clue.

    • Exhibit A – “I think the NBN is all about downloading videos”.

      Much work to be done still – awareness is sorely lacking. Here we go, off the top of my head.

      Computing Grids, Backhaul, Emergency Services Communications, Smartgrids, Remote Health Care, Off-site backups (fire danger season preps anyone?), Replacement of decaying strategic infrastructure (copper)…

      • All that stuff is just gold-plating IT geek wetdream fantasy land. Most of it will make very little difference to the lives of 99.9% of Australians. If you live in Whoop Whoop, you learn to live without a few things (trust me, I’ve done it). If you want to live the quiet life, you don’t expect reticulated gas or sewer to your property do you. Why should FTTP be any different? It’s called prioritising public money. Give me a proper subway system in Sydney any day.

      • Yeah broadband will not bring productivity improvements to rural and regional Australia. What are those stupid hicks thinking?
        Sydney needs another tunnel.

    • Done, “I want fast porn”!

      And why not? We definitely could have a greater porn industry, it’s a much more honest industry than the money laundering real estate BS we currently have.

      • Yeah – but this being Oztrailia, we’ve outsourced our pr0n manufacturing to China. Something about good things always coming in small packages…

    • Bertrand Russell

      Cannon just released a new 250 megapixel sensor which will DWARF 4k video which means the NBN MTM FTTN will be obsolete in less than 12 months of this thing being released-

      You literally will not be able to upload 2 seconds of family footage.

      Oh – and 3D files, video, AUTO-cad etc are several gig each.

      Porn on the other hand is dozens of gig – probably not for you though – grainy potato cam.

  11. Perhaps if they had kicked the thing off by choosing the cheapest and most likely to pay customers ie. high density, inner city types – before Launceston, Woolongong and Townsville the thing may have had considerably lower losses.

    As for trying to put FTTP into more than 90% of homes across one of the least densely populated places on Earth – what a joke. Whoever came up with the rollout strategy and the benchmarks was an idiot, sorry, politician.

    A classic piece of public sector provided mess.

    • Not this least dense BS again, we are not rolling it out to the desert or the bush. We are rolling out out to where people actually live, in the cities, and our density in the cities are comparable with European and American mid tier cities. Just a few days ago you were complaining Australian cities were over populated, now it suddenly changed to least populated.

      • It is extremely relevant – you may have misunderstood.

        Have a look at the rollout map for Brisbane.

        The densest parts like New Farm have no NBN and I can assure you they need and can afford it.

        The outskirts of Toowoomba and Tamworth have the NBN while people in the CBDs have 4mbs ADSL

        http://www.nbnco.com.au/develop-or-plan-with-the-nbn/check-rollout-map.html

        My point is decent fibre would have been rolled out to a lot more people likely to actually pay for it if the rollout wasn’t political.

        The plan is indeed to roll it out to people in the bush. This must be the only business model I have ever seen where they have purposely brought forward the highest costs and delayed the most revenue.

        EDIT: I don’t think I would be the person saying Australian cities are overpopulated. You have the wrong person.

      • The least densely populated sites are actually build because they are a test site for different conditions you are likely to encounter. It is important in any project to identify all types of risks early before the ramp up of rollout. However, the LNP trashed the NBN before the ramp up, so now you end up with this abomination. There were a lot of high density suburbs which were scheduled for rollout that got cancelled as soon as LNP got elected.

      • It isn’t the first fibre network in the world.

        My apartment has a 200/100 fibre link and was built 5 years ago

        Maybe get some 457s over from Singapore or Eastern Europe to advise and get the ball rolling for the apartment market?

        $1million dollar homes with 4mbps Internet – people have lost their minds

    • The original problem was caused by Australian Telecom being privatized as a vertically integrated company, giving them no incentive to improve service. ADSL as we know it today started when the ACCC opened the copper wires to other ADSL providers. This created a situation where Telstra refuses to upgrade their exchange to fiber unless there is legislation preventing competitors access to it. It is in Telstra’s interest to upgrade from copper since it cost over 1 billion dollars a year to maintain the copper wires, but egos are at stake.
      This came to a head when Telstra’s former imported CEO Sol Trujillio insulted the ALP government by submitting a 24 page bidding document for ALP’s national broadband project. Feeling belittled, the former communication minister Conroy up the ante by proposing a ‘pie in the sky’ FTTP which bypasses Telstra’s copper network, costing the same as what Sol Trujillo say he’ll sue the Australian government for if it build a FTTN using Telstra’s copper. FTTP proved to be very popular with the voters. Then Rudd got rolled, and Gillard got in just barely, and the rest is history. Rollout of NBN become prioritized by politics rather than profitability.

      • Yep spot on.

        I remember in the 1990s when the pay TV rollout led to multiple cables down the same street. Idiots

      • That’s right.

        “Rollout of NBN become prioritized by politics rather than profitability.”

        You would expect that though when pollies are in charge.

        Direct action by a government is always very expensive, be it climate change or NBN.

    • As for trying to put FTTP into more than 90% of homes across one of the least densely populated places on Earth – what a joke.

      This is a disingenuous (unsurprisingly) metric.

      Australia is one of the most urbanised countries on the planet. Something like 80% of the population live in five cities.

      Yes, it’s big. But it’s big and EMPTY.

      • My point is the marginal cost for the last 10% is off the charts.

        But who cares right? Money is no object

      • My point is the marginal cost for the last 10% is off the charts.

        The last 10% isn’t getting FTTP.

        Probably 95% of Australia’s population lives in towns of at least 10,000 people who are connected to other utilities like water and sewerage. That’s feasible, but a telecoms connection isn’t ?

  12. Australia is a total tech backwater. Once the depression hits in 2016/2017, you’ll all be wishing you had this infrastructure because without it, your tech sector won’t develop, which means no money for you. You’ll have to sell more farms to the Chinese instead.

    • Bricks and mortar! You can’t go wrong with that! Property mate! Equity mate! Don’t need to worry your pretty little head with “doing things” – just be an investa, mate! Let some other sucker pay your mortgage and you’ll be laughing!

      • Have to agree with Ino. Just be one of the successful good looking people with a property portfolio and she’ll be right mate. The true way to economic riches is to own 4 properties each and rent them all out. Think of all the passive income. EQUIDDDYYY MAAAATE!!!!

  13. I saw a presentation by the nbn at an industry do. New builds get fttp, stiff shit everyone else.

    To those above who doubt Australia’s need for fttp, perhaps you should look beyond your current or imagined future needs and take heed of what is actually occurring in the world. It also worth considering how much of society relies upon information exchange and how much more reliant we will become.

    Advances in technology can be a bit like pure mathematics. At first one wonders whether it will be of use, then an application gets found for it and all of a sudden it is an important cog in the machinery of modern life.

  14. No surprises here. The Coalition were never going to install what was clearly the best technical and most cost effective option (FTTP).

    Personally I think the whole project is a complete waste of time and should just be cancelled.

  15. What is more important is the cost.
    I got unlimited TPG ADSL (10/1Mb) with compulsory phone (I never dialed ever) at $59 and that’s one of the cheapest on the market in Aus.

    In undeveloped 3rd world country on the fringe of European Utopia atm one can get unlimited
    12/1Mb ADSL for under $20.
    Over fibre, 170/10Mbps costs only $77/pm and for $86 it will come with 190+ tv channels, 4x DVB-C set top boxes, with installation, gateway, 300N wifi and home Gb LAN, all free and included (24m contract).
    But wait, there’s more.
    additional 5Mb upload can be purchased for only $7.89pm (multiply as many times as required, up to 28Mb total).

    What is important to know is that they will run the fibre to any suburban home if there are at least 3 homes in the vicinity to sign-up 24m plan.
    Knowing some of the people involved with ISP’s there, I learned their business model: competition makes you grab any customer or else the competition will.

    Bottom line, without true competition* everything falls on the tax payers and in times of a depression that is hardly possible.

    * = knowing that “competition” is a word few will know in Australia, here’s the link towards the Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_%28economics%29

    • Yeah mate, but they don’t have bewdiful kangaroos there, now do they? I mean that right there should be worth the ADSL speed! Besides – who needs a speedy ADSL to watch porn when all you have to do is look out the window of your house into your neighbour’s bedroom. Can’t get much better than that even in HDTV – it’s full resolution, it’s less than half a meter away, hell you can count the hairs on his arse!

      In the end – you know, you can’t download your property portfolio, you have to go and get it, buddy! Loan up and buy-buy-buy! Forget about all this Generation Y and Millenial fad, you can’t live on the internets – you need bricks and mordor.

    • NBN (or the Victorian Myki) had many problems, but the biggest one was that it had no viable exit strategy. This sort of project should have been gated with multiple milestones. That’s project management 101.

      But alas, that was (and is) too much to expect from pollies. They are all too happy to splash somebody else’s money around.

  16. Call me cynical, but my gut reaction is that this article has been written by someone who wants to discredit Malcolm Turnbull and prevent him returning to the Liberal Leadership.

    • Yeah – but what does it matter – the result is the same, anyway. I mean – the project is dead and stuffed anyway – Turnbool or no Turnbool.

  17. Business landscape changes rapidly, especially in technology areas. On the other hand, a government has huge inertia; anti-thesis of agility.

    Not a good combination.

    • No no no! You have it all wrong! The Government has a Plan and it’s sticking to it!
      .
      .
      .
      That, and a Grocery Code of Conduct! Take that! I bet not many of those thirld-world Fibre to your Dunny countries can talk about their Grocery Code of Conduct!

      • You mean K Rudd’s grocery watch lowered our grocery prices and his fuel watch lowered our fuel prices?

        Geez, I must have grossly underestimated the power of Rudd’s invisible hand!!