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'We Would Always Look At Ways To Reduce Cost And Time': NBN Defends 'Secret' FTTP Trials

A leaked internal document recently revealed that the company building the nbn has been trialling a reliable, cheaper fibre to the premises technology — which has the potential to reach of an all-fibre system to the home.

“It’s a matter of public record that FTTP is part of our technology mix and is the most expensive and the hardest to build,” a spokesperson for nbn told Gizmodo today. “So naturally we would always look at ways to reduce cost and time.”

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The trialled multi-technology local fibre network (MT-LFN) uses thinner, more flexible optical fibres and allows the system to bypass the existing copper wire network. MT-LFN was tested in Ballarat from 7 July 2014 to 1 December 2015, and in Karingal from 14 July 2014 to 1 December 2015, according to the internal document.

Because of the reduced size and greater flexibility of the cables used, MT-LFN reduced the amount of civil works required — cutting fibre costs in half, the document revealed. That’s a drop from $1,200 to $600 per premises, according to a source for SMH.

“Cost Per Premises is published in our half year results (5 February),” a spokeperson for NBN said. “FTTP costs $4,419 per premises to build and is far slower to roll out than FTTN (which costs $2,300 per premises to build).”

The trials “showed that Malcolm Turnbull has been lying for months about how much it costs to connect to Labor’s superior fibre NBN,” said the opposition’s shadow communications minister, Jason Clare. “It proves the only reason that Malcolm Turnbull is not connecting millions more Australians to the real NBN is politics,” he said.

“It’s outrageous for Labor to suggest the NBN has been misrepresenting the cost of fibre to the premises,” responded Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield.

“Any claims this is a secret plan are nonsense. NBN actually announced that it has been trialling a possible solution using fibre to the pit in the footpath at its half-year results presentation earlier this month. The Government has given NBN a mandate to find the fastest and most cost-effective way to complete the network.”


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