Opinion: Australia Voted, Don't Mourn For The National Broadband Network

I'm seeing a lot of people wailing on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook this evening, saying that the National Broadband Network is "dead". "Goodbye, NBN", one of my friends wrote. Here's why you should stop being so dramatic.

Counterpoint: Actually, You Should Mourn The NBN... Here's Why

This evening, Tony Abbott looks set to be promoted by the majority of the country into the position of Prime Minister-Elect of Australia. He'll be sworn in soon, and with him will almost definitely come Malcolm Turnbull into the job of Communications Minister after all those years firing potshots from the shadows. With Turnbull and Abbott comes a big shift in the deployment of the National Broadband Network.

The Liberal-National Coalition policy for high-speed broadband, as you probably know by now, doesn't involve running fast fibre straight to the home at huge cost, it involves running it to nodes at the ends of streets all over the nation, with the last mile between the node and the house to be covered by the existing copper network.

More: Turnbull's Revised NBN Schedule May Take A Year To Start

Turnbull and Abbott have predicted that the policy of fibre-to-the-node would save approximately $14.6 billion compared to the Labor Party's strategy. To put that in perspective, that money is just shy of funding the now-previous government's National Health Reform Agreement program, designed to review and refocus Australia's healthcare system.

Further perspective: the previous government's Gonski school reforms were to cost $9.8 billion over six years, while the National Disability Insurance Scheme would cost $19.3 billion over three years.

All of these are big problems that still need fixing, and as you can see, a lot can be done with roughly $15 billion. And that's the whole point of Turnbull's FTTN scheme: why are we paying for theoretical possibilities today when we could be paying to fix tangible problems instead?

The chicken vs egg debate in the Australian broadband arena comes down to this: if we build a super-fast network, will the as yet intangible research, scientific and economic dividends show themselves in the next decade or two? Or should we build the network when there's a real demand for it, like the real demand for more physical infrastructure in the nation? Turnbull and the Coalition have chosen the latter which is disappointing to not back the country's research and digital development future, but that's not to say that nobody can ever have fibre again.

Where the copper isn't reliable enough to run a decent service between a node and a premises, the Coalition plan will see it replaced with fibre. That makes it a case by case thing, which means that not all the money needs to be spent right now. That's on top of the fact that select areas like universities and research facility will get the fibre service they need to do this important work.

So how tangible are savings garnered from saddling the nation with what looks to be a second-rate, two-speed broadband network for the medium term in order to throw cash on other problems?

In a doorstop interview during the campaign, Turnbull said that a conservative estimate to connect fibre to the node would be about $900, while the cost of connecting a home to fibre to the home would be $3600.

More: Turnbull: Our Broadband Plan Could Cost Same As NBN, But With A Catch

Turnbull argues that because the average household doesn’t need more than 25Mbps right now, the company deploying the network isn’t going to see a return on investment on the FTTH roll-out for some time, and the extra few thousand dollars per home can be invested somewhere it’s actually needed first like hospitals, schools and roads. And therein lies the rub.

That's what Turnbull is: a businessman. It's about developing and quickly executing a strategy that will return the best dividend for the most amount of people at once.

So don't mourn for the NBN we once knew. Sure, the Coalition network isn't the 100Mbps network we were promised, but now that Lord Abbott is on his way to being the next supreme leader of the nation, we need to accept that the Labour NBN is a dream we're well and truly being shaken out of.

The bright side is that Malcolm Turnbull accepts the need for fibre broadband and sees the benefit of a national internet infrastructure. He just has a different idea of how to roll it out than the rest of us.

Even if that is cold comfort, take solace in knowing that when the Coalition's NBN plan does go wrong, you can tell everyone who voted for him that you told them so.

Update: Alex has written a counterpoint to this piece, and it's worth noting something quickly: yes, the NBN was going to be paid out of debt rather than a loan with interest and repayments, etc, but the Abbott government is all about smaller public service and a smaller national debt. Tony Abbott ran on a campaign of shrinking the national debt while increasing tangible nation building projects. While it's a slight misnomer for the Abbott government to say that a direct saving on the NBN is an opportunity to spend more on roads and hospitals, it's still the campaign that they run and we're following the same rhetoric by referencing it as such here.

Fast Facts: The Difference Between The Labor and Coalition NBN Plans


Comments

    I think this article lacks a great deal of foresight. 25mbps isn't that much in the grand scheme of things. With more and more media being streamed and downloaded (now including 4K technology) and cloud services becoming more and more prominent, it's becoming more and more useful to have a faster connection, and the demands of faster connections are only going to increase in the coming years. It's still impossible to quickly and conveniently share are large file with someone over the Internet. Services that are popular in America, Japan, and other countries with good Internet speeds, just don't work here because our broadband is pathetically slow in comparison. That's only going to get worse, and it'll happen faster than people think.

      "Services that are popular in America, Japan, and other countries with good Internet speeds, just don't work here because our broadband is pathetically slow in comparison"

      That's incorrect. They can work here. and they can work fine. More bandwidth means you can stream multiple streams at once, but theres nothing to say Netflix for instance wouldnt work here on at least a majority of services. it is viable but like most American things, they don't care about poor old pirate Australia.
      We've got catchup tv for most channels now, quickflix. all work fine on my piddly 5M connection

        It might work, but it won't work as well. I have a theoretical 20/Mbs and even 420 youtube can be a pain to stream sometimes. What about the new 4k? We might not have it now in wide use now, but we will soon have it, probably in the next few years before we get rid of this asshole.

          You have a theoretical 20Mbps and stuggle with 420p?
          I find that very hard to believe given that I have a 9Mbps connection that streams 1080p HD YouTube flawlessly pretty much all the time.

            It's actually quite easy to believe. There comes a stage where buffering, and ping times, become more important than bps.
            If your ISP can buffer a whole video then drip-feed it to you, you'll have a better experience than the person whose ISP only holds and buffers 10 seconds worth of video.

            I have 500kbps and REALLY struggle with 420p.
            The NBN was due to start at my house starting from September so I would have had it within the next 6 months.
            I am beyond annoyed.

              Depending on what you mean by "due to start" the contract may have already been done and dusted and you'll be getting fibre.

              I believe that's the case where I live too, so I'm still optimistic.

                I hope you are right.
                Construction of the NBN was at the end of my street just over a week ago.

            we have about 6-7mbps here, and it is not enough especially when you have 4 people accessing youtube trying to stream 480p. Most families will have 4 or more residents per house hold. You can't expect 25mbps to be enough for one house. The 1000mbps offered by FTTP would have been enough for many many decades. future proof.

          To clarify, I want FTTP, but what you are saying about other countries net and ours not being up to scratch isn't entirely true. I am on 35Mbps now (Cable) and everything, including Netflix, works just as well as it does in the states. Also, the states average connection speed is aprox 19.23Mbps, so don't be to hard on our Network which currently gets 13.71Mbps (Ookla stats),

          25Mbps will be fine for a little while but it will need to be upped sooner rather than later. I think 100Mbps - 500Mbps is the sweet spot for the next 5 years.

          Last edited 08/09/13 7:45 am

            Most interesting/profitable network uses require fast upload speeds too; certainly anything involving business. And fast upload is something no home/SOHO connection has now, nor will they get it any time soon.

            I'm on 100Mbps cable myself, the best I can find, but my upload speeds are still a feeble 2Mbps. Anything involving two-way data (e.g. video conferencing) is limited by the slower link, so that 100Mbps is good only for downloading from Steam :-/ By contrast, my friends & colleagues in the US and Canada often have 25-35Mbps down and 6-7Mbps up, which IMHO is far more useful.

            But of course this is only today's speeds At 40% annual growth of demand, when the Coalition's plan is complete in 6 years, we'll be wanting 7 times today's speeds (up and down). So when we eventually get FTTN, the 25Mbps minimum will only good enough for your grandparents, not even as good as 4Mbps is today. Even those lucky enough to get 100Mbps (if any) will consider it "acceptable" at best. And in 10 years, that 100Mbps limit will itself be in the granny category.

            Lucky your on a 35MBps connection, we don't need to worry about anyone else because your fine. I love having to have a <5Mbps ADSL2+ connection for over $60 a month that drops out more frequently than not and is slower than a seniors card game. Wake up.

            Considering the plan was that by 2019 we would have between 25Mbp/s - 50Mbp/s compared to the 100Mbp/s - 1000Mbp/s of the NBN, that sucks. 25Mbp/s will stream 1080p conent fine now, but as there are already 4k content available and 4k tv's, how will this stack up with no improvement over the next 7 or so years?

            For the record I am getting 10Mbp/s at my house which is only 7km from Brisbane CBD. I cannot stream 720p let alone 1080p.

        Have to agree.. on 15mbps you can get HD through Netflix, so if 25mbps was a "consistent/constant" (by this I mean that it is guaranteed to EVERY household within the original 93% of households planned), definitely would allow for HD local content and HD overseas content. My gripe with this whole NBN thing is that whether it's FTTN or FTTP, they are still talking about data limits (quotas). The number one thing that is different between Australia and many other countries is that home internet is metered here. I'm fine with 25mbps, for now, but it needs to be unmetered and upgrade-able to 100/1000mbps if the person is willing to spend the extra cost.

        I totally want FTTP.. but now that we are stuck with loony-tunes Abbott.. I have to rationalise it to myself otherwise I will get thoroughly depressed..

        Last edited 09/09/13 9:59 am

      Faster downloads so u can torrent off pirate bay faster or a more stable economy... its such a hard choice

        So we spend billion for roads for few people that drive but not much more for people that want to work from home ?
        Fttp would cut traffic by around 5-15 % which would save billions in road building.
        A lot of people can work from home if they get 100mb 1gb connection at home
        You can VPN to you network and redirect phone and guest what cost of that
        Would be almost paid from petrol savings
        My 2 cents

        Ah, the old, "I don't actually understand how this infrastructure will affect other parts of my life so I'll just play it off as a bunch of nerds wanting to pirate Game of Thrones quicker" ploy.

        Despite the fact that yes, the internet CAN be used for piracy there's also the fact that it'll help increase productivity in the education and medical sectors, people in rural areas will be able to conduct business in ways that have never been available to them before and we'll finally have a network up to date with our status as a "first world country".

          Are you really suggesting that the people on 'this' site care more about the ability 'video conference' and work from home rather than just being able to download their games quicker and have a better online gaming experience.

          If you read the atricle you'd see that the new NBN policy still have the full fibre network going into hospitals and university/research areas... So it's not going to change what the education and medical sectors will be able to achieve... And i'm sure high density business areas will be looked after, It's only changing what speeds goes to homes that will be directly affected. My top speed at home is 800kbs and I don't seem to have trouble doing anything from home.

          Last edited 09/09/13 8:16 am

            Funnily enough you need a fast connection at both ends for that to be meaningful, there's no point in a hospital having a 100 mb/s download link if the community they're contacting has a 2mb/s upload speed.
            Are you really trying to suggest that you believe people on this site care more about saving $50 on game of thrones than they do life saving treatments and research? Why not cut out all road infrastructure development too? I'm sure it's only used by nerds going to rent porn, and hospitals have helicopters so they obviously don't need anyone else to have roads...

              The savings from rolling out FTTN should go towards an Internet Addiction support fund.

                More like go towards spending $1 billion dollars a year maintaining the copper network.

            Most Uni's I have worked with already have fibre connected, so the government saying that is just to appeal to people like you who believe what ever is told to them.

            If you can live with 800kbs then good for you, congrats well done, want a skippy badge? Here, just let me send it to you so you can print it out, be careful it a RAW image, may take a couple of hours to download it though, be patient it will happen soon.

            You know what's funny about your statement? High density business areas will be looked after, so you're telling me that companies that can probably afford to install fibre today will get the government to shell out for the install, whilst the poor slaves who can struggle to make ends meet get a second rate system to deal with? Sounds about right for the liberals.

              Not to mention the poor slaves who don't even own their house, so they have to fork out $3000 for someone else's property if they want access.

            As someone who works in IT in the health industry, I can assure you that Hospitals and other health facilities already have High speed connections. GBIP and GWIP connections of 100-1000MBPS already with managed fibre to the carrier and dark fibre between facilities. So the NBN would have little impact there.

            It's the smaller health facilities and communities that would benefit from 100mbps connections for telehealth applications so they don't need to travel 1000km to get diagnosed by a specialist, and plenty of other applications. Under the LNP plans, this wont be possible sadly.

            A sad sad day for a progressive Australia both technology wise and socially.

              Would those who have to travel those 1000km probably be part of the 7% who weren't going to be covered by Fibre-Optic anyway?

              And Yes, I get how hard it can be for them, I'm one of those blokes they used to rely on to fly them out of those remote places in a hurry and I really can't see Fibre being rolled out to some of those remote areas.

        I have worked from home, and would greatly benefit from this. It's not only efficient to have those speeds, but have the same speeds where ever I chose to live.

      why are we paying for theoretical possibilities today when we could be paying to fix tangible problems instead?Yeah, I think this said it all about this article... Not a single effort to speak for the future... !! :)

      Yes, this argument does lack a great deal of foresight. Be aware that all of Australia's international neighbours either have or are developing high-speed networks. If Australia drops the ball on this, as the coalition is intent on doing, Australia will almost certainly become the "poor white trash" of Asia. It is not a matter of simply fast internet to the home; it is more about the NBN being an incubator of amazing new technologies and industries which we have the expertise to do but so far not the require network. If we don't have the network we lose a very major capability in the world as it will become over the next half century. Now is a time for vision, not for bean counters. If we go the bean counter view we will run out of beans.

        You are a bean

      Actually strikes me as being an extremely balanced perspective on the whole issue.

      Healtcare > your ability to download a pirated tv show faster.

        Do you not understand that the Coalition does not support improved health? If anything health will be CUT under a Coalition government.
        Besides, pirating things is not the sole purpose of the Internet, and I don't want the NBN just for my personal use, not to mention the fact that there's currently a huge unbalance in Internet speeds across Australia that would be fixed by this, and that we need fast Internet to compete with other countries who have it. Infrastructure and productivity and all that.

        Healthcare> racist hatred of immigrants fueling the desire to spend 1.5 billion on drones to better monitor them.
        Healthcare> spending billions on roads so that you can get to the movies faster.
        If you want to make a reductio ad absurdum and then compare everything to healthcare you can make all government expenditure sound frivolous.

      Why do we need more than 25mbps?

      For 4k movies?

      Why do we need movies?

      I want the NBN because I want rural Australia to have fast internet. It's good for rural Australia, and it opens the opportunity to work remotely.

      I have 25mbps internet and it works perfectly fine for downloading movies etc.

      Sure, being able to download 4k movies would be better, but is no way required.

      I'd rather that everyone has decent ability to use VoIP, video chat, download 1gb movie and game files etc.

        yes. YOU have 25 mbps. im lucky to get more then 3 when accessing something in the same city, let aloe the other side of the world

    Umm:

    In a doorstop interview during the campaign, Turnbull said that a conservative estimate to connect fibre to the node would be about $900, while the cost of connecting a home to fibre to the home would be $3600.

    I'd like to point out, this is bollocks. It's clearly UNDER $3000 for FTTH as shown by NBNCo. And it is clearly OVER $900 for FTTN, because that doesn't include an NTD.

    So if that's what this costing part of the article is based on, it's bollocks. Those costs are wrong.

    On the point of 25Mbps. Yep, it's great for now. However, we're not GETTING IT NOW.

    I think this article has missed the entire point of the NBN.

      I agree completely.

      This article should be deleted. Fttn is a far inferior product and cost less in the long run than the contact to Telstra for access to the copper network

      The article is more Liberal spin bullshit.

      EVERYONE SINGLE PERSON KNOWS IT ITS UTTERLY INFEROIR.

      Shit speeds, cost more due to maintenance, obsolete befores its finished and the very worst part,

      UNLIKE LABOURS where the NBN would have paid for itself, fucking shit cunt stain bought and paid for by big buisness Abbott is letting corporations cherry pick the most profitable places meaning the NBN wont be profitable (ERGO tax payers will pay for it) and that to compensate for this lack of revenue everyone not in these super profitable areas will have to pay a premium for a lesser service just like we do currently, which was a huge reason for the NBN in the first place.

      ITs a joke of a proposal and I actually wish, knowing how ridiculous this is, think Australia would be better off if he were dead/incapacitated. I dont care if he has a heart attack, memory loss for 3 years dies in a car accident or is assassinated the NBN policy he is proposing is so inferior in every single aspect that it borders on criminal and he needs to be removed.

      If you're going to quote NBNCo figure, you might want to get them right. They stated under $3k on average. At present, they are still doing the high density roll outs and average costs are already at the $2.6k - $2.8k mark. Once they start rolling out the insanely expensive connections to rural areas, that average is onging to blow out to well over $3k.

    Turnbull argues that because the average household doesn't need more than 25Mbps right now, the company deploying the network isn't going to see a return on investment on the FTTH roll-out for some time

    What a load of crap. We need a 100MBps or higher connection in Australia for everyone. More and more people are using streaming services to watch TV or movies. Internet sites are becoming more complex and need larger bandwidth to be viewed correctly. Not to mention that more people in the household are connecting to the same connection. Why should person X stop playing online multiplayer because person Y is trying to watch a show on Quickflix while person Z is on a skype call?

      Why should Person W miss out on "Essential" items like better Education and Health Systems so that Persons X, Y and Z can enjoy those "Luxury" Items?

        When exactly was it proposed that Labor would pay for the NBN by diverting funds from education and health?

        Why should Person W miss out on "Essential" items like better Education and Health Systems so that Person X, Y and Z can enjoy
        - Road upgrades
        - up to $75,000 for having a baby
        - Cash bonuses for being long-term unemployed then getting a job
        - A new Cadbury factory
        - Buying Indonesian fishing boats

        Saying that the NBN takes money away from Education of Health is bullshit. If that was the case then why hasn't Tony Abbott committed to the full 6 years of education funding? He will be saving so much from their cheaper NBN after all...

        Why is Tony Abbott scrapping the School Kid Bonus if he will save so much money from their cheaper NBN?

          Its called Budgeting, you take X amount away from one area and it becomes available to spend in another area, whether its loaned/borrowed or not.

            The fact is though Abbott and the Coalition aren't interested in supporting health or education. They never have been. They slash funds to health and education and spend it on roads and things to make rich people richer.
            Labor was delivering their expensive NBN and at the same time adequately funding education and health. Liberal is delivering a cheaper and worse NBN but not putting the money saved to good use, which is something people don't seem to understand.

              "adequately funding health"...

              hahhahhhhahhhahhahha..

              You believe too much of what you read.

                They funded it better than Liberal will, in any case.

            The nbn was off budget fool, no taxpayer money was going anywhere near it. It would have been paid off by users.

              I guess you're the fool then. $27.5 BILLION from the Government is getting pumped into it. Source - www.nbnco.com.au/assets/documents/faq.pdf‎ Yes, it's a loan, but the repayment periods is decades. If this is a commercially viable project that will have it's loans repaid by user fess, then borrow the money commercially and invest the Government funds into actual benefits for healthcare, etc, not the theoretical benefits that NBN Co claim.

        "Essential" items being $3,000 a week maternity leave money so the rich in Toorak can breed?

        Fat lot of good that will do all those people who are trying to work from home with 1.4mbps uploads.

        you think fast internet is a LUXURY item. my wife works from home and having this luxury enables her to do this. it is 2013 and reliable fast internet access is in the same boat as the other essential services like electricty and water. try living without any of those and see how you go.

      You have friends named X, Y and Z?

      Medical and mining industry would have benefited from fibre optic connection, FUCK we are screwed

      Last edited 07/09/13 10:50 pm

        I work in engineering. I have access to a connection that would make the NBN cry. Have since 2007.

        "Medical and mining industry would have benefited from fibre optic connection"

        This is the thing some retards don't know. The medical and mining industry already have fibre.

        For example, this research network was built more than 10 years ago:

        http://www.sabrenet.edu.au/

        And this research network as better connectivity and bandwidth than most ISPs in Australia.

        http://www.aarnet.edu.au/

        They still get their fibre optic connections, it's households and smaller businesses that miss out on the connections under the Coalition's plan.

          Yeah and how much are they paying for their fiber?

        I think poweredbyme meant that the medical and mining industry would have benefited from fibre optic connections at the general populations end of the internet not theirs.

    deleted

    Last edited 18/06/15 10:39 am

      deleted

      Last edited 18/06/15 10:39 am

        Almost 3 minutes after the election coverage ended on ABC, my internet crawled to an absolute snails pace.

        I cursed the Tony Abbott Gods, shaking my fist at the sky.

        "WHY COULDN'T YOU WAIT UNTIL AFTER BREAKING BAD!"

      Unfortunately I can only up-vote this once.

      Every time somebody complains about Internet speeds the ISPs should respond "It didn't have to be this way"

      Precisley!
      FTTN is a massive waste!
      Either do it right, or don't do it at all.

      Exactly. The copper lines are terrible, every time it rains here the connection constantly drops out and there is so much noise on the voice line that you can't even make a phone call until the ground dries out again. They need to be replaced.

      Exactly.. I totally want 1000mbps.. who wouldn't?? but if the FTTN solution can:

      1. Provide a consistent/guaranteed/constant 25mbs to every one of the original planned 93%.
      2. Allow for upgrade to 100 or 1000mbps for those that want to spend for the connection.

      Than I am happy... for now.

      "I'll be waggling my finger and saying "I told you so" in 5-10 years."

      As will I.. I have a list of names etched into my brain.

        deleted

        Last edited 18/06/15 10:39 am

          Indeed, that's what I am saying.. they can't just rely on the existing network and throw in fiber nodes. They need to upgrade the copper to be consistent with a guaranteed/promised 25mbps to EVERYONE on that original 93% planned. Not the majority of the 93%.. not even 92%. That's why I don't think it's going to be much different to what we have now.

          And yeh.. if you want to fork out extra to have fiber connected, you should have that as a REAL option, not just some link on an ISP's website that says COMING SOON for an indefinite amount of time.

    Im moving to america. Ill dodge bullets to get the speeds their getting.

      Fuck that... move to Europe - scandinavian countries laugh at our measly average "10mbps" connections when they are on fucking Gigabit connections!

    $10 says it will be 'postponed' after the commission of audit.

    This article sounds like Luke is starting to think like Abbott - Lets not get ideas beyond our station.

    The Labor policy was ambitious. I believe that Australia should be a nation of ambitious people. But I guess I am wrong. Lets just build some more roads. Sigh.

      $10 says it will be 'postponed' after the commission of audit.

      I'll take a 20 on that.

        i'll take 50

        Yeah but like the M5 motorway, which was implemented by the Liberals, the new roads will likely be started with no foresight either. The M5 was built with the current capacity at the time in mind. By the time it was FINISHED it was already running at full capacity, traffic jams occurring and proving to be a bit of a problem. Cut to years later and they're struggling to increase its lanes still.

        This is like the FTTN. They'll implement it. Put it in, then realise years down the track they'll have to play catchup and spend big money upgrading it too when they realise how far behind they are...

          And that's exactly the point with Turnbull's "nobody needs more than 25Mbps" plan. It isn't forecast - forecast - to roll out for another 6 years. With pretty much every service moving to the cloud, this comment alone dooms the project to failure.

      libs said they would save $14.6 billion i will put that on

    My money is on Turnbull keeping the FTTP rollout - he already saved the NBN from Abbott cutting it completely. There'll either be a cost-benefit analysis or some change of terminology that makes it look like the Coalition's plan is much better than what Labour started.

    Last edited 07/09/13 8:25 pm

      It's a nice idea, but I seriously doubt that the Coalition's broadband policy will change. The problem is that Tony Abbott has spent the past three years building an election platform around being trustworthy and keeping his promises, namely due to the back-pedalling Julia Gillard did on the issue of the price of carbon. Effectively, Abbot can't - and won't - go back on his promise to axe the NBN.

        Because politicians always keep their pre-election promises after being elected...

      Agreed. I really wouldn't be surprised if a cheaper FTTN model was flouted merely to win some votes, only for the liberals own cost-benefit analysis to point to FTTP as the optimal rollout, giving the libs the excuse they need to continue a FTTP rollout.

      If a FTTP rollout was retained some cost cutting measures would need to be implemented in order to distinguish the libs FTTP rollout from labor's. For these cost cutting measures the libs really should take note of Simon Hackett's views on how a FTTP network should, and could, be built for substantially cheaper than Labor's rollout. Check out Simon's blog 'building a fibre nbn on a copper budget' at Simonhackett.com

        I don't agree with Simon Hacket. His idea is a thinly veiled attempt at giving ISPs a more controlling position in what services the NBN can offer.

        Having said that, it would be an insanely better network than FTTN. I just hope Malcolm Turnbull is as clever as he thinks he is.

          Fair enough. I thought Simon made a good point about one of NBNCo's major costs being tied up in the hardware they supplied, which needed to run custom firmware to satisfy the number of ports NBNCo was demanding.

          It makes sense to me that NBNCo should simply turn up to my house, install the fibre cable and walk away; no messing around with routers or PSTN hardware etc, simply an optic cable hanging from the wall.

          The customer should be acquiring this hardware through their ISP, which could be free under a 24 month contract etc, or they acquire it by their own means if they are a tech enthusiast, the same way things operate for our current DSL connections. If somebody wants multiple ports for simultaneous services well that should be on them to source it either directly or through an appropriate ISP contract, not through NBNCo.

            But this model missing the land line phone connection(s) that you already have today.
            Not all ISPs offer a phone solution. The NBN delivering the hardware meant the complete delivery is controlled by an independent service provider, you then get to select all your retail solutions. 2 phone lines, up to 4 ISPs, or a combination of ISPs, streaming services etc. All coming from different retailers. I need to run a home phone, business number and I may also need to have a separate secure ISP connection for work/business as well as my personal ISP, and any new streaming Pay TV service.

            It would be around 5% of the cost of installing the fiber, hardly a major cost. If there is only 1 data port coming into each premises, most people will fill it with an ISP. Now the ISP is in a central position to provide and charge for any services coming through the fiber (VOIP, TV multicast, video-conferencing). In the original NBN Co plan, their hardware provides 2 phone and 4 data ports to encourage competition between all providers and not just ISPs.

      Every geek I speak to who has voted (or was planning to vote) against the Labor party has said the same.

      I hope you and they are right - but that is a big gamble on Australia's future that may come back to bite us all.

      I hope you're right. We're within a few months of being connected - they've done preliminary work on our street already - and I'll feel very cheated if they snatch FTTP from us at the last minute.

      One thing I don't understand is why no-one has called out Turnbull on his investments in FTTP rollouts in France and Spain. Clearly he knows there is more value in FTTP if he is putting his own money into it, so why the conflict of interest?

      That's what I assumed as the most likely scenario. The opposition opposes, basically anything the government did they would say was a stupid idea of if they couldn't argue it was stupid they'd argue they were doing it badly this is regardless of the merits of the idea, that is sadly an effective political strategy as has just been proven.

      However while I may not agree with the Liberal party in general they aren't complete morons, they aren't going to throw out every idea just because, what they will do (as all governments do) is keep the ideas they like blame the outgoing party for underhanded tactics as to why they can't forfill their promise to ditch the plan and then claim credit for it down the track assuming it works well (or blame the others if it doesn't). Both sides have done this before and will do it again.

      I'm hoping that's what happens with the NBN, the most likely culprit for them not being able to implement their plan is obviously the contract with Telstra which they never figured into their costing. All they would have to do is say breaking that contract would cost far more than it would save (which may actually be the truth) and the NBN stays.

      Granted I'm hardly unbias, pretty much any reader of this website is going to be pro-NBN. So maybe I'm wrong and maybe it will go regardless but I wouldn't say the original NBN is dead yet.

    I'm all for the school reforms and the NDIS, I just wish the liberals hadn't gone "me too" with the NBN and either just copied what Labor was doing, or shoved it in the too hard/too expensive/other justification basket and not promised one.
    As far as I'm concerned, their NBN is going to be colossal waste of money, done for politics rather than actually fixing the problem.

    I have to say I saw this coming. That's why the missus and I bought land in an suburb where the installation of the fibre network had already commenced. Shouldn't cost too much to install from the street.

      And if you decide to sell it later on, you'll get better money than someone in the next city over who has FTTN.

    Great, now Telstra has us by the balls. Expensive and small data allowances for all of Australia. Thanks Abbot

      Shows how little you know pepee63.

        pepee63 @pepee63 SEPTEMBER 7, 2013 8:31 PM
        FTTN Guest SEPTEMBER 7, 2013 9:31 PM

        It's ok pepee63. He actually replied one minute after you originally, but the slowdown of hitting copper at the node, then it was raining... it came through a little late because it wasn't fiber all the way to the premises.

    Well they never even had my area on the roadmap, so from my personal perspective it doesn't make a difference to me - I'm stuck on an unstable 4mbps ADSL2+ connection either way. The NBN was the one redeeming factor of the ALP for me, but taken as a whole a single point is not enough reason for the majority to vote for the ALP.

    Did you read the article posted on Gizmodo - "Can Australia Afford the Coalition's NBN?"
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/09/can-australia-afford-the-coalitions-nbn/

    The proposed changes will result in Australia paying a fortune to deploy network technology offering speeds which can only be guaranteed by ISPs to 25mbps - slower than current non-NBN non-fibre consumer offerings. Furthermore the Coalition has indicated that they will halt the roll out to areas with HFC available while they try to negotiate with Telstra and Optus (until 2017/2018). If you're in an a suburb where you can get HFC (think cabled Foxtel) it now looks like you are unlikely to even get FTTN.

    Quoting:
    I am satisfied that we can acquire the d-side copper [sites between households and exchanges], but there are a number of options [for HFC]. We could simply take it over and integrate it into the NBN, that is probably the cleanest option.

    Then there are the issues with acquiring, repairing/upgrading and maintaining the existing copper. The former CTO of BT (the Coalition's oft cited FTTN champion) commented that FTTN was "one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made" with little room for expansion and huge maintenance/fault problems, particularly moisture ingress into the cabinets and the cables. Then there are all the assumptions about what Telstra will and won't give them access to. The problems with increased competition. Etc. Etc.

    You should be wondering why are we going to go ahead with it? Who would switch over to a service which is slower than what they can currently get for more money to continue subsidising rural deployment? You should be asking how the government intends to maintain a 7% ROI in less time than the original roll out - with lower adoption, and increased competition.

    The NBN is dead. Australians only have themselves to blame for the mess that is to come.

      The NBN is dead. Australians only have themselves to blame for the mess that is to come.

      To be fair most people weren't basing their entire vote on the NBN. I'm sure a lot of people who understood the importance of the NBN were put in a really tough place.
      I say the blame lays squarely on the shoulders of the people who based their entire need for an alternative NBN scheme on the fact they couldn't let an inevitable infrastructure upgrade be viewed as something Labor gave us. It's like paving the footpaths with mud just because the other team chose cement.

    I live about 30 metres from the telephone exchange, and my DSL sync speed is 20,000/812 kbps on an Optus port (through internode). I can't see a node being installed anywhere near my house, given my proximity to the exchange, so I'm guessing there will be no 50 Mbps FTTN connection for me.

      @JonBOY26

      Part of the FTTN would be VDSL DSLAMs in the exchange. So you would likely be lucky enough to see around 80-100Mbps on VDSL. Unlike 60% of the rest of Australia.

        Good to know, thanks. I wasn't sure if a FTTN rollout would involve situating a node in the exchange itself to cater for those people that, like me, live in close proximity to the exchange.

        It's not 100 Mbps fibre, but I certainly wouldn't be disappointed with 80 Mbps over copper :D

          JonBOY26 you and everyone else will only get a maximum of 25mbps.

    When I lived in Australia I was a Liberal voter. I would never vote Labour.

    But as an expert in my field, the only thing the Labour party has ever gotten correct is the NBN. Re-using the copper is a joke, as a person that works in IT and Telecoms, I know what the state of the copper is in Aus. I am back there 6-8 weeks a year dealing with it and compared to Europe, Australia is a joke.

    I have lived in the UK now for 8 years and am quite happy on my 100Mbit connection on Hybrid Fibre Coax, that will soon be upgraded to 120Mbit. One problem, upload speed is still only 4-6Mbit. This is useless for a lot of what I do.

    With regard to the cost sheet everyone quotes from BT to have Fibre run from your local cabinet direct to you house, you may as well use that for toilet paper. In theory I can pay the cost and get Fibre from my local cabinet, which is enabled for it, run direct to my flat and then get a 340Mbit service.

    The reality is that BT offer the service but they have no interest in actually selling it as it's far more expensive for them to actually implement.

    It is only on the website to satisfy a political requirement that people can order such a service as part of the governments guarantee for high speed broadband.

    The current political offering is that by 2019, 90% of premises connected via copper will get 50+ Mbit. That means 10% connected by copper will get 25Mbit which is unachievable for a lot of properties in that are is residential areas but are a couple of acres in size.

    Given this I will not be coming back to Australia any time soon even though I prefer to live there.

    By not running fibre and using copper that can't deliver the bandwidth required for the apps already being used in tech industry in other advanced communities on the planet, Australia has resigned itself to being the resources sandpit that it is seen as, by China, Japan etc.

    When we run out of Minerals we will be no different to all of the Arab countries when they run out of oil.

    A desert nation with absolutely nothing else to offer for either our population or the rest of the world.

    Jason Bailey

      Jason, So bloody true.

    There will be no glossing it over - if the coalition decides to keep it's antiquated dsign for Australias future it's only going to split the nation even further between the haves - and the have nots.

    thing thing i hate hearings is 'UP TO XXgb'... there's alot of variables that give you a max speed connection. better well to do suburbs have better copper, faster speeds, & the ghetto suburbs & regional areas get less.. But I guess some can argue you get what you pay for, in tax; but i don't see the project moving at great guns for at least few years.

    It'll be like public transport; always recommended, sometimes planned, seldom implemented.

    Last edited 07/09/13 9:11 pm

      Actually the most expensive suburbs in Perth are the oldest and have the worst copper. None of them are on fibre yet.

      I cannot wait to see them try to do FTN in those areas.

      Jason Bailey

    I think a lot of you missed the point entirely, and if you didn't I weep for humanity. We're talking about sacrificing "Very High Speed Broadband" in return for "High Speed Broadband" + A range of other benefits such as Health Reform, Gonski Reforms etc...etc...

    As mentioned, why build this system to have us ready for 10-20 years down the track when we have crucial problems that are affecting us right now that need to be fixed?!

    I really find it highly disturbing how people can prioritise streaming their favourite movie or TV show in High Definition over the countries Health and Education Systems. And lets be perfectly honest, you can talk all you like about how we'll need all this extra bandwidth down the track for "research, scientific and economic" uses, what you're really thinking is "I really want to download my favourite TV Show in High Definition even though I could probably suffice with something slightly lower on the connection I have because the screen I'm viewing it on isn't even capable of taking advantage of real HD..."

    Pull your heads out of your ass Australia, the whole "But X country has better internet than us, that's not fair!!" is such childish, playground crud or even worse "But i'll be able to get a better connection for a whole $Y a month less so i'll save $Z a year, so it benefits me!!" because what you're really saying there is "I want to save MY money at the expense of the countries Health and Education Systems".

      Actually fibre will put you about 100+ years ahead (assuming there are using quality glass) as it's simply a matter of changing the transceivers. This project is no different to installing copper in the first place last century.

      Cutting back the NBN doesn't add money to the budget for the government to spend. All it does is reduces the amount borrowed and the corresponding interest repayments.

      Also if we only improved the education system without investing in infrastructure, what jobs would the highly-educated graduates have? Education should be thought of as an investment but it doesn't offer any return if all the top students end up working overseas.

        An increase in public debt is the last thing this country needs; with the mining boom slowing down, the current account deficit will surely increase over the next few years as Australia adjusts to the changes. Aggravating existing problems by borrowing billions to build a network that, well and truly can wait is simply not the wisest strategy for the time being, especially with the stagnant (if not declining) global economic growth rates. One of the most basic economic theory states that if the current account deficit increases, interest rates are likely to increase. That will not only increase the cost of living but it will lead to the imminent need to reduce government investments to fund debts, thereby further reducing economic growth during who knows when; something as such could happen during the midst of a recession.

        There are more pressing issues that need to be addressed such as the healthcare and education system. I love fast interest as much as any of you but we need to prioritise and spend appropriately instead of heading down the same path as Spain and Greece. The fact of the matter is, the NBN is a policy from the late noughties aimed to stimulate the economy during the Global Financial Crisis, when the federal budget was still in surplus and millions had been accumulated as a result.

          If your basic economic theory that interest rates were linked to government debt was correct, interest rates in the USA would be astonishing. The actual cash rate of the Federal Reserve is 0.25%. The other flaws in your logic aren't worth arguing about. The government borrowing a small percentage of GDP isn't the apocalyptic scenario you describe it as.

          Last edited 08/09/13 4:41 pm

            Have a look at the US' current credit rating if you want evidence for the link. Domestic interest rates obviously can be controlled by the federal government; that's just basic knowledge I assumed you knew but clearly I jumped the gun there. The interest rates I'm referring to are the ones that foreign lenders set when lending to specific nations. As Australia heavily relies on foreign loans to fund domestic projects, an increase in foreign interest rates will undoubtedly increase the cost of living. And no, 3% of our nominal GDP is not a small percentage, not by a very long shot.

          There are more pressing issues that need to be addressed such as the healthcare and education system. I love fast interest as much as any of you but we need to prioritise and spend appropriately instead of heading down the same path as Spain and Greece. The fact of the matter is, the NBN is a policy from the late noughties aimed to stimulate the economy during the Global Financial Crisis, when the federal budget was still in surplus and millions had been accumulated as a result.

          But according to this logic you should be against both NBN plans not just Labor's. If you're right in trivialising it as just 'faster internet' then we shouldn't be sinking money into the NBN period.
          FTTP costs more but it actually delivers. You can argue that we can't afford it and that's fair enough but if higher quality internet is needed then it's the way to go about it. FTTN on the other hand isn't worth the money one way or the other. Either it's spending a mountain of money to do a half-arsed job for a few years before we have to replace it or it's spending a mountain of money on something we don't need.

      I like this argument, especially since Tony has already stated that education isn't immune to his planned cuts and class sizes aren't everything, Be prepared for a crappier internet AND education system, it was never one or the other.

      Ixixly, Sorry but I think you have missed the point. Sure most people want fibre on here for entertainment value, but business wants it for improved productivity and reduced cost you know that if we as a country stop coffee breaks that would add an extra 11 billion per year to our bottom line!! That,'s more than any saving Abbott and Co will deliver

    Right now, i'm watching a live stream of a show..

    resolution is 640x480.

    every 5 seconds or so, it pauses and skips, my 20mb connection CANNOT KEEP UP.

    what happens when more and more people start streaming? start downloading more?

    look at the internet traffic over the last 6 years, we will have the lizards plan in around 6 years... with speeds like this? seriously?

      Place blame where it's due. 20mbps is more than sufficient to watch 480p video. It's also more than sufficient to watch 1080p video. If you're skipping, it has nothing to do with your 20mbps connection and more bandwidth is unlikely to solve your problem.

    FTTN is the same speed as adsl2+ which we already have widely established at quite economic prices. In five years time, we will most likely be spending the cost of the FTTN threefold to upgrade it to FTTH.

    My 8 yr old understood the difference between the 2 plans and hes not happy now.

    its vital communications infrastructure we will need.